Thursday, March 10, 2016

From Honduras To New York Runways

Here's a thought-provoking story to share with students in these final weeks of the winter term. Carlos Campos is a successful figure in the New York fashion world; he also walked to New York from Honduras as a child. This Aljazeera America profile is longer and uses some complex language, while this piece in REMEZCLA is simpler and easier for lower-level students to engage with.

As a side note, keep your eyes on REMEZCLA as you look for content for your classes. They tell stories about Latino culture in the US and globally with a young, fresh voice. See this piece about the Univision broadcast of the Democratic debate for a sense of their style.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Teacher Ideas: New York Stories

Image by Sterlin Joe Levy (
From Kevin, here's another collection of student stories. According to him, "the stories are a bit sadder than some others but a good read all the same."

New York Stories, by Kevin Lathrop

People encounter New York City on their own. As teachers, we help our students gain the language to make sense of their experiences and gain control of their lives here. Students in Level Three on Saturday told true stories that could happen only in New York.

Luis introduced his story with a warm greeting to his classmates. The events he recounted took place two months after he arrived in the city. His sister was in high school. One day she invited him to Forty-Second Street to do some shopping. He and his family lived in the Bronx, and they would make the trip downtown together. Luis told his sister he only had two dollars and fifty cents, not enough for the return subway ride, and she said, “It’s okay. I will pay two-fifty before we come back home.”

Luis replied, “Yes, no problem.” They took the train from Fordham Road to Forty-Second Street. His sister had a student pass for the subway. On Forty-Second Street, she bought bags, shoes, a tee-shirt and several other things. Carried away, she spent all her money and had none left for Luis to take the train (apparently the need for help he’d mentioned earlier had slipped her mind). They couldn’t walk home because it was too far to the Bronx.

Luis learned how things stood only when they reached the train station. His sister had passed through the turnstile with her student card and was waiting for him to join her. Luis dealt with the problem creatively. Rather than take her to task for the mistake, he announced he would to jump over the barrier - after all, he didn’t have money and, as he put it, couldn’t swim to Fordham Road from Times Square!