Archive for September 2013

Aesop’s Fables

Students in EAL class have been improving their storytelling skills by reading and retelling folktales, pourquoi tales, and fables for the ‘STORYTELLING’ Unit of Inquiry. They have learned many different storytelling techniques such as using actions  and gestures, changing and projecting their voice,  and interactive call and response techniques with the audience. 

We have practiced several variations of an improv activity called story circle.   They create and tell a story together on the spot, as a class.  One person starts the story and stops at opportune times for the next person to pick up the story.  The first time we tried this each person was responsible for only a word of the story.  The next time, each person was responsible for adding a sentence or two.  They had a lot of fun adding new and silly events to the story.

Currently, the students are working in pairs to develop partner fable retellings.  We are using the book fables You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You where each pair has chosen one of Aesop’s fables to read to each other.  The fables are short and perfect for partner work.



Here is an example: The Rooster and the Fox.

rooster and the fox One student is responsible for reading the Rooster’s part and the other will read as the Fox. We are using these short two part fables to help the students work on their fluency.







To add another modality to the presentation, the EAL students are using the iPad app

puppet pals

to create and record the fable.




For this, they must choose photos of the characters and any props they need for the story.  It has been wonderful to watch them working as partners, negotiating which photos to use, cutting out the what they need from the photos using stylus pens and then using their imagination to design the story.  I can’t wait to see what they come up with!

Welcome to 4th Grade EAL

How Much English Do you Know?I asked my fourth grade EAL students to show me, using their arms, how much English they felt they knew.  I am going to ask them again at the end of the year to see if there has been any change in their perception of themselves.

Fourth grade is writing realistic fiction stories at present.  These are fictional stories with believable characters, a believable setting and events that could be true.  I am working with two beginning English language learners.  A boy from Moldova who is a Romanian speaker, and a girl from China.  They entered AISB with very little spoken and written English.  Their first stories were composed of pictures and one sentence per page.  I am so proud of how far they have come in only four weeks!  It is amazing to watch their development and observe all the strategies they are using to become successful writers in English.

Here are a couple of their realistic fiction stories.  Next week, they will have their final celebration for these stories.  For now, here is a sneak preview of their work.

In order to watch the video please use PASSWORD: EAL


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