Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Difference Between American English and British English

If you're like me, you probably knew one or two differences between American and British English but never thought much more about it.  In Spain they learn British English.  Over the year I have picked up on important UK jargon and grammar {learning to not correct students when they say "I have got a book".  I have a book, I have a book, my inner teacher screams!!}.  Sometimes I have to go home and look up certain British words after having one of those IHaveAbsolutelyNoIdeaWhatThey'reSaying type of moments.  So here are the top differences  between American and British English that have caught me off guard the most.  

10. Have got
In the UK it is proper to say "Have you got a brother?"  instead of "Do you have a brother?"  Hurts to listen to and to say!

9.  Lift
You take a lift to get to the fourth floor of a building.  And the fourth flood is actually the fifth flood because the bottom floor is the 0th floor, not the 1st. 

8.  Maths
Mathematics is shortened so students call it "Maths".  You'll often hear or see something like, "I have Maths homework tonight" 

7.  University
In the States "school" is everything Kinder-college.  In the UK it is specific to students who are Kinder-18.  Once they graduate from high school, they attend University

6.  Trainers and Trousers and Jumpers
A jumper is a sweater.  Trainers are those things on your feet that lace up.  And trousers are what you wear on your legs every day.  Pants?  Oh gosh- don't make me blush by mentioning those things you wear under your trousers! 

5.  Pants and Knickers
Pants are men's underwear and knickers are women's underwear.

4.  Rubbish
Have you got any rubbish to take out to the rubbish bin?

3.  Colour, Favourite, Travelling
The different spelling has been so hard for me to get used to!  Our unit on Holidays {what they call vacations} challenged me.  In the US: Traveling.  In the UK:  Travelling

2.  Z
You know that last letter of the alphabet?  In the UK it is called "Zed".  Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Zed.  Just doesn't have the same ring to it...

1.  Rubber
I'll never forget the first time a student said, "Have you got a rubber?"  to her first grade friend.  Whhhhhat?  When she pulled out an eraser I realized rubber is entirely different in the UK.

Curious for more differences?  Check out my guest blog post at All Things Upper Elementary tomorrow!! 

Workshop Wednesday: Writing Tips!

Hey y'all!  I'm linking up with Ideas by Jivey to share a Writer's Workshop Tip! 

I absolutely love Writer's Workshop and am a huge fan of Mentor Texts, like Jivey mentioned in her post today.  Last year I went to a conference in Denver held by Lucy Calkins.  I absolutely love her and may have sat in the center of the front row the entire conference.  She said something that really hit home with me and has stuck every since.  We all know that in order to be better readers, students must spend quality time with text- reading, reading, reading.  Well, Lucy said, students should be independently WRITING for a minimum of 50 minutes a day.  What does this mean exactly?  Well, it means that students should be completing whole pieces of writing every two days or so. I don't know about you, but my classroom rarely has 30 minutes of writing each day... a minimum of 50??  I'm not so sure!  So after Lucy preached, I have tried my hardest to provide quality writing time for my kiddos.  I keep the mini lessons quick and purposeful and try, oh so hard, to create an environment for writers that is similar to our reader's workshop.  I model getting excited about writing, teaching writing skills, and enjoying beautiful writing.  I try to see writing every where, study writing every {mentor texts!!} and enjoy writing by other students.  I do all this because I know students will never stay focused for 50 minutes of writing without a little motivation. Can you?  I know it's hard for me, so it must be hard for them!  While students are writing, I meet with about 3 students a day for a writing conference.  I have attached my writing conference pages as a freebie for anybody who wants to give them a try!  
Click the picture to grab this freebie!!
 They keep me "focused" and on track.  I can use them to remind me what we have been working on.  I create a new one for each unit, with the standards for the unit written in.  These guys help me make the most of my time and with whatever time is left, I check in with my hesitant writers, do some classroom management {unfortunately a must} and continually encourage my other writers!  Our workshop is far from perfect- but some days I absolutely love it and get an entire 50 minutes of writing in.  It takes stamina {for the kiddos and for me} but I know we are capable of it and so we  always find a way :) 
Click the picture to get the freebie!

I hope you enjoy the freebie and can use it in your classroom!  Thanks so much for stopping by :)

I'll be visiting All Things Upper Elementary tomorrow to share a little bit about my life teaching here in Spain!  Be sure to check it out :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sale Sale Sale!

If you haven't heard- TeachersPayTeachers is having a huge sale this week!!  They're reached THREE MILLION sellers- absolutely amazing!!  To celebrate everyone is having a sale!  EVERYTHING in my -->STORE<-- will be 28% off with the Promo Code TPT3. 

