Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Learning Friend

Every Wednesday, Smartmom spends an hour tutoring an 8-year girl by the name of Hanadi. Smartmom is part of a school program called Learning Friends where parents tutor and mentor children who are struggling in school. Hanadi is from a Yemenese family and was born in the U.S. She has difficulty in reading and other academic areas. Her vocabulary needs improvement as does her overall comprehension -- there are many things she does not know about or understand.

Smartmom worked with Hanadi last year and they both wanted to work together again. The continuity is nice. Smartmom is getting very attached to Hanadi. So is OSFO. This year, OSFO and Handi's classrooms are in the same hallway. OSFO always manages to plan a trip to the bathroom when Smartmom is tutoring Hanadi (Smartmom and Hanadi sit in the hallway to do their work). Yesterday, OSFO asked Smartmom to pick her up on the way to Hanadi's classroom -- OSFO's fantasy was that she would get to spend the entire period with Hanadi and Smartmom. She was dreaming. Her teacher won't let her out of the room for that long.

Smartmom didn't want to tutor someone, especially a girl, in the same grade as OSFO. She knew it would cause tension and competition for OSFO. But Hanadi had to repeat second grade -- so now Hanadi and OSFO are in the same grade. And they are fascinated by one another.

Smartmom and Hanadi do a lot of reading and writing together. Last year, they made illustrated books based on the books Hanadi is reading like "Little Bear," and "The United States of Me." Recently they've been making popsicle stick puppets for a show of Cinderella. They are getting ready to act out the play for each other and maybe OSFO. Afterwards, Hanadi will write her own version. There is actually an educational benefit to this project: Hanadi is learning how to sequence a story. They're also having a great time.

Hanadi is a spunky and sweet girl. She has long brown hair, which she wears in a braid or a bun and she has dark, brown eyes. She speaks often about her mother, who is going to nursing school and her uncle who is in a wheel chair. She doesn't see much of her father but when she does she tells Smartmom all about it. She loves clothing and playing with her cousins. She keeps her room very neat and loves talking about her family.

Last year, Hanadi wrote a list of her wishes:

These are my 7 wishes for my family:
1.I want my mother to have a good life, to have a good day, to have fun, to have fun with her friends.
2.I wish about my family: They will take me to Florida.
3.I want my house to be bigger.
4.I want my house to be clean.
5.I want candy.
6.I want my life to be special.
7.I want my family to all be kind and happy and to be happy about their lives.

One time Hanadi wrote about a dream:

Me and my mom went to California in my dream. Then we bought a house. But it wasn’t really big enough but it was clean. We went to some party but it wasn’t good. Then we went back to Brooklyn. While we were on the airplane, we saw our Brooklyn house was on fire. Then I woke up and I felt dizzy.

Smartmom worked with Hanadi until it is time for lunch. The hour passed very quickly. Afterward, Smartmom watched all the second graders line-up in the hallway and march off to lunch in the cafeteria and gym. Yesterday, Smartmom joined OSFO at her table with her friends and checked out what everyone is eating for lunch ideas. There was: bagel with cheddar cheese, Lemon Chicken Wrap (fancy), rice and beans, chicken nuggets, good old jelly on white bread (OSFO's fave). After lunch the kids lined up to go into the backyard -- which has been marvelously re-designed by the "backyard committee."

OSFO told Smartmom that Wednesdays are her lucky day day because: "Mom comes to tutor Hanadi and eats lunch with me, it's my class's special day in the playground, and we study New York City in Social Studies."

Yes, Wednesday is a lucky day.


At 7:08 PM, Blogger mamainwaiting said...

such a touching story about the convergence of many lives, all in a hallway at PS 321. H. is lucky to have you in her life as OSFO is as well. love, MIW

At 9:44 PM, Blogger mrs. cleavage said...

hey smartmom. it's been a crazy busy time. thanks for reading & if I can get DF to dig up that poem, you shall have it. something about fall, I believe it was. written lo, these many years ago. Btw, I love your current post, really special.


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