Project 1: LINC-Net
Macdonald Drive Elementary School's student population represents more than 23 birth countries and 22 first languages.
There are currently 50 - 60 immigrant children at our school. Some of them have limited English skills and require ESL training while others are capable of working in a regular classroom without assistance.
The English as a Second Language program (ESL) is a support service offered by our School Board. Our school currently has a full-time ESL teacher.
Some aspects of this project would be more appropriate for elementary students, as a certain level of literacy is required to communicate via e-mail.
Using resources online, such as SchoolNet, Web 66 and other collections of Web sites, we hope to locate schools in Canada and in the home countries with suitable respondents. It is our intention to incorporate this online communication into our regular language arts program using writing objectives appropriate to the capabilities of our students.
These children have experiences and cultural connections that are much broader than most of their local classmates. Their perspective can be a valuable resource in classroom explorations of world communities and cultures. As well, many have come from turbulent political areas and may find it helpful to share their memories with other refugees who have also fled their homeland.
The ESL program provides a support structure through its "buddy" program, and its emphasis on integration and socialization. It promotes pride in the immigrant students' language and culture, and encourages them to become a resource for our mainstream student population. Children often lose contact with their language/culture/country, and by building such bridges, we are increasing students' sense of empowerment. Developing their self-esteem is important for success in building English fluency (reading, writing, speaking/listening).
The Technology Education learning outcomes that are most applicable to this project are in the elementary level Communication Domain.
The students who could avail of this project are distributed throughout six pods. There is restricted accessibility to the single STEM~Net computer at our school, and Internet access throughout the school would greatly facilitate the project.
We intend to purchase a Logitech 4" handheld colour scanner for the purpose of creating student photographs for Web pages.
The multicultural nature of our school both enriches and challenges us. This project can provide valuable support to our new students in their first stressful year in a new country, as well as encourage our local classmates to appreciate them as a rich source of international perspectives.