Gratitude Day 12

I teach English Learners at a diverse school in the suburban Twin Cities. I get tired of the news painting such a bleak picture of what this year has been like for EL students. Today, my list is focused on what has been good about teaching in a pandemic.

  1. The girl from Palestine who showed me her cat stuffy and told me it was special because it once belonged to her older brother who is 18 now. She said he couldn’t remember the cat’s name so they renamed him together, Fluffy Fluffyhead.
  2. The district gave iPads to all of the students. Never before this year, have my students had 1:1 access to iPads or been able to take them home.
  3. The district gave hotspots to families that needed them.
  4. I love when parents in the background overhear the lesson and we begin co-teaching. I was helping a Somali first grader with his 9 facts and I asked him to get 9 objects. He was in his mom’s bedroom and she gathered some things including tubes of lipstick and prescription bottles. They worked together to sort them in different piles 3 and 6, 4 and 5…. I had to go, but she said, “We will keep doing this,” with excitement.
  5. I do yoga every morning in Ms. R’s morning meeting. Sometimes, I have the kids put one hand on their heart and one hand on their belly and focus on their breath. I can see the calm flood into their little bodies.
  6. One family I work with only has one car and the dad takes it to work each day so they cannot pick up meals from the school. The district delivers breakfasts and lunches for the week to them.
  7. Zoom is amazing. I love how kids can share their screen and I can help them log into new programs. That way if they make a mistake or don’t know a letter I can talk them through it.
  8. Lexia is amazing. It used to take me an hour to create an activity like the ones in Lexia and then I would do it with a group of three so it would never actually be at anyone’s just right level, but Lexia has such simple activities and if the students get it wrong, it makes it simpler for them and reviews it over and over until they have learned it.
  9. You Tube is amazing. Songs are good for EL kids. Visuals are good for EL kids. I used to spend a lot of time singing songs like “Where is Thumbkin?” to Kindergarten EL kids, but now I have an infinite amount of songs with really good visuals and academic vocabulary.
  10. I know my families so much better than I ever have. I know how to get ahold of them and how to communicate with them. I know which ones use What’s App and which ones have iPhones.
  11. Google translate is imperfect, but it works for families that need translated messages.
  12. One mother sent me a message that she was selling clothes from Mexico and I bought a beautiful black blouse embroidered with bright flowers.
  13. Then, she gave me a white embroidered shirt as ” un regalo,” a gift.
  14. I have seen my students’ Christmas trees and favorite toys. I can see the gap from their missing teeth.
  15. For the first time ever, due to iPads, I really believe that my students have control over their own learning.
  16. My students don’t have to sit quietly in front of books that they don’t know how to read. They have multitudes of books that can be read to them.
  17. The kids are so proud when the Level up in a program. Their faces beam when the see the certificate they get from their teachers.
  18. In the classroom, sometimes, a couple of students are behavior problems and take away a lot of learning time from other students. If kids interrupt too much, they can be muted on zoom.
  19. As an EL teacher, I can go to Seesaw and see what all of my students need to do each day and, then, decide which activities would be most beneficial to do with them on zoom.
  20. I love my students. They no longer can run to give me a hug in the hall, but they show me in so many ways something to fall in love with about them, getting up to dance to the Days of the Week song, sitting quietly, asking a zillion questions, bringing the same green and yellow toy truck to class each week…

One thought on “Gratitude Day 12

  1. I love this one so much. The school I am teaching at is very affluent and it is very odd to me since my kids school is super diverse – ethnically and financially- but it is still so interesting to have this window into their world at home.

    And Lexia, it is the best! I saw it when I subbed at my own kids school because it is something they purchased with Title 1 funds. With the virtual learning all schools in the county used it so I became super familiar with it when subbing. Sadly they don’t let the pre-k kids have access to it. I’d fight for it if I were the teacher but I’m not and maybe I don’t know what conversations are had about it.

    Liked by 1 person

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