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Por Redacción UNOiNews/Jovel Álvarez

Cada vez son más los jóvenes que externan a sus padres el interés de vivir un capítulo de sus vidas en el extranjero, y esto conlleva que los padres lleven a cabo una reflexión a profundidad sobre si es o no el momento oportuno.

Ya sea para una temporada corta -como verano- o más larga -para cursar un año escolar- la decisión no siempre es fácil. Enviar a tus hijos a estudiar al extranjero, aunque sea por un par de meses, es una decisión que afecta a toda la familia. Sin embargo, es importante tomar conciencia de las grandes ventajas que puede aportar a la vida de nuestros hijos una experiencia de este calibre.

Si de por sí viajar constituye una vivencia fascinante en la vida de un adulto ¿cuánto más puede significar en la vida de un joven? “Viajar abre la mente”, se dice siempre, y esto es sumamente cierto. Encontrarse en un país extranjero somete al joven a una situación diversa, en la cual debe encontrar los mecanismos sociales e intelectuales para salir adelante.

Siempre se llegará a un mayor conocimiento de sí mismo en  una experiencia de intercambio, pues situaciones que en casa se dan por sentadas (cocina, lavandería, supermercado y control de las finanzas) de repente recaen por completo en el joven.

Esto desemboca inevitablemente en un aumento de la confianza del individuo en sus capacidades.

Una de las grandes ventajas que ofrecen los intercambios es la posibilidad de perfeccionar una segunda lengua, y esto se da justamente por la necesidad de socializar que tienen los jóvenes. El intercambio les dará un nivel práctico de la lengua que jamás conseguirán en casa, y esto siempre será de gran beneficio.

Un intercambio estudiantil permite forjar una red de nuevos amigos que van más allá del Facebook, personas de culturas  diferentes, con costumbres y tradiciones por explorar, que permitirán al joven experimentar un choque cultural único.

Los intercambios estudiantiles harán que tus hijos conozcan un nuevo nivel de exigencia académica que ayudará a aumentar su disciplina en el estudio, algo que podrá verse reflejado a su regreso a casa.

Es lógico que las preocupaciones existan, pues la juventud conlleva una exposición a diversos escenarios de los que no quisiéramos que ellos tomasen parte, sin embargo, la decisión de realizar esta experiencia debe estar basada en la confianza mutua, de forma que los resultados de este capítulo puedan ser beneficiosos para todos en el futuro.

Próximamente te compartiremos información sobre los diferentes tipos de intercambio de los que pueden participar tus hijos.

Por Redacción UNOiNews/Mario Amaryit Luviano

Sin lugar a dudas el saber más de un idioma es no sólo una ventaja, es una necesidad para esta nueva era. El inglés ya es parte de nuestra vida cotidiana, en la mayor parte de los empleos es un requerimiento básico, amplía nuestros horizontes y abre las puertas a mejores oportunidades en un mundo global como el de hoy.

El inglés es el tercer idioma más hablado del mundo con 328 millones de personas aproximadamente y es por eso que hoy hablaremos de las ventajas de aprender inglés desde pequeños.

Aprender dos idiomas ayuda a los niños a ejercitar su memoria y a mejorar su atención. Los expertos recomiendan el aprendizaje de nuevos idiomas desde una edad temprana pues el cerebro de los niños absorbe más información dentro de los primeros 4 años de edad, ya que en ese periodo el cerebro se está formando y puede recibir mayor información pues se desarrollan más conexiones neuronales.

¿Entonces cuál es la clave para que los niños aprendan inglés desde pequeños?

La clave es escuchar, el bebé desde los 3 meses puede entender algún idioma,  a los 4 meses puede distinguir palabras y oraciones incluso en otro idioma, a los 6 meses su balbuceo ya tiene acento de la lengua madre, y a los 8 o 9 ya puede reproducir sonidos de los idiomas que haya escuchado habitualmente.

Los niños escuchan a los padres en todo momento, al igual que el entorno que los rodea, es por eso que es sencillo para ellos aprender de lo que escuchan. Algunas herramientas que pueden utilizar para el aprendizaje son, hablar en inglés en ciertas horas del día, utilizar canciones, videos  y hablar o leerle cuentos en inglés al niño.

Por ello en los colegios de sistema UNO se promueve la inmersión total para el aprendizaje del inglés, es decir, que en el tiempo de duración de las clases de inglés los alumnos estén rodeados de este idioma. Como padres de sistema UNO sabemos que el objetivo en nuestros colegios no es que aprendan inglés, sino que “aprendan en ingles”.

Y también sabemos que el papel de los padres en el desarrollo académico es  importante así que aquí les tenemos algunas Apps para apoyar a nuestros hijos  en el aprendizaje del inglés:

https://itunes.apple.com/es/app/buds-first-english-words-vocabulary/id848974713?mt=8

https://itunes.apple.com/es/app/sight-words-learning-games/id518258478?mt=8

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/learnenglish-kids-playtime-songs-and-stories/id933760266?mt=8

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/candy-count/id1076098682?mt=8

by Elaine Gallagher

Hi Readers,

If you are an English teacher of older students, do you ever wonder what kind of work students in the USA receive in English? This week, my grandson, in a public high school in the state of Maine in the USA, sent me a copy of his latest history assignment.

I guess he might have been thinking that since I’m so old, I might remember World War I….Sorry, Tim, I was born during World war II..(JOKE: He knew I had taught history.)

Here is a copy of the assignment Tim received from his history teacher. How doers it compare with research you give to students? Easier? More difficult? Does it provoke and demand critical thinking? Is the teacher using backward design? What about vocabulary development?

Sometimes it’s good for us as educators to reflect on what we do, why, and look what others are doing…maybe to learn, maybe to compare, maybe simply to assure ourselves that we are on the right track!

So here’s my grandson’s assignment for this week in his history class.

I’d love to hear your comments.

—————————————————————-

U.S. and the World
Essay
World War I: Should the United States get involved?

In a 5 paragraph essay support whether or not you think the United States should join in allies in World War I.

Introduction:

Quick background to the time period (push and pull factors for the war). Define needed vocabulary such as imperialism, socialism, capitalism or any other words you maybe using to defend you thesis. The last statement of the introduction is the thesis statement answering the question “Should America go to war?”

Body (Paragraphs 2,3,4):

The body of your essay is three paragraphs that support the thesis statement. Each supporting idea to the thesis should be its own paragraph.

Each paragraph should have:

  1. An introduction sentence: What is the idea.
  2. A statement relating the idea to the thesis (using the same words from the thesis, make it obvious for the reader).
  3. Supporting historical evidence: quotes, ideas, information that shows research supports your idea.
  4. Ending with a statment that links to the next paragraph.

Conclusion:

Restate the thesis. Quickly recap the main ideas from the body of the essay. Think beyond statement: Does the United States have the right to intervene with foreign conflicts? (relate to current events)

Other instructions:

1) You must use 2 direct quotes in this paper and they need to be cited in MLA format

2) You need to have a works cited page for this paper with sources in proper MLA format (min of 3 sources)

3) The essay needs to be typed, 12 font, double spaced, standard margin, name date and class at the top

4) Please use the MLA style guide from the Library to help, do not relay on cites like easybib.com, as they do not always create proper citations.

