ICE CREAM AT MR. PRINTABLES

Studying color in the esl classroom with Mr. PrintablesHi everyone! Today I’m popping in to share an amazing resource with you. I know we’ve talked about this amazing website before and they’re part of our Creative Teaching resource page, but last week I started using some of their new flashcards and games and they were such a huge hit with my very young learners that I simply had to dedicate an entire post to it! This is Mr. Printables in case you haven’t seen it, and it’s an absolute gem of a website where the activities and games are not only incredibly useful for the learning process but they are simply gorgeous. The illustrations and quality of the images are really impressive and I still haven’t found another website that compares to its fabulous quality. The most incredible thing is that their resources are free for download! Can you believe that? Thank you Mr. Printables! So far I’m a huge fan of their ‘Monthters’ which I use for my sticker system (more on this soon), their beautiful flashcards and their games. Last week (as well as this week because students asked me to play the game again!) I tried their Ice Cream shop game for reviewing colors and roleplaying.Using Mr. Printables resources in the classroom

Here are some of the activities I did with one of my very young learners and some other ideas:

– Review colors by asking students to follow the words printed on the shop (popsicle stick section), if they can read. If they’re at a pre-reading stage just read them out to them.

– Have students place the ice cream scoops on the correct cone and then play games for them to switch them around. For example “I would like a pink ice cream cone with a yellow scoop of ice cream”. Do it quickly so that students are challenged and get excited.

– Roleplay ordering ice cream at an ice cream shop, alternating roles (shop worker and customer).

– The game comes with some cones without color for students to decorate. You can have them paint them and describe their creations, or have a drawing dictation where you order your ice cream and they must paint it to keep the customer happy and serve them the correct ice cream (listening practice).

– Throughout any of these activities students will be learning and repeating expressions like ‘I would like” “Can I have” , saying hello and goodbye, asking questions, and vocabulary related to color, ice cream, and placing an order.

– For students that are simply reviewing color and are a little more advanced, you could talk about flavors and the fruits and other foods these can be made out of.

– As a fun follow up or for homework, students could make a drawing of a ‘crazy ice cream’ with very strange ingredients (fish, shoe laces, and lasagna are allowed!) and then make a presentation for the class. Write down new vocabulary for the items used in the drawings on the white board and play vocabulary games with those to close off the lesson and during the following lessons as review. You can even have an art show with their crazy ice creams! They love it when their work is proudly displayed.

Download the Ice Cream shop folder game here! I printed it out in card paper and it turned out great. Using games in the classroom

Do visit Mr. Printables and enjoy a myriad of beautiful resources. I must say that even the youngest students tend to like the materials I use from them a lot more, simply because they’re so pretty to look at. Grabbing their attention is always key right?

Please note that I’m not affiliated with Mr. Printables in any way, I’m simply a big fan of their work! I hope you like their resources as much as I do!

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BULLY

Bully reviewI had been putting this movie off for weeks. Yesterday it seemed to be screaming at me so I finally decided to watch it. My resistance was coming from an all too familiar place that I knew this movie was going to take me back to. I pushed play, and after an initial scene where the filmmakers show us the most horrible place where bullying can lead to, the movie continued (or rather began) with a camera inside a school bus while we listened to an incredible school choir version of Wheatus’s song ¨Teenage Dirtbag¨. Powerful stuff from the beginning, especially if you have ever witnessed the horrible difficulties some kids face during that ride to and from school. I always knew that bullying was a very big problem in the United States, and it certainly seems to have gotten out of hand there, but trust me when I tell you this is a global problem. Kids in every school, in almost every country in the world have witnessed the actions and effects of bullying at one time or another. Even here in Spain where for some reason I assumed this matter was under control I’ve heard my share of heart wrenching stories.

Things are probably a lot worse now than when I was a kid. There’s certainly a lot more diversity when it comes to families, traditions, religions, and there’s nothing a bully loves more than a glimpse of something different. If kids are teased simply because of having curly hair, run of the mill clothes or a funny accent, imagine what it’s like for children that are gay, have a physical or mental disability, a different religion, a different skin color. What has always shocked me the most regarding bullying is that the schools, where all of these acts of serious violence are taking place, do little to nothing about it. It took the parents of children lost many years too young due to bullying, to come together with these filmmakers to try to make a difference in their communities. It’s an absolute must see if you’re an educator, a parent or have any kind of position in a school or educational environment.

Bully took me on a very sad bus ride with a few kids, down very sad hallways with others, down a psychiatric prison ward and even inside their safe bedrooms at home. Now, thanks to the internet and texting, there’s simply no safe haven for kids that are being harassed.  Bullying is a serious issue and little has been done about it because school authorities continue to label it as usual ‘boys will be boys’ behavior. Even though girls are no exception, I’m not talking about sex here, this is a violence issue, it is serious and it should be taken as seriously as any other issue involving education. Many parents and teachers who see their kids day in and day out don’t even know that they’re bullying other children the minute they step outside their home or classroom. Many kids who are suffering from bullying say nothing at all.

This was the strongest part of the movie for me. A young boy, who had been severely bullied for years realized that becoming a bully himself was the only solution to his awful situation. If this isn’t an example of the now proven fact that many of the victims of today become the perpetrators of tomorrow, I don’t know what is. Here’s one of the hopeful things that I got from this film, a lot can be done not only by telling someone what is going on, but by standing next to those kids who are quiet, lonely and suffering severe aggravation from others. Many of the parents and classmates of children who committed suicide over bullying have said, that if aside from the bullies, their child had had just one friend or better yet a group of friends, a sense of community, their horrible tragedy could have been avoided. I urge you to watch this film and to not only leave it at that, share it with fellow parents and teachers, sit down with your children and talk to them about these issues. Abuse can come in many shapes and forms and can be where you least expect it. Open the floor for discussion. A school bus, a schoolyard or a classroom should never be a place of fear or pain. It breaks my heart when I see a child suffer and it’s often so hard to end suffering when it’s caused by an adult or parent, but to end it when it’s caused by another child? Shouldn’t that be easy? They are all learning and growing and becoming who they are, that’s why we’re there for right? To explain the difference between what is right and what is wrong? To show by example that differences are a part of life and give the world its color? Why is this issue such a huge and violent problem and why has nothing been done about it?

