Thanksgiving is full of rich learning experiences. This year my high school ELL class sat in the cozy, colorful elementary school section of the library. Some even dared to relax on the carpet.
“Are you sitting comfortably”? asked Ms Ilana as she showed us the cover of The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper. I , meanwhile, experienced a flashback to the welcoming, warm opening of the BBC’s ‘Listen With Mother’…
The students settled into a quiet, listening mode as our narrator told of the grandfather who explained to his grandson the universal meaning of kindness. We did not discuss the message, but held on to our thoughts as we completed thanksgiving cutouts on what we are thankful for.
On our way out, we stapled our gratitude to the thankful tree.
The idea for the next part of the lesson came from McGill’s timely post ‘An Open Mind’
I asked each student where she or he is from and as I teach in an international school the replies were diverse. While viewing ‘The DNA Journey’, the students jotted down ideas on an index card to help them articulate ideas for the discussion and written response.
My ELLs were shocked and intrigued; pointing out that we are so quick to define our differences rather than our similarities.
As one student responded:
“Just by spiting in a tube you can know where you are REALLY from.”