Saturday, January 8, 2011


Boo! I'm sick! And it is Saturday!

To be fair, I knew yesterday that I was sick, too. I just tend to ignore it when I have cool and important things planned for school. I took some medicine in the morning and felt well enough to make it through the day -- and someone must have been praying awfully hard for me and my students, because it was a GREAT day in the classroom.

I love it when my students can handle themselves and we can actually get some fun stuff done.

Yesterday was a lot of wrapping things up. Finishing unit 5 in math (unit test), last sound activities before sound projects next week(and vocabulary quiz), working with kindergarten for the first time, and behaving well enough to have 30 minutes of math games.

It is extremely unusual for there to be a school day in which I do not have to give my students laps to walk at recess for behavior problems -- blurting out and failure to follow instructions and the like. Now that winter break is over, I'm also giving out laps to the entire class if I hear English in my classroom. I hear English 3 times, the whole class has 3 laps. This allows me to give some warnings and to be a *little* bit flexible -- but the truth is that these kids should be speaking only in Spanish in my classroom, and usually they don't.

There is an added incentive, too, for my kids -- they have to prove to me that they are speaking only in Spanish if they want to help out the kindergartners. I talked this one up a lot. Señora Q. is looking for leaders who can help her students practice speaking in Spanish. Señora Q. will be so glad that you are helping her. Señora Q. only wants role models to help in her classroom -- she doesn't want to teach her students that it is ok to misbehave.

So on Friday morning, I took my first group of students to play "Top It" and read a book to their new kindergarten buddies. Most of my students enjoyed it. When we were back in the classroom and talking about how it had gone, I got quite a mixture of feedback. Some of my kids loved it. Some of them loved helping their buddy, reading their book, talking to the kids. Some of my students don't like speaking in Spanish, so didn't like it that their former teacher, Señora Q., was telling them in front of their new buddies that they couldn't speak English in her room. One of my former behaviorally challenged students made the comment that he didn't like it since his kids wouldn't do what they were supposed to do. I am thinking that this experience will help some of my boys to realize how frustrating it can be to have something fun planned, and not to be able to do it since others are not following directions. I'm hoping that this will be the type of learning experience that my kids need.

Friday afternoon, my second group had their turn. More of them loved the experience. Their comments went more like, "One of my kids hugged me!" and "My partner was so funny! He looked at the cards before he turned them over to pick the bigger one!" and "Do I get to have the same partner next time?" In the second group, it seemed like my kids and their buddies were a little bit more talkative. I think this will work out well, since the groups in kindergarten will switch, and the more talkative kindergartners will now be paired with my less talkative 3rd graders, and my more talkative 3rd graders will be paired with Señora Q.'s less talkative kindergartners.

So we'll start practicing a new book, learning another kindergarten math game, and speaking only in Spanish....And will look forward to another Friday's "Amigos españoles".

I'm so glad that I can work well with Sra. Q.

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