English Language Learners (ELL) require thoughtful and careful instruction for both reading and writing education. Both of these skills are necessary for a bright future and to be a functioning citizen in Canada. Those that do not possess considerable literacy levels will be effectively 'locked out' from so much knowledge, information and ideas that are part of the culture of society (Christie 1990, 20). Having a low level of literacy usually means acquiring an unskilled job. The relationship between literacy levels and poverty is something that should not be ignored (Gibbons, 2002). Developing literacy skills in ELLs is a daunting task and especially with students that have not developed those skills in their first language originally. Through the Curriculum Cycle and proper scaffolding of writing strategies, this paper will provide a lesson plan that will help develop an ELL's writing skills. It will include many different tools that will help students gain an understanding and confidence of the narrative writing form.
This paper will target ELL students of a secondary age level. It will be assumed they are between levels 3 and 4 of the Ministry of Education ELL/D Performance Standards. This level of student will often need help to elaborate on certain ideas. Sequencing is generally good at this stage, as is accessing prior knowledge, however, a graphic organizer can always benefit a student no matter what level. Grammar is improving greatly through these stages, but things such as homonyms and figures of speech will still be difficult (BC Performance Standards, 2001). Having the students learn how to write a narrative will complete a Prescribed Learning Outcomes for English 10: writing in a variety of genres, in the Writing and Representation section (BC IRP, 2007).
When selected a new writing form it is important to recognize the genre. Genres are cultural and may look very different from place to place around the globe (Gibbons, 2002). It is important to familiarize yourself with examples from the students home in order to recognize differences and parallels. Having hard copies to show the students and to project on the overhead would greatly benefit the class.
Narratives tend to be the first things students are taught, but it is ironically one of the most complex (Gibbons, 2002). Narratives have a particular organizational structure which includes orientation, a number of events, a complication, and the resolution. Simply speaking, those are the barebones of a narrative, but they can get extremely intricate and complicated through flashbacks, memories, characters having dreams or even starting the story with the resolution. For this lesson, it will be kept to the simplest form and will be taught with an explicit teaching approach. Traditional teacher-centred classrooms tend to work best for minority students and those less familiar with the English Language (Gibbons). Unless one has the leisure of...