Possible Strategies and Themes for Teaching Elementary ESL
Here below are some strategies and themes that elementary teachers may like to consider in their teaching of ESL. The suggestions are not to be seen as a checklist of what to teach in a year but rather provide you with collection of successful strategies and ideas for you to choose from. We thank ESL Teacher Theresa Dow for sharing her strategies and hope that ESL teachers find the suggestions helpful.

All ESL students receive support in the four strands of English Language Learning:
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Writing

Receptive Language skills are acquired first ; Listening and Reading.
Active Language skills are acquired next; Speaking and Writing.

When learning a language the skills acquired are from easiest to most difficult. The easiest is listening, followed by reading (receptive skills) , followed by speaking and the most challenging of all writing (active language skills).
These skills can be taught using poems, songs, flashcards, pictures, books, games, computers, written activities, conversational English, and the Mystery Box/ Mystery Bag.
Student portfolios could include: a duotang to store handouts and written work, a journal/In-Class notebook , and a homework booklet to record what has been read and/or other.

Singing /Chanting / Poetry:
*Children will learn faster if you trigger the side of the brain for language learning. Songs, chanting and poetry trip the right side of the brain where language is acquired. A song being sung with a child is like a mother singing a lullaby and language learning develops. Scientific research has proven that music activates language learning.

If doing pull-out, try chunking the 45 minute block of ESL with:
  • songs based on themes for monthly calendar
  • poems based on themes for monthly calendar
  • chant verbs (present tense/past tense)
  • Mystery Box (see below for details)
  • Motivational lead in....pictures/stories/charts/other
  • Activity ( reading, writing)
  • Wrap up and/or short game (Crazy Games)

Possible themes and sequence:
September:
  • All About Me: Getting to Know You
  • Topics covered can include: Family, Favourite activities, foods, sports, and interests/hobbies.
  • Great Beginnings: Me and My Family
  • Fall: colours
  • Noun flashcards: persons, place and things
  • Seasonal Poetry , songs and charts
  • The Classroom ( Great Beginnings)
  • Simple reading books
  • Phonics (Letter sounds of the alphabet)
  • Journals continued throughout the school year
  • Home Reading Log

October:
  • Fall
  • Verbs
  • Current Events
  • 5 W's: Who, What, When, Where, Why ?
  • Thanksgiving
  • Food and Food Groups ( Great Beginnings, Action Schools Fruit and Vegetable card sets)
  • Hallowe'en
  • Adjectives

November
  • Cultural events and holidays
  • Remembrance Day
  • Emotions
  • Colours and Shapes ( Great Beginnings)
  • Clothing
  • Weather
  • Adverbs

December
  • Holiday Celebrations: Hannukah, Christmas, other
  • At Home ( Great Beginnings)
  • sentences
  • paragraph writing
  • the 5 senses ( seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting)

January
  • New Year : calendar with days and months of the year
  • weather and seasons
  • activities for each season of the year
  • Time and Calendar ( Great Beginnings)
  • True Stories (sequencing events orally from pictures in story , reading the story and then writing the events to match the pictures
  • This is Me ( Body Parts in Great Beginnings)
  • Chinese New Year and Celebrations/Customs
  • Chinese New Year Animal Zodiac
  • Grammar Skills: Plurals, consistent verb tenses, parts of speech

February
  • Ground hog Day ( Will spring be early or late?) Review weather and seasonal change
  • 100 Day Celebrations
  • Valentine's Day
  • Friendship: Random Acts of Kindness
  • Grammar skills: synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, contractions, compound words
  • Jobs in the community
  • Grammar: continue scaffolding past skills and extend

March
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Jazz chants
  • One Act Plays / scripts/ role dramas
  • Spring
  • Baby animals
  • Sequence cards for oral language practice
  • use the sequence cards for telling stories and written expression
  • use different tenses (past, present, future)
  • Written Expression (Expository Writing)

April
  • Easter
  • Earth Day
  • ESL Spring Census
  • Plants and Gardening
  • Poetry
  • Written expression ( Descriptive, Narrative, Persuasive writing)

May:
  • Mother's Day
  • Canada
  • Animal Research
  • Fairy Tales
  • Folk Tales
  • Other Genres of Writing/ Reading
  • Track Meet

