Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Everything ESL: Resources for the Beginner ESL Students

After spending three years in Seoul, South Korea, with my family, I knew that I wanted to teach English Language Learners. (ELL) What I loved the most was teaching English to Korean children. At first I had no idea how to start but I had been an elementary teacher and special ed teacher for many years, so I started with lots of pictures of nouns and verbs and wrote my own curriculum. When I returned to the US I started teaching adults while taking many ESL classes until I finally got the job I had waited for: An ESL Resource Teacher/Specialist with the Anchorage School District. Believe it or not there were over 100 different languages spoken by students in the district so it was a true ESL program. I worked in the lowest performing elementary school in the district in the mornings and traveled to 5 other schools in the afternoons. I trained tutors and staff across the district and the state. I became a Trainer of Trainers for S.I.O.P. (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) a method for teaching ESL students. After retiring, I became an Education Consultant for a Korean Company developing their on-line English Speaking, Reading, and Writing Courses for Elementary and Middle School students. After four years I retired. I decided it was time to give TpT and blogging a try. At that time there didn't seem to be much of a market for ESL materials and honestly I knew nothing about marketing or blogging. But now I realize there is a need to know more about teaching ESL students and resources for them.

What I do know for sure is that there is probably a 99% chance that those of you reading this have at least one ESL (or ELL) student in your classroom. With high stakes testing, those new to the country or English language programs are only given a 1 year grace period before those students are required to take part in those tests. I truly understand how frustrating that is for those of you who work at schools with a high number of ESL students or a sub group of enough ESL students to count towards your schools' annual yearly progress.

What the research shows is that the quality of instruction is a vital factor in ESL students learning English. Well organized classrooms with ample opportunities to interact in English and practice English with both the teacher and classmates is essential. Some of you have an an ESL resource teacher in your school where your students get pulled out for an hour or more each day for intensive instruction. He or she will be a great resource for you. For others you may be looking for some materials to help your ESL students. There are some wonderful materials available that are not too expensive that your principal may be willing to purchase which I'd like to share with you.

Picture Dictionaries: There are several to choose from depending on the ages of your students. If your students are literate in their first language then you may want to look at the ones that are in both English and the student's first language.

I used Word by Word Basic for my learning center. It is a smaller version of their Word by Word dictionary which I used for adults. There are many options for English and other languages. Just click on the picture to find out more about it.
My favorite for my primary students was the Oxford Picture Dictionary for Kids. Not only is there a dictionary but there are reproducible books that have Picture/Word Cards, Worksheets, Stories and more. There are 9 themes with several lessons for each theme. My students loved this series. You can access all the components by clicking on the image below.
For the Intermediate grades I used the Oxford Picture Dictionary for Kids in the Content Area and reproducible books. There are Math, Science, and Social Studies units and more. Just click on the image below to learn more about these. If you are only interested in the dictionary you can click HERE.
Another great resource is Rosetta Stone. Students can work at the computer during the day individually . You can learn more about it by clicking on the image below.
With the ESL population growing all over the US, I decided to start creating ESL materials not only for the classroom teacher for for ESL teachers, too. I completely revised my first ESL Beginning Speaking Unit when teachers started purchasing it and started asking me if there were more lessons like that one. It actually was one of a group of 20 ESL Beginning Speaking Lessons that I just didn't get around to revising and remaking. The first was called "My Day: In the Morning". Then I created and bundled the 3 lessons: "My Day" which you can access my clicking on the image below:
I incorporated the sheltered instruction strategies of a Activating Prior Knowledge (what do they already know), Building Background (pictures for new vocabulary), Guided Practice (speaking activities) and Independent Practice. Here is a sample of all the activities of "In the Morning" You can click on the image above to read all about the lessons and download the Preview file to see all the materials and activities in the Unit.
Through FB I met a teacher who was beginning her journey as an ESL Resource Teacher after 20 years of teaching. Her job is so similar to the one I had in Alaska. We became instant friends and she inspired to create more lessons. Here is my new "At School" unit, which contains 4 Beginning Speaking Lessons. Each of these Unit Lessons have a Lesson plan for teaching each of the sheltered instruction strategies. You can read the description and download the preview file by clicking on the image below.

