It was the last day with students before Winter Break. I was online with a small group of fourth graders- all bilingual learners who speak Spanish and English. We rushed to complete a compare/contrast assignment, their last assignment. Luckily, it was a short one. I had a book to share with them- ‘Twas Nochebuena, a Christmas Story in English and Spanish. My plan was simple. I’d read the story, pausing after each Spanish word, allowing them time to say the words in English.
Everyone was instantly engaged. It was slightly chaotic- all teachers who have been teaching remote can understand how having multiple kids unmuting/muting at the same time to shout out answers gets chaotic. Each wanted to be first to say the words. When they had different responses, they passionately defended their choices. Familiar (and beloved) traditions and foods drew comments of “we do that” and “yum” and “my mom (tia, abuela) makes the best.”
We finished the book. Imagine how my heart dropped when one of them said, “I didn’t like that book.” But after a dramatic pause he rushed on to say…”I loved it!” Everyone chimed in. “Yeah, I didn’t just like it, I loved it.”
Merry Christmas to me!