Monday, 27 April 2015

Sentence conventions

After being totally inspired by Elizabeth from Kickin' it in Kindergarten's sentence chant, I started using hers, with some changes. These are our 'lyrics':

A sentence has a capital, a capital and punctuation.
Full stop, question mark, exclamation mark.
Finger spaces, finger spaces. Don't forget your finger spaces!

While we chant the first line we make our hands make a 'big' action (a bit like the capitals hand cue in this video) for 'capital', then we point with our fingers in the air three times for 'punc-tu-ation'. For the next line we make the three types of punctuation in the air with our fingers. Then for the last line we put two fingers together (just like we would when we are writing) and push our hands forward, alternating left/right/left/right. I hope that all makes sense! I'm not really confident enough to film myself, but maybe one day!

Before we start writing each day we go through our chant and I have drawn some reminders on the SmartBoard to help us remember. The kids are GREAT at it now! I have seen a big change in their writing particularly with their finger spaces and their use of punctuation - they experiment with more than just full stops. They have even started to suggest their own lines, like 'a sentence has words' or 'a word has letters together'.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Swap Share Give - A linky for all seasons

I am very lucky to have made some Aussie blogger friends over the past couple of years. Last year these friends held a Swap Share Give link-up that I was part of (my first link-up like that) and we are doing it again! We have been paired with another teacher by the lovely Tania. The pair has swapped a product, used that product and will write a review about it. We each also have a freebie to share, and there will be a giveaway of all the products that were reviewed! Pretty cool.

I'm very lucky to be paired up with Alison from Teaching Maths with Meaning.

 She has amazing products, and I own pretty much all of them! For this link-up I am reviewing her Number Detectives product.

I printed it, laminated it, and chopped it up ready to use. I decided to use it as our maths focus wall, and I have one number up each week. As part of our Monday maths lesson (or sometimes Tuesday) we take down last week's number and put up the new number. I love it, and the kids love it! You get heaps of different elements to display which you can see in this picture:

I have had some excellent opportunities for incidental teaching with the clock face, the tens frame and the odd/even word cards. I have also touched on reading skills when we try to find the number word. During the week we look for things that show our Number Detectives Number, and either discuss it or add it to the wall.

As well as using it as a focus wall, you could also collect some of the bits and do a sort. For example, the focus number might be 2, so you would find all the representations of two in the bundle, and put them together. It could be a maths groups activity or a warm up activity.

I love the clear graphics, and the easy to cut out shapes! My students love the birthday candles, and regularly walk past the display to blow out the candles.

The product I have as a freebie is a play dough mats set all about teen numbers. It has a spring theme, and it is bright and cheerful. Each of the bloggers who linked up has a seasons-related freebie, some are Spring-based (currently in the Northern Hemisphere) and some Autumn-based (which is the current season in Australia).

You get 10 play dough mats with the numbers 11-20. The mats are bright and clear, and students are asked to make the number out of play dough and make the number on a tens frame with play dough. But you could use counters instead of play dough, or you could use whiteboard markers on them once they have been laminated. The mats are really focused on the concept that the teen numbers are 10 plus some more. 

Alison is reviewing my product ABC Foldable Readers (available in Victorian Modern Cursive and print font) on her blog. Go there now to check it out!!

Now for a giveaway! Enter below to win each of the products that were reviewed.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Peek at my week - Week 1, Term 2, 2015

I love sharing what I'm up to in my classroom, which is why I love to join in with Peek at my Week (not that I've done it much lately...).
We have just been on two weeks of Easter Holidays, and now we are back for term 2. This is what my week looks like:
In reading this week we are focussing on sounding out words. In writing we are practising to sound out the words we want to write, and will be writing about things we like or dislike. In maths we are learning about time, and grouping events by when they happen (eg. day and night). In inquiry we are revising our five senses. In You Can Do It we are thinking about how we can get along with other people.

