Saturday, June 30, 2012

Olympics Math and Literacy Activities

I didn't think I'd end up making a new pack these holidays, but I had some ideas for things I wanted to do next term and it kinda snowballed into 15 activities and over 100 pages!

I know most of the U.S. won't be in school for the Olympics, but we here Down Under are and I'm sure the kiddos are going to be SUPER excited. This will probably be the first Olympics that they can remember, since they would have only been 3 or 4 during Beijing. So... I made my pack Olympic themed. 

During our first week back in Term 3, my poor little things are going to be sitting an old Year 3 national NAPLAN test in language arts, reading and math. So a REAL test that is similar to what they would be expected to do in almost 12 months time. Why? The D word - Data. We will look over the tests (sat under NAPLAN conditions) and work out what we need to work on. Some of my little things won't even be able to read the first passage in the Reading test, let alone have been introduced to some of the content in the math test...

Anyway, it got me thinking of some things I could be doing to help prepare them for next year which is how this pack got started. So I made up some task card activities similar to NAPLAN questions: 
  •  spell the underlined word correctly
  • identify the mispelt word and spell it correctly. I've tried to include commonly mispelt words, past tense verbs and homophones.
  •  punctuate the sentences (capitals for sentence beginnings and proper nouns, a range of ending puncutation and commas have been left out).
  • which sentence is puntuated correctly (multiple choice slides for a whole class lesson. Students use fingerprint cards to show their response free from Angela Bunyi).

I also had a looksy (sp?) at what we need to cover this term and what I know my kids need and made up a couple of little things that will help like
  •  part-part-whole models and writing number stories
  •  calendar work
  •  number sense - more and less 
And some revision activities for my Essential Revision Guided Math tub:
  • meaurement
  • data
  • chance
So that's basically what's included, plus a few other things thrown in for good measure. You can read about the specifics of each activity in the description at  TpT here, TN here and for Aussie teachers, you can check it out at Teachers Marketplace. As always, it's 20% off for the first few days.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New buys!

How is it that I can feel more tired now, than before the holidays? I'm now 5 days into my 14 days off and I'm spent. I've been contacting books for my class library, organsing last semesters worth of 'stuff' into new pretty folders, rearranging my classroom, playing Lego Batman on the PS3 with my little guy (well, he's almost 13 and has long since grown taller than me and out of the Lego games, but they're the only games I know how to play because they don't require great skill) and doing a little DIY for my classroom. Oh, and I also spent a lot of money... I feel bad for spending so much on school stuff, but aren't these pretty? 

New pretty rainbow rug. 
I've only got a couple of bookcases and no other storage, and I'm sick of buying storage carts. I thought I'd use this to hold all of my math and word work manipulatives.
 New book tubs for guided reading groups. 

And lots of other little things I don't want to bore you with. Can't wait for them to be delivered.

I went into school today to rearrange so I actually had room for the storage shelves. My back is sore from moving bookcases around. I swear I'm walking around like an old woman!!

Look what we made on our last day of school for the semester:
I totally forgot the tablecloth!

We are learning about procedures next term, so I thought I'd get them ready for it by making fruit kebabs! First we discussed how we would make them. Each kiddo got a job - some peeling and slicing bananas, or scooping out rockmelon, cutting watermelon, peeling and slicing kiwi fruit or peeling and segmenting manderins (I cut the apples and they had plastic knives). They had so much fun and it was great to see the kids helping each other. I went around and took photos of what everyone was doing so that we could share write the procedure.

They stood in a line and threaded the fruit to make their kebabs. We went and sat outside our room on the grass and ate our fruit with a cup of juice. Most kids went back for 5ths and 6ths! I ended up just bringing the fruit outside so they didn't have to keep on walking inside (it's just up 4 steps, but I also felt like chilling outside, so it was easier on me). You should have seen some of the kids - it was like they've never had fruit before! They just couldn't get enough! I had one girl vomit in the bin from eating so much...the bin right near the door... where she could have vomitted on the grass...but no, she did it in the bin... It sure is amazing what a little wooden stick can do to motivate kids to eat fruit.

We actually had a great last day - cutting up the fruit and eating it took up about an hour and a half, so that was a great start. I also got a lot of tidying done but then I had a visitor, the husband of a friend of mine who works at the highschool. I was so embarrased as he came as I was madly cleaning up and the class looked a mess. The kids had also been cleaning out their tidy trays. Oh well, it was really tidy by the end of the afternoon!

