But instead I'm thinking. I'm thinking about my son, Angel and his fascination with Spanish that suddenly stirred this evening. He was working on his Spanish immersion, and suddenly had a burst of interest in making up his own silly sentences in Spanish. They were things like... El oso come el perro (The bear eats the dog), but these silly sentences started to lead him to questions like, "how do I write an ending for the Ud. form?" He's thinking about subject pronouns and verb endings even though he's never seen a conjugation chart! He's looking at patterns and making connections! Here let me show you what he did...
So you may be thinking, sure... That's great. He's the Spanish teacher's SON! Of course it's going to be easy for him. Angel actually told me this evening that he finally feels like he's going to be doing better in class.
Now part of that is because of the wonderful people who created Duolingo. Another part of that is because he started getting excited about communicating in a second language, and his excitement got him to ask the right questions.
So my son jumpstarted my own inquiry about being a teacher, and how I want to help my students get to this place where they are making these great connections for themselves, and I am giving them the right tools so that they can do that on their own. What are the tools??!!?? There's so much more to read on that, but I got to a couple of helpful resources this evening while I was pondering instead of writing progress reports. Here's what I came up with:
1. This video highlights the importance of cultivating curiosity in our students.
2. On a typical Monday, I start class with a reading day. I think I might start to switch up Mondays so that every other week has more of a writing focus. The prompt will come from the New York Times blog linked below which invites critical thinking to figure out a picture posted on Monday. On Fridays the Times explains the back story for the picture.
I'm sure there's more to say, but I have some progress reports to finish up.
Well, it has felt like a bit of a sloppy week. I can't seem to figure out if I'm coming or going. I am definitely in better spirits today than I was a week ago and there are several reasons why.
1. My red chair: I ditched my old desk chair, which was lovely and comfy, but had duct tape around one arm. It was gray, and there is something just wonderful about the color red in my classroom.
2. Gifts from Guatemala: Two of my amazing students went to Guatemala on a missions trip this summer. They brought back a mug (from which I am drinking gobs of coffee) and two bracelets. These gifts made my whole first week (maybe my whole month). I love when my students think about Spanish class during the summer or think about me while in a Spanish-speaking place!
Shannon Norquist, teacher of Spanish and Dance at Barrington Christian Academy, mother of 3 lovelies, wife to an artist, modern dancer, daughter to the King.