April Bulletin Board

semana santa 14 005 Last April we focused on our environmental responsibility; we learned about pollution, recycling and made seed bombs for Earth Day.  This year I didn’t have time to plan activities for Earth Day because it was Culture Week but I still decorated the English Board with a couple classes.

Instead of repeating the environmental awareness theme from last year, I wanted the students to focus on their roles on this Earth and know that they each play a big part.  The theme was “We’ve got the whole world in our hands.”  There are so many versions of this song nowadays, here is a different version I was thinking about teaching the younger classes.

With the pre-kindergarten class we painted our hands blue and green to make a globe, it didn’t come out super clear but the kids had fun.  The second grade class has been learning about jobs so we wrote “When I grow up I want to be…”  their answers and pictures were darling, here are a few to share.semana santa 14 008earth daysemana santa 14 010semana santa 14 006teacher

February Bulletin Board ’14

mobile 071 This year I wanted to try something new.  Many kids at my school and others make fun of the Asian students calling them names or in some way poking fun at their culture, language and lifestyle.  I hate this.  I love to learn from other cultures and I want the kids to learn to respect where people come from, their culture and learn from it as well.  There are so many aspects of other cultures that these kids have adopted already without paying tribute to the origin.  So, for February I created a Chinese New Year English Board Poster.  In Spain this holiday is celebrated by many because there is a large Chinese immigrant population here.  I know by my apartment there were fireworks going off and in Parla they sent off Chinese lanterns to bring in the New Year.

mobile 073For the year of the horse I created a large horse silhouette, below it I showed the snake slinking away as last year’s news but he left wchinese new yearishing the kids good luck in the New Year.  I also posted interactive flaps the kids could lift to find out what their sign was or learn the history of Chinese New Year.  I hope some kids liked it.  At least, I know they liked the horse stickers because the lil buggers stole them.

Thanksgiving

thanksgiving bulletin boardLuckily at the school I work at they have never asked me to create a Thanksgiving Day presentation, otherwise I wouldn’t know how to approach it.  But this year I decorated the English board with a Thanksgiving Day turkey theme.  I wanted to pay tribute to this majestic animal that Ben Franklin thought should have been our national bird.  I agree with Ben but I am biased because I had baby turkeys while I was growing up and Ben was one of my idols as a kid.  So for the Bulletin board I wrote up 13 facts about turkeys in English and with Spanish translation.  The kids had to lift up the flaps to read the facts; I thought that would make it more enticing.  Being vegetarian I may have added one or 2 eye-openers as well.   And fact number 13 was a picture of me as a baby with my baby turkeys plus a little written fact about me, I think it was the one they looked at the most.

Besides the facts I also had my 4th grade class write up things they are thankful for on big turkey feathers and we used them to make a rather beautiful turkey centerpiece for the board.

The English board definitely gets more action when I add in a Spanish translation, it is a lot more work for me but the response is wonderful.

May English Board

I was having a tough time coming up with a theme for the English board this month so I browsed the world of pinterest bulletin boards.  What I ended up with was a take on an Angry Birds poster.  The kids here love Angry Birds so as a way to get them to memorize irregular verbs and some past participles I displayed my take on the Angry Verbs theme.
angry birdsangry birdsAngry Verbs

The kids loved it, so much that they tore the whole poster down by mid month from trying to jump and tap the pause button.  I just hope some of those verbs stuck in their lil bird brains.

Earth Day

lorax bulletin board

truffala trees

For our April English Board I had the 3rd grade write up ways we can help the planet within a Truffala Tree cut-out.  They colored them in all sorts of wild designs and they were very proud of the outcome.

lorax attacked

Unfortunately, some of the little 2nd graders didn’t think too highly of the Lorax and attacked him with pushpins.

On Earth Day I wanted to try my hand at Seed Bombs with the kids; It was easier than I thought and the kids had a blast playing with mud.  I had a breakthrough with one of my students who refuses to speak a word of English in class.  He is one of my more kinesthetic learners and has a hard time in class because many of the lessons are super text oriented and not always structured for different learning styles.  But he had so much fun with this project that now he makes a point of speaking to me in English, he participates in class now and even shows off a little.  I was so amazed at his level of understanding! all this time I thought he was way behind the rest of the class but all he needed was a project that made learning fun.

Sometimes there are teachers that don’t know how to incorporate the auxiliaries into the lessons, some don’t want us around so they don’t acknowledge us, others let us teach the class but with no advanced notice.   There are also teachers whose level of English and teaching style works great and they don’t need much help in the classroom.  So at times being an auxiliar can be frustrating because you may feel a bit useless.  That is why I like to come up with hands on projects for the kids, for the most part the teachers welcome the change and the students will respect you for it; it could make a great impression on their lives.

Seed Bombsseed bomb projectseed bombs

Here is what you need to make Seed Bombs

(portions depend on class size):

-Seeds (wildflowers, herbs, vegetables)

-Good Dirt (potting soil, workable soil and if it has clay even better)

-Clay (powdered); if there is clay in your dirt you won’t need to add more.  I couldn’t find powdered clay so i used moist natural potter’s clay and it worked just fine.

