I recently had the privilege of visiting Mrs. Leslie Linsday’s ESL classes at The Harmony School of Science in Austin. This is the second year Mrs. Lindsay has incorporated my Sir Kaye series as part of their semester reading project. Last year the classes read The Knighting of Sir Kaye, and this year it was the newly-released second book in the series, The Lost Castle Treasure.
Students read weekly assignments from the book and listened along with the audio version. Then each student chose a Sir Kaye project from the Idea Board to share with the class. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing their Sir Kaye projects. It’s not surprising that most of the students chose to do something visual, and as you can see from some of the pictures, there are artists in the making.
During my visit this year, I provided students with a handout with some Sir Kaye (The Lost Castle Treasure) trivia and we talked about some of their favorite moments in the book, but mostly the students got to ask me questions. They asked about every aspect of medieval life, including, writing, researching the books, falconry, castles, and the list goes on. There were more questions than we had time for.
Mrs. Lindsay was eager to answer questions about how her ESL classes have benefited from using the Sir Kaye books.
Don: What is the goal of ESL (as opposed to just having them learn with all the other students)?
Mrs. Lindsay: The goal of ESL is to provide “intensive instruction” in the domains of reading, writing, listening, and speaking to non-native speakers of English. We have over 20 different languages spoken on our campus, and intensive instruction in English-only allows the students to become submerged in English all day long so they can learn quicker.
We work on academic and social aspects of learning, which includes being able to communicate with friends as well as grasp difficult academic concepts. It takes 1–2 years to become fluent in social everyday aspects of school and life, while it takes 6–10 years to develop full cognitive academic language proficiency.
Don: How have you utilized the Sir Kaye books in your classroom?
Mrs. Lindsay: I use the Sir Kaye books in my ESL Classes to encourage a love of reading, and to focus on comprehension. While we read, I stress sequence, making predictions, and asking questions. We annotate notes as we read, and short answer quizzes are given periodically to ensure students are comprehending and following along with the story. We read some of the chapters aloud, listen to some chapters on audiobook, and the students read some of the book on their own. Students color the Sir Kaye coloring sheets while listening to the story on audio, and identify and write about what is going on in each scene depicted in the coloring sheets. Having a wholesome story to discuss is definitely helpful, and one less thing for the teacher to worry about.
Don: How have the ESL students benefited from using the Sir Kaye books?
Mrs. Lindsay: The book series is a great way to teach morals, values, and life lessons. The characters cooperate, rely on each other, and work together. Using the Sir Kaye series keeps my lessons fresh and interesting so that students learn more than if they were just reading through a textbook. The fact that the author makes a visit after we complete the book and final project, is a wonderful culminating point, and one the students look forward to and remember for a long time.
Don: Would you recommend the Sir Kaye books for other schools?
Mrs. Lindsay: I would certainly recommend the series for ESL and Non-ESL students. It’s a great learning tool, and having access to additional resources like the audio book, coloring pages, and author visits make the series super special. I give it a big thumbs up!!
I always enjoy my author visits at Harmony School of Science in Austin and I’m looking forward to next year’s visit with Mrs. Lindsay’s ESL classes featuring the third book in the Sir Kaye series, Legend of the Forest Beast, planned for release in December, 2015.
If you’re an educator and would like to inquire about having an author visit or would like more information, please email me, Don Winn at email@example.com
Book discounts are available directly from the publisher.
Here are some trivia questions for The Lost Castle Treasure:
- What are falcon mews?
- What kind of hawk is Oriana?
- What is a gauntlet and why is it so important to wear one when handling falcons?
- What is a trencher?
- What is mutton?
- What is a chamber pot?
- What is a pigge pot?
- What is a pomander ball?
- Why did Kaye want a quest?
- What happened to the castle treasure?
- How did the old king try to tell the new queen where to find the treasure?
- How does Reggie figure out what the clue was a picture of?
- What was hidden inside the hollow falcon statue with the missing eye?
- What was the silent arrow?
- Why does Knox owe Eldridge money?
- Why is Kaye in danger of losing his knighthood?
- What is the only way for Kaye to keep being a knight?
- Where were many of the secret passages hidden?
- How did Reggie feel when Melchor and Milo started calling him Dogtail?
- How did Kaye make Reggie feel even worse?
- Why was Kaye so mean to Reggie and Beau during the story?
- Do you admire Reggie and Beau for going to look for Kaye even though he was mean to them? Why?
- What does Reggie realize about people and why he should be kind to them?
If you’d like the answers to any of these questions, let me know!