Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Sad Goodbye

This afternoon I found out that I am loosing six of my students. I am so bummed!

Last week at out Pupil Personnel meeting my Principal and AP brought up getting four of our fifth grade students into a bilingual class at a nearby school. Two of the students are boys who have been in the school for three years now and speak English pretty well but are very low in both math and reading. While this is expected with students still learning English I talked with their teacher and it seems as if they should be evaluated for special education. One boy can't remember basic sight words such as 'the' or letter sounds. (Just to compare, my two fifth grade newcomers are already reading long preprimer books that have repeated words and structures and they have only been in the country two months). The other two students are my fifth grade newcomers. Although they have been doing well with me learning a lot of language they are in the fifth grade and not gaining any content.

So I looked into a school to send them to and our school made some phone calls to parents and as of tomorrow they no longer go to my school.

First, I am really sad to see my newcomers go. (The family decided to move the two younger brothers of the fifth grade girls so I no longer have a 'newcomer group'). That was my favorite group and I looked forward to seeing them every day. (Several times a day in fact). It is so exciting to teach them new language structures and vocabulary and then see the light bulb go off when they get it. It's even more exciting when the next day they are using the language. I just realized today how much conversation we have now compared to the first days of school. Everyday I know exactly what I have taught them and whether they got it or not. And, they are just great kids. I really loved them.

Second, I'm not sure that the boys need a bilingual class. It is pretty apparent that at least one if not both need special education (or at least an evaluation). If they get special education and bilingual classes at their new school that would be best. I just hope that they aren't at the bottom of the "to-do list" at their new school or that it takes ages for the new school to realize what they need. Already it has taken three years for them to get any consideration. Their teacher told me yesterday that he was so grateful to be having the conversation with me and the school psychologist about them because he has been trying for three years to get them extra help but because they speak Spanish they have been pushed aside because they were perceived to be in need of language acquisition rather than an IEP.

So while I am really sad to see my kids go I hope that it works out for the best. I actually went to the school that they are going to for a PD a few weeks ago and it is a good school. I observed the bilingual class that they are going to be in and the teacher is good (at least the math lesson I saw him do). Hopefully they will be happy there.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My Kids Love Centers

I haven't been able to post lately because I still don't have internet (or cable) in my new apartment. I wanted to post this last week . . .

So I recently started centers with my second graders and one of the centers is the Writing Center. Students can choose what they want to do at the center as long as they are writing. One of the things they can do it write a letter to someone. We were brainstorming who they could write to and one of the girls suggested their old ESL teacher. All of the kids chimed in that they were going to write to her too. Here are some of the letters they wrote.

I miss you so much. Even when you write to me I feel real sad because I want to see you. Ms. G I want to see you in school again because your the only ESl teacher that's funny and The only esL teacher who likes to play with her students.

We want you to come back. I wish I was with you.

I have been learning alot but it's not so much fun to learn aney more please come back

You would think that my feelings would be hurt that "learning isn't fun aney more" or that Ms. G is the only "funny" (fun??)teacher. I have heard from other teachers that Ms. G was really good. I can tell by the things that she left in her room for me and the organization that she must have been. The kids really loved her and I think that is great. Last week I thought to myself that I know the kids do like my class they just haven't gotten to know me for long enough to really love me. The next day one of the students wrote a letter to me telling me that there are so many fun things to do in my class. (They really love centers.) The real proof that they enjoy ESL though was today when I picked up the students all of them were in different "special classes" (gym, library, computers) and all of the kids came running when they saw me at the door. They didn't care at all that they were missing their "fun" classes.

Monday, October 02, 2006

New Apartment!!

I spent all weekend moving. My new roommate and I didn't have much to fill our new place so we went to Target and filled up two carts. The next day we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and filled up another two carts. We got so much stuff. It a lot easier when two people are splitting the cost of everything.

I abolutely love our new place. After living in a big building last year with many issues, it's nice to live in an apartment that doesn't have a ton of people living in it. The owners (a family) live on the bottom two floors) and we have the top floor. It feels more like a house than an apartment. And the best part, we have a washer and dryer in our kitchen! I am seriously in heaven. I've done about five or six small loads over the course of the weekend. (No big deal. No big project or hassle. Just throw in a load. Put it in the dryer when you're good and ready.) Oh, and we have a dishwasher too. (If only we had a garbage disposal I wouldn't know what else to ask for.)

I'll post pictures just as soon as we get everything looking pretty.