“I am Special” – An ESL writing activity

Today I am going to share a little project with you that I like to do from time to time at the start of the school year. It’s called the “I am Special” project and I use it to expand my students’ ability to talk about themselves and to add in some positive vibes right at the start of the term.

The photos that I am including in this post come from last year’s project and what’s great is that I got a lot of help from Twinkl. If you have not heard of Twinkl (you can thank me later!) it’s an online platform that provides worksheets for teachers, students and homeschoolers at a yearly price. You can get it for free, but in my experience as a teacher, it’s not enough and I had to move up to a yearly subscription.

What I found really useful about Twinkl is that most of their worksheets are differentiated! And if you are a teacher, I am SURE that you’ve had that word drilled into your head for the last few years. ALL schools are looking for teachers that are willing to differentiate in the classroom and yet no one can seem to tell you how to do that without working nonstop night and day...Right! Well, that’s where Twinkl comes in – You pick a subject (and I mean ANY subject) and hone in on a specific area. Once you find what you’re looking for you’ll more than likely have at least 3 options (easy, intermediate and difficult) to choose from. Simple! AND, your students will all be working on a worksheet that looks similar – so no more – “Oh, yours is so easy!” or “Hey, why is mine so much harder than so and so’s?”

Here’s a simple rundown of how I run this class:

Introduction: Gobo (my puppet) comes out and starts talking about the fact that he is not sure if he is special or not. I reassure him that he is and talk about how everyone is special, even when we are not so nice or when we do things that we’re not supposed to, etc….

I will then get into a conversation with my students about what makes them different from one another. What do they look like? Does everyone look the same? This is where we’ll talk about our facial features, hair color, etc. and the things that make us special visually.

Next, I’ll introduce the “I am Special” poem from Twinkl. We will help Gobo fill one out his poetry worksheet whole group (that means that the whole class helps in this) and then I’ll have the class break into partners to fill in their own worksheets and I’ll also ask them to make a self portrait (a rough draft) on the back of their worksheets when they are done. I like the partners to consist of at least one person that can manage the activity on their own. Or, two students that will at least give it their best shot. Remember, since the activity is differentiated, some students will have a word bank to work from, which helps a lot. Also, I will have left our Whole Group poem (Gobo’s poem) on the interactive white board.

As the students are working I will walk around the room helping the partners who need assistance. As soon as I see students working on their portraits I’ll know that I can check their work too.

During out next lesson I will ask the students what it means to be special, who is special and how they themselves are special. All of this will have already been discussed in our first lesson and so it will be a good starting point for our second class.

This is also a time where I’ll pass out their work and ask if anyone would be willing to share their poems so far. I usually have a lot of volunteers, so this can take a few minutes.

Next, I will show the students an example of a finished poem (which will be handwritten on another piece of paper) and a completed self portrait. At this point I will have several piles of construction paper that is of different size and color that will be used for the writing and drawing part of this project. My students (if they’re ready) will receive their materials and get right to work either reviewing and editing their poems or starting their first or final drafts of their self portraits.

What I like to do is give a check mark to the poetry rough drafts. Once a student receives that, they’ll know that they can take a specific piece of construction paper and get to work writing out their final drafts. I use the same method for the art work too. If a child has a check mark on the rough draft of their self portrait, they’ll know that they can take a specific piece of construction paper to begin the final draft of their portraits.

I like working this way because it help the students to know that work is all about PROGRESS and that a rough draft is meant to be worked on before finally moving on to the finished project.

In addition to the activities that I already mentioned, I usually always add a picture book to read from that connects to our project and we, of course, always start and end our lessons by singing songs. At the very end of our project Gobo is usually invited back to see our work.

They just love impressing him :)

Please let us know if you try this project out or what you think of Twinkl.

Wishing you a nice day,

Danielle

ESL writing activity

Time for a little shopping…

  

  
I love to use student-made teaching materials in my ESL class. The items that we made this time were drawings of objects that my students were going to sell to each other. I understand that some parents find the use of     art in a ESL classroom as irrelevant or just a waste of time. I beg to differ. My students and I use that time to actually talk and sing. You’d be amazed at how much more relaxed children can be when they are in the middle of creating something. Singing becomes more fun and I get the time to question them about everyday occurrences. More than that, they are actually made to use the actual language (and phrases) that they would benefit from the most. 

