Using Anticipation Guides with ELLs

I like using anticipation guides in my guided reading groups because it allows my ELLs to have an idea about what the story will be about and also sets a purpose for reading!


Flying Start Informational Text M


Anticipation Guide聽

My steps to using an anticipation guide:

  1. Intro book’s main idea – table of contents skim and scan
  2. Front load any important vocabulary
  3. True/False Anticipation Guide- Set a purpose for reading
  4. Read for fluency and comprehension
  5. Thumbs up if you find information from the anticipation guide and monitor your comprehension
  6. Fill out After/During Reading and change any Falses to Trues with new information

Let me know if you use anticipation guides and like them for previewing the text to your ELLs!


Low-prep Effective Vocabulary Strategy!

Today, I am going to tell you about a quick, easy, low prep, engaging, effective strategy for practicing vocabulary! I learned about this through Bringing Words to Life and it is called a Word Line Continuum. Once you have selected your Tier 2 vocabulary words, you draw a number line on the board and make up some scenarios with the words. As you can see below, my target words were tend, make ends meet, and preserve. I drew a line and made my two ends least surprised and most surprised. Then, I made up some scenarios that may be unbelievable or crazy! The key is to pick scenarios that the students would want to discuss. Then, the students think what they would be most or least surprised by and place it on their own line or put the numbers in order and then they have to justify it- ie. ” I was most surprised with the dog tending to the baby because a dog would not be able to take care of a baby.”聽IMG_0058

I love using this because it shows me if they really understand the word or not, they are using the target words in another way rather than making sentences or definitions and they enjoy it! Below you can see another one I have done with the vocabulary words on the side.


I hope you can try this in your classroom for an engaging oral vocabulary practice!

Happy Thanksgiving! I am sorry I have been absent for a long time. This school year is super busy but I can’t believe it is already time for Thanksgiving break. There is one more night and one half day of conferences separating me from break! I hope everyone has a restful and blessed break. I am so thankful to God for my health, job, and my awesome family and most of all for the relationship I can have with Him because of Jesus!

How I use Raz-Plus/Reading A-Z in the ELL classroom

Reading A-Z or RAZ- Plus is a resource a lot of schools offer but it can be overwhelming to navigate! There are so many great books, activities, and lessons that it is hard to pick what will work best for our ELL students. I have explored it for the past few years and am here to tell you what works for me!

I have a subscription to RAZ- Plus ELL edition. When I enter it, I go under ELL Leveled Reader Packs and see what topic I want my book to be about.


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My favorite feature of the ELL Leveled Readers is the vocabulary folder and the vocabulary cards. I print these out and the students use them throughout the week to study with and to play games with. As you can see, they are under day 1. I use the attached lesson plans or graphic organizers sometimes, but even if I do not use them, I glance at them to see what skills could be taught using these books!

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Here are some ideas of how I actually use these in my room with the unit I am working on with my newcomers now.

  1. Students take them home to study their vocabulary
  2. Students categorize them (as seen in picture below)
  3. Students use them as flash cards to quiz each other by showing the person the visual while covering the word
  4. Students form sentences using the words
  5. Students with higher language proficiency can connect two words together by saying ______ and ______ are connected because ________________.



Here students are studying the seasons and adding the words that go under each season

These are just some ways I like to use these vocabulary cards! Let me know if you have any other ideas of how you would use them.

Thanks for reading,


Labeling in the ELL classroom

Labeling has become my best friend this year in my groups. It is such a simple thing but I know it is an effective strategy for all ELL’s. Today, I am going to give you some ideas of how you can use labeling with newcomers as well as students who are level 3 -4’s. I use Jen Jones products for these labeling activities. It is easy to find your own but I like it all in one product from TPT.



As my newcomers come in, I have the picture of the day on the board. 聽They get their folders and they have their own packet where they have the image. They start labeling it with whatever words they may know. Sometimes they may know just the colors and body parts, since that is what we are working on, and that is OKAY! Then, we brainstorm together and I introduce new vocabulary to them, like grass, rocks, trees, etc.

The labels then become our word bank and we write a caption for the picture. For now, they start with the sentence starter, “I see…” 聽and they try their best to form a sentence using the words from the word bank. I listen to their formation, and then respond with the correct formation and write it down. They copy down this caption under their own! As the year goes on, we will add more labels to the pictures such as adjectives, verbs, and different sentence starters for the caption!

