Thursday, May 31, 2007

USCIS Fee Increases and ESL1

I tried to explain the fee increase to my ESL 1 students. The students are familar with calendar terms: dates, today, tomorrow, etc. I usually give a five term dictation after warming up with the alphabet, number chart, prices, and calendar. I feel that tapping a student's numeric literacy is crucial to developing fluency.

I drew a T diagram on the whiteboard and labeled it Before 05/31/07 and After 07/30/07 and added the N-400 (US Citizen) $400/$675, I-130 (Bring Family to US) $190/285, and I-485 (Get Green Card in US) ($325/$1010). The classroom began to buzz with translations.

I followed up with a picture of check for $400 going into an envelope going into the mail with a "postmark" of July 29, 2007, 11:59pm (I stamped the picture for emphasis) and added a happy face. I then pointed the picture, pointed at the at the clock and we watched the second hand sweep for 1 minute as I "ticked" and made a circular arm motion like a clock. I then made a loud "Ding!" and then turned around, crossed out July 29, 2007, 11:59pm, with a July 30, 2007 12pm and "Dong!" twelve times as I crossed out the $400 with $675. I added a sad face. I then erased the board.

Then I followed up with a standard dictation: three price $400, $675, $1010, 1-800-375-5283, and July 29, 2007 11:59pm. When we corrected it, I prompted the class with "How much does it cost?" and "What costs $XXX??" I added the Form number next to the price and "old" or "new". I drew a cell phone next to the USCIS Info number with a Flag & USCIS sign, and I wrote "Before" and donged "After" with three dollar signs and an arrow going up.

Then I passed out bilingual interview mateial in English/Vietnamese, English/Chinese, and English/Spanish. It was ripped from my hands. Many of my students may be actually elligible to apply for citizenship.

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