Friday, March 25, 2016

Student Dictionaries

As an ESL, ELL, ENL, LEP Emerging Bilingual teacher I teach a variety of students at a variety of grade levels in a variety of classroom situations.  I like to say that I'm flexible as long as you aren't asking me to touch my toes!  I have students in grades k-6, which I see in a mix of push-in and pull-out situations.  However one thing that I focus on with all of my students is vocabulary development. Given, though, that I have all these different groups and no space a traditional word wall is out of the question!  Which is where my dictionaries come in!

Both of these items can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers store
In kindergarten and first grade I use the editable version of my picture dictionary. I teach thematically, from a pre-determined vocabulary list.  (It was something we developed as a team a few years ago).  Once the list is tweaked each summer I input all of the year's vocabulary words into the editable document.  As the year goes we spend a week working on the 6-8 vocabulary words within our theme and then on Fridays they are able to glue the vocabulary picture into their dictionaries.  Their picture dictionaries are pre-made with the words in them.  They have to find the word and glue the picture into the correct box.  This helps my students practice letter and word recognition along with dictionary skills.  In first grade I challenge them to put their words in ABC order first, then they do the rest!  They love it!  Then they have a book of all the words we've studied to take home with them at the end of the year.

I bind these picture dictionaries with the GBC ProClick Desktop Binding Machine. However you can use a coil binding machine or have it coiled at staples.  You can also choose to put it in a binder! Whatever system works best for you.

In second and third grade our vocabulary comes from the books that we are reading, which changes from year to year depending on the students.  This is where I move to the lined version of my picture dictionary.  I will teach any essential vocabulary prior to reading.  This is anywhere from 5-10 words for the week.  These words they write into the dictionary and draw their own picture.  I have moved this dictionary into a binder since these photos were taken, so that pages can be added as needed (you never know how many words you might have for each letter).  


In fourth through sixth grade the students will mark unknown words on their first read of a text.  From those I will create their vocabulary list.  They will write the word on the list page of their dictionary and then complete the word page.  If students are looking up the definitions on their own I like to use Word Central from Merriam-Webster.  Sometimes I'll present the words and definitions as a matching activity.  There are also times when we go through the text and use context clues to discuss and determine the definition as a group.  This is another of my dictionaries that I put into a binder so that pages can be added as needed. 


Both my students and I love that at the end of the year they have a record of their learning for the year.  Our dictionaries are a celebration of all that we have accomplished.  My teaching has gotten so much better because of them, and they are more engaged with their learning.  

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easter Baskets

This post was originally published on the SeeMamaTeach Collaborative Blog.

Michelle here from Teaching Eternity.


Easter is coming up, and just in case you're a last-minute TeacherMom who's out of ideas... We present to you...


Yes, we've scoured Pinterest, and yes, we all wish we could create those awesome Easter baskets... But Easter is only 5 days away and 'ain't nobody got time for that'! 

I asked a bunch of moms what they were putting in their kiddos' Easter baskets.  There were a lot of awesome ideas!  One of my favorites, and a recurring theme, was a basket full of summer items!  Since summer is coming up I thought that was a great idea, and wished I'd seen it before I'd started collecting for my own son's basket.  So I'll definitely be saving it for next year!

So here is a list of ideas, broken down by age range for your Easter baskets!  (There is a lot of overlap... and of course BOOKS makes the list every time!) Each age range is it's own list, so they can be printed out and brought with you to the store!

Clothes and Board Books were definitely popular answers for this age range.  My son will have the Hug-a-Bible in his basket.  It's cover is like a sheep, and it's adorable! Another great idea that I saw for these guys is to put their little finger foods, like puffs or yogurt drops, in their eggs!  That will definitely be happening in this house! Practical things like pacifiers and socks are fine too... they won't know the difference! Here are some of my favorite book choices:
Duck and Goose: Here Comes the Easter Bunny!
Llama Llama Easter Egg
Happy Easter Mouse
Ollie's Easter Eggs
Where Are Baby's Easter Eggs?


