Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fun with Themes!

Year 4 (for me) of ELL Summer School is in full swing.  I love summer school because it's been my chance to play around with teaching ESL, to implement my teaching philosophies with no strings attached, to create finely crafted, meaningful language use opportunities in contextualized thematic units while engaging students with interesting academic content.

I've taken K-5 students into the ocean, complete with blue cellophane over the lights, windows, and tables, paper scuba masks, and a touch table with real shark teeth and seashells!
grab your snokel and dive in!  :-)
Middle school students went to South Africa during the 2010 World Cup, where they performed Reader's Theater skits of traditional South African folktales and followed the soccer action with daily game reports:
best of all, Spain won it all!  :-)
Last year, more middle schoolers braved the icy cold of Antarctica by making our own pemmican (just like the first explorers!), modeling topographic maps out of sugar cookie dough, and creating Antarctic adventure board games!
brrrrr!  :-)
This year, it's back to K-5 students, and toned down because of a new format.  Nonetheless, we're having a great time learning about the upcoming Summer Olympics!


  1. Oh My Gosh -love that look of Antarctica! It's funny - I often feel like I get to do my best teaching in summer school - really go deep into themes and therefore into all areas. Interesting...

    1. I feel exactly the same way -- glad I'm not the only one! For me, it's because in the summer, I actually have the right amount of time to design the kinds of lessons we would love to do all year but can't go to the trouble of making because of all the other demands and longer hours of the normal school year! Also, I feel more refreshed, excited, and free to try new things during the summer, and there are fewer "official" constraints on curriculum, etc. Glad you liked Antarctica! :-) The ocean was really the best, but you can't quite see how blue it was in the picture.


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