the ciiiiiircle of lifffffe.....

This break I ran an "intervention" course for some of our ELL level 3's. Monday, we spent four hours together going over different methods of note-taking--we covered standard outline, mind-maps, and cornell notes. I was really, really impressed with how hard the kids worked. We also talked about characterization, setting, and conflict and worked on our organization skills. All in all, we spent about four hours together working steadily--for all of the time I spend with these kids (in and out of school), I am constantly amazed at how dedicated and focused they are in these situations. I love how productive these days feel.
Tuesday, we got to have a lot of fun. We went to the Wild Animal Park (an amazing place, animals roam together in "natural" habitats that are 1000s of acres wide) and just watched and enjoyed the animals. Most of these kids had never been anywhere like it, and the animals certainly put on a show. Most amazing were the lions--the kids were completely entranced, and the lions were just out of reach--pacing on the other side of a glass wall. There were three cubs (about 4 months old), and we all laughed when we realized that their paws were bigger than our hands! Even if they did look like a little bigger than normal house-cats.
I've done these "extension" days three times now and each time I've been rejuvenated and refocused by sitting and working with these kids outside of normal school hours. It's inspiring to watch them work so hard, and it's fun to be there to help them along.