Friday, 26 April 2013

Old Mac Donald

Here is a video of the song we sang this week as part of our animals theme!  Watch and sing along with your child.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

A day of art and hands on learning

More often than not, the best way to teach colours is to give the children an opportunity to get in and play with them.  This is what we did in the final lesson of this week.  The children went and used the wonderful art room at Upuerê and had the opportunity to experiment with different colours and tools.  There was eye dropper and coloured water, paint and sponges, cotton-tips and brushes.  Everyone was hard at work creating amazing works of art which will be on display at the school next week


Getting messy is all part of being a kid.  As a teacher and a parent we do our best to keep it under control but sometimes, despite your best efforts, this happens....

Oh dear Maria Fernanda!!  How did you manage this - wearing a painting smock?!!  Oh well, the paint will wash out and as you can tell from the look on her face, this little girl had so much fun in English today!!

Let's go outside

Today was a beautiful sunny day so Lilian's class went to the beach for English class.

We all had a great time playing in the sand, singing our song of the week (Beach Beach Sandy Beach) and pretending we were swimming in the sea.

Going on a colour hunt

This week was all about colours and animals.  In English, as you may already know, we put the adjective BEFORE the noun.  By learning colours with an associated noun, the children also pick up this important rule about word order. 

We played a fun game to practice the new vocabulary. I called out an animal and, in small groups, the children had to run and retrieve an object in the same colour.

Fabíola's class loved the story this week.  The vocabulary we have learned is..
brown bear
red bird
yellow duck
blue horse
green frog
purple cat
white dog
black sheep
orange fish

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?

This classic children's picture book has been a huge success in classrooms all over the world.  This week we read the i-pad version, projecting the beautiful illustrations up onto the whiteboard.
You can also purchace an online version of this book from Amazon for your i-pad or kindle.  Alternatively, watch this story with your child on youtube.

Reviewing vocabulary during Circle Time

We have been learning about animals and habitats this week and so we did a quick review during circle time.  In this video you will see the children naming an animal and then to decide where that animal lives. We limited the habitats to forest, sea or farm but next time I will probably use jungle or 'the wild', too.  I'm sorry about the terrible audio.  Circle time was outdoors and there is a lot of backround noise. It's a great video though and I'm sure you will enjoy seeing your children understanding and using English.
Here are some things to look out for while you are watching. 
When they don't know the word in English, they will often use hand gestures and sound effects to get the meaning across without automatically switching to Portuguese. 
You might also notice that I am speaking at a normal speed and using lots of gestures and repetition to help support the meaning of my words.
At the end of the discussion we sing a song. You can watch a video of this song here!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Swimming at the Upuerê beach

Cleo's group had a great time playing at our pretend beach on Friday.  We set up a beach umbrella and beach towel. 

After playing with sand toys and a ball, we had fun splashing around in the sea!

Naturally, we didn't forget to put on our sunscreen to protect our skin!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Taking the lesson outside

It was a beautiful sunny day, so Livia's class went outside to play on the Upuerê beach!
It was a great way to practice the vocabulary and songs we have been learning:
sand, sea, boat, crab, fish, jelly fish, sand...

Luisa N, Maria Eva, Julia and Luisa A had a great time setting up our umbrella and beach towl.
Mateus went for a swim.
Gabriel put on sunscreen.
The boys played with a beach ball.
Everyone had fun climbing on the play equipment.

Down at the Upuerê Beach

We went outside to play on our "beach", feel the sun our our faces and the sand on our feet.  We didn't forget the umbrella, beach towl, toys and sunscreen!
We all had a great time pretending that we really were at the beach.  It was a great way to put our new vocabulary into action!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Sandy Beach

Here are the kids from Fabiola's class singing Sandy Beach by The Wiggles.  Follow this link to watch the music video, read the words and learn about how this song is helping us with pronunciation.

Why so many gestures, Claire?

Some parents are curious about why I spend so much time waving my hands around in the air and getting the children to do the same.   This technique is based on a learning theory called Total Physical Response (TPR).  I have found a great explanation on the British Council blog which describes:
  • Where TPR is from
  • How it can be used in class
  • When it should be used
  • Why it should be used
  • A few useful variations
  • Are there any disadvantages with using TPR?
If you are interested in understaning more, follow this link.

Using songs to teach pronunciation

We have been sing this song as part of our unit on My Town.  Not only does the song fit in with our theme, it also practises an important sound that many Brazilian speakers have trouble with.  

The  t sound at the end of a word is often pronounced as a ch.  This song contrasts both sounds - the lyrics are: Beach, beach, sandy beach, Feel the sand, on your feet.  In fact, in some of the videos I have made of the classes, you can clearly hear this problem.  Everytime we sing the song, it is an opportunity to reinforce the difference between difficult sounds.  That is why songs are such a useful tool for teaching pronunciation. 

The original song is by an Australian group called The Wiggles. 
Here is a video you can watch with your child and sing along.


Beach, beach, sandy beach,
Feel the sand, on your feet.
Beach, beach, sandy beach,
Feel the sand on your feet.

Snap, snap, snap, sanp,
Goes the crab.
Swish, swish,
Goes the fish.

Snap, snap, snap, sanp,
Goes the crab.
Blub, blub, blub,
Goes the jellyfish!

Beach, beach, sandy beach,
Feel the sand, on your feet.
Feel the sand on your feet.

We love the beach!

As part of our unit on My Town we have been singing a song about the beach and some of the creatures you can find there.  You can sing along with the children in Lillian's class.

You can watch the original (from The Wiggles) here:   Sandy Beach

Friday, 5 April 2013

Isadora's class sing!

Here is a round-up of the new language we practised this week...

Extending the "Good Afternoon" to include the question "How are you?" and response "I'm fine, and you?"

Places in our town
cinema, park, beach, bridge, convent, shopping center, port, airport
You could support your child's learning this weekend by finding opportunities to visit some of these places and name them in English.

Let's not forget to always revise - eyes, nose, mouth, ears, eyebrows

Here are the children singing our new song.  It's hard to believe this is only the 3rd time they've sung it.  If you'd like to watch the original music video for this song (by Australian group, The Wiggles) you can find it at this link: Sandy Beach.  There you will also find information about how this song is used to teach pronunciation.

Snap Snap goes the crab!

This week we've been look at places in our town: park, shopping center, cinema, bridge, and of course...the beach!
While I worked with smaller groups to reinforce the new words with a game of memory, the others played with playdough mats to revise vocabulary for parts of the face - eyes, nose, mouth and ears.

The children also learned a song to go with this theme and practice some important sounds in English (the difference between a -ch and a -t sound at the end of a word).
It's hard to believe that this is only the 2nd day that Livia's class have sung this song!  They were so cute today that I just had to video them.
You might also like to look at the official music video of this song (by Australian group The Wiggles): Sandy Beach

The Wavy Sea Song

This is a soothing, quiet time song which we sang (we did the first verse only) before reading our story of the week.  It also practises vocabulary we were focusing on in lessons this week: the sea, a boat, fish.  Ask your child to teach you the actions which go with it.


Here is the sea,
The wavy sea,
Here is a boat,
And here is me!

And all the fishes,
Way down below,
Wriggle their tails,
And away they go.

Celeste Sails to Spain

The book this week is by a wonderful Australian author, Alison Lester.  Each page follows the adventures of seven friends as they explore different places and celebrate special moments.  Children can always identify with one of the characters in the book and so the reading experience becomes more personal for them.

Celeste Sails to Spain fits beautifully with our My Town theme for this week and our new song about the sea