Language Ideas for the holidays and seasons
The holiday season is here and kids are getting excited and restless. The weather is changing and winter is almost upon us. We need to find activities that capture the attention of our students while continuing to provide content and skill development. What better way to excite kids than to focus on the holidays with these activities.
There are many different subject areas that can be considered here. For now, I would like to focus on language arts. Being able to read, write, and speak well are goals that we would like to see achieved. This is a great time to focus on new activities that expand vocabulary and help with creating more detailed and descriptive oral and written experiences. Using games and other hands on activities will help to engage kids and motivate them to learn. For students learning a second language this is especially important.
For the purpose of this blog post, I will be focusing on French, but the concepts and ideas are appropriate for any second language.
Why vocabulary development is so important for second language learners
Second language learners often feel tongue-tied when they start to learn a new language. They know what they want to say, but they don't have the words yet to say it. They struggle to make themselves understood as they attempt to use the limited vocabulary they have been given. They are self conscious and often afraid to speak out loud. Doing activities that help to broaden their vocabulary will help them with communication. Holiday vocabulary activities will work well for engaging them in the excitement of the season.
There are many different types of vocabulary activities, but I would suggest that they focus on fun and interactive games and activities. As they continue to develop their vocabulary skills, they will gain more confidence and begin to speak out more often. The more they speak, the more they get practice, and the more confident they become. The same goes for reading and writing. The more comfortable they become with the language and the vocabulary, the more they will use it. Win-win.
French/English resources for the holidays and seasons
I have been creating French resources for younger kids and for those going into late immersion. I created many of them in both French and English so that they could be used for those who might be learning English as well. They are also great for primary English classrooms.
Here are some resources that may help you through the next few months as your students continue to learn new vocabulary and develop their language skills.
le vocabulaire thématique/J'ai, qui a? combos
(les prépositions, les vêtements, les légumes et les fruits, les émotions, la météo, l'hygiène et la santé, les adjectifs opposés, les parties du corps, la cuisine rapide et la collation, la cuisine, le temps, le calendrier)
Themed vocabulary/I have, who has?? combos
(prepositions, clothing, vegetables and fruits, emotions, weather, hygiene and health, opposite adjectives, body parts, fast food and snacks, the kitchen, weather, calendar)
Here are some holiday vocabulary activities that will make learning fun.
le Noël des mots de vocabulaire - French Christmas Vocabulary Task Cards Activities and Games
le Noël des mots de vocabulaire - French Christmas Vocabulary Game I Have, Who Has? J'ai, Qui a?
le Noël Parts Of Speech Silly Sentences French Version
Christmas Vocabulary Task Cards Activities
Christmas Vocabulary Game - I Have, Who Has?
Christmas Parts of Speech Silly Sentences
l'hiver - le vocabulaire
l'hiver Parts Of Speech Silly Sentences French version
Winter Parts of Speech Silly Sentences
Winter Vocabulary Activities And Games
Winter Vocabulary Activity - I Have, Who Has?
For more French holiday resources, check out this blog post from another teacher with links to more resources that will help you make it through the Christmas season.
Preparing for a new year
If you are looking ahead for the new year, check out some of these resources and ideas. Click on the images to find out more.
Well, I hope you have found some helpful ideas and resources here. Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with as you continue to work with kids.
The holiday season is here
It is hard to believe that 2021 is almost over. It has been a crazy time for most people, but hopefully there will be an end in sight to the craziness soon and we will be able to look back and find some positive moments to build on in the future.
Thanksgiving is almost here in the United States. This will be a time for families to get together again after a long absence. I remember doing Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family over Zoom last year. It was very hard. I wish all of those who are able to gather a wonderful time with family and friends.
Of course, this means that Christmas is not far away. One of my favorite things to do was come up with new and creative ways to make gifts with my students. If you want to see some of the different ideas that work well with kids, check out this blog post that I wrote last year.
I love walking into the dollar stores and checking out all the different materials that they have for doing crafts. This always give me inspiration. Sometimes it might be a special ornament, a centerpiece idea, or something that can be framed for a keepsake. Of course, the cost has to be considered as most of us end up buying materials with our own money. I do try to see if I can couple my ideas with materials that we already have at the school, but usually that doesn't work too well as the school always seems to be short of supplies.
Here is my latest inspiration. It is similar to the stained glass pictures I did, but easier to do. There are 3 different versions available so that everyone can do it, even those who don't celebrate Christmas.
