Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Adventures into ESL

I don’t speak Spanish, but more and more of the parents of my students do.   I had an interpreter help me with several of my conferences this spring; I mentioned in passing I’d be willing to help some parents learn English.   The next day she returned with some materials for me to use and offered to help me, she had a list of people who'd contacted her wanting to learn, but our small community does not offer ESL classes. 
 With the encouragement of one of our slicers I have begun a new adventure. Tuesday evenings, fifteen students eagerly come at the end of long hot days working in dairy barns and fields to learn English, in spite of their inept teacher. 
Tonight we worked on the verb to be.  We practiced saying, and reading; I am happy, You are  happy, She is happy.  We practiced with questions from an ESL book loaned to me by literacy group.  It works well, after I erase the answers and then make a stack of copies.
To help them to understand both written and spoken English I use sentence strips to write easy sentences and we practiced the sentences.  Later I rewrote part of the sentences using contractions.  I placed the contraction over the original words.  As I changed She is happy so it would  read She’s happy. One of the students  questioned me, “Queso is happy?”  I’m sure I looked as confused as he did.  I repeated, “Queso is happy?” I’m sorry I don’t understand.  He pointed to the chart and read, “I’m happy, You’re happy, Cheese happy?”
 Next week we’ll review the sh and ch sounds.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


In March, while I was working way too many hours, facing down the terror of 42 report cards and conferences, I sliced every day.  But now, with three weeks of summer drifting away, I haven't written a thing.  I don't want my sole accomplishment this summer to be having over 70 boards on my Pintrest.
I realize I make better use of my time with a schedule.  I try to put structure into my summer each year by taking on a responsibility outside of the home.  Each summer I man the kitchen for our church's Vacation Bible School, I prepare snacks for 200 people each day.  The past two years I've tutored a student.  This year I took on teaching an English class for Spanish speaking adults one night a week. I continue to order and read a variety of professional and pleasure books. But now I need to schedule time for me-- I need to get back to writing.