June
  • Summer activities
  • Father's Day
  • Sport's Day
  • Parent Tea/ Thank-you letters
  • Memory album of School Year
  • Discuss activities to join in the summer: Public Library Reading Programs, Community Center Programs, Swimming Lessons, other activities of interest
  • Emphasis practicing English Language over the holidays in all 4 language strands of speaking, listening, reading and writing

ESL Methodology/ Suggestions for Best Practice

*The Mystery Box can scaffold many skills. This can be any box/bag but make it appear interesting! Start by saying," You can ask me any question that can be answered with a , "yes" or "no".
Suggestions on how to use the Mystery Box from Theresa Dow (ESL Specialist K- Gr.7)
For example: Is it something to eat? (Food)
to wear? (Clothing/Jewelry)
to read?(Book/Pictures)
Is it something made of... glass? metal? plastic? paper? cardboard?
Is it a toy? Puppet? Animal? Car? Stuffed Animal?
Is it seasonal? for Fall: (mooncakes), leaves, seeds, pinecones), Thanksgiving, Hallowe'en, Remembrance Day, Hannukah, Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year, Spring, Easter, Earth Day, Mother's Day, Victoria Day, Father's Day, Summer
Does it start with the Letter?
Is it brown? red? blue? yellow? (list colours)
Is it soft like a.....? Is it hard like a .....?
Does it make music? sounds? images? pictures?
To start the Mystery Box for questioning:
Clap and sing the letters of the alphabet: a b c d e f g h I j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y and z. Now I know my abc's , next time won't you sing with me? Okay...Let's start asking questions alphabetically
A names: those students whose names begin with the letter A raise your hand up high. Shoot it up like a rocketship! Clap the alphabet again from A and stop at B. Continue with B names who get to ask questions. Then reclap the alphabet again from A, B and stop at C. Continue this to Z names or until the students have solved what is in the Mystery Box. Mix up the speed, volume, rhythm of the alphabet for listening skills.
Advanced: Several A named children have their hands up and you must solve who would come first like a dictionary guide list: ALAN,ALFRED, ALLY, AMOOD, AMY
More Advanced: Start from the end of the alphabet and go backwards. Z names, Y names, X names, and so on.
Some Gr. K/1 classrooms have their names in alpha order on the wall. Under the A would be the names of the children in the class, Under the B would be B named students, etc. Children learn to read names through letter recognition usage and chanting the alphabet.
The skill of asking questions in the "Interrogative" form of English is challenging. Students must put the words in a different order when they ask a question. Practice makes perfect!
The ESL teacher can use the Mystery Box as a tool to direct lessons for themes in every season of the school year. All ESL learners enjoy using the Mystery Box from K- Gr. 7 with the element of surprise.
Also, you can teach phonics with the letters on the box or bag. The word Mystery Box has the magic letter "y". The Letter Y has 4 distinct sounds.
Y says "y" in yummy yam, yummy yam, y,y,y, ! (Alphabet Jive) and Y says long [i] in sky, my, by and lullaby, and "y" says [e] in money, baby, and candy, and y says short [ i ] in mystery

Here is a short clip demonstration:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvfQSJAzQ7U

The photo below displays the Mystery Box.
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Classroom of Theresa Dow ESL Teacher Specialist Gr. K-7

Respected Methodologies for Language Instruction: References:
*Strategic Learning in the Content Areas
*Reading 44
*Orchestrating Academic Success
*Reaching for Higher Thought
1. Anticipation Guide : Pre-Reading strategy designed to activate students' background for prior knowledge surrounding issues or concepts
2. Collaborative Summaries
3. Directed Reading Thinking Activity
4. Graphic Organizers:
  • Brainstorming
  • Categorization/Classification
  • Cause/Effect Frame
  • Character Web
  • Compare/Contrast
  • Concept Circles
  • Concept Maps
  • Continuum Scale
  • Cycle
  • Describing a Character
  • Idea Diagram
  • Know-Wonder-Learn (KWL)
  • Mapping
  • Network Tree
  • Plot Profile/Story Maps
  • Problem/Solution Outline
  • Seeing Both Sides
  • Semantic Mapping/Webbing
  • Series of Events Chain
  • Venn Diagram
  • Vocabulary Awareness Chart
  • Guided Imagery
  • Jigsaw
  • Listen -Sketch-Draft
  • Paper Bag Presentation
  • Question/Answer Relationship
  • RAP : A Paraphrasing Strategy ( Read two paragraphs, Ask yourself what you read, Put in your own words)
  • Reciprocal teaching
  • Request
  • Response Logs/ Reflective Journals
  • Survey, Question, read, Recite, Review, Reflect (SQ4R)
Teach Web site rules for Bibliographies

