Showing posts from 2014

Have you discovered Wonderopolis?

Throughout this year, I have been visiting a website called 'Wonderopolis'. It is an excellent resource for all primary school levels and I just love that it answers questions that children have posed.
This is one that I used this year with my Year 4 class while we were investigating health and hygiene practices.

All the Wonderopolis topics are posed as questions and have a video or photos, text answering the question (which can be listened to if required) as well as 'wonder words' related to the topic and activity suggestions. 
I have often used the site as a springboard into a topic or to promote further questioning. As an adult, you can subscribe to their email list to get each new 'wonder of the day' in your inbox. I use this as a way of matching the new wonders to what we are learning. You can also search the wonders to find one that suits your purpose.
Students can ask their questions by clicking on 'what are you wondering?' link, and vote for wonders…

Science Festival

Last year, my school hosted an Arts Festival to showcase all the incredible Visual and Performing Arts we do. This year's Festival was all about Science!

In Year 4 for Term 3 our Science unit was a Primary Connections unit called "Package it Better". Through this unit, our students learned about materials and their properties. My class designed, created and evaluated packages to protect a LEGO model (Series 2 Mixels). These packages, along with a lot of photos and written evaluations were displayed in the Year 4 corridor during the Science Festival.

Also on display were Year 4 karakuri camshaft models. These paper camshaft models were created from a model book, then each student got to design a 'scenario' to attach to the model. We had a lot of zombie hands reaching from the grave!

How to set up a Writer's Notebook

Last year, I was introduced to Writer's Notebook and was lucky enough to observe my colleagues teaching several Writer's Notebook sessions. For my next post about WN, I thought I would give you the low down on how I set up my Writer's Notebooks.
Where to Start: Type of bookThe students in our school get a premium scrapbook as part of their book pack.  I discovered last year that it is actually important to get a premium scrapbook, as I ended up having to glue pages together to prevent my work going through to the other side. Your starting point is the scrapbook. Get a decent one! Once you have that sorted, then proceed to cover your scrapbook. Remember, a Writer's Notebook is a book 'where you have the freedom to decorate the cover'.

This is how my WN from 2013 looked:

As you can see, it's quite simple. I used some marbled paper I had bought for bookbinding and then cut some stars from some wrapping paper to decorate it. I used my usual name labels for identif…

Adjective Frenzy!

This term's writing focus in English has been narrative. In order to create interesting stories, we have been working on adjectives. In 4H, we've been swept up in an adjective frenzy! To start us off, we brainstormed adjectives to describe character traits. Here's the poster (and Pin) that inspired us:

Here's our version:

We tried to colour code our words, but there's a few in there that were written in the wrong colour. (Which is probably a case of Mrs Hadfield getting distracted... I'm easily distracted...)

Using Wordle, we created 'word clouds' of adjectives (and some nouns) all about ourselves. We took our character traits poster into the computer lab to support us with this task. It was interesting, as we hadn't tried Wordle before. Some of us found it challenging to create our Wordles, as there was a lot of typing involved. Once I showed them how to copy and paste text, we were off and running again. Here are a few of our Wordles, photocopied onto …

How to Make Quizzes More Exciting!

A while ago, I discovered through Pinterest this blog post about Plickers. Not wanting to get completely swept up in the hype, I held off trying them out until today. 
After our Geography lesson on South America, I tried out a simple multiple choice quiz on the content we had just covered. My main goal was to try out the Plickers to see if they worked as well as the hype would suggest.
It was FUN! 
To set it up, I needed to go to the Plickers website to download and print the Plickers (a paper barcode that is assigned to a student).  Here's one of my Plickers:

One of my students commented that it looked like something from Minecraft! You need to download the FREE app to your smartphone to assign each Plicker to a student. Then you teach them how to hold the Plicker while you scan the class with your phone. You may be able to see 13 (the number of the Plicker) and a small A, B, C and D. To answer with a Plicker, you simply hold the answer you want (A, B, C or D) at the top.
It was incred…

Recognising Exceptional Teachers

In my job as a teacher, I have been fortunate to work alongside some exceptional teachers. It has been my privilege to be supported, mentored, inspired and challenged by these teachers throughout my short career. In light of this, it was so lovely to have the chance to show my appreciation of these people in the form of A Day Made Better. These inspiring teachers may not win the competition, but I have been able to share my thoughts about them in a way that hopefully brings a smile to their faces. Thank you to Christina, Tracey and Hari for encouraging and motivating me throughout my career.
If you know of a teacher who you think deserves recognition, nominate using the link above. The comments you write about them will surely make their days better too!

