Monday, November 30, 2015

Some ESL Moments from the past

Today's ESL moment. The problem says to translate the triangle four units to the left. I walk over to our newest student (new!), who got the first two problems right, and I see that the triangle hasn't moved, but she has a sentence on her page in Farsi. I asked her what it said. "Triangle go four units right." Oh. "In MATH, Translate means to shift or move."

Student: "Ms. Markman, this math problem is not having fruits. I no understand."
Me: "Fruit?"
Student points to a problem involving a train traveling 70 miles PER hour. (Not PEAR)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

We are not terrorists. We left because terrorists hurt our families. ISIL is not Muslim. ISIL is bullies.

So .... I talked to the high beginners and a few intermediate kiddos today about Paris and its aftermath. (These kids are 11-14.) Mostly we talked about the fact that people in government and on TV are blaming refugees and Muslims for terrorism in general and the Paris terrorist attacks in particular.  Told them they may hear negative comments and may experience ugly acts from other students or within the community.  We talked about what they might do if these things occur, even extending to what kind of people we should ignore (and report!), and what kinds of people we might want to talk to and educate.  Their first instinct is to want to educate everyone, but we decided that angry people aren't ready to listen.  Their message is this:  "We are not terrorists. We left because terrorists hurt our families.  ISIL is not Muslim. ISIL is bullies."

Monday, November 16, 2015

One More Immigration Story

One of the students in the intermediate class also wanted to include his story.  He did not have to do this, and it is not for a grade.  But he saw everyone else's window and story and felt compelled to write his own.  He worked on this after school and then at the library.  His older sister helped him.

Story is my immigration

I born Iraq in and I school in Iraq 5 and 6 years I was lidle. Now I 13 year old.

To much wars in Iraq and bomb and bomb and fire my house. Army say my father we musting go another place. We go Jordan and my uncle and my aunt and my cousins and my big brother and my sister and my brother baby.  One year no school. I play my cousins.

Jordan we go the refugee camp. Food is small and bad and refugee camp is bad fight the people.  We live the tent. Many day is danecherus not go out side the tent. we go the school my brother and sister and me and I no liking the school. Teacher he hit me say I no do the math. Teacher say I learn or not can have the school.  I fight the boy that he stealing my food and teacher say finish the school.  Two year I not go school and play soccerball and help my father. My uncle living Baghdad go to America to Texas and they say we go to America.  

America very good and very nice and say I go to school. Is hard the school and I want play soccerball but is important learn Englis and get good job. Now I go to school evi day and I do the homeworks. I play my fridns in night and week end. America peple and teachers very good.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

From a 6th grade beginner

Some of this was dictated. Some came from her journal.  Some was translated by a friend:

I am from Kabul, Afghanistan.  I lived with my mom, father, brother, my sister, my grandmother, my mom’s sister, my mom’s brother, and two cousins. I like two cousins.  I’m school 5 grade.  I learned read and math.  This was my clothes for school:
    In Afghanistan I eat my rice.  I eat meatballs, yogurt, peppers and I eat corn. I eat mantu, I eat kebab. I eat Bolani. I eat kofta. I eat egg. I eat chicken. I eat dumplings.
    I have clothes like this:
    My family not happy. I’m not happy.  Because for this one not family. I want family not come America.  My mom not happy. Mom’s family not come America.
    In the U.S.A. I eat corn.  I eat rice.  I eat oranges. I eat chicken. I eat kabob.  I eat kofta.  I eat cake.
    America school good.  I like my School.  Teacher Mrs. Henderson is good.  I am a student. I am in class. I am short. I am quiet. I am young.
    America I no like. Family is in Afghanistan. I just know school, HEB and Walmart. I don’t know America.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Our Immigration Narratives

The middle school students who wrote these have been in the United States between one month and one year.  Some studied English in their countries. Most are refugees, and most have lived in more than one country before arriving in Texas.  One speaks four languages. One has never seen his "native" country and never lived outside a refugee camp until June. The amount of editing that has been done is minimal, but all did have both a peer editor and some editing and revising with me or one of the volunteers.  In some cases the name of a city has changed, and no student names appear.


