SIFE, Beginners & Intermediates Reading at Grade Level: Differentiation Idea

We can teach high school Newcomers at grade level in most classes. Sometimes we just need to get them excited about the topic. Check out this 3 min video that will show you the incredible results of newcomers preparing for an author visit.  There are 4 readers in this video. The young man is SIFE. He reads from this page. It is incredible that he lost 4 years of schooling in Jordan and began reading in English 8 months ago:

Note in the video that all of my students are tracking print.  Even my brand-new students can begin engaging with English print this way.  My English reading selections can be on anything so why not align them to their content standards?  I looked for documents that supported the story and the historical time period.

And now the day has arrived!

Tomorrow we will host author Dr. Paul Spellman.  We hope he likes the video.  Paul has written several books on Texas History which may peak the interest of some of our teachers down here in the Lone Star State.

But I teach high school this year and our focus needs to be US & World History.  NO problem! My friend Bryan McAuley at the Texas Historical Commission introduced me to Dr. Spellman because he just wrote and amazing book, Until I Come Home. The book is an entertaining and informative true love story of Dallas socialite Vera Diamond and Cherokee born Roscoe Chittim.

Paul will come and do some storytelling tomorrow! And we are ready because there were many, many pages that I could use for shared reading with the students.  These excerpts were an excellent way to draw my newcomers into US and World Geography as well as key events leading up to, during and after WWI.

If you know me, you know that I created a Kahoot about all this. With the help of this high interest (compelling) text, they know more than the love story.  The Kahoot covers the Zimmerman telegram from Germany that prompted the US to enter the war, the number of US troops sent overseas to fight, the Treaty of Versailles and more.  Feel free to play it here:


No, I am not their history teacher.  But I certainly use content to teach language.   And I hope our content teachers are seeing the payoff when they do the opposite.

(ie: Use language to teach their content.)




I will likely update this post with pictures of Paul’s visit. I will certainly share the pictures on twitter (@MsSalvaC).  They should be very special.  Many of my students are bringing their lunch in order to spend just a little more time with this author!

Thanks for reading and for your interest in ELs!


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