Wednesday, May 27, 2009

All Language Learners Are Welcomed!

I like to refer to my students and myself as the "ESL Family" because we are all very connected by language, experiences, learning, and cultures. But most important because we all need one another in order to function, to learn and to grow. I always let them know that I need them and their families in order for all of us to succeed. 
We like to welcome new family members to our ESL families all the time. Our doors are always open to possibilities. And when the brilliant Spanish teacher at our dear Yearling High School approached us about two months ago with a new idea, we (my teaching partner Michelle and I) listened carefully. We loved his idea, his initiative, his motivation, and above all, his enthusiasm. He had the great idea of having his Advanced Spanish Class students write bilingual stories for our dear ESL family. He took those HS students through the whole process of writing, starting from considering the audience to decisions about illustrations. Some of the high school students illustrated the books themselves and others worked in partners with some Art Students. The results were amazing. And the best part of all is that my dear 1st grade ESL class were chosen as the lucky audience for those amazing books.

When that day came, it was magica. Our High School students and our ESL first grade classes were talking, reading and listening in their small groups. I couldn't help but feel this happiness tickling in my heart. On that day, we were all united as language learners, regardless of their ages. Some were learning English, others were learning Spanish, but the love for a good  piece of writing brought them together that day. 

One more time, Whitehall News, our local newspaper covered the story of that special day. You can read the article online right here. Another reason to feel grateful.

p.s. In the photo below you can see some of my 1st grade ESL students. We like to do "group hugs" when we celebrate, and the day our High School friends came to read, was a big reason to celebrate!


Mary Lee said...

I LOVE the picture -- the kids all a blur of movement around you, like the petals of a flower around the center, or the bees around the flower, and there you are, the solid stable center, shining that great smile out from the middle of the kid-blur. PERFECT!

Stella said...

Mary Lee, you are so poetic, and so kind. Your words are just beautiful! THank you!