5) Your paper needs to be edited, we will have peer edits in class, but an adult or teacher edit is also encouraged. The ASC center is always open.

 

NOTE:
“ASC” is the Academic Student Center, a media center in Tim’s high school full of books, computers, Internet, resources, and reference librarians who are there to help students find and use research resources.

____________________________

 

by Elaine Gallagher

Following are several short articles, poems, thoughts, intended to provoke discussion in your classroom, in the teacher lounge, at home, with your colleagues…or even inside your own brain.

The articles are not intended to be read, taught, or discussed in ONE class session. Depending on how much English time you have each day or each week, these 3 articles could be spread out over 2 or 3 weeks. This will allow you to work on the topics more profoundly than in a rushed-non-comprehensive way.

Take your time. There is no rush. Let the things you read and discuss sink into your students’ brains and hearts.

  1. The first contribution is called, “To the Crazy Ones”. As your students read it, ask them to think about several questions. Do I know someone who’s described in this free-verse poem? Would I like this kind of a person? Why” Whom do I believe might have written this? Can I create something similar? (The answer about the creation of this poem is at the very end of the article. You, too, think who might have written it.)
  1. The second article is a parody on Steven Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” It’s called “The 7 Habits of Highly Hypocritical People” . It was written by James Mac Donald. Have your students define or explain what “hypocritical” means. Ask if any of the 7 habits describe people they know? Can they help those people change the toxic habits? How? Why? Can they write a similar parody of a famous book?
  1. The third article is called, “Too Busy for a Friend?”. It’s based on a true story of an activity a high school teacher conducted with her students. Even though the story is from many years ago, the lesson makes an impact, and can be used in 21st century classrooms. Have your students read is silently. Then, discuss the level of comprehension. What lesson did your students learn from the story? Can they organize or propose a similar activity? Could a project stem from this story> Can teams of students each, independently develop a project for his/her team?

 

DISCUSS ALL THREE READINGS.

Students can compare/contrast, choose, organize, analyze, and raise their levels of consciousness.

These 3 readings/activities can stretch the imagination of your students.

HAVE FUN! ENJOY!

———————————————————————————————–

TO THE CRAZY ONES

Here’s to the crazy ones.

The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
disbelieve them, glorify them, or vilify them.
About the only thing you can not do is ignore them.

Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.
Because while some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

And it’s people who are crazy enough to think they can
change the world, who actually do.
Think differently.

—————————————————————————————————— 

 THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY HYPOCRITICAL PEOPLE

From the book “AUTHENTIC”  by James Mac Donald

——————————————————————————————————-

                             TOO BUSY FOR A FRIEND?

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down on the line under the student’s name.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. ‘Really?’ she heard whispered. ‘I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!’ and, ‘I didn’t know others liked me so much,’ were most of the comments..

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn’t matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Viet Nam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. ‘Were you Mark’s math teacher?’ he asked. She nodded: ‘yes.’ Then he said: ‘Mark talked about you a lot.’

After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark’s mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

‘We want to show you something,’ his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket ‘They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.’

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark’s classmates had said about him.

‘Thank you so much for doing that,’ Mark’s mother said. ‘As you can see, Mark treasured it.’

All of Mark’s former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, ‘I still have my list. It’s in the top drawer of my desk at home.’

Chuck’s wife said, ‘Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.’

‘I have mine too,’ Marilyn said. ‘It’s in my diary’

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. ‘I carry this with me at all times,’ Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: ‘I think we all saved our lists’

That’s when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

—————————————————————————————–

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don’t know when that one day will be.

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

If you’ve received this from a teacher in your English class, it is because someone cares for you and it means there is probably at least someone for whom you care.

If you’re ‘too busy’ to take those few minutes right now to write a loving message to someone, would this be the VERY first time you didn’t do that little thing that would make a difference in your relationship to someone?, To a friend?, To a parent or grandparent?, To a classmate?, To a teacher?

The more people that you send a loving note to, the better you’ll be at reaching out to those you care about. Remember, you reap what you sow. What you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.

May your day be as satisfying and as special as you are!

———————————————————————————————————-

WHO WROTE “To the Crazy Ones” ?

It was an advertisement in 1997, to recruit employees, by Apple Computer, Inc.

__________________________

by Elaine Gallagher

Fact:   We are outliving our brains. Life expectancy in the United States today is about 80 years old. Girls have a one in three chance of living to 100, while boys have one in four.

The problem?   Our cognitive brain performance peaks in our early 40s. That means mental functions like memory, speed of thinking, problem-solving, reasoning, and decision-making decline in the last 30 or 40 years of life….

However, with use in challenging situations, such as crossword puzzles, digital gaming activities, learning a 2nd or 3rd language, or playing strategic games, such as Scrabble or Monopoly, the brain stays in active cognitive mode many more years. Also helpful for brain functioning is exercise, even walking, 15 minutes a day, to provide surges of oxygen to the brain.

The truth is most people don’t consider their brain health until they’re faced with injury, disease, or simply getting old. But just as we’ve come to realize that we can improve our physical health through diet and exercise, we can improve our cognitive health too.  It’s simply a matter of engaging in the right mental workouts.

Science now strongly supports the fact that our brains are one of the most modifiable parts of our whole body. Our brains actually adapt from moment to moment, depending on how we use them; they either decline or improve, and which direction they go depends on us and the way we challenge them. This is called “brain plasticity”.

A research team at the Center for Brain Health at The University of Texas at Dallas is working on how to improve brain performance at all ages, and the findings show that making our brains stronger, healthier, and more productive requires actually changing the way we use them every single day.  And that’s where daily changes come in. We all must first abandon toxic habits that are depleting brain resources, and we must also incorporate complex thinking into our daily routines. Toxic habits include smoking, recreational drug use, or diets full of processed foods.

Ready to make your brain smarter? Here are a few scientifically proven ways to do it.

Quiet Your Mind

«Don’t make any rash decisions!»

Somewhere along the line, we’ve all been given that advice, and it actually applies to your brain too, which can often better solve complex problems when you step away to reflect on ideas and crucial decisions rather than acting without weighing choices.

A halt in constant thinking slows your mind’s rhythms, allowing it to refresh. Employ a “Five by Five” principle where you take a break from whatever you’re doing five times a day for at least five minutes to reset your brain. When we let our brain work behind the scenes, we have our best «aha» moments. And don’t we all want more of those?

Obviously, in the classroom, long, tedious exams are NOT brain friendly. Students who may actually understand material quite well, do not perform well on an exam which requires 90 minutes or more of sitting, thinking, writing, or making decisions on multiple choices. Shorter, oral or essay exams can better measure students’ acquisition of material in their brains.

Translate Your World

Move away from surface-level, uninspired thinking and eschew predictable thoughts by pushing past the obvious….. and really think.

Use the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy in your classroom activities to stimulate students’ thinking and to boost brainpower.

For example, when asked what a movie was about, most people would give a play-by-play of events that occurred. To boost brainpower, instead think of the major themes of the film and relate them to personal situations in your own life and how they apply. Show students how to do this by example. Primary students through adults can benefit from this kind of thinking.

Think back on one of your favorite movies or books from the past year and generate five to eight different take-home messages you can glean from it. This process, called “synthesized thinking”, strengthens the connections between different areas of our brains. More synapses are formed, promoting deeper and longer-lasting learning.

