March 30, 2022

πŸƒ‍♂️πŸƒπŸ»‍♀️ “If only I had more time in a school day...”

Classroom Transitions

Have you ever caught yourself uttering this phrase?  

 “If only I had more time in a                school day...”  

You can easily add those instructional minutes to your day by explicitly planning for your transition times.  Carefully considered transition times offer the key to maintaining an optimal learning environment, minimizes disruptions and behavior problems while maximizing instructional time. 

By providing the structure of predictable routines, procedures, and behavioral expectations, teachers offer their students, including second language learners and those who struggle with poor attention and impulsivity, an avenue to success during transition times. 

Plan for the transition periods in advance.  

Take a few minutes and think about the transition times that occur in your classroom.  
Grab your free planner here!


Common transition times include: 


entering the classroom first thing in the morning
changing from one subject to another
leaving or coming into the room after assemblies
recesses or lunch, clean up time at the end of the day


The first step in planning for transition times


is selecting a signal that you will use for each transition time.  Be consistent and use the same signal for all transitions.  Make sure it is a visual and auditory signal.  Provide enough “wait time” for students to respond.


Choose a method to instill a “sense of urgency” in the transition


Students respond well to the feeling that their work and time are important.  By giving the situation “a sense of urgency” students respond quickly.  Set a timer, count, or sing a song to give students that “sense of urgency.  Often simply saying, “Class we have 40 seconds to enter the room quietly and slowly, return to our desks/tables safely and begin reading.  Ready go.” is sufficient to instill that sense of urgency.


Always follow the same procedure


During transition times where students leave the room, teach them to put their materials away, stand up, push in their chairs, move slowly and safely to the door.  During transition times to the next activity include an activity that will help children adjust to the change.  Consider adding: 
  • a quick opportunity to stretch
  • a song that focuses on the new activity or subject
  • skip counting
  • reciting a poem.  
This gives students a break to readjust and provides slower students a bit more time to complete the transition.  Be deliberate in ending this very short brain break. Go right to work, don’t waste time here.  This creates a “sense of urgency” and shows your students that you value their time and work.


Be consistent 

 

Smooth transitions occur when students know what to do and how to do it.  Adhere to your schedule.  Have work ready for students.  As students enter each morning have a plan for exactly what they will do as they enter.  Look at your morning and plan for success.  Teach students to enter the room and 
Hang up backpacks, jackets, and coats
Turn in homework
Sign up for hot or cold lunch 
Find their seats
Begin reading, handwriting, or whichever morning activity you choose

Consider playing music or setting a timer the students can hear for the first minute students are entering the room

 

Be very consistent and choose the same amount of time the music ends or the timer goes off in order to create that “sense of urgency”.  Transition times will be efficient and productive parts of your educational day when you value your students’ time and work. 

Finally, good teaching of any routine and procedure is the key to success


Remember to explain the expected behavior, explicitly model the routine and procedure, practice, practice, practice, and finally provide feedback. 

 Congratulations, you are on your way to smooth, efficient, and safe transition times.

We created a helpful worksheet you can download for free.  

What strategies and activities do you use during transition times?  Please share your ideas with us!

Happy Teaching!




March 15, 2022

Language Support for ESL Newcomers

ESL Newcomers


Now that you know what to expect when your ESL newcomer initially arrives, let’s talk about how you can support their language development. πŸ’ͺ


Quick tips for supporting your English newcomer in the classroom:

        πŸ’§Allow students to use their first language to aid their comprehension

        πŸ’§Give students a buddy that speaks their language, if you have one

        πŸ’§Use pictures or gestures to help students with routines and directions

        πŸ’§Include your newcomer in your lessons, even if you don’t think they will understand the content.

        πŸ’§Have targeted work that students can do with you or a buddy during

           independent time


Now that you have a few quick tips to support your English newcomer, let’s talk about different activities that you can do to help your ESL newcomer learn English!


Teach survival vocabulary:

Survival vocabulary terms are phrases and questions that students need to “survive” and function in school.  Think about some of the most common phrases and questions students ask daily. Such as:

        πŸ’§May I go to the bathroom?

        πŸ’§May I get a tissue?

        πŸ’§I need a pencil.

        πŸ’§I feel sick.

        πŸ’§I don’t understand.

        πŸ’§I don’t know.

        πŸ’§What do I do?

        πŸ’§Where do I go?

These are phrases and questions that your newcomer students want the answer to also! They just may not be able to voice those concerns in English, yet. Explicitly teaching students these survival words and phrases can help them feel comfortable in your classroom while also helping them learn some basic English.

✌ Teach basic classroom nouns and verbs:

Think about the basic people, places, things, and actions students need to be aware of to be able to follow directions and understand your schedule. By explicitly teaching your students common classroom words and verbs, you can ease their anxiety by helping them know what to do and expect. Some example terms are:

        πŸ’§bus

        πŸ’§playground

        πŸ’§water

        πŸ’§hungry

        πŸ’§walk

       πŸ’§listen

Teach students these words using word cards and then showcase them in a place where students can see and practice them. You could build a word wall for students or have them create their own science board where they can review and practice them on their own. Review and practice are key to language acquisition. 


