First, a brief look into my past month. In early March we had our spring break...two glorious weeks. I had a blast taking my hubby on a surprise mini-trip for our anniversary, babysitting my nephew for a few days, hiking, spending time with friends/family, and was treated to a spa day by my BFF. I think it was one of the most relaxing and fun breaks in...forever. And then we went back to school for a week. Things were going smoothly, and then I was informed on the first Friday back that I would be getting a new student the following Monday. He had just been adopted from Haiti and spoke no English and had little education. I spent the weekend in a panic. I hadn't had a non-English speaker in years and I wanted to make this kid feel welcome and do all I could to help him with some of the new changes in his life.
Monday morning came and I was introduced to a happy young man. We had a volunteer who spoke French come help him acclimate, and it was this person who discovered he knew almost no French, and that his native tongue was Kreyol. This also led to the discovery that he actually knew a little bit of English. My students, were all amazingly kind and helpful with our new friend. While Monday morning was still new we had a visit from our dean, she stopped in to do my formal unannounced evaluation - oh joy!
His arrival was two weeks ago and it has been an interesting two weeks. Arizona is an English only state, we can only teach in English (not that we have many people who can teach him in Kreyol!). I was worried about how I would be able to divide my time between him and my 27 other 5th graders, but I have had some great support from teachers/paras at our school and from the district. The best part has been getting to know our new friend - he is outgoing and has grown so much in just two weeks. All of the 5th graders have been so kind, caring, and helpful to him and it melts my heart. "Role-model" is a word you'd hear many times a day if you were a fly on our wall.
Although it has been stressful, and my counter is now overflowing with tons of new resources, I wouldn't have it any other way and I am so thankful that he was able to join our class.
I have been trying out some different websites/programs to help my new student and was recently asked to try out K5 Learning. K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students. I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.