Parts of a Poem Anchor Poster

I love this poem because it is humorous, relatable for the kids, and the language doesn’t get in the way of understanding the parts of a poem. This is especially important for ELs. If the language of the poem is accessible, they are able to focus on the academic specific language of meter, stress, and rhyme scheme. They are also able to move on from basic comprehension to analysis of the text. 

Notes: the shapes around the rhyming words are how I scaffold to teaching rhyme scheme. The different shapes belong to specific “rhyming buddies”. The students are thrn able to transfer this to lettered rhyme scheme. 

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.

Reading Language Arts Anchor Charts

I have successfully spent the last morning of 2015 sniffing Sharpie fumes… I mean, making anchor charts for the classroom. Along with getting organized for the semester, I also wanted to create some reading and grammar resources for my kiddos to use in the classroom to help retain previously taught information. Anchor charts are a helpful visual aid for introducing a topic. Sometimes I bring a completed chart for the lesson. Other times I create a chart while I’m teaching the lesson and hang it up later. The students like to copy the chart in their notebook for note-taking if I’m making one during the lesson. We also discuss information that could be added to the anchor chart (or information that shouldn’t be added) during that lesson or as a review activity. During small groups, students can complete or create from scratch an anchor chart about the lesson, which I also display. (That’s evaluation, application, creation, and synthesizing, for those keeping track of higher order thinking skills.) I have seen my students use these to help answer questions and guide discussions in table groups. They have grown in confidence as a result. Over time they depend less on the chart as a result of repeated exposure to the information. Since I have ESL students, I tend to go for charts that are rich in vocabulary words, as well as grammar. Here are some of my favorites I made today. (But seriously, anchor chart crafting should be done in a well ventilated space. Sharpie-induced headache is a real thing.)

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Others include Pinterest inspirations:

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What are some anchor charts you use in your classroom?

Summer Reading List — 2011

One of my favorite things about summer break (and Christmas break) is the chance to read… for pleasure… for hours on end.

Sylvie and Bruno — Lewis Carroll

A story beginning with two story lines that merge into one.  The first story line is in the world of fairy children, Sylvie and Bruno.  The second is in the world with an old friend, Arthur, and Lady Muriel.  Both stories focus on love, lessons, and the dozens of little moments that are to be captured in a day… or a dream.

“Wouldn’t it be better to tell me after the lessons are over?” I suggested.

“Very well,” Bruno said with a resigned air: “only she wo’n’t be cross then.”

“There’s only three lessons to do,” said Sylvie. “Spelling, and Geography, and Singing.”

“Not Arithmetic?” I asked.

“No, he hasn’t a head for Arithmetic — ”

“Course I haven’t!” said Bruno.  “Mine head’s for hair.  I haven’t got a lot of heads!”

” — and he ca’n’t learn his Multiplication-table –”

“I like History ever so much better,” Bruno remarked. “Oo has to repeat the Muddlecome table –”

“Well, and you have to repeat –”

“No, oo hasn’t!” Bruno interrupted.  “History repeats itself. The Professor said so!”

Keep a Quiet Heart — Elizabeth Elliot

This book could be used for daily readings.  Each chapter is short — 2-4 pages — and focuses on how we have peace through Christ.

“One day recently something lit a fuse of anger in someone who then burned me with hot words.  I felt sure I didn’t deserve this response, but when I ran to God about it, He reminded me of part of a prayer I’d been using lately: “Teach me to treat all that comes to me with a peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all.”

…Mercifully, God does not leave us to choose our own curriculum.  His wisdom is perfect, His knowledge embraces not only all worlds but the individual hearts and minds of each of His loved children.  With intimate understanding of our deepest needs and individual capacities, He chooses our curriculum.  We need only ask, “Give us this day our daily bread, our daily lessons, our homework.”  An angry retort from someone may be just the occasion we need in which to learn not only longsuffering and forgiveness, but meekness and gentleness; fruits not born in us but borne only by the Spirit.”

