E-Mail: intlprac@bc.edu or SKYPE us: bc.prac.office

Monday, December 22, 2014

"Twas A Night Before Christmas" Lesson and Challenges of Teaching at Colegio Menor

On my last day, I taught a lesson pertaining to the story “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.  My students have been learning about writing descriptively.  Thus, I had the students identify what actually occurred in the story.  They realized that there is not much action in the story; rather the majority of the story is description.  The students then pointed out interesting descriptions from the story.  Finally, they drew a picture of a family holiday tradition, wrote 5 descriptive words related to that tradition, and used those words in a paragraph about the tradition.
In general, I was very happy with how my lesson was executed.  My teacher was surprised that this was my first lesson that was not a full-class Read-Aloud.  Several students told me that they enjoyed the story I picked.  Upon reviewing the students’ notebooks, they all did a really good job using more complex descriptive words in their paragraphs.  I was pleased that, although “Twas the Night Before Christmas” can be a challenging story in terms of language, the students demonstrated that they understood by correctly answering my questions and participating in the discussion.
I believe that the majority of the challenges that my teacher and I face in the classroom are similar to those in a fourth grade classroom in the United States.  As in all classrooms, students have many different learning levels and needs that correspond to these levels.  Therefore, instruction needs to be differentiated.  Furthermore, especially for elementary school, it is important to find ways to maintain the interest and attention of the students (because their attention span is often shorter). 
There are some unique challenges due to teaching in a bilingual school.  First, the teacher must ensure that the students are speaking the language they are supposed to be speaking.  Also, it is often important to recognize cultural differences that could be a factor in comprehension.  For example, many of the English books that my school uses do not always contain the customs that the Ecuadorian students are used to or can connect with.  Unfortunately, this also can occur with testing because my school uses Scholastic tests.  Thus, there are many different considerations that a teacher must have.
I am very glad I got the opportunity to teach at Colegio Menor.  I was lucky enough to work with two great classes and an amazing teacher.  I believe I learned a lot about the different challenges and advantages of bilingual schools and the educational system in Ecuador.  I hope to use this knowledge in my later practicums.


  1. Hi Erin, I loved reading about your lesson as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' was one of my favorite books as a child! I am assuming that you taught your lesson in English, and was wondering if, being in a bilingual school, you had any experiences teaching in Spanish? You also mentioned that there were cultural differences in many of the English books. Were there any discrepancies in the book's portrayal of Christmas and your students own experiences with the holiday?

  2. Thank you, Emma! Unfortunately, I did not teach in Spanish at Colegio Menor (although I did teach lessons in Spanish to classmates at my university). The main ideas of the book's portrayal of Christmas correlated with those in Ecuador. For example, in Ecuador they still have a Santa that brings all the kids toys. In addition, we talked earlier in the day about the specific differences in Christmas traditions in Ecuador, the United States, and Mexico (one student had recently arrived from there). The students were very interested to share their personal experiences and hear about other students' (and my) traditions.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.