Monday, May 17, 2010
Diversity and language in the first grade classroom means wacky conversations in which my head explodes.
Names have been changed to protect the innocent youngsters.
Scene: I am counting down from 10 to 1 while the kids are cleaning up.
Jenny: Count in Spanish Mr. Cheeseboy.
[I don't know Spanish, but they like me to count in Spanish for some reason and although I have to really think hard to count backwards from 10 in Spanish, I do my best. Somehow I succeed.]
Samantha: I can count backward from 10 in Vietnamese.
[Samantha is Vietnamese, so much to her delight, I allow her.]
Billy: Calvin is from China. Have him count in China-ese.
Mr. Cheeseboy: You mean Chinese?
[Much to Calvin's delight, he counts in Chinese.]
Samantha: What about Amanda? She is from Switzerland. She can count in Switzernese.
Mr. Cheeseboy: You mean German?
Samantha: No. That's what they speak in Germany.
Mr. Cheeseboy: Well, they speak it in Switzerland too.
Samantha: They speak two languages there?
Mr. Cheeseboy: No... I mean yes. I mean, they mostly speak German. There is no such thing as Switzernese.
[Amanda proudly counts backward from ten in German.]
Alexia: MY FAMILY IS FROM NORWEGIA!
Samantha: Do you know Nor-GIAN?
Alexia: No, it's like my Great, Great Grandpa was from there or something.
Samantha: Where is Norwegia?
Alexia: I think it's like where it is cold all the time or something.
Samantha: Where the Polar Bears live?
Alexia: Maybe. The pilgrims came from there, I think.
Mr. Cheeseboy: Pilgrims?
Alexia: Yeah, the guys that had the big boats.
Mr. Cheeseboy: You mean Vikings?
Alexia: No, pilgrims.
Billy: Where is your family from Mr. Cheeseboy?
Mr. Cheeseboy: Some of them are from Russia.
Billy: Are your sons from Russia?
Mr. Cheeseboy: No, they are from here.
Billy: Do they speak Rush-ANIAN there?
Mr. Cheeseboy: No Billy.