Minnesota and Wisconsin Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
This study explores how writing personal narratives helps ESL students demonstrate their understanding of science
vocabulary and concepts. Key influences include: the funds of knowledge students bring to the classroom (Moll,
Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez, 1992), academic English (Zwiers, 2008) vocabulary instruction (McKeown & Beck,
2004), and scientific literacy (Lee, 2005 and Lemke, 1990). The research method consisted of five cycles of action
research with 11 eighth-grade ESL students in an ESL classroom which supported what was concurrently being
taught in the mainstream science class. Collected data included observations and written personal narratives. The
main findings were: 1) students can demonstrate understanding of both science vocabulary and concepts as wells as
academic language functions common to science through personal narrative writing, 2) students can apply science
vocabulary when writing about their life experiences, and 3) intentional and thoughtful planning and preteaching of
vocabulary helps students access and engage in science content.
Personal narrative: from story to science.
Minnesota and Wisconsin Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
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