Grad Class: Building Relationships

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As a continuation of my Grad Class (Diversity in Bias Free Ed) journal, I would like to post my most recent entry.  As with my previous post, I have taken out the names. But as a note: Y is no longer my focus student (as she wasn't there the following week). Now I have R. R is a latino male.

Two goals last week: lesson plan and get to know more about R. I almost failed miserably at both because I didn’t even see him right away. And even though a little boy asked me to read with him today, it took a few minutes for me to realize it was R. I justify this because I had only seen him once to that point, and it was a week ago, but I felt bad nonetheless.

First: Lesson Plan. I think it worked beautifully. He was eager and willing to read today (no hassle getting him started). I turned in my sketches with my lesson plan, but they turned out exactly as I had planned (which - as most teachers know - rarely happens!). He was very responsive, able to comprehend the story, able to analyze information and depict it into drawings. I wouldn’t say he is beyond his reading level, but he is proficient. 



R doing independent work - drawing a scene.
I used the Gradual Release Model and molded what I knew from high school teaching and tailored it to him.
Second: Getting to know him. More importantly, building a relationship. I asked R about his home life, to figure out who he was. 
I failed last week because I was more concerned with redirecting behavior. I asked him specific questions like age (will be 9 on June 24), siblings (a brother, J, who is there at Jackson Elem, 8, and a sister, 1), and if anyone at home speaks English (just his brother and him). After watching the video on Monday about the students in the Language Empowerment Model LEM environments (i.e. foreign language inclusion schools), I could empathize with what R would be going though with not knowing if what was happening was right. As a 1st or 2nd grade student in the inclusion school, teachers only speak in the student's second language (L2), maybe Spanish or Japanese depending on the school, for half of the day. His classes at Jackson are all English speaking, so he could be getting behind or lost on what the teacher might be "easy". I could relate because I am in unfamiliar ground not teaching high school students.



As inferred by his age realization, I was a little off on what grade R was in - he will be going to 5th grade next year (so the book we have chosen is actually about where he should be)
I did the black dominos - he did the white.

And this brought me to an epiphany: when I got him to tell me about his family - he was much better behaved.  And because he was better behaved, we were able to discuss and focus better on the material at hand. It didn’t feel like we were learning, and sometimes that’s a good thing. But at the end, R asked if I would bring the book back again next week (and I will, as I will write another lesson with it).

I feel as though with the younger ones, and their attention spans being so short, that after about 15 minutes we needed to do something else. Last week he showed an interest in the dominos (placing the dominos in a line and knocking them down). So we did that. I did record it, and he seemed to enjoy it. I think that was really helping our relationship building.



Our Dominos Falling 

As far as this post goes, I hope I am making sense. It's pretty obvious that there isn't much technology integration going on with me, but I did see that the school has MacBook computers (older from what I could tell), and some of the kids were playing an Xbox game on Kinect (I'm sure there was some education behind it; I just wasn't close enough to know).

My goal for next week is to incorporate predicting what will happen next in the book into my lesson with R, since I only have two days left with him. It is truly weird to teach kids at such a young age. I just hope I'm not doing a disservice.

~Rob

Lindquist

Author

I do a lot of things. The best thing I do is fathering (I think). I'm the ol' "Jack of all trades, Master of none." I teach aspiring journalists. I run. I play guitar(s). I also host a running podcast. Oh, and I dabble in drawing. And I dabble in authoring... children's books no less. I just dabble. Sometimes I ramble.

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