I have made my lesson "My Day: In the Morning" free to my followers and viewers who have ESL beginner students in their classrooms or to ESL teachers. I hope that it will get them interacting in their new language in a fun way and on the road to achieving proficiency. I would love for you to come back and comment below to give me some feedback. Just click on the image below to download your free lesson.
You may also be interested in my new Pinterest board which you can follow by clicking on the picture below. Click HERE to check out all my new Pinterest boards.
Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. I am planning to do more blog posts about working with ESL or ELL students. If you are interested in knowing more, leave a comment below to tell me what topics your would be interested in. Thank you.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

All About Apples: Free Resources, Free Poems, Activities, Crafts, and Books

I love apples! Fall is apple picking season so I put together some great resources for you to access books, crafts, and activities you can do with your class this September and October. If you are looking for some great books about apples for Shared Reading just click on the image below.
If you are looking for books about Johnny Appleseed you can click on the this image below. You will find summaries of all the books.
How about some free reading, writing, and other fun activities? Just click on the image below. There are  a lot of websites at Kids Konnect for other free resources as well.
I also found some fun apple facts and other activities at the site below. Just click on the image to access these resources.
You will find lots of fun things to do with apples at Scholastic such as tasting, measuring, crafts, and more. Just click on the image below.
How about some fun Apple craft ideas? You can always find some fun ones at DLTK. Just click on this Stained Glass Apple Craft below.
You can find lots of other free Apple activities at DLTK by clicking HERE

I have just created and uploaded my new "All About Apples" Unit for grades 2-3. It has 3 Reading texts including "All About Apples", a Biography of "John Chapman" and "Growing Apples" all differentiated at the 2nd and 3rd grade levels. Here is a sample of the 3 Reading Texts and Activities: 
There is an  Apple Life Cycle Picture/Fact Match and Make and Take Book Activity as well as Poetry Writing and Writing Prompts. If you would like to check out my new unit just click on the image below. Be sure to download the Preview file to see all the materials and activities in this packet and get a free activity.
Now I have a fun free packet for all of my followers and viewers. I put together some Apple Poems and Writing Activities you can use with all these great resources. Just click on the image below to download your freebie.
I have lots of new Pinterest boards for you to check out and follow. Just click HERE.
You may especially like the following:
Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.
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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fabulous Giveaway: Win up to $130/a day to Spend on Products of Your Choice!

My friend Danielle over at the The Learning Center is having a fantastic giveaway that you don't want to miss! 84 fabulous Teacher/Authors have donated either $10 worth of products or a Winner's Choice item over the next 5 days. Today is Day one and you can win $10.00 of free products from me and 12 others. You can enter right here on my blog and then click on the image above to read about some other details from Danielle. If you are still looking for some BTS items or some great fall materials, then this is a giveaway for you. I would love to have one of my followers win!
Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. Have a fantastic Labor Day holiday weekend!
Don't forget to check out all my new Pinterest boards by clicking HERE.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

September Celebrations Fun Literacy Activities and a Freebie

I love September! Here in Tallahassee it's been 100 degrees or hotter for the last 4 days but with September right around the corner I know cooler weather is on its way. All my grand kids started school last week and love their teachers and college football starts this Saturday. I decided to do a little research to see what daily, weekly and monthly celebrations are in September and was amazed at how many there are. Besides Labor Day, Grandparents Day, Patriots Day, Constitution Day, and Fall, I found some really interesting ones. Did you know that September 13th is International Chocolate Day? I love chocolate. There's National Cheeseburger Day on the 18th and International Eat an Apple Day on the 20th. September is also National Save a Tiger Month. Click HERE if you would like to read more about it.

Many teachers have enjoyed my "Welcome to School" Making Words and Sentences Freebie so I decided to make a unit with 17 of the September Celebrations and Observances that I found. This packet also includes 12 Writing Prompts for 12 of these celebrations and observations. They are all Opinion Piece writing activities. Here is a Preview of the packet below. Just click on it to read all about it and download the Preview file to see all the Celebrations and the ones that have Writing Prompts.

Did you know that September 19th is "Talk Like a Pirate Day"? I remember when my grand son dressed up as a pirate for Halloween one year. Well I put together a fun free packet called "Talk Like a Pirate Day Literacy Activities" that includes some of the words that pirates say and what they mean.
Making Words and Sentences and Writing Prompts. Just click on the image below to download your free packet.
Hope your students have fun on "Talk like a Pirate Day". Arrrrrrr!
If you you are looking for some new Pinterest boards to follow I hope you will check out mine by clicking HERE
Here is my most popular one.
Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. Have a great week and Labor Day Weekend!

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday