Monday, February 8, 2016

Supporting ELLs with GoNoodle

Building confidence with my ELLs (English Language Learners) is one of my greatest challenges each year.  I work at a school where over 38 languages are spoken, 8 in my own classroom.  With dynamics like this integrating language throughout the day is imperative.
Let me back up a moment, those of you that have been following my blog for awhile know that I have been teaching for over a decade.  My experience started in Michigan, moved to California, and has made a home in Oregon.  I have taught 5th grade, 1st grade, and also kinder through 5th grade ESL.  My experiences have opened my eyes to the incredible diversity we are faced with each day.
My time as a K-5 ESL teacher strengthened my language skills as an educator and overall human.  I have had to become confident in my learning of languages and this is a skill I am constantly working on with my ELLs and EOs.
When I first started using GoNoodle years ago, I noticed and instant confidence among my ELLs.  I started paying closer attention to it and here is what I learned...
1. Song is vital for language growth.  We all know that singing songs is a great way to practice language, but singing and dancing with your peers is one of the greatest ways to feel included.  GoNoodle is packed with songs from Pop See Ko to I Like to Move It.  Who doesn't love to get up, move a little or a lot, and sing your heart out?
2. Word Jam and Bodyspell are the greatest brain breaks for reinforcing vocabulary and phonics.  Both of these brain breaks provide direct language support.  Word Jam teaches students new vocabulary while acting out the words.  We are all about fun Total Physical Response (TPR) in my classroom.  Even better is the fact that I can use the vocabulary words provided or customize my own.  I love adding new words from our PYP units to support my ELLs.
Bodyspell is whole body phonics practice.  I have this brain break on as students enter each day.  Plus, I have added each week's phonics pattern.  This way my kiddos practice their spelling words and phonics patterns every morning.  I have seen so much spelling growth since implementing this brain break daily.
Practicing this week's phonics pattern with Bodyspell.

Practicing our long u words.

Acting out some new vocabulary with Word Jam.

3. Learning needs to be connected to real word experiences.  We all know how important it is for students to transfer their learning from the classroom to the world and vice versa.  How about using GoNoodle to help?  My champs LOVE the Run With Us channel.  We have been working on measurement in math, so I figured I would connect the two.  We learned how to Long Jump and reviewed the importance of standard units of measurement.  We then became Olympic athletes and put our GoNoodle learning and mathematical brains to work in a long jump competition.  Students estimated their jumps and recorded their actual lengths on the sheet below (click on the image to grab a copy).
inches template
meters template

I am so proud of the confidence and language growth my students have already made this year.  I can't wait to see where our brain breaks take us.  I would love to know how you support your ELLs.  Do your ELLs love a particular brain break?
Be sure to head over to GoNoodle's Instagram account.  I am taking over so you can see my champs in action!

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