Isaiah — The Bible

Poetry punctuated with narrative tells the story of a nation who had forsaken their God, a man called by Grace and commissioned to preach, the fall of arrogant nations, the judgment of sin, the coming Messiah, and the salvation of God’s people, not just in Israel, but in all the nations of the earth.

And I said: “Woe is me!  For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.  And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, his has toughed your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” Isaiah 6:5-7

Yesterday I came acrossA Divine Call for Missionaries, a sermon by Charles Spurgeon on Isaiah 6.  Reading that sermon made me want to add this book to my reading list.

The Berenstains’ B Book: 6 teaching ideas

This week’s Fun Friday book that I brought for my students was The Berenstains’ B Book, a Bright & Early Book for Beginners, published by Random House (available for $2 here).  Each class was on a slightly different topic this week, but I was able to read the book in all five classes… simply because this is a wonderful book.

This book is great for ESL students — especially beginning ESL students — because it introduces small phrases at a time, then repeats them and builds off of them.  The illustrations are great too.  And students enjoy learning new sound effect words like “boom”, “bonk”, and “bop”.  There is even an opportunity for character education discussion (see teaching idea 5).

So, here are six different concepts you can teach/reinforce using The Berenstains’ B Book.

1.) Phonemic Awareness: word initial /b/

Granted, this is the most obvious of the five concepts, but my students were really surprised that so many words in English could begin with the /b/ sound… much less that you could make up a whole story using those words.

Some of my kindergarten and 1st grade students were having trouble remembering that words rhyme when the end sounds the same, not the beginning.  I was able to compare this book with another (Green Eggs and Ham would be a good one) to show the difference.

For upper grade student who are still beginning readers, this is a great way to introduce “alliteration”.

2.) Reading Fluency

As I mentioned before, since this book builds off of itself by introducing phrases and then repeating and building off them, this book make great reading fluency practice.  I gave students a fuzzy friend (i.e. “pipe cleaner” or “chenille straw”) to track the print.  Tracking print with a fuzzy friend almost guarantees undivided attention to reading… at least with my students.

3.) Adjectives

One of my classes is learning parts of speech, and this week was adjectives — what they are, what they do, and where you put them.  This book is full of adjectives.  If you go on to use plot continuation (#5), you can introduce adjective ordering and commas, too.

4.) Cause and Effect

This book is a light-hearted reinforcement for cause and effect.  The animals’ biking backward causes them to bump other animals, which in turn causes those animals to land on Baby Bird’s blue balloon… the effect is that the balloon pops.

5.) Plot Continuation

Now that I’ve given away the ending, I have to add that, for my tender-hearted students, this is a pretty rough ending.  They don’t want Baby Bird to be sad.  So, after reading the book, we come up with a happy ending for Baby Bird.  First, we create a word bank of words beginning with /b/.  Then, we write a sentence using mostly those words to finish the story.  The students then draw the sentence on their drawing/writing pages.  Based on the students’ English level and grade level, these were the sentences you can create:

Baby Bird got a bigger blue balloon.

Baby Bird bought a bigger, better blue balloon.

Big brown bear, blue bull and beautiful baboon ballerina bought Baby Bird a bigger, better, brand-new blue balloon.

(The last sentence goes well with a lesson on moral responsibility. ;)).

Or, as one of my kindergarteners told me, the new balloon would be blue, brown, and black.

6.) Vocabulary Development

Not many young ESL students know words like “bull”, “bagpipe”, “bugle”, “beagle” or “baboon”.  The way this book is written gives reinforcement for the meaning of these words without having to repeat using flashcards.   Also, creating a word bank of /b/-initial words for the writing lesson can introduce other words such as better, bigger and brand-new.  Students are very impressed when they get to the end of the book and see a whole page full of words that begin with /b/.  After creating a words bank on the board, students see the list of words they know that begin with /b/ and get positive feedback on their English abilities.

… and there you have it.  Best book ever.