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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Interesting linguistic experiences.

1.) My CT was having the students do a letter identification activity. Each child had an alphabet strip on his or her desk and the teacher was asking the students to point to specific letters. She and I would walk around looking to see if the students generally knew or generally didn't know the letters.

At the end, she asked the students to point to their favorite letter. I went up to a student and asked her what her favorite letter was. She pointed to the "S" and correctly identified the letter. I then asked her why "S" was her favorite letter. "Because," she said, "I love watermelon!"

I was able to follow her train of though pretty quickly and replied with, "Oh...right. Sandia starts with 'S'." The thing is, in Spanish, watermelon is sandia. Therefore, her response made pretty good sense. She loves watermelon or sandia, and therefor loves the letter "S." If I hadn't know where her thinking was coming from though, I would have incorrectly identified her as someone who (in this case) had no sense of letter-sound connections.

I found this incident fascinating because it is an examples of ways in which having a background in the language that one's students speak most comfortable really helps in many ways (even if one is teaching the English half of a dual language day). I was able to understand this student's true capabilities because I could fit together the pieces of the puzzle. My CT who has very little background in Spanish likely would not have made this connection, and the student would have lost out in sharing a bit of her knowledge.

2) I was talking with a student as she was waiting in the lunch line.

I---: Teacher, is chicken day?
Me: Hm?
I---: Chicken day.
Me: What is chicken day?
I---: Chicken day, 'cuz you go on chicken day.
Me: (I give her a quizzical look.)
I---: I no want you go on chicken day.
Me: (Confused.) What is chicken day?
I---: When the teacher did the calender and she say you go on chicken day.

And then I understood. The other day my CT was going through the months on the calender with the students when she mentioned that I would be leaving around Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has turkey, which is poultry, as are chickens. Therefore, I would be leaving around chicken day. It was really a brilliant substitution for a word that the student couldn't remember. Thanksgiving is long and hard to say, turkey is not very common, but chickens, well, this is a medium-sized town surrounded on all sides by rural farmland. These children have some familiarity with chickens, both through location and through counting books which frequently feature cute little baby chicks on at least one page.

I am dreading Chicken Day.


Anonymous ms. preppy said...

Awww...the "chicken day" conversation is so sweet.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Not Quite Grown Up... said...

It makes me melt to think about it. :-)

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive been reading a lot of your blogs and think you are pretty interetsing. I am a university student working towards my teaching liscensure and want to teach elementary school. It's really neat that you are student teaching at a dual language immersion school... I recently visited a dual language immersion elementary school with a group of students for a group presentation and thought it was such a wonderful environment. It is clear that the students benefitted immensely from the program.

It would be incredibly sweet to have a "chicken day" conversation with a student, how lucky you are :)

12:17 AM  

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