My ESL newcomer has talked to me a lot in Spanish. He has repeated a lot of English. It was a GREAT moment this week when he shared his first independent communication in English- as he left my classroom, heading back to his grade-level classroom, he glanced back and said, flawlessly and meaningfully, “Thank you!”
(I was not the one who taught him this. I am sure he learned it because when I co-teach in his classroom, the teacher always prompts the class to say thank you when I leave after the lesson. I celebrate my colleague who seeks to teach values and good manners along with academics!)
A third grade project we have been working on this month began with reading Kate Messner’s book, How to Read a Story. We listed the kinds of books we like to read, where we like to get books (the school library rated high!), our favorite reading buddies (most admitted to reading to a pet or stuffed animal) and reading spots (under the covers was popular, but treehouse- probably just a dream, I don’t think many of these city dwellers actually have one- was the winning place). We reread the book and reread just the steps- practically shouting “The End.” (If you know the book, you will know why.) Then we made the plans for our own books. Everyone listed their own top five steps for reading. The day we used the plans to create our books was exciting. The room was quiet with concentration. The authors were so serious, working diligently and carefully to publish their books. It was a beautiful sight!
(Again, I celebrate the colleague in whose classroom I am co-teaching. She had created an environment where students are engaged and ready to learn.)