Where Children and parents can discuss their thinking, ideas and the world!
Dear Parents and Children,
Welcome to a new year of learning English and discovering the world. For those of you who are continuing the journey of language discovery and exploration with me, I am so happy to work with you again! For those of you who are new to our program and my classroom, I hope that you will explore the different ways to communicate and learn in English and in your home language.
My philosophy of teaching English as a second or new language is rooted in using everything you already know in your own language and helping you to discover how to make those language connections to transfer what you already know. Learning languages is a skill that serves us in many ways - we learn about different cultures, we are able to think about language and use what we know to make connections and research has shown that "Rather than causing confusion, it is now understood that the constant need to manage attention between two languages fosters children’s thinking about language per se, and
leads to increased metacognitive and metalinguistic skills (Bialystok, 2007)
This year, we will have many opportunities to work together creating a strong connection between home and school. It is my hope to be able to learn from your culture and to integrate that knowledge into my teaching. As always, I encourage you to continue to speak your home language, to read to your children good literature from your culture, to have meaningful conversations in your language and to try to develop a rich vocabulary and a variety of concept or content knowledge.
My door is always open so please contact me if you have any concerns or if you are interested in learning more about raising bilingual children or ways to help your children become bi-literate.
After Yangsook Choi came to visit our school, some of our students really wanted to create their own "cat characters". Here is a book that students in Mrs. Harle's class wrote and illustrated with the help of their teachers. Enjoy reading their descriptions and please feel free to comment on their amazing illustrations.
Once again, we were so lucky to have Ms.Choi in our schools. Her visit was an incredible culmination of Ms.Schnee's time in South Korea. We were all so lucky to have this opportunity!
We had an amazing visitor who came all the way from Korea. Author Yangsook Choi came to our schools to share how she was inspired to write The Name Jar and to teach us what illustrators do. She read us her book, New Cat and then she taught us how to draw a cat based on using certain vowels and consonants.
I met Ms.Choi in Korea when I was there as a Fulbright recipient this fall. I have always admired and used her book, The Name Jar, to talk about being bilingual, new to a country and how important and essential it is to love who we are, starting with our names.
It was incredibly exciting to have her come to River Edge and meet students and teachers. Everyone had questions for her and made her feel like a "rock star". Teachers and students asked her to sign her books and parents participated in a wonderful talk about creativity, imagination and being multicultural.
It was an honor to have Yangsook Choi at our school and an amazing benefit from my Fulbright experience. Please look at our photos and post your thoughts.
Dear Parents and Students,
I am back from South Korea after five months of the most extraordinary learning experience. Please feel free to make an appointment if you would like to meet with me.
I went to South Korea on a Fulbright Distinguished Teaching Award Scholarship to do research on education and English language education in Korean schools and universities.
It was a privilege to learn about Korean culture, its language and its ancient and complicated history. Seoul is an exciting and thriving city that never stops. I loved everything about it!
Please visit my blog to find out the places I visited and things I learned:
I will miss you in the fall but will share stories and experiences from South Korea. Please stay tuned.
Below are some pictures to celebrate the year! As this school year draws to a close, I want to thank all of the students, families and teachers who made learning exciting and meaningful. It is wonderful to watch our Kindergartners and first graders grow as they become independent and successful learners.
You make teaching fun, challenging and the best reason to keep on learning!
As I begin to get ready to go to South Korea this fall , our Korean families are teaching me about their culture and are sharing lots of wonderful information. The families had a picnic that kicked off my experience - breaking the boards with a Tae Kwon Do move! It was the beginning of a new experience.
I will miss you during my travels but I will share stories and experiences from South Korea. Please stay tuned.
Below are some pictures to celebrate the year!
Dear Parents and Students,
After lots of rain and cold weather, we can safely say that spring is finally here!
We have been observing how trees blossom, how daffodils bloomed and died and how we can again hear birds chirping and singing. Here are two pictures that show signs of spring.
Guess where this cherry blossom is blooming?
Another thing I love to do in the spring is go to museums. This is a picture of children playing outside. It is part of the collection of the New York Public Library. Are the children dressed like you? Do you play this game called croquet?
On another Sunday exploring New York City, I discovered a wonderful street filled with colorful flowers. What do you think of these flowers?
This month we have been reading different books by Kevin Henkes. Can you tell your parents which ones you liked and why? Can you post your answer for all of us to read?
We have been writing poetry in Kindergarten and first grade. The poem below was written with my first grade friends and Ms.Boucher. Her class was learning about South Korea. We had lots of questions and we wrote a poem titled "I Wonder??" Please read it and post some questions you might have about South Korea.
And speaking of South Korea, last Saturday some of my students invited me to see a wonderful performance by the Korean Traditional Dance of Choomnoori.I took some pictures which you can see below. It was a great chance for me to see beautiful dancers and dancing and to learn more about their country. Please look at the photographs and write some comments.
Some Exciting News
This fall, I will be in South Korea learning about schools, teachers, students and life in this country. I will be going as a Fulbright Scholar and hope to share what will learn with all of you.
Winter can be grey, sunny, bright, dark, snowy, windy and sometimes even a bit warm.
Here are some photographs of what nature looks like in winter on the beach, a farm and a snowy day. These are some of my most favorite places and things to do that I want to share with you.
Please look at the photographs and write a post about something you love to do in winter. You can send a picture too.
Fall is a beautiful season. It is filled with colors and changes. I went for a ride to the North Fork of Long Island and here are some pictures that I took for you. We have been learning about apples and pumpkins, orchards and patches. Please look at the pictures below and write a comment. Enjoy!
We love to read and discuss the work of Kevin Henkes in first grade. We have many "literary conversations", we infer about the different characters and think about how they are similar or different from us.