May 11, 2012
team helps Yuba City students learn English
accustomed to being shrieked at and having his shell tapped
upon by little human fingers.
30 years, E.T., a box turtle originally named when the popular
Steven Spielberg movie was still in theaters, has been helping
inspire immigrant school children to speak English.
Monday, his owner, Lincoln Elementary School teacher Kathy Hanlin-McPherrin,
placed him on the floor in front of her students, ages 6 to
8 years old, and allowed them to move in close.
want everyone to notice one new thing about the turtle today,"
she told them.
turtle was opening his mouth and closing it," said Manvir
Sahota, 7, several seconds later.
56, an English language development teacher, acquired the pet
from her stepdaughter, who rescued him from a pet store garbage
can when she was a child.
immediately, the animal became a regular fixture in McPherrin's
hard to get little kids excited about grammar," she said.
"But they want to say things about the turtle, and I give
them prompts to get them to use the appropriate tense."
in a complete sentence," she urged her students during
Monday's English lesson. "I'm thinking of a verb in the
past tense that tells what the turtle did on the rocks."
hands shot up in the air.
climbed," one child shouted.
climbed. That's right," McPherrin said.
week, the veteran teacher brought in something she found in
her yard, in order to spark conversation, using the language
students were only too happy to communicate that a snail, like
a turtle, has a shell, but that only a snail has antennae.
one child was only too happy to challenge her teacher.
have a question," she asked McPherrin. "Why does the
snail have slime on it?"