Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Yay! They're learning something! The longer I'm a teacher, the more I realize that the earlier you start something, and the more often you do it, the better students get at it. I know, this sounds like a "duh" moment, but it's true. Allow me several "for instances." [And yes, I know, none of the following things will be on our standardized test, but I think they are victories nonetheless :-).]
For example, I have been making a big deal with my kids about saying the word "library" correctly. I have quite a few every year who want to say "libary," which annoys the heck out of me. So, several times this year, I made them all say it correctly before they went in the library door. Now, when I say it fast, they think I'm saying it wrong and constantly correct me. :-) They're learning!
Another vocabulary example: I have also been attempting to get my students to use academic English in their writing, as opposed to conversational English. Heretofore, I really didn't think this was a distinction that 6th graders who are learning English would be able to make, and so I didn't address it, but this year I've been trying. The result: I was describing a science lab paper the kids would need for a project and I described it as a "worksheet thingy." At this point, at least 3 kids pointed out to me that it was not proper to say something like that and I should be more specific. :-) They're learning!
A non-academic example: I have always told my kids to pick up trash on the playground when they see it, and I always make sure they see me picking up trash as well. However, this year I have been pushing it, and I tell them most days to pick up trash as we're walking inside. On Friday, when I went out to pick the kids up after lunch, one kid was walking toward me with at least 3 cans in his hand. Two other kids saw him and immediately ran off to find trash. As we were walking inside, another girl went off to the track to pick up some blowing garbage. Yay! They're learning! We can make a difference, even if it's just in the little things.
Lesson learned: Start early, repeat often.