Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Getting back to Language

Wow! The holidays have come and gone - soon the year will do the same; we will be in the midst of 2012!  It seems I've forgotten how to blog during this time - uhhhh ohhhh!

Although, I will find the time to post and/or blog more for the new year.  Sharing of ideas, learning, listening and language is all a part of now and always.

I have an idea which evolved from reading one of my favorite blogs this morning, thought about it all day and want to put it in writing this evening.  I believe it will be great for my students at school and even better as something to put into action at home.  The power of language can be a gift, and if you can have a conversation you can pass the gift of language from one person to another, and from there the gift will grow.  As it always has been, old teach the new. 
The first unit I'll work on when children return to school will be winter; cold, snow, snowman, seasons and clothes.  The children will build vocabulary and use it in simple to complex sentence patterns and structuring language.  The introduction will begin with the older students discussing and reading a story about one of the mentioned topics for the unit.  For instance, Jan Brett's The Hat, has animals and clothing-those can be categories learned for younger students.  This story also has idioms presented by each of the animals in the story and are great for older students to learn and understand.  Another story by this author for second and third graders - Hedgie's Surprise,  great as Reader's Theater, but even better at sequencing a story and again, learning about animals along with their babies.  We'll have a great time re-enacting the story, developing vocabulary and deciding on repeated sentence patterns; even discussing the meanings of repeated lines with idioms. I guess this part of language building makes me the elder and them the young ones - Ah ha!  Anyway, I digress, we will then make a gift box with items from the story and the older students can decide from there how to show or use the items with the younger students.  All of it must spark language and a conversation to begin between them.  What the older students do from there is up to them - but I'm crossing my fingers and I'm hoping they insist on creating amongst themselves.  Adults not invited until they are finished!
What about parent and child - the same concept in hand; can you imagine!! Jan Brett's book, The Hat, has the animals running around the farm yard trying different pieces of clothing to become their perfect warm winter hat. Kind of like that 'Easter bonnet' you are suppose to show off!  Can you imagine!!! you, the parent/caregiver, running around the house with your child running after you, to find the perfect hat. 
I can imagine 'the language coming and is turning into conversation'!!!
 The gift of language is alive and doing well and the conversations of 2012 will be great!

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