Be sure to stop by, starting Thursday, to get some great deals!  With State Tests coming up, now is the perfect time to stock up on my Writing on Demand Unit for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders!  Only $5.04 this Thursday and Friday!

Or my St. Pattie's Day Math Activities!   Only $3.60 Thursday and Friday!!

Can't wait to see what everyone picks up!!  Happy shopping :)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sparking Student Motivation- State Tests

I was inspired by Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching with her state test motivation!  This year am I am loving the fact that I don't  have to administer a test in Spain- but I easily remember the prep, worry, and fear that goes into it.  Last year was my first year administering the test to 5th graders.  Wooh- it was a doozy.  However, me and my fab co-teacher did everything in our power to motivate our learners.  We decorated our room in a fun (walls-completely-covered) way, we bribed students to continue working the entire testing time, and we passed out pounds and pounds of mints, decorated #2 pencils, and encouraging notes. 

To administer the test in Colorado, everything in our classroom must be taken down or covered.  Taking everything down is so much more work than just covering it all.  So Ms. co-teacher and I had a little fun decorating everything with a Dr. You Know Who theme! 

Before- Posters and learning everywhere!
 Aaand, after!

 So sad and covered... but our class was so excited by the decorations when they walked in that they were okay with all of our learning being covered for a little while. 

We also stocked up on tons and tons of mints.  We passed them out during the test and pretty much let them have as many as they wanted.  Who knows if mints really help increase their short term memory- but if they believe it does, then that's all that matters! We also had their families write letters to them to pass out the first day.  Grab an editable copy of the letters <here>!  To keep them motivated we passed out letters from us half way through the testing weeks.

We also got a ton of tickets... like the type you get at a carnival!  Halfway through the test every day, we passed a ticket out to anyone who was still working.  Then, 10 minutes before the test ended, we passed out another set of tickets to anyone still actively working. At the end of each day we drew two tickets and the winners could choose from all sorts of prizes. At the end of the entire testing period {three weeks worth!} we had a party and did a huge drawing- with one grand prize of a Kindle!!  Students who finished early would spend their time looking over their tests just to get more tickets.  It worked really well and I plan on doing it again in the future. 
Motivating students to do well on a test they never see again can be hard.  I'm not normally a huge fan of external motivation- but for this instance I think it's helpful and important!  What are some other ways you motivate your learners?  I look forward to hearing some other things people do!

Stop by Head Over Heels for Teaching to link up!! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Five for Friday!

Happy Friday everyone!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a little Five for Friday!

I'll be working on this guy all weekend.  It looks like my hubby and I may be moving to the Greenville, South Carolina this Summer!  So I'm on the search for a new job- anybody know anyone who is hiring in Greenville?  I have 4 years of experience in the classroom and I am ready to send, send, send my resume!  After four years teaching at 3 different schools, I am ready for a teaching "home".  I loved my schools in Colorado but it's definitely time to be closer to my family on the East coast!

I began playing a fun new game with my classes this week!  It's great for ESL but also for some vocabulary enrichment in a non ESL classroom. To play it is super simple and needs nearly zero materials.  Have your class form two lines in front of the chalkboard/whiteboard.  At the top of the board write a topic, as broad or focused as you'd like.  Then, like a relay, have students come up one at a time and write a word that corresponds to that topic.  Once they've written a word, they pass the chalk back and the next student comes up.  After two minutes, the group with the most words wins.  However, you could do the group with the most letters {so they're using bigger words}, wins.  Or the most creative words win.  I could use this game with every class for any type of review.  You could have them writing science words- body parts- food- breakfast foods- jobs- words ending in -ity or -able-etc!  I didn't count words that both teams came up with.  Improper spelling was not an issue because it wasn't our focus, but that is up to you.  After two minutes they would sit down and we would talk about each word, correct spelling, and award points.  Perfect for a fun and easy review!

All the jobs they came up with
 I was finally able to finish up a Fraction Art project that I have been wanting to TpT-arize since last year!   I did this last year with my 5th graders and really loved it.  Students create a picture using fractional pieces and then they have to add up all of the fractions to find out how many wholes they have in their picture! Included is a Rubric, the fraction pieces, directions, and a student's page with questions for them to answer about their art work.  I shared it with my Facebook Followers when it was completed and had it free for the first 24 hours it was on TpT.  For more freebies, follow my Facebook page --here--!

March Madness is coming up and if you're like me, you're excited to fill in your bracket!  Well, what better way to incorporate some sports into your classroom but with Miss Nannini's March Madness Basketball Tournament Math Project!   My class did this last year and we LOVED LOVED LOVED it.  I can't do it here in Spain because they would not understand- but I cannot wait to do it again next year, wherever I end up!  I will be blogging about it more next week.  Be sure to stop by to learn all about how it worked in our classroom! 

