Thursday, February 25, 2016

Week 4: Highlights

Meetings and Assemblies
First up Monday morning students attended house meetings for forty minutes to elect the House and Vice Captains for the sporting houses and also to organise which swimming races they will compete in at the school's Swimming Carnival which takes place on Monday March 7th. They also attended the Meet and Greet assembly Tuesday morning to focus on the value of effort. Thursday afternoon they attended the first whole school assembly at 2-00 o'clock.

This week we did a second and more challenging relay. These three questions caused the most consternation amongst the kids and Mr Bucher will be unpacking the top two of these pictured below Friday  4th of March when he is next on class. I will be doing a focus on decoding graphs next week.

All students now have logged on to Maths Online and most have completed the first three lessons on 3D shapes. They can access this site from home to do revision exercises.

Writer's Notebook and Picture Book of the Week

We read this book and students then wrote their own letters from either a red pencil or a red crayon's point of view. They used a spokes wheel which is a visual organiser which assisted them to unpack possible ideas. They have a bank of visual organisers pasted into the back of their Writer's Notebooks. Take the time to have a look. They are a great way to help children to unpack ideas and  to plan their writing.. They then completed a  draft in their Writer's Notebook and now are producing the top copies which go in an envelope and will become part of the letter stack they are  creating. Our main focus was on the use of commas in lists and the use of commas which show possession. This stack will contain four to five letters. Four students shared  their first letters in the first whole school assembly on Thursday 24th February.

The students are now onto designing their boats which they will insert into their stormy seas next week.

Charlotte's Web Novel Study
On Wednesday students started making their interactive lap books. They did their cover designs. I have used a great idea from a North American Teacher, which I purchased in the holidays, to kick start  the unit. I encouraged the children to draw their own front covers rather than use the stencil as this encourages them to be creative. The children have seen the video so they know what is expected and how to go about the unit of work. I have got all the necessary materials such as vibrantly-coloured manilla folders and split pins. The activities the children can choose from are available in the grey shelving system on top of the tote trays. Feel free to have a look. Children will be given guidance in writing about settings, character and plot development as well as focusing on timelines, Venn diagrams and predictions.

Here are a few students with their finished covers, so gorgeous and a lot of effort made. Effort is our school value of the month.

Persuasive Writing
Mr Bucher  did a lesson Friday the 19th focusing on junk food.  On Tuesday I did a second lesson with the children focusing on desired traits for election to the School Representative Council.We viewed a  funny video and then focused on the structure of texts looking at introduction, first argument, second argument, third argument and then conclusion. Students wrote a persuasive text to convince their classmate that they should be elected as the class representative on the school council. We listened to the speeches of the thirteen students who elected to run for this in our class on Wednesday afternoon. ASIDE: Mrs Klonaris and I will be running the Student Representative Council this year. We will be escorting (driving) the students attending the GRIP conference with the elected council reps and the house captains on Tuesday the 1st of March to the Grand Chancellor. Here is the clip I showed the children to motivate their persuasive writing:

Spelling was a MAJOR focus this week on the are words. Students were closely guided through the setting out process and the tricky sections on the fortnightly unit were explained. The Spelling Bingo words were all "are" words too. I am encouraging students to take pride in their work. These will be tested on Monday 29th of February to determine the revision required. Four students were  also started on Word Shark which is a computer program, designed to specifically meet individual needs. All students also now have an Individual Spelling Card. Ask them to bring it home. After five successful tests on any word a teacher or parent can sign the word off. Words are continuously added to these cards and are taken from the students' Writer's Notebooks. Next week the focus will e on "ea" words. Some students have also been given postcard with five words from their writing to learn. I do regular tests on these and appreciate any parent help with this.

