C has written 37 posts for Early Years English

Computer Science with First Graders, part 6: Showing our work

As our games became more and more playable, we started to turn our attention to showing our work. After all, media needs an audience! The last few sessions revolved around our audience and thinking about what they would need to discover, play and enjoy our work. Today’s learning: Software engineers show their work While I … Continue reading

Steps to Success: a motivational tool for students

I use Steps to Success to motivate and track student achievement in a variety of areas. If you can measure it, you can track it using Steps to Success! Here, I’ll use the example of teaching vocabulary about food to intermediate students who are able to write in English. For students at the pre-writing stage … Continue reading

Computer Science with First Graders, part 5: Testing

Last week, my first graders developed their Scratch code, and their game designs started to take shape. They learned a little more code, and a lot more about communication and collaboration! This week, my aim was to support the students in developing their groupwork skills by ensuring that each group member had a specific role. … Continue reading

Computer Science with First Graders part 4: Adding features

After getting started with Scratch last week, this week we are well into the swing of things! By this stage in the project, my first graders are familiar with some of the language of computer science and some of the possibilities it offers. However, this was our most challenging session yet, with a couple of … Continue reading

Simple phonics

I’m posting a very simple resource today, that I’ve used in many different classrooms, with both English language learners and native English speakers. I find that systematic, synthetic phonics activities are really useful in helping children to understand the connections between the symbols on the page and the sounds they represent. I don’t teach phonics … Continue reading

Computer Science with First Graders part 3: Programming with Scratch

In the first two lessons of our computer science unit, my first graders learned that anyone can code, even without a computer (and proved it!), and that software engineers use their imaginations to plan their work.This week, we learned that software engineers work together. Working in groups, the students started the coding project that will … Continue reading

Computer Science with First Graders part 2: Kodable and Fuzzes

Last week, my first graders and I learned that anyone can code, and we proved it by programming our ‘robots’ to perform all kinds of useful, and sometimes hilarious, tasks for us. This week, we continued to develop our coding skills using Kodable for iPad, our ever-reliable paper and pencil, and a colorful selection of … Continue reading

Computer Science with First Graders part 1: Training Robots

Today was my first week teaching a six-week coding project with multilingual first graders, and it went so well I wanted to share it with you straight away! I’ll update with future lessons as they happen. My students are emergent English-Chinese bilingual, so although many are language learners, they are not all English language learners. … Continue reading

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10 ways to value student knowledge

Learning from students is one of my favorite things about teaching English language learners. They always have new ideas, perspectives, and information to share, and they are always much more willing to talk about topics they have chosen for themselves! Why spend hours planning an interesting topic when you can have the students pick one … Continue reading

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