Lowering the affective filter
Buenos tardes mi clase! Solamente dos dias antes de mi vacaccion de Mexico a ver mi familia!(Did I say that right?) I told my tutee today that I was going to be gone next week because I was going to Mexico. He was really excited for me and instantly wanted to talk about his family that still lives there. This in and of itself was interesting because I was under the impression that his whole family had migrated into the US. I guess I am still learning more and more about his upbringing. Today I tried to do a bunch of small interconnected lessons. I thought that this way I could sustain his attention a bit longer. We started off by doing a walk around his school and playing a game of “I spy….” My student would either have to point or state his guesses. In this example, he knew it was a ball, but didn’t know specifically it was a basketball.
We continued on a “talk walk.” I gave him the freedom to ask me any questions he wanted to about what he he saw around the school. For some reason he was baffled by the parking blocks. He would say, “what are deez? why dis way? yellow?” With some gestures, I explained what they were, their function, and why they were the color yellow. After enough sunrays we relocated to the cafeteria where I was able to conduct more formal lessons. I was still trying to focus on vocabulary, so I let him choose 8 objects or “nouns” to write and draw about. His choices were: shark, school, himself, clothes (firemen’s more specifically) spider, iguana, and teacher. (he wasn’t able to come with all these words on his own so I improvised for him.) From the selections he drew colorful illustrations and wrote descriptions for each picture. I really sense a tremendous amount of comfort between the two of us and I believe this has been instrumental in his exemplary behavior.
It sounds like you are accomplishing one of the most important goals at the beginning which is establishing trust/rapport with the student by lowering the Affective Filter. Kudos to you!