Word Shark

Word Shark
Mrs Andropolos took the class on Friday,  in lieu of Mr Bucher, and did a fabulous Spanish lesson wherein the children learnt how to introduce themselves and say how old they are and where they live. There is a display up in the art area of the work completed in this session. Andrea also did a maths game focusing on adding to 100 using a game wherein students had to employ strategies to win. Any completed co-ordinates work has been backed and placed in  their portfolios.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Week 3: Small summary and snippets

This week the focus has been on a-e words. Week four the focus will be on words with the "are" string in them such as beware!

Students are also writing an article about themselves based on The First Person segment which appears in  tasweekend  in The Mercury each Saturday. These are coming along nicely and will be published by the children over the next few weeks.

Maths Online is now set up and the children received  their individual logons and passwords on Friday. They can access this from home and will be supplied with some revision lessons initially, and then lessons at their level.

On Thursday the children experienced their first ever maths relay. They were in mixed ability groups and had a set of 18 questions to solve. Ask them to explain how it works to you. At conclusion of the relay, students filled in their group evaluation form and discussed the problems they found most challenging. We concentrate on unpacking the questions and building up a good bank of strategies to help them solve all types of space, number, measurement, pattern, chance and logic problems. Students are asked to thoroughly check if their answers are reasonable before submitting them.They will have a slightly harder relay early in week 4.
Some sample questions

Group evaluation
The colourful cubes they made in the first week were sent home today.

The children also experienced their first art lesson with Miss Middleton and worked on making stormy seas. These will be used next week in the second lesson as a backdrop.  They also started some surrealist collage work.

Stormy Seas
Surrealist pieces begun on Monday 15th be continued
Spanish started with us looking at the differences between a political maps and a geographical ones, and students learned the names of the countries in which Spanish is the predominant language. They have a special file for their Spanish work.

We are currently reading Charlotte's Web and this will be the novel we are focusing on this term Students will begin the unit this week making an interactive cardboard lap book which will have timelines, character and setting cards, vocabulary etc.

Our picture book this week was Frederick by Leo Lionni.

We talked about the values in the book. I haven't shown the children this beautiful animation and they may be interested to watch it so I have included the link here:

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Week 2: Summary. It has been another great week.

Firstly, our stationery has finally arrived. Unfortunately, the order had been mislaid. The children have been so wonderful and patient about this. I am still out there looking for "best deals." The great thing is they know how to share five rulers amongst 28. This hiccup has allowed for the development of patience and really encouraged really all good. Mr Bucher and I are really over sharpening 28 pencils with just two sharpeners.

Specialist lessons are as follows:
Art lead by Ms Gae Middleton, and supported by Mrs Carolyn Coote and Mrs Cheryl Goodluck: Monday 1:30 - 2:30
Spanish with Mrs Carolyn Coote Tuesday 2:10 - 2:55
P.E with Mr Tim Smith: Wednesday 11:55 - 12:40
Music with Mrs Ann Wolfe: Wednesday 9:45 - 10:30
Choir with Mrs Ann Wolfe: Thursday 11:00 - 11:25
Marimba with Mrs Ann Wolf:  Thursday 11:55 - 12:40
Library with MrsCoote: Thursday 1:30 - 2: 00

Every Monday morning there is a"Meet and Greet" assembly in the hall from 9-00 until 9:30 to reinforce and discuss the school's values: respect, effort, creativity and resilience.
Every second Thursday ia an assembly, either a big one or a buddy one.

Respect has been a major focus and through line in the school this week. The children in the class made placemats focusing on what respect means and looks like at home, in the classroom, in assembly and also in the playground. Here are a few beautiful examples. I am really encouraging the children to take care and pride in their work. I have forgotten how much I like the Paul Klee element of the innocence of children's drawings.

