We are preparing to teach an upcoming section of our course, Accessing Inquiry for English Learners through Primary Sources, and reflecting on what specialists in English language acquisition tell us about making history and social studies accessible.
In 2010, when Emerging America first focused on teaching strategies using primary sources to engage and support English Learners, we built the course content around immigration history, expanding the investigation to include the history of American communities that speak languages other than English. A key part of making curriculum accessible to all learners is teaching topics, concepts, and skills that are directly relevant to their lives. Not all English Learners are immigrants, of course. Yet many are, and today’s volatile politics of immigration impact all English Learners.
In 2020-2021, school districts across Massachusetts will fully implement student-led civic engagement projects in every 8th grade and every high school. Projects will occur as class assignments, but students may request the option to complete individual projects. Later in November, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) expects to announce a small grants program to support implementation.
A new lesson for high school students uses primary sources to engage students, including those whose reading levels may not yet be at grade level, in exploring the changes in policy in who is admitted to the United States.
Initiatives to restrict specific groups of people from immigrating to the US are important topics in US History, included in standards for the US History I and US History II high school classes. This lesson uses the 21st century “travel ban,” ruled constitutional in 2018, as an entry point to explore previous shifts in US immigration policy.
EmergingAmerica.org happily announces new website resources and features to support powerful teaching of diverse learners. Long-established features also got major rebuilds, including Radical Equality exhibit and Windows on History local history projects:
There are two new opportunities for teachers to learn more about culturally relevant pedagogy, in addition to the excellent videos and other teaching materials linked on the Engagement Strategies page of the Accessing Inquiry section of our website at EmergingAmerica.org.
Visual Literacy: Making Lessons Accessible and Inclusive
Guest Blog Post by Wendy Harris, High School Social Studies & Teacher of the Blind at Metro Deaf School in St. Paul, Minnesota.
You want to get your students to work with primary sources, but you have students who struggle with reading English text. Maybe they have a learning disability, English is not their most comfortable language, or any number of other reasons. Sound familiar?