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Tag: ESL

July 26, 2012 Posted by admin in Blog

Kitaab Camp: Fun Learning with a Cultural Twist!

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Kitaab Camp is in full swing as it begins its third week of the summer! Under the leadership of Youth Program Manager, Mohammad and the guidance of our Kitaab Camp Coordinator, Kayla and Student Youth Employment Program participants, the campers have embarked on trips around the city in an effort to reinforce their knowledge and practice of the English language. So far the group has visited the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Museum of Chinese America, the Sony Wonder Technology Lab, Ellis Island and El Museo del Barrio. Whether identifying different types of vegetables at the Children’s Garden in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, or learning about robots, video game programming and digital animation at the Sony Technology Lab, campers are actively interacting with the English language. Click here to see photos of their trips around the city.

On a recent adventure to East Harlem’s Latin American Art museum, El Museo del Barrio, the group enjoyed an interactive tour of the main gallery in addition to a hands-on art workshop. Though the museum was exciting and informative for the kids, what really shined through was their amazing group dynamic. With ages ranging from 5 to 12, and campers coming from many different backgrounds, the group’s strength is its diversity. It is a multicultural and multiracial mix of campers from Haiti, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Yemen, Palestine, Egypt and Turkey, as well as New York. SYEP participants and older campers have risen to the occasion and taken leadership roles, while younger campers learn from their older peers. Sarrowr, an SYEP participant and community member emphasized how being a leader in the group has reinforced her desire to become a teacher:

“I wanted to be a teacher and now I have a preview. I didn’t know what to expect when I started, but now I feel prepared for the future. The program isn’t just for the kids, it’s for us. I thought I would be teaching them, but after 3 weeks I realize that they are the ones teaching me.”

In addition to youth leadership, the group has benefitted from adult oversight. Ms. Salim, a certified NYCDOE substitute bilingual teacher, emphasizes lesson planning and structure within Kitaab Camp field trips by designing worksheets specifically for ESL students. With this strategy the campers learn the necessary vocabulary prior to visiting sites where they will hear the words in context. Though her specialty is Spanish and is directed to teaching the Spanish-speaking campers, she hopes to collaborate with Arabic speakers to add Arabic to her worksheets.

Kitaab camp is in session until August 17th. Future adventures include the Museum of Natural History, New York Aquarium, PuppetWorks and the Prospect Park Zoo.
July 6, 2012 Posted by admin in Blog

Buy a "Favorite Arabic Foods" Cookbook Today!

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AAANY's Adult Education ESL and pre-GED programs are proud to present their Favorite Arabic Foods cookbook, a collection of favorite recipes, food artwork and memories of cooking. Over the course of the summer, members of the class contributed a great deal of time, effort and expertise to produce the book, which features over 80 pages of delicious recipes and a beautiful designs by Razan Tayeh. At every level of English-language learning, from beginning literacy through advanced conversation, students honed their English communication skills by writing recipes, telling sotres about learning to cook, and teaching about national food traditions in Yemen, Egypt, Morocca, Tunisia, Algeria, Palestine and Jordan. Aziza Ait Alla translated recipes into Arabic, while Amida Alessandrini and Adult Education Coordinator, Katie McCulloch spent many hours teaching and supporting the class by designing lessons and curricula for the program. We will be selling the cookbooks for $20 online and at the Arab American Bazaar this Sunday.

Here's a sample from the book:

Click here to buy one!

April 23, 2012 Posted by admin in Blog

AAANY’s English Students Step Out On The Town

If you walked into the Capitol One Bank on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge this past Thursday, you may have seen the women of AAANY’s English program participating in our first ever financial literacy workshop!

A group of about 25 students met at AAANY and walked across the street to Capitol One to attend a lecture and demonstration given by the bank’s Branch Manager, Aneta Dowlatram. Ms. Dowlatram gave up her morning to do a presentation on the different services offered at the bank and give a tour of the bank’s safety deposit boxes. Each student received a folder with literature about Capitol One’s services as well as example deposit slips and savings account forms. The trip ended with several group practice sessions at Capitol One’s ATM machines.

For the past month, AAANY students learned about all aspects of the banking system. The classes covered a wide range of terms, skills and topics, ranging from writing checks to debating the finer points of Islamic Law and its analysis of interest (all in English of course). AAANY’s Adult Education Coordinator, Katie McCulloch, worked with the other volunteer teachers, Amida Alessandrini, Loren Diesi, and Megan Tribble, in order to make sure that students in each level of English received a solid foundation of bank vocabulary that they could put into practice in their everyday lives. Students did numerous conversation drills, a variety of readings, and even made individual presentations in front of their classmates about specific banking concepts. Before the big outing, Katie brought all of the classes together for a large group discussion so the more advanced students could help the beginner students practice conversations.

