Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Misunderstanding Skits 5th

Sooo Coooool!

Remember Levi, "my new favorite zero"? Well, we finished a project we'd been working on to give his parents. I had him create a book from the sentence stem, "This is my family member." We had read a book together about family and drew a picture of our families (although his family looked an awful lot like mine, which worried Mom when he showed it to her at home...she's not pregnant nor trying!). So in order to help differentiate between my family and his and to become familiar with a useful phrase ("This is..."), we created said book with computer paper for the inside and construction paper for the cover. We finally finished yesterday (I wanted to make sure he was able to take it home before Thanksgiving Break), so I laminated, punched, and spiral bound it and pulled him out of his classroom to give it to him. 

His reaction?  Biiiig eyes. "Oh. My. Gosh!" His tiny fingers caressed the shiny pages. "Wow! Soooo cool!" I handed it to him. 
"This is for you, Levi," I said. "Read it to your Mom and Dad, okay?"
"No, now," he replied. So we stood right there in the hallway and read My Family by Levi
"Again," he whispered. So we read it again. 

As I took him back to class, he did nothing but look at his precious creation, and as soon as we arrived in his classroom, he marched right up to his teacher and handed it to her. And the coolest thing that she did? "Will you read it to me?" So he did. And then he proceeded to read it to the rest of the class. They oohed and aahed over the beautiful book, and several students were heard remarking about how very much they would like to make a book about their families. Levi went from being the new curiosity to the coolest kid in school that day.

And I just know his mom loved it.

The Brick Wall of ESL

At a recent ESL training led by Katie Brooks & Susan Adams from Butler University, we practiced an activity called Barriers or Bridges. We tweaked it a little for use in our classroom. I wanted to take some time one of these odd three days before Thanksgiving Break to remind students of the purpose of ESL, no matter what teacher is guiding them. We wrote down any and everything that came to mind of things that we've done in the ESL room that have helped us connect to our mainstream classrooms. We put the completed wall in the hallway outside our room. Check it out!

We have some 5th graders coming in today to draw three things--on one side of the wall, we'll have some pics/graphics that represent ESL; going across the top of the wall will be footprints; and on the other side, we'll have some pics/graphics that represent our regular classrooms. Genius, eh? But really, I hope even moreso that they'll remember that ESL is not just a bunch of fun random activities where we read cool articles and meet new people, but that what we do in that classroom is actually beneficial in making them successful matter the environment. (*sigh* It's hard to talk about this like it's over, but for me, it almost is. :( )

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

That's What I Said!

A student came rushing into my room during homework time today.

"Mrs. Steele, I need help with disability!"

Normally, she and I work on math concepts--multiplication, division, fractions, factoring, etc. Disability was a new one for me. She wrote the word on a whiteboard. "D-i-s-a-b-i-l-i-t-y." I realize I've been out of 6th grade math for a while, but I wasn't sure I'd even heard of this new concept!

"Could you start it for me? What does it look like to do 'disability'?"

She wrote the following: "15: 3, 5. 20: 2, 5, 10."

"Ohhhh!" I exclaimed. "Divisibility!"

"Yeah, that's what I said, 'disability.'"

'Member when I wrote about misunderstandings in one of my recent posts? I think we found a real-life example! :)

Monday, November 15, 2010


One of my students forged his mom's signature today.

He spelled her name wrong.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Misunderstandings in 3rd Grade

In 3rd grade, we've been studying the idea of misunderstanding things and what you should do when you think that's happened to you. We culminated this mini-unit by creating our own skits to show what kinds of misunderstandings could anyone! 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Content-Area Word Walls

Found these gems in some 5th grade classrooms. Look what these teachers are giving ALL students!
Writing teacher, Linda Moore, includes verbal (provided by her) and pictorial
(provided by the students) descriptions of each of the five steps in the writing process.

Math teacher, Sarah Ashton, displays examples of essential math components.

EL Statewide Conference

I had the honor of a lifetime when Susan Adams asked if I would present with her at Wednesday's EL Statewide Conference in Indianapolis. Wow. We even had mini bios printed about us! (Not a big deal for you big-timers, perhaps, but huge to me!) :)
We had a great presentation about writing in the ESL classroom and outstanding feedback from our participants. Susan and I made a great secondary-elementary team. I only hope this won't be the last time that we present together!