This week Mr. Bollum's students were working on writing their autobiographies. They were asked to describe their family members, including what they like to do in their free time, where they work, etc. I walked around the room and helped the students with grammar concepts. I explained that in formal writing, numbers under 10 need to be written out and I explained that you don't combine past tense verbs such as was and -ed. When I was reading what the students had written, I was surprised that many of the Somali students in the class had 6+ siblings. This is different than a lot of American families that I know. A lot of the students also did not know where their parents worked, which I thought was strange. Afterward, Mr. Bollum played the song Feliz Navidad on his guitar. This made me realize that most of the students in the class probably do not celebrate Christmas, because they are Muslim.
Again I had a wonderful time with Allison and her students. I shared the news about my grad school acceptance with her and she was ecstatic about the news! I told her that I needed community hours for my next semester's independent study course and would be making the request to stay with her class for the rest of the school year. Teacher and students were happy to hear this.
During my time today, the class worked on summarizing and writing on the book "Balto", and most of my help went towards spelling help. There were two other adult helpers in the class today (didn't recognize them) but when it came to the dozen questions we got about how to spell the word "husky", it took all four adults plus my internet connection to figure it out. It's a weird word.
The rest of my time was spent during the first assembly of the month--there is an assembly the first and last Fridays of the month. It was a decent time--my kids got a compliment for being so well-behaved and then they celebrated that compliment by being little party animals. It was still a joyous time.
Today, in Ms Madsen's class, I did some puzzles and played games with students.
A parent of the students came in to show the class a new fun thinking game where they had to memorize a path on the floor. Very exciting to watch the kids learn through trial and error and see their reactions for each side. Then there was an assembly in the gym where I helped keep the students under control and focused on the speakers.
Today, I waited at the door for 10 minutes before I decided to leave. When I was waiting for the shuttle, Elsa got out of her car and started walking towards the door. When I greeted her, she apologized about being late because she had unexpected guests. Then she informed me that no students were going to be in class today. I told her that since the shuttle will not be here until 9:50, I could help her with paperwork. Elsa was delighted. I was glad that I got to help Elsa declutter her desk as she was very grateful.
Played with the two new grey kittens and their mom.
We began the class with another guest speaker. She is a family doctor and came to inform about her job and persuade the class to get a family doctor, if they don't already have one. She informed the class of the differences between the Emergency Room and Urgent Care and we began a discussion on viruses and other illnesses. We talked about diabetes as well as the common cold and AIDS and the differences in treatments. After the guest speaker left, we went into the computer lab. The students took to the computers and, after a very small amount of assistance, were right to work. The student that I helped researched current events from South Sudan, where he's from.
Guest speakers seem to come in quite regularly which is nice because it gives the class a new outlook on what real life is like. Computer use is also a staple part of the class period which gives each of the students a chance to learn some material of their choice while also building a base set of computing skills that will help them in the world after school.
Something that I learned from this class period is the impact that the American diet has on immigrants. Nearly 75% of the students of African descent have some form of diabetes. Some of the cases are hereditary, but most of the students were used to a high-exercise and low calorie diet, forced to walk everywhere in lieu of a car or any other type of transportation. When they got here and were introduced to the American way, ie. fast food and drive everywhere, their bodies weren't used to the complex carbs and trans fats in our food, causing diabetes and weight gain. It was crazy at first hearing this, but as it was explained it began to make sense.