Friday, February 20, 2015

Speaking & Listening: Fostering Oral Language Development

Teaching reading needs to be a carefully constructed experience, with it's multiple components thoughtfully in place, in order for children to be successful. One crucial component of reading instruction is oral language development. The Common Core Standards call for increased interaction with critical language skills and expanded engagement in appropriate academic discourse. Consequently, developing oral language skills in young children must be specific and targeted. Unless a child knows the meaning of a word in oral discussion, reading the word is meaningless.

Research has proven that the success of an early learner is directly linked to their foundational oral language skills and these skills have a profound impact on their success in school. According to a study conducted by Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley, "vocabulary use at age 3 was equally predictive of measures of language skill at age 9-10."

Friday, February 13, 2015

FREE Professional Development in Your Living Room!

ESGI is so happy to introduce Adam Peterson, founder of Teachers Learn Too! His idea to  provide FREE professional development for teachers through a series of videos is truly inspiring.  How cool is it to sit in your living room and, at your convenience, learn exciting new tips and tricks to help with your instruction!  Let's find out more about Adam and Teachers Learn Too.

I have taught Kindergarten for the last 10 years at Saratoga Elementary School in Morris, IL.  I love Kindergarten because it's where all the fun is!  When I'm not teaching, my wife and our two kids love to be outdoors, play games, do crafts, and watch movies!  I'm also a singer/songwriter and run a photography business on the side.

Monday, February 09, 2015

School Valentine's Day Celebrations

Valentine's Day celebrations at school allow children to show kindness towards others. They can be low-key, fun celebrations of friendship.  They do not need to be full of sugars and sweets! I like to have a healthy snack option for the children, a craft to make and one or two activities to do in a one hour time-frame.  It is a nice, but not necessary gesture to make and send a little keepsake gift home with the children for their parents.

We often have parent volunteers for class parties and others who want to help, but cannot make it to school during the event. I send the latter parents home with a sample craft, supplies, and simple directions on how to prepare them for the children to make. This cuts down on my activity preparation, while includes more parents in the festivities. Send the supplies and directions out 2 weeks before the event with a week time to cut and assemble pieces usually works best.  I ask the parents who can come for the celebration to arrive 15 minutes prior to the start time and stay 15 minutes past for assistance cleaning up.

Here are some of my favorite snacks, crafts, activities, and keepsake gifts for Valentine's Day Classroom Celebrations.

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