Friday, January 22, 2016

Must Have (FREE!!!) Resource for English Language Learners

One of the most difficult yet most rewarding moments in my classroom are the times in which I have a hand in teaching a child to speak English. At my school, we have a large population of Hispanic students, many of which enroll with no English proficiency. Over the last several years, I have had the privilege of welcoming these students into my classroom. However, there are difficulties with the language barriers we face... one of the most common being that the only language spoken in these homes are Spanish. Several weeks ago I was racking my brain trying to figure out a best way to provide support for my ELL students at home, even though their parents have no English language background. I came across this resource that has been a GAME-CHANGER in my ELL students' learning!


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My most recent find (and possibility my most favorite now) is www.readconmigo.org. The best part... it is FREE! This site provides many different bilingual books that I send home with my ELL students, as well as use in the classroom for those brand new kiddos who speak little-to-no English.


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When sending books home, I ask my students to read the English text aloud to their parents... while doing so, parents can read the Spanish part for their own understanding. Parents can then discuss the story with the child!


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The website allows you to sign up for free, then gives you access to over 30 bilingual books which feature both English and Spanish text! Most (if not all) books are available for tablets, smartphones, Amazon Kindle, and as a PDF file. ReadConMigo also has a Kid's Corner offering flashcards, coloring pages, word searches and more! There are also apps available on the App Store.


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If you give these books a chance, please let me know how they work out for you and your students! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at eberryhill@gmail.com.

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Trip to the Tundra

How I Flipped My Classroom (and how you can too!) @ The Berry Hill

At the beginning of December, I was so inspired by Hope King and Kim Bearden from RCA (Ron Clark Academy) and a scope they had done from one of their classrooms. They had completely transformed their classroom into the Arctic Tundra and it was INCREDIBLE! I knew that I couldn't go all out (and build the huge igloo they had), but I was determined to create an experience for my kiddos that I have yet to do in my teaching career.

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The Friday before the mini-flip, I had a colleague deliver TOP SECRET envelopes with each student's name, as well as Don't Open Until 4:00, which would be when the kiddos were at home. I had never seen any of my students more excited than that moment they were delivered!!! It made me so excited and motivated to get to school on Sunday and work.

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It took a few hours to flip my room. I purchased some drop cloths from Lowe's, which was perfect because they were HUGE and didn't break the bank. Everything else I bought from Dollar Tree or had on hand in my classroom!

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I had six stations and tasks set up throughout my room for my morning reading block to accomplish before our activity time (specials). There were only two rules that we came up with together that morning before they got started...

1. Stay on task throughout the morning.

2. If a task area is crowded, take a detour and find another.


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I made an Arctic Tundra Journal for each of my kiddos, which had response sections for each of the six tasks (see the manila folders in the pictures above). While they were completing the tasks, I was walking around monitoring and assisting those who needed it. After a task was completed, students brought me their journal and I initialed each section after looking over their work. They all did a FABULOUS job and I still am so proud of them!

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The Arctic only lasted for a day in our classroom. Like Hope and Kim said, it's an important experience that doesn't happen every week and needs to remain special. However... I am already planning my next mini-flip for mid-spring!

Have you ever flipped your classroom or created an experience for your students similar to this? Please share with me! :)

Friday, January 1, 2016

One Little Word

It is incredibly hard for me to even attempt to choose one word to focus on for this year. It's in my nature to want to take on as much as possible to become a better teacher, girlfriend, daughter, sister... person in general. As I'm sure many teachers (and driven minds) can relate, I want to choose several little words that can help me become a more well-rounded person: simple, positive, reliable, courage, peace, consistency... BUT I have thought for the last week about where I'm at and where I want to go in 2016, and have decided on my One Little Word.



ENJOY


One thing that I have found over the course of the last 365 days is that I often think too much and get inside of my own head. This causes me to be placed in a state of mind that is not healthy for myself or my relationships. The perfectionist in me is often disappointed when things aren't exactly how I imagined them. The planner in me is often displeased when things don't go the way I feel they should.


My hope and wish for 2016 is that no matter what I am doing, who I am with, or what I am trying to achieve, I will ENJOY the process and the outcome regardless of what happens. I also hope to focus on this word throughout my blog entries this coming year to help hold myself accountable and share all the joy with you!


What is your One Little Word? Was it difficult for you to pick just one?


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