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.

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