Sunday, March 1, 2015

Currently March 2015

What have you been up to lately?

Listening: Currently listening to my son clean up his mess in the kitchen.  I think he knew better because I spent the whole.day.cleaning.  Like the.whole.day.
Loving: Donors Choose!  I just got a special professional development project funded and I'm soooo excited!  I'll share more about it soon once the details are finalized and I know more about how it all works.
Thinking: I should really be working on my classwork for the Cultural Diversity class that I'm taking right now.  I'm currently taking one of the classes to get my ESOL endorsement.  This is my first of 5 classes.  Long road ahead...
Wanting: I am going to do another round of Whole30.  Have you heard of it?  Although my husband and I started eating healthy (mainly vegan) in 2014, we started to slip as the school year began.  Last fall, I saw posts by Rachelle (What the Teacher Wants and For Blogness' Sake) about Whole30.  I read the book, It Starts with Food and completed one round of Whole 30.  Now, I'm ready to complete another one to get me ready for my spring break plans....
keep-calm-ig
Needing: I'm not feeling all that great.  I need to get some Zicam to knock out whatever is making me feel cruddy.  (Could also have something to do with the fact that I've been eating poorly.)
Spring Break Plans: NYC!  I'm taking my daughter to New York City for Spring Break!  We are super excited!  Do you have some must-do ideas for us?

And...you know you're 1) a teacher when and
2) excited when...

You create a binder for your trip:


So what have you been up to Currently?


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What To Do When They Are New (Giveaway!)

I am thoroughly enjoying my new job as an ESOL teacher and have had the opportunity to learn so much this year! 

My great friend, Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files has been such a wonderful resource for me this year.  She's given me so much advice and guidance along my new journey.  We both know that it can be challenging work though…especially when new students come midyear and are not speaking English yet. Luckily, there are many things you can do to help your newcomer English Language Learners. And we would like to share what works for our newcomers…and  to learn what works well in your class too!

Here are some of my tried-and-true tips for newcomer English Language Learners:

Understand That It Takes Time
Did you know that it takes between 1-2 years for ELL students to acquire social language, but between 7-9 years to acquire academic language? For this reason, it is important to give all ELL students support in the mainstream classroom.  Even though an ELL student may carry on a conversation with you, he still may be struggling with academic language. 
Wait Time
Speaking of time, provide as much wait time as possible.  ELL students may need considerably more wait time.  Pay attention to how quickly you speak.  Too often teachers are in a hurry to say everything they need to say to finish a lesson.  Remember that less is sometimes more when it comes to speaking.  Slow down and speak clearly.  


Using Visuals
Provide as much visual support as possible to ELL students.  Visual support comes in various forms. Have a print-rich environment.  Label your classroom.  Provide pictures with word walls.  Model what you expect. Show, don't tell.  Simply telling and talking will be too challenging for an English Language Learner. ELL students will need the most support with content vocabulary.  Consider using Math or other content vocabulary word walls.  By keeping the vocabulary grouped by content, ELL students will be able to access the vocabulary easily.


Differentiate Instruction
I have found that within a classroom, there may be a wide range of reading levels.  Planning for that can be difficult.  I recently started a new series to help!  Below is the newest in the series:

These set of close reading passages all use the same vocabulary for each of the levels.  These passages can be used in a variety of ways. These passages are written so that there are nine different levels for the same story. These passages are designed to be used in small groups, however they can be used with a whole class when the vocabulary is introduced to the whole class and students read the level of text needed. This set was created to provide visual support for ELL students.  More to come in this series!

Value a Student's Home Language
Value a student's home language.  Take the time to get to know the cultural background of your ELL student.  Ask him about his home language and cultural.  If he knows that you value his background, he will be more likely to feel comfortable enough to participate more in your classroom.



Those are some of my favorite tips…but Kristen and I would love to hear YOUR tips for working with ELL newcomers! And, as a thank you for your readership, we'd love to have a giveaway. 

We are each giving away a $25 gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers…just in time for the site wide sale this week!

