Showing posts with label How to teach English. Show all posts
Showing posts with label How to teach English. Show all posts

How to Get Your English Teaching Organized

At a Teacher Conference toward my third year teacher a colleague showed me the book that would have saved me so much headache had I had it on my first year.  "The Organized Teacher."  A lifesaver even for experienced teacher's.  The authors have taken so much guess work out of organizing your first year and provide so many templates and visuals.

The visual format of this guide is specially helpful for the busy teacher who has many other things to work on other than reading very heavy text instructions. It has many charts, templates, checklists and reproducibles. 

It has information on First-Day checklists, sample room setups, classroom management, including many class signals, classroom organization, planning fieldtrips and more.  

Now there is a book by the same authors specifically for first year teachers, who unfortunately will find the principal's hardly ever have enough time to do a thorough training and other teachers, although willing might not remember how much you don't know on the first year.  Actually I think this book would be an excellent teacher graduation present, so if you have just graduated or have a friend who has this would be an welcomed gift.

These books are not the type you get excited about at the bookstore and then when you buy them find you don't have the time to read them.  They sat on my bookshelf and were I always referred back to them.

The series also has a book on Classroom Management and one called "The Creative Teacher" which are all done in the same format with lots of graphics, checklists and super simple step by step directions.
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Raz Kids Online Reading

I've been using Raz Kids with my students for a few years now with nothing but positive results.  I have now started using it with my adult ESL students with great results also.  At first I was not sure if the adults would like the stories because they are targeted to children, but up to now none of them seem to mind.  They love the fact that they can read at their level.  The other feature of Raz Kids that my ELL students love is being able to listen to the stories while they read them.  Since listening skills are what most of my students have difficulty with Raz Kids gives them excellent practice on this.  It is also an excellent way of practicing the correct pronunciation of words.
Words are highlighted in red as they are read out loud.
The comprehension part of Raz Kids is also a great feature, because it makes students responsible for what they are reading.  It tests vocabulary, recall, inference, details and more.  Students have to get 100% on the quizzes in order to move up to the next reading level.  The non-fiction comprehension tests are pretty challenging.

The differentiated reading instruction of Raz Kids animated leveled books is invaluable.  The levels available start from AA through Z level.  AA level is for beginning readers and the Z level is for fluent readers with higher comprehension skills (5th grade native English speakers)  Each level has about ten books both fiction and non-fiction.  Students can: Listen to books for modeled fluency.  Read books with pronunciation and vocabulary support.  Words that may be higher than the students level are clickable and Raz Kids can either read the word out loud or in higher levels give them a definition of the word.

Students can also record their reading and the teacher can listen to the recordings to evaluate the reading.  You can also use this as a measurement of their reading or pronunciation improvement.

Try it out and let me know how it goes with your students.
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Starfall is a great online free software that allows kids to learn to read in English with phonics in a fun way.  It has great graphics and activities. The animations and sounds are wonderful.  One of the features is the English alphabet where students can learn both the name of the letter and it's sound as well as pictures of words that have that sound in them and even simple games to test what they have learned.

As children learn the different letters they can progress through learning English words with other phonics sounds. For children that are emergent English readers Starfall has simple stories that children can read on their own and for words they can't read or pronounce it gives them the opportunity to click and have the words read to them. Starfall has different sections which children can progress through or can start on depending on their English level. The more advanced section has plays, nonfiction reading, comics and more.  The best thing about Starfall is that children enjoy it and if they are having fun they are learning.

My daughter began to use Starfall when she was two when the only language she knew was Spanish.  Starfall helped her develop her English vocabulary.  By the time she was 6 years old she was reading at 4th grade level (in part thanks to Starfall.)  She loved listening to the phonics songs and listening to the phonics books.  She still enjoys going to Starfall for its poems and activities. 

I used Starfall with my 1st grader English Learners who where having a difficulty with reading and they love it.  It gave them a chance to learn new English words and practice reading the words they new how to read while supporting them with those they didn't know.  They also loved the animations and the games.

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