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.


  1. It is inspirational how you make a difference in a community.

  2. Delightful! Love the cheese/she's confusion. What a fabulous new adventure for you! I am sure that it will both stretch you and bring you joy.

  3. Oh it makes me so sad your community does not have classes for these parents (all day classes, everyday classes, etc.). Glad to hear you are doing something to help fill that huge void.

    ah queso... funny.

  4. Next week we’ll review the sh and ch sounds.

    Thank you for bringing a smile to my face. I admire you for helping the parents learn to speak English. A delightful story.