Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bilingual Book Lesson

I previously posted on some of the first lessons I did in the Dual Language classrooms throughout our building at the beginning of the year to introduce myself and get acquainted with the classes. One of the lessons you may remember that I did with the intermediate grades was based on a poem expressing the benefits of being bilingual. Feel free to view this previous post if you haven't already for a bit of background here.

Last week, one of the second grade teachers asked if I could do this lesson in her classroom as well, as she thought it would serve as a great reminder to her students as to why their being in a dual language classroom is such a gift! 

We decided it may be fun to take the original lesson one step further for her students in working to create a class book called "Being Bilingual is a Blast!". Each student received a book page with the key phrase "Being bilingual is a blast because..." and were asked to complete the statement with one or two of the ideas we had come up with as a class or on their own!

Here are some examples of what they came up with!

Now they have a constant reminder at their fingertips in their classroom as to why they are working so hard to learn to read, write, and speak in both languages each and every day!

Grab your copy of the book pages by clicking on the image!

Fonts/Graphics: Kimberly Geswein, My Cute Graphics, Priscilla Concepcion

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Guest Blog Post: Walls for Language Learners!

Just wanted to pop in to let ya'll know that I just recently wrote a guest blog post for Laura Candler's, "Corkboard Connections". 

 The post, titled "Walls for Language Learners: Use of Space that Fosters Success", aims to share ideas for using your classroom wall space to the utmost potential to promote the learning and success of your students! I'd love for you to check it out by clicking on the title image below.

A huge thanks again to Laura for the opportunity! Please take a moment to check out her other posts and follow her wonderful blog while you are there as well! It is chalked full of great ideas!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall Blog Block Party!

Surprise! The day has finally arrived, the first day of fall that is, and therefore I'd say it's the perfect time for a "Fall Blog Block Party"!

So how do you join in the blog neighborhood fun?
Hop along from "blog home" to "blog home" snatching up some delicious freebies sure to satisfy your taste buds as you go! There are 10 "bloggy homes" participating in all so make sure you stop in at each one! You don't want to miss out on getting to know your neighbors ;)!

To make the party an even bigger hit, Second Grade Perks, our party host, is offering a giveaway that runs from Sept. 22nd - 29th in which you have the opportunity to win another item from all of the participating blogs TpT stores! Seriously...she's got the burger with all of the fixin's at her place, so don't forget to take a moment to enter when you arrive there!

So now for my "delicious" fall freebie for this auspicious occasion :)...

This fall themed pack contains 20 word wall cards in both English and Spanish with corresponding pictures, picture and word cards for your students to cut and utilize in playing a fall vocabulary memory game, as well as a "My Fall Words" themed printable for students to draw/write the words for independent practice, in stations, as they play the memory game, etc.

Click on the image to snag this fall fun pack! It will be free in my TpT store ONLY this week (Sept. 22nd-29th) as my thank you for stoppin by and "partying" with me! 

While you are picking up your freebie I'd love for your to follow me @ my TpT store (so you will know right away when other freebies and "super" products hit the shelves ;), as well as on Bloglovin' so that we can share ideas with one another! Feel free to leave a comment with your blog address so that I can be sure to follow you too!

Now hop along for more fun (and freebies!).

Your next block stop is Jeannine's Place @

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Peer Feedback Freebie

In our building over the past few years as part of our school improvement mission we have been encouraged to visit one another's classrooms to gather ideas, provide collegial feedback, etc. As we all know, teaching is all about collaboration and we can improve our practice ten-fold by learning from one another! I have always welcomed others (including my administrators) into my own classroom with open arms, as I was not only excited to share what we were doing with them, but also delighted to have a fresh set of eyes in there to offer suggestions and ideas I may not think of on my own!

That being said, this year I have the opportunity to visit a large variety of different classrooms in my current position. Sometimes I may pop in simply to lend a helping hand and get my "kiddo" fix and others it may be to check out something specific a teacher has requested so that we can collaborate to improve upon it! Furthermore, in the spirit of gleaning ideas from others, I encourage the teachers to check out the rooms and lessons of others too whenever possible!

At the beginning of the year I worked to design a few printables for myself and the staff to utilize if desired when visiting the room of another. Feel free to use them, share them etc., but more importantly I encourage each of you to whenever possible take the time to see what your colleagues are doing- there is a wealth of knowledge within the four walls of your school building that should be shared!

This first one is geared more toward providing peer feedback.

The second is geared more toward jotting ideas down to take back to one's own room!

Click here to get them both!
(Fonts/Graphics: Krista-Wallden, Kimberly Geswein)

Also, on a different note, I wanted to take a moment to share a preview of something special that is in the works for tomorrow...(Use your picture clues ;))

Don't forget to pop in tomorrow for the big reveal! You don't want to miss it!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hidden Treasure Tuesday #2

It is time for another edition of "Hidden Treasure Tuesday"! 

For those of you who missed the explanation, feel free to visit my explanation post here. And don't forget to snag the first "hidden treasure" while you are there ;)!

