Thursday, October 30, 2014

Food Web Project

This year, my kids are using my Year Long Country Study Project to cover all of their Science and Social Studies standards.  Each child chose a country and they will study that country all year.  Each month, we focus on a different topic.  We spend the first three weeks doing research, watching videos and reading books.  Then during the last week, the kids create a project and a write up which they add to their LiveBinder compilation project.

Last month, we worked on Geography and the kids created maps.  (See the maps they created in the blog post: Salt Maps Solidfy Understanding.)  This month, we worked on Habitats and these kids created food webs:

 

5th Grade – China Mountain Habitat

china food web

2nd Grade – Russia River/Forest Habitat

food web

Creating these food web projects gave us a chance to reinforce vocabulary like predator, prey, carnivore and herbivore.  The kids also had a chance to talk about where on the food web different types of animals fell.  My 2nd grader told me “I’m glad I’m not a small herbivore.  Look, everything eats the Pika!”  My 5th grader realized that humans are the only predators for some large carnivores.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Finding Similarities Behind Language Can Help ESL Students Build Vocabulary

As a teacher at an International School, many of my students were English Language Learners. Even my native English speakers were living in a non-English speaking country. Due to my unique teaching position, I have had some readers ask for tips on teaching English Language Learners. Here is this week’s Tuesday TESOL Teaching Tip:

ESL Teaching Tip of the Week:  Help students to find cognates or similar words between English and their home language.  This helps promote memory of English vocabulary and an understanding of language rules.  Ideas and resources from Raki's Rad Resources.

We can never forget that our ESL or ELL students have a wealth of knowledge in their own language, including a ton of vocabulary words that possibly have similar roots with English.  No matter what the home language of my students, every student I have ever taught has been able to find cognates and similarities between their home language and English.  They key is getting kids to look for them.  Often students see English as a completely foreign identity with no connection at all to the languages they speak at home.  The more students are encouraged to look for these similarities, the more that they will find that they already have a base of words and grammatical structures built in to their understanding.

Some ways to help students build up these understandings are:

1.)  Have students jot down key vocabulary words in their home language.  This is the reason that my ESL Vocabulary Packets all start out asking students to write each word in their home language.  It helps students identify similarities and cognates, while building up their English vocabulary.  (Depending on a wide variety of factors, including literacy level and home environment, some students may not have academic language in their home language.  You may allow students to translate the words if you feel like the cognates and roots will help them to remember the English – or to enhance their home language vocabulary. )ESL Teaching Tip of the Week:  Help students to find cognates or similar words between English and their home language.  This helps promote memory of English vocabulary and an understanding of language rules.  Ideas and resources from Raki's Rad Resources

 

2.)  Have students create a Venn Diagram, comparing their home language and English.  This could be done with a specific set of vocabulary words, with grammar rules, or simply about the languages in general.

ESL Teaching Tip of the Week:  Help students to find cognates or similar words between English and their home language.  This helps promote memory of English vocabulary and an understanding of language rules.  Ideas and resources from Raki's Rad Resources 3.)  Have students write the same sentence – in English and in their home language, and then diagram both sentences.  This will encourage students to look not only at the similarities and differences of the vocabulary, but also the grammatical structure.

ESL Teaching Tip of the Week:  Help students to find cognates or similar words between English and their home language.  This helps promote memory of English vocabulary and an understanding of language rules.  Ideas and resources from Raki's Rad Resources

I’m always looking for new tips and ideas, so feel free to leave a comment with your great tips and ideas for helping ESL students recognize cognates.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources