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.

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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Bright Hope for Tomorrow: A Teacher’s Sunday Night

Sunday-Night-Blues

It’s no great secret.  Ask any teacher what their least favorite time of the week is, and they’ll most likely reply “Sunday Evening.”  It’s the day before the start of a new week and a repeat of writing more lesson plans, grading more papers, observations, testing,  and, heaven-forbid, another fire drill. And for many teachers, those will be the easiest things they deal with in the classroom.

But, it’s also in the hum-drum of the every day, the snail’s pace of progress that makes a teacher question the difference he or she is actually making.  I questioned it of myself this past week.  This morning, I found myself talking to a friend who was doubting the same.

I think it was no coincidence, then, that one of our scripture readings during the church service included Mark 4:26-27.

And [Jesus] said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.  He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.

So it may be that the daily scatterings of knowledge, patience, discipline, and love in the classroom will sprout and grow, whether the teacher sees or knows how.  It could be that the late nights and early rising will later be blessed with a harvest that the teacher cannot judge now.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Teaching isn’t the only profession that is tiring, but it is tiring.  Teaching is not the only profession that requires self-giving and denial, but it does require those.  Teaching is not the only profession that is time-consuming, but that it most certainly is. The bright hope for tomorrow, even as I may be laboring late tonight and then again early tomorrow, is that my scattering of the seed, seeking to do kingdom work in the place God has given, will produce a harvest, even if I know not how it takes root and grows.

Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9