In Sudan when i 11 all old i go to school every day and when i school in the morning i took my brother every day with me when i come back to home i eat and i sleep and then i go to play with friend  we play every day after school we like to play challenge after we finish the home works and then i check out home i go to play with my brothers we play games the name of the games is jamb and jamb.

I played here every day but people were fighting with guns.


i go ethiopia bucase my dad he don,t had good work in sudan in sudan is so hot this way he live to ethiopia there is not hot you play every time in ethiopia i don,t had friend i can,t go out said my home to play  but i like it.  i didn’t go to school because we were there 3 months.
austin. welcome to america
when i come  america i don't know where i am when i come to school .i don had freind  and they lafin to me. i don no why because i didn’t spike english .  this yer is beder is not like sudan because in sudan i don,t spike English .  8 in eight grate i can spike english little big but in now i had a meny freind. 


I was Born in iraq. I lived in iraq for 11 years before I moved. Because of  the war in Baghdad  my family and I moved to Turkey.  Turkey is a good country, but some of my peer in school said to me: ”why you come to turkey, go to another country?“ and theirs no jobs for my turkey. we lived in turkey 2 yares.
I was 13 wahen imove to U.S.A my mome got  a job and I come to a   new school i have a good friends and i live my school and U.S.A is good..
I like U.S Because good for my parents now have jobs.and It's good life.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Béisbol and second language learning

 I'm such a Yankees fanatic that I listen to the games religiously on the internet.  Something has been wonky this weekend on the usual English-language stream I use, so I am listening to Yankees baseball in Spanish this weekend, and it is an eye-opening experience.  Here are some observations:
  • I've forgotten a whole lot of my Spanish baseball vocabulary, but it's all coming back fairly quickly.
  • There are two Spanish-speaking announcers on WADO, and I understand about 90% of what the Mexican announcer says, but only about 60% of the speech of the Puerto Rican announcer.  In both cases, I am translating way too much in my head rather than just listening in Spanish.
  • When they give large numbers and years, I translate the numbers into English slowly.  Still.
  • These two announcers actually talk more about the game, the plays, and the players than the English announcers do, with a lot less opinion.
  • The Yankees need to step up their game if they're to beat the Medias Rojas this afternoon.
  • Play ball!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Reflecting on my writing class

On the first day back in school after the break, I asked my ESL middle school students to reflect on the writing class, what they learned, what they wanted to learn, which assignments they enjoyed the most, what they'd suggest to improve the class next year, and what kinds of books they have been reading.  Here are a few of their replies:

I improved utilizing advanced vocabulary, the only complication is that I can't use them accurately.I relish that we get to enhance our terminology skills exceptionally. The laborious assignments are having to write a story with a genre, for example fiction, science fiction, and etc. . I don't think any of the assignments should be alternated because it's just hard for me. I have read 21 books so far. I need to read science fiction, but I just can't acquisition any books. I've learned some new words, check Murchison's website, and more to be more gumption. I don't have any propositions. I like engaging in groups of pairs because you can focus on one peer.
I enjoyed typing the stories, it gives my inspirations for my new story, ( it's out of school story) Mermaid's cove. The stories was creative and I typed so much I wrote over 10 pages, a new record!!!!!!! Back to the idea, I really enjoy writing it you might never know where it can take you, maybe one day I might be an author!
I improved my writing because i always wrote short stories and i love to write because you can type my stories on the computer and i write more long stories in this year. im very fast typing on the computer an its much more esiere typing in the computer
This semester I wrote my first story, and in the same time I learned how to use the past tense in a story. Of course, I think I need work again a lot on writing for learn different things, and for extend my vocabulary.I enjoy write stories because I like write in different genres and write in English is great for me !This semester, I enjoy write the two stories, but the first one was more difficult. It was a historical fiction so I wrote in past tense and I did search a lot of informations, also, It was more long.But I think it's a good exercise for my English !I would like read non-fiction the next semester, I read between ten and fifteen books this semester.
For things to do differently, I would like do more quick write like on Thanksgiving, also, I prefer working as a whole class or in center. 
i learn to improve my vocabarly and my grammer. i loved my story beyond, and all the story we did this semester help me. i still need to work on my writing snd my plannning and summarys. the mose hardest was my vocabulary, i think we should change some things like poem or reading infront of people. I read 10 books or more. what i didnt know was vocaburlary!  What i want to change is reading your story infront of people or poems.