Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Reading Resources for Parents - Translations Included

I'll try to keep this one short and sweet. I have already posted this to Facebook, but I thought it was important enough to share here. One of our evaluation standards is communication with parents. Here is an easy link to very imformative materials (complete with some Spanish translations) that provides parents with information about reading. Some examples are facts for parents, why read aloud is important, how much literacy is lost with too much TV time, and how parents can help. The posters and brochures are available for free download and great to have on hand for parent/teacher conferences or just as a refresher! I want my students to enjoy reading and have access to books, either English or Spanish. I'm happy as long as they learn to enjoy literature of any kind. The first line of defense is having the parents on board. Believe it or not, especially parents of English Language Learners, they really want to help, but are sometimes just not sure what they can do. Help them help you. You can find a list of various brochures and resources listed on this page. Spanish translated materials are designated in parentheses. Click on the image to access Jim Trelease's page. It is chocked full of reading resources. Like any caring educator, his goal is provide students with a positive experience with reading and a love of books. Remember, have these printed and on the ready. You never know when they'll come in handy. If you're in a TKES district, it will even earn you some brownie points!

Monday, December 29, 2014

One Word Resolution for 2015

With all the buzz of the holidays and a fantastic Christmas, it's hard to get the mind prepped for the new year. Caseyjane at Primary Powers offered the best tool to get motivated. Check out the blog post to join the link party.

I love this concept. K.I.S.S. is one of my overall resolutions for the my entire life in 2015, so this fits well. By recommendation of Caseyjane, this particular one word resolution is teaching-related, so here is mine.

Connect. This is a big deal. It will take some work on the upfront, but it will make life easier in the long run. I'm a third year teacher. I still consider myself new, but I will always want to learn and connect with mentors and experts. My current endeavor is arranging to meet with a retired ESOL teacher that ran a very successful book club in a neighboring district. She connected with the local children's theater and had real actresses read books to the children. How exciting!! I really hope she is willing to help me with my brand new book club, even though she is now retired out-of-state. I am hoping that this year allows me my first trip the TPT Conference where I can connect with some of this phenomenal teachers whose blogs I visit and stalk on Instagram. Most importantly, I want to connect the dots for my students. Not only in my classroom, connecting their learning styles with their academic success, but also in the school. How do I make the connection between the ESOL students and the rest of the school family - students, teachers, and administrators included. On the 2nd of January, I am connecting with fellow Georgia bloggers over lunch. This will be a great kick-off to a successful year. I can't wait for the challenge and the connections that will be had.

Happy New Years to my readers!! Enjoy the well-deserved break, or at least the days remaining. We're going to have a great year!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Countdown to the Christmas Holiday

Like any teacher, as much as I love being with my students, I also love any reason to count down to just a smidgen of a break from school. Our last day before Christmas break is in five days. Friday is our last day. It can be a fun five days, but at some points during this week, I'm sure I will have a "pull my hair out" kind of day. I plan to keep pushing my 4th graders through our novel study for The Witch of Blackbird Pond and my 5th graders through their independent research using Wonderopolis.org. Wonderopolis is worthy of its own blog post. I'll work on that over break. 

In between all the seriousness, I plan on reading some winter and Christmas stories during our new ESOL Reading Club that meets every morning (K-2nd). I think I'll even throw in a few days of popcorn and hot cocoa. As our ESOL team sat together and planned last week, I once again missed teaching the younger students. They are always in awe and so imaginative, but at the same time, they are so eager for the teacher's input. Last year during this time, I was reading the series that started with Snowmen at Night

The students enjoyed it so much! We followed the reading of the book and discussion that included higher order thinking questions with a short narrative... "If I were a snowman at night, I would..." Students then created their own snowman designed on ABCya! Be sure to click on the image below and follow the link. I posted the students' writing and a printout of the their snowmen on the bulletin board. I also found a phenomenal packet by Lita Lita on Teachers Pay Teachers that helped students complete an expository text about building a snowman. This is great for practicing this genre but also helps students practice using sequencing words.

So, I love reflecting, and I'm poor about simply doing the same plan twice. I don't have my younger grades this year, but if I did, how would I up the ante on this plan? I would incorporate my Ipad. The app Chatterpix is like the app equivalent of Blabberize. If you're not familiar with either, the purpose of the programs is to take a photo and put a mouth on it. Once you've done this, you can record yourself speaking. The app and the website will then animate the mouth so that your voice looks like it's coming from the photo. Here is my little sample below. So much fun! Hope you enjoy this little activity and find a way to incorporate it into your week. Happy counting down!!