Our brains actually become quickly jaded by routine since they were built to dynamically shift between details and the big picture. They also hate information downloading, so it helps to think like a reporter. When taking in large amounts of information, try to explain it in a few sentences. Backward design, essential questions, universal understandings, and the big idea are teaching/learning techniques that are brain-friendly.

Kick off school meetings with provocative big ideas. Power your important e-mail messages with simple but thought-evoking subject lines.

Stop Multi-tasking

We are inundated with more and more tasks every day. Relentless simultaneous input and output fatigues the brain and reduces productivity and efficiency.

You may think that by doing two or three things at once – like participating in a conference call while writing a couple of emails – you are moving faster through your day. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Written homework is not productive to REAL learning because the brain gets overloaded. Learning in school, perhaps expanded at home by reviewing the day’s work or reading a chapter, or watching a TV program, or investigating a topic on Internet…or studying notes for a quiz……are all “brain-friendly” homework activities. Filling in workbook pages, completely math problems, writing a report are activities to be completed in school under teacher’s guidance. Students will actually learn and remember more in this way than if they had had multi-tasking, multiple homework assignments to complete at home.

Our to-do lists keep getting longer while performance and accuracy slip. So, when working on higher-order thinking tasks that matter, allow your focus to be completely uninterrupted for at least 15 minutes at a time and then gradually increase the length of those intervals.

Move Your Feet

Recently published research from the University of Texas, shows that aerobic exercise stimulates positive brain change and memory gains faster than we previously thought possible. Adding regular aerobic exercise that elevates your heart rate to your routine at least three times a week for an hour won’t just help with physical health, it will also increase brain blood flow to key memory centers in the brain and improve our memory for facts. When you combine complex thinking with aerobic exercise, brain health benefits are amplified.

Until recently, we thought that cognitive decline was an inevitable part of getting old, but the good news is that’s officially not the case.

Toxic habits and a life on autopilot are key culprits for unnecessary cognitive decline. Research in Dallas, Texas (USA) at the University of Texas Brain Health Center proves that healthy adults who use these strategies can regain lost cognitive performance, improve blood flow in the brain, speed up communication between its regions and expand its structural connections. And you can actually evoke some of these positive changes in a matter of hours.

Adopting this new, healthier way of thinking translates into real-life benefits that support our ability to make decisions, think critically, reason and plan. In other words, shaping your brain by engaging in the right kind of daily mental exercise has the power to reverse brain aging and actually make you smarter. So boost your brainpower!

You have nothing to lose.

____________________________________

Sources:

Alfie Kohn, 2012: “The Homework Myth”.

Dr. Sandra Chapman, Center of Research & Brain Health, University of Texas, Dallas, TX.

 

by Elaine Gallagher

What you should know… As educators we don’t want to only correct behaviors. We want to change them.

The majority of problems in the classroom have to do with lack of a good discipline system, poor teaching, a poor teaching profile, or ineffective class administration and lack of procedures which could lead to routines..

What is your classroom management profile? 

The steps are simple:                                                              

  1. Read each statement carefully.
  2. Write your response, from the scale below, on the blank lines.
  3. Respond to each statement based upon either actual experience or an imaginary situation.
  4. Then, follow the scoring instructions below.

———————————————————————————–

1 = Strongly Disagree       2 = Disagree                3 = Neutral

4 = Agree                          5 = Strongly Agree

  1. ———————————————————————————–
  2. If a student is disruptive during my class, I put him/her out of class and refer him/her to the guidance tutor or coordinator for a disciplinary warning, without further discussion.  ______
  3. I don’t want to impose any rules on my students. __________
  4. The classroom must be quiet in order for students to learn. _________
  5. I am concerned about what my students learn and how they learn. ________
  6. If a student turns in a late homework assignment, it’s not my problem. ______
  7. I don’t want to reprimand a student because it might hurt his/her feelings. _____
  8. Class preparation isn’t worth the effort. ________
  9. I always try to explain the reasons behind my rules and decisions. _______
  10. I will not accept excuses from a student who is late. _______
  11. The emotional well-being of my students is more important than classroom control. _______
  12. My students understand that they can interrupt my teaching if they have a relevant question to ask me. _________
  13. If a student asks to leave class early, for any reason, I always agree.______

_________________________________________________________

SELF-SCORING:

ADD the scores to your responses to statements 1, 3 and 9. This is your score for the AUTHORITARIAN style. (Strict, but not always fair.)

ADD your responses to statements 4, 8 and 11. This is your score for the AUTHORITATIVE style. (Strict, but mostly fair.)

ADD your responses to statements 6, 10 and 12. This is your score for the LAISSEZ-FAIRE style. (Popular, but not always in control.)

ADD your responses to statements 2, 5 and 7. This is your score for the INDIFFERENT style. (May have severe control problems..)

 

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO KNOW OUR TEACHING STYLE?

The answer is simple, but important: because it concerns how our students perceive us, and the way we treat them.

Here’s what students think about these teachers.

AUTHORITARIAN:

“I don’t care for this kind of teacher. She is really strict and doesn’t  seem to want to give her students a fair chance. She is unfair,  and that’s her way of making her point and keeping power.”

AUTHORITATIVE:

“I like this teacher. She (he) is fair and understands  that students can’t bbe perfect. She (he) is the kind of teacher you can talk to without being pput down or feeling embarrassed.”

LAISSEZ-FAIRE:

“This is a pretty popular teacher. You don’t have to be serious throughout the class. But sometimes things get out of control and we learn nothing at all.”

INDIFFERENT:

“This teacher can’t control the class and we never learn anything in there. There is hardly ever work and people rarely bring their books. We just talk in class, or sometimes copy things from the board or our books.”

The result is a very general indicator of your classroom management style.

A high score indicates a strong preference for that particular style. You may see a little bit of yourself in each one, but remember that your approach may vary from class to class – and that most people find that their style evolves and improves as their years of teaching experience progress.  The improvement is especially noted when teachers have positive mentors or coaches who support them. Perhaps the successful teacher is the one who can evaluate a class or situation, and then apply the appropriate style.

* Source:  The classroom management styles are adaptations of the parenting styles discussed in Adolescence, by John T. Santrock from  Indiana University.   http://www.cbv.ns.ca/sstudies/gen3.html

—————————————————————————————–

ARE YOU A TEACHER BULLY?

 —————————————————————————————–

                              FINAL ADVICE

Appear confident when you speak. Appearing to be “in charge” increases the chance of success.

Be calm and dispassionate in your class. When an adult is angry or upset, it is frightening to young students and humorous to older ones, who gain prestige from their peers by “setting off” the teacher.

Avoid the impersonal scientific approach to discipline. Avoid a cold, automatic approach, as it doesn’t achieve respect from students.

Don’t make your warnings too long-winded. If you do, the time you take to discipline will take away from teaching-learning time. Students will tune-out, not even paying attention to your warning, nor getting interested in the class, so more disruptions will occur. Be short & sweet, and get on with the lesson.

_____________________________

 

by Elaine Gallagher

When I visit schools, and give a “model class” to teachers, as if they were my students, introducing them to the topic of the “new bimester”, that supposedly I’m teaching them, I am too often met with a surprise.   But, as I tell the teachers (with a smile), “Don’t worry. If you knew everything, I wouldn’t have a job.”

