Thursday, 21 February 2013

Spelling Activities to Strengthen Memory!

I hope you have had good week! ~ I, on the other hand thought that Monday was going to be the craziest day of all - but I was wrong. The craziness continued throughout the week from assessments and class work to forgetting (on the most important day of the week mind you) my teaching suitcase which had all of those at home! Although, now I have a super sized block of cadbury chocolate next to me and all is well with the world again. =D  

So, the main theme for this week has been the do's and don't's of spelling. As much as we repeat the rules of spelling and punctuation, these are often forgotten and repetition is almost a must every week. So, I've decided to gather the most useful tips and tricks to help strengthen students' memory banks with spelling.

Useful tip 1: Always have a word wall in class and update it each week. This will help students recall the words, even if they'd forgotten the meanings or how to spell the words, they will be able to learn and remember through everyday exposure of the words. 

Useful tip 2: Create sentences with the given words each week. Practice these in class and have the students build sentences themselves out of the words using cards. The only way for the students to learn the words is for them to create sentences and use the words. 

Useful tip 3: Have a drop quiz every week to review the words. The drop quiz can be a spelling test with the words or a dictation with the words for that week. These quizes are informal quizes whereby students can mark each others work or mark the work as a class. 

Useful tip 4: Stick to a list of words each week and don't give out more than the students can handle.  Try to get them to master the list for that week, then give them the next batch of words.

Useful tip 5: Do help the students learn basic spelling rules. The quizes are helpful each week although the rules are much more important - their understanding is much more effective than having repetative memorizing tasks.

Useful tip 6: When the students write, have them circle the words that they are unsure about or the ones that they find difficult to understand and spell. Allow them time to write them in their journals / books.

Useful tip 7: encourage the students to use these words in their journals and throughout their writing. Begin to endorse creative story writing with prompts. 

Useful tip 8: Focus on the short and long vowel sounds throughout the year, these help students gain strength in recognising sounds and spelling through those sounds.

Finally, I am currently working on a spelling / word builders pack and I decided to share the first week of the activities here. The pack includes activities for over 200 fry words for grade 1. 

The freebie is right here.

I will be creating packs for other grades in time. I hope youy've enjoyed this post and that you have found this post and freebie useful, wishing you a lovely remaining February.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

How Do I Feel? - Encourage Talking About Emotions.

I hope you've all had a wonderful Valentines Day! 
Throughout the month of February we all talk about expressing love to our families, loved ones, partners, husbands, wives etc. With all the violence seen on the news lately, I thought it would be essential to build our future generation on good grounds and in turn hopefully minimize voilence in general.
Many children face this challenge. Often when they're angry, they either argue with their friends, classmates, or teacher. They don't know where to let out their frustrations, and in turn are scolded or punished for misbehaving. 

So how do we as teachers, mothers, uncles, and aunties encourage children to talk about emotions?

Here are 5 steps to encourage talking about feelings:

1. Warm-ups. Start the day with a 'hello' and 'how do we feel today?' class activity or discussion. Maybe include some questions on the board about feelings. What do we do when we're angry? What do we do when we're happy? etc. This will usually help create a friendly environment where the children will feel happy to share and less intimidated to talk. 

2. Give them space. For example, if a child is upset and a little withdrawn, they may not want to discuss what is upsetting them straight away. Although, if you let them know that they can think about it and when they're ready to talk to you, you'll be there to listen. They will feel secure in knowing that if they're uphappy about something it is okay to talk about it. 

3. Manage misbehaviour. Make it clear to the students that unacceptable reactions such as hitting or insulting others will not be tolerated. Use posters about what anger does and how much it hurts someone else. Use statements such as 'hitting hurts.' and 'we don't scream.'

4. An outlet. Have a form of creative outlet. For example each week let the class watch a movie, be creative and make crafts, or use a media device (iPods, iPads) etc. These ways help children see their favorite shows depicting many different emotions and how they responded to them appropriately. 

5. Be a positive model. Encourage using 'I messages' for example. 'I feel sad when ...' and these sentences help children in time reflect positively on their own emotions. This will let children know that it is okay to express sadness, fear or anger but in a positive way.

I hope you found this post useful! Feel free to comment below and tell me how you encourage talking about feelings in your class! - would love to get more ideas. 
Finally, I would like to conclude with a freebie on teaching emotions. It includes a vocabulary of emotions page hand-out, a worksheet on the verb to be and a writing piece. This mini unit is suitable for grades 1-3 or for ESL beginner levels. 

It is available here.

Wishing you a lovely February!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

ESL Kids Corner... + Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year!...I didn't need to look harder for another cause for celebration haha.

So my ESL class celebrates the Chinese new year this week - they've been counting down the days and making sure I know it! Ha! So I've created a unit based on the Chinese animals zodiac signs. The unit is a 46-page bundle which includes activities on introducing and reinforcing the months, days, seasons and years. It is suitable for grades 1-3 and for ESL learners of all ages. Here is a snap shot of the unit:

This week, we used the Sorting Seasons Center. Before we started the activitiy, I brainstormed the seasons on the board. I drew a cloud over each main season, winter, autumn, spring and summer. This normally activates students' learning and prior knowledge. Following the brain storming initial activity, I handed out the page of seasonal pictures for each group. Here is the picture:

Students were then instructed to cut out the pictures in groups and discuss what each pictures signifies. Students start organising the pictures under their respective season (this is the part where you will need to be all eyes to respond to questions). Then, make sure that you instruct them to place the cards on the sheet without gluing it just yet - in case they've made mistakes. 

Finally, the students are to record a sentence about each picture seen in all the seasons. This is an individual task. This will be a great actvity to help reinforce essential skills. 

If you would like to see the full Chinese Zodiac Themed unit, it's here

Now for the freebie this week, it is for ESL students. I will be posting a unit on starting ESL students for kids and another for adults but in time. It's been crazy busy lately but until then, I couldn't resist but post a freebie to see how much everyone responds to it. It's is a freebie which can be used as an ice breaker or starting the lesson.

 It introduces students to names and how to have a basic conversation in English to introduce themselves. Here it is!

Finally, hope you've enjoyed this post and a happy Chinese New Year to those who celebrate it! Until next time. :)

Friday, 1 February 2013

A Super Sale this Sunday! :)

 Hi all! If you haven't stopped by TPT yet. I would really recommend it this weekend! My wishlist is full and so is my cart of lesson plans ready to checkout on Sunday 3rd Feb. Can't wait! 
My store is having a sale of up to 25% on all items, don't miss out on the Valentine's ones which are brand new:

Here's the link! ~~ Sea of Knowledge TPT Store.
The awesome graphic above was made by Brooke Beynon and her store is also participating in the sale right here.

Happy Shopping! =)