In class today there was a substitute teacher and it was really interesting to see how someone else ran the class. There were also counselors pulling groups of kids out of class to have mini counseling sessions and some kids needed to get their vision checked by the nurse. I helped two students who spoke little English with the vision test. I translated the questions that the nurse was asking and then as the students read the letters in Spanish for the actual vision test I told the nurse if they were correct or incorrect. At first the nurse followed along because some of the letters sound the same but then when the student got to H and the student said ah-chee the nurse kind of looked at me because it did not sound like the English letter H. I was able to make sure the student got the correct score on the vision test. I could see how a simple language barrier could present issues in medical settings and cause people to get incorrect records. This could easily been one of the experiences mentioned in the "Habla Ya" Podcast.
Today we started by listening to some of the students present on a Native American tribe that they studied. It reminded me of when I was in beginning Spanish because they just read off the screen the whole time. Then we worked on a worksheet about foods and what categories they fall under. This time we were talking about types of sandwiches, side items, and beverages. They practiced how to order them and how to ask other people if they liked them. I remember one of the first things we learned in my first Spanish class was me gusta and no me gusta. It was fun to participate in the conversation part because they were all really exited to ask each other what foods they liked and didn't like It is important to use their excitement to help develop their language skills.
Today the student were taking a quiz on the different foods. How the teacher set it up was really interesting, she let them use a textbook with pictures of a refrigerator, pantry, deli and produce section of the grocery store. The students had to write down two food items that they would have for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then they had to write down food items that come in a carton, bottle, jar, dozen and so on. I helped one student by reading the test aloud to her and helping her find the correct page to look at. It was really difficult for me to help her without helping her get to the answer. I remember the excitement when teachers would say the text was open book. Looking at the test it definitely showed me how important it is to test your students in the same context that they learned.
The class was learning about different foods in order to prepare to learn about Thanksgiving. They were practicing the names of different foods and what categories they fall under such as breakfast, lunch and dinner. I got to go out into the hallway with two students and listen to them read a couple of books. I had the more fluent student read a book first then having the less confident student read the book. Then we would talk about them a little bit to see if they understood what they were reading. I remember having teachers listen to me read in elementary school to assess my fluency and comprehension. In my literacy class we are learning how to assess for fluency and comprehension. The more fluent student was able to read pretty fluently and for the most part understood what he was reading. His miscues were high quality which means that they don't generally change the meaning of the sentence. Most of the time he just struggled with pronunciation. The other student who was less confident was making a lot of low quality miscues that hindered his ability to comprehend the sentence. It was really interesting to hear them read and to think about how if they were doing a reading for another class how much or little they would be able to understand. This is important to think about as a teacher and modified material might need to be provided for these students in order increase their ability to understand.
Today the class was carving a pumpkin for halloween. Each student got to either dry on a part or carve one part of the Jack O Lantern. They were working on numerical order and so we broke the steps down into what is done first, second, third and so on. Many of the students were excited to carve the pumpkin and had trouble waiting their turn and sitting still. After the pumpkin was carved they students chose to watch the rest of Charlotte's Web which they had started earlier that week. I don't think I have ever carved a pumpkin in middle school or high school. It seems like a more elementary level thing to do.but every effective teacher uses integration techniques using the holidays or current news to help shape their lessons. Plus this is an ELL class so they might not have experienced halloween before. One thing I learned is that everything can be a learning opportunity. Most of these things are new experiences for these students so they can learn about the customs and traditions but also the vocabulary surrounding the topic.
I helped students work through a worksheet that was on superlative and comparative forms. For example determining which word (good, better, best) fits in the sentence. This was interesting to try to explain for me because I had to think of the reasoning behind it and explain that it depends on how many things or people you are comparing with. Then the class did a cahoot on images of popular cities in different countries to learn a little more about what they look like.Most of the students could not identify the places and were asking me for help. I only knew of some places because I had been there or been exposed to them many times. But thinking back to 6th grade I don't think I would have been able to recognize them either. I was never much of a geography person. I liked trying to help students with the superlative activity because it made me think of how it is done in Spanish also. In Spanish the word major never changes while in English better changes best. So I understand why this could be confusing to students. This also still confusing to me in Spanish.
I spoke to the teacher the last time I visited about today being a half day and she said I could still come. So I worked with her 6th and 7th hour classes today. They were taking a vocabulary test that I corrected for the teacher. The subject they were being tested on was words that end in -ate. I also helped a boy read a picture book in Spanish. He spoke no Spanish but wanted to try anyways I helped him guess the meanings of words based on pictures and through cognates. That was the highlight of my day because he was so amazed at how much he could understand. He said "Wow Spanish is easy!", which made me laugh. I never took an interest in other languages until high school. This is Somali and English is his second language so he was trying to find cognates in English and in Arabic. This was really impressive to me and made me realize that the more languages you know the more connections you can probably make between the words. I was trying to help him with the ones that were similar in english and Spanish but there were one or two words that he drew from arabic and was able to guess the meaning.
Students started by reading individually around the room. I was able to walk around, introduce myself and see what they were reading. There were a lot of hard names to pronounce so I tried my best. Once the teacher started the lesson there was a lot of disruption. She ended up splitting the class in half and letting me lead a small group in reading a story about "growing together". We read the story aloud and discussed vocabulary and symbolism while the other group talked about misbehavior. I remember this feeling from when I was in school. Often the teacher would tell everyone to quite down or that she wasn't going to start until everyone was listening and it always took forever. I would get annoyed at the people still talking and get frustrated when the teacher would punish the whole class for misbehaving when it was only a handful of kids. I learned that hand signs work well with students to signal that you want them to quite down since there were multiple languages spoken in the classroom this lets everyone know you want them to be quiet.