Using My Teacher Voice

“Wow, I was using my teacher voice. I actually missed that.”

I couldn’t believe that was a thought from my own brain. Yet, there is was. Even more shocking… it was true. I really had enjoyed using my teacher voice.

This teacher voice, however, was not the stereotypical one my students aren’t supposed to make me use.

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Oh, I have that one, too.

Then the realization dawned… I have more than one teacher voice.

And so do my teacher friends. I have heard many, many teacher voices coming from down the hall and in my own classroom.

There is the teacher voice that yells above a noisy classroom.

A teacher voice that quietly talks to a student about their struggles at the teacher desk.

The teacher voice that is raised in anger.

The teacher voice that is upbeat and cheerful.

A teacher voice that is firm in discipline.

The teacher voice dripping in sarcasm and bordering on disrespect.

A teacher voice that almost sounds like singing – lilting and lyrical.

A teacher voice that is smiling.

A teacher voice that is sad.

The teacher voice that is tired and discouraged.

I’ll admit it.  I’ve too often used the wrong teacher voice. My students got an exasperated voice when they needed a patient one. I taught about main idea and details (for the 500th time) with a tired voice when my students needed interest and energy.

Some days I may feel like Charlie Brown’s teacher projecting wordless, almost intonation-less mumbling in front of a classroom, but in actuality my students hear what I say.  Maybe more importantly, they hear how I say it.

School’s out for the summer, so I’m looking forward to the next year. One goal is to own my teacher voice (all of them) and make conscious efforts to use the one my students need… and leave behind the one they don’t. Do I think I will always succeed? No, but there is the grace of transparency and admitting when I’ve used the wrong voice. When I talk to my students about my voice, they understand their own.

Self-controlled. Lyrical. Firm. Smiling. Sad. Respectful. Laughing. Clear. Strict.

Patient.

Kind.

 

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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:

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

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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.

Getting Ready for Year 7: day one vs. day five

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Many thanks to my parents for spending at least a couple of these past five days helping get the room ready. A new room means new routines. I tried to reflect that in the set-up, including getting rid of the teacher desk and trying a new student desk arrangement. Bring on the students! (…but next week, please, because I’m not done with the paperwork, yet.)

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Displaying anchor charts

Quick post to share a new strategy I’m using for displaying anchor charts. These clips are available with other poster strips and hooks at Walmart and Kroger. They can save money overall and are easy on the anchor charts– especially if no one has gotten around to laminating them yet. 😉

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