If I find a craft that works well, I will sometimes repeat it a couple of years later. I didn't do the same thing each year because I often had split classes and I would have some students for two years in a row. Also, some crafts require saving up materials. For instance, I saved up light bulbs for a few years to get enough for a whole class. Of course, you can always ask parents to save up materials for you. They don't need to know what you will be doing with them, just that you are looking for them.
You can get a free copy of the coloring sheets by clicking the image below.
I hope you enjoy the next few weeks as the holidays are approaching. Until next time, take care.
Helping kids expand their vocabulary
Are you looking for ways to help kids with writing and sharing their ideas? This seems to be a common issue with younger children as they begin to share their ideas, but they don't have the words yet to describe things in detail. Instead, they tend to use the same few words over and over. We sometimes refer to these as "worn out words".
How to develop a rich vocabulary base
Developing a rich vocabulary base helps with writing and expressing ideas and it also allows kids to create more detailed and creative stories. There are many different ways to expand the vocabulary. Here are a few.
Brainstorm as a class
Choose some of the worn out words, such as nice, good, happy, fun and come up with a list of words that can be used instead.
Try a thesaurus
Younger children might find this a bit challenging, but they can still give it a try. A thesaurus will provide many synonyms for words.
Do a vocabulary challenge
Take a simple sentence and challenge the class to come up with different variations that make the sentence more interesting but still maintain the meaning. Then share the sentences with others.
Create a themed word wall
Sometimes kids just need words that fit the various themes. They can help them to get their stories started or provide some extra ideas to expand their stories. A themed word wall can be changed as different themes are explored. If you don't want to devote space to an actual word wall, you can store the words on rings and allow the students to take them as needed to use.
Use word games and activities to review vocabulary
It is important to make sure that the kids get lots of exposure to the words they need for various writing tasks. This ensures that the words become part of their working vocabulary. Then they will be able to access them more readily in future literacy situations.
I find that word games and activities work well for working with vocabulary words as they are engaging and fun. Kids learn without realizing they are actually studying the words and phrases. The more they play, the faster they begin to recognize the words.
Sight word games, silly sentences, I Have, Who Has? games, and task cards for matching games are a few examples that have worked well for me over the years. I created many of these games for literacy centers and they were always very popular.
Using the same types of formats helps the children to focus on the content rather than how to play the games. Just change up the themes and let them play.
Here are some vocabulary word sets I created for the seasons and special days. I hope to be able to add to the special days in the future. There are sets of I Have, Who Has? cards for each of the seasons and special days as well.
If you are teaching French, check out the French versions.
My students loved making silly sentences, so I created several themed sets for them. They enjoyed making the sentences and practiced parts of speech at the same time. As an extension activity, we would sometimes take the words and illustrate them and then put them into a flip book of silly sentences.
You can check out my special days parts of speech silly sentences here.
If you would like to try out a free vocabulary activity, sign up for my newsletter.
I am offering my I Have, Who Has? Christmas set to my followers for free.
There you have some ideas for expanding and developing a broader vocabulary base for your students. I hope they work well for you. I would love to hear what other ways you use themed vocabulary in your classroom. Let me know in the comments.
Capturing Imagination In Writing
Christmas is fast approaching. This a time that is full of excitement and wonder and kids look forward to it all year. They start talking about it and making wishes. They enjoy getting gifts and being part of the decorating and family times. They have fun playing holiday games and activities at school. It is a great time to capture their imagination in their writing.
I used to tell my students to use descriptive writing with the five senses to paint a picture in the reader's mind. We would come up with lists of words and juicy details that would help to describe images. I even used paintbrushes as symbols for different types of descriptions. Check out my graphics and templates for this kind of detailed writing.
Using images and graphic organizers can be really helpful for students that struggle with writing. They can even use them like a checklist as they get started. Eventually they will not need to rely on them anymore.
One of my favorite projects for this season is Christmas Writing Using The Five Senses. It is a poem that shares images from four different settings. I even shared it with another teacher and her class after I retired. We had fun working together and seeing the poems that the children wrote.
Here is one of the poems that a grade 2 student wrote.
Another thing that we did was create a special craft to go along with the poem. You can check it out here.
If you are interested in more writing ideas using the five senses, check out my products that use images and photographs to practice descriptive writing.
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Have fun watching your students create magical stories and poems this Christmas.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.