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Re: The Kids Were Misbehaving Today

July 14, 2011

Amazing excuses and video!

From: Elle Rupert [] on behalf of Elle Rupert []
Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 5:44 PM
To: Aleksandra V. Petkova
Subject: [heston2011] The Kids Were Misbehaving Today

Listening To: Say You’re Sorry – Sara Bareilles, “Kaleidoscope Heart”

We’ve decided that it must be a full moon. All of the teachers at summer school are exhausted, and all of the students were acting like they had chocolate for breakfast — NOT a good combination.

My first dance class of the day was with the 3rd graders, a group of students with whom I have been working very closely because they will be highlighted in the final performance for Parent’s Night in two weeks. They have been working on the same Bollywood and Hip Hop dances for the last couple of weeks, but they are still having trouble remembering the steps. And today, they were having a LOT of trouble following directions and behaving. I had to stop class and remind the students that they need to follow directions, and I asked them to try to be respectful during dance class.

Two hours later, the third grade classroom came down for lunch and their teacher stopped me so that the students could say in unison, “We’re sorry Miss Elle for being disrespectful to you,” and then they handed me a booklet.

The booklet had a cover on it, had binding (yarn through hole-punched holes), and was filled with letters that the students had written in order to apologize for their behavior during dance class. It was one of the best apologies I have ever received!

The summer school program serves migrant students, students who were formerly migrant students, and students who are English Language Learners. Although for the majority of the students English is not their first language, they have had many opportunitities (especially through the Migrant Education Program) to improve their English Language skills, and it is often difficult to remember that these students might have a hard time with the language. But reading and writing are a different issue altogether – many of the students can hold very extensive conversations, but don’t know how to spell the words they are using, and this is something that is very easy to forget when they seem to communicate so well when it’s not on paper. Although I know that when I speak the third graders in my dance class can understand my direction, they had a very difficult time reading the dance steps they needed to do when I made a poster with the steps and put it up in the front of the room so that they could look at the poster rather than watching me in order to know what step was next.

I wanted to include some of the apology letters that were written to me in order to demonstrate the language barrier and how it is furthered when reading and writing are included. Of course, these ARE third graders, so there are always going to be spelling mistakes and some grammar problems, but the letters reminded me of what I forget all the time — just because it seems like a student has mastered the English language (which can then make it confusing why they are struggling in school), they might be very behind native English speakers in their reading and writing abilities.

Enjoy these letters, because I definitely did! These kids decided to do this on their own and are wonderful students and GREAT dancers!

I’m Sorry because we tak, I’m tak wen I doing.

I msore for toglking in clas.

I’m sorry dat i was was being rudd to you. I am not going to talk when you are talking.

I’m sorry because I was moving alot in your class room. I apologize for dance when you did’ret say.

I’m sorry form talken wen you were talken. I apologize I’m sorry.

I’m sorry decause I tauked when you were taaking.

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