The surprise I find is that the teachers are planning, using the student text, (not the teacher guide platform), and they plan week-by-week, having absolutely no idea of what’s coming up in two weeks, so they tie an idea this week to something coming up in a few weeks, thus making their teaching more effective.

I found this out this school year when I gave a model class, and a teacher asked me how I knew all the things that I was presenting to them in the mock “first class” of the bimester.  I explained to her that I had reviewed the entire bimester, then built the first class of the bimester to reflect the vocabulary and major themes and concepts to be taught.

This was not an isolated case. After the teacher so kindly opened my eyes to how she was “planning”, I began to check with teachers as I gave courses in UNO schools. The discovery that week-by-week planning was NOT unusual, led me to write this article.

As much as a rebel to tradition as I am, (proudly so), I strongly support PLANNING. Teachers need to plan, need to write their plans, and need to utilize their plans. I do not believe that someone should be “checking “ the teachers’ plans. It’s a waste of administrative time, that could be better employed by actually going into the teachers’ classrooms, to see what really happening, not what’s written on a sheet of paper or on an iPad.

The UNOi program, both BE and SE, is compiled by several components: student book, teacher guide, computer programs, and games.  All of these elements work together for students to explore and understand the universal understanding in each theme. In order to plan the unit/

UNO, since its inception, uses “Backward Design” as a planning concept. It was developed by Jay McTigh and Grant Wiggins (deceased in 2015). The purpose of “Backward Design” is to integrate all the materials in UNO to ensure that students are learning the intended concept.

The Backward Design approach first identifies the universal understanding that students will learn during a unit/bimester theme. A “universal understanding” is a theme or a statement that is universally true, in any country, with culture, and during any epoch.

For example: “The future is what you make it” is a universal understanding for the bimester when middle school students read “The Giver”.

Once the teacher, prepares the bimester, to get an overall view of the material to be covered, he/she identifies “learning outcomes”. They include:

Once your learning outcomes are listed, then you develop “authentic assessments”. What are they? They are assessments that review what you actually taught…..what you focused on…what themes you developed. Most “authentic assessments”   are NOT multiple option, standardized  tests because our students do not have standardized brains.

Usually, an authentic assessment is a project, an oral presentation, an essay exam, or a combination of these, authenticating that the student actually LEARNED something during the bimester, not simply memorizing data and facts, to be regurgitated to the teacher on an exam.

Then teachers begin to plan various learning activities that reflect the skills that will be assessed.  This allows teachers to think of and create ideas of what evidence will demonstrate students’ understanding and proficiency.

There are three stages in Backward Design:

  1. The first stage is to identify desired results. Teachers ask themselves: What is the universal understanding of this theme? What are the essential questions? What’s the “Big Idea” to be taught and learned? What should students know, understand, and be able to do? What is worthy of understanding? Teachers consider their goals and think how to integrate these concepts throughout the unit.
  1. The second stage is determining acceptable evidence. Questions teachers consider: How will we know if students have achieved the desired results and met the standards? What will we accept as evidence of student understanding and proficiency? Teachers think about a unit theme in terms of collecting evidence needed to document students’ learning using formative and summative assessments.
  1. The third stage is planning the learning experience and instruction. Questions teacher ponder:

Teachers’ having a clear goal helps them focus their planning and guide instruction towards the intended results.

As teachers reflect on their teaching, it will allow them to identify the needs of their students and guide them through the learning process.

When a teacher plans, we need to remember that the planning is for the teacher to do his/her best. It’s not for someone to “check”, although if I were a school administrator, I would require, (solely to file in the teacher’s employment file-folder), an annual plan, presented at the end of the current school year for the next year (!!!),  and a bimester plan, as described below, submitted the last week of the previous bimester.

If administrators say this is impossible because they don’t know teachers’ assignments yet for the next year, I say… YOU, TOO, NEED TO PLAN BETTER.  Every good school needs to know by June (in the Mexican school calendar…long before summer vacation) who will be returning and what assignments teachers will have. Otherwise, quality education will elude you.

The weekly and day-to-day planning is in the hands of the teachers. It is imperative that a teacher have an annual plan…..simple, not complex, not super-specific….just a roadmap of where he/she will take students each bimester.

The bimester plan, too, needs to be general, topics, vocabulary…(not. necessarily all that’s in the book…be judicial, teachers. The book is you tool…not your dictator.

Written planning needs only 3 things to comply with Backward Design:

The CONCEPT, the PROCESS, and the PRODUCT

In summary, when we begin a bimester, the very first class should not even look at the book…The teacher should be prepared to give a visual , interactive class introducing the bimester lessons to the students to excite them, to interest them, to peak curiosity, and to inspire.

That’s what BACKWARD DESIGN DOES.

__________________________________

For additional reading about Backward by Design, we recommend http://www.arps.org/users/ms/coaches/backward%20design%20101.htm

Reference:

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2006). Understanding by design. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.

 

by Elaine Gallagher

One of the best ideas I can leave you with, teachers, is the fact that RESEARCH is the single most important activity you can do to enhance your teaching. Most people teach as they had been taught, not necessarily, how they had learned to teach in university courses.

So, when you hear about a technique or a theory or a practice advocated by anyone, even by me in a course, think about it, Look it up. Check into it. Do you like the idea? Is something you could support in your classroom?  Are you leary about it? Uncertain if it’s a good idea or not? INVESTIGATE. RESEARCH. Assess the idea or the technique, and make your own decision.

Have confidence in yourself. If the idea is something you like, and research supports it… in other words, it will not harm your students’ academic growth or creativity, use it. Practice it regularly until the technique becomes an integral part of your repertoire of teaching practices.

Sometimes, apparently simple things may have strong, positive research support.  Perhaps, things you do regularly in your classroom, because they work, may be documented by extensive research of which you are unaware… That, I hope, should make you feel confident in what you are doing.  Note it, and share ideas that work with your colleagues.

Simple techniques can make a statement in your classroom, supporting and promoting student learning. Three examples that I use in some of my courses include: “Put the date on the board every day”…and “Write an agenda each day:  A short list of what the students will do that day” …and “Put a trivia fact on the board to challenge students… for them to investigate.”

These three simple things are part of a list I show to teachers as an example of “changes in the classroom”.  They are not simply my pet techniques, or ideas that I developed over many years of teaching. These three seemingly simple activities are research-based.

Whether you invent techniques that work, and later find research to support them , or whether you read ideas in research and decide to implement them in your classroom… doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you use research to support or to implement techniques in your classroom that will strengthen students’ active participation and learning.

A principal told me during my 5th year teaching, “IF IT WORKS, USE IT”. I will add to Mr. Richard Green’s comment: “IF IT WORKS, SUPPORT IT BY RESEARCH.”  Then it becomes a sustainable technique that you can proudly share with your colleagues.

Here’s an example of research that supports techniques I had used in my classroom, ideas that I often pass on to others today. Following is research by Dr. David Ausubel.(1918-2008)

Ausubel, whose theories are particularly relevant for educators, recognized other forms of learning, but his work focused on verbal learning. He dealt with the nature of meaning, and believed the external world acquires meaning only as it’s converted into the content of consciousness by the learner.  This happens with clear, understandable teaching. (“comprehensible input”– Krashen, or presented as a “big idea” (Sugata Mitra) or as a “universal understanding” (Wiggins & McTighe).