Oral Language through Role Drama ( Carole Tarlington)

Computer Educational Web Sites
http://www.enchantedlearning.com
http://www.zoomschool.com
http://www.wikipedia.org
http://kids.nationalgeographic.com
http://kids.yahoo.com
http://starfall.com (phonics, short stories and more!)
http://storylineonline.com
http://eslguide.org
http://learnnowbc.com


Garage Band: Use this program to get children to practice reading books aloud with good expression and fluency. Children must lift the words from the page with musicality in their voice using soft, medium and loud voices. Students can hear if they are speaking like a robot or in a staccato pattern when they listen to themselves providing effective immediate feedback to their tonal quality of voice!

*Technology for Building Writing Expertise by Karen Holden and Daphne McMillan Feb. 11th, 2009
Using Inspiration -Writing Sequenced Paragraphs
Inspiration- Using Templates
Inspiration- Sequenced Paragraph Writing using Questions
Powerpoint: Creating Simple Storybooks
Blogging: Building Fluency through Practice

Teaching Reading Through Poetry
Children can learn the rhythm of the English language through the stanza and patterning of poetry.
Using the a "magic pointer" the teacher guides the reader in directionality from left to right targeting each word, phrase and punctuation mark for emphasis.
Children learn musicality of voice and lift their word s from the page rather than sounding " staccato" or "robot-like" to make the words sound appealing to the listener with fluency and expression.
Use charts to engage groups of students.
Get children to use the pointer, track the words, and become the teacher reminding them to be a window and not a door. Stand to the side so the poem is visible to the rest of the group.
Print out the poem. Students can cut lines and reglue in the correct order of the poem or even cut up individual words and put in the right order with capital letters and correct punctuation.
Have some poems ready with large word cards pre-cut out to place on top of the chart on the carpet.
Teacher can cover different words and see if the children can recall or remember the covered card.
Poems are great motivational tools for each season and monthly activity in the ESL overview.

Teaching Oral English in speaking
Verbs: Organize the Verb Cards into Regular Verbs (Rule-Followers) and Irregular Verbs (Rule-Breakers):
  • Use chart pockets to hold the verb cards
  • Put the regular verbs into one chart pocket holder - past tense ending with "ed"
  • These are the Rule Followers for past tense
  • "ed" past tense verbs have 3 distinct sounds:
  • [ t ]: Today I ....mix Yesterday I mixed [ t ]
  • [ d ]: Today I....dream Yesterday I dreamed [ d ]
  • [ ed ]: Today I...paint Yesterday I painted [ ed ]
  • Put the irregular verb cards into a pocket chart holder with the rule-breaker past tense verb
  • Example: Today I... eat Yesterday I... ate
  • please note the teacher will have to print out the past tense verb cards to place beside the present tense verb card
  • Some verbs do not change at all in the past tense
  • Today I...cut Yesterday I...cut
  • Today I...bet Yesterday I...bet

Verb Cards in pocket chart display the present tense verbs organized into regular past tense -"rule followers." Adding ed...[t], [d], [ed].
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Mobile chart holder works well for easy access in Theresa Dow's ESL Teacher Specialist Gr. k-7 's classroom.
Tip: Use a bull dog clip to hang pointer for tracking words on the side of the chart holder for both teacher and students to use.

Verb Cards organized into irregulary past tense verbs or "Rule Breakers" and the cards to the side with verbs that do not change at all in the past tense.
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These verbs remain in view all year for students to refer to for speaking, reading, and writing in Theresa Dow's ESL classroom.