Have you ever been embarrassed by the state of your classroom? Or is it just mine that gets heaps messier while I'm cleaning before it starts to look neater?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Don't You Love It When This Happens?

4 of these book display holder things were empty.

This rotating rack, which holds a lot of non-fiction readers, is usually completely full.

This rack is almost empty.

 This one is completely empty!
Don't you just love the excitement the kiddies show when you bring in new books?! Even when I taught Year 6, whenever I brought in new books they were always taken (I had to keep a waiting list!). These kids are no different.

But.... I didn't even bring in new books :(  Once again, I just moved some books around, changed the books in the racks and in holders and you'd think Christmas had come. I love pulling out books that don't seem as popular and putting them on display or doing a book introduction by reading the blurb, or doing a picture walk, or reading the first page or two. There's a lot more interest in them for sure after that.

How do you maintain interest in your books when you haven't added new ones for a little while? Do you put all of your books out at the start of the year or progressively add more/take some out as the year goes on? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Word Family, Blends & Digraphs Word Wall and Freebie

Earlier this year I had a lot of trouble with my kiddos not knowing their word families. They had to use rhyming words to innovate on a poem for our first assessment this year. Boy, did they struggle! So I made up these cards so that we could read through the sounds, brainstorm words, and make a word wall to help with spelling. I've finally got around to adding it to TpT.
 I added cards for blends and digraphs as well, as we needed them. Each set of cards has a different coloured border so they can be easily distinguished from other sets. 

So far, we've used them as a Word Family Word Wall. Students refer to them to help with spelling by analogy. 

I've also used them with reading groups, particularly at the start of the year when so many students didn't really know these sounds automatically. I printed the cards 2 sheets on one page (in the printer settings) and added the cards to a plastic ring. My aide or I would go through them with the kids who needed it prior to reading. 

We've also used the cards during Word Work as a partner activity. The kids lay out 4 cards that we've focused on face up. One of the pair says a word and the other writes/makes the word, using the cards to help with spelling if needed. They then swap roles. I like this activity because they have to think of words with the sound AND spell it. For younger kids you could give them a list of words to read from.

I've included 90 cards in total, but am also happy to add any others needed. If you like, you can check them out on TpT. As always, they are 20% off for the first few days.
Now the freebie. I've got a whole polka dot theme going on right now so here are some labels I made eons ago. You can pick them up in Google Docs.They come in 2 sizes.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What we've been up to

Sorry again for my lack of posting. You know how it is at the end of term. Lots of assessment, marking and report writing. I'm counting down the days to our Winter break - 9 days to go since tomorrow is a public holiday! Yeah! I've got soooo much to do in those 9 days I'm not sure how I'll get through it all.

You may also have read on an earlier post that I couldn't get photos off my camera. Well that's still true and I've also lost misplaced the school's camera battery charger... Luckily, I was able to borrow a charger to charge my camera and found photos on it that I took months ago! So, it's a bit late, but this is what we've been up to:  

ANZAC Day was ages ago I know, but I never go around to posting this pic (or actually finishing the board.... the public holidays and other things go in the way). It was meant to have writing in the middle, but since I ran out of time, I hastily added the wreath in the centre. The slouch hats was an activity from another Aussie blogger Jane at The Learning Curve.
We completed our Mother's Day craft. I made the Lemon Oil Body Scrub from Reagan over at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits. The flower pot cards were from Pamela at First Class Teacher. A lovely mum made some cricut thingys to add to the pot and the cards we made.

The Desk Fairy visited a few weeks ago and look at what I found on one my kiddos desk as I was packing up on Friday. 
 To ____, My, my, your desk is tidy. From the desk fairy. 

One of my little cuties had made it for another student! How adorable! This little boys avoids writing like the plague so it was good to see him choosing to write on his own. He also gave me this on Friday:
During lunch, I could hear some shuffling by the door and went on over to see what it was. He had slipped this card under the door for me! I can't belive he gave up some of his play time to make it for me.   

We have been up to more, but that's all I've got for today. Better get back to the marking...

P.S. Is anyone else having problems with images coming out distorted on google reader?