I work with with Japanese families during the week to help them learn English.
It is very rewarding and lots of fun!! This week we had lots more challenges because of the sounds!!
This week has been all about word families for the second graders. Normally, it would not be hard but they were studying at school were the -ove, -ote, -oke families. Rio came in with word cards with the families on them and a page with consonants and digraphs plus an answer page to write all of the words that they could make. (Sounds easy enough, right?)
After cutting the word families apart, she first chose –oke. Rio was able to say the word family name and we were ready to begin. She put the consonant page down and held the word family card and started to push it down the list. SHe would say the “word” and look at me like “Well? is that a word?!” She did great with coke, smoke and then got to SOKE. Sure, soak is a word but soke not so much! I drew a picture of a bathtub and a person in it and said this is soak but it is spelled soak not soke! I know it is crazy but that is the way it goes. (She looked at me with a big question mark in her eyes.) I drew ‘soak the dishes, soak the plants, soak the clothes’ and ‘sit in water’ but she kept drawing a castle with a samurai/emperor next to it and would point to the man and say ” Soke” . I got her English/Japanese dictionary and discovered that Soke is indeed a feudal Lord in Japan and in their history they talk about them. I felt like I had really let Rio down. She had taught me a new word and I had stomped on her language.
So, we continued until we got to the bl- and she she looked at me when I said yes that bloke was a word. I told her that is used in England and sometimes in America and it means man. So, she wrote やつ then drew a man and just shook her head and smiled. We continued on and she finished her list (poke,woke,choke,smoke,broke,spoke, joke, stroke, coke and we had another discussion why whoke is not a word but woke is but that is for another entry!!
So the rest of the lesson went like that. We would stop and talk and look for the new word and talk about it. I think Rio was relieved when she could read and not have to look at those words for a little bit.
Next it was time to work with her her four year old sister, Shiki! Shiki had to practice writing and counting to 20. No worries there! She did very well. She wanted to work on her color words and was so excited to sing the songs she had learned. My favorite is Green!https://youtu.be/Dqyu6BVjBqo
G r e e n
G r e e n
I know how to spell Green.
Caterpillars are green and grasshoppers are too.
(Shiki’s version Caterpillars are green and grandfathers are too!)
I know how to spell Green
G r e e n!
Before she sang anymore we talked about the caterpillar and grasshoppers. She didn’t have any idea what a grasshopper was so we looked at pictures and they she really laughed as she drew a green grandfather!! Again, language is hard because the word that is in the brain does not always match the word we are thinking. I was glad that I can draw so she could have the picture cards to help her with those words she does not know-she has a her own dictionary as she glued those cards in a notebook she had. She calls it her Bobbiwords!
She was so funny as she kept singing the Green song and would put grandfathers in just to see if I was listening. She can sing and spell Blue, Red, Yellow, Orange and Green and includes lots of giggles.
Sae had a similar lesson to Rio but didn’t bother to cut the cards apart. It took focus to be able to put the cards on the chart and know which family she was looking at!! She has a year more of English and it shows!! She had more trouble with -ove words. She put: cove, wove, glove, drove, love, dove (loved that she went and got the dove soap and brought it in), grove, rove, and clove and shove were hard as those were new words. We talked about them and used them in different sentences and she wrote them in Japanese except shove-she liked acting that one out.
This leads me to the point of today’s entry-why does learning English have to be so hard. The sounds are so similar. Who thought it would be a good idea to have the c and k make the same sound, the w and wh sound alike and the f and ph sound alike? Also, why is dove the bird and dove in the pool spelled exactly the same? It astounds English speakers during writing/spelling so it would have to confuse anyone else!!
I am sure when people first started writing in English it made sense to them but today it can make one go nuts. It is tough in school because you leave it at that is a rule that you have to learn. Those rules like When a word has two vowels, usually the first vowel says its name and the second vowel is silent do not always work because if they did dove (bird) and dove (action) would not be said differently!!!
Learning a language is fluid because it is different in each instance. It is challenging yet fun. It is difficult and yet rewarding. How much fun it is to see one of the new words you have learned in a phrase, sentence or book that you are reading.
The girls and I will continue on our adventure of learning a new language. It will be fun for all of us and who knows, we might share more of it here!!
Learning a language is hard!! It also can explain why grandfathers are green!