I love working with small reading groups and interacting with the children. The other day, I did a group in my grandson's French Immersion class. He was actually in the group that day! We talked about losing teeth and they each got to share a story about losing their first tooth. It was fun to seen them engaging and making connections to the different stories.
After our discussion, we looked at a story I wrote about losing a tooth. We first did a picture walk and shared what we thought was happening on each page. Then we read the story and discussed how our predictions and the actual events were the same or different. We also made connections between the text and our personal stories.
After our discussion, each child wrote one or two sentences about losing a tooth and then added an illustration. It was too bad that we didn't have more time, because I could see that this could have been a great time for creating little booklets and personal stories.
I have also created the same story in English. I am hoping to use it with one of my English reading groups.
It is hard to believe that it is almost time for the winter games to begin again. Every time I think about them I remember the excitement we felt when they were held in Vancouver in 2010. It was such a special time for those of us who live in British Columbia.
My students were so engaged and felt connected to the athletes and their accomplishments. We would listen to the theme song I Believe and this became our song in class. As some of you may know, "believe" is my power word and it comes up often as I am constantly coming across things with the word on them.
It is times like this that I miss having my own class. There are so many things I would love to do with my students. During the last winter games, I created some activities that could be used to make writing and Math time winter game focused. I would certainly be doing some of them in the next few weeks if I had the opportunity.
Here are some task card templates that can be used to create your own questions, games, or activities. I hope you find them helpful as we watch the athletes compete to represent the various countries.
I know this will be an exciting time for people all around the world as they cheer on their athletes. It is a time when we focus on the good in the world. It is a time to unite instead of divide. I hope for more caring and kindness towards one another, not just during the games but everyday.
Learning a second language doesn't have to be difficult. There are many ways to learn. Today I will be touching on a few strategies and steps that can help.
There are 6 steps to follow if you want to really learn to use a second or third language. Not surprisingly, these are the same steps we use when learning our first language. They do not necessarily need to be done in this order or one at a time.
Step one is to begin by listening to others speak so that you become accustomed to how the language sounds. This may seem a bit crazy, but if you go into any area where there are different languages being spoken, you will notice differences in the way the languages sound.
I find it interesting to listen to people speaking to each other in a store or at the airport or some sightseeing venue. It doesn't take too long to recognize whether they are speaking in French, Spanish, Asian, or other languages. I may not be able to understand what they are saying, but some accents and sounds are distinguishable and characteristic of different regions or countries.
Step two is to try speaking some of the words and phrases. This is usually done by copying what someone else is saying. It may be copying from a language program on the computer or at a listening center, or it may be copying someone who is speaking to you. With constant repetition, this will become easier and more natural sounding.
Step three is to work on the pronunciation so that it is as close as possible to the native sound of the language. This will take practice. Recording oneself when speaking and playing it back may be helpful. Using a "telephone" is also a good way to hear what is being said.
Step four is to develop a good vocabulary. The bigger the vocabulary acquired, the more a person will be able to communicate with others on a variety of topics.
Step five is to practice reading the words and reading simple passages that use the vocabulary in written form. As fluency and comprehension develops the passages can get more difficult and varied. It is important that comprehension be included, because it is possible to read words fluently without understanding what is being said. This is particularly true for some languages that are very phonetic.
Step six is to practice writing the language. The most difficult part of this process will be getting the grammar and syntax correct. Most languages are not translated literally, so you need to have an understanding of the language and how phrases are formed in order to communicate well.
There are many different approaches, but these steps have worked well in our schools and with my own children and grandchildren.
If you have other ideas or suggestions, I would love to hear about them in the comments below.
Christmas is an special time for both children and adults. You can't help but feel the excitement in the air as December approaches. Christmas lights blink everywhere, Christmas music plays in the stores and on the radio, and the Christmas movies start to show up on the television.
There are so many opportunities to use this excitement and the feelings associated with Christmas in your classroom writing. For years I did Christmas writing with the senses. When I retired last year, I still had the chance to introduce this idea one more time when I was helping out in another teacher's classroom.
Here is my blog post about what we did.
When I wrote about the writing we did, I mentioned a special gift that we were creating, but I couldn't say anything more because a parent might see the post and it would spoil the surprise.
Here is more information about what we did and how it was special.
The teacher I was working with began by showing some different Christmas scenes. Each scene was going to be the topic of the verse that would be written.
We first generated ideas using my juicy details templates. We had used them for some other activities earlier in the year, so the children were familiar with them. We began as a group and then they went to their desks and selected the words that they wanted for their poems.
I have always found that using a framework for writing helps some of the struggling writers get started. Stronger, more confident writers develop more descriptive pieces of work and use it as a springboard for future work.
Using fancy paper for the final product is a great motivator for kids. I also find that they are more willing to do the writing and add to their work if they know that it is going to be typed up afterwards. (Those that have difficulty writing often write less if they know they have to do a re-write for publishing.)
Several times in the past, I used this idea of writing about Christmas using the senses as part of a bigger idea. Parents love to receive special gifts from their children that have been made by them. The poem was all written on one page and then put onto special paper. It was then placed on the back of the "stained glass" picture. This way, it could be shared each year as the kids grow. What better way to display it than to make it part of the Christmas decorations!
Instead of making a single page poem, this time, we made a special Christmas booklet with each verse on a separate page. A special note was written for each parent to add to the back of the "stained glass" picture instead of the poem. The booklet went along with the picture.
If you would like to make your own special "stained glass" decoration and poem keepsake, check out how we did it here.
