As parents, we are busy – especially in the morning! It can be difficult to establish a consistent calendar routine this time of day.
1. Keep it simple. Don’t try to achieve too many things with your calendar routine or you won’t be consistent. Start with the basics. If you need to, do your calendar routine the night before when things are calmer in the house.
2. Add your calendar routine to you child’s morning job chart. Check off the tasks on this chart each morning so you don’t forget any of them. This signals that the calendar routine is important and, if it is on the morning job chart, you will do it consistently. For more on morning routines, check out this post:
3. Start with a ‘days of the week’ song. See the videos below if you need more ideas. I’d like to give a shout out to Blanca Stingl, an amazing kindergarten teacher with a great calendar routine. I got many of these ideas from her. Give your child a pointer and allow him/her to point at the days of the week as you sing. When you introduce letter sounds, have your child look for the day of the week that starts with the ‘mmm’ sound (Monday).
4. Help your child select the number for the date. By doing this repetitively, your child will soon recognize numbers to 30.
5. Sing a ‘months of the year’ song. You may only want to do this a couple of times each month. If your child is getting bored or fidgety, keep your calendar routine shorter. Create a dance or let your child use the pointer for the months of the year to keep him/her moving.
6. Sing “What’s the weather like today?”. Then, look out the window and decide. Put up the appropriate weather label.
7. Finally, mention the season. You may want to read a book about ‘winter’ when the season changes. Discuss winter clothing, activities, and changes in the environment. You can do this each time a season changes. This can be a starting point for some great seasonal learning activities.
Learn about William Shakespeare, the world’s most famous playwright, and enjoy our colouring pages and printable activities, puzzles and worksheets.
Shakespeare Week is a national celebration of all things Shakespeare and a great excuse to read or watch plays (or poetry), discover some of the words that Shakespeare introduced to the English language, and learn about the man! Get involved from 20th to 26th March 2023. Or why not celebrate Shakespeare Day on his birthday, 23rd April?
Who Was William Shakespeare?
William Shakespeare (1564–1616) was an English playwright, actor and poet, and is widely regarded as the greatest English writer of all time. His plays have been translated into more than 100 languages and continue to be performed around the world to this day. He also introduced nearly 3,000 words to the English language. Find out more about this talented man who continues to influence our lives over 400 years after his death.
The original Globe Theatre
Although William’s exact birth date is uncertain, it is traditionally celebrated on 23rd April – the same date that he died, aged 52.
There are so many famous quotes from Shakespeare. Here are just a few of them:
“All that glitters is not gold.”
“If music be the food of love, play on.”
“To be, or not to be: that is the question.”
“To thine own self be true.”
“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
A Short Biography of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was born 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. His father John was a leather merchant while his mother Mary was the daughter of wealthy farmer. William had two older sisters and three younger brothers.
William went to the local grammar school where he studied history, Greek and Latin. At 18, he married Anne Hathaway (aged 26) and the couple went on to have three children together – Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sadly their son Hamnet died, aged 11.
After the twins were born, William went to London to work as an actor, leaving the family behind. He joined an acting group called Lord Chamberlain’s Men. William also wrote plays for the group, which became very popular. Some of these early plays include The Taming of the Shrew, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. William wrote different types of plays – comedies (funny), tragedies (sad) and histories (about real people’s lives). Women weren’t allowed to act at the time, so men or young boys played the female roles!
Lord Chamberlain’s Men performed at a theatre built on land owned by Giles Allen. Although the group owned the theatre, when the land’s lease expired in 1597, Giles refused to let them perform and wanted to tear the theatre down. When negotiations failed, some of the actors devised a plan to dismantle the theatre and move it across the River Thames. They built a new theatre called the Globe, which could accommodate up to 3,000 people and became very popular. At the time, many people couldn’t read or write, so the Globe Theatre hung a flag outside to show what type of play was being performed – a comedy (white flag), a tragedy (black or dark flag), or a history (red flag).
