Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Fun - 14/2/09

Olympic Visitor
We had Beijing 1500m runner, Lisa Corrigan visit our school on Monday to talk to the students about her experiences as a runner and to promote the Kids' Marathon in April. She taught us some pre-run exercises and stretches. Fran, who is involved with our local marathon showed us an Olympic Torch from the Sydney Olympics when she was selected to be part of the torch relay. Then we all went out on the school oval to run a lap behind Lisa. A number of kids have taken applications for the Kids' Marathon, demonstrating an interest in participating in this event.

Come Back Gizmo
We have been reading Paul Jennings' Come Back Gizmo. We finished it on Monday afternoon and then did a related creative writing task on Tuesday. Together we created a mind map in Kidspiration to consider ideas for writing.

Jonathan and I split the group into a girls group and a boys group for cricket games. The girls played French Cricket with me and the boys played 3-wicket cricket with Jonathan.

We started our spelling groups this week. We used a Spelling Inventory to determine word families/patterns that students need to learn. Jonno worked out list words for each of these groups and activities for students to work on to practice their spelling further. I set up the list words in Spelling City for my early finishers to work with. This was recommended to us on Mr Hancock's Class Blog.

I am trying out Smart Kiddies for interactive whiteboard activities to supplement my lessons. So far it seems to be working well. Teachers can register for free and use the resources in the classroom. This week we used activities from the Place Value and Number Patterns sections. We also used Molecule Maths from Fiery Ideas to practise ordering numbers from lowest to highest. Early finishers then used these chains to practise adding.

In Australia we are going through the aftermath of some terrible fires. This week we looked at newspaper articles about the fires. We looked at keywords in these articles and sought out the who, what, when and where of the stories before writing a summary sentence. We looked at what came up when the text was inserted into Wordle.
We read a Daily Telegraph feature about newspapers, then watched a video about the process behind making a newspaper. Students then found an article in the paper and labelled the headline, picture, caption, first paragraph (including who, what, when and where), quotes, writer and photographer (if given). Early finishers then wrote a summary sentence about the article they chose.

The jump from Year 1 to Year 4 has been tricky for me in terms of attention gaining tools and transition activities. In the past I clapped rhythms to get students to stop work and look my way. I'm not sure if it's too babyish for Year 4s! I also sang with students during transition time to avoid chaos, but all my songs were for younger children.
This week I borrowed a Sing CD from the library and started teaching the kids some new songs. We are really enjoying the Shoo Fly/ Get that fly! Medley. I can't seem to get it out of my head!

Reflective Journals
On Fridays students write an entry in their reflective journals. They consider their challenges and successes during the week and write their plans for the next week. We are really encouraging our students to be more reflective and to take charge of their own learning and growth.


  1. How cool to have a Beijing runner introduced to your students!

    This next question comes from the States: Could you please explain why Math is said, "Maths" in Australia? Noticed that Colin over at refers to that as well.

    You do a great job of blogging! Amazed!

  2. Thanks Penny for using this medium to share so much with the parents! I am very computer illiterate and certainly have never visited anyone's blog before!!!! This is an informative and fun way to learn all about what my child is doing at school- and much easier than trying to get information from an 8yo boy.
    Keep up the good work, Natalie

  3. Hi Penny
    What a busy week you have had. Love your kidspiration on the novel, suggestion in your spelling is using the site "" (but i'm sure you already know about this site). You can log on as Teacher and see how your kids are doing. They can do this at school & at home. I love the spelling city site too though! A good attention seeking tool I used for older children was to do like an army call T- "Stop, what you're doing and look this way" Chn - "Teachers turn to have a say". Or the other is just to put your hand up (like you do in conferences) and then the hand message gets passed around, or buy a "rain-maker" musical instrument, they have to tune into the gentle sound and it isn't obtrusive (especially if you are in open plan).
    For reflective time this year in the children's home learning they have to record "2stars & a wish" (2 success from the week and 1 goal for next week) will be interesting to see how it works out (will let you know)
    Have a great week!


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