“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

Shrinking Plastic 

I found a material that has me inspired to draw more, to create characters and new worlds. It’s called “shrinking plastic ” or “plastique dingue” in French. I’ve used it to make pendants for necklaces and charms for bracelets and I’m officially hooked. However, now I understand why these little DIY items can be so pricey…they take a lot of work. The ones that I’ve made are all hand drawn, colored and cut. Then I add a piece of string and make it wearable. If I don’t answer my phone in the coming weeks it’s because I’m shrinking plastic :)

Have a great day!

Danielle 

  
   
 

   
 

  
  

Custom made crayons


 

Why not make some custom crayons to use at home, for a friend or to add as party favors in your birthday gift bags? 

What you need:

1. Old, broken crayons

2. Silicone muffin molds (any shape will work fine)

3. A baking tray to set the muffins on 

4. A preheated oven set to about 170 degrees Celsius 

Directions:

1. Peel the paper off of your crayons.

2. Place the broken crayon pieces into the silicone muffin molds.

3. Place the muffin molds on the baking tray and place the tray into your preheated oven.  Allow them to “bake” for about 15 minutes.

4. Take the molds out of the oven and allow them to cool for about an hour.

5. Pop the crayons out of the molds and put them to paper!

Just speak!

Danielle 

 
    

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DIY beach/market bag

 

DIY basket by Learn and Play en Anglais
DIY basket by Learn and Play en Anglais

Bonjour tout le monde!

Maintenant que nous sommes tous installés dans notre nouvelle maison à Bordeaux, nous avons trouvé un peu de temps pour faire des activités. Cette activité particulière est destinée aux enfants plus âgés, aux adolescents et aux adultes.

L’idée n’est pas nouvelle, mais elle est devenue à la mode par la marque Rose in Avril. La marque décore à la main des paniers avec des phrases amusantes et aux couleurs vives. Les prix sont très raisonnables mais, si vous voulez économiser de l’argent ou tout simplement faire preuve de créativité, ce poste est pour vous.

Tout ce dont vous aurez besoin est un panier du marché, de la laine et une aiguille à tricoter. S’il vous plaît notez que j’ai essayé avec du fil à broder et celà ne rendait pas bien. J’ai inclus une photo ci-dessous et je vous laisse décider par vous-même.

Instructions:

1. Choisissez un mot ou une expression à utiliser pour décorer votre panier.

2. Essayez d’estimer combien d’espace votre phrase utilise. Ici, il y a deux facons de le faire:

a. Si vous avez la main ferme, vous pouvez utiliser un marqueur de couleur (jaune est probablement le meilleur) et écrire directement sur le panier.

b. Vous pouvez aussi enfiler une aiguille avec un morceau de fil de coton et écrire le mot ou la phrase de cette façon.

3. Maintenant, vous êtes prêt à utiliser votre fil de coton épais. Choisissez une belle couleur vive et couper environ un mètre de longueur. Ensuite, enfilez votre fil dans une aiguille à tricoter et faire un noeud à la fin d’un côté de votre fil.

4. Enfin, commencez à décorer en mettant votre aiguille à travers votre panier à partir de l’intérieur (de sorte que le noeud est caché de la vue) et tirer le reste du fil à travers. Pour un look plus moderne, vous devriez faire le lettrage sur le côté épais qui signifie que vous devrez aller sur chaque lettre plusieurs fois (trois fois en moyenne).

Amusez-vous et s’il vous plaît laissez-moi savoir car je serais ravi de voir votre travail fini.

Très bon été à tout le monde!

Danielle

 

Hello Everyone!

Now that we are all settled in our new home in Bordeaux we’ve had some time to do some activities just for the fun of it. This particular activity is one that is intended for older children, teens and adults.

The idea is not a new one but it has become relevant and modern thanks to the brand Rose in April. The brand hand-decorates baskets with fun phrases in bright colors. The prices are quite reasonable, however, if you want to save some money or just be creative, this post is for you.

All you’ll need is a market basket, some yarn and a knitting needle. Please note that I tried this with regular embroidery floss and the look was (in my opinion) outdated. I’ve included a picture below for you to decide for yourself.

Instructions:

1. Decide on a word or phrase to use to decorate your basket.

2. Try to figure out how much space your phrase will use up and space it out accordingly.Here are two ways you can do this:

a. If you have a steady hand, you can use a light colored marker (yellow is probably best) to write it out on the basket ahead of time.

b. You could also thread a needle with a regular piece of thread and write out your word or phrase that way.

3. Now you are ready to use your thick yarn. Pick out a nice bright color and cut off about a meter in length. Next, thread your yarn through a knitting needle and make a knot at the end of ONE side of your piece of yarn.