In 1603, when James I became king, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men changed their name to the King’s Men and King James became the group’s patron. Many people think that some of William’s best plays were written during these years, many of them tragedies such as Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth. William wrote nearly 40 plays as well as poetry, and poems called sonnets. His work combined with his property and land investments made him very wealthy. He bought a large house in Stratford-upon-Avon for his family, where he retired, aged 49.
In 1613, the Globe Theatre burned down when the thatched roof caught fire during a performance of Henry VIII. It was rebuilt the following year with a tiled roof, but was later demolished during the Puritan era (when all theatres were closed) to make room for housing. Some 350 years later, a modern version was built, opening in 1997 on the banks of the River Thames.
William died in 1616, but his legacy lives on. In fact, many of his words and phrases have become part of our everyday lives. Have you ever talked about ‘being in a pickle’ (being in trouble), going on a ‘wild goose chase’ (a search for something that isn’t there), having a ‘heart of gold’ (being kind) or trying to ‘break the ice’ (to strike up conversation with a stranger)? Then you are using the words and phrases of this great playwright!
There is so much inspiration to be gained from learning about Famous People of the past and present – what they achieved and how – particularly when you can put them into the context of their time. Here we take a look at famous women from all walks of life, cultures and careers, and learn about their remarkable achievements.
I just love your site and have used it so much with my family and also with classes at my school. Kim
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Your selection of what’s available and the fact that you have SO many categories and just about any day imaginable, is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Some of our students are special ed and there are so many things I’ve seen that they are capable of doing. I know the teachers are going to be thrilled to see your website. Marge
I love what u do here always so many good ideas and activities for all age groups. Wendy
October 31 is Halloween and is now celebrated in many countries around the world, but do you know anything about the origins of this scary special day? Read the article and find out.
Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises.
The origins of Halloween
If you think of Halloween, you probably think of scary carved pumpkins, all kinds of fancy dress and children asking for sweets. And if you think of a country that celebrates Halloween, you probably think of the United States first. Americans and Canadians have adopted Halloween in a big way, but Halloween traditions actually come from 16th-century Ireland, Scotland and England.
The tradition of Halloween on 31 October comes from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Samhain was the Celtic New Year and they celebrated it on 1 November because that was the end of summer and harvest time (life) and the beginning of winter (death). It was also the time for ghosts to return to earth for a day. People lit a big fire, wore special clothes made of animal skin and hoped to be safe from the ghosts and the winter. In AD 609, the Catholic Church put the Christian celebration of All Saints Day on 1 November. In AD 1000, the church added All Souls Day on 2 November, and All Hallows Eve – or Halloween – moved to the night of the 31st.
The Celts carved faces into vegetables like turnips, potatoes and squash (a pumpkin is a kind of squash) to scare the ghosts and other spirits and make them go away. It was sometimes called a jack-o’-lantern because of an Irish story about a man, Jack. He played a trick on the devil and then had to walk the earth for all time as a punishment. Irish people who came to live in the United States in the 1800s found pumpkins much easier to carve, and the tradition became the one we see today.
The Celts were afraid of the ghosts that came on Samhain. If they went outside after dark, they covered their faces with masks. They hoped any ghosts they met would think they were ghosts too and would leave them alone. In early America, the Native Americans and the first Europeans celebrated the end of the harvest, but not Halloween. When Irish people arrived, the harvest festival started to look more like Halloween and it became popular across the country. In the late 19th century, people tried to make Halloween less about ghosts and religion and more about celebrating the season with a party for neighbours and family. That’s why Americans today wear all kinds of Halloween costumes and not just scary things like witches and ghosts like in other countries.
Trick or treat
This is another tradition that began in Europe, this time in England. When the church introduced All Souls Day, rich people gave poor people ‘soul cakes’, a small cake made with spices and raisins. It replaced the Celtic tradition of leaving food outside houses for the ghosts. ‘Going a-souling’ was popular in England for hundreds of years until about the 1930s. The Americans kept the tradition, but today children knock on people’s doors and ask for sweets. Going trick or treating is so popular that a quarter of the sweets for the year in the United States are sold for this one day.
