First year, scared, and have two English Language Learners

Discussion in 'General Education' started by AlyssaH87, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. AlyssaH87

    AlyssaH87 New Member

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    Jul 16, 2012

    Hey everyone.

    This coming year is my first year teaching ever. I am teaching VPK (Voluntary Prekindergarten) in Florida. I got my class list today, and I have 2 kids who do not speak any English whatsoever. They just moved here from Puerto Rico. I do not speak any spanish except for the basic, "Hola, coma estas?".

    Help, I am scared all ready to be teaching my first year, and now I do not even know where to start with these two students.

    :) Any resources or advice would be great! :)
     
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  3. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jul 16, 2012

    You'll be surprised at how quickly they will pick up the language. A lot of Pre-K reading objectives revolve around oral language. I'd maybe pull them during their morning activity and preview the read-aloud you were doing for the day-introduce vocab, so they'll better understand when you do read it aloud. Work with them with picture cards-lots and lots of visuals to show what you are talking about.
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jul 16, 2012

    I only subbed with PreK so take what I say with a grain of salt.

    You'll be surprised at how much English you'll be teaching the rest of your class. IME the only children that go to public PreK are the kids whose parents really don't want them around all the time so they jump at "free daycare," the kids whose parents don't have the ability to teach them basics themselves but cannot afford private preschool, kids who have some sort of limitations, and the kids whose parents teach at the school. Except for the teachers' kids, all of them are missing a lot of the basics - names of colors, what "family" means, how to recognize their written name, their addresses, etc. The gap between most of your students and the Spanish-speaking ones isn't going to huge.

    The two students will naturally gravitate to each other. After the first two weeks or so I would discourage this. Place them in different centers, on different parts of the rug, etc. Let them relax and play together during recess, but at other times they should be with the English speaking students. Don't let them be each other's crutch.
     
  5. mkbren88

    mkbren88 Cohort

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    Jul 16, 2012

    I had a student last year who was from Indonesia and when I assessed her the summer before school started, she did not speak to me once and couldn't even write her name. The first few weeks of school, she wrote the name of the person who sat next to her on her paper. She was basic on our AZELLA testing. At the end of the year, she was my most talkative student, and tested PROFICIENT in the english language. It is amazing how fast they learn! I never talked to her any differently than I did my other students, but from just being immersed in the classroom she thrived. It is such an awesome feeling! Don't be scared. My ELL's have always been my favorite students, because they generally have the largest gains during the year.
     
  6. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Jul 16, 2012

    Sorry, but this statement bothers me. Where I live and where I work, there are some phenomenal preschool programs in public schools...and they aren't "free daycare", they are tuition-based. I would actually prefer to put my son in a public school preschool program over a private school program. Just my opinion, but your statement really made me shake my head.
     
  7. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Jul 16, 2012

    I agree with the others that there will be a lot of overlap in the learning of both the ELL and the other students. Make things visual, do a lot of repetition, and be sure to pull them to the side to check on their learning. Is there an ESL program at your school? If not, maybe look into some ESL/ELL resources to give you some ideas, too. Good luck!! Adding you to the jobs lists :)
     
  8. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jul 16, 2012

    Good to hear.

    In my area it is definitely a case of you get what you pay for.

    My children would have never been accepted into the public programs because they are white, have no limitations, are not on any form of public assistance and I do not work in the school.

    The public pre-Ks here have the sole purpose of making up for any deficiencies children have before attending kindergarten. Those that are 'at risk' are the ones that get the spots.

    The classes, therefore, are built around those deficiencies. The goals are for students to know their colors, recognize their written name, count to ten and understand what a book is. Anything else is gravy.

    In fact, I know a couple of preschool teachers that chose to send their own children to private schools because the curriculums were so different.
     
  9. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Jul 16, 2012

    Geez, I hope the disdain you show here for the families of students doesn't show outside of these boards. :eek:hmy:
     
  10. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jul 16, 2012

    Me?

    Can you be more specific? The only parents I have distain for are the ones that take advantage of the system because they don't want to be around their kids all day. And several of them have told me just that, so it isn't any assumption on my part.