With a heavy heart I urge you to watch this film. I’d love to know your thoughts on this in the comments below! This is Bully. 

 

SUNDAY BEST

Sunday best at blackboard and brush, favorite links of the weekHappy Sunday everyone! Before we get started with this week’s Sunday Best, let me just give you a big BIG THANK YOU for all the support you’ve given our new website Little Green Kettle which was featured in last week’s Sunday Best. The response has been unbelievable and I simply can’t thank you enough! I hope you continue to enjoy the posts, recipes and stories we’ll be sharing in the Little Green Kettle, and of course we’ll still be writing and updating Blackboard and Brush on a regular basis for all our followers and readers. Again, THANK YOU!

Ok, let’s get to it shall we?

For teachers and parents that are looking for children’s stories or songs that have video animation, I’ve been visiting and using Muffin Songs and Muffin Stories this week and I love their selection. Many of the animations have beautiful drawings and the lyrics or words are clear and at a slow pace, perfect for very young learners. They also have some of the less famous songs which I love such as Kukaburra and Kum Bah Yah. Young students love looking at the visuals while singing and they provide a lot of help where lyric comprehension is concerned. What are some of your favorite classroom songs?

For lovers of great design, fabulous spaces and home decor, I’m so excited to share this absolute gem of a website with you. This is Covet Garden, an online magazine you can flip through that takes you through tours of the actual homes of very interesting people. It’s such a joy to flip through their pages and look at the beautiful images. What’s even more special is that they choose spaces that have not been styled by interior decorators. It’s truly inspirational if you’re looking to make some changes in your home. The stories behind each home are also pretty special.

For a good old fashioned time snuggling in a warm and cozy blog that has a little bit of everything, enjoy Fern and Feather. They have everything from inspirational thoughts, beautiful photography, recipes, design posts and much more. I absolutely loved their post on how to roast ‘everything’. I think I might just make one of these yummies for lunch today.

Many of you loved the creative packaging link I posted a few weeks ago. It was one of the most clicked links that week (yay!). Today I have some more of that original packaging goodness… here is Lovely Package.

Today I’m leaving you with some Winnie the Pooh wisdom to counteract those Sunday blues. You know what I’m talking about, the slight nostalgia, pre Monday jitters and general laziness… we have all gone through it from time to time. Guess what? Sunday isn’t gone yet and it’s half of your weekend! HALF of your weekend! So to fight the Sunday blues, do as Pooh, and enjoy today… his favorite day.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a wonderful and fun filled Sunday!

THE POWER OF A BIG OLD LAUGH

Injecting some laughter into your classroom

I’m a firm believer that laughter really is the best medicine. I cannot fathom one of my classes without at least one burst of laughter. It softens the seriousness and stress on the student’s part of having to speak in a language that isn’t their own, it increases rapport and it just makes a lesson more enjoyable. Not to mention memorable. The classes in which we have laughed the most seem to be those that student’s have less problems with down the line. Coincidence? Probably not! We can always remember a movie or book that made us laugh and can even recall specific moments incredibly well. Same thing happens when we cry, but this certainly isn’t something you should be trying with your students! So yes, laughing is GOOD. It’s good for the teacher, good for the students, good for remembering the lesson and great for establishing a learning environment students want to come back to. We all know that it’s that coming back to class and practicing that makes for great language learners.

For all of these reasons, when one of our readers emailed me the link I’m about to share with you today, I was over the moon. If there’s one link you need to bookmark to go with your games for the classroom or ESL techniques, it’s this little gem. Thank you so much Dirk Tiu for sending me this wonderful resource, “Comedy in the Classroom: 50 ways to bring laughter into any lesson”. I absolutely love the way this article is written and how easy some of the tips are to put into practice. There’s no need for props or hours of setting activities up, it’s all about how you can approach the different situations that come up in class and turn them into a laugh fest. Believe it or not, laughing when done with the teacher and as a whole group can actually improve behavior in a rowdy classroom. The simple practical tips like wearing crazy t-shirts and talking about their favorite tv show are wonderful! The idea that you can even turn your difficult days as a teacher into common ground was simply inspirational. This article is so well rounded out that I simply couldn’t wait to include it in Sunday Best, it definitely deserved its own post.

I remember a lot of laughing during my childhood, my mother (top photo – as a teen-) had this incredible laugh, as did my grandfather (photo below) who had the loudest, funniest and most contagious one out of everyone in the family. My mom’s friends were constantly putting on sketches that made us grab our stomachs and left us out of breath with all the giggles (photo below). Even in the really early years, I might not remember the moments per se, but I remember laughing. A LOT! It made my childhood so memorable.


laughter is the best medicinelaugh, play

Again, thank you Dirk for sending us this piece, I hope it brings a lot of readers your way and that many of the fellow teachers that read this blog begin to use some of these wonderful ideas. Speaking of laughter in the classroom, a very special act of funny sticker vandalism is coming soon. Stick around! I’ll also see you tomorrow for Sunday Best! I hope you liked my old family photos! It made my day to shift through some old pics and stroll down ‘funny memory lane’.