"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' "
Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, July 20, 2012

Back to school...

"Oh, back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I'm not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight! 
Well, here goes nothin'."
--Billy Madison

This week was our first week back to school after a nice, long, two week vacation, in which I retreated back to my home country.  I thought it would be rough going back to work after two weeks off, but I was actually really excited to see my kiddos again.  They ran up to me with hugs and latched onto me before I was even in the classroom on Monday.  I had many absent students this week.  Six were absent out of eighteen!  Five of those six came from my largest class, which is sixth grade.  That left me with a much more manageable six students in the class.  Wow, can that make a difference!  And adjusting to being to work by 7:15 every morning?  When there is an endless supply of coffee, rising early is not as much of an issue.

This trimester brings a big challenge for me, because I no longer have my wonderful volunteer I had for the past two months.  She was an English major and brought some wonderful insight into the class.  We ended up dividing the class into two groups; she taught the native English speakers and I taught the native Spanish speakers.  Now that she is gone, I had to find a way to really differentiate instruction without teaching two completely separate lessons.

I didn't mull over this too much; rather, I thought back to my first Spanish class in high school.  We always had a "frase del día" (phrase of the day).  Something short and sweet.  So this week I introduced idioms.  We won't learn a new idiom everyday because 40 minute classes just don't allow for that, but we will do at least one a week.   My senior year of high school in AP Spanish Language, we watched short clips from CNN en español.  I remember the first time we did that, it sounded like gibberish and I though 'there's no way I will ever understand what is going on.'  But day after day we watched a new clip.  We began to understand bits and pieces, catching a word here or there, and eventually we began to understand the large majority.

Enter podcasts.  We will listen to one or two podcasts with weekly world news.  So obviously my English speakers understand them, so the vocabulary and comprehension comes wayyy easier, but I figure a little exposure to current events won't hurt.  One week into my mixed level English class now, and it went rather smoothly.

Thank you to everyone for sending books and supplies back for my classroom.  My kids and I love my new recycled cardboard speakers and they make watching our BrainPop videos a lot easier!  It is so wonderful to have children's literature to choose from and white board markers and stickers and every little thing imaginable!  When I was getting off the airplane in San José, a man helped me with my carry on.  I said "careful, it's quite heavy."  Once he got it down from the overhead bin he said "wow, what do you have in here, your boyfriend?"  No, 'just a library and an office supply store,' I thought.

I can't really think of anything else that exciting, so I guess now is the time that I must bid you farewell my faithful readers.  :)

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