Saturday, October 29, 2011

Foldables - Pinterest Find

Here's a great pic I found while digging through the treasure trove that is Pinterest. It belongs to a wiki all about foldables!
Click on the pic above to head to the wiki - it has instructions for making foldables in all content areas. You can join the wiki and contribute your own foldables.

Even better news - they have a link to a blog Get in the Fold that has lesson ideas, instructions and videos about using foldables! Heart.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Books coming out my ears, nose, mouth....

I thought I was doing well. I mean, I REALLY thought I was doing well getting some of these darn books out of my house! This last week while watching CSI, Bones, Castle and my other fav crime shows, I've been busily contacting books ready to take them to school.

You see, I have a LOT of books - I'm talking about boxes and boxes and boxes of books that are filling up my garage waiting for me to move them to their new home. I made the decision when I first started teaching that I would contact all books before adding them to the library in the hope they will last that little bit longer.... and I've also taught Grade 6 so many of them are destined to stay in their dark little home until I teach a higher grade again! So, these boxes have been waiting ever so patiently for me to flip their lids open, delve into them and remove some enticing covers that catch my eye. The problem is that the job is so daunting - it will take me FOREVER to get them all covered. So, I've broken the job down into smaller parts and I've got a small box of books sitting in my living room to mock me until I break down, roll up my sleeves and pick up a roll of clear contact and get covering! And I've been doing it - I took in 18 books today, 16 yesterday and so on throughout this week. 

And then the deliveries came..... I had forgot about those. First, my Scholastic order showed up at school. More bright and shiny books to add to the almost empty box in my living room. 
Then I received a note in my mailbox saying that I had a package to pick up from the post office. Oh yeah, I had ordered these books online last week when I was procrastinating about getting assessment marked. There's the cultural celebration books to use next year when we do that unit again. And the friendship focus book (Emily and the Big Bad Bunyip) we have to use during our friendship unit. Ok, I'll just add those ones to my theme boxes in my crowded garage and worry about them next year.
Hang on, is that another pick-up slip from the post office? Oh yeah, I saw an online clearance sale and just HAD to pick up some bargains...... I'll just try and squash them into the living room box.... I could use those grammar and story structure books in mini-lessons next week - got to get them contacted...
So, I THOUGHT I had done really well clearing out some of the books.... but it feels like I've gotten nowhere :(

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Saturday, October 22, 2011


After the terrible week I've been having with 'other' teacher work, I walked into class yesterday and I had the most GLORIOUSPERFECT, PRODUCTIVE day! OH. MY. WORD. I could not fault any of my kiddos on their behaviour, manners, work ethic, anything! I must admit, that for the last couple of days they have been a bit chatty, easily off task and a couple have been dobbing on others for teeny, tiny things which drives me up the wall! But yesterday was like a day made in heaven! We had so much work to do and we got it all done. This included a math chance investigation using dice, counters, coins and cards and a design, make appraise project using wool, paper, plastic bags and tape. Did I once have to remind them to keep the noise down? NO! Stop being silly with the materials? NO!! Get back to work? NO!!! They were absolutely perfect! I could not believe how quiet and productive they were all day. 

They've put me in such a good mood, I'm having a sale at my Teachers Notebook and TpT store (well, that's the excuse I'm using. I actually realised I hadn't had one since August which I think is a bit unfair since I love sales and bargains myself!). So for 3 days, you can get 15% off everything!

Anyway, I've just been blurring out pictures of my kiddos faces so that I can show you some of their designs, but knowing my school, I'd still get into trouble if they saw it, so no pics. I should really remember to get pics without any kids in them.

