Today I didn’t crash and burn. Instead, my beginning class got the lion story nicely, then watched it, and then read two whole chapters. I had said that I really wanted to finish this book that I’d almost despaired of their ever finishing…despair especially because it’s the book that my advanced class wrote for them, and it was feeling like we were under water and as though we’d aimed way too high.
Today we sat in our usual circle, and I told the true beginners that they were to jump in any time they could help translate; otherwise the advanced kids were going to be reading for us. It turned out that was the ticket! Lots of kids, even the one sitting next to me who I truly didn’t think was reading yet was able to contribute. Wow. Wow. I think we’ll be able to finish the book and finish the year on a good note.
Then in came my advanced class. One is leaving early, and I’d told his mom that we’d practice the final on him. First we read through and sang our newest song. Then we read the story about the horse who got stuck in the trench outside Melbourne (at last!) and finally were telling/reading/asking stories from a website of children’s jokes. (It’s amazing how many of those familiar high-frequency words are in jokes!) When we were through, I sent the early-final student outside with a helper of his choice, and he came back in and retold a joke beautifully. Then I pummeled him with questions about all the jokes we’d read. He answered every question I could think of. I think he gets his A for speaking and listening. Tomorrow: writing and reading. I’m going to give the kids the jokes and our vocabulary words for the quarter, asking them to use at least ten of the twenty-five to create embedded readings on jokes. That will make them re-read the jokes to figure out where they can add the vocabulary, and they will have to make necessary changes to the structures so that they fit in the jokes. I think that it will work well for this creative group. And the benefit is…if it doesn’t work to show me what they’ve learned, I can adjust to make the writing assignment work better for the rest of them next week. I can also decide whether it will be necessary to do more writing for the final.
Now I just have to figure out what would be a graceful exit for the intermediate group.