Monday, January 30, 2017

Write Happy New Year in Chinese Quickly and Easily!

"Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere."
-- Chinese Proverb

Happy Year of the Rooster!  Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival as it’s known in China, began this past Saturday and traditionally lasts for 15 days.  Roosters are hard-working, popular, and have a good sense of humor.  However, they can also be boastful, impatient, and talkative.

Use the free template and follow the instructions in this blog post to write Happy New Year in Chinese quickly and easily! | The ESL Connection
Source: The ESL Nexus
Last week, I taught a class of 7th and 8th graders how to write Happy New Year in Chinese.  Because I worked in China for a few years, I learned how to write at an elementary level so it was easy for me to guide the students in writing the Chinese characters.

Use the free template and follow the instructions in this blog post to write Happy New Year in Chinese quickly and easily! | The ESL Connection
My model for students; source: The ESL Nexus
How to Write Happy New Year in Chinese
Here’s a quick and easy way you can have your students write the greeting in Chinese, along with the Pinyin Romanization of the Chinese characters.  In Mandarin, which is the language I learned, it’s pronounced more or less like this: Sheen Nee-en Kwhy Luh.  The marks over the vowels of the Pinyin letters indicate the tones on the words.  If you are interested, you can use Google Translation to hear how the phrase is really pronounced because it’s difficult for me to explain it briefly and clearly.  I also want to point out that in Cantonese, the phrase is different. 

Materials Needed
* A copy of the template, shown below, for every student; you can find it here.  You’ll be asked to make a copy for yourself and then you can download the file.  (The template does not have my logo on it.)
* Crayons and/or colored markers to color in the outlined words and characters.
* If you have stamps with Chinese designs or designs of flowers or words that say, for example, Love or Harmony or Peace, students can use them to decorate their sign.  Otherwise, they can use the crayons or markers and draw their own pictures.
* If you do use stamps, then obviously you’ll need ink pads, too.

Use the free template and follow the instructions in this blog post to write Happy New Year in Chinese quickly and easily! | The ESL Connection
Template for writing Happy New Year in Chinese; download it HERE
Step 1: Make a copy of the template for all your students.
Step 2: Tell students to color in the outlined characters and words.  Red and yellow are colors often found in traditional Chinese New Year decorations.
Step 3: Tell students to write Happy New Year in English in the blank space at the top of the paper.  I recommend that they first write it lightly in pencil so the words are large enough and are centered, and then go over it with colored markers or crayons.
Step 4: If you have stamps, students can use them to decorate their signs however they wish.  If you don’t have stamps, students can just draw pictures and designs to decorate their signs if they want.
Use the free template and follow the instructions in this blog post to write Happy New Year in Chinese quickly and easily! | The ESL Connection
Example of a finished sign; source: The ESL Nexus
When done, you can create a colorful bulletin board display or just let your students take their signs home.   For more activities related to Chinese New Year, please click here to see all my China-related resources.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Who Couldn't Use a Little More Kindness and Democracy?

"Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education."
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt

I hope you have found some great resources this past weekend on TeachersPayTeachers using the #KindnessNation and #WeHoldTheseTruths hashtags.  In my opinion, there’s no such thing as being too empathetic or knowing too much about how the U.S government works!  So in that spirit, I’d like to showcase a few of the resources that I especially like and think are great for ELLs.
15 Forever Free resources about kindness, character, civics, appreciating cultural differences, and real vs fake information online that are especially appropriate for ELLs | The ESL Connection
Resources curated by The ESL Nexus
The resources listed below are in random order, although those that deal with kindness and character are listed first and those that deal with democracy and truth and cultural differences are listed after that.  Just click on the images of the resources to find out more about them.

1) Wonder Choose Kind Sampler
by The Teaching Bank
This modern classic is perfect for teaching about kindness!
The sampler includes writing tasks about what it means to be a friend
as well as about one of the precepts in the novel.

2)  Dis-ABILITY Posters 
from School Bells ‘N Whistles
This resource includes 14 posters ideal for helping younger students
develop empathy for their differently-abled classmates.

3) Types of Sentences 
by Tori Gorosave – A Middle School English Teacher’s Journey
I wish I had thought of this idea!  Using quotations by famous people
about kindness, these task cards ask students to identify their
sentence type and certain grammar structures.

4) Affirmation Posters – Classroom Community 
by Kirsten’s Kaboodle
These colorful posters let students of all ages know that they are
welcomed, respected, and cared for in their classroom.

5) It’s Cool to be Kind 
from Ideas by Jivey
This resource contains short writing tasks and checklists about
how to be kind, along with a poster designed to get younger students
thinking about what kindness means.

6) Kindness Draw and Write 
by Renee Goularte – Share2Learn
This great resource asks students to draw then write about
kindness, which of course is a great scaffold for all students but
particularly for ELLs at lower language proficiency levels.

7) No Prep Bilingual Cooperation Puzzles 
from Sarah Wu - Speech Is Beautiful
Using visuals to help children understand 6 phrases about
being kind to others, this resource in English and Spanish is sure
to aid their comprehension.

