Keila is seven years old. She is in first grade and attends a public school located in the Bronx. Keila is from the Dominican Republic. Her first language is Spanish. She also understands and speaks English, but most of the time, she speaks Spanish. She lives with her father and grandmother, and she loves to talk with others about her family. At home, she is more exposed to hearing her family speak in Spanish. Keila has long black hair and brown eyes.

Keila’s classroom has 24 students and is combined with second-grade students. This classroom is designed for bilingual students. Her teacher gives the instructions in both languages English and Spanish to support  non-English speaking students. Keila is a very active girl, and she enjoys working in a group. One morning, I noticed that she likes to keep her school supplies clean and organized. One day, a classmate asked her if she can help him to organize his desk like her. She was very happy to help him.  She likes to help her peers. She tries her best to do her classwork on time. I also had observed that Keila loves to color when they are doing an art project; she really enjoys it. Keila is struggling when it comes to reading and writing. When she works on those subjects, she tries hards to follow the directions and raise her hand when she needs help.

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September 7, 2021 3:28 pm

Dear Laura,
I am delighted by your post Description of a Child because I liked the way you described Keila. I appreciated the way you notice all the little details about her and you are able to catch what she enjoys doing and what she has difficulty doing.
One sentence you wrote that stands out to me was ” She likes to help her peers. She tries her best to do her classwork on time”. I think this is important because it shows how Keila is as a person. You are also clearly fitting your title into your post and giving an amazing ‘description of a child’.
Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because I loved the way you explained every part of your writing. I also appreciate that you focused on trying to understand what children do by describing them.
Andrea

September 7, 2021 2:05 am

Dear Laura:
I am happy with your post, “Description of a Child,” because it shows how determine and helpful children that come from another country are. The struggle of learning a new language is difficult enough so it’s understandable that she was struggling with reading and writing.

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is “One morning, I noticed that she likes to keep her school supplies clean and organized”. I was surprised/shocked because to read that a seven year old enjoys to clean and be organize just shows that shes being raised to be an organized and clean person. The classmate that asked for her help just shows how she’s influencing others and how mature she’s becoming at a young age.

Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because knowing the different ways that children are being raised and how they influence others is surprising. Not only that but these children are going to be the future so for them to start becoming mature this early on is surprising

Jennifer

August 26, 2021 8:44 pm

I enjoyed the way you introduced the character as a new language learner and in your post, “Description Of A Child”, caught my attention. I like the way you made Kelia sound kind and that she is joyful. She is trying her very best to speak another language and it would be a challenge for Kelia. And the way the teacher reads the instructions in spanish and english was very helpful to those who don’t speak english or spanish.

A sentence you wrote that stood out to me was “One day a classmate asked her if she can help him to organize his desk like her. She was very happy to help him.” I feel like this sentence is very sweet because they help one another. It was a great way to describe someone as a kind person.

Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because the way you write your stories and the way you describe what that one person is like. You identify the character.

August 25, 2021 8:06 pm

Dear Laura ;
 
I am happy with your post, ” Description of a child,” because it caught my attention. Mosley  enjoyed it because the seven- year – old girl had a lot of exultation. It is normal to see happy children but it is very difficult to find a kind and very organized child as if he were an adult. one sentence you wrote that stands out for me is ” She tries her best to do her classwork on time.” I think this is awesome because sometimes people try to finish their work from school on time and that’s good.  Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because I like your comparisons you make with a seven-year-old girl that she can be happy and relayed  to work. I would like you to continue telling about how people could work hard for stuff in life and be enary. 

August 25, 2021 6:32 pm

Dear Laura:

I am happy with your post, ¨Description of a Child,¨ because it caught my attention. As a seven-year-old girl she has a lot of joy and also a lot of kindness. It is normal to see happy children but it is very difficult to find a kind and very organized child as if he were an adult. Although in reality not even the elderly have such order in their things and many times in their life.

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: ¨One day, a classmate asked her if she can help him to organize his desk like her. She was very happy to help him.  She likes to help her peers.̈ I think this is amazing because it is impressive how she likes to help the people around her being so small. Children her age are often more mischievous, disorganized, and often do not like to help others.

Thanks for your writing.  I look forward to seeing what you write next,because I like to know of a little girl who behaves very differently from the other children. It is interesting so I hope the hairy ones share more about maybe Keila and other companions that she has.

Jenifer

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August 23, 2021 9:13 pm

All she need to do is be more confident and imbrace the help because if she don’t she might just struggle

Nile
August 20, 2021 1:49 am

Dear Laura:

I really loved the way you introduced one of the challenges that new language learners often face. Kelia is one of many students who might only speak English at school because everyone in her household speaks their native language. Students often take a longer time to become fluent and proficient in their second language because they don’t have anyone to practice speaking it with. As a result when their away from school for long periods of time for holidays and vacations they might forget a lot of what they learned. One thing that I loved that you mentioned was the support that Kelia received from her peers. The fact that her classmates asked her if they could help her shows the impact that can have on how much she learns. I thank you for writing about this topic because you really illustrate the benefits and the supports that new language learners gain from being in bilingual classes. I’m really looking forward to read what you write about next.

Mirseda
August 19, 2021 3:12 pm

Dear Laura
While I was reading your description I was thinking how important is to encourage our students to know more than one language. When students are faced with different culoture, it mde more easier their connection with that culture if they know the language.
Keila’s teacher is a great support and inspiration for me as a future teacher , to be able to help my students wehn they have language barrier. Keila seems to be very smart kid and besid the fact that in her family she speaks only spanish, it doe snot effect her love for school.

Jennifer
August 18, 2021 7:15 pm

Dear Laura:
I enjoyed your description of Keila in your “Description of a Child” because I felt like I could picture her via your words. I also appreciated how strengths-based your approach was in this description and the way you noticed small details that might have eluded many of us.

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “She also understands and speaks English, but most of the time, she speaks Spanish.” I think this is interesting because she is in a bilingual environment where it seems like both are equally encouraged. She seems to love her family, with whom she speaks Spanish, very much so it makes sense to me that Spanish would be her language of choice. I hope that the bilingual setting allows her to maintain that strong connection to her home language while allowing her to incorporate English in ways that also feel meaningful and emotionally affirming for her. 
Another sentence that I liked was: “She likes to help her peers.” This stood out for me because you noticed both her tendency towards neatness and the interaction in which her classmate asked for her help. Your descriptions gave me a picture of a warm, caring, quiet child who likes to do well. I think finding ways for her to continue to help others even as she needs to ask for help where she struggles (as she does in writing, for example) will be important.

Have you seen this article on translanguaging? I thought you might be interested in this because it talks about how every child has their own “idiolect”, which is their own repertoire of language that is unique to them. This can be made up of different “named languages” such as Spanish and English, but also includes idiomatic expressions or other forms of language unique to their life and world. One of the points it makes is that students become fluent in a language when they have made it their own and incorporated it into their own idiolect – as opposed to translating between them. It makes a strong case for the importance of translanguaging as a means of accomplishing this. This means encouraging students to mix words from different named languages as they see fit, feel comfortable with, and most suits their linguistic purposes. I wonder if translanguaging by mixing Spanish and English together might help Keila to gradually appropriate more English words into her own personal idiolect. I think you might find this article interesting because it proposes ways of thinking about language that are unfamiliar to many of us. I know it really made me think.

Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because you write so warmly and vividly and with such obvious care.
Thanks,
Jen

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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