Organize the Noun Cards into categories: colours, animals, body parts, shapes, toys, vehicles, school things, at home, or other

Spoken English tips:
Emphasize clear articulation, enunciation, diction and sharp word endings!
(Ex. I need my ca ... my cap, my cab, my cat) Show students what a plosive is with paper. Accentuate the final consonant sound for clear endings on words.
Or tell them the story of the customer at MacDonald's who wanted:
Free Hamburger please......when in fact the customer wanted Three Hamburgers, please! Teach students the rule of "th" so there is no first language interference and the rules of "S".
"s" for "th": Mandarin speaking
"f" for "th" : Cantonese Speaking
"d" for "th": Tagalog speaking
Rule of "th": Teach the students to make a tongue sandwich by sticking their tongue out, biting gently on the tongue and practicing these words with "th":
Initial "th" : three, thirty-three, thirty-three thousand, thick, think, thank-you
Middle "th": mother, father, brother
Ending "th": with
Teaching the Rule of "S":
l. Plurals: 1 boy - 2 boys
2. he/she/it + verb: he runs, she eats, it sleeps
3. possession: the student's class, the mother's child, the teacher's desk

The following chart is an example of one way to teach and show possessive adjective (his/her), pronouns, and plurals.
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Charts help visual ESL learners to remember words in Theresa Dow's ESL classroom.

Thanksgiving/Harvest : A wonderful time to introduce colours in combined theme teaching.
1. Introduce Fruits/ Vegetables by using Action School Picture Cards to categorize the produce into colour groups.
Practice chanting the names of the fruits and vegetables.

Poem/Song: (Theresa Dow ESL Teacher Specialist Gr. K-7)
I can eat a food that's _(red)_(red, yellow, orange, green, brown, yellow, white, purple)
Good to eat ! What a treat!
A food that's _(red)(red, yellow, orange, green, brown, yellow, white, purple)
is(an apple, a strawberry, a tomato).
Yum ! Yum! Yum!

This is a perfect time to point out articles: use of " a" / "an" (before words starting with a vowel) Also, you can reinforce the rule of plurals or singular nouns.

This is also a great time to show singular, "is" and plural, "are". Reading: The Enormous Potato / The Enormous Turnip
Teacher can read and animate; students copy with animated actions!
Cooking: Make Vegetable Harvest Soup!
Story: Soup From A Stone!
Graph the vegetables that students bring in for the classroom soup.
Prepare broth, add chopped veggies, cook , share, and enjoy the homemade vegetable soup!

Action School Healthy Eating Cards can be grouped in colours into one chart of vegetables and another of fruit.
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Chart pockets are useful to display flashcards for students in Theresa Dow's ESL classroom.

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Students sharing homemade harvest vegetable soup in Theresa Dow's ESL class at Blair Elementary School in Richmond.
Fall Time Unit ( designed by Theresa Dow ESL Teacher Specialist Gr. K-7
Bring in a toy gray squirrel placed in the Mystery Box with other real signs of Fall like
  • acorns: oak tree seeds
  • helicopters: maple tree seeds
  • pinecones: seeds from evergreens or conifers
  • leaves of different colours, sizes and shapes

Many skills can be interwoven throughout the lesson
  • one leaf - two leaves -singular/ plural nouns
  • big, medium, little- comparative language
  • small - smaller- smallest
  • big-bigger-biggest
  • colour recognition
  • coniferous vs. deciduous trees
  • signs of Fall (elicit other signs)
  • label actual objects for display/touch/ adding/sorting with magnifiying lenses

Poem:
Gray Squirrel
Gray Squirrel, Gray Squirrel
Swish your bushy tail!
Gray Squirrel, Gray Squirrel
Swish your bushy tail!
Hold a nut between your toes,
Wrinkle up your little nose.
Gray Squirrel, Gray Squirrel
Swish your bushy tail!
*Act out, have fun!

*Bring in Fiction and Non-Fiction stories to reinforce concepts of Food/ Food Groups : Great Beginnings Leaves
Red leaves start to fall,
Brown leaves start to fall,
Yellow leaves start to fall,
Orange leaves start to fall,
Green leaves start to fall,
After all...
It's Fall.

