Letters from America

My Classes 4 and 5 students wrote letters to America before the first term was over.  They panicked about writing letters but eventually enjoyed it and wanted to write more letters.  I have had students from other classes ask when they can write letters to America.  I think I’m going to incorporate it into my lesson plans when I work with Classes 6, 7, and 8 on their composition skills.

We received letters from a 6th grade class in Missouri and a 4th grade class in Michigan.  I’m so glad that we received them before schools in the States let out for the summer.  My students’ eyes lit up when they realized some of the children who wrote letters had sent pictures of themselves as well.

In the past my students would just look at the letters looking to see if there are drawn pictures or they will look at the signature and ask if it’s a boy or girl.  The last time I shared letters with them I made lists summarizing all the letters (e.g. “I like to eat…….,”  “I like to play….”) that way my students could start picking out some key words.

I wasn’t sure how this round was going to go because I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare an actual lesson with the letters but I knew my students would flip over the pictures (they’re very visual).

I wrote some of the questions from the students’ letters on the blackboard and had them sign each word in English order (for vocabulary purposes) before repeating it again in KSL.  One question was “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  I was trying to throw out ideas like “teacher,” etc.  I would say that less than half of my students knew what I meant (I tried wording it in different ways as well like “What do you want to do when you finish secondary school?” and “What do you want to do when you get a job?”  Only a couple of students truly seemed to know what I was trying to ask and the rest of the students just copied their answer.  The only answers I got was to be a bus driver or a motorcycle driver.  That is a very common answer at my school along with being a hairdresser especially since my school is in a village (and they’re good jobs within a village).  At some point I’m hoping to collect enough magazines to cut out pictures of different Africans (I only say this because if they see pictures of only “white Americans” then they will assume that Africans don’t do the same thing which is entirely wrong) working (e.g. nurse, driver, teacher, writer, typist, etc.) because again my students are very visual.  Then I want to make a fun activity to just plant the seed that “Hey, you can do whatever you want to do when you’re done with school” and “Whoa, yeah it’s important to stay in school.”

Anyways, today was AWESOME to see.  My students really struggle to read but they were trying so hard to read the letters and they were doing it with smiles on their faces.  They all were trying to get my attention at the same time either asking what things like “pizza” or “spelling” meant or they would point out words that they recognized (e.g. “cat,” “soccer/football,” etc.).  It was wonderful to see their confidence grow a bit.

Granted, we have long ways to go but I love when my students have so much fun learning that they don’t realize they’re learning.

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