Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My First TPT Product!

Hello, world! I had just created my first product on Teachers Pay Teachers!

It is a Kagan CL Showdown game for place value- yes, the student work is in SPANISH because I teach in a Spanish immersion class! *grin*

So if any other immersion teachers exist in the world, download it! It is FREE!

But if you want it in English, that will cost ya a dollar!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


This is not exactly about teaching... but it is important!


I know many people are skeptical of sending $35 a month to some kid somewhere in the world that you will probably never meet, but it is so much more than that.

I realized, recently, that my monthly phone bill (iPhone and data plan) costs more than what my sponsored children's parents make in a month. That's right. My phone bill costs more than all of the money that Ashifa's parents make, combined, each month.

At some point during my teaching career, I also realized that many of the kids who I absolutely adore could have been the faces posted on World Vision's website. If they had not moved here, they could have been "those kids" waiting for a sponsor. Hungry. Not going to school. Living in trash heaps.

Here's another thought- what made me so lucky to be able to pay my silly phone bill? I was born here. That's it, really. Because I'm not a genius or an inventor or a super talented entertainer. Those are things that, every once in a while, lift people out of poverty.

No, the only reason that I am able to afford all of the crap I have is that I was born here to educated parents.

In other words, it could just as easily have been ME waiting for a sponsor. Or you. Or your kid.

God has seen it fit to give us a lot.

Share. That's what we tell our kids to do in class!

Go to WORLD VISION and sponsor a kid... now!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Quote of the day

7-year-old, upon examining my school ID badge that has my first and last name on it...

"Bethany? I thought your first name was MISS!" 

All I could do was hug him and laugh, because he was totally, completely, serious!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Immersion Camp 1.0

This week we began our first annual immersion summer camp! Since it is our first time EVER doing a summer immersion camp, we've hit a few bumps in the road but overall it has gone very well.

Today we went downtown to explore and have some fun. On our way to the public library, my seat buddy, a little guy who I absolutely adore, was asleep with his head on my shoulder (heart=melt!) so I was listening to the girls behind me. Sneaky, I know. I heard the following statement...

"It's at at the bottom of a mountain, under a hill. That's why they call it DOWN town!"

(insert teacher trying hard not to laugh too loud here!)

One of our stops today was the Carew Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Cincy. My friend (the aforementioned sleeping child) is terrified of heights. The idea of going to the 50th floor of a building really freaked him out! When I promised him that I would be with him, though, he decided to go up. When we got to the top, his big brown eyes became the size of soccer balls, he gripped my hand to the point of popping the joints and then.... then his eyes lit up with the wonder of seeing the city from so high, and he ran (ran!) to the corner to look out across the river. Grinning from ear to ear, he totally forgot that he was afraid of heights!


In other odd news, a man with an iguana on his shoulder walked through Fountain Square and let the kids pet his lizard.

We also had horchata today.

Life is good!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Rant

So often, when I tell people that I teach in a Spanish immersion school, they think that is awesome and cool! When they ask where it is and I tell them- one of Ohio's larger inner-city districts- they react with shock and pity, and say that they feel so sorry for me working with the "crazy" kids, "monsters" and "mini gangsters."

Really, if it weren't for the fact that I claim to be a follower of Jesus, who said that punching people in the face was bad, I would probably get in a lot of fights.

So today, I thought that I would post some of my favorite things about my kids, my "poor inner city kids." The ones I love more than any other humans on the planet.

  1. My kids are SWEET. If you want to feel good about yourself, come to my classroom. I get hugged 100 times a day, someone is always holding my hand, and I am made to feel like Picasso every time a draw a stick-figure-horse on the board. 
  2. My kids are compassionate. Yes, they are kids and they have their mean moments, but then they go out of their way to make sure that our friend who has special needs is ok when the fire alarm goes off. They surround kids from other classes on the playground when those kids call said friend with special needs the R word. They worry when one of their classmates is crying. They watch out for each other and for me. When I chopped some of my thumb off and came to class with my hand wrapped up and surgical glued together, my baby people went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that I did not have to use my hand (they wrote for me, opened things, closed things, and picked things up) and watched my thumb carefully to make sure it didn't bleed anymore. Compassionate.
  3. My kids are smart. Lets face it, people, America stinks at learning languages, but all of my kids are bilingual! Yes, half of my kids speak Spanish at home, but they are learning English at school. The other half speak English at home and are learning Spanish at school. All of them can read, write, speak, and understand in BOTH languages. That's more than many white, middle class people can do! 
  4. My kids work hard. Many of them come from difficult home lives, and they have to work harder than your average middle class kid to make good grades. They do their homework without help and they study alone. They may be in the care of their older siblings, or be caring for their younger siblings, but they make the best of what they have and they excel in spite of it. They'll all grow up to be presidents and doctors and architects and inventors. They'll be your boss someday. Just saying.
  5. My kids are the best, most loving, most adorable, most INCREDIBLE people that I know. They make me laugh, they amaze me at every turn, and there are no other people in the world that I would rather spend my days with! I miss them during the summer and over breaks. I love getting to be a part of their lives. I am the luckiest teacher in the world!

SO, people of the world, the next time you scorn my baby people, first know that it is taking every ounce of restraint that I own to keep me from screaming and/or slapping you. Second, know that some day, those "poor inner city kids" are going to be doing your open heart surgery, managing your finances, and designing the homes that you live in.

I'm not saying that my kids are better than any other kids, I'm just saying that they're not worse. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A New Blog

Una manaza dulce... a sweet apple. The first day of school is always a little crazy. This year was no exception. As I took my students to the bathroom, I stood with my hands behind my back, modeling the expected behavior. Suddenly, I felt a small hand cupping mine, and something round being placed into my hand. I turned around to find a 3rd grader, who had never been in my class, smiling, as she said, "una manzana dulce para ti, SeƱorita!" A sweet apple for you!

I was so touched that I took a picture of it!

I've decided to create this blog to discuss the unique challenges that I face as a first grade teacher in a Spanish immersion classroom.

Immersion is a form of foreign language instruction in which I (the teacher) deliver my instruction IN Spanish. This means that when I teach math, I speak Spanish. When I teach social studies, I speak Spanish.

Oh, and the kids speak Spanish, too.

Yes, I did say first grade, and no, they are not all native speakers.

The kicker? The district is broke and we have very few materials in the language!

So here is where I will post my thoughts on immersion, my trials and tribulations, my failures, successes, and the inevitable crazy story.