Monday, February 7, 2011

Little Guy, Big Voice

The majority of my first graders do not speak English at home - their home languages in my class include Chinese, Korean, several Indian dialects, Spanish, and Russian.  Several of them speak English very well and others are in various stages of learning.  My school is in a very multicultural town and that's how we roll.

It's amazing, really, how well our kiddies write.  We use Columbia University Teacher's College Reading and Writing Program, created by Lucy Calkins.  Our Writing Workshop focuses on learning a variety of writing genres, craft, and using voice in writing. 

My class is about to publish How-to stories.  After several lessons on craft and revision, one of my little boys, who spoke no English in September (he spoke only Chinese), wrote one of the cutest stories I have read:  How to Build a Lego Racecar (words by B, spelling corrected by me for posting purposes, lol)
"Do you know what to do on a rainy day?  I know!  Build a Lego racecar!  I'll show you how in this book.  Ready?  Let's get started!"

"Materials List:  Lego windows, wheels, wings, doors"

"Step 1 - First, find the Lego windows.  Be sure not to let your little sister play with them because they are small and she will eat them."

"Step 2 - Next, find the Lego wheels.  You better have four because your car won't work."

"Step 3 - Then, find the wings.  I'm not sure why the car set has wings but if it was in there you better use it."

"Step 4 - Finally, put the doors on.  If you don't, your Lego driver will fall out and break his leg."

"Now that you have built a Lego racecar, come to my house and race with me!"

Voice!  From a first grader!  Who spoke his first words of English 5 months ago!  I am SO proud of him. :)
And I think his story is as cute as a baby hedgehog. :)


Alleged Author said...

That's great! I'm going to have to check out that program. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Lucy Calkins rocks!!

That's an incredible gain in so few months - I bet this little guy has personality to spare! Awesome :)

Mary Aalgaard said...

That is super cute. What a fun job and a way to connect with kids. You can tell how much he likes building things, and that he's concerned that Little Sister would eat his Legos!

aspiring_x said...

hee hee hee!
so darn cute! the kiddo and the hedgehog!
and OHWOW!!! such progress!!! that's AMAZING!!!
good job to the kiddos for their hard work and to their brilliant teacher as well! :D

Catherine Denton said...

That's impressive! And the baby hedgehog made me squeal.

Misha said...

It's cute and wonderful at the same time!


Sarah said...

This is a lovely example of why I love working with young children. They constantly surprise me with their ability to express themselves and see the world in unique ways--with the right scaffolding from supportive adults. Wonderful story!

Old Kitty said...

Er... I'm not too sure if my first comment came through.. but I shall repeat myself again! Yay!!!

I just wrote how this is the bestest ever and how wonderful for this little boy and his fabulous story!!! A writer in the making!! Yay!!

As super cute and scrummy as that gorgeous baby hedgehog!! Awwwwwww!!

Take care

Connie said...

It was wonderful and a testament to hard work by both student and teacher. Yay!

Linda Leszczuk said...

A successful author in the making. Please don't let him get older, make self conscious about his writing and lose that beautiful voice.

Nisa said...

That is very cute! What a smartypants!

Donea Lee said...

That's a wonderful story! Such humor - that's one smart kid! :) And how fascinating to work with such a diverse group. And, oh my gosh - that baby hedgehog IS adorable! Thanks ~

lora96 said...

He is a total star! And so are you. :)

Dangerous With a Pen said...

Isn't he awesome? :D I'm so excited for him and so happy to see him shine. He has quite a team in his corner - me, his ESL teacher, his Chinese bilingual teacher, and his wonderfully supportive and helpful parents. Kids pick up on language so quickly when they're little. It's a truly amazing thing to see every year! :)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

What an accomplishment! It's amazing how fast kids can pick up a language when they are immersed in it. I think I learned English when I was seven in about four months. It's really unbelievable. But I love that he wrote a story! And so quickly after learning English! That seems like a super duper huge accomplishment! You must be one proud teacher!

Also, that baby hedgehog is too stinking cute. I totally want one now!

Amie McCracken said...

Absolutely adorable.

Random side note...a while ago you recommended Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin. I just finished and wow. Amazing book. Really outstanding.

Robert Guthrie said...

Awesome post. Are you familiar with "Ten-Second Rainshowers - Poems by Young People." Fantastic. The kids aren't ESL speakers, but still, wow.

Larissa said...

Omg that is the cutest thing I have ever seen! Love your blog, I am your newest follower.

Rebecca T. said...

That was the best story ever! I love little kids and their take on the world :D