We'd also like to give a product of choice from each of our stores…please check out the Rafflecopter below for more details on how to win these prizes! And be sure to visit Kristen's blog if you haven't, for more chances to win!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 21, 2015

ELLs in the Classroom {A Bright Idea}

How are you meeting the needs of the English Language Learners in your classroom?  


There so many ways to assist your English Language Learners in your classroom.  Let's focus on a few Dos and Don'ts that will help the most.




Did you know that it takes between 1-2 years for ELL students to acquire social language, but between 7-9 years to acquire academic language? For this reason, it is important to give all ELL students support in the mainstream classroom.  Even though an ELL student may carry on a conversation with you, he still may be struggling with academic language.  But, there are many strategies that you can use to help your ELL students become successful.
First, build a classroom community that fosters kindness and acceptance.   Foster a love of all languages and always value a student's diversity.
Do provide visual support to ELL students.  Visual support comes in various forms.  Have a print-rich environment.  Label your classroom.  Provide pictures with word walls.  Model what you expect. Show, don't tell.  Simply telling and talking will be too challenging for an English Language Learner.
Do provide plenty of wait time.  Pay attention to how quickly you speak.  Too often teachers are in a hurry to say everything they need to say to finish a lesson.  Remember that less is sometimes more when it comes to speaking.  Slow down and speak clearly.  
Do value a student's home language.  Take the time to get to know the cultural background of your ELL student.  Ask him about his home language and cultural.  If he knows that you value his background, he will be more likely to feel comfortable enough to participate more in your classroom.
Do promote activities that allow your ELL students to participate in group work.  When English Language Learners are given a chance to work in groups, they can practice language with their peers in a more relaxed and lower-risk setting.   

These are just a few suggestions for assisting English Language Learners in the mainstream classroom. Want to learn more?  If you are new to my blog, please consider joining me on FacebookInstagram or at Teachers Pay Teachers for more great ideas for working with ELL students.

For more bright ideas from tons of different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting! 

What are you waiting for?  Have a great time checking out the links to find more
 BRIGHT IDEAS!





Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Two New Math Menus---Giveaway(s)!!

I've been working on a few more Math Menus and *think* I'm almost finished with all 4th grade skills.  I'm planning on creating 5th grade menus next.  Here are the two newest Math Menus:

Decimals
and 

Area and Perimeter


Both are editable files so that you can adjust them to meet the needs in your classroom.  However, they are also ready to print and go!

I've bundled all of the menus and you can get the bundle and save over 20% off.  Check that out {here}.

I'd love to give you a chance to win one of the newest menus.  Pin either menu and leave the URL of the pin in the comments below.  You can either pin to this blog post or directly from TpT by clicking on the pictures of the covers and heading over there.

I'll pick 5 winners on Saturday night!  If you can't wait until Saturday to see if you win, I have both sets at 1/2 price until then :)

***Winners have been Contacted!***

Speaking of Saturday....I messed up planning my next installment of my "Can't  Live Without It" linky because I forgot that this is coming up on Saturday:


I guess you could say that the Bright Ideas Blog Hops are something I can't live without!  I will be back on Saturday to share my latest Bright Idea and hope you will come back for that!  I'll try to figure out a better time on the calendar for the "Can't Live Without It" posts.  Any suggestions?  A Sunday, perhaps?



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Valentine's Week Ideas

Happy Valentine's Day {Week}!  This is going to be a big week!

It is my last full week with my students before I stop to start administering  the ACCESS test (the test for all ELL students to test their language proficiency in reading, writing, listening and speaking).  It will take me about 5 weeks to test all of my students.  So, I'm going to make this last week count!

We are going to be using this new leveled reading passages and vocabulary activities pack.


Included in this pack are nine different passages of the same story ranging from F & P levels A-L (or Lexile Levels BR-500L), Reader Response Sheets, 3 different vocabulary card options (I will use the picture and word cards for my ELL students), and Vocabulary Games!  There are also black and white printing options.

