Developing Oral Language with ELL's and Non ELL's

Although the majority of my students are ELL, I find that most five year old still are working at developing their language skills.  I had been contacted by Lakeshore at the beginning of the school year and was asked to review a product that I truly thought would benefit my students and their specific needs.  Being that my students needed more experience with language, I chose to review Lakeshore's Oral Language Activity Box. Look at all the items that are included in this big red box.
Language Development Cards.  I really like these cards. They are color coded and cover several different categories.  The first time I used these, I went through a fe cards and asked the students to name what they were.  Many of students didn't know the names of the item. We practiced the names and saying them correctly.  The next time  we used the crds, we sorted them into categories.  Each child was given a card.  Next they placed it in the pocket chart according to the category the thought it belonged to and had to say what their card was.  This was a good review of the vocabulary we had been working on.  Only a few students were unable to remember the names of their items.  

The Discussion Cards:  These are great real-life photos.  So far I've used two, the Fire Fighters photo and the Playground Monster.  The fire fighter photo was a nice introduction for talking about fire safety and practicing for our fire drill.
I used the Playground Monster photo last week.  We talked about the characters in the photo, the setting of where it might have been taken and their experiences at the park.  Then we used our discussion of what we liked to do at the park for our writing topic. Here are few samples of my students' writing.
Vocabulary Sorting Mats: Although we haven't had a lot of time to use them. They are similar to the activity I did with my whole class using the pocket chart.  These would be good for small groups, in order to really get the kids talking, discussing and naming the pictures. Sorry I didn't get a picture of these.

Sequencing Cards: These cards follow favorite nursery rhymes.  Unfortunately many of my kids are not familiar with all the rhymes, but they did know the two in the photo.
The Mystery Box: This fun little box is full of small items.   After reviewing the names for each item, I  played a game simply called "Describe It"  they had to reach into the box and tell about the item, using their five senses.  At first I had to lead them a little by asking them "What color is it?" Is it hard or soft? Is it a food or a toy?  Soon they were able to give some describing features of their items.  

 The Storytelling Puppet:  We haven't had a lot of opportunities to use it, but the kids are anxiously waiting for me to bring it out.

 Overal this box is full of great items that can help foster the oral language development for pre-k-1st grade students.  With a little creativity and imagination, the activities created from the box can be endless.

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