Our names are Inge White and Nellie Maley. We are partner teachers for the ELL program at Winooski High School. Together we are facilitating a group of 17 Newcomers from Nepal, Iraq, Somalia, Ethiopia, and the Congo. Most of these students have no or limited formal education prior to coming to the Winooski School District. All students are at the beginning levels of their English language proficiency. Our goal this year is to create a proficiency-based classroom and provide authentic learning opportunities for our students. Our units are focused on learning about the community using basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS) through the four basic areas of language development (reading, writing, listening, and speaking).
Currently, students are creating a website to document and capture their learning experiences. For each unit, students are responsible to showcase their oral and written communication proficiencies through presentations, writing samples, reading reflections, and other daily activities. We provided a template for the website that the students will personalize with their own work. We are also collaborating with our Technology Integration Specialist to help familiarize the students with technology. So far, so good. Students are involved and excited to explore the new technology and becoming part of the school community by learning about various aspects of American school and community. We are excited to report that in only 6 weeks students are feeling comfortable and less shy towards their peers.