Thursday, 24 May 2012

Major Fun with Electronic SuperSpeed Grammar

I thought my class and I were having fun with Electronic SuperSpeed 1000.  Not nearly as much fun as we are having with Electronic SuperSpeed Grammar.  Not only does it drive each concept home (One of my students piped up and said, "OK Miss N, I think we know what a noun is by now!!!"), but it is a lot of fun to do.  So far we have covered nouns, verbs, sentences and adjectives.  I was the most excited about the Sentence lesson because it is always so difficult to get the concept of a sentence across to first graders. This lesson breaks it down and makes it very simple to follow.  Furthermore, A LOT of talking is required.  The sentences that we are coming up with are hilarious, too.  The laughter and smiles all around the room are so much fun for me and the kids.  Here are a few examples:

The delicate bird sang.
The enormous, angry teacher breathed fire.
The precious diamond sparkled.
The spicy pepperoni pizza burned my mouth.

At the end of the day, before my students are dismissed each of them must tell me a sentence following the adjective, noun, verb pattern.  This has really helped spice up their writing and vocabulary.  I give out Super Improver stickers for expecially excellent sentences.  I LOVE Electronic SuperSpeed Grammar.  The ecstatic, gleeful teacher danced with joy because her students were writing such amazing sentences!!

Friday, 4 May 2012

ESL Students and Whole Brain Teaching

This week I have been focused on supporting one of my students who has an assistant for various reasons.  His mother wrote me a long e-mail wondering about everything that we were doing in the classroom to support his learning and requesting other concepts, strategies or resources she and her husband could work with or use with him at home.  In her e-mail she described him as an ESL student.  As I was describing to her the various ways Whole Brain Teaching helped her son with his learning in the classroom, I began to think about how WBT and ESL are connected!  ESL students are enormously supported by the techniques in Whole Brain Teaching.

ESL (English as a Second Language) students are students who speak a different language at home and therefore require additional support at school in order to reach their full learning potential in a primarily English speaking school system.  ESL students are mainly challenged by speaking, reading, and writing (

Whole Brain Teaching supports ESL students by encouraging a lot of communication between students and teacher, as well as student and student, during each lesson.  The Teach/OK! requires students to listen, repeat one another, help one another with language, etc.  Directions are given by teachers in short, succinct, usually one-word cues, that the students then repeat three times.  For example, the teacher may say, "Seats!" to which the students reply, "Seats, seats, seats!" Not only is this encouraging listening, it is providing English language practice three times!!!

Whole Brain Teaching programs such as Electronic Superspeed 100/1000 and Biffytoons support ESL learners by providing bright pictures and gestures along with sight words to helps students memorize new vocabulary.  The Crazy Professor Reading games requires students to read passages several times, ask one another questions regarding the text, and all in an entertaining manner.  This repetition and fun is excellent practice for ESL students.

The Whole Brain Teaching Genius Ladder encourages ESL students to speak orally in complete sentences while they build up their sentence complexity and eventually create their own Genius Paragraph.  Once this skill is mastered it can be translated into writing, providing added practice.

What makes Whole Brain Teaching different than other methods of support for ESL students?  Talking - WBT requires constant communication and repetition!!!!  Students not only listen, everyone is engaged and participating on a constant basis.  What could be better for an ESL student, then practicing the skill you need all the time?

When I first began teaching I remember my university professors and other teachers telling me the best thing to do for ESL learners was to sit them next to a student who loved to talk - students would pick up English in no time.  With WBT, think of all the extra talking that is encouraged throughout the day!!  Can I get an OOOOOhhhhhhh Yeahhhhh!!!!!!