Harmony Day is a very special day at my school - we all love it. We don't celebrate it on the Official Harmony Day, but we celebrate it when it suits our schedule. For the first four hours of class time on Harmony Day students rotate through 8x 30min activities in their grade levels - I'm running a kite making activity. Then for the last hour of the day we have our Cultural Expo - students and their families are invited to set up a 'stall' to share music, clothes, photos, objects and food from their culture. Last year we had 20 'stalls' about different countries for the students to experience! It is an amazing event!!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

#2getherwearebetter Link Up - Schedules

I have not been a great blogger so far this year, but I'm excited to join in with the April 2nd link-up run by Ashley from Schroeder Shenanigans and Angie from Lucky Little Learners. Link ups are probably my favourite type of blog posts to write, so this is awesome!
They are doing a link up on the 2nd of each month about a particular topic, and this month is SCHEDULES!

I love reading about other teacher's schedules. It amazes me how many different versions there are, and the different types of specialist subjects, extra support, withdrawal programs, etc, that run all over the world.

My schedule is slightly different on each day of the week. I make up a visual schedule for my students at the beginning of each term so that they can look over it at home before the school day, or look over it when they talk about their day with their families. I find that it helps y 5-6 years olds share things that happened during their day. They get a schedule that looks like this:

But I will type it out so it's a bit easier to read.

I'll explain a bit about it.

Carpet time: Every morning we begin the day with a phonics song, take attendance, go through our visual schedule and do Brain Gym. It is a great routine to get started with our day.

Reading groups: We begin with a big book and a mini-lesson about our reading focus for the week. Students then go into their reading groups for silent reading and then a literacy activity. During the silent reading time I work with my low group to support their independent reading, and during our activity time I do guided reading with a different group each day.

Writing: During term 1 this hour was all about phonics, now we will squeeze more into the time to still cover our phonics focus, but also do some structured writing.

Maths: We don't follow a program, but have a school-developed scope and sequence with has lots of room to construct the right program for the group of kids in the class.

Inquiry: The rest of my school are doing a more integrated version of inquiry, where it is part of literacy and numeracy, but we are still teaching so many foundational skills in prep (first year of school) that we have allocated time for focussed Inquiry.

Sport, Music, PE, Art: These are our specialist classes, when I don't teach.

PMP: We are starting this in term 2, and it will be a Perceptual Motor Program to work on gross motor skills and coordination. This will be run with both of the prep class (42 kids all together), with 8-10 stations to rotate between.

RE: Religious Education is an 'opt-in' program at my school, so not all of the preps are doing it. This means one of the prep teachers will sit in the RE class while the other prep teacher takes the extra students for a non-curriculum-related activity.

Read aloud: We are doing a chapter book, and started George's Marvelous Medicine last term. We have two chapters left, then we will start Tashi.

Fun Friday: Every Friday we have a theme day, mostly based around our Inquiry work. They are not always big events, but there is always a theme running through the activities. For example, during term 1 we had Camping Day (we learnt about the things we need to survive), Cupcake Day (which was related to a maths assessment task using patty pans) and Water Day (learning about our water needs). Next term we are going to have Alphabet Day (once we've learnt all of the letters of the alphabet) and Silly Sock Day (which is all about sorting). These fun days give us the opportunity to be wild and creative, but still incorporate literacy and numeracy. It's great for applying skills in a new way, and for learning through experiences.

Facet: is a fancy way of saying the we do two alternating subjects in that hour with the two prep classes together. We have our wellbeing program called You Can Do It and our cybersafety program called eSmart.

Prep chat: At the end of Fun Friday we get together for a catch-up and reflection about the week.

Wow, we fit lots in! I can't wait to go back and look through all the bloggers who have linked up. I'm thinking about swapping my maths and Inquiry to the morning block, and putting reading and writing into the middle block because we always seem to have more time in the middle block. I'd love to find out if other people put maths in the morning, rather than literacy!