Brown Bear Song and Craftivity

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The only thing better than teaching a class of the cutest kindergarteners on the planet is getting to sing with them. One of my goals for my ESL kindergarten class is to encourage them to talk as much and as soon as possible… without letting them know that’s what I’m doing. Songs and chants are invaluable for reaching this goal (even with adults).
So, when we were working on sight words “look”, “see”, and “me”, our weekly book activity was ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear’. (As an aside, this book is great for noun/adjective order, animal names, and color word review… and questions/answers). We reviewed our sight words, then read part of the book and students read them in the text. We sang this song from YouTube, which is basically the book put to music. As a review of the story, students had to correctly color the animals on our retelling paper (available here). I modeled how to use the paper to retell the story (with a couple eager helpers) They then decorated their bear, added the googly eyes (which they loved), and mounted on a popsicle stick to make a puppet (they are almost as crazy about puppets as they are about singing). They could then practice retelling the story to each other with their bears. One child would ask the question, one would answer. Some of the kids sang the song to each other or as they were working.
This activity was a hit- all of the kids were singing, almost all were talking! And they were having fun while practicing their language skills. That makes this a keeper in my book!

Also, check out this blog post for more fun ideas and get more printables here!

15+ Activities for the Letter M

This week in Kindergarten ESL class, we learned about the letter M. In prepping for the lessons, I came across several fun and educational ideas for reinforcing the letter M that I wanted to share here.

1.) Storybots letter M — a fun video series available on Youtube.  Warning: these songs will get stuck in your head.

2.) Starfall — free online videos and games for letters and reading.  The games can be played in small groups or whole class with volunteers.

3.) If You Take A Mouse To School — we read this book aloud to reinforce words with ‘m’ and school vocabulary for beginning of the year ESL content.

With this book, there are story sequencing activities to practice retelling stories and using school vocabulary.  I found these activities on teacherspayteachers:

Story Sequencing ($1)

Emergent Reader Take-Home Book ($2) (I used this activity — great for helping students learn to read, turn pages, follow directions, use pictures to retell a story, and send home to help reinforce language skills.)

if you take a mouse to school

4.) If You Give a Moose a Muffin — There are several book activities to go with this one.  These are my favorites from Pinterest:

Moose and Muffin with letter Mm from Diapers to Diplomas

moose and muffin

Math and Handwriting Activities from this blog

5.) M Mask from SimplyCindyblog.com

M mask

Check out some more activities from this blog.

6.) Marshmallow M — helps with pre-writing and fine motor skills. Other M ideas available here.

marshmallow m

7.) Macaroni M — similar to Marshmallow activity. Entire alphabet series available at teacherspayteachers from Early Learning Activities.

m macarroni

8.) Letter M Mouse from Oriental Trading Company

m mouse

9.) Mouse Mask

I bought the supplies at Walmart – $3 for a packages of big plate and 2 packages of little plates, $2 for the Popsicle sticks, $2 for googly eyes. (because cutting holes out for eyes was hard and the mask looked creepy) The sparkly M was also a Walmart purchase — $2.

m mask with book

10.) This freebie from teacherspayteachers that includes writing and letter sorting practice.

m sort

11.) Everything Monster — Read a Monsters Inc. Story and make some of these cute crafts:

monster headband

Monster Headband — Use lined sentence strips to write letter M words.

m monster

Monster M Craftivity from MomJunction

12.) Minion Paper Plate Activity from Glued To My Crafts

minion activity

 

13.) Whole body response: Have students differentiate the phoneme /m/ from other sounds by having students stand up if they hear /m/ at the beginning of the word and squat if  it does not. Use picture cards to help reinforce vocabulary.

14.) Playdoh M: Have students create an m with playdoh logs.  They can trace them with their fingers as a practice before writing.

15.) Songs and Chants: Do you know the Muffin Man and 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed are fun ways in incorporate music and language learning.

This Small Classroom: Dollar Store Vocabulary Activity Books

One of the best instructional strategies for ELs is using lots and lots of pictures.  I found these books at the Dollar Tree that included 100 vocabulary words with activities.  Add in the cost of page protectors and three-pronged folders and the cost was less than $2 per book.  I’m excited to use these books in small group activities — especially with my kindergarteners, first graders, and newcomers. After going through 700 stickers, however, I’m not sure I’ll be making more in the near future.  But there you have it, cheap, fun, re-usable activity books to help with vocabulary development.

sticker books

sticker books

page protectors and 3-pronged folders (I'd recommend plastic)

page protectors and 3-pronged folders (I’d recommend plastic)

Cut apart pages, position stickers, slip into the sleeves and glue the original covers to the front of the folders and there you have it - the finished products!

Cut apart pages, position stickers, slip into the sleeves and glue the original covers to the front of the folders and there you have it – the finished products!

Such cute stickers!  Now all I need is a dry eraser marker to complete the crossword puzzle...

Such cute stickers! Now all I need is a dry eraser marker to complete the crossword puzzle…