Our cool space themed diorama
I have this simple game that the children enjoy playing in small groups of 2-6 people
Firstly, make a few play boards with pictures of animals and the numbers that you will find on a dice.
or for extra supportYou will also need: 6 counters for each student1 dice to sharean ability to take turnsHow to play: All players sit in a circle with their play board and 6 counters in front of them. The first person starts, by rolling the dice. They need to determine what number they have rolled and place a counter on top of that number on their play board. It continues in this way- taking turns to roll the dice around the circle. If you roll a number that you have already placed a counter on to, you cannot do anything for that turn and the dice moves to the next player.
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This past term I grew alfalfa seeds with my students. I really reccommend doing this.. it was FANTASTIC! The students loved it, they got to see things happening almost instantly, it didn't take long to get the finished results, they got to put their very own alfalfa shoots on a salad they bought to school in their lunch box, it was easy enough for them to do the whole thing themselves.
All we had to do was put some seeds into a jar with a stocking over the top (to let water in and out, but keep the seeds inside). Initially we soaked the seeds for a few hours and then drained and left on a shelf. After that once a day we wet and drained the seeds and watched them grow and change. When they looked plump and yummy we ATE THEM!!!
This was a simple and effective project. I really reccommend it to fellow teachers.
Over the past 5 weeks I have been doing a tasks that enables QUICK THINK MATHS every day as part of my maths block.
We call it Rainbow Maths because I have a set of activities that the students can choose from in the different colours of the rainbow (see below image for an example)
The students are given 2 minutes to gather their maths books, rule them up, put the RM, the date and the colour they will be working on at the top (they choose which colour they think is right for them- so this takes time to talk about and understand how to choose 'just right' maths). They are then given about 7 minutes to work on their skills.
I talk about it like practicing their fluency in maths (as they are familiar with this concept in relation to reading) They are also familiar with the concept of choosing a 'just right' book for their reading, so it is helpful to relate these two ideas together.
Rainbow maths is a time for QUICK THINK, it is not a time for new learning or trying things that you will need to ask questions and seek help with. It is a time for practicing something that you already know and becoming quicker/more fluent with it.
Rainbow Maths is a silent working time for us and the students have indicated that they love this time as it is such a peaceful working time and they know what they are doing.
Something I did to start off a unit on place value (ones, tens, hundreds, thousands....) with my grade ones and twos is that we counted ALL our popsticks.
The total we got to was 1761
First I showed the students a whole tub full of popsticks and asked them how long they thought it would take to count them all (guesses ranged from a few hours to a few weeks).
Then I started counting by ones and stopped, looking warn out asking if anyone had any idea of a quicker way to count the popsticks. Someone had the idea of counting by two's- so I demonstrated this and decided we decided it would still still take too long. Then someone came up with the idea of counting by tens and I said that I would let them try that and lets see if we can get it done by the end of the day (wink, wink).
Next I gave them some rubber bands and showed them how to bundle ten popsticks and tie them into a group (talking at this point about how that counting by 2's strategies works well here in getting to ten- if no one suggested counting by two's earlier- I would have asked if they knew a quicker way to get to ten and hope they suggested it now)
Now I let the students madly bundle all the popsticks into groups of ten until they announced that they thought they had done them all.
Finally we all sat back in a circle and I facilitated counting by tens up to 100 and further putting our bundles of ten into groups of 100.
As we went a long making our groups of hundreds we would continually check our running total by counting by hundreds.
The students LOVED doing this activity
This week I guest posted at The Mummy Autobiography, my post here. I wrote about some tips I have picked up along the way that have helped parents feel more confident when reading with their young ones at home.(note: aimed at beginner readers)See my post below"Reading is not only identifying the words correctly"Before your child is even reading in the true sense of the word, encourage a WORD SENSE within them:
Beginning Reading is just that BEGINNING- don't rush the processThere are some important skills that your child needs to develop before they are ready to be independent readers, so try not to push them too hard too soon
- Point out, informally and often, key words in the environment around you (eg: titles of books, names of their favourite cereal, signs at their playgroup, names of family members. You might say something like "I like how they have written the name of your playgroup in red *point to name and read aloud* or "Your cereal is called *name*, look how it's written here on the box).
