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.
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.
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.
On November 11th, Canadians took time out to remember our veterans. Here is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National War Memorial in our nation's capital. This was just one of the places where ceremonies took place. Ceremonies of remembrance also took place at towns and cities across the country.
This year I had the privilege of working in a classroom of a colleague prior to Remembrance Day. It was a special time to share ideas and discuss what Peace is all about. We began with a few videos and some discussion around them. If you would like to see them, click here to read about them in an earlier post.
The next day, we discussed what Remembrance Day was about and why we had it. Here are some of the ideas that we came up with.
After discussing war and who veterans were, we talked about Peace. We brainstormed what it is and then we shared examples of peace. We also talked about a kindness explosion. I showed them the following poster and we talked about how children can make a difference by spreading kindness and getting along with others. We tried to imagine what it would be like to have everyone in the gym create the model of paying it forward. This would be fun to do sometime.
After all of our brainstorming, the children wrote poems about peace. They were to come up with 4 things and then end it with "Let's all live in peace." Here is the template they used. If you right click on the image you can download a copy.
To encourage them to do their best writing and to help them with the concept of draft and good copy, they were given a colored copy after the draft was complete and edited. They then did the good copy on the colored template. This concept of having to rewrite the poem was difficult for some.
Here are the final copies of their poems. The colors pop and make for a great bulletin board display.
These pictures were hanging in the hotel that I stayed in on the weekend. I thought they were perfect for this time of the year, so I am sharing them with you.
Let's focus on what is right in the world and how we can work towards a world of peace, especially in light of what is happening around us right now.
February is full of different celebrations. Groundhog Day is the start of these events. In our part of the world, the groundhog forecast was for an early spring. So far it is definitely seeming to be so. We have had beautiful sunny days and mild temperatures. Flowers are starting to bloom and the campfires are becoming a regular occurrence on the beaches.
At school, we took some time to look at what the groundhog predictions were and then we played some sight word bingo with the groundhog sight word cards and the spring nouns cards.
My kids love playing games and I try to use a variety of themes to reinforce the same skills or concepts. I have created many different themed Dolch sight words sets so it never becomes "old" for them.
These sight words and bingo cards are available in my TPT store.
I combined the Spring Dolch nouns with the Groundhog Dolch sight words to do sentence building. It was a hit.
It was interesting to see all the different ways they used the cards that were given to them. I wish I had taken more pictures so I could share them with you.
After the sentence games, I handed out the noun bingo cards and the sight word bingo cards and they played with them.
Valentine's Day is another big celebration in February. We didn't have much time to devote to this because of other activities happening, but we did spend the morning doing Valentine themed activities. Of course, handing out and receiving valentines is a big part of the celebration, so we had to have a special place to put them.
Buddy classes combined to make these special bags, and they were so cute, a colleague and I had to join in on the fun. Each class did them a bit differently, but it was fun to see these frogs hanging around in most of the primary classrooms in the school.
We also had a school wide skating day. Our class went in the afternoon, so it was a bit different doing our valentines activities in the morning instead of the afternoon.
Family Day is a fairly new holiday for us in BC. We had February 9 off to spend with families. It was nice to take a break and just enjoy family and friends for a day.
Writing is a big focus at this time of the year. We are currently working on writing stories and developing writing skills. Here are some samples of what we have been doing.
We have been learning about the parts of speech. We decided to practice using adjectives, nouns, and verbs to create silly sentences.
Each child chose 5 adjectives, 5 nouns, and 5 verbs. I compiled them and typed them out on individual strips. Then each child was given random adjectives, nouns, and verbs. They illustrated each word and here are the results. We will be putting them together as a flip book after they come off the bulletin board.
Coming up with descriptive language that is precise and creates images is tricky for young kids. I decided to try and get them to come up with single words that would describe things. Then we combined them to create poems. They were excited to see the diamond shape of the poems. The kids enjoyed trying these out after we did some class examples. Here are some of our "diamond" poems.
The Lunar New Year was the focus on Thursday afternoon. This is a big celebration in many parts of the world. Here in North America, most people think of it as Chinese New Year, but because my daughter-in-law is Korean, I prefer to think of it in broader terms. The Lunar New Year is an important celebration there too.
A few years ago, I learned to play a game that is played by many families in Korea. It is called "yut". When I was in Korea, I bought some sets for my class. We played the game on Thursday afternoon. My grandson knows the game well and he was able to help the other students with the rules. I wish I had pictures, but I was busy playing with a couple of students.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my update for February. March is going to be a blur of excitement as well. We will be celebrating 100s day, St. Patrick's Day, spring, and also doing our student-led conferences.
I can hardly believe we are already at the end of January. It seems it was New Year's Eve just a few days ago. So many things have happened this month, I will need to write more than one post just to share it all.
I want to start with our New Year's celebration. Here are some pictures of our first days back.
The kids were very excited to see blowers and hats and other festive materials when they arrived back after the Christmas break. We took time to share what we had done during our winter break, and then we did some group photo booth pictures.
Instead of writing out resolutions and goals, we focused more on what we did during out winter break. We also did do some New Year's journals and writing, but we mostly focused on various different winter themes.
I finally got a chance to try out Susanna's art project. She has a tutorial on her blog at Whimsy Workshop. I was very pleased with the results and my kids loved doing it.
We finished our solar system unit and we had a big celebration to share the projects we created to show what we had learned. We did so many things during this unit, that I need to write a separate post to tell you all about it.
Lots of other things happened this month as well, but I will leave you with these things for now. I hope that your January was fabulous as well.
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.