This week, I am bringing you an oldie but goodie management tool that I used during my Daily 5 stations last year to assist my students in solving problems independently and thus avoid interruptions during my time with groups!

This anchor chart is one that I had hanging up all year above my guided reading table for my students' to reference. (I promise I will break it down in English as well!)

The chart outlines the variety of ways that I had presented to my students at the beginning of the year as to how to solve a problem on their own without wasting their or my precious learning time!

The chart is titled "What can I do if there is a problem during centers?"
The question directly below is "Is it an emergency?"
This is the first question my students had to ask themselves in working to solve the problem. 
If so, (blood, flood, vomit, ya know the works) then they would follow the red "¡Si!" step and find the teacher immediately.

If the child answers "No", then green means go and they must work to follow one of the following other suggestions on the poster to solve the problem without interrupting my group session.

1. "Pregunta a tres, y a la maestra después./Ask three before me.":
I encouraged my students to utilize one another as resources. Generally, if they had a question about a center activity, how to operate something, spell a word, etc. there was a peer that could help them as well as or sometimes even better than I could!

Fonts/Graphics: Scrappin Doodles, Print Candee, Kevin & Amanda

I had this poster hanging on my board throughout the year as well, as this was a strategy I did not only use for centers, but throughout the entire day. I really wanted them to use one another as resources! You can grab it for free in Spanish (as shown) or English too by clicking on the image!

2. "Escribo mi problema en una nota adhesiva,/I write my problem on a Post-It note.":
I had a pad of Post-It notes readily available on my desk all school year. I told the students that if there was a problem that they would like me to resolve that was not an emergency (something broke, iPod died, ran out of paper, etc.) that they could jot me a quick note, and I would then see it at my nearest convenience and work to resolve it as soon as possible. This worked really well as it not only let them feel that they were getting the information to me, but also the Post-Its served as a constant reminder that something needed to get done or resolved and I kept them sticking there until it was done. I find that if the students just tell me something throughout the day I may forget, so the Post-its are a great visual tool!

3. "Uso mi 'voz de grande'. Use my 'Big Voice'.":
The "Big Voice" is a concept I gleaned from "Conscious Discipline". It is a strategy for helping students to solve problems with their peers in an efficient manner as well as independently without always having to seek out teacher assistance. At the beginning of each school year, I read the text "Shubert's Big Voice" which teaches the students how to use this "Big Voice". More or less the idea is that the student shares with another what it is they have a problem with by stating "I don't like it when you...." and then go on to share what they would like the outcome to be. For example, "I don't like it when you talk loudly during our station time with friends, please use your quiet voice so that I can concentrate on my work". The other child should then respond with an acknowledgement of what the peer is stating and stop the problem behavior. We role play this a ton at the beginning of the year, after the reading the text to prep them for using it on their own!

4. "Voy a mi próximo centro./I go to my next center."
The premise of this idea is basically just that at times, particularly with technology in the mix, things might not always work and we must be flexible. If there weren't enough computers for some reason or an iPod died, etc. my students knew that they could just go ahead and head to the next station to begin working and that they would make it back there in the next round when there were sufficient materials/items were working again. This in no way gave them the opportunity to skip around centers as they pleased, but the okay to move ahead if need be so that learning was still being done :)!

What are some tricks of the trade that you have in place to minimize interruptions and increase student independence during your station time? I always appreciate adding ideas to my bank!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Daily 5 Station Ideas

Each Monday we collaborate with our building's new and Dual Language staff members for a professional development session based on what they highlight as their needs and/or desires for learning!

This week we focused on Daily 5 ideas as all of our staff are currently working hard to get their stations and guided reading up and running! The teachers who attending the session came up with a variety of wonderful ideas and activities that could potentially be used throughout the year in these work stations. I thought some of you may enjoy taking a gander at what they came up with as well!

Just a little background... we utilized a strategy many of you may be familiar with called "Round Robin" to gather ideas during our meeting. The staff were given the anchor charts with only the titles and asked to add any activity ideas they were doing, would like to do, etc. based on the title on their paper. We gave each group 1 minute to brainstorm and write their ideas, and then they were asked to pass the poster to the next group. We continued to do this until all posters had made it to all groups. 

This is a great strategy that you could use with your students as well to assess their background knowledge and/or learning of concepts. You could even do it at the beginning of the year to see what activities they already know and enjoy doing during Daily 5 if they are familiar with it from the year past! This may give you some insight as to what they may want to do in your classroom as well!

Alright now onto the posters...keep in mind these were quickly written by our staff and we discussed them a bit after as well, so not everything may make perfect sense! But feel free to ask questions in the comments if you have any and I would be happy to try my best to answer!

After our meeting, I also took some time to type up all of their ideas onto one page for them to hold on to and refer to throughout the year. You are welcome to a copy if you'd like- just click on the image below :)!

(Graphics: Scrappin Doodles, Priscilla Concepcion)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Parent Night Freebies!

As I am not in my own classroom this year, my main role in this yearly adventure has just been to collaborate and help teachers prep as best I can. Thus, to start the day off right, I delivered a caffeine loaded, sugary treat to each of their rooms to help them surive the day ;)!

