Retelling Using Sequence Words



Hello, friends!

I have just finished teaching two lessons that focused on one of the Common Core standards, which is retelling stories.

To illustrate the process of retelling in my 1st Grade ESOL class, I first focused on the use of sequence words FIRST, NEXT, THEN, and LAST.  I made sure they used these words when they retold the story.  We practiced using these keywords with the aid of my retelling anchor chart during a whole-group activity by reading “There was an Old Lady who Swallowed Some Leaves.

There are several “There was an Old Lady” books but I thought this is perfect for the beginning of the Fall Season.

There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves

“There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves”

My retelling anchor chart is a modification of the chart found in tekyteach.blogspot.com to include the story I’m using with a space for practicing the use of sequence words.  I am thankful to Christie of first-grade-fever. blogspot.com for her Old Lady booklet freebie.

1st Grade Retelling Anchor Chart

1st Grade Retelling Anchor Chart

For their writing activity, I used the free printable by kizclub.com to make an old lady template.  What I did was glue a lined paper on the blank space in the old lady pattern so that I could have a writing template for my kids.  They just love this writing task!  Click on this link for the old lady pattern, which you can just modify to suit your activity.

Old Lady writing activity

Old Lady writing activity

There was an Old Lady writing activity

There was an Old Lady writing activity

My drawing of the old lady on the bulletin board was inspired by Carries’ Speech Corner.   My kids’ work is displayed just in time for the start of the Fall season.

1st Grade ESOL "There was an Old Lady" Bulletin Board

1st Grade ESOL “There was an Old Lady” Bulletin Board

I hope you like my First grade retelling lesson!

Enjoy the cool breeze of September!

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5 Fun Collaborative Phonics and Sight Word Activities for the ESL Classroom



Hello, fellow educators!

Aren’t we all excited that it is almost the Fall season?  Temperatures have dropped to the 50s and 60s in the early morning, and in the afternoon, it is no longer as hot, which for me is just perfect.  I know that we teachers have so many other things to be excited about.   By now, we know all the names of our kids, we see them getting more and more familiar with the everyday routine, and we’re seeing all these interesting personalities come out.  Most importantly, we now know what activities seem to keep them engaged and on task.

These past few weeks, I did a lot of phonics and sight word activities with my 1st grade ESOL kids.  My goal was for them to become familiar with the short vowel sounds plus the sight words that are included in our district-mandated curriculum framework.  Since I have a number of beginning ELLs, I have to make sure they do these tasks either with a partner or in a group.  I am excited to share with you these collaborative phonics and sight word activities that we have been doing so far:

1.  “Pick a stick and read it.”  I used multi-colored popsicle sticks with the sight words and short vowel sounds labeled on the edges and placed them in tiny buckets.  Each student picks a stick and reads the word that’s written on it.  Then he shows the word to his classmates and everybody reads the word.  If   he/she is unable to read it, the student chooses a classmate to help him or her read the word.  This seems like a very simple activity  which we usually do on the carpet, but it is fun for them.  I have seen many variations of collaborative activities made by teachers using popsicle sticks.  Just search Pinterest!

Popsicle sticks with sight words in a tiny bucket

Popsicle sticks with sight words in a tiny bucket

2.  “Teacher of the Day.”  I usually assign a student-teacher to lead the class in reading our set of words for the week.  Everybody is just excited for their turn to be the teacher of the day.  They love to use my pink pointer!

1st Grade ESOL kids with the "teacher of the day."

1st Grade ESOL kids with the “teacher of the day.”

3.  Phonics and sight word game cards.  I have a few that I created myself and some that are available as free downloads on my favorite site:  www.havefunteaching.com.  This is always a fun collaborative activity for them.  Just make sure you are assigning a leader who can facilitate the game and check their answers.  Click on the following links to download these freebies:

CVC Girls Word Cards

CVC Girls Word Card set

CVC Girls Word Card set

Vowel Activities

Short vowel activity courtesy of www.havefunteaching.com

Short vowel activity courtesy of www.havefunteaching.com

My 1st Grade ESOL kids during a phonics game

My 1st Grade ESOL kids during a phonics game

4.  Sight Word Bingo Cards.  The internet abounds with free bingo card generators where you can create and print bingo cards for use in your classroom.  Not only it is fun for the students, but allows consistent exposure to the sight words.  Here are a few of them that you can use:

www.freebingomaker.com

www.teach-nology.com

www.eslactivities.com

1st Grade Sight Words Bingo Cards

1st Grade Sight Words Bingo Cards

5.  Phonics and Vocabulary Center for Writing Practice.  Of course, a center in your classroom where students can use the words to complete a writing task will enable you to informally assess how much of the words they have learned thus far.

1st Grade ESOL kids at the Vocabulary and Phonics Center

1st Grade ESOL kids at the Vocabulary and Phonics Center

Please feel free to share what phonics and sight word activities work best for your own class.  Happy fall!

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Five Ways to Help Beginning English Language Learners in the Classroom



Hi there, teacher friends!