AAANY’s students arrived at the bank Thursday morning having previously addressed a number of important subjects, including how to teach a child about handling money responsibly, how to open a college savings account and how to wire transfer money to one’s family in another country, and so were well prepared to ask many questions of Ms. Dowlatram.

But by far the highlight of the day was the ATM lesson. Using a loud, beeping machine in a language that is not your first can be intimidating, especially because of the stress that any money transaction involves. But by the end of the trip, students were able to navigate through the most important functions of the machine. The donut breakfast everyone shared afterwards wasn’t too bad, either. This next week’s lesson plan is inspired by the ATM excitement; we are going to conquer the subway system and the metro card machines!

-Megan Tribble

Kitaab Club Showing Love

Hanging out with kids on Valentine’s Day can be a great way to get back to the true meaning of the holiday. That was certainly our experience this week in Kitaab Club, AAANY’s afterschool literacy class for kids ages 5 – 13. As part of our continuing lessons on “exploring identity,” we talked with our class about words associated with this day: love, heart, caring, holiday, happy, friends and so on. Our main focus of the day, however, was family. Not only did the class teach each other important vocabulary for talking about their families, but they also made beautiful cards for their moms and dads showing their love and appreciation for their parents. As kid designed and created own their cards, it was particularly heartening to see them helping each other with spelling. After a month of Kitaab Club, this lesson really showed the progress our talented kids have made already both in their language skills and their creative self-expression. Stay tuned for reports on our upcoming classes where we will be making family trees and other fun activities!

- Emma Alpert

Creating Love on Eid el Hub

This week, the students of AAANY’s ESL program got together during their winter break to celebrate Valentine’s Day with volunteer art therapist Julia Kristeller.  As plates of basbusa, baklava and chocolate went around, students wrote Valentine’s Day cards (in English!) for loved ones and chatted with friends from class. Advanced students helped others jot down holiday wishes, and mothers with young children supervised the artistic endeavors of their very enthusiastic toddlers.  Women left the holiday workshop relaxed and ready for the new term of English classes, which begins January 27 at 9:30 am.

And don't forget, February is Love Your AAANY Month! Please donate, by clicking this link. Any amount you give will be doubled!

By Katie McCulloch

Art: Looking From the Inside Out

On Thursday, February 9th, I was finally going to visit the newly reopened wing of Islamic art at the Met!  Katie, AAANY’s amazing English Literacy Coordinator, had planned an excursion for all the ladies in literacy classes, and I was thrilled to be invited along.  As any devoted Middle Eastern History Major I was filled with anticipation to see those delicate hand-painted artifacts from Abbasid Baghdad, and the lavish chambers of the Ottoman Sultans. And of course I could not wait to lay my eyes on the beautiful calligraphy of Arabic and Persian texts from great cities like Cairo, Damascus and Isfahan. In college student vernacular, it was going to be a total geek-out sesh, just me and my history.

But when I met up with the group of excited women in the lobby of the Met I forgot all about the Abbasids. Being a part of a large group of Arab-American women and their children when they entered that exhibit, getting to see the look of excitement on their faces, and be in the middle of that first eruption of camera flashes was magnificent. One look at their faces as they walked into the exhibit and I could see the deep personal connection they felt with that art. One woman said she felt like she was back in her family’s home in Yemen, another lady I saw stood still in the middle of the hall looking around and smiling. I was not really able to pay much attention to the art itself because I was running around helping people turn their flashes off and trying to keep the group together, but everyone in our group was trying to lecture everyone else so I learned a great deal. I heard a teenage daughter explaining to her mother an intricacy of Islamic architecture that she had learned in school. I saw a young mother explaining to her three year-old where Mecca was on a map. I giggled while listening to a grandmother repeatedly telling her grown-up daughter how to important it was to teach her children about this history, and I saw another visitor to the exhibit asking one of the AAANY ladies about the meaning of an Arabic inscription.

If I had gone to see the exhibit by myself I am sure I would have enjoyed it and maybe even learned something. But I would have learned in a very impersonal way about things distant from myself. Reading about history and culture is not the same as being with people and sharing in their culture. Getting to spend a wonderful morning with these ladies and then ride the subway back with them to Brooklyn afterwards let me feel personally connected with the art I was looking at, and see it from the inside out, instead of from the outside in.

  By Megan Tribble