Fieldnote, 25 Sep. 2012

Mexington Library. I volunteered for two more hours, worked with four students. This evening, I used much more Spanish. The first student I worked with attends a bilingual immersion school in the wealthy part of town. His homework for third grade was difficult for me, or some of the words I had issues with. He actually helped me with my Spanish,for example, knwing what the word obeja means. “Sheep.” We did have a conversation as I asked him questions and leveraged whatever Spanish, Spanglish I could, but reaffirmed in English. We used two languages through the homework, as he did math word problems. The math of course could be conducted in two langauges. We rounded numbers and added/subtracted. The same skills of looking for key words to interpret how to do the problem remained consistent.

There are such cognate assignments . . . idea to consider, which math problems/word problems translate, and how to build common skills in two languages.

I read two books with children, one third grader, and another sixth grader. Again, I spoke to parents about reading to their children. My Spanish was better this night, and I was able to more or less communicate freely. I was speaking to more parents, including platicanodo with a few mothers and two fathers.

When one boy, L, worked with me, another youngster, two-year-old S followed him and sat with us. He worked on his spelling words, and I gave S a marker to “pintar” or color. Her father asked if it was okay for her to be with us while we worked. I told him “esta bien, ella quiere terminar su tarea, pues.” He smiled at this.

At the very end, I gave the little girl and L both snacks. The little girl kept her page of scribble, or her homework. Little S spoke only Spanish. She reminded me of the youngest members of MANOS I watched become emergent bilinguals. Within a few years she would make a transition into her lingustic capabilities as a new language gradually become part of her culture and her self-awareness, let alone identity.


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