My Multicultural and Bilingual Class

This year, I am teaching fourth grade and because we are departmentalized, I have two classes. In my homeroom class, I have 22 students, 2 of which speak Hindi (as well as English), and 2 of which speak Spanish. In my afternoon class, I have 20 students and 8 languages represented, including Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Bulgarian, Urdu, Spanish, and English of course. How incredible is that?

So, earlier this week, we were walking down the hall, and because we are still practicing hallway procedures, our line was pretty crooked. One of the kids commented that we look like a snake, and quietly to herself, another student said, “culebra”. Knowing that she spoke Spanish, I asked her if that was the Spanish word for snake. Another student quickly asked if she could tell me how to say snake in her native language, and the rest of the class was immediately intrigued.

When we got back into the classroom, we learned how to say snake in 6 languages. (My Vietnamese speaker couldn’t remember.)

We did the best to spell the words just like they sounded to us. (Most of my students were unsure how to write in their native language except for our Korean speakers… but Korean writing has to be translated into letters for us to understand anyway.)

Spanish – culebra
Bulgarian – smeeva
Urdu – somp
Korean – bim
Taiwanese and Chinese – suh

I am so excited to see what else we will learn, not just about these languages, but also about these cultures.

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