My Tuesday afternoons this past summer were spent at Foothills Green Townhomes (a development of Rocky Mountain Housing Development Corporation), an affordable housing community with a high population of Middle Eastern refugees. After lunch, I would help with the girls club, a continuation of Girl Scouts, which runs throughout the school year. Our time was spent planting flowers, writing and doing crafts.
Yesterday, we put material on plane wood picture frames and decoupaged them. It was so fun to see their personalities show as they chose particular patterns they liked and spent time figuring out what to do (since many forgot to listen to the directions). While explaining the project, I had to rephrase and further explain a few details for the girls who are new to the English language. Some families have been here ten years; one family has only been here for a couple of months. This whole activity brought me back to the classroom I used to teach in and the explicit language needed to communicate directions.
Part of the craft directions requires the children to apply two more layers of Mod Podge in the next two days. Immediately after explaining that there would need to be three coats applied on three days, one girl explained that she was finished. My reply was, “Do you mean finished or finished for the day?” Not too important to clarify, except that I wanted to be sure she understood that the project was not finished. Others had to remind her that there would be two more days of application before she would be done, so she was not done yet. On her own, she came back to me with “I’m done for today.”
As other girls finished their work, they would then say, “I’m done for today.” It was nice that they listened to each other and learned the explicit language they needed. Plus, it reassured me that they had in fact understood the directions. I can’t wait to see the finished product next week and begin the new project, wire sculptures.
“I’m done, for today” – what a hopeful way to end a day of work.