From ELLs to MELTs: Mr. Santana, Mr. Lara, Ms. Crispin, and Ms. Morrissett

I spent the past five weeks teaching the Catapult Learning Mathematics Level 6 program at my school‘s summer English Language Learners program. My students have transformed from ELLs to MELTs…Mathematics and English Language Teachers. As part of their final examination for the course, I required students to teach a problem to the class.  I have so much respect for my students because they are able to explain an abstract and complex cognitive task while speaking to an audience of their peers in a second language. In these videos, you cannot see the audience, but as an eyewitness, I can tell you that their listeners were fully engaged. So much so that they didn’t even notice when school ended fifteen minutes late, and neither did I.

Mr. Santana 

I have worked with Mr. Santana since he entered the 6th grade two years ago. Mr. Santana was able to engage the class through his sense of humor, eye contact, and clear demonstration. I love his emphasis on order – he even writes it on the board; isn’t that what mathematics is all about?

Mr. Lara

When I first met Mr. Lara at the beginning of the summer, he told me that he did not like me because I want to have everything my way and “that is just not always possible”.  I found his statement compelling and insightful. After all, it’s true that I cannot be in total control of other people, even my own students. He actually sounded just like me at his age. I told Mr. Lara that he did not need to like me, but he did need to meet my expectations in the classroom. Guess what? Despite some issues with tardiness, Mr. Lara turned out to be a wonderful student – smart and interesting. He made me a better teacher because his statement caused me to reflect on how I could let students have control of the classroom while maintaining a focus on the academics at hand. Mr. Lara’s video shows his capabilities with providing a clear and succinct explanation using academic English.

Ms. Crispin

Ms. Crispin began the last school year in a classroom for SIFE (Students with Interrupted Formal Education) students. Her video clearly demonstrates perseverance – although she was nervous and shy, reverting to informal English when her confidence waned – she got through this presentation. After the recording ended, she was so surprised when I told her that she had demonstrated the problem correctly. Ms. Crispin spent a lot of time studying the multiplication table this summer, and I am proud of how she integrated this knowledge into her presentation of division. Interesting Fact: Ms. Crispin loves anime, and she can speak some Japanese!

Ms. Morissett

Sometimes when I see myself teach, I feel really sorry for my students. I know how demanding I am, but I feel like I get great results sometimes. Ms. Morissett came into my class this summer with very limited skills, but she studied, studied, studied, and here she is teaching…after a pretty harsh warm-up. She is the very definition of persistence – even when she struggled and had some incorrect calculations, she was able to recover and self-correct. I absolutely love her determination. Watch out, world…here she comes!

In other news…

Rozzie Reads Poetry is TOMORROW! I will be reciting “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes Check out my ad:

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