So here is an activity I did last week with chance. Each student got this sheet and 2 dice. They predicted which sum they would roll the most (when adding the totals rolled on both dice) and then continued to roll until one sum reached the top. 
As a class, we kept a tally and made a graph using post-it notes to show which sum each of them had reach the top first. They were surprised to find that 7 reached the top first the most.  They then met in groups of 2-3 to look closely at each others results to try to explain why 7 was more likely to be rolled than the other numbers. I had to nudge some of them to look at the number sentences they recorded. They wrote in their Thinking Journals their explanations and then we came back together as a class and discussed our thoughts. They had realised that no-one rolled a 1 because it was impossible to roll a sum of 1 using two 1-6 sided dice. They also realised and were shocked that 12 (being the biggest number) wasn't rolled that often until they realised they can only roll it one way - a double 6. They ended up concluding that 7 had the best chance of being rolled because we could roll it more ways. We ended up recording how we could roll each sum and talked about which numbers were impossible, likely and unlikely to be rolled. They could identify out of 2-3 numbers which had the best chance, even/50:50 chance and no chance of being rolled.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Some differences: Canada and Australia

This term I have a Canadian student teacher. It's been a lot of fun and very interesting chatting with her about the differences between education in Australia and Canada. Here's some of the things we've identified based on our shared experiences so far: 
  1. In Canada, to be a teacher most people do another degree (in Science, Early Childhood or whatever) and then you go to Teachers College for a year to be qualified as a teacher. Here in Australia, you have to do a 4 year teaching degree. People from other fields may do a one year stint at uni to become a teacher but it is not as common.
  2. Art class - I don't know of any primary school (Prep to 7) that has a dedicated art teacher like she says they do in Canada. We have non-contact time (time without the class) for Physical Education and Music (and in the upper grades Languages Other Than English). I get 2 one hour blocks without the kids a week.
  3. Reporting and Parent Teacher interviews - I commented to her that I'd read on some blogs recently about teachers being given a day to get report cards done and a day without the class to do parent-teacher interviews. She says that does happen in some schools. Here, we have to do both in our time (or during our non-contact time). At my school, parent-teacher interviews start 15 mins after school finishes and go into the evening. At other schools, they are conducted each day before and after school for a week. All of our team meetings, meetings with special ed teachers, curriculum meetings etc are also all done outside school hours.
  4. Monthly/Weekly themes based around seasons and  holidays - we don't do that so much here. We have our term plans that cover specific content (e.g. narratives in English, Weather and Seasons in Science, etc) but we generally don't have a specific theme for a month and design most activities, games, the classroom decor etc around that theme. She also commented that celebrations like Christmas are not as 'big' here in terms of the extravagant decorations etc. My son has actually commented before when he sees some houses with lots of lights that if they really wanted to show the Christmas spirit that they would not buy the lights and decorations and give the money to charity or a children's toy appeal! Most houses here put up a Christmas tree  but not as many decorate the in and outside of their houses with lights and decorations. Also, whole classroom themes? Never!
  5. Bulletin boards - we don't really make such big and beautiful bulletin boards. Yes we display things and make displays but they aren't usually as elaborate. Plus we don't have corridors like you to make corridor displays (see below).
  6. Our classrooms for primary schools schools are generally on one level though some have two. So we have lots of blocks or buildings that house 2-4 classrooms rather than big buildings that house the whole school with big corridors. When you step outside our rooms you are usually actually stepping outside.
  7. Then of course, there's the language! She says 'is it not?' sometimes when explaining stuff to the kids which is just not something I've really said myself before. I also tell kids 'to have a go' and 'how ya goin?'which she said she doesn't say.  And of course, we also don't actually say 'throw another shrimp on the barbie!'- we call shrimp PRAWNS. We're more likely to throw a snag (sausage), a nice juicy steak or kebabs on the barbie!
  8. And I thought I'd just throw in that I don't have a clue what 'candy corn' and 'smores' are!! I've read about them on blogs the past year and don't have a clue what they are!
Wow, this actually ended up being a lengthy post so I'll leave it there!

