Thursday, November 03, 2005

Academic Victories!

Dawn did her exhibition on Wednesday morning. I went to Big Picture and found my way upstairs to her advisor's room. Dawn was there in cream-colored pants and a short grey jacket (sort of bolero-style), with her hair pulled back, nervously chewing gum and talking with a couple of classmates, fussing a little with her materials, joking around a little to ease the stress.

Both her parents came. Yeah! They were a little late, and then we had to wait for the principal to bring them some evaluation forms in Spanish. He was teasing one of the guys in Aurora's class who had done a less-than-stellar exhibition the day before. "I'm surprised you can sit down today," he said. The boy's friends giggled. Apparently the kid's mom was on a tear after his.

Not so with our gal Dawn! She was a little nervous at first, but eased in and grew confident as time went on. She gave different parts of her talk in Spanish and in English (though she occasionally had trouble finding the right word and had to switch mid-sentence, which her advisor and the principal want her to eliminate from her next exhibition). I even asked her a question in Spanish! She was talking about something (now I forget what) and she paused like she was done, and I said, "Por ejemplo?" and she gave a couple of examples. At the time I knew what was going on but now I've completely forgotten.

Her stuff on E. coli was pretty good and she wants to continue learning more about bacteria and viruses next quarter.

She talked for a solid 45 minutes and didn't get rattled when we asked her questions. Her dad asked a number of questions when she was explaining what she's learning in music class.

At the end, all the spectators shared one positive thing and one critical piece of feedback based on what we saw. Afterwards Dawn, her parents, her teacher, the principal and I sat down and talked about what her learning goals will be for next quarter. She's going to start some computer course in math. I'll be interested to see what it has to offer.

Afterwards, her parents gave me a ride to work. I asked how Joey's presentation on the knee and the MRI went. It sounds like it went fine--the part I understood most clearly was when his mom told me the teacher said something like, "Wow, that was really good. Did your parents help you with that?" Apparently Joey said, "My parents don't speak English. My friend helped me." We were all laughing about that. I want to hear about it from Joey himself.

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