And in the end, this is just one story. What is yours?
– Sue Ann Towle, Pearson
El Año de Sofía (The Year of Sofia)
September: Beginning the Journey
Some background on this blog. I know we live in a bilingual country. Here are the facts:
- The US has 41 million native Spanish speakers plus 11 million who are bilingual.
- If you live in New Mexico, California, Texas, or Arizona, you live with the highest concentration of Spanish speakers.
- We now have more Spanish speakers than Spain. Only Mexico has more.
- If you want to be successful in this country in the 21st century you need to learn English.
That’s my job.
My name is Susan Harris and I teach 2nd grade in southern Arizona. This is my third year teaching second graders. I love it more each year. I believe that second grade is an important time when the students really begin to gain critical skills and attitudes. And more than anything it’s the time when my ELLs really start to move ahead using English.
There’s always at least one student in my class who really will need to stretch to get on grade level. This year it’s Sofia. She came to this country this past summer with her parents. Her father and mother were born in La Paz, Mexico.While her mother was learning English herself, Sofia was fluent only in Spanish. On her first day, well before we could get any results from the state tests, I decided to give her a diagnostic assessment that was new to me called TELL.
I wanted to know as soon as possible how she tested in all four domains—listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The TELL test seemed easy to give, the other students that were tested actually enjoyed it, and it promised results right away. It was an easy test to administer to students, via our classroom set of tablets. TELL was what I needed. The state tests take weeks to get results. The sooner I learned how much English she knew, the sooner I could determine where to focus my instruction and what skills she might need to practice with Tina Torrance, our Instructional Coach.
So I’ve decided to focus my blog this year on Sofia, this new TELL program, and what we learned together. It will be journey that has a lot to teach us all.