Small victories


This is O, who never makes a peep and is beautiful and smart.

This is L who will argue about anything and does a very good job of being contrary.

This is S, V and E. S recently brought his Grill to class. I would have told him to put it away but I was amazed. How incredibly stupid.

S, V and E again. V has no idea how beautiful she is, and E needs to relax.

This is M, who I don’t know because she is very quiet. She seems to always have a humorous secret.

V took most of these shots, and she did a much better job than I usually do.

I have spoken here before about my last class of the day that can only be described as a class that is a chore. It is a chore because I have to stay focused, positive and plus since I am teaching it for the first time with no set curriculum, I am coming up with every thing from scratch.

Round about this time of the year, things get quite dicey, usually.

So I have taken special care.

I have been having success after success in this class. I am excited by how excited they are even at this time of the year when excitement about anything besides break is in short supply.

So first it was Whack Whack, a sub-academic game that actually lends itself perfectly to the lower level ESL classroom, especially at the end of the year. Dispensing with the details, the kids have to practice their vocabulary pronunciation they have received throughout the semester and a person slow on the call gets their desk whacked with a large rolled up piece of butcher paper. They looooooove it. It lends itself well to reading fluency with hard words to pronounce, or words that they are loathe to practice pronouncing. In this game, they have to and they love it. I learned it in a Spanish classroom. It is not so appropriate for the beginning of the year, but for the end of the year, wow.

So then, we did a warmup today where they had to brainstorm 15 words to describe a person. I let them go free, throwing out words for them so they wouldn’t stick so close to “nice” “good” and “cool” or “interesting”. I walked around saying “lively”, “creative”, “personable”, “talkative”, “stylish”,” responsible”, “fancy” and any other word… I let them use dictionaries. They came up with “adroit”, “self destructive”, “critical”, “positive” and “loving”. These are level 2 kids!! That means they are reading at about a 3rd grade level!

After that, in carrying on with the “Dead Poet’s Society” that I had shown them, indulgently, though with notes, I decided to have them illustrate a poem of their choosing. I showed them examples of what the Level 3 kids had done the year before. “This is very hard” I heard an advanced student say. So taking heed of this feedback, I went and got a bunch of childrens poetry off the internet, and tapped our librarian explaining to her the level I needed. She gave me a nice cart of books of poetry, haiku, all kinds of stuff that was perfect. They were excited, they laughed at the poems I read, they couldn’t wait to dig into the cart of poetry and get started. Normally I have to press these kids! There are only 4 days left of school! I felt ecstatic! I helped a couple of the lower level kids to understand the poems they had chosen, let them do a couple haiku instead of a full poem. I told them we would put it all together in a book. One girl had even written her own poem, in English!!

The bad attitudes dissolved, the grumbling subsided. I bubbled over with happiness that it worked out.

Year end misery changed to motivation, love it love it love it. Gotta celebrate these small victories.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Mrs. T says:

    Hey! We play that game, only we call it Matamoscos and play with actual flyswatters designated for this explicit purpose. Love the pics of your students. Don’t you think grills are wack? WHY would anyone want that in their mouth?

  2. Zhenya says:

    Thank you for sharing your successes. I am going to still the whack whack game from you and try it in my very whacky class šŸ™‚ Nice to see pics of your students. I remember L from when she was a fresham and recognize your description of her. Is this the same L you wrote about in your previous post?

  3. Adeline says:

    The L’s are different, one is a Liliya and one is a Lidiya. I did speak to you about Lidiya when I saw you last. She is a special young lady…

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