Back to the BasicsI




I remember my first year teaching, it still comes back and hunts me sometimes. I was teaching a third grade bilingual class. When students came in, I was so nervous about getting them started that I forgot they "might" not speak any English. I kept going on and on and on about procedures, rules and expectations. Everyone was quiet...all 22 of them. I kept thinking to myself they were the most wonderful students I could ever ask for (and they were) how awesome was it that my students are paying such close attention to me!! Until one little girl raised her hand and asked (in Spanish): Could you please repeat everything you just said but in Spanish? 
Source: The Cornerstone

BAM! I felt horrible! These kids weren't fluent in the language and there I was ASSUMING they understood everything I had just said. So of course, I quickly adjusted and repeated every single thing. 

Assuming our kids know a certain skill or have a particular habit because "they should have learned it in the previous year" is one of the WORST MISTAKES we can do as teachers. 

It was very unfortunate to realize that even though many of these kids weren't newcomers they still needed instruction as if they were. 

If you ever find yourself in the same situation I was in just keep in mind that the best you could possibly do for your kiddos if to GO BACK TO THE BASICS!

For me that meant teaching the parts of the body, names of animals, farm animals. I even taught some of them how to say: Hello! My name is ________. I vividly remember playing a video and singing  just like a kindergartener teacher: head, shoulders, knees and toes, KNEES AND TOES!  

Was it ideal? NO. Was it something I was supposed to be teaching in third grade? NO. I so wish they would have had all that vocabulary before getting to third grade but they didn't. Someone had to teach it. I was definitely not going to let those kids go on to the next grade without having that basic vocabulary. 

Here's some ideas of basic vocabulary/resources your bilingual students might need: 




If you ever find that your students haven't learned a skill that was meant to be learned in a prior year, TEACH THEM! Please, please, please DO NOT ignore it! 



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Cognates


Do you know what cognates are? Do you use them in your classroom? If you have ELLs in your classroom (even if you're not a bilingual teacher) you should be using them!! Or maybe you are a Dual Language teacher and have students learning Spanish? Use cognates!! 
For some strange reason my students adore that little word and we talk about it EVERY SINGLE DAY in our classroom.
If you were to come into my classroom and ask one of my students what cognates are, they would simply say: words that sound about the same in English or Spanish and share a similar meaning. That's it! Pretty easy to understand...no?

Let's see some examples from the Cognates Wall in my classroom:
Some cognates are spelled the same in English and Spanish, some others aren't and that's ok. Like I tell my kids: as long as they sound close to another word and they remind you of a word in Spanish.

Why should I use cognates in my classroom?

Cognates are a super powerful strategy to use with ELLs. They are able to make a connection between the two languages and build their comprehension. 
Every time we are getting ready to read a new text, I immediately ask my students to look for cognates and underline them. 

Other times, while my students and I are talking, a cognate will come up. I usually say very quickly and excited: THAT'S A COGNATE!! Eventually, the kids start telling me when they find one and it becomes an exciting little game!

WATCH OUT FOR FALSE COGNATES!!
Unfortunately there are some words that appear to be cognates but they aren't. Remember that cognates have a similar sound and definition. Some words sound the same in English and Spanish but they DO NOT share the same definition. 
For example: the word embarrassed is usually misused by bilingual students because it sounds similar to "embarazada" in Spanish which means pregnant! We certainly don't want our kids misusing that word lol! 
The word carpet in English is similar to "carpeta" in Spanish. However, "carpeta" means folder. 
If you are going to teach cognates to your kids, you gotta watch out for these tricky words. Remember, when in doubt, just Google it! If you tell your students about false cognates they will be aware and understand not all words are cognates! And let me tell you... they will LOVE to find those false cognates.

Here is a link to my favorite list of cognates. (By the way Colorin Colorado is an amazing website with very helpful articles on teaching ELLs). I use this list every day! Remember to talk to your students about false cognates, they will learn to recognize them faster than you think! 







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Winter Fun


Welcome! I've been really looking forward to this day...the release of our WINTER E-book hosted by Mrs. D's Corner! Not only will you find AMAZING resources from AMAZING teacher bloggers but you will get to download our winter e-book AND get a chance to win a $100 TPT gift card!! 

First things first..I want to show you some of the fun I'm planning for my kids this month. See... I did this activity with my tutoring students last month and they loved it so much I decided to do it again with my whole class on Valentine's day. You will need the More M&Ms Math book and lots of M&Ms... 

 


The book suggests that you use the individual baggies but I decided to buy the party size bag and create my own baggies (cheaper).
This book is just awesome cause students get to review SO MANY SKILLS at once!!

 

We graphed, multiplied, divided, talked about even, odd, least and greatest. 

It has many rhyming phrases (not pictured) and the kids favorite part was that it allows them to eat some m&ms throughout the book! FUN FUN!!!
This activity will be perfect for Valentine's Day!!
You can find the book on Amazon

Do you need more resources for this winter?? Then you MUST checkout our WINTER EBOOK!!
 


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