December 17, 2020

Teaching Vocabulary? What you need to know.πŸ’ƒ

Teaching Vocabulary?  

What you need to know.


Hello everyone,
I updated this post, which I wrote sometime ago.  I hope you like it!πŸ’•

As elementary teachers, we are always looking for and finding activities to teach English vocabulary to kids.  We want our students to broaden and deepen their understanding and ability when reading, speaking, listening, and writing.  
We know that when a student, especially an English Language Learner (ELL), can distinguish between the shades of meanings of related words, they are more precise and imaginative in their writing.  This is a strong and proven way to increase vocabulary.

Shades of Meaning~

Shades of meaning are the small differences among words that are related to a specific topic or idea.  The Common Core Language Standard L.5 requires students to distinguish shades of meaning among words beginning in Kindergarten and continuing through elementary grades.

Semantic Gradients~

Semantic gradients are powerful tools 
Vocabulary Graphic Organizer
to teach elementary students the differences between related words and increase their vocabulary.  This graphic organizer improves reading comprehension and works with both English Language Learners (ELL) and native English speakers.  Graphic organizers for shades of meaning offer classroom teachers and ELD teachers a vehicle to reach the needs of all students. This type of gradient helps students distinguish between the subtle nuances of the meaning of related words and broadens their understanding of connected words, polar opposites meanings, and synonyms.  Furthermore, semantic gradients show all students how to use vocabulary precisely when expressing themselves in speaking and writing.  Semantic Gradients are great graphic organizers when you are looking for synonym activities, antonym activities, or teaching English to kids!

What does a Semantic Gradient look like?

I offer a free copy of the black line of the gradient that I use in my classroom!

Semantic gradients are lists of related words that have similar meanings placed on a continuum moving from one word to its polar opposite.  It is a continuum that orders related words by degree. 

These gradients use anchor words (words and their polar opposites) at each end of the gradient.   The vocabulary words used in between gradual shift in meaning.
For example, cool and sweltering would be the anchor words for a semantic gradient of temperature words that included the following:  cool, warm, hot, roasting, and sweltering.

How do you use a Shades of Meaning graphic organizer?

•      Identify your 2 anchor words by choosing a word and finding its opposite. 
•      Find synonyms for each of those words and order them to create your word list. 
•      Students then order the words to create a gradient or continuum.

Vocabulary with Shades of Meanings

Let me know if you use semantic gradients or other vocabulary activities to teach shades of meanings with your students when you are teaching English to kids!  

Happy Teaching,

December 1, 2020

πŸ‘€Don't miss the sale at Teachers Pay TeachersπŸ‘€

This is my biggest sale of the year. Starting November 30th you'll save
up to 25% off  on all my products

 Thankfully, you can transform the overwhelm into action with the help of a great sale on all the products that take you from feeling frustrated to feeling like it is Fun To Teach

You'll save hours of time and increase student
engagement with these Fun to Teach products on sale starting November 30th! 

Click here to start shopping!

Happy Teaching and shopping!

 I am so excited about my line for ESL newcomers.  

Here is the first resource to help get your newcomers writing!
I am so excited about the ESL Newcomers packet Series.  If you are looking for a  systematic instructional curriculum resource to offer your ESL Newcomers, this is it. 
Click to follow me on the blog or TPT and be the first to know of available products.


Click here to go to my store!

Click here to go to my store!

Click here to go to my store!

November 23, 2020

🌻Gracias The Thanksgiving Turkey - Guided Reading/lesson plan/Unit 🌻

🌻 πŸŒ»Hello everyone!

Are you looking for an engaging book study to celebrate this time of year?  Well here it is!

This Thanksgiving literature unit for Gracias The Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley consists of 10 pages. It can be used during the Thanksgiving holiday season for Guided Reading or a book or unit study. 

The printable black lines in this Thanksgiving book study focus on before, during and after reading activities to engage students and deepen reading comprehension and vocabulary. 

