As I entered my classroom last Friday, my goals were the same as they had been since the first day of school.  I want all my students to be readers and writers.  As I prepared for my student who had just arrived from Japan the previous Saturday, my thinking was all over the place and my stomach had a few butterflies in it.  I haven’t felt that way in a very long time possibly not since my first year of teaching.

H. entered the room, and I knew that she did not speak and did not understand any English.  I greeted her with a smile and our day started.  I was fortunate to have ELL support the first day, so together we started with math.  Focusing on the calendar & days of the week. Using a Japanese/English dictionary, I had made a xerox copy of the days of the week for this activity.  H. had success with: Today is, Tomorrow will be, Yesterday was.  Next we moved onto some basic calculations and quickly moved to 4 digit by 4 digit addition & subtraction problems. Numbers are the universal language in our classroom :)

Drawing pictures is a universal language. NF article in left corner.

I read a kindergarten picture book to her about school, and I showed her an alphabet chart. Honestly I believe that was the first time she saw 26 letters with a confused look on her face I just smiled even bigger. We started with matching the letters on the ABC chart with letters in the book. Thank goodness for highlighter tape and highlighters. Thanks goes to our wonderful preschool and kindergarten teachers who are letting me borrow so many materials.  Thanks also for who ever invented magnetic letters.  I am positive my thanks list will continue to grow as we grow on our journey.
When I was working with the rest of the class (which will need to be future blog posts once I figure out how to juggle my schedule) I gave her Non-Fiction animal book to look through. When I came back, she showed me the article “Rat Steals Leopard’s Food”  I quickly xeroxed it, and she started highlighting all the “As” our letter of the day which I did not see coming, but wow did it make sense at that point in the day. Some of the best lesson plans come from the student, so we spent the rest of the day completing her page of her own book that she is going to write and illustrate:  Learning A-Z which brings me back to my goal: ALL students will be readers and writers.

Sharing NF and searching for “A”


Amazing talent for being an author and illustrator!

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