Friday, October 29, 2010

Children of the World Say "Good Morning" By Herbert Mc Clure

This is not the newest book in the shelf but I just love it. I imagine if you've been around the ELL world, you have found that greetings in different languages are beautiful ways to acknowledge people, make remarks of the weather or time of day but, most of all being kind to others. This is a great book that reviews different languages and the way they say "good morning". Each greeting includes a phonetic pronunciation under the spelling of each phrase. Each word is printed in the corresponding alphabet, which includes Japanese, Chinese and Arab. It's a great resource to discuss greetings. I have a lot of students from different Asian countries and I haven't found texts that include languages like Laotian, Kamai (Cambodia), Thai or Burmese, though. If any of you know of some books, let me know!

Who am I? by Aylette Jenness

OK, so let me start by saying that I was so surprised to find out this book costs so little money. You can check for yourself if you click on the title. I think this is such a precious book to talk about how we all have a cultural and ethnic heritage to be proud of. This realistic fiction book is about a Caucasian student seeking to participate in "Family Heritage Day" at his school. I love to read this to my ELL students because it shows them that all people have a cultural heritage. I'd love to hear your comments about this one in particular. What is your own ethnic heritage? Do you find your ethnic heritage is a hook or a hindrance to teach English Language Learners?

Anno's Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno

Click on the title to see this book.

I wonder if you know Anno's Alphabet by the same author. This is as beautiful and practical as the former. An excellent book for newcomers in the upper elementary grades 3 - 5. It is great for practicing numbers, counting as well as learning the vocabulary included in the pictures. The addition of the items not only helps with the mathematical concepts of adding and counting but, as things appear it leaves no doubt of the meaning of the words that are being said and repeated. Perfect for Beginner or Early-Intermediate students in the K-2 grades.

I would recommend this book as a must for the ELL classroom library.

Color Farm By Lois Ehlert

You can see this book by clicking on the title!

This is a great picture book for beginner students. It is simple yet fun! The student can look at the colors, the shapes and animals. The best visuals for ELL students are pictures with "real" things, I think. However, this book's design of the animals is pretty accurate. I particularly love the cut-outs inside so you can see the same shape in three different colors, so when all you can practice is "square" or "green" over and over, you get variations.

I also find it useful to show all students how drawing is all about shapes.

I recommend this book for the classroom library.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Anatole. By Eve Titus. Illus. Paul Galdone

Anatole reminds me of the hard working mouse in the movie Ratatouille and the courageous Desperaux. Anatole is a much older character, though. I picked this book up from my Public Library because it has a 50th anniversary seal on its cover. The illustrations look old but, the story is as fresh and relevant as ever. Anatole is faced with an existentialism crisis. This search takes him from a happy existence as a "trash collector" to an honorable and reputable position as vice-president in charge of cheese tasting at the Duval Cheese Factory.

I used the book to talk about occupations. We also did a character study. This book is a great book to discuss character traits because the main character is rich with them. I find this a useful thing to review because the concept of traits is a complex one and can be easily confused with "treats". Just this school year, I've had two students who've read the word as "treats".

The language is rather complex and formal. I would advice to use this book as a read aloud or a book to study and compare other mouse characters.

The Pencil By Allan Ahlberg, Illus: Bruce Ingman

Click on the title to see this book.

The Pencil is a wonderful book for all levels. It is a Fantasy book about a pencil who starts drawing a fun and wonderful world that most students can relate to. There are wonderful basic phrases like: "What's my name?". As well as complex language like leopards and tigers.

I used it to talk about occupations with all my groups. We talked about the job of a pencil and a paintbrush. The conversations carried us into some interesting and valuable teachable moments. Additionally with the 4th and 5th graders I used it as an example for descriptive words or character traits in this genre.

With my kindergarten beginner's group, the pictures tell the story so well that not reading the text didn't matter. The students understood the problem and practicing "What's my name?" was a blast!

I strongly recommend this book as a must in the ELL classroom library. I am sure you'll be able to use it in so many other different ways! I'd love to hear what you do with it.