There are printables to guide students through prediction, vocabulary, glossary work, alphabetizing, setting, characters, beginning, middle and end of story, connecting story to personal experiences, graphic organizers for comparing and contrasting, reflection and interpretation. 


 πŸŒ» πŸŒ» Click over to the Fun To Teach store and grab your download of this great product!

Great printables to excite and interest your students while reading this great Thanksgiving book!

Happy Teaching! 

Lori πŸŒ»

Check out our newest ELD Thematic Unit Bundle!

Click here to get yours now!

November 17, 2020

πŸ‘€Using Thematic Units for English Language Development

Hi everyone I am glad you are here❣️

As classroom teachers we know the value of thematic units when teaching young learners.  These units motivate children and engage students in learning.  But did you know that English Language Development (ELD) instruction is best delivered using this same tried and true teaching technique?

What is Thematic Instruction?

Thematic units lessons differ by the manner in which instruction is presented.  Instead of teaching in subject areas, the curriculum is organized around themes or topics. Reading, math, writing and science is integrated into an exploration of a broad subject area.  Children learn in a way that is natural to them.
In ELD instruction Thematic units are used to integrate the language skills of oral language and reading, writing, speaking, listening.

Benefits of Thematic units:

Teaching thematically offers the teacher a natural way to offer ELD instruction while building on students’ prior knowledge, incorporating oral and written language, building a natural scaffold for student learning, engaging students in the learning, using cooperative learning situations.  Thematic teaching allows the ESL teacher to focus on individual needs within the classroom while offering an in-depth study of one concept area and the language and vocabulary that surrounds it.
Let’s take a look at what you can integrate by teaching thematically.

How to use a theme to teach your ELD Lesson:

1. Choose the language function(s) you need to teach at each language level.
2. Brainstorm the language forms that fit that function(s) at each level.
3. Choose a topic or theme that supports the language being taught.
4. Select a song, video, book or poem that supports your topic or theme.
5. Create a list of verbs, nouns adjectives and/or adverbs that support the theme,         function and form.
6. Gather pictures to support your lesson.
7. Create a simple pre and post assessment geared toward the language you will         be teaching in the unit.
8. Choose several activities that will promote oral language practice throughout             your theme.
9. Gather a writing project that will support your function, form and theme.
10. Find a project that fits your topic and language objectives to make in class and         send home for practice.

Integrating a theme into teaching English Language Development is a perfect fit.  If you have second language learners in your classroom, thematic units easily present curriculum regardless of language level.  

Click here for a free unit on vehicles “Things that Go”

Click here for a free unit on vehicles “Things that Go”.  

This is a perfect unit for your advanced level language speakers!

Follow these simple steps and get going on some great ELD instruction that will engage your students and provide them with some rigorous language development

Do you use thematic units in your ELD lessons?  Share with us your best units!

Happy Teaching,

November 6, 2020

ACADEMIC LANGUAGE versus Academic Vocabulary

Happy November everyone,

I am so glad you are here!  Ready for a little ELD conversation?  
Let’s get started.

Here is the question:
ACADEMIC LANGUAGE versus  Academic Vocabulary are these 2 terms the same or different?

Have you noticed that these terms are often used interchangeably?  To understand the differences between these two words let’s take an in-depth look at the precise meaning of each word. 

Delving into these 2 terms it becomes apparent that the overarching concept is ACADEMIC LANGUAGE.

the specialized language of academic discourse and textbooks.

Many researches insist that proficiency in ACADEMIC LANGUAGE is the most important predictor of academic success for individual students. Students must learn the many skills that are interwoven into the notion of ACADEMIC LANGUAGE

Academic Vocabulary is an important component, it is only one cog on the wheel we call ACADEMIC LANGUAGE.  

ACADEMIC LANGUAGE is a complex concept and requires teaching students: 
     the phonological features of English
     academic vocabulary and word formation rules (Lexical knowledge)

Here is a little more detail on each of these important areas:

     Phonological Features include the sound patterns and intonation of English.