Right now, my students' reading levels vary from C-L so this will work for all of my students.  Yay for one pack for all of my students!  I'm going to continue to make these types of packs for my students and would love for you to check them out, too.

I'm going to run a little giveaway for this item.  Can you pin it for me?   I'll pick 5 winners on Tuesday night!  If you can't wait and would like to purchase it, it's marked 1/2 off at only $2 until the giveaway ends.

And, as a thank you for pinning, I have some Valentine's Day Freebies for you!


In this FREEBIE download, you can find a class list sheet, homework passes and Valentine's Day cards for adding the heart-shaped crayons.  Just click on the picture above to go and download them!
Check out the post where I made those two years ago {here}.

Thanks, in advance, for pinning!

***Update: Winners have been notified!  Thanks for playing along!***


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Can't Live WIthout It Linky Returning Soon!

I tried to start this up last November and kinda failed at keeping up with it.

During my first full summer of blogging, I started a series called "Fabulous Find Friday" where bloggers would showcase some of the great things we were finding while shopping for our classrooms.  It was a way to share (before most people started using Instagram) where the good deals were for the week.

I found a lot of great ideas through this series and I'd like to bring back this same concept as a montly linky.
For this linky, we will showcase one thing that has made our lives as a teacher easier. If you link up, think of something that you've found that you seriously can't live without any more.

Here are some ideas about what to blog about:


1) Teaching supplies you can't live without
2) Subscription services you can't live without
3) Organizational ideas/ products you can't live without
4) Home/Cooking/Clothing products you can't live without (because, let's face it, if you can't get all of your life in place, we can't be effective teachers, right?)
5) Teaching products you can't live without

Check out the very first link up (from November) for some more ideas!


I'm going to run this linky the THIRD Saturday of every month.  I don't want to interfere with the fabulous linkys that are already in place:  Monday Made ItCurrentlyBright IdeasFive for Friday, etc.

Look for the next link up on February 21st.
Hope to see you back on the 21st!


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Currently-February 2015

I always love checking out everyone's Currently posts to check in with what all of my bloggy friends are up to lately.

Here's what I have going on right now:

Listening: My husband is busy making gumbo for our Super Bowl Party.  He LOVES making gumbo (mainly for all of the compliments he receives) and tomorrow is his birthday.  So, this is becoming a yearly tradition for us.  My kids are working on papers (daughter) or being silly and bugging us (son).
Loving: Even though he may be bugging her right now, they are precious together.  We are really trying to soak up every moment before she goes off to college next year.  Just check out this cute picture of the two of them from dinner last night.  They were having a deep sibling conversation to which we were not to be privy.   They have the best relationship.  I am truly blessed.
Thinking: I should really be working on my paper which is due on Tuesday.  I'm currently taking one of the classes to get my ESOL endorsement.  This is my first of 5 classes.  Long road ahead...
Wanting: I am going to do another round of Whole30.  Have you heard of it?  Although my husband and I started eating healthy (mainly vegan) in 2014, we started to slip as the school year began.  Last fall, I saw posts by Rachelle (What the Teacher Wants and For Blogness' Sake) about Whole30.  I read the book, It Starts with Food over the winter break and completed the first round.  If I'm being completely honest, I didn't really complete it because I cheated three times.  When you cheat, you are supposed to start over again.  So, guess that's what I'm doing starting tomorrow. I will say, though, that although I did cheat, I was able to curb my cravings for sugar.  I actually prefer my coffee black now (gasp!).
keep-calm-ig
Needing: I have several lists that I need to start and stick with over the next few months.  Here are the needed lists:
1) NYC!  I'm taking my daughter to New York City for Spring Break!  We are super excited!  Do you have some must-do ideas for us?
2) Project Graduation---so much to do, and so little time
3) College Ready
4) Project Dining Room- I'm slowly renovating my living room.  I bought this BEA-U-TI-FUL buffet on Friday that I am going to refinish:
I'm going to use Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint to hopefully get a look similar to this one found over at Perfectly Imperfect:
Photobucket

So what have you been up to Currently?