Tags: family, graduation, students
Tags: ice breakers, lesson plans, students
Here at the Literacy Council we are getting ready to start our new session of classes in a few weeks. Seeing some of our students return and meeting new students are some of the most satisfying and exciting parts of starting a new session. It is hard to believe that the fall session has come and gone. I personally learned a lot about teaching, and I will do things a little differently for this upcoming session. I teach two level one classes, and I will try to practice more dialogues with them. Not only will I do more dialogues with my students, but I will also try to slow the pace of my classes. There were certain units which I could have, and probably I should have, spent more time explaining to my students. Of course, the one thing that we teachers always want is more time with our students so maybe this is why I feel that there were certain units I could have done more with. What are you going to do differently this session?
I hope that this winter session we have few interruptions and that we maintain or increase the number of students we had in the fall. It would be great to see a good number of students come back so they can continue to progress. It has been a long break and so those students that do come back are going to need a good review. At the same time, we need to look for some good ice breakers to make the new students feel comfortable in our classrooms. If you have good ice breaker ideas, feel free to share!
-Jose Flores, Lead Teacher and AmeriCorps Member
Many of us have been following the drama of the World Cup over the last couple of weeks. We’ve all tuned in for the heartbreak, the ecstasy, the scandal, the…cephalopod. A winner has been crowned, and a general catharsis has settled around the world. Here at the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, my fellow AmeriCorps members and I are also experiencing an outpour of strong emotions.
The recent spring graduation parties marked the end of my teaching experience with LCNV and the last time that I will see most of my students, some of whom have been in my classes for the entire year. As I near the end of my service year and prepare to head back home to Charlotte, NC, I already miss working with my students and fellow volunteers.
At my last graduation, my teachers got together and presented me with a small gift. A toothbrush. I know that this may sound strange to the readers of this blog (and most other people), but I was touched by this little hygienic tool. My teachers remembered that I was planning to return home and prepare to apply to dental school, and the toothbrush was a sweet way to say good luck. I have had some wonderful experiences at LCNV: working with passionate teachers, teaching inspiring students, and now, the gift of plaque-free gums. It just doesn’t get any better.
Thanks, again Cindy, Laurie, and Kay! I will miss teaching with you this fall.
~Erin Andrews, AmeriCorps Instructor
The World Cup only comes around every four years, and no other sporting event can match the excitement that it creates around the world. It is not just a game, it is a celebration of culture and humanity. The attention is fixed on one geographical region; this time it is Africa, more specifically South Africa. We have been reminded by South Africa that a nation has its own distinct sound and color. Many people around the world now know what a vuvuzela is and what it sounds like. You can also the drums into the mix. They were always present. In the end, as the president of FIFA Joseph Blatter said, “Africa has a unique sound.” As for the color, who did not want the green and yellow bafana bafana to win? Here we are, two days before the final and the only thing I can think of is that all good things must come to an end.
Octopus Paul has already made his prediction and here I make my. Spain will win 2-0. David Villa will score at least one goal. The octopus has a 6-0 record and I hope not to jinx it. At the Literacy Council, a number of us have followed the World Cup and greatly enjoyed the tournament. However, as we come closer to the last two matches, we also come to the end of our spring session of ESOL classes. The success of our classroom students and the teams we watch in the world cup is bittersweet, as we will miss seeing both of them on a daily basis. Viva España!!
~Jose Flores, Executive Assistant
The Family Learning Program completed its spring semester at the end of May and wrapped up the school year with celebratory graduations and bitter-sweet goodbyes. I had the opportunity to attend three FLP graduations and enjoyed seeing the students celebrate their accomplishments and show their appreciation for their teachers. Every site does graduation in a slightly different way, but they all have smiling students and delicious international food in common.
Here are some highlights from the graduations I attended:
At Crestwood Elementary School, I enjoyed seeing Mirna and Nancy, the children’s teachers, and the children’s room volunteer Vicki Smith present the parents with portfolios the children created over the course of the semester. Mirna took great pride in sharing how the children improved their motor skills and emergent literacy skills with the projects. All of the activities can be easily replicated by parents and children together during the summer.
It was a pleasure to see Sherwood student Laudelina Esperinossa, age 77, interact with all of her classmates and teachers at the graduation. Laudelina, who is originally from Cuba, qualifies for the program because she is the caregiver for a child’s neighbor. Laudelina seems to be everyone’s favorite classmate. She has a wry sense of humor and constantly jokes about her age to those around her. Laudelina did not allow me to leave the graduation empty handed; she made sure I went home with left-overs of the rice and bean dish she had prepared. I also went home (at her insistence) with the trivet her pot was resting on. I tried to decline, but she said it was from the dollar store and she had plenty at home and could easily get another. There was a brief moment where I thought I might end up with the pot, but fortunately, there was another container available!
Some of you may have read about Maria Marian in the student profile of the newsletter. Over the last two years Maria attended both Woodlawn and Sherwood and in that time, went from scoring at a level 1 on the Best Plus test to a level 6. I am happy to report that it was a unanimous decision by her teachers that it was time for her to graduate our program. Over food and cake at Woodlawn’s graduation, I enjoyed a very meaningful conversation with Maria. She described the culture shock she experienced when coming to the United States from Romania, much of which stemmed from the differences in food. She recalled an argument with her husband when he returned from the grocery store with wheat bread that tasted like cake to her. Small differences, such as this, made for a challenging first year in this country where she felt isolated and felt physically and emotionally different than she had in her own country. She credited the English classes with building her self esteem and helping her make friends.
These anecdotes are just some of the special moments from our classes; I wish I would have had the opportunity to visit all of the graduations to witness more moments like these. Thank you to all of the teachers and volunteers for a great year!
~Carisa Pineda, Family Learning Specialist