     Vocabulary and Word Formation includes teaching: 
            o prefixes, suffixes and roots
            o tier 1, 2, and 3 words (here is where academic vocabulary comes in)
            o parts of speech
            o multiple meanings of words 
            o the grammar rules that apply to word formation and usage.

     Grammar comprises: 
            o the correct use, rules, and understanding of the parts of speech
            o word classes
            o inflections
            o increasing word complexity
            o understanding complex sentence structures
            o syntax

     Discourse entails: 
            o the ability to use words 
            o to organize knowledge 
            o to exchange ideas

     Cognition encompasses: 
            o the mental action of:

As you can see Academic Vocabulary is just a small part of the intricate concept of ACADEMIC LANGUAGE.

These two words should NOT be used interchangeably. 

 Click here for a graphic that helps organize the components of ACADEMIC LANGUAGE.

September 14, 2020

Reyes Family Fire Relief Fund

Looks like the link is broken.

Here it is again.

Click her to donate to Reyes Family Fire Relief Fund 

 Our community working together! Teaching!

September 13, 2020

πŸ’•Reyes Family Fire Relief Fund

Hello to everyoneπŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

I just wanted to thank everyone who has been reaching out to us since last Tuesday.  Yes, my family and I are safe and we still have a house!  The fires in Southern Oregon have decimated our community. 

So much loss, trauma, and tragedy.

I am reaching out and sharing a Go Fund Me page for 3 families I have the honor of knowing.  I have taught their children over the years and watched their successes and accomplishments.  In the blink of an eye all was lost as their trailers and belongs burnt to the ground.


Click Below if you would like to donate now:


If you can, please share this 'Go Fund Me page' on your social media, email or blogs.

The smallest donations are appreciated.

I would love to offer some hope to these 3 families as they struggle through the unthinkable.

 Click Below if you would like to donate now:

With much love  πŸ’• and appreciation,

September 4, 2020

Distance Learning: What Parents Need to Know!

Back to School!         

click here for your free copy 


Tuesday my district goes live on line with students! We are all so excited, but nervous, too.

I wanted to start my school year out helping parents organize and prepare for the first days of school, at home!  Here are some tips, tricks and ideas I shared with my student's parents.  

What Parents Need to Know About Distance Learning 
Build a strong relationship with your child’s teacher.  Call, email or text your child’s teacher and introduce yourself.  Tell the teacher about your child, and your family.  Ask what you can do to help her/him and ask what you should do when you need help. 
Set and keep a daily school schedule and routine at home.    Students thrive when routines and schedules are followed strictly.  Consistent routines create an atmosphere that allows children to feel secure and know what to expect.  Remember to include in your daily schedule breaks at regular times for stretching, snacks, lunch and physical movement outside when possible.  Create a plan and
stick to it!
Locate or create a space in your home for each individual child.  This is where they will do their distant learning and school work. Organize the the space by making sure the materials your child needs are easily accessible and within reach.  Limit distractions between children in the same room by using headphones, computer privacy screens or poster boards.  Desks, tables or other working spaces, which are in the same room, need to be positioned back to back to minimize distractions and horseplay! J
Many parents feel like they need to teach or reteach distant learning lessons.  Let the teacher do the teaching and help your children if they struggle by having a conversation about what your child understands and does not understand about the lesson.  Help your child explain their thinking about the lesson and see if they can sort out their thinking on their own.  Sometimes kids just need a sounding board.  If your child is still stuck, contact the teacher.

click here for your free copy   

Ask for help. Don’t be reluctant to contact teachers, reach out to other parents, or family and friends.  We are all coping right now with similar worries, frustrations and problems. By reaching out to each other we build a strong foundation for our own family and the families in our community. 
Encourage reading. Read with your children.  You can read books, recipes, newspapers or magazines.  The point is just to read everyday with your children.
Set clear expectations with your family.  Have a family meeting and come prepared to share your expectations for school with your children.  Explain that school is still school even when distant learning and that you expect the best effort from your children.   Establish realistic consequences for your children if their schoolwork has not been completed in a timely manner.  Hold weekly family meetings to talk about your families agreed upon expectations.  Consider how those expectations were met. If the expectation has not been met, calmly give the consequence that you established if schoolwork was not done.   Be consistent.  Keep everyone in the family connect with student education and achievement with these important family interactions.

