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of which the heart speaks


I teach 2nd grade, but we have a multi-grade combined literacy block that I teach from 9:30 – 11:00 Monday through Thursday. I have first graders, some of my own second graders and third graders.

It’s winding up the end of the year so we’re doing lots of different projects. I’ve never really been the type of teacher to talk over my students while they’re talking and usually at that age level they end up “shushing” each other if I’ve called for their attention and some still aren’t quite with us.

Anyway, so I think it was Monday, but I sat down to start having a discussion with them and there were a few who were still talking. I was in a pretty good mood, and I like when I can spend some time chit chatting about things other than just class, so we were speaking freely. I asked them what languages they thought in.  Most of them answered English, with a few answering differently. I asked them what language they thought in when they were upset or were trying to get something across that they couldn’t express in English. They still were over 50% in agreement that they were thinking in English when upset and trying to express it. They said they would just keep trying in the English they did know until they could get across what they were trying to say.

Then, one of my more insightful and lower level English students said that he couldn’t speak in either Korean or in English when was sad, that it was just too hard in both languages.

Everyone, including myself, started nodding. That’s the language of which the heart speaks, too complex, too hard to translate most of the time.  But that doesn’t stop us from learning to try.



A low tide


A low tide

A low tide last night as I walked along the beach!

Yesterday after my activity period, I was sitting in the sun on a bench. Occasionally the fourth graders playing on the balcony of the dorm shouted out to me and I would retrieve their baseball and throw it back up to them. The temperature was perfect and the peace of the moment well earned after a long day. Carol walked up to me and said “Hey, wanna go to the beach?” to which I replied, “Yes, yes, I do.”.

We had a lot of fun and it was low tide meaning we could walk all the way out to the water for a long distance. The sandscape created by the waves created beautiful ridges that were smooth under my bare feet. (I had ditched the shoes before we even left the parking lot….)

It was nice to just walk and meditate for awhile on the grandeur of it all. I think what struck me the most was the LIFE that was in the tidal pools. I collected shells and some sea glass for my students. I picked up some of the small spiral shells that house snails (they were way up on the sand so I thought the snails were gone… more on that later) and then some bone looking shell piece. After sufficiently gathering enough for this morning’s station (I had an observation/writing centre as one of their choices this morning) we hiked back to the car and went to eat some fabulous food.

All of the shells were in a plastic grocery bag. This morning I grabbed the bag and hung it on the handlebar of my bike as I cycled to school. We had centre time this morning and not 5 minutes into it, the group at the seashell centre said “MISS L! LOOK! The snails are MOVING!”  Man, we had so much fun observing that! I was so excited they were alive. So we got them some sand and water…. hopefully we didn’t kill them because they don’t have the water/sand from their natural environments. I was so excited to share that tiny bit of peacefullness and joy from yesterday with them.

Well, I should go. Lots to do and prepare for tomorrow. 🙂