During the second week of English Classes for Families, we made an effort to get to know the families who have been attending better, and as a result participation in our classroom has increased.
In the first class of the week, we reviewed formal and informal greetings and went on to introduce the Think Marks strategy. Think Marks gives the students symbols they can use to help express how they feel about a part of a story. Using symbols such as a question mark or heart indicates a question they might have or something they really loved about the passage. Afterwards, we went over vocabulary for the next story we would be reading, The Owl and The Grasshopper, where we discussed synonyms such as hop and jump, and their subtle differences. Reading it together as a class, helped them comprehend the story better. Next, we moved on to discuss verb and noun conjugations.
Adrian, shown above, demonstrated what noises a grasshopper makes…and then what noises a lion makes.
Before leaving, we discussed the book we would be reading the following day called I Know Here by Laurel Croza, and let each family take home a copy that night to read themselves. Overall, there was a noticeable improvement in the participation rate amongst the younger students, which was encouraging.
By the middle of the week, we had a couple of special visitors. Chief Branch Officer Danielle King sat in on the class to meet the families and experience the English for Families setting. We began the class with a short review from the day before, which involved a discussion about the vocabulary from I Know Here. Afterwards, to really solidify that bit of learning, we decided to play an online mini-game together on Kahoot! Using Kahoot, we were able to integrate some computer learning and technology into the class, so that the students could become more comfortable using smartphones and computers for school-related responsibilities, as the current approach in schools has been to integrate technology into classrooms.
The La Rosa family tries to figure out the Kahoot questions together.
After the winners of the game were announced, we moved on to the vocabulary for I Know Here and then read it together. We went over the story together as a class, noting its theme of moving to a new place, and how scary that can be, and then relating it to the experiences of our students themselves. One of our parents shared that after moving to the United States, her boy, like the child in the story, also kept his drawings of his home country in a folder.
We started the class a little differently at the last class of the week. Instead of jumping into review, we covered the topic of prepositions. For example, we discussed the differences between “on top of” and “on.” We talked about all sorts of prepositions, their similarities and distinctions, and how to apply them in conversation. Afterwards, we went into our first hands-on exercise. The students were given a variety of different objects: pipe cleaners, pencils, little pom-pom puffs, rubberbands, and a small box. With these objects, they were given a series of step-by-step instructions involving many prepositions to explain how to put these objects together, entirely in English! While challenging, the students were all able to piece the activity together and create their own present box. It was a very rewarding moment for everyone involved to know that comprehension was improving amongst the students. As the class began to wrap up, we sent them home with a bit of study material from that day’s session.
Stay tuned to find out what happens next week in our next English Classes for Families recap.