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.