-Water

We worked on the Seed Bombs outside.  We gave each student about 2 small cups of dirt, 2 pieces of clay which they broke up into tiny pieces, then some water.  They mixed them all up into palm sized balls then we sprinkled some seeds on them and they mixed them in.

If the ball seems to be falling apart then either add more water or some clay.  If it is too wet then add more dirt and clay.  If you don’t have clay or they are not staying together then wrap each ball in a bit of newspaper.

Let them dry overnight.  I had the kids bring in egg cartons so they could take their seed bombs home.  When they are dry throw them in an ugly lot or plant them in your garden.  If you wrapped them in newspaper then dip them in a little water before you throw them.

Please comment with any seed bomb tips or other earth day activities!

February Bulletin Board

heart posterFor February’s English Board display I went a little overboard.  I had one idea after the other and I ended up mushing them all together into one mess of a mural but it was a lot of fun.

First I spent some time with the Infantil English Class, they are soo adorable and really impressed me with how well some of them understood English.  The project was to paint their hands with colors of red, white and pink and make hand prints.  Later I would assemble them into a heart and write a quote as an outline.  I asked one girl if she had already made a hand print and she responded with “no, I did.” I really didn’t think I was going to get a response from this tiny little 3 year old but I was so proud of her.

heartThen I had an idea based off of a video I had seen where parents ask kids what they think love means.  So I went around asking kids from every grade on the playground “what is love?”  I wish I had video taped it.  Here are the responses ( I also added these to the mural) :

-“Love is when a person likes another person and they have an energy in common.” – Valeria, 5th

-“Love is a feeling in the heart.” -Alicia, 5th

-“Love is when they hug you and they love you.  My dad helps me with my homework.”- Natalia, 3rd

-“It’s what you feel when someone likes you.” -Sergio, 5th

-“Love is when you like a person and you spend a lot of time with them.” – Valeria, 4th

-“Love is when you kiss a person and I think they like it.”- Paula, 4th

-“Love is a thought.”- Nico, 3rd

-“Love is a very beautiful word.”- Kenia, 3rd

-“People give presents.”- Jorge, 3rd

-“It’s when a person is very interesting because he’s in love.” -Claudia, 4th

-“Love is love.” -Manuel, 5th

-“You have a date.”- Jorge, 5th

-“Love is when you send letters with kisses and you take them into a corner and discuss your lips.” – Hector, 5th

-“Love is when you have a boyfriend and then you get married.” -Sarah Q, 4th

-“I know my mom loves me because she pinches my cheeks.” – Javier, 5th

-“It’s when one girl likes a boy or a girl.” -Diego S, 5th

-“Love is a feeling you feel when you love someone.” -Alvaro, 4th

-“Love is beautiful.” -Iker, 4th

-“Love is something that happens between two people.” – Eva, 5th

cupidAnd I couldn’t help but include my beloved 3rd grade into the project, so they drew pictures of “love” within a heart cutout.  But since there are 45 of them the mural had a bit too much going on. But all in all the kids loved it, and that’s all that matters.

International Woman’s Day

 

I haven’t written in a while but life can get a bit busy between work, school, friends and growth.

Friday was International Woman’s Day around the globe.  I didn’t know that in some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday.  How rad is that?  I think we need to work on making that happen in the US.

But since I am in Spain and working at an Elementary School I felt compelled to turn the English Board into a Woman’s Board for the month.  I owe so much to so many amazing women so it was really hard narrowing it down to just 20.  I also didn’t want to overload the board with Americans, I wanted to make it more global so I asked for some help from other sources.  Unfortunately, most of the Spanish women I talked to couldn’t give me a list of women they admired from their history and culture.  But the kids had something to say; One girl told me about her mother who is a fireman and another who is a computer scientist.  So my next project for the month is going to be talking with the kids about the women on the board and then asking them to write about a woman they know and admire, someone who inspires them.  And then we will make a board with their pictures and stories.  I hope I have time to make it happen but if not I’m definitely working on this next year.

woman's board

Here is a picture of the board.  I had a hard time narrowing down the women but here are the ones we used: Rosa Parks, Susan B Anthony, Clara Barton, Harriet Tubman, Aung San Suu Kyi, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Michelle Obama, Margaret Sanger, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Rachel Carson, Frida Kahlo, Susan Wojcicki, Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan, Edurne Pasaban Lizarribar,  Maria Tecla Artemesia Montessori, Isabel Allende, Salley Ride, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Goodall…there were so many more we wanted to put up but next time we’ll plan more in advance.

I wanted to make it an interactive board to draw interest.  So each woman’s picture has a quote underneath and then if you lift the flap you’ll find a very brief and dumbed down bio since it is for elementary school age children.  If anything I hope the teachers read them.  Please comment with the women in history you admire and that inspire you so I can improve on the board for next year.

 

Bulletin Board

 

At our school the auxilliares de conversation have an English board at the entrance to one of the main buldings.  Since I arrived the board has been sporting information about St. Patrick’s Day from the year before. Spain 003 We’ve been all pretty busy and haven’t had much time to plan a new board together, but I couldn’t take it anymore.  So since my 4th grade was learning the future tense and the new year was coming up, I had them all write new year resolutions to practice the future tense.  This was the result.

Each lightbulb was filled with the written new years resolution.