The rest of the world
Halloween has become the United States’ second-biggest commercial festival after Christmas. Halloween is also celebrated in other countries, but it’s not as big as in the United States, even in the countries where the traditions began. Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead from 31 October to 2 November and some of its traditions, like giving gifts of sugar skulls, are starting to mix with Halloween. In this way, the celebration of Halloween continues to change as new traditions join the oldest of the Celtic ones.
Dyslexia is primarily a language-based reading disability, not a visual-based disability.
Research has shown that people with dyslexia are more likely to have children with dyslexia. A child with one parent with dyslexia is about 40% to 60% likely to have dyslexia themselves.
In dyslexia identification there are clear and well-defined cut-off points. An individual either has dyslexia or not.
Because the core difficulties associated with dyslexia are related to how the individual sounds of language are processed in the brain, and not visual perception, coloured overlays do not improve reading accuracy or comprehension for dyslexic students. Research evidence shows no significant benefit in terms of objectively measurable reading gains when using colored overlays despite the fact that many dyslexic students report that they find them useful.
People with dyslexia have difficulties with processing and manipulating the smallest sounds of language, called phonemes. Research shows that, in students with dyslexia, the part of the brain that processes those sounds and connects those sounds to letters is under-activated as compared with typically developing readers. People with dyslexia also perform more poorly on tasks that require analyzing, synthesizing, and manipulating phonemes.
There is no scientific evidence that seeing letters and words backwards is a characteristic of dyslexia.
There is a significant and pronounced difference between males and females when it comes to ‘identified’ dyslexia and reading difficulties. There are a number of reasons for this, one of them is that females and males use different behavioural and emotional compensation techniques and react differently when faced with these challenges. Therefore boys are more easily identified as dyslexic in school settings. When researchers identify dyslexia in the general population, there is less pronounced difference between males and females in the prevalence of dyslexia. Researchers examined gender differences based on the variation in reading abilities among males and females. They found that males show more variability and depending on the cut-off point for identifying dyslexia, indeed there might be more male than female dyslexics (Hawke, J. L., Olson, R. K., Willcut, E. G., Wadsworth, S. J., & DeFries, J. C. (2009). Gender ratios for reading difficulties. Dyslexia, 15(3), 239-242.)
This statement might be true although research evidence is often contradictory on this question.
Research suggests that there are significantly more dyslexic individuals among art students than non-dyslexic ones (Wolff, U., & Lundberg, I. (2002). The prevalence of dyslexia among art students. Dyslexia, 8(1), 34-42). There is also neuroimaging evidence that shows that lower reading skill is associated with a visuospatial processing advantage (Diehl, J. J., Frost, S. J., Sherman, G., Mencl, W. E., Kurian, A., Molfese, P., … & Pugh, K. R. (2014). Neural correlates of language and non-language visuospatial processing in adolescents with reading disability. NeuroImage, 101, 653-666). However, some studies have found that the visuospatial superiority is more apparent in dyslexic men than women (Brunswick, N., Martin, G. N., & Marzano, L. (2010). Visuospatial superiority in developmental dyslexia: Myth or reality?. Learning and Individual Differences, 20(5), 421-426.)
Because dyslexia is caused by difficulties with processing individual sounds of language in the brain, researchers know that effective instruction includes explicit and systematic instruction in phonemic awareness (practice manipulating the individual sounds in our language) and phonics (practice connecting those individual sounds, or phonemes, to letters). There are no scientifically proven benefits of eye-tracking exercises.
This publication offers a range of practical tips and advice for remote teaching in all contexts.
Technology has already transformed our century. Smartphones, cloud computing, social media and videoconferencing are only a few of the major innovations that have exploded onto the scene. They have changed our lives and completely changed the ways in which we communicate and access information and learning.
Yet in 2020 teachers have also had to face another unexpected challenge – the Covid-19 pandemic. We know many children have missed learning during school closures and too many lack the conditions for remote learning. But the more that teachers can provide remote teaching the better.
