Tuesday, March 4, 2014


4 of 31 at Two Writing Teachers!
Upbeat strains of Mexican pop music float out from earbuds as two Mexican girls and a Puerto Rican cluster together sharing memories of their traditions related to La Virgencita.

Next to them, a Mexican-American girl gasps as a Dominican boy shows her breathtaking photos of ancient caves that were within walking distance of his house.

Across the room, two sisters from Japan work diligently on their highly informative display about Japanese school life. "Everyone at the event on Thursday will be fascinated to see how Japanese schools are similar and different from ours!" I tell them.

In another class, a Kuwaiti boy and a Saudi boy organize their information to center around aspects of Arabic / Muslim culture that they share, with separate sections on the sides for unique features of their respective countries.

A girl from Bangladesh, nearly finished with her own project, sits elbow-to-elbow with a Chinese girl, helping her get caught up on her writing.

Two Mexican girls huddle on the far side of the room, resolutely practicing "El Himno Nacional". "We're going to sing it on Thursday!" they proclaim with chins held high.

As I help a Somali-Canadian boy glue red and white strips to turn his tri-fold board into a huge Canadian flag, he grins up at me and proudly declares, "All it needs is the maple leaf!" Then, suddenly somber, he asks how my dad is doing.

And late into the evening, a boy from Egypt and Iraq leaves thoughtful comments on every single slice of life written by my other students within the past day. As I scroll through my dashboard, smiling and approving them, his last sentence to a Japanese girl stops me in my tracks.
A15 is my room number. <3
Peace and elation wash over me. With a little magica lot of courage, and the strength to stay grounded, these diverse learners have come together. My classroom is home.


  1. Wow Jen! What a powerful moment to experience. With all of the challenges that the ODE and our administrators place on teachers, we need moments like yours to remind us why education is the profession we WANT to be in.
    P.S. Thanks for inviting the CAWPers to the slice. I needed a challenge like this to give me motivation to write during the school year.

  2. This.Is. Awesome. Look what a community you have created. That is no small task you have accomplished.

    1. Thanks, Deb. That's exactly what I thought!!!

  3. This post warmed my heart! What a tender moment that must have been to see your classroom described as "home." :)

    I can't wait to see their displays on Thursday!

  4. I hope you will share some of the displays too, Jennifer. This is so wonderful to hear about, the warmth shining through, the safety that is evident. You are making this glue that keeps them all together! And, thinking about your dad!

  5. Your class is such an international melting pot! Of course, your class is home for these kids who have been thrust into a whole new world. You get them and they know it.


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