I just want to share with you the infographic I created that lists suggestions on how we, as teachers, can help our ESOL newcomers or beginning English Language Learners (ELL’s) in the U.S. classroom environment. It is undeniable that the number of ESOL population is growing each year across the country, and as an ESOL teacher who advocates for our immigrant students or ELL’s, I am excited to share with you what I find are time-tested ways by which we can help them survive the first few months of school:

As always, the most important thing is to teach from the heart.  Our kids know if the people around them genuinely care.  When they have spoken their first English words and say thank you to you in the future, it will be their best gifts ever.  Not even a teacher’s award can beat that.

BTW, if you want to create an infographic, try this free infographic tool called Venngage.

Happy teaching!

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Five Practical Tips in Making Classroom Organization Easy



Hello, teacher-friends!

How was your back-to-school week?  I bet it was as interesting as you thought it would be.  And although school has begun,  I’m sure you still do a lot of finishing touches in your classroom.

If you are an elementary teacher just like me, I know you spend a lot of time and money in getting your classroom ready for back to school.  On the first day that you report back to work, you walk into your classroom – whether it be a new one or the same room assigned to you last year – that sure needs a lot of TLC and with furnitures to move here and there.  But isn’t this what we all do once we get back to school?  You take a quick scan of the room, and all ideas come flooding in about what new stuff is needed to design it, how the student desks will be arranged, where to put your most precious teacher’s desk, which will define the kind of workspace and privacy you will set as a teacher, and most especially, how you want your classroom to look like.  Then an overwhelming feeling sets in.  You look at your agenda for the first week, and you realize that with all the scheduled workshops and training on Common Core,  new initiatives and what-not, there will never be enough time to just organize your classroom.

If that is the case, do not fret.  Just like you, I tend to get overwhelmed by the daunting task of having to organize my classroom because I usually have very specific tastes in terms of what colors to use and how the learning space will look like.  Over the years of teaching, however, I have learned some ways to make classroom organization less tedious, less daunting, and a bit more fun instead.  So, I’m sharing with you some practical tips on how to make classroom organization easy.:

1.  Make advanced preparations by doing some research on the web about classroom themes and designs.  You will find tons of creative ideas on Word Wall and Bulletin Board designs, classroom set-up, learning centers and just about anything on Pinterest and on various teachers’ blogs.  If possible, decide on your theme and colors before the back to work week so that you’ll know what things to buy for your room.  For the month of August, I decided to use the “Minions” theme to go along with my back-to-school set of picture books.  This theme was inspired by We Are Teachers’ post on buzzfeed.com.  Click this link for more back-to-school bulletin board ideas.  I will change my bulletin board’s theme depending on the season and on my focus lessons.

My "Minions" Bulletin Board with Back-to-School Theme

My “Minions” Bulletin Board with Back-to-School Theme

2.  Check out the various stores’ online sites for good deals on the classroom materials you think you might need and that you know your school does not provide such as dry-erase markers, mini-whiteboards, storage bins for your classroom library and students’ supplies, sticky notes, etc., and make a list of what to buy and where to buy them.  Then, embark on a one-day shopping at these stores with a set budget. I found my green and red storage bins for my classroom library and red tiny buckets to store pencils and crayons and colored markers at the Dollar Tree store.  You will also find a lot of  good deals at Ikea, Five Below, Staples, and Target.

One-Dollar Storage Bins at Dollar Tree

One-Dollar Storage Bins at Dollar Tree

Back-to-School Deals at Ikea

Back-to-School Deals at Ikea

3.  Once you know what your room assignment is, decide where to place your desk and your shelves (if you have movable ones), and where your different centers will be.  Then, decide on the order by which you will organize them.  I find it easy to design all my boards first, followed by the classroom library and the Reading corner before anything else.  As I do this, I do a lot of moving around the desks and chairs just so I could reach the top of the classroom walls, which is why it doesn’t make sense for me to set up my students’ working space just yet.  When I am done cleaning my shelf, I start unpacking the boxes that contain all the books for my library. and that were already previously grouped by genres and lexiles.  Believe me, when all your boards are ready and your classroom library is set, everything else comes easy.

My Word Wall

My Word Wall

My Classroom Library

My Classroom Library

4.  Arrange your working space, the rest of your centers, e.g. Vocabulary and Phonics Center, Computer Center, Writing Center, etc., and the students’ working space.  Envision how your students will move around the classroom at different centers, and how you will also move around when you are teaching.  You will find that as you do this, you get a feeling of a sense of accomplishment that the hardest part was already done and you are now making sure that there is adequate space for teacher-student interaction.

My ESOL students' Reading Nook and Working Space

My ESOL students’ Reading Nook and Working Space

5.  Last but not least, treat the maintenance personnel and the office secretaries nicely and respectfully.  They will be your best friends, and in fact, your most needed friends just before school starts, and when school ends and whenever you need something.  Anything.  And I do not have to explain why.

Happy First Week of September!

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