Bellmore-Merrick’s ENL Students Travel Back in Time

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English Language Learners from both Grand Avenue and Merrick Avenue middle schools visited the Tenement Museum in Manhattan’s Lower East Side on Jan. 13 as part of the English as a New Language program.

“Students traveled back in time and experienced the life of immigrants inside a tenement apartment building from 1863,” explained ENL Chairperson Enrique Montes.

During the guided tour, students interacted with an actress playing the role of Victoria Confino, a former resident who lived in the tenement in 1916. Students were invited into her living room where they heard stories about her experience as a Greek immigrant settling in the Lower East Side.  

Students prepared questions in advance and compared their experiences as immigrants with that of settlers in the early part of the 20th century.
“Our students left with a sense of perspective, knowing that the challenges they face as new Americans are not different from what immigrants faced years ago,” added Montes.

Their ENL teachers, Abigail Havener and Denise Schleith, prepared a thematic unit on immigration in preparation for this trip. Students learned about the contributions that immigrants have had in shaping the country.  

Keeping up with the spirit of multiculturalism, students and chaperones had empanadas at a Lower East Side restaurant.

Bellmore-Merrick Expands World Languages Department

Bellmore-Merrick Expands World Languages Department

The district’s Department of World Languages expanded its offerings for the 2016-17 school year with the addition of Mandarin Chinese.

“The response to the program was positive, and classes are now well under way at both Grand Avenue and Merrick Avenue middle schools,” said World Languages Chairperson Rosa Kaplan.

 At the start of the year, seventh-grade students began studying the Chinese language and culture with their teacher, Helen Han.

Through a storytelling approach, students were quickly immersed in the language, as Ms. Han believes in teaching her entire lesson in Mandarin.
“It did not take long for students to begin speaking in Mandarin and they are already reading and writing simplified Chinese characters and Pinyin,” said Renée Fallon, a world languages chairperson.

The students are also learning about Chinese culture. Han incorporates authentic materials, videos, music and her own experience involving daily life in China. Currently there are 35 students enrolled in the program, including 15 at Grand Avenue Middle School and 20 at Merrick Avenue Middle School.