    I've been told by a parent that she wasn't coming in to volunteer like she promised (required to be part of the program) because if she wanted to be around her kid every morning she would have kept him home. I've been told that it wasn't "right" that the school be closed to students on a particular day - her kid was going to fuss about watching "his" shows and bug her when she wanted to watch her own. I've been told by a parent who hadn't picked up her child that she wasn't going to come yet because she had two other kids at home that she was busy with and we could just hold on until she was ready.

    Yes, I have distain for any parent that has these feelings about her own child. I have distain for any person that brings a child into the world and expects society to provide all of the care for that child.

    But that's not the only 'type' of parent that sends their child to our public preschools. Some parents want experiences and/or help for their children that they cannot provide. One of my friends sent her child to one of the PreKs because he had some speech issues. Her other children went to private preschool but none of those around here offer early intervention like the public ones do. I hardly have "distain" for my friend and her decision.
     
  11. Alen Jones

    Alen Jones Rookie

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    Jul 17, 2012

    Try to give them basic training for english learning. You can start that with teaching some sentences of daily use. It will be difficult to teach them basic language too, but you can teach with help of visual aids.
     
  12. msaly

    msaly Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2012

    Congrats on your first year of teaching!! I have been teaching preschool for 8 years, and 3 of those 8 years were in VPK. I also have my directors credentials with VPK endorsement. Have you taken the English Language Learning in the VPK Classroom training course yet? If not you can take it online at myflorida.com/childcare I would recommend it!

    They will learn English SUPER fast. This past year I had 2 children who spoke only Spanish. Within 2 weeks, they were both singing simple songs in English and after 2 months they could speak to me in a sentence and follow directions in English.

    My advice is to learn a few simple spanish words like bathroom- bano (this is super important so accidents don't occur), carpet or floor (floor is piso, I could never pronounce carpet correctly), table (la mesa), sit down, food/snack (comida), etc. So that you can communicate with them. Google Translate will pronounce the words so you can hear it. Always say the English word first and then the Spanish that way they hear the English word. If you dont understand what they are trying to say take their hand and say show me. Any visual aids you have will be great as well.

    I also had a child who only spoke Serbian. That was more difficult, but I did my best and after a few months he was speaking words in English.

    It will be tough at first but they will learn quickly and you will do great!

    If you have any other questions feel free to PM me!:)
     
  13. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Jul 17, 2012

    I had a primarily ELL class 2 years ago and I loved it! Out of my 22 kiddos, about 14 spoke only Spanish at home. You'll be amazed at how quickly they'll pick it up. It was overwhelming, no doubt, but I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.
     
  14. dr.gator

    dr.gator Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2012

    I had a child a couple of years back who came to the USA from Cuba to visit his grandather for Thanksgiving. The family didn't go back. His parents wanted the child to experience the opportunties that were available to all Americans. Anyway, he spoke NO English. After a week with him I learned one thing. He was like any other American child and needed to be treated that way. In Cuba he was not old enough to attend school. Here he was. In Cuba he got to spend the day with Mommy. Here he didn't and he was determined to get his way and get things back to like they were. He ended up going to our ESOL center school where he could get more services. I think the thing to remember here is to keep expectations the same. The two kids are going to be just that KIDS. Treat them like you would any other. They'll pick up language quick and find a way to communicate with you.

    As far as kids and parents sending them to preschool, the state of Flordia voted in several years ago an amendent that ALL children, no matter who they were or where they lived or how much money their parents made, were entitled to a voluntary preschool experience at age four paid by the state. Yes, parents have a choice where they send their kids to (private or public), but all programs are governed by the state. I've seen some good private ones and some good public ones. The bottom line lies with who's doing the day to day work.
     
  15. flowerpower31

    flowerpower31 Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2012

    I don't have too much experience with ELL, but with the little bit I do have, I know this:

    First, expect (and plan) to repeat yourself a lot. Also, expect to have to explain things in different ways. What may be a simple sentence for an English speaking student to understand may be incredibly difficult for an ELL to understand.

    Second, use lots of visuals. Being able to point to things as you talk about them will be a huge help.

    Third, be careful about idioms and "catch phrase" types of things. Usually preschoolers don't understand them anyway, but a lot of things in English don't translate in other languages and may make it even more difficult for the ELLs to understand.

    I think what a previous post said was really great, too...about learning a few key words in Spanish. Be sure to use the English word, too, though, when you use a Spanish word.

    Hope that helps! Have a great first year! :)
     

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