Tracy Fuentes and Ashley Alanis
Have you ever had that teacher who brought a lesson to life with real-life objectives or by recreating a scenario for students to role play and perform? This teacher employed realia, a phenomenal strategy to use with ELL students because it allows them to grasp a concept while also practicing their language skills. Using realia in your classroom gives your students a break from normal activities, such as reading and writing, and allows them to have a hands-on experience with whatever content is being explored.
Seventh grade ELL students from Stevenson Middle School experience realia during a unique teacher-created lesson. Ashley Alanis, a Sheltered English Reading Teacher, transforms her students into detectives from the Melrose Park CSI to practice inferencing skills. Students are presented with a crime scene scenario. They work with partners to gather evidence and solve the crime. During this lesson, students not only hone their inferencing skills, but also have language-enriching conversations with their partners as they collaborate to solve the case. Students enjoy being a detective for a day because they play a new and exciting role in the safety of their classroom.
Employing realia in teaching empowers students to learn through real-life situations. Teachers from this AIMS Network school engage learners through experiences that will increase understanding and broaden their skills.