Some of my teaching friends have also shared some holiday activities. See below to hop along and check them out.
As Christmas time quickly approaches, the children get more and more excited. It is hard for them to sometimes realize the passage of time until Christmas arrives. Here is a countdown poster that can be used to help them visualize when Christmas Eve will come. Click here or on the image to get your free copy.
Cross off the ornament that matches each day in December as it arrives. This can be used as a math activity as well by counting how many days have passed or how many days are left until Christmas.
Here is a booklet that can be created as a class booklet or individual student booklets. It is based on the song the 12 Days of Christmas. It is a great way to be creative about gifts to share or activities to do for 12 days at Christmas time.
I would love to see pictures of your booklets if you decide to do this activity. If you have any other suggestions for ways to use it, please let me know in the comments. Happy creating.
In Canada, Thanksgiving comes in early October. This is a time for thinking about others and for being grateful for all the blessings we have. I feel that it is important to focus on giving rather than receiving, and this is a good start to preparing for the Christmas season that will be upon us before we know it.
I love to use themes when presenting Math and Language concepts because they allow for many connections in real life. Real life connections are necessary if we want our students to be able to apply what they learn and find it meaningful.
Here is a sample math and language activity that I created using Thanksgiving as the theme. Click on the image to get a copy.
If you would like to try some other
Fall/Thanksgiving activities, check out
my Fall/Thanksgiving bundle.
Using a scaffold or framework for creating poems helps get beginning writers going. It is always fun to do some brainstorming as a group to get the imaginative juices flowing. I love being able to spin a story or a poem with my kids.
One rule I have, is that they can't use my examples in their poems. However, they can do a slight variation of an idea. I try to make sure that I don't choose the most obvious ideas so that they have some options that are not too difficult to select from.
After giving some examples, I usually get the students to brainstorm ideas on a thinking page. Once they have several to choose from, I get them to add descriptive language and juicy details to their ideas. Then they choose the ones they will use in their framework. They create a draft on plain lined paper, edit it, and then do the final copy. They love having the fancy paper to display the finished poems on the bulletin board.
Here are some samples of scaffold poems from my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Click on the images to get your free copies.
There are many more topics that can be used. It might be fun to generate a list of topics with your students. Hopefully you will find this format works well.
When we write stories, we use descriptive language to capture our reader’s attention. Using our 5 senses helps others to visualize our story. Using photographs helps in developing rich language to describe situations or things.
I have created a sampler that has 2 photographs and titles. This is part of a larger package of 11 photographs. For the sampler, I have included a black and white version as well. Here is one of the images. Below the image I have given a explanation of what to do with it. To get your free sampler, click here or on the sampler image below.
Look at the picture at the top of the page and the title for the story. Using your
5 senses, write a description of the picture.
Imagine that your reader cannot see the picture and you must paint a picture
in his mind with your words.
The pictures at the bottom of the page are there to remind you to think of
all the senses when choosing your describing words. Some senses
might not work with some pictures.
If you are interested in seeing to full product, click on the image below. I also have one that uses clipart images instead of photographs. It includes colored and black and white versions.
Hopefully your students will begin to create more descriptive stories as they use the 5 senses. I know it helped mine to do so.
This is a continuation of my posts about some of the fabulous Canadian TPT sellers I have the pleasure to know through the power of the internet. Here are some more products I wish to share with you.
This set of products is for reading, writing and science. I have also included Brag Tags here.
Good Readers Comprehension Strategies Mini Books
This is a fabulous set of mini books that focus on comprehension strategies. They are suitable for young children and they help to explain what different strategies are and how to use them. It is part of a bigger series of mini books. Check it out to find out more.
Bold Beginnings, Mighty Middles and Excellent Endings INB
If you are interested in getting started with interactive notebooks, or if you already use them, this product is for you. It introduces students to tips for improving their writing with bold beginnings, mighty middles, and excellent endings. It also includes teacher tips, mentor texts, and several activities to reinforce the ideas. Check it out for more details.
If you are looking for a unit that integrates science, reading, writing, and music, then this is the product for you. It is geared towards younger learners and it has a variety of activities to keep kids engaged in their learning. Check it out for more details.
Read and Spell
This is an engaging Powerpoint activity that is like a game. It has 10 reading and 10 spelling slides as well as a practice worksheet. It is for young children and it reinforces phonics skills. They are sure to enjoy the game aspect and the challenge to be able to read and spell words. Check it out for more details.
Brag Tag Bundle
Brag tags are a popular way of managing classrooms in a positive way. This bundle has a brag tag for just about anything. If you don't have what you need, you can make your own with the editable tags. If you are looking for a way to focus on the positive in the classroom, check these out.
I have been having fun in the classroom I am helping out in. We have been working on using juicy details and creating Christmas poems.
First the teacher showed the class some images of different Christmas scenes. The students brainstormed lists of words to match each of the senses. We did this over the period of 3 lessons.
After coming up with lots of great describing words, we introduced the template for the poem. Each child created 4 different verses. Here are the templates they used. They just had the written part to use.
After the drafts were completed, I helped type them up onto these fancy pages. The actual template has space for adding your own text.
Then I created a title page so that they could make a little booklet.
The booklet is going to be part of a special gift that they are making for Christmas. When I showed them the good copy templates they were very excited and they all worked very hard at their editing so that I could begin typing out the final copies. I would love to show you some of them, and tell you more about what they are doing, but I don't want to let the secret out of the bag in case a family member sees it.
If you would like a copy of the template, or the juicy details papers you can find them in my store. Just click on the image above.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 8, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.
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