Huntington ESL Students Depict Journey to America Through Narratives and Illustrations

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Middle School ESL Students at Huntington K-8 are learning how to write a narrative about their experience coming to America as well as creating an illustration that conveys their experience.  ESL teacher Ms. Aniela Valenzuela and Art Teacher Ms. Melissa Sutton decided to collaborate to make this a rewarding learning experience for all of the students. 
The students in Ms. Valenzuela’s class began the project by creating a time line of a specific event on their journey to the United States.  Some students shared their feelings of their first time flying while others wrote about the first time they experienced new foods like a cheeseburger.  Ms. Sutton invited Syracuse resident, artist and illustrator Ms. Susan Keeter to come to Huntington to share information about her profession, as well as to show the students how she went about creating drawings and final illustrations for the books she has worked on.  Ms. Keeter has illustrated, “An Apple For Harriet Tubman” by Glennette Tilley Turner and “Honey Baby Sugar Child” by Alice Faye Duncan.  Mrs. Keeter spent two days with the students helping them come up with ideas for their illustration by using their time lines.  She also demonstrated how to begin their illustration, sitting with each child individually.
Having Ms. Keeter work with the students and share her knowledge of the illustration profession was a wonderful learning experience for the students.  She connected with many of the students and helped one student get started by demonstrating a beginning sketch for him and signing it before leaving.  At the conclusion of her time with the students they were inspired beyond words to finish their narratives and begin their illustrations.