Posts Tagged ‘celebration’

Small celebrations

October 20, 2010 1 comment

There were some milestones in my classroom this week:

  1. T, one of girls who came in not speaking English, transitioned from drawing random shapes and writing random words during every day’s Writing Workshop, to drawing pictures about her life and writing sentences – with nouns and verbs!  Last week’s writing, “girl cat sun moon sky egg with day have”  This week’s writing, “I have two box and sun,” (alongside a picture of two boxes and a sun), and “I went with sister jup” (alongside a picture of her with her sister and a jump rope).
  2. T is also starting to talk in sentences.  During indoor recess today, she yelled across the room to a classmate, “Come on!  I need one more block!”  I couldn’t believe it!  No one in my class talks in full sentences, but she just busted out perfect first grade communication!
  3. AND, T has stopped pegging blocks (or markers, or pencils, or crayons) at other kids, instead holding up her hand and saying “Stop! No throwing!” if anybody looks like they might throw something at her.  Result: fewer tears, fewer clinic visits, and happier calls/notes to her mom.
  4. H, my other girl who came in without English, has started going to her reading group – without arguing.  She’s even begun saying “Oh yeeesss!” and doing a little dance when it’s time for reading.  This one change in her behavior has completely changed the rest of the class’s behavior during Reading Workshop.  It’s amazing how much more focused the other kids are when she’s reading instead of doing cartwheels around the room.
  5. Two of my kids who are relatively capable readers have stopped saying “I don’t know what it says” and have started attempting to read the papers I give them.  And they often get it.

In between the highs there are still a lot of frustrations, but it’s really reassuring to see that some of my most vulnerable students are making progress.  I must be getting something across.

It’s also been really rewarding to see how supportive the rest of the class is as T and H start figuring out English.  The class has been put through the wringer by these two girls, but for the most part they still seem to genuinely like both of them.  We talk a lot as a group about how sometimes T or H will do something they shouldn’t be doing – and that the other kids absolutely aren’t allowed to do – and about how it must be hard to be good all day long when none of the words make sense.  After all, it’s hard for most of the kids to be good all day and they DO know what I’m saying.  For the most part, the class nods sagely at this, and they agree that we can be patient while the girls are learning English.  Recently, a few have even caught my eye when I’m deciding whether to fight one of the girls over her choice.  “She’s still learning,” they’ll remind me.

And when T started writing full sentences in her writing, several of the kids nearby came over to see what I was so excited about.  “Hey, you did a really good job!” one told her.  “I like your story!” said another.  When H knew the answer to a math problem, and even explained it using gestures, one child exclaimed, “she’s learning so much!” and the others chorused “yeah!  She’s learning a lot!”  It makes me want to hug every one of them.

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