There are many Seasonal Poems to use and put actions with. ESL Teacher can elicit more from older students by adding addtional signs of Fall:
  • geese fly south in a "V" formation
  • days get shorter
  • temperature drops
  • salmon swim upstream, lay eggs/ spawn, die
  • bears and other animals eat more in preparation for hibernation
  • warmer clothes are needed (pants, shoes/boots, jackets/coats, hats, gloves/mittens, scarves)
  • fruits are picked and harvested
  • vegetables are harvested
  • weather changes; it can even snow in the Fall!
  • plants die
  • need warmer houses
  • leaves fall to the ground
  • small birds fly south


Teach 4 Corner Method of sentence structure.
This methodology incorporates the usage of three things joined together. Teach the children that whenever they make a cluster of 3 their writing becomes more sophisticated and their mark will go up. I use the term: Bingo, Bango, Bongo!
Teach 4 Corner Method of paragraph structure.
Example: Signs of fall ( seeds, animals, weather, and final summary of the top three).
Teach 4 Corner Method of essay writing: ( opening paragraph, three separate topic paragraphs and a summary paragraph). ( 5 paragraphs in all).

Hallowe'en:
This is a language rich themed time of year with words that have unique sounds!
Poem technique: List Hallowe'en nouns, verb, adjectives
Teaching ESL students writing with writing frames:
Easy pattern framed poems:
Two Word Wonders: Example: noun + verb: witches chant
  • bats swish
  • ghosts moan
  • cats yowl
Three Word Thrillers: Example: adjective + noun + verb
  • green goblins chasing
  • warty witches stirring
  • black cats hiding
  • golden moon shining
  • glowing candles flickering
  • orange jack-0-lanterns smiling

Four Words : adjective, noun, verb, adverb
  • filmy ghosts wailing softly
  • costumed trick-or-treaters collecting quickly
  • *try an onamatopea : swishhhhhh! meoowwww!
  • *alliteration: use the same initial sounds in the phrase.....busy black bats biting

Chanting Hallowe'en Poetry make the words come alive for ESL learners.
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Theresa Dow ESL Teacher Specialist Gr. K-7.

ESL Learners enjoy studying Hallowe'en synonyms that rhyme. These words extend their vocabulary knowledge and repetoire.
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Theresa Dow's ESL Teacher Specialist Gr. K-7.

November: (Written activity designed by Theresa Dow ESL Teacher Specialist Gr. K-7)
On a chart write and model November means No....
  • no more hot sunny days
  • no more summer sandals
  • no more swimming outside
  • no more bright flowers
  • no more leaves on trees
  • no more grass to cut
  • no more sunscreen
  • no more playing outside after dinner
Children in young primary grades can copy this writing frame and draw a simple picture. Older children can extend this activity by writing:
November means No....
I noticed....
No more summer sandals.
I noticed people must wear shoes and socks on their feet to stay warm as it is colder outside.

November means No....
I noticed....
No more leaves on trees.
I noticed the leaves have fallen to the ground as it is Fall.

No more playing outside after dinner.
I noticed the days are getting darker sooner and people need to go inside their homes where it is warmer with the lights turned on to see.

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Written activity designed by Theresa Dow ESL Teacher Specialist Gr. K-7.

Remembrance Day : Critical Thinking Activity/ Emotions Using the Mystery Box:
  • A soldier's helmet or a photo of a soldier or a badge.
  • Teach Poetry about Remembrance Day explaining people who fought in the World Wars:
Soldiers in the Army,
Sailors in the Navy,
Pilots/Mechanics in the Air Force
  • Read the story and explain the diagrams to: In Flander's Fields by John McCrae
  • Role play the characters in the pictures to the students as the teacher reads the story.

I Knew That Soldier (Lesson designed by : Theresa Dow ESL Teacher Specialist Gr. K-7)
I was his friend in the army.....we shared meals togethers, told stories about our family, fought beside one another, obeyed the commander's orders, played cards, sang together, cried together!
I was the Captain:
I knew that soldier! I gave him the orders to move on. The enemy was near. He was a brave soldier who always tried his best. He would listen to commands. He was courageous.
He always followed orders!
I was the Doctor:
I knew that soldier! There were many wounded soldiers that night in the hospital tent.
It was a terrible day of fighting. I tried my best to save all the men with their wounds.
There were no bandages and there was so much blood everywhere. I had been up all day and night with no sleep trying to save the wounded. I had few supplies. The tent was cold and the infection was spreading without medicine. He shouldn't have died. We needed more supplies.
There were not enough beds for the men. They lay on the floor....so cold, alone and in shock.
There wasn't enough lighting to do proper surgical procedures. I was not going to sleep. Ineeded to save these men.