Coins: speaking and listening and some place value maths

Rows of neat sums in work books is not all there is to maths. There are so many other ways in which maths can be effectively taught and appreciated and ultimately valued by children. Mr Bucher and I will be sharing some of these other avenues throughout the course of the year. Students each had a random coin from around the world and they sat in a circle and carefully described their coin in detail. Other students had to listen carefully to see if they had the same coin and say when they did. This really encouraged good listening. The children were then requested to line up in the order of the minted date on their coin without speaking so I could see what they knew about place value. We checked how well they went. Then they had the opportunity to speak to each other a attempted the progression again. The coins spanned three decades and one year and came from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Britain, Scotland, Singapore, Alaska, Canada, Fiji and France and Australia...all countries I have spent time in.  Some video footage was taken and is available if anyone would like it. Just send along a clearly-named USB and I will upload any photos or videos you desire. A Photo Story disc is sent home mid-year with students' reports. See your child in action!


The focus has been on "a-e "  and "ai" words last week and this week. Each day the students play two games of "Spelling Bingo." Ask them to tell you about it. Every week the child in "the spotlight" runs the bingo. They also co-ordinate each morning's "Community Circle." and "The Behind the News" element incorporated in the curriculum to keep your child up-to-date with current affairs. Feedback is given to the child on their delivery, and leadership skills at the end of each week. Best work samples and work students choose will be incorporated in a portfolio of work which goes home at the end of the year with the final summary report. A unit of work also accompanies the words each week. This week students were eased into this program as sometimes they find the work load a bit daunting, like possums in the headlights of an on-coming car! They will get used to having to write neatly in books to complete the required units and adjustments will be made for each child.

2D versus 3D Shapes
This has been the major maths focus for this week. Students were asked to identify and name familiar 2D shapes and then move on to 3D  shapes. They also used a Venn diagram to compare  and contrast a 2D square representation which had been drawn onto their desk with the 3D cube they made late last week. Students then looked at attributes such as faces, vertices and edges and Euler's Law was presented for extension. I was very happy with the way they handled this lesson. A few students used the world wide web to explore axes of symmetry of a square and cube (quite complicated!). Some students did a speedy catch up due to leaving for choir. All work is marked and feedback given. 

Fine motor skill development and the visual arts

In order to complete some of the visual arts ideas I have in mind students for this year, the children will need to hone their fine motor skills and learn about perseverance with tricky tasks. This week we concentrated on making an old fashioned puppet clown ( a typical Punch, Pirrette or a Harlequin) and following an instructional text to create a display. Overall, I was very impressed with the skills and patience they exhibited; the task was not an easy one! I really loved the way some students readily rallied to help others. The display is up in the room and parents and guardians are quite welcome at anytime to come an visit to view the display or to simply observe what goes on in a 3/4 classroom. There  is no draw bridge. Just check out specialist times in this blog entry as students may not be in the classroom at certain times throughout the week.


Now I quickly told the kids just how important this is with respect to Naplan and to most importantly personal presentation and pride in ourselves...unfortunately  we don't have a computer each to complete the Naplan challenges as yet, so to be able to write fluently is definitely an advantage and will ultimately make life less stressful. The examiners love that they can actually read what gems have been written also; a few retired friends of mine assess Naplan samples to keep life interesting, and I have listened to all they have had to say. Each student in the class now has a handwriting booklet... and this is actually one of my strengths (had to lead a few seminars in this.) I acknowledge the importance of computer technology but good old handwriting is not quite defunct yet. In fact will showing the kids how to make their own Photo Stories this coming week and will be instructing on basic Excel usage and Movie Maker. Most importantly, Naplan is but a snapshot of your child.

Book Buddies

Miss Aleece Saunders and I  successfully worked together last year on a very productive and socially rewarding buddy program and are so happy to be working together again this year. Every fortnight we plan a session taking it in turns to carefully choose a value, or an educational concept or skill we would like to instill and develop in our students. Research overwhelmingly indicates that students explaining and/or demonstrating a skill or a thought process to a  younger child, or indeed a classmate, consolidates their own understanding of the skill or subject matter, Students are then more able to cross correlate their knowledge to a new learning area. The Thursday afternoon session involved the older students teaching the younger students how to play hopscotch.