Imagine being new to this country … as an 11-year-old. You need to learn the language. You need the learn the culture. You need to just learn, period. To make this process interactive and fun, Streetside Stories and classroom teachers have partnered up to get creative.
On Tuesday at Everett Middle School, 6th-graders who are newcomers to the U.S. were excitedly working on transforming narratives into digital form as a science project in Ms. Bautista’s English Language Development (ELD) Science class. A six week, step-by-step process fosters the creation of the final product: a personalized ebook titled “How Do We Survive in our World?” Students must write a narrative, design a storyboard, create images, record voiceovers and edit the final cut.
Ms. Bautista co-developed the curriculum with Streetside Stories’ Van Nguyen-Stone (photo, top). Students develop literacy and arts skills, and begin to close the digital divide. For more than a decade, Nguyen-Stone’s work has encompassed independent filmmaking, complemented by teaching video production for nonprofit organizations.
This innovative duo designed a true learning experience. For example, in the creation of their author page, the students learned a few of the eight parts of speech, as they were asked to fill in the blanks for such questions as “I would describe myself as (adjective),” “I like to (verb)” and “(Noun) inspires me.”
Through their collaboration they also cultivate young people’s voices, using compelling storytelling that values diversity and builds community. Streetside Stories, a valued Mission Promise Neighborhood partner, is up to this challenge and has been succeeding.
A recent National Endowment for the Arts study found that African American, Latino and low-income youth receive significantly less arts education than white and higher-income youth. Streetside Stories is working to close this gap. Their core programs comprise innovative arts workshops that improve literacy via the integration of tech. The programs are aligned with state Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) standards per the California State Board of Education, as developed by the Instructional Quality Commission.
Streetside Stories’ programs are also aligned to Common Core language arts standards for the state of California. While Common Core guides what students need to know and be able to do, the curriculum defines how students will learn it and is designed by school districts and teachers.
Students in Ms. Bautista’s class will share their final work with peers, families and community members on December 17th. At this event, Everett’s first iBook library of student’s ebooks will be displayed. The middle schoolers will read from their ebooks and describe their creative process via a Q & A session.
Mission Promise Neighborhood (MPN) Education Manager Laura Andersen (photo, left) was on hand today to watch this project come to life. A former kindergarten teacher, Andersen enjoyed helping students practice their oral language skills and think through their ebook content.
Explaining the importance of today’s event, Andersen highlighted the teacher collaboration: “Teaching ELD classes can be challenging; usually there is one fluent English-speaking teacher and twenty students who are trying to learn the language. This model leverages co-teaching to integrate technology with language skills, creativity and science to motivate students. These MPN students are in great hands with Ms. Bautista and Streetside Stories.”