Ausubel stated that meaning is created through some form of representational balance between language (symbols) and mental context (ideas).

Two processes are involved:

  1. Reception, which is employed in meaningful verbal learning, and
  2. Discovery, which is involved in concept formation and problem solving.

Ausubel’s work has frequently been compared with Jerome Bruner’s. The two held similar views about the hierarchical nature of knowledge, but Bruner was strongly oriented toward discovery processes, where Ausubel gave more emphasis to the verbal learning methods of speech, reading, and writing. I believe that a combination of Bruner’s work and Ausubel’s work results in the way most students learn.

Discovery learning combined with igniting prior knowledge is a combination of research-supported techniques that result in student-learning that is relevant and remembered over a longer period than if these techniques had not been used.

Advanced Organizers

Ausubel contributed much to the theoretical body of cognitive learning theory. His most notable contribution for classroom application was the advance organizer.

The advance organizer is a tool or a mental learning aid to help students integrate new information with their existing knowledge, leading to «meaningful learning» as opposed to rote memorization.

It is a means of preparing the learner’s cognitive structure for the learning experience about to take place. It’s a device to activate the relevant schema or conceptual patterns so that new information can be more readily ‘subsumed’ into the learner’s existing cognitive structures.

Ausubel believed that it was important for teachers to provide a preview of information to be learned. Teachers could do this by providing a brief introduction about the way that information that is going to be presented is structured. This would enable students to start with a «Big Picture» of the upcoming content, and link new ideas, concepts, vocabulary, to existing mental maps of the content area.

When UNOi Coaches talk about instigating “prior knowledge”, it’s because they are using Ausubel’s research to support a classroom technique. When I suggest teachers write the date and make a short list of the day’s agenda, it works to help students remember the lessons better. This, too, is based on Ausubel’s research.

So, teachers, use techniques with the total confidence that you can achieve by backing much of your work with research. Have confidence in yourself.

Remember: “IF IT WORKS, USE IT. IF IT WORKS, SUPPORT IT WITH RESEARCH.”

___________________________________

by Elaine Gallagher,  PhD

WRITING: BACKGROUND AND BASIC THEORY

Let’s look at the basic skills that will be expected by students as they begin to learn how to write English assignments.

Kindergarten:

K-3:                                                                                                                        

Identification of letters; saying the alphabet; counting orally 1-10, writing their first name; listening to stories read aloud, or on a video, and giving a brief oral summary of the story, or completing a drawing about the story; developing oral vocabulary in response to picture flash cards and  basic, spontaneous oral vocabulary, as shown in the “Part 2: Speaking” article in UNONEWS.

1st and 2nd Grades:    

The sentence: Students demonstrate that sentences begin with capital letter; ends with correct punctuation: . ? ! Guided by teacher, they can write complete sentences and basic, short stories beginning in 2nd grade.

3rd and 4th Grades:      

The paragraph: Students demonstrate how to create main idea; indent for each new paragraph; use supporting details (adjectives/adverbs as descriptors) to enhance their writing.

5th and 6th Grades:

Students create fiction and non-fiction, writing 3 – 5 paragraphs in a composition,  using an outline ir a mind-map.

7th, 8th, 9th Grades:                                                                                                

Students are able to compose a 5-paragraph essay/composition in fiction or non-fiction. They can prepare an outline with an introduction, including information, references, a cohesive conclusion, and a bibliography.

Now, let’s look at writing skills that we will explore in this article. Learning writing skills can be a life-long, arduous, but rewarding, practice.There are some basics (A – H) that you need to know in order to teach writing skills to your students:

  1. Writing mechanics are the first things we learn about writing.

Writing mechanics can be learned and mastered in one school year, once students can write the alphabet from memory, if they are taught correctly, practiced daily, and valued as a way to communicate. By the end of 3rd grade of primary, every student should be able to exhibit his/her knowledge of the following mechanical writing skills.

 

Teach D’NEALIAN writing! D’Nealian is a bridge between cursive and manuscript. Students do not confuse the b, d, p, g, q letters. With D’Nealian and a keyboard, students won’t need to know anything else about writing. Let’s face it, cursive writing  is a form off calligraphy, art, used by the monks 500 years ago, before the printing press. Where can you find it? In schools, nowhere else.  Many of us over 50 years of age spent years in school practicing cursive writing. Do we all write alike today? NO.

Writing is a personal art-type. As a means of communication, who really cares if it’s cursive or manuscript. Let’s get our priorities straight. Writing legibly and neatly, yes. Practicing so our writing looks like the model in the book is a waste of time. Choose D’Nealian writing, used in 50+ countries, world-wide, including most of the Colegios Americanos in Mexico, as well as other forward-thinking schools.

  1. Content of what is written is the part of writing that can take a lifetime to master.

Well-known authors say that they are constantly upgrading their writing, improving , expanding their skills and their use of the flow of words into ideas.
Except for copying, all writing is creative : something that comes from the brain
of a writer. When the words come form the brain, the heart, and the soul of the writer, then we can say that the writer is being “creative”.

When teachers begin to teach creative writing skills, there’s an essential “law”:

NO ONE CAN WRITE SOMETHING THAT’S NOT IN HIS/HER HEAD!

That means if you can’t think it, you can’t say it, and if you can’t say it, there is no way you can write it.
 In other words, creative writing skills require oral fluency. Until students acquire fluency with speaking, they will not be able to write creatively, from their brains.  This is one of the reasons why WRITING should be the last skill developed in children, for both the native and the second language.

In the meanwhile, as students acquire and build oral language skills and fluency, they can do two things to build a strong base for writing beginning half-way through 1st grade of primary:

  1. Master the mechanics of writing, with daily practice, led and guided by the teacher. This does NOT mean memorization of writing rules, definitions, or memorization of verb tenses and parts of speech! It means a short, daily mini-lesson, using the mechanics, and copying short phrases or sentences or structures being emphasized in the lesson.
  2. Read….lots and lots of daily reading, both by the teacher, aloud to the students, (storytelling or book reading aloud), and silent reading for comprehension by the students from books at their reading levels.

A GOOD WRITER, READS!

READING supports and enhances vocabulary expansion, and reading shows students how words flow together to make a story. If you want to write well, creatively, you have to read well.

 

  1. The teacher’s role is to familiarize the students with the mechanics of writing.


         Practice mechanics with a short, daily writing exercise, gradually building and solidifying the skills, so they become automatically implemented. Support daily reading to and by the students, pointing out interesting words, phrases, allusions, symbolic writing, metaphors, analogies, use of adjectives and adverbs to “paint a picture” with words, and the use of high-level vocabulary. These techniques used frequently teach students how to elaborate creatively.

Mechanics and reading should be supported in class by the teacher to help build strong writing ability. Exhibit ways to develop creative writing skills with students by the use of structured writing work, in class, and the expansion to independently-written writing activities, in class.

NOTE: “in-class” is used specifically because teachers need to be there to help and support the development of students’ writing skills, and to observe / correct when problems might arise.

Homework serves no purpose in the creative writing process until writers arrive at proficiency level,  C-1, and are well-prepared to write independently. Homework promotes dishonesty! Parents, or other kids, or Google do the homework, if it’s done at all.

