Monday, May 17, 2010

Diversity and language in the first grade classroom means wacky conversations in which my head explodes.

Occasionally, the kids in my first grade class will get talking amongst themselves and they have no idea what they are talking about.  Rather than stop them and correct them, I usually let them babble on and on as it is very entertaining to me.  Such was the case today as the following conversation took place amongst my students:

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?

Billy: Yeah.

[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.

60 comments:

sammy said...

i love randomly inserting spanish words into everyday conversation.

it makes me feel well rounded.

FabuLeslie said...

Lol! You've got a regular mini-United Nations thing happening there! And they are SMART too!

My school is over 50% bilingual, but the second language is Spanish. I'm hopeless when it comes to foreign languages, though.

Latin in high school did help my SAT scores, though.

FabuLeslie said...

P.S. Did I dream about an Elton John post over here? I've seen him in concert more than 3 times, so it's not unimaginable that I have random day-blog-dreams about him. Especially since I imagine opposite day posts too.

Nubian said...

Rush-Anian ~ you have to love it! Thanks for the post ~ now I can get back to being OCD about packing.

Ally said...

I know I should not use this space to promote something, but I will. Your post reminds me of a new line of cultural kids books I've been freelancing for... They're called Alphabet Kids and they're for small children, maybe you should check them out for your class. I may do some promo with bloggers, if I do, I'll be sure to include you (like send you a copy). The site is AlphabetKids.com check it out if you get a minute.

järnebrand said...

I could so relate to this. Loved it. Cute kids you got there. :)Adult Americans have actually asked me some of these questions. I am not kidding. :) Peace/ Jo.

Gwei Mui said...

ROFL aren't kids amazing and these ones certainly are as well as being pretty sharp in their own way. I love the bit about the Pilgrims best.

Bits-n-Pieces said...

We have a large hispanic population at our school, and thus about 1/3 of my class speaks spanish. I will once in awhile speak a sentence or two of my very limited spanish into their conversations, and the looks on their little faces are so funny when they think I have really been understanding what they've been talking about!

GypsyFox The Glamorous Betty Crocker said...

lol that's funny!!! my son is in 1st grade sounds like things he would be asking :) hehhehe

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

This is very cute and funny. Perhaps you should tell the kids you speak Cheeseboyian.
Cheers,
Robyn

imbeingheldhostage said...

My family speaks Kentuckynese and I had a really hard time understanding them.

Melissa@Suger Coat It said...

Hahaha. Love kids. I could listen to the ramble prattle on for hours and hours.

Mr. Stupid said...

These kids are so funny. China-ese... LOL. That's a fun class you teach, Cheeseboy.

Funny post. Toodles!:)

ScoMan said...

You know what? I think if the pilgrims were vikings, history might be a fair bit different.

Or maybe not.

I failed history.

Which ones were the pilgrims again?

Kelly said...

Maybe it's just the OCD mother in me but this post made me keep wondering if they'd ever get the classroom cleaned up with all this talk talk.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Alexia will be very disappointed about those pilgrims during a history class one day...

janjanmom said...

YOU WON!!! YOU WON!!! The competition was fierce, but you prevail. Send me your mailing info to janjanmomatgmail.com and an autism CD will be on its way to your door. I hope you and your sis-in-law learn boatloads from it. ( :

mama-face said...

I love how kids cannot stand to be left out. You have a very diverse group. :)

baygirl32 said...

Very diverse group you got there! For the longest time my daughter spoke Bri-neese, where everything had her own name in it..Bri-cited, Bri-lax, Bri-tired.

The Church Lady said...

That is so cute and endearing. I'll bet there is never a dull moment in your classroom.

We speak Pennysltuckian in my parts! Hickville all the way.

Vagabond Teacher said...

Love it! I'm always happy to hear a constructive conversation that doesn't involve tattling or fighting!

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

Brilliant!

My favorite: Switzernese.

Great teaching, great post, thanks Mr. Cheeseboy!

Writing Without Periods! said...

How funny. I love the way kids think...I wish I could think that way. Your days sound delightfulesque!
Thanks for the grin.
Mary

The Invisible Seductress said...

What a blessing it would have been to have you as my teacher. Maybe you would have made me feel better about the lack of "r's" in my vocabulary!!

Noelle said...

Hey, what happened to the i-pod post? I was going to leave a witty comment. Well...maybe it would have been witty...

I love when you post first grade stories!!!

MiMi said...

Geez, you've got more diversity in your classroom than I have in my whole town.

Melinda said...

