Archive for January, 2011

January 30th, 2011

Vocabulary Building-Food

Food is so much fun to talk about. There are 3 stories in Ready for R around this topic.  You’ll find Rosalie and Freddy Rickle on their farm in Raking Rows and Rhonda who rushed too much, dropping all her groceries in Rolling Radishes, not to mention Romeo the baker who tripped while carrying the birthday cake in Ruined Recipe.  You get the picture and your students will too.

The topic of  food can easily be extended into other subjects if you’re a classroom teacher.  Set up a mock grocery store and now you get to practise math too.  Make food out of play dough and now you’ve got art.

Activities: It’s easy to find pictures of food.  Ask your students to bring some in.  If you’re setting up a grocery store save used food boxes.  Here are several play play dough recipes to choose from.  I had one client who broke out into a rash with the recipe that has salt in it.  Add food colouring to make it fun and store in a bag or airtight container.

No Flour No Salt Play Dough

2 cups baking soda
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup cornstarch

Mix with a fork until smooth. Boil over medium heat until thick.

Flour Play Dough

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons cream of tartar

Mix flour, salt and oil, and slowly add the water. Cook over medium heat, stirring until dough becomes stiff. Turn out onto wax paper and let cool. Knead the playdough with your hands until of proper consistency. Add food colouring if desired.

No Cook Play Dough

1 cup flour
1/3 cup salt
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons canola oil

Mix the dry ingredients first, then slowly pour in the wet ingredients. Knead until smooth and store in a covered container. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring to the wet ingredients before adding to the dry.

January 14th, 2011

Vocabulary Building-Weather

A recent snowfall here in the Vancouver area reminded me that the weather is an excellent topic for building vocabulary.  Weather is a big part of conversation.  It all starts in preschool where every circle time starts with the weather board. If you’re going to talk about weather, then seasons, months and days of the week follow.  Check out these pages in Ready for R to discuss the weather:  Rascally Racoon for summer, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer for winter, and Roaring in the Rain for spring.

It’s always fun to add singing to any lesson.  This website has some good ideas for singing the days of the months and the weather.  Imagine singing the days of the week to the Adams Family tune.  Check it out.  Kids will love it.

Activity: Use 4 pieces of paper or the chalk board divided into 4 sections for each season. Brainstorm things that go with each season.  Ask questions such as:

What do you wear in the summer?

What do the trees look like in the fall?

What activities go with winter?

What is the weather like?

Have the student choose a season to make a picture.  He can cut and paste clothing, activities and weather from magazines or draw his own.  To make it more fun he could do a picture of things that don’t belong in that season, for example, building a snowman in the summer.

January 3rd, 2011

Vocabulary Building-Holidays

Whether you teach in a regular or ESL classroom, activities around holiday themes are a fun way to build vocabulary.  Ready for R has a great page, for example, filled with Christmas words to get you started. You’ll find Rudolph, Elves, Santa, sleigh, presents, wrapping, snow, ribbon, decorations, wreath etc.

Plan your year of holiday lessons now by looking ahead.  Don’t forget special celebrations from other cultures.  This year there were a lot of special days in the Fall and early winter including Hallowe’en, the Muslim preparation of Ramadan & celebration of Eid, Thanksgiving, Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, Hanukkah and Christmas.  Coming up on February 14 this year are both Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year, Ramadan and Diwali don’t occur at the same time each year, so you may have to do a little research.

Students from other countries in your classroom can be a wealth of information. Don’t forget to ask what special days they celebrate.  Ask if a student can bring in something special to show from the celebration; a menorah for Hanukkah or a diya (small light) for Diwali.  Talk about the special food that goes with the celebration. With any luck you might get to try some.

This is an excellent website with information about any holiday you might want to use for vocabulary building.  Activities and crafts are included.  When you go to the website click on “other holidays” and “countries” to get the full list.