Toddler age was when the summer items really started popping up.  Anything to get those kiddos playing outside!  If you lived near a beach your Easter basket could be a beach pail with beach toys, a swim suit and towel inside.  For those of us not lucky enough to live near a beach, but lucky enough to have access to a pool, floaties, pool toys along with a swimsuit and towel will make for an awesome summer.  No beach, no pool, no problem! Get them some toys to dig around in the dirt or bubbles or chalk.  Endless summer fun is headed your way! Here are some of my favorite books for these guys!
Peppa's Easter Egg Hunt
Marshmallow
Happy Easter Little Critter
Splat the Cat: Where's the Easter Bunny?



I saw a lot of craft suggestions for this age.  Coloring books and Crayons were popular, along with stickers, markers and chalk.  This was also the first time I had someone recommend candy.  Summer toys were still very popular along with DVDs.  Here are some great book ideas:
Pinkalicious: Eggstraordinary Easter
The Biggest Easter Basket Ever
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Chick
Fancy Nancy's Elegant Easter
The Night Before Easter


Once we got to our school age kiddos I had more suggestions for fun and practical things like water bottles, watches, hats, and umbrellas.  There were still a lot of suggestions for outdoor things which makes makes sense as we teacher moms will be home with these kiddos all summer... we've got to keep them busy! If you're looking for some Easter themed books here are some of my favorites:
Captain Awesome and the Easter Egg Bandit
The Berenstain Bears and the Real Easter Eggs
Junie B. Jones: Dumb Bunny
The Easter Story
Emma the Easter Fairy



I had lots of suggestions from moms of young teens.  Food and money or gift cards were very popular.  Although movies made quite a few appearances, as did video games.  As someone who doesn't have a lot of experience with either of these age ranges (not since my sisters were this age 10+ years ago) I don't have much to add to their suggestions.  At this age Easter books are tough to find, so I'd suggest books your child would be interested in.  Maybe a how-to draw for the budding artist or the next book in their favorite series.  When all else fails a trip to the library or book store for them to choose their own equals quality time together and a happy kid!

Here are some of the Easter baskets the members of SeeMamaTeach have put together!  (We mostly have littles)




Wednesday, March 2, 2016

February Currently

I can't believe it's already March 1st (ok fine it's March 2nd now... *sigh*) 
But that means it's time to link up with Farley and complete her awesome CURRENTLY!


...listening...
With the baby getting more talkative and my classroom at school being super noisy (I share it with 3 other teachers) I have really been valuing my quiet time.  Currently it is pretty quiet, some noise from the wind outside, and I can just hear the song playing in the nursery.  But no one is talking or yelling or humming or singing and it is glorious!

...loving...
Spring is coming to upstate New York.  Winter is getting a few more licks in - there was a dusting of snow this morning and temps are supposed to drop today.  However, we've had a couple of awesome weather days recently.  In fact, we went to the zoo on Sunday and did all the outside exhibits, as well as inside ones!

...thinking...
I really need to start to prioritize my to-do list. The problem is that there are so many things I want to do, and they are so much more fun than the things I need to do! Any tips for me?!?!

...wanting...
I suppose I really can't complain about this one.  The baby is getting really good at sleeping through the night.  However, it seems like whenever he doesn't wake me up something else does... a storm, the wind, the dogs... 8 hours... all I want is a solid 8 hours!

...needing...
Along with prioritizing I need the motivation to get those things I've prioritized DONE! Deadlines end up being my motivation and I don't think that motivates me to do my best.

...polling site...
My school is not a polling site.  However I do remember my school being a polling place when I was growing up, and I remember those days being days I had off! I wouldn't mind my school being a polling place if it were a teacher work day! I can get stuff DONE!

So now it's your turn... link on up and comment! comment! comment!

Oh Boy It's Farley

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