So, even though my class is comprised of ELL newcomers, I follow the grade level curriculum of our 4th and 5th grade neighbors as closely as I can. And, right now, it’s state-project-season! 4th graders are working on a state project focusing on a famous person or area of our state, while 5th graders are resesarching any of the other 50 states for their project.
All projects have a visual piece (a trifold board), as well as written pieces (in the form of a report or two).
I have mostly 4th graders this year, but I have a pretty big split between newcomer students and ELL students who have advanced skills in English. That means my higher-level ELL students will be able to research a famous person/place in our state with relative ease. But this is the first major project in English for many of my newest ELL students (one of my new guys just came last Tuesday!!), so they will need a great deal of support and the chance to interact with one another to work on their speaking skills–so they will be working on maps, state symbols, landforms of our state (like an overview of their new home, to help them get familiar with it).
To help keep my sanity and to best help all of my students with their individual projects, I am creating some open-ended and (hopefully) easy-to-use graphic organizers. The one I’m sharing tonight is an example of this. Since all trifold boards (in both grade levels) need to feature state symbols, we began there.
After a mini-lesson/overview on state symbols, what they mean, and their importance to the different states in America, I modeled how to use this graphic organizer with a couple of different websites and library books to find the necessary information (one really great site is below…very easy to use and has some nice information on each states’ symbols):
So my students will store all of these notes in their binders, then type them up for their boards, or work them into their papers for the written part of the project. If you would like, I can share more as we go, just let me know. We will be moving on to maps and timelines this week. I hope this can be used by someone out there!! And I hope you all have a relaxing evening! 🙂