Friday, September 26, 2014

Fire Prevention Week Free Resources and Activities

Fire Prevention Week is always the first or second week in October. Even though most students who are in Kindergarten and 1st Grade do many activities during that week, I truly believe that is equally as important for all students to spend time talking about Fire Safety and Prevention. Just this last summer we were celebrating the 4th of July with our family. Children were in the street lighting fireworks and one kid lit a firecracker while holding it in his hand and got burned. Most of the kids were 8-11 years old. It's also the time of the year when it gets colder and people are having fires in their fireplaces. Inevitably there was always news stories about house fires that started in fireplaces. So I have put together some great resources to check out for Fire Prevention Week. I hope you will check them out. There are lots of activities for K-4.

There are many great videos that I found on YouTube like the one below that I liked. 


If you are looking for some great books for your Shared Reading Time just click on the image below.
You can find free activities  at Fire Safe Kids by clicking on the image below. 
How about a Jeopardy Game for your students? Just click on the image below:
Of course there are great free activities from Sparky the Fire Dog. There are videos, checklists, activities and great information. Just click on Sparky below.

There are always great activities at Scholastic. There are lessons for Grades 1-2 which you can access by clicking on the picture below.
I just uploaded my new "Fire Prevention, Safety, and Firefighters Unit". It is jammed packed with Reading and Writing Activities plus Poetry and Poetry Writing and much more. All materials and activities and materials are differentiated at the 2nd and 3rd grade levels. Here is a sample of a few of the activities you will find in the unit:
You can see all the materials and activities by downloading the Preview and also get a free activity by clicking on the image below.
I have also put together a freebie for all my followers and viewers. It includes 18 Fire Facts and 2 Writing Activities. You can download your free packet by clicking on the image below.
Have you checked out all my new Pinterest boards. Just click HERE. Hope you will follow.
Here are a few you might like:
Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. 

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Bright Ideas: What Every Teacher Needs to Know About Working with ELL Students

Most of you know that I loved working with ELL (English Language Learners) students. Although different school districts use different labels such as ELL or ESL, your chances of having at least one in your classroom is pretty high.  LEP (Limited English Proficient) students learn English the same way we learned English, naturally. First we didn't say anything, then sounds and single words. Then we put a few words together and then started to speak in sentences. In order for these ELLs to acquire academic English they will go through several Stages of Language Acquisition. Conversation proficiency is much more easily acquired and can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. However, becoming academically proficient can take from 5-7 years if students are literate in their first language. If they are not literate in their first language, academic proficiency can take from 9-12 years.

  • Stage I: Pre-Production: This stage can last from 10 hours to 6 months. At this stage the student is internalizing the new language. You can expect that students will communicate with gestures and actions such as pointing to pictures or objects. Students may be able to say "yes" or "no." Lessons should focus on listening comprehension using visual aids, emphasizing oral and written words, and journal writing using pictures, student's native language, or limited English.
  • Stage 2: Early Production: This stage can take an additional 6 months to a year. At this stage you can expect that students will answer with "yes" and "no", speak using one or two words, and use repetitive language patterns. Lessons should focus on Language experience, role-playing, expanding vocabulary, guided journal writing, and picture reports.
  • Stage 3: Speech Emergence: This stage can take an additional 1-3 years. At this stage students speak in longer phrases and complete sentences. Lessons should continue to expand vocabulary and develop higher levels of language use in reading and writing.
  • Stage 4: Intermediate Fluency: This stage can take an additional 1-2 years. At this stage students use complex sentences, engage in conversation, state opinions, and speak at length. Lessons should focus on oral discussions, journals, comparing and contrasting, reading a variety of genre, and expanding vocabulary in the content area.
  • Stage 5: Continued Language Development: At this stage students will participate fully in grade level classroom activities with some support in comprehension and the use of academic language. 

There are also many factors that affect how quickly newcomers and LEP (Limited English Proficient) students will achieve proficiency.  Here are the major factors:

  • Motivation (Attitude): The more motivated they are the more likelihood of success.
  • Age: There is still a lot of debate about the optimal age but most feel that younger learners are the better at picking up communicative aspects of English, prompting them to learn more.
  • Access to language: Opportunities to learn the targeted language play a big role. Students need to interact in the targeted language with native speakers.
  • Personality: Students that are extroverts have more interaction with Native speakers. Risk-taking is an important personality trait that greatly affects language learning.
  • First Language Development: Research suggests that those who have have a strong schooling in their first language will be more successful at acquiring their new language.
  • Quality of Instruction: What happens in the classroom is a vital factor. Effective learning takes place in a well-organized classroom where there are opportunities for interaction with the teacher and peers and there is an adequate amount of time spent on practicing the new language.
  • Cognitive Ability: Students with a lower cognitive ability can acquire a new language but proficiency levels will be equal to or lower than their ability level in their first language. If students have a learning disability in their first language, it will transfer to the new language.                        
Hope I've given you some Bright Ideas. If you have enjoyed these Bright Ideas I hope you will consider joining me on Pinterest, Facebook, or Bloglovin to see more Bright Ideas.

Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. For more Bright Ideas from more than 100 bloggers, browse through the link-up below to choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Building Fluency with Fall Fluency Activities

Fall is only a few days away and there are so many wonderful books about fall to help students build fluency. Themes are great for students who need more practice learning the target vocabulary and become more automatic with their new words. Fluency is one of the 5 Big Ideas in Reading. Fluency is necessary for students to comprehend what they are reading. Students need to read in order to become fluent but we know that struggling readers spend less time reading. They not only struggle with fluency but also with comprehension. Themes also give students students more opportunities to learn the targeted vocabulary with a variety of activities and multiple exposures.

For the beginning readers, fluency begins with a single word. There are several activities to help students learn the fall target vocabulary that you see in the sample from my new Fall Fluency Unit below. For ESL students and struggling readers there are those cards with pictures and also without. There are 2 fluency activities called Fast Match and Point and Say that students play with a partner.
Students also need to learn phrases and then sentences. Look at the example of the sentence below. Students not only learn the fall vocabulary words: wheelbarrow and leaves, but sight words: the, is, in, of and phrases: in front of the, full of.  When students struggle to read and labor over each word they struggle with comprehension. The phrase: in front of, should be read together without pausing to indicate where the dog is.
Here are some of the Phrase Activities, Sentence Activities, and Assessment from my Fall Fluency Unit. There are also Build a Sentence Fluency Cards included.
Students who are fluent, read with expression. They understand what is happening by the way they read. I love using poetry to teach fluency and using expression.  Here is a poem from my new Fall Literacy Activities Packet : Students can add the actions of picking the apples, putting them in a basket, washing and slicing them, and then eating them.
Poems are short and help reluctant readers participate when doing echo reading, choral, and whole class readings. The more they read it, the more fluent they become. It also build confidence. Besides reading passages at both the 1st and 2nd Grade levels,  I've also included 2 Readers Theater Partner Scripts like the one below.
There are also 3 differentiated leveled Reading Assessments. This packet is great for ESL students, Special Ed teachers, and RTI besides regular classroom teachers. If you would like to check out all the activities and materials in this packet please click on the image below and to read the description and download the Preview file.
I have put together a Special Free Fall Fluency Activity Packet for all my followers and viewers. It includes two of the activities you will find in my Fall Fluency Activities Unit but with all new Word Cards and Sentences for Reading. You can download it by clicking on the image below.
Looking for some new Pinterest boards to follow? Click HERE. Here are a few you may be interest in:
Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.

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Freebie Fridays

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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