Monday, 11 June 2018

Descriptive words - students' writing will be more interesting and full of details...

I believe that with movement, students learn faster and remember things easier than trying to learn without. For example, clapping of hands is a movement that helps students to remember and identify the sounds of unknown words easily.....WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Clapping of hands is now a strategy that students in my class use to record sounds of new words that they cannot spell.

Not everyone know how to do this but most students are doing it and others are copying what others are doing. This will continue to be a focus for all students to use and I will make sure that it will be reminded and used.

However, I want my students to improve the quality of their writing now that they can write without stopping. Most students' sentences are basic and in the next three weeks, I will be focusing on this hunch:

Will emphasizing on descriptive words when reading a story; and encouraging an attitude of playfulness and sense of fun around new topics help students gain mastery over aspects of using descriptive words in their writing?

What are my deliberate actions? How am I going to do this...

Read a book 5 times a day repeatedly - look at each character and discuss some words from the book that describe the particular character
(develop students’ ability to describe something using their own words)

Create a word wall particularly with adjectives along with pictures

5 - 10 mins before writing - learn through play - do hands on activities (eg. winter - we may have to walk around outside - identify descriptive words - use sensory.)

Model writing a shared story - emphasize on using descriptive words (use 'sentence frame' to help students with creation of their story)

Follow this routine; - shared writing - guided writing - independent writing

What I’m looking for that shows I’m making a difference to student progress....

Increase students' word and vocabulary recognition

Students’ writing will be more interesting and full of details

Encourages students to use new vocabulary words

Increase students’ ability to clarify their understanding of new topics

Friday, 8 June 2018

Check Point #2 - After 3 weeks of using 'clapping hands - phonemic awareness' to help my students write their story without stopping!

What exactly happened in class with my students?

Students stopped whenever they can’t spell an unknown word. They talked during discussions time with the help of the sentence frame but in terms of writing, it was really hard to keep them motivated once they got stuck with a word that they don’t know its spelling.

How did I do it in class?

For 15 minutes every morning, we read a rhyming poem/story, and sang songs. We used some words from our poem to demonstrate clapping hands and record sounds at the same time (on the board). Practice doing that for a while with a small group or the whole class, and allow children to help each other through playing and exploring with peers.

Critique (Pros & Con)

- some students pronounce words differently / wrongly  eg. very as fery, think as fing, with as wif etc and so they record it wrongly (Teachers need to be aware of this and praise the child for the effort)

- however, clapping hands enable students to hear sounds
- clapping is fun and children are engaging because it’s like playing

- it was hard for new entrants because they need to know the associate sounds for each letter first (However, I believe that it is fun for them to try and learn from their peers - they don't have to know all sounds and letter names before doing this)

Final Thought

I think overall, clapping of hands to hear sounds help students write their story independently without stopping.

  • PV, JJ, PL (3 students) - I need to think of ways to motivate them to be able to do this independently. They can do it with others but lack of courage to transfer what they know and do it when they write independently.
  • Need to make children clap and say the unknown words slowly in order for them to hear sounds.. I have noticed that some students are hearing & recording lots of sounds because they are saying words slowly.

  • I also believe that with movement, students learn faster and remember things easier than trying to learn without. For example, clapping of hands is a movement that helps students to remember and identify the sounds of unknown words easily.....WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Next Step:

Next learning goal - adding descriptive words to make their story sounds interesting, and give more details to their story.

Share students problems and successes with parents in a way that it helps students and parents to practice doing the same at home.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Cut Up Sentences - for all new entrants!

I have been a Reading Recovery teacher for some times and what really amazed me was the using of cut-up-sentence. The sequencing of words to create a meaningful thought along with searching for visual information, I thought was very powerful and a very simple activity to be used in class. 

According to Reading Recovery teachers, cut-up-sentence is also use to teach phrasing and fluency. And I think this is perfect for our ESOL students because it helps them to practice saying foreign language multiple times. 

Will using of cut-up-sentence (with ipads) everyday increase new learners' confidence to create a meaningful story, and help with phrasing and fluency of their reading?

How am I going to do this?
In a small group of 5 during writing I will ask each child to compose a story (one or two sentences) then I will assist the child if needed to complete the story.

I will then write the sentence on a piece of paper while the child watches.

Next, I would cut the sentence up (word by word) while the child watches.

Then I will scramble the words, and the child reassembles the sentence.

Give the child his book to stick his work in and draw pictures. Remind the child to keep reading his work or maybe rewrite his story down (this might help increases his vocabulary knowledge).

These are short video clips of what I have done in class last week. The sentence that they are reassembling is a short shared story that we have created. I thought if I would start off with using their shared story would be a good practice.

The person above is very confident with reassembling his story. (The story was rubbed off from the board)

The child above was also confident in doing so. But as you can hear, they need lots of this in order to improve phrasing and fluency in reading.

