The last week of school was chaos: changed schedules; field trips with half the student body out and the next day the other half out; celebrations; graduations; good-byes; exhaustion.
Our official last day was Monday, which was bizarre because by then there was nothing left to do. Teachers were packing up their rooms; the students who came were there mainly to sign yearbooks and say good-bye to their friends.
Somehow in the chaos, my students got their newspaper articles in, I managed to finish adding them and formatting, we took pictures, and I put it all together. This is the second time I have done this with students, and this time I did it differently. While last year the students and I came up with categories, and then they wrote articles for those categories, this year I told them to write about anything they chose. I then grouped their articles and made categories accordingly. It worked out well: many of them wrote about sports, so I made a sports section. One of them asked if she could write an overview of Puerto Rico, and then I suggested to others they write something about their countries also. Some of them wanted to compare school in their countries to the U.S.
In the end, we came up with a 10 page, 2 sided product, with 10 ELL student reporters. I am sure that most of them had never seen their names in a publication; even if that was the only accomplishment of our newsletter, it was a success. When they knew they were going to be published and the whole school community and their families would see it, they put their best work into their writing. This was also a great differentiated activity: the students who could do more, and go deeper, did. One student wrote 4 articles; one wrote one article. While that was the extent of his writing, when I asked him to design a page with art he liked on it, he was able to contribute in a different way; I made his page our back cover.
Here is a copy of our ELL newspaper, Volume 2, with student names removed and pictures blurred. Enjoy their hard work!