Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday Fun - 26/2/10

Where did this week go? We had a great week, despite the number of afternoon meetings we teachers had to attend. I must admit, it's nice to be a teacher again this year, and not one of the leaders needing to organise and run the meetings! I'm enjoying the time I get to spend with my students, the easier pace, and the better work/life balance.

Fun This Week

Build it Up
Students looked at a Flickr slideshow of images of bridges. They then filled out KWL charts to jot down the things they know about bridges (K), and the things that they want to know about bridges (W). We made a list of their suggestions and later in the week we used a 'hot-dotting' procedure to determine the most popular student interests. To 'hot-dot' students placed dots next to the suggestions they liked most. They had a purple dot to represent 3 points (for their first preference) and two green dots to represent 1 point (for their next two preferences).

Monet's Bridge
1/2R and 2P students created artworks inspired by the work of Monet. They drew a bridge landscape using watercolour pencils and we will be finishing them off and adding the water next week.

Insect Close-Ups
As part of their Biodiversity unit, the Year 1 students learnt about a variety of mini-beasts and created magnified drawings of them. They used oil pastels to colour these in.

Students had their first recorder lessons for 2010 this week. The Year 2 students took off from where they left at the end of last year, and my Year 1 students had an introductory lesson with me. They learnt how to hold a recorder, how to blow through it, and the fingering for notes B and A. The Year 1 students also joined the Year 1 unit for a singing lesson in the afternoon.

A Class of Spies
1/2R read the big book "The Spy Meeting" by Jill Eggleton this week. Students then drew pictures of themselves as spies wearing "hats for hiding in", "shoes for slinking in", big jackets, dark glasses and carrying spy paraphernalia. They then named their spy and wrote about their spy. We put these together to create another Overnight Take Home Book. I also found this unit plan for the big book - too late for me, but it may be handy if you are going to use it!

Little Visitors

The Year 1/2 class had some little visitors on Monday when one of the students brought in his baby mice to show us. Apple Strudel and Berry Strudel enjoyed their visit and everyone was keen to have a pat.

Doubles Facts
This week our Maths lessons focused on the link between addition and subtraction. My Maths group made ladybirds to learn the doubles facts and the subtraction facts to go with them. We used the ladybirds from Sparkle Box.

How Long is a Metre?
1/2R and 2P played with the concept of a metre. Students began by estimating a 1m line with wooden blocks and then checked it with a metre tape. I was impressed with how close the estimations were. They then measured items around the classroom and completed a table to show things that were less than a metre, about a metre and more than a metre.

Octopus' Garden
Next week the 1/2 and 2 classes will be hosting the assembly at school so we began preparing a song to perform. We will be singing "Octopus' Garden" with the guitar accompaniment of one of the teachers. (The Beatles version is pitched too low for our students.) I sense that we will be doing a lot more practice next week!

Swimming Carnival
We had our annual swimming carnival on Friday and the younger students enjoyed time with structured activities: tyre relay, noodle relay, kick board relay, cork scramble, ball games, hoop activities etc They also had some time for free play including the use of the slide. The older Year 2s had their first time at the big carnival and enjoyed cheering for their house and swimming in races.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Friday Fun - 19/2/10

Having had such a bitsy week with sickness the week before, it was great to get back into gear and have a proper week at work. Things are starting to come together better and we are working out how our routines are going to work and how to manage differentiation across classes. The Year 1s in my class got to spend some more time with the other Year 1 students, which they'd missed out on in the previous week. Next week we hope to get started with home readers, Spelling, and Maths groups, so it may be a little rocky to begin with, but it always is at the beginning.

Fun this week:

Footsteps Dance
Last year we had a trial lesson with Footsteps Dance Company to see whether we wanted to use them this year. We were very impressed, so had them back this week. Rachel worked with students across all grade levels and taught them a dance to perform for our Thursday evening performance. The Year 1/2 and 2 students learnt how to "Walk Like an Egyptian". It was a lot of fun and found it irresistible to join in with them during the practices!
SouthCare Helicopter Visit

On Friday morning the SouthCare Helicopter landed on the oval adjacent to the school. We took classes down to watch, and then students got to walk through and see the inside. Our local milk suppliers provided a free carton of milk to all the students. (It's always funny to hear how much the kids love the milk - it must taste different when it's given to them in a small carton!) These visits are always very exciting and get the kids nicely hyped up for the rest of the day!
Build it Up - Year 2
I took my Year 2s out to look at the construction that is taking place in our playground. To see what is happening and try to make sense of the bits we can see. We will visit again throughout the term to see how things are progressing.

The Earth - Year 1
The Year 1 students began their Integrated Inquiry. They learnt about the meaning of Biodiversity and watched segments from a video called "Earth" which looks at how animals interact with their environment and with each other. They learnt that living things require water and the sun.

