Yesterday I started with a new intervention group of seven third graders. It did NOT go well. I think they felt embarrassed, or something, because the giggles and elbow jabs didn’t stop for 30 minutes. Not a good way to begin.
Today I decided to push the reset button with honesty and intention. I began by acknowledging that I wasn’t happy with how things went yesterday and figured they probably weren’t very happy either. Next, I explained that we weren’t just doing another ABC group. We would actually be delving into the nitty-gritty of the English language and learning so much about how words work and how we apply word knowledge to get more knowledge.
I recognized and praised the accomplishment of each of these students as English learners and reminded them that when other students were learning phonics, they were learning the names of things in English. I expressed my strong belief that in the long run, bilingual students have so much to offer the world.
Finally, I reminded them that when I asked them if they thought a group to help them “get words off the page” would be helpful to them as readers. They all said they needed help with that and this group was something they wanted to participate in.
I learned again that being honest and up front with students goes a long way in the intervention process. They know their needs and when we confirm and name those needs, it relieves them of the pressure to keep faking it. The change was
What a difference in today’s lesson. I love teaching.