I was the Nurse:
I knew that soldier. The carts had brought in the bleeding , the wounded and dying men on stretchers. I tended to them. I talked to them. I tried my best to give him something to drink and a little bit to eat. But there was not enough to eat. There were not enough bandages.
I told that soldier to hang in there. His family needed him. He told me he had a girl friend.
Before he died; he said "thank-you" to me! I will never forget him.

I was the Dog:
I knew that soldier. I was the dog at the camp where the soldiers had a break from all the fighting. That soldier...he loved me. He pet me. He shared his tidbits of food with me. He went hungry to give me a morsel of the dried meat. He hugged me. On cold nights as he lay at the camp I would snuggle up to him just to keep him warm. He threw the stick for me to play with.
I will miss his tender touch.

I was his Mother/ Father:
I got the telegram today. The letter said missing in action. My boy...just 18 years old.
He is not old enough to vote or even have a drink. His toy soldiers lie on his dresser top.
Look here is his baby picture. It cannot be... my baby. I don't want these medals. I want my boy back. Nothing can ever replace my child!

I was his Sister/ Brother:
I knew that soldier. He was my brother. He loved me. He took me to school everyday, read stories to me and showed me how to play sports. I loved the way he taught me how to play chess, cards and games. He loved me. Who will be my brother now? I miss him so much.
I want him home. Bring me back my brother!

I was his Girl Friend/ Wife/ Child:
I knew that soldier. I send him love letters and pictures. He treasured them and kept them on his body close to his heart. We were meant to be together. War has torn us apart. I need him.
He was my life. What am I going to do now?

* The role drama that emerges from the pictures and use of tangible object from the war can be very powerful and emotional for the ESL children. The writing pieces that produce will be very strong with great impact. These can be used at a Remembrance Day Assembly!

Remembrance Day poetry and songs for November.
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The mobile bulletin board is useful to display poetry and hold vocabulary chart holders on the back for language practice. Theresa Dow's ESL Teacher Specialist Gr. K-7

Christmas : Suggested activity :
A. Cut out old Christmas cards and label individual vocabulary cards in the pocket charts for sight recognition.
Using your 5 senses!
There are so many things to write about using your 5 senses especially at Christmas time.
  • Sights: Christmas trees, lights twinkling , stars shining, mistletoe hanging, wreathes , presents under the tree, snow, icicles, wrapping paper, candles flickering
  • Smells: cookies baking, gingerbread men, candy canes, evergreeens, wreathes, peppermint , gingerbread houses, sugary treats, mincemeat , sweet tarts
  • Tastes: mandarin oranges, hot chocolate, chocolates, candy, cookies, turkey, cranberries, popcorn strings, hot gravy dripping, melted butter oozing
  • Touch: Christmas trees, bows and ribbons, paper, presents, snow, ice, snowmen, mittens, sleighs zooming
  • Sounds: choirs, Santa 'ho-ho-hoing!", bells ringings, children laughing, cash registers ringing, church bells ringing, candles flickering, fireplace crackling, music playing, carollers singing, sleigh bells ringing, snowboarders swooshing.
Children can repeat the writing patterned frame of Two Word Wonders, Three Word Thrillers and Four Words with the adjective-noun-verb and adverb clustering. Advanced writers can make interesting sentences, paragraphs, and an essay.

B. Christmas: Writing a Friendly Letter to Santa Claus
incorporate the following features into the body of the letter:
  • flattery
  • personal entitlement
  • wish for Christmas
  • what you have been doing to deserve a gift
  • what you will try to do to improve

C. Christmas Riddles: Examples
I am round and made of evergreen branches. The ring is hung above the mantle. My circle may have a red bow on it for a decoration. I can be placed outside and hung on a door at Christmas time. What am I? ( a wreath)
I have eight of these. They pull my sleigh on Christmas Eve. They can fly. They live in the North Pole. What are they? (reindeer)
Hannukah and Christmas:
Venn Diagram similarities and Differences to each celebration

January:
New Year Resolutions: List 3 things they will do to start a fresh new school year.
Song called; Hello Winter by Charlotte Diamond. This is a terrific song to reinforce the concept of the four seasons and activities you can do in each calendar month.