Here’s how my lesson went-

After we learned some typical phrases like:

“How much does this cost?”

“It costs # euros and # cents.”

and:

“That’s expensive!”

“That’s a good price.”

“That’s a bargain!”

I then had them practice naming all of the individual coins:

“Twenty cents, ten cents, one euro, two euros…”etc. 

We then quickly moved on to adding up different sums and they really enjoyed showing off their ever growing math skills. I then asked them to pick out a particular item to sell and to then choose a price to sell it at. Working in pairs they took turns asking, “How much does this cost.” ” It’s costs # euros and # cents. ” Whereby their partner would answer,       “That’s expensive!” or one of the other phrases. 

How did my students like this activity! Let’s put it this way, it was hard to get them to end the lesson. They were hooked. 

Until next time!

“Just speak!”

Danielle

Let’s sing some Christmas songs!

Gobo in front of his Christmas tree!
Gobo in front of his Christmas tree!

Bonjour tout le monde!

J’ai trouvé quelques belles vidéos pour vous amuser à chanter à la maison avec vos amis et votre famille. Je les ai reprises ci-dessous et classées selon le niveau scolaire de votre enfant. Amusez-vous bien et j’ai hate de vous revoir bientôt :)
Just Speak,
Danielle

Pour mes petits élèves de GS: Little Snowflake by Super Simple Songs.

Pour mes élèves de CP: We Wish You a Merry Christmas by Super Simple Songs.

Pour mes élèves de CE1: Hello Reindeer by Super Simple Songs.

Pour mes anciens élèves de CE2: Jingle Bells by Super Simple Songs.

Je vous souhaite un Joyeux Noël !!

Hello everyone!

I’ve found some lovely videos for you to sing along to at home with your friends and family. I’ve listed them below according to your child’s grade level. Have fun and I’ll see you soon :)
Just Speak,
Danielle

For my little students in GS:
Little Snowflake by Super Simple Songs.

For my students in CP:
We Wish You a Merry Christmas by Super Simple Songs.

For my students in CE1:
Hello Reindeer by Super Simple Songs.

For my oldest students in CE2:
Jingle Bells by Super Simple Songs.

Have a very Merry Christmas!!

 

Gobo stars!

Gobo's busy making cards for his friends.
Gobo’s busy making cards for his friends.

 

Gobo!
Gobo!

 

Gobo's work.
Gobo’s work.

Hello everyone!
I’ve got a lot of students to teach on a daily basis and some of them are as young as five years old. I actually teach my youngest group at the very end of the day, the time that they can be at their most rowdy, so I needed to come up with a system to reward the students that showed positive classroom behavior.

I eventually came up with what we now call, “Gobo Stars.” At the end of class I hand out (or draw directly in their notebooks) a Gobo Star to the students that actively participated in class by singing, dancing, etc. When they’ve accumulated 10 stars they are then given a card that was made by our favorite puppet, Gobo.

So far so good :) The kids are happy to receive their stars and cards and Gobo is happy to make them.

Wishing you a happy Wednesday afternoon!
Just Speak,
Danielle

How are you?

how are you worksheet by Learn and Play en Anglais
how are you worksheet by Learn and Play en Anglais

Pretty soon I will be guiding my students towards learning how to describe their emotions, or current physical state, in English. Although I’ve found a lot of nice resources and visuals online, it’s also nice to be able to make my own worksheets from time to time.

Have a nice Wednesday!

Danielle

Sleepover

20140925-211010-76210932.jpg

One of my students invited Gobo to stay at his house this past Tuesday :) Gobo had to decline the offer because he’s too young to leave his family behind but he did write his friend a thank you note. Could this situation get any cuter? :)

Have a nice evening,
Danielle

p.s. For those of you that are new to this blog, Gobo is our classroom puppet.