The fourth grade class has been studying Informational Reading and Writing for the past several months. For the final project in this unit, the class is creating a biography piece based on the life of their Touchmark senior buddy. This project requires students to apply what they have learned to create a meaningful piece based on a real person they have formed a special bond with. Our Touchmark buddies have led most interesting lives filled with triumphs and tragedies. They have experienced ups and downs and have so much knowledge to pass along to the 4th grade crew.
To start this project the class had to formulate high-level questions based on their buddy’s early life, main accomplishments plus advice/legacy. The questions the class created impressed and surprised me because of their depth. For example, what did you enjoy doing as a child? Describe what your mother and father were like. If you could change anything about your life, what would you change and why? What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of? Why? What is the hardest obstacle you have faced in your life? What advice do you have for the younger generation
Last week, the 4th graders interviewed their buddies and took structured notes. As I told several parents, “ I cried at least five times”, as I walked around the room listening to the extremely personal interviews. I heard one resident detailing the challenge of having a child with a clubbed foot. Another sharing the recent passing of her long-time love. The interviews were honest and raw.
This week we will begin drafting the actual biographies. The students will formulate their thesis statements and plan their body paragraphs. They will add in transition words, figurative language and higher level word choice. Today as I watched them sharing their ideas and pushing themselves to write more and more complex sentences, I beamed with pride because of the dedication they have to their subject matter. They care so deeply about their buddies and they want to write the “best” piece they can. Their learning has become very personal.
Buen trabajo, Elementary Spanish! I am so proud of all my students this year. My greatest reward in teaching them is seeing their improvement in their conversational skills and written sentence constructions we have been working on since the beginning of the year. I am definitely witnessing it in the classroom. I know some parents have shared with me their enjoyment in having their kids help, by listening and speaking, in the Spanish-speaking countries your have recently vacationed in this past Spring Break. I expect that, and told them before they left, not to be shy. However, practicing their conversational skills with strangers is never as easy as doing it in the comfort and familiarity of our classroom at SPS. I can not begin to tell you how grateful I am for the loving atmosphere, enthusiasm, happiness and the great attitude your kids bring to class everyday. Their willingness to learn, participate, and practice with their peers always goes beyond my expectations.
I would like to witness with your own eyes the progress they have made. In the next few days you will be receiving an email from me inviting you to watch them “show off” how they are developing their gift of a second language. I know they can’t wait and I hope you can find the time to come to watch them. If you are not able to attend, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to meet with you during a time that is more convenient.
The end of the school year is quickly approaching. In the final two months, I will be gradually immersing your kids further in to the language. There will be a little confusion during the first couple of days, but I know by experience they will find it a lot of FUN. Let’s all remember that, at their age, FUN plus IMPROVEMENT is what should be about! Muchas gracias for sharing and trusting all your child to me.