As part of my English ECA this term, students have been introduced to various board games. One of them is Scrabble. Students put letters together to form words scoring points for themselves. There are many of benefits of playing this word game, notably spelling and the use of known and new vocabulary. Students also develop the social skills of taking turns, patience, and fairness.
What I see my students enjoy the most is their usage of high frequency words (Dolch Sight Words). Playing Scrabble helps them strengthen their English communication skills and fosters competitiveness and confidence among them. As an ESL teacher, I believe Scrabble would provide ways for students and teachers to expand their verbal repertoire. Furthermore, it is a pleasant way for students to learn words for their English classes.
While playing Scrabble, the use of an online dictionary (iPad) has proven to be essential for my students when searching for a word or checking its proper spelling. Exploring the digital dictionary exposes them to new vocabulary and its definitions, as well as 21st century research skills. Online dictionaries speak the word for students to practice their pronunciation, as well as show synonyms and antonyms. When the students form a questionable word, they have to check the dictionary to see if these word actually exists, and in some instances, it does!
Scrabble lightens the mood and allows the students to de-stress after a long day and enjoy their second language experience in a fun way.
Today, we went on a field trip to Pizza Express, in Mongkok East, as part of our ECA. The children had the opportunity to visit a working kitchen and experience first hand, what it is like to create one of their favourite foods. While preparing an individual pizza, each child learned the various names and the process of adding numerous ingredients (sauce, vegetables, cheese and meat choices). They especially enjoyed watching the changes, stage by stage, that occurred during preparation and baking.
Other highlights included dressing in traditional chef uniform and eating their pizza creation at the end.
A huge thank you goes out to Miss Lai, who helped coordinate this event and Vincent, from the IT department, who donated his time to accompany us on our trip. I also want to thank our students who were well-behaved and represented our school so well.
CNEC Ta Tung’s annual Sports Day held at Kwai Chung Sports Ground last Friday, was not only fun, but contained numerous, challenging events for our students to excel at.
Children had the opportunity to test their skills and compete with each other in a variety of games. The high-spirited sportsmanship displayed by the students in the stands added to the enjoyment and excitement of the day.
As always, Sports Day was extremely well organised by our PE Department. Thanks to Mr Wong and Ms Lai for hosting the event and to all my other colleagues for playing their part in ensuring that everything ran smoothly. It was a festive day, one that truly showed the best of our students.
Readers Theatre: Giving Children a Reason to Read Aloud
Learning a second language is challenging enough. Aspiring to the level where you are able to appreciate the subtleties and nuances of expression, volume and fluency is truly the art of reading aloud. Although an unrealistic goal for students who spend very little daily time with English, I think there are simple ways to move children closer to this ability, and in an enjoyable way.
Readers Theatre allows me to hear groups of students read the Big Books in character while the other students are guided in what to listen for, offer helpful advice and, basically, learn to be an audience; to appreciate a good story and how everyone interprets it differently in their presentation.
The students enjoy seeing themselves online (video – YouTube) and share their reading with parents and friends. This keeps parents ‘in the loop’ on many levels of my programme, reading skills, drama, stage presence, and overall confidence.
We’re currently working on:
- reading longer phrases
- trying to add expression to the author’s language
- trying to read fluidly and in a natural voice
- reading at a suitable speed without unnecessary pauses
- trying to look at the audience, at times
I would like to wish the staff and students a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year, 2016.
Learning another language is even more enjoyable when combined with technology and the Arts. Students become so much more engaged when the various activities and lessons are offered with the animation of apps, inspirational multimedia, and a kinaesthetic approach to motivate their involvement.
Grade 2, students are learning new phonic sounds with the use of simple tongue twisters that are fun to say. Through these silly and rhythmic phrases, students are practicing their letter ’S’ while moving to the beat. Try to say, “Six Silly Sheep,” five times, as fast as you can! Combined it in a chant, and with body movement and they won’t forget their ’S’!
Grade 4s have been learning how to use an app called ‘My Create’ during ECA time. Through the use of still pictures, they create a thirty to forty second animated clip to depict a story, which they will later use to review Procedural and Recount writing. They have enjoyed planning and creating their sets. This week, they will begin making their videos.
Grade 6s are focusing on the voice animation projects. They have really been working hard trying to put everyday language and voice to the video (For the Birds) It is a new way and interesting way to grasp a language as ESL learners and they truly enjoyed it. They have really taken ownership by editing, recording and planning it themselves.
Readers Theatre with Shadow Puppet
This week, students put into practice what they have learned, showed their expressive reading skills and prepared their presentation using the Shadow Puppet app. This programme allows the user to tell their experience online by letting him/her share a voice-over with an animated slideshow of their pics.
After learning how to use this app, students were able to decide how to present their story. They were divided into groups and each were assigned a role.
What I believe is rewarding, is that each participant, regardless of their reading ability, was actively involved. This app also encourages teamwork and open mindedness.
I want to express my sincere thanks to Mr Wong, our School Principal and Miss Lai, English Panel for their support in helping me to introduce the iPad and Guided Reading programmes this year. Also, I want to thank all my colleagues for their cooperation in running these projects on a weekly basis.
Both programes have proved to be very successful with recent assessment scores showing a substantial increase in children’s reading levels.
It has been a wonderful year!
The World Cup is a special event that many nations celebrate. It is a perfect opportunity for ESL learners and native English speakers to practice written and oral language skills.
There are many ways of taking advantage of this opportunity. I have included this poster with ideas which teachers can expand to suit their students’ level and ability.
- teaching football vocabulary so that they understand English language sources on the World Cup such as TV commentary and news reports
- teach geography
- art & design elements
- app exploration
- Maths (designing timetables)
It is not only a wonderful and fun way to encourage students to participate in the celebration of such world event but also to further motivate those soccer fans!
On Saturday, December 7, my ESL Reading Programme was presented during Parent -Teacher Interview Day.
In the school’s main hall, I displayed:
- selected guided reading books
- the home reading booklets,
- the home reading recording log
I took the opportunity to speak to groups of parents after the parent teacher interviews and explain how the programme will work. I also talked about:
Ways to help your child with home reading:
- let your child hold the book and turn the pages
- draw your child’s attention to words on the page and/or individual letters
- allow the child to explain in their mother tongue what the book is about if parents do not speak English
Digital ways tablets can assist with home reading:
- many eBooks are interactive and can read to the user
- pressing on a word brings up a sub menu which gives the option of copy, define, note search and share
- some eBooks allow the reader to record themselves reading to self-evaluate and share with others
On the screen behind the display, parents could see videos and photographs showing various classes of children involved in shared reading, answering questions, learning phonics through songs and games, singing and completing written tasks.
I recommend using this strategy before sending information home so that parents have a better understanding of a reading programme, especially for ESL children.