Because they are in a group of three, they can easily be helping each other as you can see in this video.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Phonemic Awareness - helps students to write their story without stopping.

After 3 weeks of using 'sentence frame' I found this problem; my students would stop in the middle of their sentence if they do not know how to write an unknown word. They would stop and would never continue.

My hunch therefore for the next three weeks is:

Support students to hear and record sounds using jingles and rhymes for 20 minutes every day, and clap hands during writing to hear and record sounds. Will this help my students to write confidently without stopping?

I need to give my students some strategies to help them to keep on writing even if they don't know how to spell a word.

Students need to have develped phonemic awareness and to understand that there is a relationship between spoken sounds and the letters that represent them. They also need to learn and know all letters with their associate sounds. I hope that this would help them to record letters for the sounds they hear of any unknown words.

What I have plan to do is to use clapping as a strategy for my students to use and practice a lot to help them fluent with their writing. I am also using 'quick60 program' which is a program that also supports the same thing.

Here is a video of how quick60 works and that's what I have been doing. I hope this would help teachers out there who have the same kind of inquiry as I do.

Use this LINK to read more about Phonemic Awareness if you want more. 

Friday, 18 May 2018

Check Point #1: After 3 weeks of using 'sentence frame' to help my students improve their paritcipation in writing.

What exactly happened in class with my students?
During oral discussions with students about a particular topic or whatever, I provided a sentence frame for them to use as a starter. Often students talk but not in a sentence, it would be in one word or couple of words and that's all. Using 'sentence frame' was to help my students to talk more and increase confidence to write more as well.

How did I do it in class?
As I mentioned above, I provided the chn with a sentence frame most of the time during whole class/group discussions. I wrote the sentence frame on a piece of paper and read it to the chn and then we read it together. I gave them an example before I let them start talking.
  1. Talk with a pair (Teacher listens to each pair - sometimes add on or prompt for more info)
  2. Everyone shares back their story - sometimes I make them share what their partner has said. (using the sentence frame provided of course)
  3. Get their book and start writing down their ideas after forming their own sentence.


Critique (Pros & Con)
- it was really helpful especially with scaffolding oral language and writing skills.
- anyone in class benefited from using of sentence frame (ESOL or not)
- I think, sentence frame could be used at any time such as in Maths - for learning new mathematical language to explain thinking. (I will be using sentence frame in Maths and other areas, too) - will talk about that later.
- definitely increased students talk, participation, and confidence (independent writers)

- only one con that I think of now - ie. sentence frame could limit the ability of a child to be creative and write what they want to. (One boy in my class can talk without sentence frames but he often wants to copy others in class.)

Final Thought
I think overall, sentence frame really helped my students to be creative and enable them to add more information to their story. I think my students were grateful to have sentence frames as a guide to help them get started with their talk and writing.

Next Step:
support students to hear and record sounds by clapping hands, and using jingles and rhymes for 20 minutes every day. I have noticed that most students stopped writing when come across a word that they don't know. Their confidence to hear and record sounds is very limited.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

What's going on in class with my students? - dictation and quick60

Last term, I said that I will continue doing few things in the second term. And I thought I'll update what I am doing at the moment regarding those ideas. 

First one would be the dictation. Here are some photos of what we're doing in class at the moment. 

And a link from youtube if you want to really look at how some teachers are doing it. It is good to have seen a variety of ways. Hope this might help you.

Secondly, I said that I will continue using Quick60 program. Right now, there are two groups running in my class. One is a reading group, and the other one is an alphabet group. The alphabet groups are the new students who have started school in the middle of term 1, and the reading group are the ones who have completed the alphabet program.

Last focus was on handwriting. This is an ogoing work because it has to be done everyday and for all letters of the alphabets. I can see progress starting from how chn hold their pencils to how they form letters, and I am very proud of them. 


Using of TALK MOVES is also ongoing. I once focus on making sure that children repeats each others' ideas as a way of encouraging them to talk and participate. Term 2, my focus will be on WAITING TIME. I will be asking colleagues to observe and give me feedback on how much time that I give a child to process his/her answer. 

Monday, 30 April 2018

Sentence Frame - helping students to write.

Term 2 - 2018

It is a common scene in many classrooms especially at the junior levels, students sit and stare at a black paper because they were asked to write and don't know how to start or they can't think of the right words to use.

In my class, not only that I have students who are 5 yrs old, but most students' first language is not English. They haven't had enough experiences to be able to speak with confident. Wether students are asked to write a story, answer questions, or practice vocabulary words, many have difficulty figuring out how to start writing.

Therefore, I decide to use sentence frame to help them improve the quality of their talk and hopefully lead on to an improvement in the quality of their writing.

My hunch therefore for the next four weeks is:

Will using sentence frame increases quality talk and writing of my students?

I found this video and I know that there are lots out there about sentence frame, but I like this one becuase it specifically talks about how sentence frame scaffolds the development of the Enlish Language Learner.