The Perfect Solution to Literacy for English Language Learners

picture of ESL students learning phonics

How would you like to start your calendar time with some awesome vocabulary?

How would you like your students getting excited when they see these words around the school and in books they read? How would you LOVE to see a bank of words that give your students confidence when they write??  This word of the day calendar approach is going to change your life.

Speaking of changing your life, as a teacher anyway, Sign up for a free packet for Learning that Clicks and Sticks and get free templates.

One of my words for the beginning of school is teacher and this was in the hall. One of my ELL students got so excited when he saw this! He said, “Look Teacher! Here is our calendar word!”

picture of word teachers

This student announced that she found our calendar word school in her reading book!

picture of student finding words

This student pointed out our calendar word discover in October. I praise them for being great “word detectives” when they show me these words, and they just love that!

picture of student finding words

So how do I get these great results?

Each day I introduce a word that is part of a theme. There are 4 or 5 themes built into each calendar. These words have helped my students to improve their writing skills as well as build their vocabulary. They are especially helpful to my ELL students because the words are words that they can visualize.  We call them words that activate your senses.  The bank of content words each week gives my students so much confidence, and helps them to stay on topic. Read more about concept-based teaching.

These resources are called Daily Concept Builders™ because that is what I do  with these words every day!  I help my students build concepts that are important to their learning! The real photos on the word wall cards help them make connections to the words, and  the calendars are editable, which makes them invaluable as a lifetime resource.  Many teachers agree.  Just look at some of the wonderful comments…

“This is a wonderful product! My students and I are loving it!”    

“This has been an incredible way to build vocabulary with my kinder-bears. They look forward to each new word and are using their new words in a variety of situations. Thank you.”  

“Vocabulary is one of my goals. These are great!”  

“My class LOVES their journals. This is such a great resource and is saving me so much time!!!! Thanks!”    

“I love the theme of the calendar, it gives the calendar some character. It gives me another activity to do in the morning.”  

“An absolutely wonderful resource! I can’t wait to use this with my ESOL students and build their vocabulary! I love your products! Thank you!”  

Each calendar includes a student copy with cut and paste pieces that help students to build a pattern as they fill in their calendars. There are teacher guides for the class copy as well as the student calendars.

picture of vocabulary calendar

My students love coloring their pieces and having their own copy of the calendar! They keep them in a pocket folder. I have my students cut and color their pattern pieces for the week, so that they have the words to refer back to as we discuss our theme all week.  I know some teachers make copies of the included journal page, hole punch them, and put them in pocket folders. I had my students write about their words in a daily calendar notebook.

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lifetime vocabulary calendars

This is a journal entry of one of my students using several of his calendar words. I encourage my students to use multiple words from the calendar in their sentences. I also include a sight word a day for them to add in their sentences.  The Daily Concept Builders™ cut and paste activities incorporate a calendar word and a sight word for each day. They are great for your literacy centers!

picture of student writing

Quality was the word for that day. I always write each word on the board and we clap out the syllables. We had students and teacher on previous days and can was the sight word. This student also circled ten in listen because we always break the word of the day into small chunks when I write it on the board. He was applying all of these skills to his journal writing! This challenge of using multiple words from their calendar really helps my students use their critical thinking skills.

picture of ESL student doing phonics

Eventually, I have my students initiate writing the words on the board and breaking the words into chunks. The word was attitude here.  She circled the at and it and then asked my kids to provide more   –at words. The result is the list above. I just love watching my students teach one another!

These are some writing samples using the calendar words each month. These words have given my students great confidence when they write!

picture of student writing

picture of student writing

You can see that by May, my students really increased their writing! WOW!picture of student writing

This is one of my ELL students who didn’t have much English at the beginning of the year. I just love hearing her voice in this piece of writing!

picture of student writing

These Daily Concept Builders™ Lifetime Calendars

These fabulous Brain Bounce cards pair perfectly with the calendar words!

vocabulary quiz games

I tape the cards around the room and the students walk around, filling out the recording sheet that is included. You can do this as a pre-assessment at the beginning of the month to see what their knowledge of the words is.  After you teach the words, you can assess again to see the students’ progress. I also let my kiddos pair up, practice the words, and discuss what they mean before we play the game.

picture of ESL student answering question

My students love playing the game Brain Bounce! I break the class up into two teams and they get points for getting the correct answers. They pick a card, read it, and answer the questions about the calendar words. Some teachers like using the cards for Scoot which is also fun. Directions for Scoot are included if you haven’t played it before. Kids love Scoot!

student playing a vocabulary card game

One second grade teacher told me that she likes to just copy a few sets of the cards in black and white and use them at tables for discussion during her unit time.  You may want to use the cards when you introduce the word of the day.  For example, read the Brain Bounce card and ask your students to guess what the word is.  There are limitless possibilities!  Purchase them now at a great value.


Digital Literacy

I was so excited to discover Boom Cards! I found that I can use them in my literacy centers to reinforce the vocabulary words as well as help my students with reading skills. I have added our emergent readers with audio as well as vocabulary in Boom cards, so it has helped my ESL students to practice reading on their own. The combination of the printable with the digital resources have made a difference in their success.

You can read more about Boom HERE!

This is an example of our American Symbols Boom. Check out the Bundle that includes printable and Boom Here!

Happy Literacy Learning!

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