How do we support the children?

#postcards4families

If you’re anything like me, this week has left you nauseated and feeling paralysed. The ongoing detention camps, Justice Kennedy’s resignation, the blow to unions, the court’s upholding the Muslim ban, it’s all overwhelming. And still, we can’t let it paralyse us. Self care is essential; please do what you need to do to recharge and keep fighting. Part of being an educator means standing up for kids. It means creating and demanding safety. Here’s a simple activity we can do with little ones to demand justice for children and families:
Write a post card to Trump demanding justice for children and their families, take a photo of it, and post it with the hashtag #postcards4families —> the organizers will donate $5 per post card to RAICES, a non-profit providing free and low-cost legal services to under-served immigrant children, families and refugees. If you’re a kid, write your age, and they will credit it as a postcard they match. (Ones by adults are great too! but they are focusing on donating for kids’ cards at the moment.) Info and addresses at the link below. The organisers have created a page to post the images to. Or/and if you have the resources, run a fundraiser yourself! Please share!

https://www.facebook.com/postcards4families/

#postcards4families

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28 MORE Black Picture Books That Aren’t About Boycotts, Buses or Basketball (2018)

Scott Woods Makes Lists has published a lovely annotated list of some excellent picture books. Educators, families, all humans, head to the library and check some out today! Have some extra cash? Here’s an idea; buy a copy, read it to your kids, and *donate* it to the library so both you and the other kids in your town can have access ❤ 28 MORE Black Picture Books That Aren’t About Boycotts, Buses or Basketball (2018)

There is a good range of topics, poetry and prose, and harder and easier reading levels, many accessible for ELLs.

Resources for EFL Small Groups

I recently led a small PD session for beginning educators working with EFL (English as a Foreign Language) small groups, and I wanted to share the resource document I wrote. It’s a collection of activities, organised by learning objective, written with Israeli students ages seven through twelve in mind, but most are adaptable for beginning English students of all ages around the world. Please feel free to share by linking back to this pageand let me know what activities you use and how they go. Please contact me with questions, comments, or suggestions to add or change by commenting below or at madeleinebella [at] gmail [dot] com. Thank you! Here’s the doc: EFL Small Group Resources

Topics: 
Blends and Digraphs
Prepositions
Present Progressive
“To Be” and Other Irregular Conjugations
Pronouns
Contractions
WH- Questions
Past Simple
Comparatives
Spelling
Classroom Management
Additional Resources

FunEnglishGames.com

I love this website for both ELLs and native English speaking students, with resources for the classroom as well as home. Here’s a game to practice close reading of poetry: http://www.funenglishgames.com/readinggames/poem.html

And here is a page full of reading, writing, grammar, spelling, and vocab games for all levels: http://www.funenglishgames.com/games.html

Exploring English idioms and oxymorons could be a fun stimulus for a philosophy discussion on language! http://www.funenglishgames.com/funstuff.html

Have fun and have a great day!

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Activity: Make Your Own Bingo

Hi friends! Just wanted to share a fun activity I love to do with students. It’s easily adaptable for small groups of three or more students or a large class. Note: I generally have kids do this in pairs to encourage cooperative learning (at least two students per bingo board). It adds another layer of skill building because they have to talk everything out and agree.

1. Have each student draw a Bingo board on a blank piece of paper, or use my pre-made ones available for free on TPT 🙂 3×3 Bingo Board or 4×4 Bingo Board

2. Write a list of terms on the whiteboard (or a large piece of paper/poster if you don’t have a whiteboard).  This works for almost any set of vocab or ideas that you want to help your students review.  Students must write the words or draw a picture to represent the word in each box. Everyone’s bingo board should look different but have more or less the same words. If you’re including drawings, remind the kids to draw quick sketches, just enough info so that they understand the picture – it’s not an art contest! When the bingo boards are complete, erase the whiteboard (or turn over the poster).

3. Call out the terms in a random order. Children either put a light line through the word when they hear it or use markers if you’d like to re-use the boards. Small pieces of cardstock, small coins, dried broadbeans or lima beans, or even stickers with the backings still on work well (stickers can double as a fun reward when they are finished).

4. 3 in a row/4 in a row wins BUT in order to get credit, the student needs to read each word and define it/spell it/use it. For example, below are some boards my kids created to practice prepositions and WH questions. They had to show me something that was (e.g.) on something else and ask a WH question that made sense. Bonus: Get the rest of the students involved by having them answer the questions and discuss.

Have fun and let me know how you go with your boards! I’d love to see some of the things your students create. 
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Violet Vegan Comics

So pleased to find this blog of vegan-message-themed comics and poems for all audiences! Here’s a page devoted to comics especially written For Little Ones.

One of my favourites is“Where Are You Going, Deirdre?” It is based on the true story of a brave mother who risked her life to hide her calf in order to keep him from the farmer. Through colourful illustrations and kid-friendly dialogue, we see a young human learn the sad truth of what happens to the infants dairy cows are forced to birth. The story ends happily, with the girl helping the farmer understand that the baby belongs with his mum, and deciding to turn his farm into a sanctuary. Children wonder:

  • Is it sometimes okay to take something that doesn’t belong to you if you think you need it? Why or why not? [If children say yes, explore the difference between taking something without hurting anyone very badly – e.g. a mother who steals bread to feed her children – vs. physically harming someone, killing, or separating families.]
  • What is the difference between want and need? [Younger children could make contrast posters or pages in their Philosophy Journals with pictures or words showing Want on one side and Need on the other.]
  • Is it possible to love animals and hurt them at the same time? What does it mean to love?
  • Many people do things they know are wrong because everyone they know does it too, and this makes it even harder to stop. Why is it so difficult to break habits? If lots of people do something harmful together, does it make it less bad? Why or why not?
  • Do we have a responsibility to help others/our friends make compassionate decisions? Why or why not?

The poem“Nature Returns” envisions Earth after humanity. Through beautiful personification and vivid imagery of the Earth “stretching” to recover from what people have done to her, the poem opens important questions about our impact on and responsibility to the Earth:

  • Does the Earth belong to people? Explain your answer.
  • What does it mean to take care of the Earth?
  • Have you ever wondered if plants have an awareness of what is happening to them?
  • If a forest doesn’t know what is happening to it, does it make it okay to destroy it? Why or why not?
  • Does nature have inherent value [for itself, not for someone else]? Why or why not/explain.

When you finish reading a comic or poem, check out Violet’s section on Things to Make And Do to get creative or get out of the house.

Let me know what your favourite poem or story is and how you discussed it in the comments below!

“The Surprise,” by Arnold Lobel

This month I’ve been reading Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad All Year with my advanced EFL* students in Israel. You can access a PDF of the text (with a few typos) for free here, though without images. I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of the original with Lobel’s sweet illustrations. PSA: The whole Storybook Treasury is available at time of this writing for under $3. I adore the Frog and Toad books for a number of reasons:

  • They deal with universal philosophical themes that are relavent and critical across cultures and age groups, such as friendship, altruism, fairness, time, reality, will-powerlonelinessbravery, and more.
  • They are collections of short stories that can generally be read within one lesson block.
  • They are told in relatively simple language with some repetition, making them accessible to many early readers and ELLs,** but they do not fall into the trap of being simplistic in order to be comprehensible.

In the story we read today, Continue reading