Wednesday, January 18, 2012

sparks of curiosity

I love days that my students are working on projects because I get to talk to them in a more relaxed way than usual.  Whether it's a group or individual project, the less-structured atmosphere offers more opportunities to connect with kids. While they're still engaged and working hard, there's a sense that we can take a minute to have some little "side conversations" that we just can't squeeze into "regular" days.  (Although I'm trying to create more of these on the regular days too!) Some of the best little discussions about Spanish-speaking culture, my personal life, their personal lives, etc. have come while talking to a student or group of students as they work on a project.

Recently, I got a new highlight among these little moments as my 6th graders worked on a project in the computer lab.  A couple of kids called me over to ask some unique questions:

  • student: "You know how sometimes you talk to us in a whole lot of Spanish?"
  • me: "Yeah..." (thinking: You better not ask me to talk to you in all English instead, b/c it's not happening!)
  • student: "Well, do you ever THINK in Spanish?" (several friends nearby lean in and squirm with curiosity)
  • me: "A lot!  Sometimes I think in English, sometimes I think in Spanish, sometimes I go from one to the other right in the middle of a thought!  And sometimes..." (slight pause for dramatic effect) "... I even DREAM in Spanish!"
  • wide-eyed kids: "WHOA!", "No way!", etc. 
One of my favorite things about beginning language learners is how curious they are about languages!  I can just see little sparks igniting in their heads as they try to figure out what all it means to really know another language.

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