Get with it, teachers. TEACH writing, Don’t ASSIGN writing.

 

  1. “Writing” versus “Speaking” is a very important concept to know.

Some teachers believe that writing is easy for students. The physical act of writing the alphabet or copying words is not what we are talking about here. Writing from the brain, creating words on paper, depends on two things, as previously explained:

  1. The speaking fluency ability and vocabulary level of the students…
  2. How much a student reads, so as to see how the flow of words can create imagesin the brain.

Because of these two aspects, writing is more difficult than speaking a language. Other issues to consider are:

 

 

 

 

THERE ARE FIVE STEPS TO GOOD WRITING

1 Pre-writing

Pre-writing includes all the things you need to do in order to complete the assignment, such as brainstorming, vocabulary list, ideas for topics, time, setting, characters, an outline of the article or story, type of writing you will be doing, research sites, a graphic organizer to plot the plan of the writing, etc. It may take 1 to 3 days to do this.

 

2 Drafting

Once the pre-writing is done, students begin the first draft, their first attempt at writing the current assignment. It can have errors, and can be a simplified version of what the students hope the final version will be. It is the skeleton of the writing, to be fleshed out later.  Re-reading your first draft is a very important step for good writing. Read it aloud to yourself or to another person to hear how it sounds. Corrections and additions can be made at this time.

 

 

3 Revising

This is the second draft where the skeleton of the writing is expanded, with good elaborations, using adjectives, adverbs, higher quality nouns and verbs, smoother flow of words and phrases, etc. Re-reading this draft again is a very important step for good writing. Read it aloud again to hear how it sounds. Corrections and additions can be made at this time, too.

 

4 Proofreading

The second draft is looked at with an eye to making final corrections. The proofreading checklist (presented later in this book) should be used by the students to make a final check of their work. This is the final opportunity to add words, check grammar, correct spelling, and elaborate the work. Once all the proofreading is complete with corrections made, the FINAL copy can be prepared.

 

5 Publicizing

Students make a final copy of their writing to be shared with others, students, teacher, and parents. This is the copy that will be assessed and graded. This is the copy that may be hung on the wall, (WITHOUT A GRADE SHOWING, PLEASE) or submitted to the students’ portfolios, or offered to be in print in a class newspaper or in a magazine.

 

IDEAS FOR WRITING

What is a “Quick Write” or a “Journal Prompt”?

A quick write or a journal prompt is a brief written response to an idea that the teacher (or another student) announces in class. It should be done each class day as a writing routine, to get the students to think daily about writing something.

 

Writing 2 or 3 sentences about a theme in a story or a character in a story….The teacher gives the theme or character’s name (greed, discrimination, life, death, love, Tom, Elizabeth, etc). It could be a very brief idea or comment, explaining something in one, two, or three sentences or phrases. Students think; then they write.
A complete sentence is not necessary all the time. The objective is to write to share an IDEA.

How can we write better?

To be a good writer, you MUST be a good reader! We learn more vocabulary from reading than from listening. We learn writing structures better from seeing them in readings than from grammar lessons. SO? READ! Read a lot!

 

There are 3 basic types of writing:

(1) Narrative            (2) Persuasive            (3) Explanatory

These three major categories can be expanded to include:

 

Five styles of composition

 

  1. Informative narrative: The writer tells how to do or make something
  2. Descriptive: The writer gives a vivid description of an object or scene.
  3. Expressive Narrative: The writer sequences events into a story on a specific topic
  4. Classificatory: The writer compares / contrasts or gives advantages/ disadvantages to 2 or more ideas/objects/places.
  5. Persuasive: The writer makes a choice and gives reasons to support that choice to an audience.

 

Writing tasks for 5 days

If we’re going to have a systematized, organized routine for writing, it
needs to be done each day of class or a “routine” will not develop.
 A five class day sequence works best no matter how many days a week you 
have English because it takes 5 sessions to complete most work well enough to make it meaningful, and from which a student will learn something.
 If you shorten the sequence, students don’t have enough practice on the same topic. If you drag it out too long, for example for 10 sessions, the students get bored. So here is a usable routine to enhance classroom writing.

 

 

What is most important for good writing?  Elaboration

 

GOOD WRITING IS DETAILED WRITING

Ask the students to repeat that sentence to you so they will realize its importance.

ELABORATION IS THE KEY TO GOOD WRITING!

Adjectives and adverbs clearly describing people, places , and events, are essential!

Expressive verbs and nouns can make writing sound better.

 

WRITING TOPICS ACROSS CONTENT AREAS (CLIL)

 

Dedications (to Dad, Love, Mary)Brochures

Newsletters

Anthologies (list of books)

Yearbooks

Book blurbs (short description)

Thank You notes

Greeting cards

Summaries

Recipes

Lists (for shopping, gifts, parties, things to do) Calendars

Messages

Bulletins

Posters

Signs

Charts

Letters

Postcards

ConversationsWant ads

Announcements

Song lyrics

Magazine articles

Guides

Assignments

Commercials

Books

Stories

Reviews (of books, movies, restaurants, products)

Author page (for books)

Directions

Notices

Newspaper articles

Reports

Interviews

“How to” manuals

Advice columnsSurveys

Questionnaires

Evaluations

Instructions

Essays

Advertisements

Memos

Poems

Diaries

Scripts/plays

Comic strips

Rules

Proposals (what you want to do)

Invitations

Journals

Crossword puzzles

 

 

Now, you’re armed with enough information to help guide and support your students to become good writers. Have fun!

___________________________

by Elaine Gallagher

PART 3: READING

Listening is the main source of literacy when students are beginning to learn a language. As they grow in oral language ability, the printed word becomes the second most important source of language. Eventually, as language-learners progress, in any language, including L-1, the printed word becomes more and more important as the main source for improving vocabulary and for expanding and strengthening the language.

Remember: The RECEPTIVE skills are listening and reading, because one receives information from those two sources. The PRODUCTIVE skills are speaking and writing, because one needs to produce something as evidence that you know a language.

Reading becomes 
important as an essential
 language skill and source of input once learners are orally fluent for their age. It’s an ability that
’s easy to acquire, especially if the learner has developed a broad listening and speaking vocabulary. Once a child has about 100 words that he/she can use spontaneously, lessons can begin on saying the alphabet, and visually identifying letters of the alphabet. Reading words using flashcards with picture images soon follows.  Making reading an enjoyable activity is an essential and imperative part of the language learning process.

Dr. Stephen Krashen in his book, “The Power of Reading” states, “We learn to read by reading.” As with anything, the more we do it, the better we can be at the activity.

Perhaps many of the so-called “reading problems” that seem to develop with some students may be that they haven’t had enough active participation in meaningful daily reading experiences. Were they read to every day by a caring teacher or loving parents? They may have been pushed to read and write before their gross motor skills were sufficiently developed. Usually adults have created the “learning problems” by confusing a child’s “intelligence” with his/her ability to read and write at younger and younger ages.

Most experts (Piaget, Montessori, Ortiz, Hull) say that about seven years of age (first grade of primary) is the best time to begin teaching reading and writing. This has been proven, over many years, as evidenced by Finland, for example, which has been #1 in the world from 65 countries on the annual PISA exams (Program for International Student Assessment).

