Tuesday, February 07, 2006


"Ana" is one of my students. She came here (to the U.S.) from Mexico in May. She has not been in school an entire year yet. Her family does not speak English. Ana was strategically placed in my room this year because I speak Spanish and can provide primary language support as needed.

While Ana struggled with English, academics were not a problem for her. It was quite clear from day one that Ana not only attended school in Mexico but that she must have been a star pupil there as well. The one area that Ana has had trouble with in my room was in language arts. This was due to the fact that she is an English learner and is having to learn English and grade level content simultaneously. When I tested Ana in August, she was reading at a level 2. Kids entering second grade should be coming in at a level 16-18 so she had a lot work ahead of her. Our end of year benchmark for second grade is 22.

Well Ms. Ana has been working her little tail off. She comes to school early to get extra help from me and she goes to a cousin's house after school for more help. As Ana's English has been improving, she has become a very active participant in class discussions and read alouds.

Today, I tested Ana in reading and was blown away. I tested her on a level 14 book. It was too easy. I tried a level 16 - too easy. I jumped to level 20. (THE CURRENT GRADE LEVEL BENCHMARK) She read it beautifully - very fluent, great expression and with 100% comprehension. As Ana was reading, I was getting goosebumps and my eyes were getting kind of teary. Ana, was so charged by what she was doing that she started reading louder and louder and the whole class stopped their centers for a brief moment to listen to her reading to me. What a moment! When she was done, I congratulated her and gave her a little certificate of her accomplishment and sent her up to the office to celebrate with the principal. She humbly went on her way but turned around and gave me a hug before she left.

I LOVE THESE KIND OF DAYS. They are what keep me in this profession!


La Brown Girl said...

Awe, that is so awesome. Felicidades to both of you!

cindylu said...

I got to admit, the education nerd in me is very impressed. Yay for Ana and good for you.

And no, I just got a little dust in my eyes. Those are not tears.

Wait, she gets sent to the principal even when she does something good? Incredible.

Xolo said...

Congratulations to you!

Ana is so lucky to have landed in your classroom. Thank you for caring and showing her the way.

GuusjeM said...

Wow - what an accomplishment. We have bi-lingual kids at my school who were born in the this country and still aren't reading on a level 22 by the end of the 4rd grade.

MsAbcMom said...

LBG - Thanks!

CindyLu - It was quite a moment. She came back from the principal's office with both a pencil and a certificate saying "I read to the principal!"

Xolo - Welcome to the blog and thanks!

Guusje - Ana is really the exception to the rule. I will definitely recommend GATE testing for her at the end of the year. Where most English Learners need 5-7 years to move from BICS (playground English) to CALPS (Academic Language), Ana has managed to fly through it in the better part of a year.

Thanks for the kudos!