☝✌Provide sentence starters:

One way to help newcomers feel successful with English is to provide them with sentence starters. This minimizes the amount of English that students must produce while also helping build their confidence in what they need to write about. Some example sentence starters are:

        πŸ’§My name is _______.

        πŸ’§I am ______.

        πŸ’§I am from ______.

Using sentence starters like the ones listed above can help students feel success with writing in English.

Teaching newcomers and creating resources for them doesn’t have to be overwhelming! If you are looking to implement some of the suggestions mentioned above but don’t have the time to make them yourself, check out these products in my Teachers Pay Teachers store:


 


Stay tuned for the next post in the series which features a sample lesson plan from my ELL Newcomers Bundle!


Happy Teaching! πŸ’œ


March 7, 2022

πŸ’«St Patrick’s Day IdiomsπŸ’«

 St Patrick's Day


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/St-Patricks-Day-Idioms-2271273

πŸ’«πŸ’«St Patrick’s Day is right around the corner!  

  I love using this holiday to teach about idioms!
πŸ’«St Patrick’s Day IdiomsπŸ’«
What is an idiom?
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/St-Patricks-Day-Idioms-2271273Idioms are words that don’t mean what they say!  They are usually a group of words, well known and used by native speakers of a language, that can’t be understood by the individual meaning of the words.







Why teach idioms?
Students develop a clear understanding of idioms with direct instruction, read-alouds, teacher modeling, and student-centered activities.  According to readwritethink teaching idioms offers students the ability to further comprehend texts that contain metaphorical and lexical meanings beyond the basic word level.



Here is one way to teach idioms:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/St-Patricks-Day-Idioms-2271273 
·      When presenting idioms to students, introduce a group of 4 to 5 idioms together.   It is best to group the idioms into a category, for  example; before St. Patrick’s Day teach idioms that use green in them!
·      Always use stories or relate personal conversations to introduce each idiom in context.
·      Use an Idiom Journal to record the idiom and the meaning.  Don’t forget a picture.
·      Practice by offering students a student-centered activity.

Now you are on your way to teaching idioms!


I like these idioms for green!
·      Get or give someone the green light
·      Green with envy
·      Grass is always greener on the other side
·      To be green
·      Green thumb
·      Green around the gills


Here are some fun sites for idioms!
·      My English Teacher
·      Learn English


What are some of your favorite idiom activities!  I would love to hear about them.


Happy Teaching,

March 1, 2022

Where to Begin with ESL Newcomers

ESL Newcomers


We have all had an English newcomer student for the first time at some point, and we have all wondered what to do with them. If that's you this year, this series is for you. Each post will provide different tips to help you feel confident about teaching newcomer students. Even if you aren't new to ESL newcomer teaching, follow along. You may learn some useful tips! Read on to learn where to begin. πŸ‘€


You just found out that an English newcomer - English learner (EL) is being placed in your class. Maybe you’ve taught other English learners before, but this feels…different…scary. You have no idea where to start or what to do. 😟


If you’re feeling this way, follow along with this series to find out what to do when they are new!


The most important thing you need to do is:

Make your newcomer student feel welcomed and supported! This is probably a scary time for them. Maybe they are new to the country. Maybe they have been to school, but never a school where English is spoken. Or maybe they have never been to school at all. You help set the tone for their school experience by showing them positivity, kindness, and support.


Know they may have a range of emotions:

Newcomer students may have an array of feelings as they become acclimated to their new environment. This is a normal part of the acculturation process. The emotions students may feel include:

        πŸ’§ Euphoria: Students may be curious and excited about their new culture. 😁    

        πŸ’§Culture shock: Students may experience grief, anger, homesickness, and resentment. 😨

These reactions are normal as students adjust to their new lives in the United States. Help your newcomer students by showing them that you are there for them as they process the many different changes in their lives. 


Dig into their background info:

Just as we should try to learn basic information about all of our students, it’s important to learn about our newcomer students and where they come from. Look at students’ cumulative folders to find some of this information:

        πŸ’§Where was the student born?

        πŸ’§What language(s) do they speak?

        πŸ’§Did they go to school in their country?

        πŸ’§Can they read and write in their language?

        πŸ’§Is this their first United States school?

        πŸ’§How do you pronounce their name?

Getting the answers to these questions helps you be more aware of your students’ cultures and backgrounds which helps inform your instructions. Acknowledging students’ backgrounds can help them feel connected to you and show them that you care. 


Determine their English language level:

Now that you know all of the basic information about your student, you need to know how much English they know. Some students know and understand a few words and phrases, while others may just be starting on their English language learning journey. Talk with your school’s English Language (EL, ESL, ELD, etc.) teacher. Your English Language teacher should already have or be working to acquire English placement test scores. Depending on your state, the entrance test that students take may be different. Your school’s EL teacher will know what program is followed for your state.


You can use these test scores to know which language domains students need the most support with. The four language domains are listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Some students may need support in all four areas equally, and that’s okay! Knowing how your students scored gives you an idea of what students have already mastered and where you need to begin.


Once you have completed the steps above, stay tuned for my next blog post in the series which focuses on Language Support for ESL Newcomers.




Happy Teaching! πŸ’œ



Make Summer School Fun This Year 🌞

Hello teachers ~ ________________________  Are you ready to make Summer School FUN? With the end of the school year upon us, it’s time to st...