Finland has one year of Kindergarten, with children entering at age 6, where games, songs, social skills, an expansive oral language development, story-reading, role playing, imagination experiences, arts and crafts, and gross motor skills activities are practiced. First grade in Finland, beginning at age 7, is when reading and writing begin. By then, children are neurologically ready, so have no problems learning how to read and write within  six months. They study several languages, too: Finnish, English, Russian, and Swedish. This is not unusual for Europe. There is no “rush” to get the children to read and write at very young ages. After all, what is the rush? If students perform well at age 15 on international exams requiring high level, critical thinking, such as PISA, what difference does it make that they learned to read at age 7 instead of at five? What is the rush for early reading and writing when all evidence points out that delaying teaching reading and writing until age seven obtains better long-term results? As Finnish educators proudly say, “We want our children to stay children as long as possible.”

Schools say, “parents push” for early reading and writing. This may be true in some cases, but parents must be educated about neurological development of children. Our schools are made up of educators, and it is their responsibility and moral obligation to inform parents of children’s needs and development. Educators and parents must become aware that early reading / writing does NOT imply higher intelligence.

On the contrary, if reading/writing are taught before the children are neurologically ready, while gross motor skills (jumping, hopping, running, throwing, etc.) are still being developed, they may “learn” to read and write, but by second or third grade of primary, about 15% of students exhibit signs of dyslexia, a dislike of reading, or other developmental learning problems. If, however, fine motor skills such as writing, precise cutting, reading, are delayed being taught until about age 7, it is extremely rare that children exhibit learning problems caused by “rushing” the child to read and write before he/she is biologically ready.

Of course, there are some children, who, on their own, with no parental or teacher “pushing”, begin to read and write before age 7. If it is self-initiated, fine. Some children who have had rich oral background, stories read to them from infancy, and lots of physical activities, with fully-developed gross motor skills, learn to read and write almost on-their-own. We do not want to stop these children, and their skills can be encouraged, but not pushed. It must be emphasized, however, that this small percentage of children are not necessarily smarter or more highly intelligent than others who learn to read later. It only means that they were “ready” to read. One of the easiest ways to increase students’ vocabulary is by reading aloud to them daily, from early childhood, all the way through to middle school. When reading to students, these are some suggestions for READING DEVELOPMENT:                                               1. Getting INTO the text:

Before reading (INTO)

Things to do BEFORE reading, such as:

  1. Working THROUGH the text

During reading (THROUGH)

Things to do DURING the reading, such as:

  1. Moving BEYOND the text

After the reading….(BEYOND)

Things to do AFTER reading the text, such as:

      Somebody      wanted             but                                  so                    then

Goldilocks      to eat & sleep   The bears came home     She ran away  Bears were alone,

    This activity leads to better comprehension skills.

 

OTHER ACTIVITIES AFTER STUDENTS COMPLETE A READING:

We learn writing structures better from seeing them in readings than from grammar lessons.   So, what should you do?

You’ll have many opportunities to work with your students to develop reading skills.

By constant questioning…
As they read the story aloud, teach a lesson, or the students reading a story, poem, or article, teachers should always ask questions as they go along with the lesson.

      There are 6 things to help develop better reading skills:   

 

ACTIVITIES TO DEVELOP AND ENHANCE READING

Vary the use of activities. We don’t always know students’ learning preferences. (Multiple Intelligences) Let’s look at some activities to help us with ideas for vocabulary development, teaching grammar points interestingly, logical thinking activities, some games and kinesthetic work, discussing, predicting, and summarizing.

The initial experience: (For grades 4th – 9th)

Most students believe they read well. This experience may give them a rude awakening but it will help to pave the way so you can interest students in paying closer attention to what they read. Give each student a copy of the following sheet, and tell them they have 3 minutes to read and complete what it says to do.

————————————————————————————————

This is a timed test. You only have three minutes to do it.

  1. Read everything carefully before doing anything.
  2. Write your name in the upper right hand corner of this paper.
  3. Circle the word “name” in sentence number two.
  4. Draw five small squares in the upper left hand corner of this paper.
  5. Put an “X” inside each of the 5 squares you just drew.
  6. Put a circle around each square.
  7. Sign your name beside the title of this paper.
  8. Under the title write “YES, YES, YES”.
  9. Put a circle completely around sentence seven.
  10. Put an “X” in the lower left corner of this paper.
  11. Draw a triangle around the “X” you just wrote.
  12. On the back of this paper, multiply 703 by 66.
  13. Draw a rectangle around the word “corner” in sentence four.
  14. Loudly call out your first name when you get this far.
  15. If you think you have followed directions carefully to this point, call out “I have”.
  16. On the back of this paper add 8950 and 9805.
  17. Put a circle around your answer and a square around the circle.
  18. In your normal speaking voice, count aloud from 10 to 0, backwards.
  19. Punch 3 holes in the top of this paper with your pen or pencil point.
  20. If you are the first person to reach this point, loudly call out: “I am the first person to reach this point. And I am the leader in following directions”.
  21. Underline all even numbers on the left side of this page.
  22. Put a square around each odd number on the left side of this page.
  23. Loudly call out, “I AM NEARLY FINISHED. I HAVE FOLLOWED ”
  24. Now that you have finished reading everything carefully, do only sentences one and two.

TEACHERS: This activity may open the eyes of your students to the necessity of careful reading. Usually, this activity finds that many students do NOT read and follow the instructions correctly. It is a good way to begin a reading class because it makes very clear how important it is to follow directions exactly.

——————————————————————————————————-

MORE READING ACTIVITIES

ACTIVITY 1: Using picture flashcards

Flashcards or drawings can support reading progress. There is a list of 100 Picture Words which can be drawn or cut out of magazines or from Internet drawings. Just go to Google “images”, and you can ask for pictures of almost anything, and they will quickly appear so you can print them out and cut/paste them to make flashcards, with the picture on one side and the word printed on the other side. You probably already know lots of uses and games using flashcards, so these can be used in the same way.

If you don’t have the list of the “100 Picture Words”. I’ll include them at the end of this article.


ACTIVITY 2: Reading a story from a book  (Daily!)

This activity can be done with students of any age. Even older children and adults enjoy story-reading when it is done with enthusiasm. Show the students the book, and tell them a little bit about the topic, so they can anticipate what it’s about…Don’t think that they won’t understand you. Maybe they won’t… but they surely will not grow in English if you do not make English essential to know. Even if they only understand a little of what you say, it is advancement. For example, if you are introducing the story “Jack and the Beanstalk”, you may first show the book, its cover, and a few pictures. Then you may say,

“Today I will read you a new story called Jack and the Beanstalk. It is about a boy named Jack who sells his family’s cow, but instead of money for selling the cow, he accepts some magic beans. When Jack’s mother throws the beans out the window, a huge, magic beanstalk grows. Jack climbs it to the top and finds a mean, ugly giant…”

The child may only recognize the few words that are highlighted…but it is a start. After the introduction, and before reading the story, the teacher should show the pictures and say one key word from each picture, for students to repeat. In this way, basic vocabulary will be introduced, which will aid in the comprehension of the story.

Vocabulary Examples:

JACK, BOY, MOTHER, COW, BEAN, GIANT, READ, WINDOW, STORY

The next step is to read the story, using facial expressions, voice pitch and intonation, and body language to make the story as clear as possible to the children. Once the story has been read, don’t put the book aside. Read and re-read stories so that the words become “old friends” to your students.


