This was one of my favorite podcasts from Anita. I teach in a culturally diverse school and have to be cognizant of the many factors that she discussed in her podcast.
Students are more likely to feel a sense of belonging if you respect their culture. It is very difficult for the student when they come to school and they do not speak our language. It is up to us to help them the best that we can. Anita told us that 18% of students speak a language other than English at home. Many of our students are Hispanic, but I did have a child from India who only spoke Bengali. Although she was very smart, it was difficult for her to communicate. I found an app for my I phone that was a Bengali translator. She thought this was great and it helped with ordering lunch everyday and with simple English phrases.
As educators, we are constantly learning as teachers. We have to be cognizant of the tone and speed of our voice for the children who don't speak our language. It is very difficult to process language if it is at a rapid speed. I found that vocabulary cards and pictures are a great resource. For the older children graphic organizers work well. I also try to have books in their native language available to them as well. This really helps them connect to the story. I have also had them build a vocabulary book from the story with pictures they draw or pictures that I provided.
Having an author's tea and having the ELL students prepare the invitations and the food is important too. They were involved in every aspect of the event. The students read their animal habitat project to their family and friends with pride.
One day I brought in a story about Gabriella Mistrel. It was in English and Spanish. I invited one of our monitors who is from Chile to read with me. She was thrilled with the opportunity to do so. She sounded very melodic when she read and the children were very engaged. You could see that the story in their native language made a difference. Afterwards we had a turn and talk and I asked what did this story remind you of? Some of them made connections with Mexico, others just loved the way it sounded. It was a great experience and I certainly would do it again.