Tuesday, September 19, 2006

When in Rome . . .

Today I picked up my fifth graders for the first time. They are a pretty good group of kids for the most part. Today we just did some get to know you activities. First we played a name game and then we made name tags with pictures of their favorite foods, activites, sports, and school subject. Finally we practiced doing "Round Robin" conversations. It was a little tricky because some groups had to use English and Spanish for the newcomers. Toward the end a couple of kids started getting a little rowdy. The newcomer girls joined in. (They're pretty chatty and silly at times). I finally had a conversation with the boys responsible for instigating (well to the whole class actually) about how they need to be good models for the girls who are new to the school and the country because they are looking to them to see how they should behave and what they should do. I gave them an example from when I lived in Italy. I said that even though I spoke some Italian when I first got there I still had to observe what the Italians were doing to know how to act and what to do in the country which was new to me. For example here it is normal to walk down the street eating a slice of pizza or a sandwich but in Italy it isn't. I noticed that the first time I did it and people looked at me like I was crazy. Then I started paying attention to what others were doing and I realized that Italians don't do that. So in the same way, they need to be models for these girls so they can know what to do and what not to do. Especially since they don't understand English yet. They can't understand me telling everyone to sit down and get started but they can observe their classmates and follow their lead. The class nodded in agreement with what I was saying but just afterwards I had to speak to one of the boys again. That's OK. I plan to keep on this theme of them being models for the other students.

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