Everyone loves Rootbeer right? You can snag the tags by clicking on the image above!

This week I had the chance to also sit down and chat with staff members in prepping for this auspicious occasion and gleaned some great ideas for others or to use myself in the future!

One of my faves was this delightful, little apple poem one of our Kindy teachers put together that relays to parents their important role in their child's education as well! Your kiddos could simply color in the apple and add their name (for the cheaper route) or another teacher suggested buying apples to set out beside the poem/in a basket for the parents to take home! 

You can click on the image to snag this one as well! Then just print and cut in half and it's ready to go!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hidden Treasure Tuesday

Happy Tuesday everyone! This is our first full week of school so I am trying to brace myself for another 3 days ahead! 

To spice up this day of the week a bit for myself and for you all, I thought I'd try something new. 
Thus, welcome to the very first edition of "Hidden Treasure Tuesday"!

Graphics/Fonts: Kevin & Amanda, Erin Bradley, MyCuteGraphics

I realized in trying to locate and gather resources for many of our new staff members, that I have a lot of hidden resources tucked away in all of my trusty computer files and folders that I created prior to my blogging life and/or simply didn't get around to sharing with you! I thought to myself, what better time then the present to potentially unlock some of these beauties for all of you! It's proving to be a good review for me as well to remind myself of all that I have!

That being said, this Tuesday, I am sharing with you all some retelling guides that I created last year based upon our district expectations for this task that my students used as a resource in writing about texts.

The first is a fiction retell guide which gives the students sentence starters as well as key ideas to think about in organizing and writing a fiction story summary. In my dual language classroom, I printed these back to back (English/Spanish), cut them in half, then laminated them and presented one to each student. My students then utilized Expo markers and worked to check off the boxes as they completed writing each portion of the summary. Obviously, they utilized the English or Spanish side depending on the language of the text read. 

Later in the school year, we switched our focus more toward retelling a non-fiction text. My students also had a guide of a similar format that they used to organize their writing of this type of summary. Once again, I printed, cut, and laminated them back-to-back for my kids. 

You can click on either of the images to grab you own copy of these guides to help your students organize their writing of story summaries!
Graphics/fonts for each: Kimberly Geswein, Krista Wallden

Look forward to more hidden treasures next Tuesday!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

New Job...New Blog!

There have been some huge changes around here! First, you may have noticed that I got a new look! 

AnD I CouLdn't be MorE in LOVE!

Megan from A Bird in Hand Designs seriously went above and beyond what I asked, to create more than I even knew I was looking for! I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a brand new or blog redesign such as mine!

You may have also noticed that we tweaked my title a bit and added the whole "...beyond" component as well! As those following lil ole' me know, I am no longer in the classroom with my sweet second graders, but rather, this year, I am working as the Dual Language/ELL coach for our building and have the opportunity to thus work with all grade levels and the teachers on a day to day basis :)! 

I am so excited to unveil this new blog design to go along with my first official post sharing some of the things I have been doing with the kiddos in my new position!

This past week, I set up with each of the dual language staff members an hour long classroom visit in which I did a read aloud/lesson with the students and then stuck around to see how they interact and work with their teachers as well! I had so much fun getting to know all of the classes and wanted to share some of those lessons I did with you all!

In the primary grades (K-2) I read the story "El Libro Fantástico" by Leonid Gore.

This is a story about a group of animals that find a book and use it in a variety of silly ways (hat, table, house, etc.) as they are not sure what its purpose is. Then a little boy comes along and shows them that books are for "reading" and sits and reads the story to them. This is a great story to use as a review of book purpose at the beginning of the year with the little ones!

Before reading, I thought I would do a little sort with the classes to activate their background knowledge. I had a blast recruiting one of our staff members to help me in taking a variety of silly photos enacting the different animal scenarios in the text.

These photos were then used in the sort before reading our story! Here is what one of the finished sorts looked like:

After doing our sort we of course read the story reflecting back on our sort as a reminder throughout of what the purpose of a book is!

In our intermediate (grades 3-5) classrooms, I did a different activity/lesson that I thought was a little more grade appropriate :)!

I selected one of my favorite poems entitled "Me x 2" written by Jane Medina. This poem is one compiled in a collection of poems from the text "Amazing Faces". Take a moment to read it...I think you will see immediately why I love it so much.

Isn't it beautifully written...and I may add so incredibly fitting for all of the students and staff that I work with? After reading the poem, we had a discussion in each of the classrooms about the "Author's Message". Students worked to think-pair-share their ideas using the key phrase "The author wants me to understand that...". After sharing out as a class we then brainstormed ways in which being bilingual truly is a gift and a "blast" and created this chart together! (I apologize you can see a bit of my other chart behind!...that's what happens when you travel from room to room ;)!)

I told the teachers they were welcome to hang these posters in their rooms and as the students thought of more reasons throughout the year as to "Why being bilingual is a blast..." they could add them to them! Hoping it is a good refresher/reminder of why they are taking part in the dual language program!

Looking forward to sharing more with you all as the year progresses! Every week truly is a new adventure :)!