Elementary

.: I am in my third year of being an In-School Mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters Edmonton & Area. In December 2006, the Litte Brother I had been mentoring moved out of Edmonton, and after consulting with my Match Caseworker, I was assigned to a new student, a Little Sister, whom I will call C. At our first mentoring session, I taught C how to spell her name in American Sign Language. Afterwards, Jessica, C’s teacher, suggested I teach her how to sign a poem about spring, so for the past few weeks, C and I have been practicing a poem called March:

The March wind blows winter away
And sweeps the streets from day to day
March brings surprises, first the day’s hot
Then it starts snowing, likely as not
Hurry, March wind, hurry along
We like to hear you sing your song.

The process has been very rewarding for me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed teaching C a wee bit of ASL, and doing so has given me the time to refresh my ASL skills, which have diminished over the years. Anyway, after learning and practicing the poem for a few weeks, C was prepared to sign the poem for her classmates with my help. On Tuesday, the “big day”, Jessica introduced me to the students (who are already familiar with me because they see me every week and I have assisted in the class before), and explained that I am C’s mentor, and that I had taught her how to sign a poem about spring. C and I stood at the front of the class, I thanked them for inviting me to be there, and showed them how to sign “Hi”. Then I read the poem to them so that they would be familiar with it before C signed it. Finally, I read the poem slowly while C signed it (she did a great job, btw), and we all clapped at the end.

Then came the surprise. C’s teacher, Jessica, asked if I would teach the class the first two lines of the poem! I said sure, and for the next ten minutes, I was teaching a class of Grade 4 students! I had a blast, it was so much fun! C and I showed them each sign, and then together we all signed the first line, and then the second line, and finally, both lines one after the other. The students loved it, and Jessica asked me if I would show them how to sign the third and fourth lines next week, to which I responded, “Of course, I’d love to!” All in all, very cool. 🙂

3 Responses to “Elementary”

  1. Jane Says:

    Amazing how great it feels, isn’t it?

    When my kids were in grade 5/6 and studying China I used to go in and teach the class a bit of tai chi. It was always fun.

    I have this plan (when I retire LOL) to work with a behavioural program teacher and actually teach a whole class the full tai chi set over a few months. I want to know if concentrating on something like tai chi would help the kids with concentrating on other things.

  2. Jane Says:

    I forgot to mention, they offer ASL as a language option in at least one of the Edmonton Public high schools that Will is considering.

  3. Mom Says:

    I finally got to read about you and C. doing the Spring poem about March. It sounded delightful and I wish I could have been there to witness it. Thanks for including the poem which is very sweet. Teaching children has to be one of life’s greatest rewards. I am so proud of you, and all the good you do for others. (Could I be just slightly predjudiced?) LOL!

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