Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Friendly Letter Song

Karyn Brumbaugh rewrote the Miley Cyrus song: "Party in the USA." (Click the link for the karaoke version of the song; that's what we sang to!) We actually made a music video to it, as a culminating event for writing friendly letters. I'm still working on getting permission to put the video up, so here's the audio version. Enjoy!

"The Friendly Letter Song"

I thought to myself just yesterday
I really miss my best pal
See, she lives far away in another town
And her name is Sal
I wanna do something totally awesome
Too bad I just can't mail an opossum
I know that sounds crazy
I'm not trying to be lazy
All of a sudden I get a great idea
And I remember Miss Rudolph
Teaching all of us in the ESL
A letter writing song
A letter writing song
A letter writing song

So we throw our heading up
And write their name
Juan, Lili, or Jose
And then we put our intro in
And that's where we say hey
Then we have the body
Where we write questions
And hope answers come our way
Then closing, like saying bye
And then we sign our names
Yeah, and then we sign our names!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Poem for Two Voices

Went to the Intesol Conference in Indy this weekend. Was phenomenal! Best one I've been to yet! One great activity that we did was in Katie Brooks and Maggie Robillard's presentation--we wrote a poem for two voices. While I'm an avid poem writer, I've not yet tried this type. I worked with two inspirational writers/teachers; here's what we came up with:

Social Studies Class
by Denise Anderson, Ana Arroyo (both IPS School 15), and Sarah Steele

I sit every day                                    I stand every day
listening                                                talking
                                                                 About American ideals
About America's ideas
                                                                 The Founding Fathers
They found padres?
I'm lost                                                  My students are lost
Here we go again                               Let's try again
I have a question                              Shh!
                                                                 We have to get through this lesson
But, but who are the padres?      THE   F OU N D ING  FAA THERS
But                                                          You're interrupting
Stop!                                                       Stop!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

3rd Grade Has a Love of Reading!

Our 3rd graders have been practicing their fluency, expression, and voice with one book-of-choice this whole week. Today was the culminating event. They read their book to a captive audience (one to two partners). We had laughter, magnificent reading, and beautiful smiles all around!












6th Grade Gives an Award!

The 6th graders recently finished reading Mary McLeod Bethune, a book about a first-generation free black woman and her mark on how the United States of America treats other black people. Very inspiritational! So much so, in fact, that we decided to each honor one teacher with the Mary McLeod Bethune Award. Mrs. Ingold (now Sasso), Mrs. Nash, and Mrs. Wade were among the honored recipients!






I honored my 6th grade math teacher from Otsego Baptist Academy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

4th Grade Play!

Our 4th graders put on a play called Clever Ana and the Giant. It's about a giant who demands certain parts of the crops and how Ana tricks him every time. Pretty soon, he gives up and goes away! Here are some pictures of the event.


"Hee hee!"




Hope you enjoyed the pics! I know we enjoyed the play!

2nd Grade Poetry Slam!

Our 2nd graders wrote poems using the -ing form about things they know that are particularly busy, such as schools, families, houses, parks, etc! Here are some pictures of the event.

We all had such a great time, reading our poems, listening to others, and sharing kind comments!

Friday, November 6, 2009


Our 4th grade vocab word this morning was blurted. The following is how one student showed me he understood.

Me: Yes, Juan?
Juan: I just blurted. *grin*

Yup. He got it. :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Students are Fighting to Read

At an ESL Workshop this summer, Susan Adams mentioned how she was reading while the students were reading and somebody asked her about her book. Susan's response was something to the effect of "You wouldn't want to read this book," or "It's just a regular book," or something. And it made the students crazy about that book!

As I hear this I'm thinking, "That'll never happen to me. I don't know how to lure kids like that." And I really don't think I do it well. I think I make it too obvious that I'm trying to entice them.

So. My students are reading about Mary McLeod Bethune, 1st generation free black woman. Our book referenced Uncle Tom's Cabin, so I borrowed the book from the library so they could see that, in fact, it is a real book. They then asked if I'd read it to which I responded, "No." Long story shorter, I'm reading it now, persuaded by my students. As I read it while they're reading, I gasp every now and then. Or tear up. Or laugh. It's a deeply enthralling and moving and enraging book.

Well, that has them entirely curious. I keep telling them (in all honesty and sincerity) that they should not read this book until they're at least in high school. Which only makes them more curious! I had a sub the other day. I came back the next day and all the students are giggling. "We got the sub to read us a page and a half!!" (I won't read it to them. 1-It's crazy hard to understand. 2-It's got really mature content!) I've found my book missing, my notes/quotes that I'm writing down in someone else's book, students actually reading my book. I finally asked them, "Why do you want to read this so badly??" "Mrs. Steele," they cried, "you just make it sound so good. So mysterious. I mean, you cry sometimes! It's just GOT TO be a good book!"

WOW and LOL!! Anyways, what I thought would never happen to me did! I didn't even try to trick them into it. I was just being honest, and it caught them. I. Love. Teaching. Students.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cognates Cupboard

Cognates rock! The kids are allowed to think of any words that look the same in both Spanish and English. We wish to value their language and help them see that because they know Spanish, they already know some English! Super fun!