Change My Life Forever by Maureen Barbieri. Giving Voice to English-Language
Change My Life Forever
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Change My Life Forever

Giving Voice to English-Language Learners

By Maureen Barbieri

As a public school staff developer in New York's Chinatown, Maureen Barbieri realized that the 1400 students in her new middle school had stories to tell, questions to ask, and opinions to share. Their challenge was adapting to a new home and a new language. Hers was helping them use English literacy skills to bridge their memories of China to their hopes for the future, as they came to value both their old and their new cultures.

Through case studies and classroom vignettes Barbieri reveals the power of literacy to change students' perspectives and give them hope. In "Change My Life...

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Full Description

As a public school staff developer in New York's Chinatown, Maureen Barbieri realized that the 1400 students in her new middle school had stories to tell, questions to ask, and opinions to share. Their challenge was adapting to a new home and a new language. Hers was helping them use English literacy skills to bridge their memories of China to their hopes for the future, as they came to value both their old and their new cultures.

Through case studies and classroom vignettes Barbieri reveals the power of literacy to change students' perspectives and give them hope. In "Change My Life Forever" you will meet Yi, who works in her family's take-out restaurant where she does hours of homework each night; Cong, a booklover who yearns for greater expression in his new language; and Jun Jie who uses English to make sense of his emergence as a young adult in America. Hearing these and other stories, you will discover new ways to make room for your students' diverse voices while improving their literacy in English.

As Barbieri's students shared their lives with their teachers, through daily interactions with literature and immersion in writing, they came to value English as a means of discovery and expression, and their skill with their new language deepened. With practical ideas, examples of student work, and specialized reading lists, "Change My Life Forever" will help teachers of all English-language learners enhance their own students' learning through the knowledge that literacy is central to the lives of all human beings.

Contents

Contents:
1. Discoveries in Chinatown
2. Bridges to Understanding: Swans, Dreams, Degas Dancers
3. Shaping a New Identity: J.J's Story
4. Holding Fast to Dreams: Cong's Story
5. Making New York Home: Yi's Story
6. Weaving the Texture of Life: A Place for Poetry
7. To Know and Be Known: Friday's Feisty Females
8. Where Are They Now?

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