Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tales From the Classroom #9: Valentine's Day For the First Time

As much as I don't enjoy Valentine's Day, yesterday was not so bad. It was actually quite special because I got to see it through the eyes of a student new to the U.S. It was Ana's first Valentine's Day.

I sent a class list out last week so the kids could get started on their Valentine's Day cards. On Monday, we made Valentine's Day mailboxes out of shoe boxes, butcher paper and construction paper. I asked if anyone needed Valentine's Day cards. It occurred to me that some kids may not have any and I didn't want anyone to feel left out. Ana came up to me and discreetly asked me what we needed cards for. I then realized that she had no clue about Valentine's Day and I felt horrible for not remembering to tell her about it in great detail. So - I sat down to do it. I had to describe it several times because she just couldn't visualize it. Finally , she got it.

I gave her some Valentine's Day cards that I ran off on the Xerox machine. They were very simple but they would do the trick. I told her that all she needed to do was write To: ____ and From: ___, fill it out with the appropriate names and she would be good to go. She was excited and couldn't wait to get home.

Yesterday,Ana passed out her Valentine's Day cards with great pride. I noticed that there was a LOT of writing on the little cards that she was passing out and I went to see what she had written on everyone's cards. Ana wrote beautiful, personalized messages on each of her classmates cards. There were a few second language learner errors in translation but the spelling and mechanics were flawless. Here are a few of her comments:

* You are a nice boy. You go fine with all of the kids in the class. (You get along well with all the kids in the class)

* You are my good friend that is a girl. I like to play with you.

* You are a nice person. You work very hard and respect the teacher.

After passing out the cards, the kids got to read the cards they received from their friends. Ana went to all of the kids and thanked them as she received her cards. No one else did that. We then had a little party and watched Charlotte's Web. (We just finished reading the book)

When the movie was over, I asked the kids why Charlotte's Web was a perfect movie to watch on Valentine's Day. I got lots of different responses but the one I liked best was from Ana. She said "es porque la pelicula se trata de los amigos, Charlotte y Wilbur y Fern y Wilbur. Es una pelicula de amistades come este día del amor y amistad." (Because the movie was about friendships like Charlotte and Wilbur, Fern and Wilbur. It is a movie about friendships like Valentine's Day.)

I am REALLY going to miss this young lady when she moves on to third grade. It is so much fun to watch Ana in her acculturation process. It is also quite amazing to see how quickly she is learning English while she is in the process of learning grade level content.


Nebur said...

This is by far my favorite post you've written. I am so proud of you, sister. I find myself getting misty as I write this. I've always known you as my special sister, but just a regular person. To see these posts shows me that for your children, you will always be Ms. V.

By the way, one of my clients had your grandmother Mrs. Baker for kindergarten at Tuolomne some 40 years ago. He still remembers her as if it were yesterday

Anonymous said...

I love the music that came on this time when I checked in to read your latest entry. And I also have to agree with nebur about this post. I was so touched by your story of Ana that not only did I get misty, I shed some real tears. I am so glad that despite your general feelings about this particular holiday, you were able to open it up to a child in its purest form and got back such a wonderful,unadulterated,loving response. I hope and pray she remains that way. Results like that must make you so proud of being a teacher...and a darn (cleaned it up a bit)good one I must say so!! Johneen

Susan said...


cad said...

That is the best, best. . greatest Valentines Story I've read in a long time. Thank you so much for sharing.

That has completely made my day! I just "met" Ana and I'm gonna miss her too!=)

Feliz Dia del Amor y La Amistad (a bit late on that, though). . .thank you for being a teacher to our youth! =)

MsAbcMom said...

Nebur: You are a sweet little brother. I can only hope that I too (like Grandmother) can make such an impact on my student's lives that they will want to come and find me when they are older.

Johneen, Susan and CAD: