For the first 2 1/2 weeks we have been focusing on just two areas: 1) classroom routines, procedures and rituals, and 2) Personal interviews. The affect and confidence level in the class is just about right: students are confident that they can learn Spanish and comfortable with the environment we have established so far. The interviews are progressing and the students are picking up more high frequency verbs they will need to communicate in class and read the passel of novels available to them. Students are doing well, but on Friday they amazed me.

We were drilling the calm, quiet and yet fairly rapid behavior I expect from them as they get their books from the classroom library. It was mainly drill on how to move and how to act, not really reading, because the time was short. At the end of the brief 5 minutes reading time I directed students to put their books back. four (4!) students asked if they could keep their books and read them over the weekend!!

I agreed, of course, but cautioned them to be sure to return the books first thing Monday morning. They promised and this morning as I was debriefing them before school, each of the students said that they could read and understand many parts (not all) of the books. The books they read were Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro by Carol Gaab, Isabela captura un congo, by Karen Rowan, and Piratas by Mira Canion. They were proud of themselves and I lavished praise upon them for figuring out how to read and for trying something new.

This did not happen by some teaching magic, just solid work on establishing order and giving students tools for success slowly and methodically. This is the first time, by the way, that I have had such a tsunami of voluntary student readers rise up all at once.

We’re getting better at this teaching stuff. Stick with it, my friends.