These tips provide new ideas for teachers less familiar with remote teaching and provide fresh insights for teachers who already teach remotely. See the list of tips and guidance below:
Getting started with online teaching
Keeping your learners safe online
Lesson planning for teaching live online
A menu of ideas for online lessons
Supporting neurodiversity in online teaching
Inclusion in remote teaching contexts
Helping parents and caregivers to support remote learning
Supporting your child to learn remotely at home
Maximising speaking opportunities in online lessons
Maintaining student motivation while teaching remotely
Using Facebook to teach English remotely
Using mobile messenger apps to teach English remotely
Idioms are commonly used in spoken and written English. They add colour and interest to what we are saying. But how often do we actually find idioms in their original and full form? In today’s blog, we are going to be showing you how to use idioms like a Native English speaker!
1. Shorten the Idiom
Native English speakers are usually confident that their readers or listeners will recognise the idiom, so well-known phrases rarely need to be given in full. You may hear someone being warned not to count their chickens(don’t count your chickens before they are hatched) when they assume a future plan will be successful, or a friend may hint that her colleagues took advantage of the boss’s absence with when the cat’s away! (when the cat’s away, the mice will play).
Another common way of changing an idiom is to reverse its meaning. For example, if you don’t want to deal with a problem straight away, you may put it on the back burner,but if something needs immediate attention, you can put it on the front burner.In your home village, you might be a big fish in a small pond but if you move to a large city you could end up a small fish in a very big pond.
Many idioms are very versatile and can be changed in a variety of ways. A carrot and stickapproach involves offering rewards and making threats to persuade someone to do something. However, you may come across examples like the following:
“Why use a stick when a carrot will work better?”
“Their approach is all stick and no carrot.”
“They are using every carrot and stick at their disposal.”
3. Adapt the idiom
One of the most attractive aspects of idioms is their adaptability. It is often possible to substitute one or more of the words in them to adapt to a particular situation. When two people have opposite tastes, you can say one man’s meat is another man’s poison. But how about one man’s junk is another man’s treasure or one man’s madness is another man’s genius? The possibilities are endless.
Substitutions can also be used to alter the meaning of an idiom. For example, a plain-talking person will call a spade a spade, but someone who is more frank than necessary may call a spade a shovel. On the other hand, someone who is reluctant to speak plainly may call a spade a gardening implement.
So, why not have a go at adapting some idioms yourself? After all, when in Rome…
Young children learn in an integrated way and not in neat, tidy compartments. A child making shapes out of plasticine is learning maths (shape) and art (texture, shape, design, colour), building fine motor skills (physical development), and hearing or using language to describe shapes, colour, texture, materials and techniques (English). The activity drives the need to communicate.
Young children will learn a language better when they see a genuine need for communication, which is often the language they are hearing or using while they are doing an activity that they enjoy.
While adults can plan a range a activities to enhance the learning experience, not all of them will be motivating for every child. Children more likely to be motivated if the activity or experience is meaningful to them. Taking time to get to know the children and finding out what they are interested in is essential if you want to motivate them and help them learn.
The interactions you have with a child while they are engaged in an activity help develop language and communication in context, making the language learning more memorable and authentic.
Rhymes, songs and chants help children memorise words and sentence structure, and they also help with pronunciation, expression and the rhythm of sentences. Children learn their home language by playing with language in this way, and it’s a fun way for them to learn another language too!
A good story takes children to an imaginary world filled with characters and events that will make them want to find out what happens in the end, and that they will want to hear again, join in retelling, and even retell in their own words. Illustrations and actions help children understand descriptions of characters and events, because they can connect what they are seeing and doing with the language in the story.
Giving clear, simple instructions in English with accompanying actions, gestures or demonstrations is more likely to result in children understanding. Children love copying – the teacher, their parents, older siblings or friends – and will often join in after observing how something is done. Including routines is also a useful way of helping young children understand what is expected of them (e.g. every time we sit on the mat we will hear a story or sing a song). Children may not understand straight away, but giving instructions in English is an excellent way of reinforcing key language, so in the long run it’s worth the effort.