I love these activities because they build the student’s Tier 1 vocabularies, provide opportunities for writing, provide background knowledge, and even incorporate some informational text features (caption, labels).

More Proficient Students


With my more proficient 4th graders, I use Picture of the Day from Jen Jones as well. The concept is similar but it incorporates some reading strategies. The students also come in and label the image but then we make observations and inferences based on the image. You can see some of the examples that they came up with with our first picture. I like this activity because it allows the students time to interact. I have them turn and talk to a partner about the observations and then also about the inferences. After we share them, they pick one each to write down in their notebooks!


Let me know if you love labeling and using images as much as I do! Thanks for reading 馃檪



Things your Spanish teacher never taught you: Giving commands!


When I was in high school Spanish, I remember always being frustrated by forming commands. It seems confusing that there were so many different conjugations just to say “Sit down” or “Talk!” I would just avoid ever forming them and just use tener + que + verb (tienes que sentarte) instead.

A few years ago, I really started studying them and made myself learn them and practice them! Here are some silly tips about forming commands that might help you remember them better. This is just for regular conjugations, not the irregulars!

  1. Informal Affirmative T煤 Commands – This means you want someone to do something. You would use these with students or friends.聽Since you use the t煤 form when talking to friends, it is usually a easy conversation to have- just like forming the command!
  • Just think about the t煤 form and drop the -s
    • hablas- habla
    • comes- come
    • caminas – camina

Easy peasy, just like talking to friends!

2. Formal Affirmative Usted Commands-聽This would be a command given to a parent or another older teacher or someone you are not close to or want to be polite to. These conversations tend to be harder or a little more stressful. Just like forming the command takes one extra step!

  • Think about the t煤 form command, drop the s, but change the ending to the opposite (a to e,聽e to a) or the present subjunctive if you want to be fancy
    • hablas- hablae- hable
    • comes- comea- coma
    • caminas- caminae- camine

One extra step, but not too bad!

These are the first two basic commands I thought I would share with you. You would use these when talking to one person, not a group. So, when you forget how to form a command when talking to someone, think easy peasy when talking to friends and just drop the -s and when you are using usted, just do one extra step and change the ending to the opposite.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you have any tips you like to use when speaking Spanish!

Things you did not learn in Spanish class… Apologizing!

IMG_20161224_130859Lo siento… Sorry in Spanish, right? Wrong! Well kind of… It depends on the context. Today, I want to write about something that has confused me in Spanish for the longest time and share my thoughts and some tips if you are a Spanish learner. I started learning Spanish in high school and have been practicing and learning ever since. As a pre-k assistant, I had to constantly tell my students to apologize to their friends, for hitting each other, stealing their toys, or cutting in line. I would always say, “Dile lo siento…” thinking it meant our equivalent of “Tell him sorry” or “Say sorry.”

After saying this a few hundred times and hearing native speakers, I realized this was not the best way to apologize and the Spanish language had a few different ways to express being sorry. 聽Here are the three I have found that might help if you are wondering the best way to apologize in different contexts or ask students to apologize.

  1. Lo siento

The literal meaning of this means ” I feel it.” This would be appropriate if someone is telling you about losing a family member or complaining about their life. You are offering sympathy when you say this. The English equivalent might be something like ” I am sorry to hear that.”

2. Perd贸n,聽Perd贸name, Perd贸neme聽

The literal meaning of the first one would be “Sorry” and the next two would be “Forgive me” 聽in the informal and formal conjugations. If you bump into someone, you would just say “perd贸n” and that would just act as an English “excuse me,” “pardon me,” or just “sorry.” The other two you would use if you are asking someone for forgiveness after you made a mistake. You can also use聽disculpa/disculpe聽for these situations but it seems a little formal.

3. Pedir disculpas, pedir perd贸n聽

This is what I should have been saying to my students when I wanted them to apologize to each other. “Pedir” means to ask so these would literally mean, ” to ask for apologies” and “to ask forgiveness.”

So… when you want to tell a student to apologize to another student, instead of “dile lo siento” you can say anyone of these:

  • tienes que pedirle disculpas/perd贸n
  • quiero que le pidas disculpas/perd贸n
  • P铆dele聽perd贸n/ P铆dele disculpas


Thank you for reading! I hope this helped and as you know, I am not a native speaker so if you see something incorrect here, please let me know! Gracias 馃檪