Skype in the classroom with students who are at home sick!

For the past two days I’ve had two different 7th grade girls absent from my last period Spanish class because they were sick. They were so responsible that they emailed me in the morning to tell me they were sick, but wanted to know what they were missing so they could get their work done. On Monday, the one student and I were instant messaging back and forth on Skype most of the day. I asked her if she was feeling up to it, we could Skype her into class and she could participate. She was so excited (and so was I) so we called her, placed my laptop at her desk where she usually sits, talked to her as if she were really with us, brought her around the classroom as we met with different partners practicing vocabulary words and even played a fly swatter game on the dry erase board with her on the computer. She even had her own fly swatter in hand during the game, was raising her hand to ask questions, and all the while had her dog resting at her side. It was so fun!!! The students loved it and so did I.

We loved it so much that we repeated it all today with another student who had been up all night coughing so her mom had her stay home. We called her. We read in our books with her and translated a story. She worked with a partner as we completed exercises in our books, and at the end of class, we said adios and she did not miss a thing! Skype is so awesome and so are my darling students who truly WANT to BE in class with us and are sorry to miss a day! What a great place I work in! What wonderful little minds I get to sculpt in a new language five days a week!


Middle School

I guess Middle School is called Middle School for a reason. You are in the middle of the the enthusiastic, excited Elementary School students and the hardcore, more serious, counts for something High School. You are in the middle. You are a little off like that typical “middle child”. You are not first or last. You are in the middle. You are kind of stuck between two worlds and SOMETIMES a little difficult. My Middle School students are great for the most part. I do not work at a “normal” school. Most of my Middle School students actually value their education and really want to learn. They enjoy being here at school and really work hard. But then they get to 8th grade…..

My 8th graders almost ALWAYS act as if they do not want to participate in anything that I offer to them. When I do try hard to prepare a lesson that I think they will be into, they don’t like it (or pretend not to) and I am disillusioned. Then I prepare a lesson that I think they will totally hate because it involved grammar or something “boring”, and they are participating and so into it! I am left confused. So I have learned to roll with the punches with them and accept most behavior or any thing they offer with a grain of salt. They are middle school students and very confused most of the time. 🙂

On Friday I told them that we were going to start BLOGGING in Spanish and they each were going to have their VERY OWN blogs to post things to and write all in Spanish to share pictures and videos and all kinds of things for themselves and other to comment on…..they HATED the idea and moaned and groaned. I even told them that it was not for a grade and they still hated the idea.

I came to school yesterday (Monday) and they walked in with their computers….ready to start blogging! WHAT? They were excited (well, some were). They seemed disappointed when I told them we were going to start another day because we first had to learn some good “netiquette”. They were disappointed and I was confused. 🙂

SO there are some of my thoughts on Middle School. It is a difficult place to be SOME TIMES!

Here I am!

There are days when I feel like I have the best job in the world and then, like every one else, there are days when I feel the exact opposite. Today was one of those days when I felt like my job could not get any better. It began with letting the 1st-4th graders into the school building and supervising them inside the hallway doors (too cold to stand outside) until the bell rang. Just watching them interact with one another gets my day started off right! They are so full of energy and goodness. They are so eager to be at school and around each other. They teach me so much in just their very simple being-ness. Their smiles and innocence. Their playfulness and willingness. They are just simply being and that becomes more difficult for us adults if you think too much like I do sometimes. They are my constant reminder to just be. I am so lucky.

I teach Kindergarten through 8th grade and get to spend time each day with children ranging from ages five to fourteen. They all have so much to offer and so much to teach me.

The other day one of my second graders (who is not like one of my rock star students who loves learning…yes I have those type of kids) said, “Señora B, are we going to learn any new words today?” I told him no and he seemed so disappointed. I was surprised because he doesn’t usually seem like he is that engrossed in Spanish class. I told him I was going to read them one of my favorite books today SkippyJon Jones because we are learning the words, book, write and read in Spanish. He raised his hand AGAIN with such excitement saying, “Señora B, you said we weren’t going to learn any new words today.” I told him, I know. He raised his hand again and was so pumped telling me, “But you just taught us a new word!!!” I said, “What? I did?” He was overjoyed to tell me that I had just taught them the word for FAVORITE in Spanish. I asked, “Well, when?” He said, “Just now, you just taught it to us.” And then he perfectly pronounced the word “favorito” in Spanish.

I had told them in Spanish the name of “mi libro favorito” and he was so excited to learn that word favorito. It was so great to see him so pumped about a new Spanish word, but it caught me off guard because I had not intentionally taught my twenty-two second graders any thing at all. They are just little sponges and so excited to learn any thing that I offer up to them!

This is why I teach! This is why I am here! This is why I am writing this blog to express my appreciation, my gratitude and my constant bewilderment and enjoyment in this world where I exist to teach and learn from others (big and small) along the way!