Seriously they new how to count backward in Chinese? Sheesh. I feel stupid now.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

I only speak English-ese and blogger-ese. :D

Nancy C said...

The logic is there. It makes sense to me.

It's like my kid...he says "five-teen" instead of "fifteen" because it's following a pattern.

Sam Liu said...

This is so funny, I was laughing throughout, it's just like the absurd conversations I often overhear. Hilarious! :D

Tyler and Lyndsay said...

So amongst all the funny comments about their heritage did anyone ever reach ONE while counting??? haha, oh I would love your job somedays.
PS - good to see you guys the other night while we were putting that stupid swing set together.

Keely said...

Based on that conversation, MY knowledge of geography & languages is approximately at a Grade 2 level.

Tyler and Lyndsay said...

OH, and I also meant to ask if you had a "Yo-Yo master" in your classroom. Now THAT would be diverse.
(laughed so freaking hard at that clip by the way)

Ces't La Vie said...

hahaha how entertaining, i love the innocent minds of children. you lucky man

sara

Lindzena said...

I officially miss first grade now. I want to go to Norwegia someday. The bilingual-ness of this generation officially surpasses me and threatens my authority and domination. Frightening.

Hutch said...

Boy do I feel uneducated now!

GrammyMouseTails said...

Loving it! you have one of the best grades to teach... still wanting to learn & are interested too!
But I wonder too...
do your sons speak
Americancheese-glish?

Queenie Jeannie said...

I love the cute stuff kids come up with!!! Bella has had her fair share of zingers too and it's very entertaining!

Janelle said...

God bless you for putting up with those little ones all day long...they are a riot!

Adoption of Jane said...

HAHAHA too cute!!

Beth said...

Loved the Norwegian Pilgrims in particular! :) That was cute, Abe! Thanks!

Copyboy said...

kids say the darndest things...about different languages.

Joann Mannix said...

You know who can count in Spanish really well? Okay, I'll tell you. Bono. Have you heard him? He's a great random Spanish counter.

My grandmother, in her old age, decided she would no longer converse in English. She came over from Ireland as a young girl. So, for the last 5 years of her life, I had no idea what she was saying to me because she only spoke Irishese. Or more commonly known as Gaelic.

blueviolet said...

If you really wanted to, you could blow their minds with some of the combinations of locations and languages!

onlyoublog said...

That is so adorable!! We (hubby, 6 y/o and I)do this alphabet country-city-continent-state game where you take turns naming one of the above places in alpha order. We get some good ones out of our son when he gets stuck (Mew Zealand, Zafghanistan, etc.). Maybe you should try this with your kids :-)

Martha said...

What no Yiddish or Navajo?
Another dear blog friend, Jason of the Jason show of www.thejasonshow.blogspot.com is a first grade teacher and also has these incredibly funny kid insights.
Thanks, you're a real Cheez Wiz.

Tammy said...

Your kids needed to be at Nathan's school today. They had a Europe fair!

Tammy said...

And I just read the comment that said you won a free autism CD that could benefit your sis-in-law. I hope that's me!

Katie's Dailies said...

Ah, thanks for the giggles. Love me some children-ese!

Karen said...

Very cute. Sounds like you really teach a fun class. Thanks for swinging by and posting.

Have a wonderful day.

See Mom Smile said...

I bet every hour you could blog about a conversation like that in your classroom. So cute.

Anything Fits A Naked Man said...

Oh, to be a fly on the wall in your classroom, Cheese! I bet it's a riot!

Thanks so much for sharing this!

Diane J. said...

Little minds at work...I just love it. Sounds like you have a great class and they have a very patient teacher.

Krista said...

I love those cute little minds! I used to substitute teach and I just loved all the funny things they would say. You got one of the best jobs in the world! I have a nephew who said he could whistle in Spanish - now THAT takes talent!

Powdered Toast Man said...

Kids say the darndest things. I was at a magic show at a fair the other day and a 4 year old boy was asked by the magician what he would want as a present. The kid said a girlfriend. So cute and funny.

tiburon said...

That is rad.

All of a sudden I want to be a teacher.

Dave Austin said...

Have you ever read the Hank the Cowdog series by John R. Erickson?

That was truly a Hank and Drover conversation.

Lisa said...

Oh, I remember that age so
well. How fun is your job that you get to listen to this random greatness all day, everyday? :)

Teachinfourth said...

Gotta love those odd, little conversations...

Lady Hill said...

This just made my night.

I can't believe I haven't been following you!
I am now.

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