Good morning! Malo tau ma’u e pongipongi ni! (Open Sourcing My Classroom)

During the months of August to December, I had the honor of having a teacher candidate (also known as a student teacher) from Stanford University’s School of Education in my classroom three days a week.

While I didn’t keep my Open Sourcing posts going, I did get to experience open sourcing my classroom to the latest ideas and pedagogies.  I wish I had the time to recall and reflect on everything we tried in the classroom, but one thing I did want to publicly reflect on was the modifications we made to our Morning Meeting.

Specifically, following matt tudor’s recommendations and the suggestions of the TC in my room, we began to say good morning to each other in different languages. While it was one language a week, we have now paused at eight foreign languages. We probably could add more, but I want each to be meaningful and purposeful, otherwise we could just go on learning a new language a week and never stop to think about the languages we’ve learned.

Spanish and Tongan are our students’ native languages. Athabaskan is my tribe’s (Siletz) native language. (My tribe’s native language lacked greeting similar to ‘good morning’, so we settled on “Shay La”, or “hello”.)  Our TC studied abroad in Russia, so Russian was also added. So many of our students have a curiosity in Chinese, so we added “Ts’ow ahn”. Our TC added Swahili and Arabic to really add to the regions of the world we are familiar with in our classroom.

While the greeting takes no more than five minutes, it has seemed to have a much larger effect on our classroom. We are able to refer to it to talk about how we refer to and treat other cultures and languages. It wasn’t immediate, but looking at the trends in our classroom, the comments about other cultures have moved in a very positive direction.

Trust me, being able to discuss the disasters in Japan is definitely made easier without students mocking the people who have been affected. Our discussions the past few days never would’ve been so meaningful had we not implemented our multilingual greeting.

Big thanks to Matt and our TC… and if any of you are interested in implementing this in your classroom, you can start by reading aloud Children of the World Say “Good Morning” by Herbert McClure. I haven’t read it to our class yet, but I think I’ll be reading it next Monday, along with a new greeting, “O-ha-yo”.

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2 Responses to Good morning! Malo tau ma’u e pongipongi ni! (Open Sourcing My Classroom)

  1. Roxanne Parker says:

    I’m so glad that you felt so positively about the different languages — it was one of my favorite parts of “our” class.

    You can bet if I’m in a lower grade that I’m doing that next year, too.

    • Thanks Roxanne. I definitely love that part of our class. I think you should do it no matter what grade you’re teaching. I think it is a great way to open up their eyes to the rest of the world in a very simple way.

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