Journal: Families and Helpers

Today we continued our work with Family vocabulary, reiewing possessives and “Who is ___?” questions and answers.  We also added a new vocab word, siblings, and began looking at the grammar of has and have. 

For the sake of context, I’ve been starting each class with pictures of a different family.  Monday was the Obamas, Tuesday was my own family, and today was a family I was friends with in Minnesota.  This family looks nothing like me, so even though I tried to explain it in three different ways, I think the students didn’t understand that the people in the pictures were good friends of mine.  Toward the end I’d put in a picture of me holding the family’s baby and everyone sat up straighter and exclaimed, “Woah!  Teacher!  That’s you!”  Note to self: always check for understanding!

We then constructed this family’s family tree together on the white board, and during the process I learned that most of the students pretty much understand how a family tree works… but that not all of them do.  It was good practice.

We practiced accuracy using have vs. has using  a textbook worksheet and then with a more personalized chain drill.  There were a few errors on the worksheet, but we must have ironed them out because in the chain drill there was literally not one instance of mixing up have and has.  Sweet!

During computer time, I had three students who needed constant or near-constant help navigating the English-learning software.  It felt kind of like I was playing three games of checkers at once.  In 45 minutes of computer time I was able to help literally one other student one time for about one minute.  Thank goodness the three who needed me most were sitting near each other. 

One of those students really needed constant help, not just the every-few-minutes help I was able to provide.  I don’t think she got a thing out of computer time today, to the extent that I’ve asked one of our other students (someone with medium English skills and high computer skills) to work with her on mousing (i.e. don’t turn it sideways) and nagivation concepts (i.e. if you’re finished, click “next;” if a button on the screen is flashing, click it.) for one session the next time she comes. 

I’m a little conflicted about this.  On one hand, it’s not fair to deny the higher student his individual learning time.  He should not have to lose out because the school does not provide adequate personnel or software appropriate for very beginning computer users.  On the other hand, it’s not fair to deny the lower student support I know she needs that I know how to get for her.  Furthermore, the higher student is a quite a skilled computer user and a kind person; the chance to help out in this way may actually be very welcome. 

I’m now off to write some computer learning objectives!

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