8) Red Book Companion Using Crayons to Teach Acceptance
by The Class Couple
I’d never heard of the book Red by Michael Hall before,
but here’s a great resource that shows students that what they see
on the outside may be different from what they get on the inside.

9) Posters of the American Dream 
by Two Boys and a Dad Productions
These gorgeous posters illustrate 5 important concepts about
what it means to be an American by using quotations by famous people. 

10) Cesar Chavez: A Partner Play 
written by Chrissy Beltran
This play for 2 people introduces students to the life
and work of this seminal labor leader in a fun way that
middle schoolers are sure to enjoy.

11) Our Neighbors 
by Karen Jones
This book is for younger students and describes all kinds of people
who are neighbors.  It’s perfect for ELLs because it shows
people in many different contexts who all get along with each other.

12) American Flag Classroom Patriotic Collaboration Poster 
from by Art with Jenny K.
With this cooperative activity, students of all ages create
and color a large-scale American flag.

13) How to Spot Bad Science Online and on Social Media 
by UtahRoots
This amazing resource will help your students distinguish
between real and fake content on websites.  The information
here is relevant to other subjects besides science, too.

14) Citizen Duties and Responsibilities Flipbook 
from Dirt Road Teacher
Going from global to local, students learn about their
civic rights and responsibilities.  It’s a great resource for ELLs
who are new to the U.S. and may not be familiar with
what the duties of a citizen are.

15) Community Building Lyric Video 
written and performed by I Am Bullyproof and friends
This is a beautiful and heart-warming music video
about love and heart that is sure to create a
positive atmosphere in your classroom.

These are just a few of the awesome Forever Free products you can find on TpT using the hashtags #WeHoldTheseTruths and #KindnessNation.  If you have found other resources with these hashtags that are especially appropriate for ELLs, please share them in the Comments below!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Give Peace...and Kindness...and Democracy a Chance

"All we are saying, is give peace a chance."
John Lennon

Eight years ago I got permission from my principal to watch the first African-American president in U.S. history take the oath of office, instead of doing recess duty out on the school playground.  I supervised a slew of middle school students in my classroom who also wanted to see history being made.  It was awesome!

Today, a new era begins.  To commemorate the occasion, I am joining with many other TpT teacher-authors who have created resources that we hope you will find useful for your students.  These products will be free forever because we want to share them with as many teachers as possible.  Use the hashtags #KindnessNation and #WeHoldTheseTruths to search TpT for these resources.

Secondary Smorgasbord Blog Hop for #KindnessNation & #WeHoldTheseTruths Resources | The ESL Connection
Blog hop organized & hosted by Pamela Kranz and Darlene Anne; credit: Pamela Kranz

The resources cover a range of topics: Understanding the three branches of the American government and the US Constitution; democracy; kindness, empathy, compassion; history of civil rights movements, including suffrage; anti-bullying; environmental issues including climate change; understanding and respecting of cultural differences; critical thinking and examining media bias; and equality and inclusion for all people.  Materials for students in kindergarten through high school have been created.  There are resources for many subjects areas and some are even in other languages besides English.  I’m sure you can find something for your class!
Secondary Smorgasbord Blog Hop for #KindnessNation & #WeHoldTheseTruths Resources | The ESL Connection
Use the hashtags to find forever free TpT resources; credit: The ESL Nexus
My resource is a collection of posters that say Peace in 15 different languages.  How did I choose which languages to include?  Well, they represent countries whose people were on the front lines of the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe last year or whose citizens were involved in some kind of war or conflict in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Find Multilingual Peace Posters at The ESL Nexus #KindnessNation & #WeHoldTheseTruths
Click HERE to download this resource; credit: The ESL Nexus
You can have your students research the conflicts in the countries mentioned in the resource or they could research non-governmental organizations that are working for peace.  Students can create collages about peace or write an acrostic poem using the included template.  Other suggestions for using the posters are also included in the resource.

I have personal experience with almost every country that I included in my resource -- either by living, working, or traveling there or by teaching English Language Learners who came from these countries.  When I think about what the refugees are going's just so sad.  And as for the other countries, well, they have their own problems.  So if this resource can get students thinking and it can spark a conversation about peace, instead of war, I will be very happy.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 15, 1229 - April 4, 1968

With the imminent inauguration of a new president in the U.S., I can think of no better way to mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day today than to listen, again, to his I Have a Dream speech.  You can hear his most famous speech and read the transcript here.

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr and his dream | The ESL Connection
Portrait of MLK from Wikimedia Commons
We should all honor his vision, celebrate his and other civil rights icons' achievements, and remember that there is still work to do.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Welcome 2017!

Just want to wish you a wonderful 2017!  May your students be appropriately inquisitive and be active but well-behaved participants in your class.  May all your administrators give you all the support and materials you need whenever you need it.  May all your meetings go quickly and uneventfully, all your students' papers get graded easily and efficiently, and may all your classes go smoothly and be fun to teach.  :-)
Created by The ESL Nexus
And may you enjoy the rest of your holiday break!