How to celebrate the end of Term 1

Tomorrow is the last day of Term 1 and it's cause to celebrate! My Year 4 students have managed to survive their kooky teacher for a whole term. Well done!
My whole class behaviour management strategy this term was based on Mr Potato Head. This is he, in all his glory:

My students had to earn each part of Mr Potato Head through this term. There are 2 arms, 2 ears, a hat, nose, moustache, tongue, eyes and glasses adding to a total of 10 parts. As we had 10 weeks this term, I thought that an average of 1 part a week was achievable. Luckily for my students, it was! Our reward for earning all the potato parts is a movie afternoon with popcorn. I'll give my class a choice of the G rated movies I have (because we like choices!).
The other thing I like to do is give my students a little Easter gift. It's generally something small, like a small Easter egg, a fluffy chick and a novelty eraser. This year I went to Pinterest for inspiration and found this pin. I followed it further to g…

Classroom Update

What does my classroom look like now?If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you would know that I have made a move from the Junior end of the school (Year 2) to a new classroom. Here's what my Year 2 room looked like at the start of the year and what it looked like when I had to rearrange my furniture.
I am now a Year 4 teacher after many years in the Junior school. Here's a peek at my class at the very start of the year, when I was still moving my things in. As you can see, I am a messy mover!
Now that I am moved in and settled, here are some photos of my classroom as it is. It has a 'lived in' feeling, as I didn't tidy up before taking the photos.
Without further ado:

From here, we can see the back corner of the classroom, the general clutter on my desk and the decorations I bought at the start of the year. I also have my star curtain, which I bought many years ago in Chinatown in Sydney.

Our Science unit this term is a Primary Connections unit called Plants in Ac…

Treasure Island Maths

Whoops! Have you ever thought that you've done a job and ticked it off your to-do list only to find that it was never done?
Sadly, I have.

Last year, with my lovely Year 2s, I did a coordinates and mapping activity in Mathematics. I got them to draw a treasure island which had to include the following things:

Treasure (either a treasure chest or an 'x' marks the spot)5 palm treesa pond/lakea volcano and 2 animals (any type)

Once they had draw their map with the features, they then had to guide the pirates to the treasure. Their instructions had to be clear and concise, using either directions (N, E, S, W) or the coordinates. I also stipulated that each square was equal to 10 steps. I had some really creative results and some interesting directions.

For Year 2 the Australian Curriculum outcome is: ACMMG044 Interpret simple maps of familiar locations and identify the relative positions of key features. This is an extension of that outcome, with the students not only   interpretin…

We're going to have a BRIGHT year!

I can hardly believe that we've been at school for 6 weeks now! It seems like I wrote about the start of the school year only yesterday.

As I'm playing a bit of catch-up, I'll share a little gift I gave my students during the first week of school. (I'm sure I'll catch up all the other posts I had planned later...)
I popped on to the computer to check out Pinterest, as I always do when I'm looking for cool ideas and found this:

and this:

As I absolutely love stars, I fell in love with both ideas at once. I chose to go with the second version, as it seemed the simpler idea (but still effective!)
I quickly opened up Microsoft Word and found a star shape. After adding the appropriate text, and playing with the font I ended up with this:

I got a packet of 50 glow sticks from The Reject Shop for $2 and printed off the stars. It took a little while to cut all the stars out, and I was glad I only have 23 students this year! After putting two holes into the star with my hole …

A brand new year!

On Monday 20th January 2014, I hauled myself into school at 8am to move my teaching resources from my old classroom (a Year 2 shared space with a huge wet area, courtyard access and huge windows) to this:

These photos were obviously taken after I did several trips from my old room to the new one, so all my junk is everywhere. I'm going to need to make another visit in to unpack and tidy! It's obviously much smaller than my last teaching space, but I don't need to share this time.
I will post more photos once I have had a chance to make it my own (and put all my resources away). I have the tissue paper and wire to make pom poms like last year, plus I found these goodies for $2 each at a local discount store when I was shopping with some friends.

As you can see, I am going with the blue and yellow theme again, and I plan to re-use a lot of the things I had to decorate my last classroom (got to keep within a certain budget!). I also had a lot of things I couldn't display las…