Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Beliefs on Education

I've decided to try my first Linky Party!  I loved this topic from The Primary Gal.  It made me think "hmmmm... what did I write in my portfolio?"  So I went to pull it out.  Those of you who know me won't be surprised to learn that my teacher portfolio is..... A SCRAPBOOK!

So I read over my philosophies and most of them I still agree with so without further ado....

I became an ESL teacher because I believe...

1.) Every student is capable of learning.  However not every child learns in the same way so as a teacher I must provide my students with a variety of authentic, meaningful learning experiences.  This learning needs to be engaging. I enjoy the challenge of creating these experiences for my English Learners (ELs).

2.) We need to create comfortable environments where students feel loved and cared for.  At a workshop today it was pointed out that students learn their first language in order to communicate with their loved ones.  For my students learning a second language they are learning that language in order to survive.  Can you imagine how much more difficult that is?! I can't.  So we need to make the environment for learning that second language a loving one.

3.) Students need structure!  A structure and routine will help to lessen ELs anxiety.  Once they learn the routines of the classroom they can focus on the content being taught.  Routines also make life easier for the teachers!  Everyone wins!

Why did you become a teacher?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Curriculum Part 2! - Some of my Favorite Internet Sources

As you can see from last week's picture - my table is covered with curriculum materials to pull from.  However I use a lot of internet sources as well. I have so many tabs open my computer usually crashes!

Teachers pay Teachers is one of my absolute favorite things!  I don't remember how I found resources before this.  I love to search for free things! I can search by my topic and find some awesome activities. Once I find a read-aloud book I'll search here for activities to go with the book. There are even emergent readers! I love this site!

Amazon is great for finding read-aloud books.  I love their 'look inside' feature.  Once I find a good read-aloud book I will search my library (see below), my school's library and public library.  Generally I can find the books in one of those two places.  Since I am getting curriculum ready now I can keep a list of books to reserve from the library and when I need to have them.  Hopefully this keeps me organized!

Library Thing is a great place to catalog the books for your classroom library.  You can tag your books with different topics, or reading levels or whatever you want.  I will search my books for a title, or topic.  I can also search what other people have tagged as a certain topic.  I have over 1,000 books listed!

Reading A-Z is great for leveled readers.  I will have the books printed in color through BOCES.  For K students I generally read the book then use the comprehension question cards as our discussion.  I will mount them on cardstock and laminate them.  For first and second grade I will print the worksheets, quiz and comprehension questions.  

If I can't find a leveled reader on Reading A-Z I will check Hubbard's Cupboard.  Her printable booklets are generally very good for K students.  The books generally have a black and white student copy, and a larger teacher copy.  I have the teacher copy printed on cardstock, laminated and bound.  Then I will make comprehension questions and laminate them.  

What are some of your favorite places to find resources?

Friday, July 25, 2014


Alright - so my school district doesn't have a curriculum for ESL teachers, so the other ESL teacher and I have been spending some time this summer compiling our resources and outlining a basic curriculum.  We are finding it harder than we thought! When we are done we are hoping to have a good start on a k-2 curriculum.  Here is a look at the resources we are using:

1.) The NYSESLAT Binder - this has all the sample tests.  We use this to make sure we are creating parallel activities so that the format of the NYSESLAT is no surprise come May.  Also we have activities we can use as a formal assessment.

2.) Thoughtful Classroom resources - Last year my school district started using the Thoughtful Classroom as a unit/lesson design format.  It is a great way to approach unit design.  I will post more on this with a sample unit (or two or three or more?!) later.

3 & 4.) Backpack & Cornerstone Pockets - These are some curriculum samplers that I received from our BOCES years ago.  We pull supplemental activities and resources from these books.

5.) Oxford Picture Dictionary for the Content Areas for Kids - We received these just this past year.  We are finding them to be a bit too high for our kindergarten students.  However there are some really great things in here!  The pictures are fantastic.  The reproducible collections are great for vocabulary cards, and it has follow-the-directions activities.  There are matching activities, crosswords and word searches.  We also bought the teacher's edition, and workbooks along with the dictionaries themselves.

6.) Make Your Own Pictionary - This is a super old curriculum designed for K students.  I have been using this for my K classes for the past few years.  However I found that they are definitely outdated ('paste' instead of 'glue') and misses some important words and puts in others that make no sense.  It's not all bad though the unit pictures are great for coloring pages and discussions.  It also introduced the idea of a pictionary of all the words we learn in the year.  The kids love taking home a book of all their words at the end of the year.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Here We Go!

Alright - I'm going to try this blogging thing.  Let's see how it goes!