Science fiction often times inspires scientists. Ray Bradbury dreamed and wrote about the planets as though he were actually there. He took us to Mars, Venus, time travel, and beyond. As we read his stories, we explored the planet through his words.
Here, with common core in science, English teachers could teach the literature (fiction) while science teachers could address the actual science Bradbury touched on and address the facts (i.e. what does Mars look like? Venus? Is time travel possible? etc.)
How could educators teach this in the fiction component of the Common Core ELA without losing the ELLs who may be in their classes? How can teachers support them so that the ELL can fully appreciate the genius of Bradbury and possibly develop an interest in astronomy?
One short story that continues to be a favorite over the years is Bradbury's ALL SUMMER IN A DAY. The story takes place on Venus where it rains all day every day except 2 hours every seven years. Of course, the environment of Venus is not one humans can live on, but that can be addressed in science class. Here, the focus is on kids being very mean to a child they lock in a close so she can't enjoy the two hours. There is certainly more to the story, but it is one that middle school and high school kids really enjoy. Have ELLs and EOs address key themes in small groups where they will pick up threads of interest to their group and then share out what they came up with. This can be delivered in any way that suits the group--pictures, words, concept maps, dialogues, skits, etc. This link will take you to the text of the story: ALL SUMMER IN A DAY BY RAY BRADBURY
For ELLs to truly follow the story, you may wish to see the video. Well, here it is online for free viewing. Show it in clips so that ELLs can acquire those vital skills to become proficient readers. Ask students how they might change the story? What should be done with the teacher? Etc. The film is only about 25 minutes in length. FULL LENGTH VIDEO OF ALL SUMMER IN A DAY
Another favorite of students is SOUND OF THUNDER which addresses time travel. Is this possible? No. However, what would happen if it were? That is where Bradbury takes us here. How would an innocent in the past done by a time traveler affect the present? This is the link to the text:
A SOUND OF THUNDER The movie is not available online for free though. I will share that the story is far better than the film. In fact, ELLs and EOs, in teams, created time travel brochures for their "companies" and then had to deliver a sales pitch to find customers. Argument and persuasion activity which would prepare students to undertake the eventual required essay.
RAY BRADBURY "GOES TO MARS" THANKS TO JPL What an incredible clip! Bradbury wrote about Mars decades before probes were sent there. In this video, Bradbury actually is given the opportunity move the rover around using a joystick. You have to wonder what he was feeling as he "touched" mars.
Bring in tools to enable ELLs to truly access content. This way you will have full participation. Let the internet be your supply house (and my blog and website):)
ELL TEACHER PROS
Binney & Smith Crayola Classic Colors Markers - Craft Pens & Pencils
Boardwalk Butcher Paper, 15 x 900', White