Kylie :)

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Giveaway for Descriptive Writing Animated Character Help

This term for assessment, my grade 2 students are being asked to write a description of a fictional character. I am responsible for writing the task and criteria/grading sheet. I am wanting the kids to watch a short segment/s of an animated movie where at least 1 character (2 preferable) is shown in enough detail for students to write a description of the character (with details of appearance, personality etc).

This is where you come in my blogging friends! Do you know of any such segments?? I've been thinking of Aladdin or Snow White but my son is 12 now and I'm not really up with the current animated movies!!!... and I don't really have time to sit through and watch them looking for a good up to 5 minutes or so segment.

Please, please, please comment if you can recommend a particular segment of an animated movie!! I'll give everyone who leaves a unique comment a copy of my new Apple Basket Fact Family activity. Here's a sneak peek - it's not yet available!
So, to grab your copy before the official release (HA! I sound like a salesman! I REALLY want your suggestions!!) comment below by Sunday night! Thanks to everyone who commented! Your activity is being sent via email! (Just so you know, I've just had a thought that most of you are probably still enjoying your Sunday morning but it's Sunday night here!). I haven't decided what I'm doing yet, but am working on watching a whole heap of your suggestions on you tube tonight. Please leave a comment or email me your email address ( if you didn't leave it in your comment so I can get it to you.

Week in Review - Probability

Wow, the first week back after our two weeks holidays has been busy, busy, busy! I've got so many ideas and not enough time to do them! We are learning about narratives, written descriptions, sustainable water environments and pollution, natural and processed materials and the design, make, appraise process in technology. Our report cards are due in just over a month! Golly gosh, that's just spiked my stress levels thinking about it!

Well anyway, this week in math, we have been learning about chance/probability. It's not a big area in math, but one that some kids have real trouble with. There are just so many ways to describe the chance of something happening. We've been doing lots of work with dice, spinners and cards. 

This is one activity we did later in the week. I gave each group a lunch bag that had a certain number of green and yellow counters e.g. 3 green, 7 yellow and a 10 frame. They weren't allowed to look in the bag at this point. They took it it turns with their partner to draw a counter, color in the box with the color and put the counter back in the bag. They then added their 10-frame to the chart below when done.
I then gave them the green sticky note and they had to predict how many of each counter they thought they had in their bag. Each group came up and showed us their 10-frame and told us their prediction and why they made that prediction before finally finding out how many of each counter they had. We discussed the chance of them drawing a particular color (e.g. a 3 in 10 chance), which colors were likely, unlikely, probable etc to be drawn and identified bags where each color had an equal chance or 50:50 chance of being drawn. Students then reflected in their math scrapbooks about their bags and the chance of each color being drawn and whether their prediction was sensible. 

Here's the 10-frame if you want it - it's a very simple file!

Remember to join up with the Clutter-Free Classrooms: Peek in my Planbook linky party!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Art Exhibition

Can I admit that I did absolutely NOTHING school related over the last week of my spring holidays?! Not even a blog post!! Usually I go to school, take down the old decorations and art, put up new themed stuff, do a big tidy up of my room, generally get organised etc. I make sure I file all the old unit stuff and do heaps of planning for the coming term. These holidays? Absolutely zip, nothing, nada!!

I was so relieved to see the end of Term 3, that I just could not face more work over my holidays! It does mean that I have some end of term assessments still to mark, and quite a  bit of planning to do, but hey, at least I had one really good week off!

At the end of last term we had an art exhibition showcasing some of the art we had completed over the term. This included included straight line cold colour paintings, wavy line warm colour paintings, pastel still-lifes of flower vases, sketch self-portraits, leaf printing, Aboriginal symbol paintings and other small pieces.

Also, a BIG thank you to Mrs S. at Stapler's Strategies.... for Sizzling Second Graders  and Keri at Teach Play Smile for also nominating me for the Versatile Blog Award. Be sure to check out their blogs if you haven't already! See my blog post for a list of blogs I've nominated to receive the award!