ACTIVITY 3: Reading a Class Story

This activity can be conducted once students have a basic oral vocabulary. They can tell you a story, which you will write on large paper so they can make the connection between the oral and written language. Once the story is done, read the entire story to the students.

Then, outside of class, the teacher will have to copy the story, using a computer, if possible, for clear letters. Then the teacher will need to make a copy of the story for each student. The students will then “read” the story to the teacher and to each other…. and make illustrations, so they can bring the “book” home to read to their parents or a younger sibling.

This activity helps with oral language development, listening skills, reading, and eventually, with writing, as the children can write a story once they have developed writing skills. Even adults learning a language can dictate a story.

ACTIVITY 4: Reading Cards

The teacher can prepare a set of 5 x 7 inch index cards with a simple picture that he/she cuts from a magazine and pastes on the card. On the reverse side, in neat printing or (better!) with computer text, the teacher will write a very short story for the children to read to themselves, to encourage reading. The picture will be a guide.

Examples: PICTURE: a pink flower

STORY: The pink flower is so pretty. It smells good, too. I want to give a flower to my grandmother. I love my grandmother.

PICTURE: a black and white dog.

STORY: I have a dog. His name is Harry. Harry is black and white He loves to   play with me. I throw a ball, and Harry runs to get it.

ACTIVITY 5: Using a T-graph

Each student will make a large T in the center of a piece of paper. At the top left, the students will write any letter of the alphabet that they are learning, and on the right top section of the T, they will write another letter.

For example, they may write A and B…as shown below.

A_________I___________B

(Draw a BIG T. The top of the T has a letter at each end, like the A and B here.)

Then, the students will look at a book, a story, or a magazine to find words that begin with these two letters. If they know how to write, they will copy the words under the side of the T where the letter is.

If they do not yet write, and this is a recognition exercise, they can cut out the appropriate words, and paste them in the correct column.

This same T-graph could be used to compare stories, characters, or events. The teacher can use creative ideas for which two things will be compared or contrasted, and have students write them in the top section of the T.

ACTIVITY 6: Reading Conversation

This activity practices reading, as well as listening and speaking skills. The activity takes about 10 minutes…and can be done about once a week to help build reading vocabulary as well as oral fluency in conversation situations.
The teacher will prepare a series of 3 x 5 inch index cards with sentences or phrases that can be spoken between two people, written, one on each side of the card.

The conversation starter, side 1, needs to be designated. The easiest way is by making a circle, or a fat dot, with a marker or highlighter. The circle/dot should be in the same place on all cards, such as the upper left, so students can quickly assess who will be speaking first. The teacher should make about 100 of these cards, which can be used all year. Once they are made, the teacher can pass out 3 cards to each pair of students.

STUDENT 1 begins with reading aloud the side of the card he/she has in view, holding up the card so that the partner can see what’s written on side 2, the response side.

Once they have completed the 3 cards, they switch positions, with the student who had begun the conversation, now becoming the one who responds to his/her partner’s question.

With 100 cards made, if the teacher does this activity for 10 minutes once a week, there will be enough cards for the whole school year, just by passing out the cards at random, so that students don’t get the same cards. Each time they do the activity. If they do, they can exchange cards with another pair of students.

Once the students get good at this activity, they can then make up their own answers to the questions, so that only Side 1 (the one with the color on the upper left corner) will be used. Here are 25 samples for you so you can begin making your cards. From your books and school activities, you will be able to prepare more so there will be enough for a full class activity, with several cards for each pair of students.

SAMPLE CARD CONVERSATIONS

NOW, TEACHERS, YOU CAN MAKE MORE CONVERSATION CARDS. ONE PACKAGE OF 100 CARDS WILL BE ENOUGH FOR THE WHOLE SCHOOL YEAR.


ACTIVITY 7: Newsweek or Time Magazine Lesson  (Grades 5 – 9)

Teacher says, “Today you and your team / group are going to read an article in Newsweek or Time magazine.”

Instructions for the activity:

First, take a few minutes to look through this week’s edition of the magazine. Then, with your group, decide which article you are going to read. You can choose any feature article.

Preview the article first to be certain that it is an article you’re interested in reading. Look at the pictures, read the captions and subject headings, and skim the first few paragraphs. Next, read the article. Do NOT use a dictionary. As you read, do two things:

  1. Circle any key words you don’t know.
  2. Take notes in the margins. If you can’t understand something, write a question about it.

Once you have finished reading, get together with your group again. Ask your group for help with the questions you wrote in the margins. Ask your group for help with vocabulary. Your group leader will take notes as you discuss the following:

This person is going to provide a brief oral summary of the article to the rest of the class. During this informal presentation, the other groups are expected to ask questions and generate class discussion on the topic.


Activity 8: Bingo

BINGO is an excellent way to practice vocabulary, spelling words, phonics, prefixes, and other written material. Twenty-five words on a card (5 x 5) can be used. You will need one card for each player. Each card can have the SAME words, but arranged differently. To win: a line or a column, or a diagonal line can win.

Then the teacher can have all the students complete all the items on the card so all the class will have practice. The words used can be drawn from a bag to assure fairness.

BINGO IS A GREAT WAY TO PRACTICE THE DOLCH INSTANT SIGHT WORDS OR THE 100 PICTURE WORDS


Fry’s 100 Picture Words

These words are nouns for which pictures can be found or drawn, in order to have sets of flashcards for the class. Students also could make their own if they are old enough.

The word should be written on one side of the card, and a picture of it on the reverse side. 3 x 5 index cards are great to use for this activity. Until students know all these words well enough to write them correctly, they can use the flash cards to help them with writing assignments.

 

  1. PEOPLE                     boy       girl      man          woman      baby
  2. TOYS                         ball       doll      train         game         toy
  3. NUMBERS                  one       two      three        four          five
  4. CLOTHING                 shirt      pants   dress        shoes       hat
  5. PETS                         cat        dog      bird          fish           rabbit
  6. FURNITURE               table     chair    sofa          chest        desk
  7. EATING OBJECTS     cup       plate    bowl         fork          spoon
  8. TRANSPORTATION   car        truck    bus          plane        boat
  9. FOOD                       bread    meat    soup        apple        cereal
  10. DRINKS                    water    milk       juice       soda         tea
  11. ENTERTAINMENT     radio     movie    band       ball game  television
  12. FRUIT                       fruit      orange  grape      pear          banana
  13. WORKERS               farmer  cook     doctor     nurse         policeman
  14. SKY THINGS            sun       moon    star        cloud          rain
  15. TOYS                       ball      doll        train       game         toy
  16. NUMBERS                six       seven     eight      nine            ten
  17. FARM ANIMALS       horse   cow      pig          chicken       duck
  18. READING THINGS    book  letter   sign         magazine    newspaper
  19. PLANTS                    bush    flower  grass       plant           tree
  20. WRITING TOOLS      pencil   pen    crayon     chalk           computer

Final comments to the readers from the author

If you don’t have time to do anything suggested in this article, if you don’t give any tests, don’t teach any phonics or instant words, don’t ask any comprehension questions, don’t require written stories and don’t have time for students to read aloud… the least YOU can do is read aloud to your students every day!

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THE END OF READING….NEXT…PART 4 :WRITING