Sunday, January 22, 2012

How to Make a Coke Float (Writing Activity)

Before the holidays I came across a great writing activity called "How to Make a Coke Float." I found it on the teacher blog, Ginger Snaps.  (By the way, she has a lot of other great ideas, too.  Be sure to check out her other posts.)

My third and fourth grade students LOVED this writing unit!  I've never seen them so excited about writing.  They also thought the YouTube clip describing how to make an ice cream float was hilarious!! We watched it several times in order to make sure the students understood all the words and the concepts.

A direct link to the video
Finally, making and consuming Coke floats (made with vanilla ice cream and Coca-Cola) in ESL class was a very popular (although somewhat messy) activity!  Even after the Winter Break and several weeks of school, my students are still hinting that they'd like to make floats again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Greetings...You've Been Chosen For Jury Duty

On Saturday, my husband brought the mail in from the box and waved an envelope in the air.

"Lucky you!," he smirked as he tossed the envelope towards me. 

Emblazoned on the front of the envelope were the words, "IMPORTANT--DO NOT DISCARD,  Official Jury Summons Enclosed."  Hmmmm.  It's been about 12 years since the last time I was called to jury duty, so I wasn't terribly surprised.  I figured my turn would be coming again one of these days. 

However, when I opened the envelope, I noticed the report date was February 13th.  What???  That won't work at all.  I'm supposed to be administering our Super Duper Hold-The-Phone Really Important State Tests for English Language Learners that week and part of the next.  As the only ESL teacher in the building, there is no way I can be out of school those weeks.  Ugh!!  Double Ugh!!  Triple Ugh!!! <sigh.>

As I started scanning the forms I noticed didn't meet any of the non-eligibility requirements.  I reside in the county; I've not been convicted of a felony; I am able to communicate in the English language; I am a citizen of the U.S. and I am over the age of 18.

Moving on the second section, "Requests for Excuse", I see eight approved excuses.  They are:  Medical Reasons; Age; Caregiver to an ill or disabled family member; Sole Proprietor of a Business; Financial Hardship; Childcare Hardship; Students; and Active Duty Military Personnel.  Hmmm.  None of those apply either. 

Nuts!  What am I going to do???  Finally, I notice a third section, "Requests for Postponement".  (This is new.  There was no section like this a decade ago.)  Hurrah!  Our county now allows a potential juror to postpone their jury commitment for up to three months from the original summons date. I breathed a sigh of relief.  I filled out the form and asked to be postponed until May. 

You can bet I faxed the form with my postponement request to the Common Pleas Court Jury Commisioner  first thing this morning!  I will be happy to do my civic duty, but not during Super Duper Hold-The-Phone Really Important State Tests for English Language Learners weeks.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Of Pigs and Prepositions

Last week, I started a unit on positional words with some of my students.  I found a deck of cards in my cabinet and decided to try them out.  The cards are called Pigs and Pals Preposition Fun Deck from Super Duper Publications.

Wow!  My kids LOVED these cards.  They thought the pictures on the cards were extremely funny.  My students and I giggled as we played Go Fish and Memory/Concentration with the cards.  There was a lot of laughing and fun in the ESL room this week!

Next week, I'm going to bring in my digital camera.  My students and I are going to take pictures of a stuffed animal.  We'll be traveling around the school taking photos of the animal under a table, on the water fountain, etc.  I'm interested in seeing how creative the students can be with their photography skills.  I'll print out the photos at home and bring them back to school.  (Our district is in a severe budget crunch.  There's no way I can print color copies at school. Ugh.)  

Later, each primary group will make a poster sized foldable with the photos and labels.  Here's an example I found on the internet on the Get in the Fold! blog.

We'll see how our foldables turn out!  I think the kids will have a great time.  Watch out for the intrepid photographers in the hallways of Cheerful School.  Say "cheese"!!  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Clothing and ELF Learning Videos

I like using videos when I teach.  With English Language Learners it helps to show students pictures, especially with vocabulary work.  Recently, I discovered ELF Learning.  They have some great videos posted on their ELFTube and also YouTube.

(Additional note on Jan. 11, 2012:  If you want to join the ELF website "community", you need to use a different web browser than Internet Explorer.  I used Google Chrome at home.  Internet Explorer would NOT work for me at home last week nor for Mrs. Pokey at school today. If you don't care about joining the "community",  just access the  ELF videos through YouTube.)

This week, I started a clothing vocabulary unit with my Kindergarten and first grade students.  I created an assessment using photographs from the Internet.  (Google Images is a useful tool for finding appropriate pictures.) Then, I pre-assessed the students' knowledge of 23 clothing words and will post-test them with the same assessment at the end of the unit.

ELF Learning has three very nice videos on Clothing.  Here is the first one.

The first one is a simple flash card type presentation of 24 clothing words. (The only one I didn't use in my assessment was "rain boots".  It seemed redundant to me to talk about "boots" and "rain boots".)  The other two videos use the same vocabulary words but add sentences and phrases.

Clothing flashcards, words are repeated

My Clothes 1 with sentences and phrases

My Clothes 2 with sentences and phrases

Good luck!  My students really are enjoying these videos.  I hope your students do, too.