I spent a lot of time during the week organising the new Mathletics passwords and logons for 2010. Students should now be able to access Mathletics again and teachers can use it (and Rainforest Maths) in their Maths lessons. I have been doing this in my Maths lessons, using examples from the board and students working in teams at their desks writing answers on small whiteboards. This builds the skills as well as developing teamwork.

I also invented a class game to practise representing 2-digit numbers using bundles of 10 paddle-pop sticks and loose sticks. I put an interactive hundreds chart on the board. Students took turns in their table groups to make a number, check it with their group and then tap it on the Interactive Whiteboard (thus changing its colour). The class continue to make the unmade numbers until all have been completed. Students found this particularly exciting and got plenty of practice at representing numbers with bundles and singles.

On Tuesday one of my students brought in the book "Flanimals" by Ricky Gervais. She was very excited for me to read it to the class, so we read some during our Library lesson. We had our computer lab lesson straight after library, so students used 2Publish+ to draw their own flanimal and write about it. We put these together in a display folio to send home for students to read with their parents. It was a great opportunity to springboard from one student's interests and allow everyone to experiment with their own creativity.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tech Tips Tuesday

10 Sites for Teachers to Add to Their Personal Learning Network

Developing a personal learning network that includes online communities and web 2.0 tools is a great way for teachers to develop and stay connected. There are many different sites that would be valuable to any educator's PLN. Here are 10 sites to explore today.

The Educator's PLN - This personal learning network for educators provides social network information, Twitter information, and listings of blogs, educational sites, tutorial sites, and online videos.

TheApple - Monster created this site to provide a place for teachers to meet and learn. Site offerings include weekly newsletters, a job search board, career articles, education news, a place to find and share lesson plans, videos, and forum.

LearnCentral - This Elluminate site is a social learning network for education. Teachers can use it to find resources, connect with other educators, host virtual meetings, and contribute to the academic community.

TeachStreet - TeachStreet bills itself as a site for people who like to learn, but it is much more than that. This online community makes it easy to find classes and learning materials and also allows teachers to locate and network with students online.

TeacherLingo - This online blog community for educators is a good place for teachers to share their blogs or find new blogs to follow. TeacherLingo also provides discussion forums and a place to share lesson plans and other classroom resources.

TeacherTube - TeacherTube is an online community for teachers who want to share instructional videos. Visitors can watch videos online, view documents, listen to audio, or contribute their own learning materials.

WTT - WTT (We the Teachers) has combined social networking with education resources to create a useful personal learning network for teachers. Site members can share ideas and lesson plans, learn from other teachers, and join groups of educators with shared interests.

Classroom 2.0 - Classroom 2.0 is a Ning network for teachers who want to explore the use of web 2.0 tools in the classroom. The site is a good place to engage in discussions, share resources, and learn about upcoming education events.

Partners In Learning Network - This global community of educators provides a place for teachers to learn, discuss education, find lesson plans, and access free classroom tools. The community includes more than 1.5 million educators in 59 countries.

Edutagger - Created specifically for K-12 educators, this social bookmarking site allows teachers to share links to educational articles and websites.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the Guide to Business School. She also writes about online degree programs for

Saturday, February 6, 2010

13th Teaching K-6 Carnival

Welcome to the February 2010 edition of Teaching K-6 carnival. I apologise for my lateness in producing this month's edition. I have been fighting off a virus this week and have struggled to get much done. In the Southern Hemisphere school has now started for the 2010 school year. We have been busy establishing routines and meeting parents. In the Northern Hemisphere teachers fight on through the cold with the anticipation of the upcoming Spring.
With Valentine's Day right around the corner, why not check out these fun activities...
Char Polanosky presents Valentines Day Math Place Values Worksheet posted at Printables for Kids, saying, "This is a fun math activity for the kids to do while preparing for Valentine's Day."

Rachel Lynette presents Valentine's Day Logic Puzzle posted at Minds in Bloom, saying, "Just a little something for Valentine's Day"

Brain Strain

Jasmine Hall shares a fascinating list of 50 Brain Facts Every Educator Should Know posted at Associate Degree - Facts and Information. For example, did you know that the human brain is 75% water and weighs about 3 pounds?

Swagat lightens the mood with some amusing School humor..... posted at Its all in here. I'm a fan of the analogies!

Gripes and Brags

Find out more about copyright, fair use and pirating from Mathew Needleman in his presentation Steal This Preso (K12Online09) Now Live! posted at Creating Lifelong Learners.

Leah Aharoni shares a parent's perspective on The Danger of Parenting Books posted at Ingathered.

Innovate - Beyond the Slate

Christina presents How to make math fun – and understandable posted at Gadabout Media, saying, "The King of Everything isn't a sit down and just memorize it learner. So when his first grade teacher handed his class 60 pages of homework for winter break, we had to make it fun--and understandable. Now? Subtraction, addition, rounding up, rounding down, greater than less than? No problem. We've got pennies to show us the way!"