And #5:  I leave you with this- a perfect little summary of Friday!!  Have a good one :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Weather Bingo

I've never come across a student that doesn't have a love for the game of Bingo.  Something about it is just universal- it's simple, fun, and it's the best of both worlds- teachers get to teach and students get to have fun!  So while pulling together some lessons to teach basic weather vocabulary to my ESL first graders, I created a quick Bingo game!

You can grab it for FREE {here} via dropbox!  It never fails to grab my student's attention, and it's so simple to differentiate by showing some students the picture, only verbalizing the clues to other students, or standing by a student and quietly pointing to the correct answer.  The possibilities are endless.  I've played it with 1st and 3rd graders and both of them loved it {despite the grumpy faces pictured... I swear}
Hope you can add a little Weather Bingo to your day!!  Happy Monday!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Preparing Your Writers for the State Test

Deep breaths upper elementary teachers-  it's getting closer and closer to that time of year... state testing.  Blah.  It seems to always sneak up on you.  Different states handle testing differently, but it seems to be growing in importance everywhere

In order to help prep those lovely learners of yours, I have created a writing unit full of all sorts of Writing on Demand goodness.  4 weeks, 20 lesson plans, classroom management pages, interactive notebook pages, rubrics, "I can" statements, and Common Core checklists.  Anything and everything you could possibly need!  Plus, it's for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders!

And you don't need any of the other units to implement this one in your classroom!
Rubrics, management forms, samples, and anything you could possibly need in writing!
Be sure to stop by my store and check them out!  How do you prepare your learners for the test?  What types of activities do you!? 

Friday, February 14, 2014

What's In Kelly's Bag? {Inferencing and ESL Lesson}

Inspired by the amazing Abby from The Inspired Apple, I used what I had in my Teacher Bag this week to do a quick little ESL lesson!  I absolutely loved doing this with my kiddos and I think what I loved the most was that it could easily be adapted to work with any age!  So I used it with my 1st grade class, my 3rd grade class, AND my 6th grade class!  Heart- swoon. 

I began by doing a little inferencing.  I asked my class to pick up my bag and make inferences on what I may have in there.  What does a teacher need?  What does an adult need?  WHY?  I charted their responses on the board. 

Then, I had one student at a time close their eyes and pull an item out.  Once they had an item, we would name it {vocabulary!!}, and then discuss why I needed it, while writing it up on the board. 
I chose to try and steer my younger kiddos toward infinities {to drink, to eat} but with my older guys I had them create sentences {You can use it when you get thirsty, You may get hungry before lunch and need a snack}.   This activity can literally take as long as you need it to.  You can have as many or as few items as you want! 

And why is the last thing in my bag "a rubber", you might ask?  Well, let's just say that British English and American English are a little different.  More coming on that in the next few weeks :) 

Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Recipe for Friendship

What are you planning for Valentine's Day in your classroom?  We don't exactly celebrate the holiday here in Spain- but I just can't let this week pass without some {LOVE}.  So today I spiced up a great activity I did last year with my 5th graders. {You can read all about how we used it in a traditional 5th grade classroom here!}

I stumbled across this FREE activity from Angelica Alves on TpT where you create your own Recipe for Friendship and I was super excited that I could work it into our 6th graders ESL lesson this year!

I started by creating some easy puzzle pieces to help translate important adjectives.  You can pick them up here through Dropbox-  You could use these puzzle pieces for so many different ESL games, however here they were just a helpful tool when thinking about our writing!  I also included a list of possible cooking words and adjectives to use.  The rest you can pick up from Angelica!!  She even has a great powerpoint to go with it all.

The final product always turns out adorable! 

Here was one of my favorites this year:  Mix together 1 cup honesty and 1/2 cup of a good listener.  Stir in a pinch of fun, 3 tbs. of loyalty, and 2 tbs. of kindness.  Then, bake it for 2 hours.  Enjoy!  {Pretty good for a non-native English speaking 6th grader!!} 

Hope you are having a great week and find all sorts of way to share the love with those around you :)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

All You Need is Love!

Happy Sunday day, friends!  I hope you're all having a great weekend and staying warm!  I'm here to share a little video and an updated product :)

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Now I'm going to have the Beatles stuck in my head for the next three or four days- BUT, I am super excited to share that I have updated my 4th Grade Valentine's Day Math Unit!!

It is packed full of all sorts of fun math games perfect for your 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade classroom!  The standards meet the 4th grade CCSS Standards but are also great for challenging your 3rd graders or providing support to your 5th graders who need a refresher.  Check out my quick video below to get an overview of what's in the unit!  And then head over to my {store} at TpT to check it out!  All We Need is Love will be 20% off until midnight tomorrow night!!