This was a small group novel study with four, Hispanic ELL students – we read the novel Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell. Each student would summarize the chapter by adding one or two lines to a continuing acrostic poem so, by the end of the novel, they had a personalized summary of the storyline that also showed sequence. Our acrostics went down the center of the page instead of first letter.
Each student selected from one of several acrostic phrases associated with the book as their acrostic starters and added their phrase to the poem at the end of the chapter. Lively discussions were the norm. Also the letter of the day could be anywhere in their phrase not just at the beginning.
The final project was a group painting. We discussed themes and images from the book. The canvas for their painting was pasted pages from the novel (found copy of Sahara Special that was falling apart). Each student painted one of the main characters from the book and then surrounded themselves with important images from the novel. Their poems where pasted on the painting to create a mixed media.
ELL students need the opportunity to read and discuss literature deeply and in a safe environment. In our small group we had lively discussions with student summarizing, identifying themes, demonstrating their learning, and feeling empowered by their learning.