Quirky Momma presents Using M&Ms to Graph with your Preschooler posted at, saying, "M&Ms and math?!? I wish my algebra teacher thought of this!" She also shares Learning to Read Word Families: ??at? words saying, "We love this early reading curriculum. It is great to supplement schooling!"
Shannon Dodds shares how she brought snow inside for her children to play with in Snow Day! posted at Mommyapolis. Teachers in snowy areas might like to consider this an option for a scientific exploration of snow.
Claudine presents ESL Lesson Plan Ideas for Winter Break posted at Korea-Diva, saying, "Here are some easy activities for teachers who are short on time. I used these lessons during winter break in South Korea, but they can be used at any time!"
TIC presents Download Free SMART board Activities For All Grades posted at Technology In Class, saying, "Looking for prepared lessons for a SMART board? Look no further, here are many of them."

Kevin Heath presents Tips For Teaching Your Child To Read posted at Kevin Heath - More4kids Inc..

Look No Further

OnlineCollege presents 100 Best Education Blogs of 2009 posted at Associate's Degree.
Harold Gelien presents Top 50 Blogs for e-Learning Tools and Tips posted at Top Online University Reviews.
Angela Martin presents 100 Inspirational Blog Posts for Homeschoolers posted at Associate Degree - Facts and Information.
Herbert Anderson presents 25 Tips for Students & Teachers Using Google Wave posted at Top Online University Reviews.
Rose King presents The Ultimate Google Wave Guide for Students: 100 Tips, Tools, and Tricks posted at Online Degree
Redfire Atkinson presents 5 Free Online Web Apps to Show Off Your Artwork posted at Masters in Art Education.
Aaliyah Williams presents Top 6 iPhone Apps for Teachers posted at Masters in Special Education.
Kaitlyn Cole presents 100 Essential Blog Posts for the First-Year Teacher posted at Online
Mary Jones presents 10 Great Articles to Teach Your Kids About Strangers posted at Online Degree.

mrrob presents 20 Awesome Web Tools For Teachers & Professors and Five Top Websites for ESL Students posted at Teaching degree online.

Why not submit your post for the next carnival?

The Teaching K-6 Carnival is posted monthly on the 7th. I will be collecting submissions throughout the next month, looking in particular for posts that discuss and exemplify innovative teaching and the integration of technology in the K-6 classroom. I also invite some discussion around education related news articles and a few "brain strains" to keep our minds alert and challenged. Please submit only articles of which you are the author and refrain from using this merely as a sales pitch. For full details, please read my call for submissions.
If you have a relevant post that you would like to submit to the next edition of Teaching K-6 Carnival use our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Support this Carnival
If you enjoyed this edition of the carnival, you can support its continuation by sharing it with others. Link to us, add us to a tweet, stumble or digg us. Thanks!
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Friday Fun - 5/2/10

Wow. What a great week!

This was the first week of the new school year. I met my new kiddies and got back into the swing of doing school. And it was FUN! Over the summer I zoned out completely and enjoyed the bludgy things of life - I even painted my nails! I'd forgotten how much I'm in my element when with my class, so it was unbelievably good to be back at it.

This year I am teaching a Year 1/2 composite class filled with awesome kids. I get to work with both the Year 1 teaching team and the Year 2 teaching team to make sure that my students have access to valuable learning experiences.

Fun this week:

Class Novel
This week the students in Years 1/2 and 2 began reading James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. We hope to read a few of his books throughout the year and we're enjoying this one so far.

Self Portraits
Year 1/2 and 2 students sketched self portraits and then added colour with oil pastels. They used an edicol dye wash for the background. The finished product was fantastic and it was great to see character shining through the style each student used.

Fundamental Motor Skills
We set up four stations to further develop skills in locomotion and throwing, catching, and striking a ball. The Year 1/2 and 2 classes moved through these activities, having an absolute ball and developing coordination at the same time.

Class Names
The Year 1/2 and 2 classes have selected class names relating to life in the ocean. We have the Super Sharks, the Fantastic Fish, the Stunning Seahorses and the Terrific Turtles (that's my class). We did some research on our animals and then did a relevant art activity. My class made origami turtles using the following video from eHow:

How to Make an Origami Turtle -- powered by

Friday Fun
We set up a variety of activities in the Year 1/2 and 2 classrooms and students chose which activities they wanted to try. One classroom was set up with construction equipment including Mobilo, Lego and Gears. Another was set up for creative play with puppets, dress-ups, and a variety of arty crafty activities. And mine was set up with a collection of different types of rocks, magnifying glasses, books about rocks and minerals and mini "science notebooks". We hope to offer a similar variety each week to allow students to explore, learn and play.