Dare to Care

construct, create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

11/Jan/2019
by Denise Krebs
2 Comments

Teacher Rewards

I have rarely regretted going into education; it is the hardest and best profession there is. It is a job full of creative opportunities, rich relationships and camaraderie, and surprises.

Today I was reading student dialogue journals.* This gem came along:

Dear Mrs. Denise,

How are you? I’m fine. You remembered me when I was in KG2. I always say “I don’t know.” And now in Grade 5, you’re saying to me I’m a good problem solver.

Your student,

Ali

 

Of course, how could I forget Ali? When I met him, it really did seem the only thing he could say in English was, “I don’t know.”

It was five years ago, and I was new to Bahrain, new to ELL students, and new to kindergartners. I learned a lot that year. So did Ali.

Fast forward five years, and I have the pleasure and privilege of teaching Ali’s class again. Now, he doesn’t say ‘I don’t know.’ He has learned to figure out what he doesn’t know through observation, good questions, and a desire to learn. I am so proud of him.

My response to Ali’s letter was easy to write. His letter was a delightful reminder and a sweet teacher reward for today.

What teacher reward did you receive today? Did you notice?


*Dialogue journals are a great activity in the English language learner classroom. I learned about the process through a TESOL book called Dialogue Journal Writing for Non-Native English Speakers: A Teacher’s Handbook. Teachers and students share dialogues in a notebook. The student writes about anything, asking questions about academics or life. The teacher writes back, modeling good writing and answering questions students have posed. The teacher writes a reply of comparable length to what the student wrote. This is a time for authentic conversation, not convention corrections, though you did notice I asked Ali to use I, instead of i for the personal pronoun. Occasionally I will give them one thing to work on, especially something like “I” that we’ve worked on and I expect mastery.

More resources about Dialogue Journals

 

21/Sep/2017
by Denise Krebs
Comments Off on The Reading Game

The Reading Game

I am currently reading The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris Chesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling. It is a business book, but we are using it to improve teacher effectiveness at our school this year.

Last spring our innovative principal told me about the book and how it would inform our goal for the new school year. He recommended it, so I bought the book. It has been a slow read because it’s not what I’m usually interested in, but I’m plowing through and always asking how we can use the concepts in our school. Our WIG, or wildly important goal, is to raise our ELEOT scores in two categories from 2.8 to 3.2 by June 2018. Clearly a measurable goal from x to y by when goal. Meeting this goal will mean that children will be given a more equitable and high expectations learning environment than they had last year. If we succeed, students will be more engaged in learning, with more opportunities for differentiation and higher order thinking.
Continue Reading →

16/Sep/2017
by Denise Krebs
2 Comments

“I Am” Metaphor Poems

In the summer I read the blog of Sara Kiffe, with the lovely name of Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast (Teaching Under the Big Sky).  On July 2, she wrote this post, “First Day I Am Poems.” Sara didn’t stop there. Check out Sara’s super summer posts for lessons on Fibonacci PoetryColor Poems and Saving Things Poetry.

I decided to try writing metaphors the first day of school too. I teach English to native Arabic speakers, and I had them only 45 minutes a day the first two days of school. After a mini lesson on metaphors and figurative language, each student wrote one metaphor using one of their senses, a metaphor about themselves. Most of them were able to understand and created their own metaphors.

We hung their first metaphors on a bulletin board in the hallway.

We are learners!

A post shared by arsgrade5 (@arsgrade5) on

The next day they wrote a whole poem about themselves using metaphors of all kinds. The images were so sweet and some were just beautiful.

I don’t know much about the Arabic language, but from what others tell me and what I’ve experienced, it is rich in figurative language. In previous years, I’ve noticed my students have always been good at similes and metaphors, and they use them spontaneously in their writing and speaking.

Thanks, Sara, for the inspiration.

First day of school metaphor slides
Student Samples
Templates – Students chose from these to help scaffold their writing

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