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    new student just learning English
    By jensw

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    A new student has just been added to my 5th grade class. She was adopted from Kazakhstan in June and began learning English in June. She's extremely bright, but obviously language is a barrier. In math, she's a whiz. The "hard" words are new to all the students, so she's learning right along with them. The rest of the words are "easy" words. Plus, usually I just have to explain the directions for the assignment to her once and there are a dozen or so problems for each direction. So she can do the work.

    But when we get to subjects where assignments have questions that she has to read, it's very difficult for her (obviously). I can't take the time to go over every question with her to the extent that she needs for 2 reasons. 1) My class is the sort that you can't turn your back on. If I spend any significant amount of time with her, they're off task and chatting and poking each other with pencils and stealing each other's papers, etc. 2) I assign, for example, 5 questions to answer and think about, and then we'll have a class discussion. In the amount of time it takes me to explain the first question and explain the material in the chapter and re-explain what I've said at the front of the class, the rest of the class is finished and doing all the above. If I assign them "extra" work to do just to keep them quiet, while I work with her, we'll just get more and more behind (in a quarter where we're already horrifyingly behind because of a bazillion Christmas program rehearsals) from going so slow. I'm already two days off just from the 5 days she's been in my class.

    Then there's the fact that we're halfway through a novel study, so she's having to catch up (and her parents are being very helpful in catching her up, but even catching up without a language barrier is difficult). She also gets very down on herself if she spells things incorrectly, even though I've told her over and over that she just has to sound it out and I won't mark it wrong for misspelled words.

    Then there's the issue that even the alphabet is different for her, so I have to write everything extremely neatly for her to be able to understand the letters. I do so much writing on the board that's just quick notes, and I don't have the time to write perfectly every time. If I forget to dot an "i" or there's no "stem" on my "m" or my "w" has a rounded bottom instead of a "v" shaped bottom, she doesn't know what the letter is.

    Help!! What do I do?

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