Clap the months of the year and sing to the tune of One Little, Two Little, Three Little...: January , February , March , and April, May, June, July, and August, September, October, November, December.....these are the months of the year.
Clap the days of the week and sing: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday... these are the days of the week. Cluster the months and show the four seasons
Winter: Dec. 21-all of January, all of February until March 20th
Spring: March 21st, all of April, May until June 20th
Summer: June 21st, all of July, August until Sept. 20th
Autumn/Fall: Sept. 21st, all of October, November until Dec. 21st.

Talk about the shortest hours of sunlight on December 21st (first day of winter) and the longest hours of sunlight on June 21st (first day of summer) This leads perfectly into a unit on Weather.
February:
  • Ground Hog Day
  • Chinese New Year: "Animal Zodiac" ...read the story : The Great Race : customs, traditions, celebrations, stories, vocabulary wordsShare the stories of the Dragon Dance, Lion Dance, special foods, family time, and lucky money.

The following photo is an example of honouring Chinese New Year Celebrations:

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Gung Hay Fat Choy at Blair Elementary. Theresa Dow

Venn Diagram:
Compare and Contrast the Chinese Fairy Tales with the Traditional Fairy Tales e.g Lan Po Po and Little Red Riding Hood, Shu-Lin and Cinderella

Valentine's Day: What is a friend? Write on a chart.

A friend sticks beside you to the end!

List attributes of a friend for patterned writing frame.
Read: Ira Sleeps Over
Make Friendship Fruit Salad: Each child can contribute a fruit to go into the bowl.

Graph the various ingredients.
Cut and stir into the bowl.
With each stir, say something kind about one person in the classroom, so that every child gets a compliment and gives a compliment.Eat and enjoy together!
Practice random acts of kindness!
Valentine's Day Poetry to practice and rehearse.
Note : The star pointer can become the "magic pointer" to track the words.
The students become the teacher to point to each word in the line and lead. The rest of the class say the copies and chants.
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Chartholder in Theresa Dow's classroom. ESL teacher specialist Gr. K-7.

March:
Signs of Spring
Baby animals
Beatrix Potter ( small books for small hands!)
introduce vocabulary words for Spring
St. Patrick's Day: element of magic and the colour green!

April:
Earth Day: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rethink!
Read: Dear Mother Earth
Fairy Tales, Folk tales, One Act Plays
Easter
rhyming

May:
Research: Canada, Sports, Animal, other
Jobs People Do In the Community
Mother's Day
Victoria Day

June:
Summer is here: vocabulary and summer activities
You are a Travel Agent: Sell me a trip: Who, what, when,where, why and cost!
You work in the Libray: Poster writing: Why children should go to the Library Reading Program
You work at the Community Center: Write a pamphlet of the benefits of joining a program in the summer.
Father's Day
School Memory Book/ Autograph Book



Why is singing and reciting poetry good instructional practice for ESL instruction?
Poetry is universal among all societies, giving insights into individual's lives, cultures, beliefs, and practices. Poetry and songs can be successfully utilized as rich linguistic tools and resource for all English language learners. See:

Utilizing Poetry as an ESL Teaching Tool and Resource
http://www.brightub.com/education/languages/articles/7143.aspx
Rebecca Scudder Jan. 21, 2009.

"Music changes brain waves making them more receptive to learning."
How to Develop Language With Songs
NL Davies-2000
Bridgette Redman Dec. 28, 2010

"Recent brain research tells us that when children sing and move to music their developing brains are entirely engaged and stimulated. Both left and right sides of the brain
are activated when we sing. The process of siging stimulates new learning and memory.
Ann Gadzikowski
Chicago 2007

Using popular songs improves language listening and comprehension skills.
Language Learning Advisor. com
Larry Lynch

Use songs as an aid for language acquisition and cognition.
D. Schon, .I Peretz, M Besson, M. Boyer, R. Kolinsky, S. Morena (2008)