Take last week for example.
We were only a few days from our state's blessed event. The class had just wrapped up a unit on persuasive writing and we decided to revisit fiction one more time. The prompt the teacher selected was, "Imagine you have just gotten a wish granted. What would your life look like after that had happened?"
I modeled for the kids and we turned them loose. After 45 minutes, I threw the papers into my bag, and brought them home to read this weekend. They sat in my bag in the dining room until Sunday night when I got down to business.
L's was one of the first papers on the stack.
L is an English Language Learner who has been in the United States only since August. He lives with his mother and a younger brother. His father remains in Mexico, and L misses him horribly.
my life changd wenI herd a call and I ansered it was my Dadhe side if we can pecam up from the erport, butmy mom told hem how did you crosshe sida he snict intousa so he caim my momwas so exaided she gotthe cis and she lift.when my mom caim backshe caim wet my dad sohe hagd all of us so heput hes clos awey andwent to to slip becausehe was toierd.
when he wouckup wewent to casa bonita andselibrided togeter as a family. wwhen we wher redy togo home we whent to
the Mall and bot a lots
of stoof like toys, hats,
and showes so I sed tomy self I never wantthes to end.
In case you need a translation:
my life changed when
I heard a call and I answered it was my dad
he said he can pick him up from the airport, but
my mom told him how did you cross
he said he sneaked into
USA so he came my mom
was so excited she got the keys
and she left.
When my mom came back
she came with my dad so
he hugged all of us so he
put his clothes away
and went to sleep because he was tired.
when he woke up we
went to Casa Bonita
and celebrated together as a family.
When we were ready to
go home we went to the Mall and bought a lot
of stuff like toys, hats, and shoes so I said
to myself I never want
this to end.
My state, and I'd venture, most others, would not consider this a proficient piece of writing. L did write to the prompt. He has what the state would consider a recognizable introduction and conclusion, and a beginning, middle and end. He is writing in paragraphs. As a beginning English Language Learner, however, L is still trying to figure out the conventions of the English language. Each paragraph is generally one long sentence. L uses capitals and lower case letters intermittently. Almost half of the words are spelled wrong.
Even so, L has used writing to express something really, really important to him.
And in my mind, that's a pretty good measure of proficiency.