Provide feedback.  Kids love stickers, stars, praise and positive reinforcement.  Remember to always praise the behavior you are looking for (‘Wow! I am impressed with how you made sure to use your best handwriting when writing your story!’ versus ‘good job on that story.’)
Model patience, perseverance, understanding and compassion.  Covid-19 has created unprecedented stress in many if not most families.  Now is the time to teach your child patience, understanding and compassion.  Talk about perseverance and different strategies to create it when doing schoolwork.  Let your children know that taking a break when frustration comes in is a great skill to learn, but the real life skill is going back to a job and getting it finished!
Don’t forget to have fun.  Kids are kids and love to learn through play.  Make games and fun activities out of school work.  Ask your children how they could make up a game to help them with some of their assignments.  Make if fun to learn.
Keep track of assignments.  Make a schedule and post it on the refrigerator.  Review it together with your children each morning and set goals.
Encourage writing by asking your children to keep a diary or journal.  Make a homemade journal and teach your kiddos how to keep a diary.  Integrate writing into real life home activities.  These writing activities are great in English or your native language.
Promote conversation in any language.  Ask your child what they did today at school what was the most interesting, difficult, important things you learned today.

I am also sharing it with you, too! (click here for your free copy).  

Send this list home to take the first steps in assisting parents in making a successful transition to distance learning!

click here for your free copy 

All my best,

August 27, 2020

πŸ“šπŸ“š ZOOM and Online Distance Learning Classroom Rules and Etiquette πŸ“šπŸ“š

Hello everyone!

Many of us are getting ready for Distance Learning.  We know that both students and teachers reap the rewards when best practices are used.  Therefore, I decided to write down some Best Practices for Distance Learning that I wanted to remember and engage in.  I thought I would share my list with you!

My Best Practices in Distance Learning


·     Explicitly teach expectations and engagement

·     Describe expectations for online participation, communication, and etiquette

·     Get students into the habit of participating

·     Make online learning as interactive as possible

·     Balance synchronous and asynchronous learning

·     Give students choices

·     Engage students with a variety of ways to learn

·     Change your background each week

·     Only use 4 or 5 activities so kids know what to do

These are some of mine (so far).  I would love to hear some of yours!

ZOOM and Online Distant Learning Classroom Rules and Etiquette
Are you ready to start up your Distance Learning Classroom this fall?

We are here to help!  This colorful poster is engaging to use with your students to teach and review proper Zoom etiquette during the first weeks of school and beyond!
Maintain your classroom expectations using this engaging online poster. 

This set includes 5 posters each with a different center picture that will help you consistently monitor and practice the online etiquette of your students. You can either send this out to your students before you start your lessons as a reminder or display it as you start your daily Zoom lessons as a review.

Perfect for all distance learning platforms!


Need an ELD pacing guide?

This one is free!

As many of you know, I am a K-5 ELD teacher in Ashland, Oregon.  For many years I did workshops throughout my state for ELD teachers.  Many ELD teachers asked me for a pacing guide so I made this. 


Each month has a combination of ELD units and/or grammar components essential for English learners. Again choose some or all of what I have here. Feel free to mix it up to suit you!


If I have a product that contains all or parts of the language I teach during that month I have listed it. All resource images are click-able links for your convenience. Just click on the image you want to see and it will take you to my TPT store.  I use these products according to language level more than grade level.  Each column represents a language level.  The column has language grammar, forms and functions I teach for that level.  Under the column heading I list products I use to teach those language components.  Some of the products may have a grade level on it, but I have used it at that language level based on the language I am teaching students at that level.


Happy Teaching!