4. Finally, start decorating by putting your needle through your basket starting from the inside (so that the knot is hidden from view) and pull the rest of the yarn through. For a more modern look you should make the lettering on the thick side which means that you’ll have to go over each letter several times (three on average).

Have fun and please let me know if you tried the project and how it turned out. I’d love to see your finished work.

Happy Summer Everyone!

Danielle

Here's the difference between embroidery floss and regular yarn. I find the yarn to look more modern.
Here’s the difference between embroidery floss and regular yarn. I find the yarn to look more modern.

DIY market basket decoration by Learn and Play en Anglais!
DIY market basket decoration by Learn and Play en Anglais!

Market basket by Learn and Play en Anglais!
Market basket by Learn and Play en Anglais!

 

 

Saying goodbye to La Ciotat

La Ciotat,
La Ciotat,

Bonjour tout le monde!

C’était très triste de dire au revoir à mes élèves, leurs parents et leurs nounous à La Ciotat en Juin dernier. J’ai passé deux années fantastiques à enseigner à Petits Pieds Grands Pas et j’espère que je serai en mesure de rester en contact avec mes élèves et leurs familles à travers ce site web.

Je voudrais saisir cette occasion pour remercier tout le monde pour leurs lettres, chocolats et dessins lors de mon dernier jour. Je tiens à vous remercier de votre soutien constant pour mon travail, de vos sourires sans fin, de vos encouragements et d’avoir pris le temps d’amener vos enfants semaine après semaine. J’ai eu le plaisir de passer du temps avec vous et de voir l’enthousiasme et l’intérêt de vos enfants dans la langue anglaise.

Pour l’instant, Learn and Play en Anglais est officiellement en vacances mais je vais de temps en temps poster une activité amusante que je pense vous aimerez faire à la maison. Concernant le travail, je tiens à vous faire savoir que j’ai obtenu un poste dans une école ici à Bordeaux. J’ai l’intention de continuer ce que je fais dans une école et de proposer des stages durant les vacances scolaires.

Donc, j’espère pouvoir continuer à travailler sur Learn and Play en Anglais pour essayer d’en faire un endroit où l’expérience de la langue anglaise se fait dans un cadre ludique.

Merci encore à tous mes petits élèves! Vous étiez fantastique!

Bisous,

Danielle

Hello Everyone!

It was VERY sad saying goodbye to my students, their parents and their nannies in La Ciotat this past June. I spent two fantastic years teaching at Petit Pieds Grands Pas and  it is my hope that I will be able to keep in touch with my students and their families through this website.

I’d like to take this time to thank everyone for their letters, chocolate and artwork on my last day. Mostly though, I’d like to thank you all for your constant support of my work, for your never ending smiles, for your encouragement and for taking out the time to bring your children to my class week after week. It was a pleasure to spend time with all of you and to see your children’s enthusiasm and interest in the English language grow.

As for now, Learn and Play en Anglais is officially on vacation but I will pop up from time to time to post a fun activity that I think you might like doing at home. As for work, I’d like to let you know that I’ve acquired a job teaching English in a school here in Bordeaux. I plan on continuing what I do in a school setting and to also delve into the area of “des stages” during school holidays.

So please know that I will still continue working on building Learn and Play en Anglais to try to make it an even better place to experience the English language in a playful setting.

Thank you again to all of my little students! You guys were fantastic!

Just Speak,

Danielle

10 little Indians

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Bonjour à tous,

Je sens que l’été arrive ici à La Ciotat et nous allons célébrer cela en chantant une nouvelle chanson pour accueillir l’été indiene. Cette chanson ne sera pas seulement enseigner à vos enfants pour apprendre à compter de un à dix, mais également pour leur enseigner quelques phrases utiles.

J’ai également inclus deux courtes vidéos de Hoople Kidz et Muffin Songs qui dépeignent deux versions de notre chanson des 10 Little Indians (10 petits indiens).

Gobo et moi espérons que vous aimerez chanter avec nous!

Rendez-vous Jeudi!

Just Speak,

Danielle

Hello Everyone,

It feels like summer has arrived over here in La Ciotat and we’re celebrating by singing a new song that will welcome an Indian summer. This song will not only teach your children how to count from one to ten but it will also teach them some directional phrases too. If you don’t recognize the directional phrase part of the song it’s because I made it up :)

I’ve also included two short videos from Hoopla Kidz and Muffin Songs that portray two versions of our 10 Little Indians song. Gobo and I sure hope that you enjoy singing along!

See you all on Thursday!

Just Speak,

Danielle from Learn and Play en Anglais