- Talk aloud about the reading and writing you are doing in your day to day activities (ie: reading a recipe, writing and reading the shopping list, looking up a phone number, finding out information in the newspaper).
- Encourage an enjoyment of books:
- Be transparent about your own reading for enjoyment.
- Read to your child often and with joy.
- Use fun voices, have a few pop up/'fancy' books and get them to be interactive in the reading process.
- Make sure the time you spend reading together is undistracted and dedicated one-on-one special time.
- "Reading" the pictures and retelling a known story is a beginning phase of learning to read so encourage this and try not to correct or be too focussed on reading the actual words. Recognise and praise their attempt at "reading".
Beginning to read independentlyAs your child starts school they will probably come home with books to practice their reading. They will usually be simple and repedative to begin with.
- Develop an awareness of how books work. Children need to know which is the front cover, what those black squiggles on the page are meant for, which way up you hold the book, where you start reading from, where to go to next when you get to the end of the line, etc.
- Try to gradually develop an understanding of the difference between a letter, a number, a word and how letters can be put together to make words. You can this in casual, simple ways by mentioning things like "your name starts with the letter- b-" or when identifying objects around you, say, "duck- d,d, duck" and even some simple, fun alphabet activities, if your child enjoys them, cannot hurt.
- When you are reading together, be it a shared picture book, a reader that is sent home from school or anything else, talk about what is going on in the book (even if they don't realise it, adult readers are thinking all sorts of things when they read, so by talking about the book you are teaching your child how to THINK ABOUT READING)Before Reading: Talk about the front cover and title and what that might tell you about what the book is going to say, who the characters are, what might happen to those characters and even if you think you might have read anything similar before.
During Reading: If you come across an interesting point, stop and discuss. You might like to ask questions like;
- What do you think *character* will do next?
- What would you do if you were *character*?- What do you think *character* meant when they said that?- Why do you think *character* said that or why do you think the author wrote that?After Reading: Talk about feelings and favourite parts, what could have been improved, how you each reacted at different moments in the story.
- Don't over do it- you don't want reading to be a chore. Try to read daily and judge from your individual how much is too much.
- Don't over correct! It is very important that your child begins to see themselves as 'a reader' and if you focus too heavily on getting everything exactly right this might discourage their confidence.
- Don't be too concerned if they seem to memorise the book or be using the simple pattern and not really 'reading', that is the point of beginner readers. If you want to do more, just focus their attention to some key words at the end of reading.
- If your child is trying to read for themselves and they become stuck on a word, give them the opportunity to solve the problem for themselves, count to ten before jumping in to give them the answer.
- If your child looks to you or asks for your help keep your focus on the book to try and encourage them to look to the book for solutions, and count to ten before you provide the answer.
- Don't over praise your child throughout the reading process, they need to learn to become independent and self-praising. By all means praise them about what they were successful with at the end of the story.
- Take opportunities to 'play word games' within the books. For example, I spy the word 'in' can you spy it too, or, point to all the letter 'b's you can see (I bet you can find more than...).
- Help your child to be ready to read words by playing oral word blending games, such as "Can you guess what word is? mmmm- aaaaa- t. Say the sound each letter makes rather than the name of the letter and hold each sound longer than you normally would
- For more games and ideas see my latest post of ideas
I give each student a magazine holder (make sure you don't go for the cheap cardboard ones- they need to be a bit more sturdy for kid-friendly use) They keep their own workbooks books, a plastic envelope for half finished work, and their just-right books borrowed from the library in there.
I assign each table a colour and then provide each table with their own tray for the hats, waterbottles and jumpers that need to be accessed throughout the day. This way they are not spilling out of bags or left lying around the room or thrown into a pile of 20 something hats and jumpers that all look the same.
I seem to keep changing my classroom jobs poster. I like the look of my latest one the best so hopefully I wont be spending week 0 next year making up another one.
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