First Quarter Update: A Celebration of Community

By Stephanie Rappe — Our Halloween party was different than any other Halloween celebration I’ve ever had. I told the students they could bring in candy or treats to share with their classmates, and they all brought in much to contribute. We had an abundance of fried rice, home made egg rolls, fried noodles, and Hmong candy. We played Hmong music and wrote spooky stories. I’ve never heard some of my girl’s voices be as loud as they were that day. Usually they speak so quietly that it looks like their lips are moving but they are not talking. It was another great glimpse into my student’s lives and how they celebrate in their culture.

The month of October flew by. I cannot believe we are done with our first quarter already. The kids had a long month of testing, between the MAP test and the WKCE it seems like there was always one to be taken. Even though the students were exhausted afterwards, the kids did a good job of powering through these long tests and practicing their test taking skills.

I’ve learned a lot about my students this past quarter and one thing that I’ve noticed is how much it helps them for me to have posters or bulletin boards up with examples of the skills we are learning. Our math curriculum seems to have a new concept everyday and it’s hard for the kids to keep it all straight, so I’ve dedicated a board to math and put up all the different things we’ve learned such as radius, diameter, fractions, angles, perimeter, and even an example of how to solve a word problem. It’s great to see them walk up to the board and use it as a guide when they need the extra help. I’ve also done this for grammar and I have noticed a great improvement in their test scores and understanding. It is so important to constantly be modeling and have a model for the students to use throughout the days, especially since most of my students are ESL and need to see pictures to better their understanding.

I’ve been really blown away with my student’s sense of caring and respect for one another. I’ve had multiple occurrences where my students have gone out of their way to hold the door for each other, help carry a heavy backpack, or help each other sound out a difficult word. I think that because all of my students are Hmong it brings a deeper sense of family and community to our room that is really amazing to see. It reminds me why teaching is such a great profession.

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