Black History Month and Overcoming Challenges

Being that it was February, we discussed how in the United States we celebrate Black History Month. The students learned a great deal about famous African Americans and how they overcame many difficult challenges such as segregation. The students researched, studied and created presentations about a variety of these individuals. My hope in having them study these people was that they would find inspiration in how each person overcame and succeeded, meaning they too can do the same as they overcome the challenges of learning and bettering their English in order to become fully proficient, successful students both today in school and in their futures.

Enjoy the students’ Prezi presentations.

Wilma Rudolph by Joenid                                                 

Colin Powell by Harold                                                              

Jackie Robinson by Brandon                                                                                  


Knox, Barbara. Jackie Robinson. Mankato: Capstone Press, 2003.

Krull, Kathleen. Wilma Unlimited: how Wilma Rudolph became the world’s fastest woman. Orlando: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1996. 

Strazzabosco, Jeanne. Learning About Responsibility from the Life of Colin Powell. New York City: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 1996.

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“I Have a Dream”

Being that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is celebrated in January, we discussed why he is a celebrated man in the United States. The students learned a great deal about famous African Americans and how they overcame many difficult challenges such as segregation. The students read about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his contributions to our society. They then read and listened to his famous “I Have a Dream” speech and were asked to give their own “I Have a Dream” speeches about the changes they wish to see in the world.

Please enjoy the students’ own “I Have a Dream” speeches, inspired by our study of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Brandon’s “I Have a Dream” speech                                     

Harold’s “I Have a Dream” speech                                     

Joenid’s “I Have a Dream” speech                                     

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Nervous (To the Highest Level) the First Day by Frances

  “O.M.G!” I yelled out loud to everybody. I said O.M.G because I was going to school that day and I was so nervous. Then I was singing so my fear would go away. Next while I was sitting down my knees and my teeth were shaking like a cellphone vibration. Then I was screaming that “I’m backing out.” In addition to that my aunt said “No matter what happens I will go to school.” Then we went in the cars to school and I was so afraid to the “Highest Level”. Then while were walking in to the school my eyes was closed and I was walking really slowly like a turtle. After that we were inside the school looking for the assistant that will help us. Then while the assistant and I were walking she told me everything about the school. Then it was time to go to my teacher and I was so mortified. Then when the school was finally over I was fine and I met some kids.

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Total Mistake by Emma

  At my first day of school, my mother and I walked to the school. Then, when she let me go I went to my first class where my teacher introduce me and tell everybody “This is Emma and she came from France.” At the end of the bell I was lost so I followed people to my next class which was ESL. I found that I wasn’t the only student from another country. Then when it came to lunch time I was totally lost. I saw everybody moved around me, and faster that I could ask someone the way to the cafeteria everybody was gone! I was so scared that I looked everywhere if I could find someone. When suddenly I heard a voice, I ran to teacher and asked her if she could show me my way. I finally finished my day without being lost again. When I went to home I told every detail to my parents.

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Scary, Scary Bus by David

  At my first day of school I was afraid to ride my bus, but my mom helped me to don’t be afraid and kids on the bus too. The bus was one of the old kinds so I knew all the stuff on it because in Russia they have same busses but they not used for school. Also it had soft and relaxing seats. Before I tell you what happened next I will tell you why I was afraid. I was afraid because I thought I will look stupid if I will try to talk. You will know did I look stupid or not later on. Ok let’s finish my story. I’m not telling you to listen. If you want to listen go ahead if not just go away.

  Finally I was in school and it was very hard to understand. (This is the most important part!) When I came in the classroom everybody said, “Hello David.” I tried to say hello to everybody, but this is what I said “Privet vsem.” Then I realized I’m not in Russia anymore. I was too mortified to say anything the rest of the day, but the teacher still tried to make me to say something. Finally I gave up and I said, “I will try again.”

  After school I was very happy and I told all my adventures in my new school. This is how my first day of school ended.

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Sink Then Revive by Emma

       Don’t you think swimming is the best sport ever because I do? I remember the day I was evaluated to try out for the swim team. I was really exited during the whole day at school. Then when it came time to go to the pool I was scared. I was waiting my turn in the lane, when suddenly I heard my name: it was my turn!

      On the way to starting point, I told the coach who was evaluated me that I didn’t speak English yet. After she asked to every other coach if spook French, she started to tell me the stroke in broken French and I understood it.

      When my fingers touched the water I was ready to open my arms and move my legs. At the third stroke I was tired, so I started to sink. However I remember that I was trying to be on the swim team and I swum the last five meters as fast as I could. Then when I got out of the water they told me: “You’re on the team”.

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A Best Friend by David

     At my first day of school I met my first friend Eddie. He was Ukrainian. He understood Russian but didn’t talk. We had a confusing conversation. I said something in Russian. He said he understood me but didn’t talk Ukrainian or Russian, only English. “Do you understand me” I asked in Russian. He screamed “Yes!” in English. I asked “can you talk Russian?” “No.” he said. “You’re confusing me.” I said. “I understand Russian but don’t speak. Nobody teach me how to speak my home language.” My friend said. This is why our conversation was confusing. All day long I was thinking what a good friend he could be.

     After school I wanted to ride my bike to the end of the road. I almost finished my trip to the end of the road then he screamed “wait a minute!” I stopped and he asked “Are you the guy from bus M?” right?” I said “Yes”. Next he took me to his house and his parents asked me lots of questions. Finally he went to my house and we asked  questions about each other. This is why Eddie is my best friend.

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