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Planning a Writing Lesson

 

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From a young age people learn to speak a language before they can write. Speaking skills are a more natural way of communication until written language has been explicitly taught. When preparing a writing lesson, consider the age group and prior knowledge with speaking and writing skills. Choose a topic your students are more likely to be intrigued by and provide the correct tools to allow creativity. Teaching writing is not just about spelling or grammar but understanding what is expected with different writing genres. The following steps can guide you to selecting a genre, collecting ideas, planning and writing.

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Asian Pacific American History Month: Five Ways to Celebrate

map-23520_1280.pngThis April is the 25th year for Asian Pacific American Month, and here at Big Universe, we want to recognize the great value Asian Americans and Pacific Americans give our society.  Representing cultures from the Asian continent as well as the island nations of the Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia, it’s a time to celebrate the diversity of the culture and the people with heritage from those places.  Let these ideas below give your lesson plans life.

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Teaching the Tale: Language & Memory

 

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Fairy tales and Folktales are stories often told to children beginning at a young age through primary grades. There are significant points in stories where there are repetitive words and phrases which help readers understand the tale and build accuracy. Those repetitive phrases allow students to be more engaged in the story, build language skills, and benefit English Language Learners.

 
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Cinco de Mayo: Celebrating Big Universe Style

sombrero-2101560_1920.jpgToday is Cinco de Mayo, a holiday commemorating the Battle of Puebla, which resulted in a victory for the Mexicans fighting against the French on May 5, 1862.  This was a decisive victory for Mexico, and celebrations inclue feasting, games, and parades where some dress in soldier attire appropriate for the period.  This year it’s been 155 years since the battle took place, and it lends itself to be a great opportunity to celebrate Mexican American culture in the your classroom, as Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Mexico and the United States.  Check out our titles and lesson activity ideas below!

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Summer Slide

iStock_000005034618XSmall.jpgWe are in the home stretch! As we round the corner of the last few months of school, are your eyes set on summer vacation?  Let us remember not all students look forward to summer. For many is not always an enjoyable time for them. Most low income students do not have the resources available to explore things beyond their own neighborhood. Many may not have books in their homes or an internet connection.  “Summer Slide” affects this population the most. This post will discuss the basics of summer slide and what can be done to prevent it from happening.

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The Benefits Of Using Nursery Rhymes

images-7.jpgTeaching nursery rhymes have been a part of my primary classroom for many years now, it is how I begin each school year! Reciting nursery rhymes help to bring us closer together as a class in the beginning of the year, to share in the fun of reciting rhymes and singing together. Nursery rhymes are not just for toddlers, they can be used for children of all ages! They are important for young children because they can help to develop their language base. The rhyme and rhythm found in nursery rhymes help kids hear the sounds and syllables in words, this will help lead to stronger readers!      

The language benefits of using nursery rhymes in the classroom are many. When children hear nursery rhymes, they are hearing the sounds that vowels and consonants make and how to put these together to create meaning. They learn to use rhythm, pitch, volume, inflection and animated voice. In nursery rhymes, children hear new words that they would not hear in everyday language (like fetch and pail in “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water”).

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Why They Work: Three Reasons for Using Word Walls and Spelling Dictionaries in the Classroom

education-390765_1920-1.jpgLots of things are different from the time I began teaching until now, but there are a few things that I clearly stand by, specifically word walls and spelling dictionaries. Word walls are often displays posted in the classroom of common words, content or unit-specific vocabulary, and easily misspelled words. They’ll look different depending on the classroom and grade, but they’re generally organized in alphabetical order, similarly to the spelling dictionary. Spelling dictionaries are portable word walls, where students have the correct spelling of various words at their seats, with many including blank lines where they can write other words they need to spell (e.g. proper nouns). These can be organized alphabetically or phonetically. What makes these tools so effective? Here are a few reasons why every teacher should continue or develop the regular practice of having students use these tools to strengthen their writing.

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Poem in your Pocket Day

writing-1149962_1920.jpgA New York City celebration is now nationwide! This event coincides with National Poetry month. Many people across American have started celebrating April 27th as “Poem in your Pocket Day”. Basically, you have a favorite poem on a slip of paper in your pocket to give away at a moments notice. Here my top ten ideas that require little planning to help you be prepared for this fun day.

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