Sunday, 29 March 2015

Word Work Stations

This year I've decided to completely revamp how I do Word Work in my classroom. Each week, my students complete a spelling contract for homework which involves putting their spelling words into sentences, rainbow words etc in their homework books, so there really isn't any point in repeating this process at school. Therefore, I've decided all my Word Work stations at school should be hands-on. I haven't decided on all my stations yet, but here are a few I've selected:

Whiteboard Words
For spelling words, I give students 8 words based on a spelling pattern or sound such as ‘ou’ words, or ‘tion’ words. Students use two different coloured whiteboard markers and write their words, ensuring that the common spelling pattern is highlighted in a different colour in each word. For example, in the picture above, you can see the ‘th’ is written in purple and all other letters are in orange.

Magic Doodle Board Words

I purchased a whole heap of these magic doodle boards from k-mart 2 years ago and absolutely love them! Students love writing on these, so I thought it would be perfect to incorporate them into my Word Work stations!

Wooden Letter Words
These wooden scrap book letters are great for allowing students to connect uppercase letters with lowercase letters. The individual compartments for each letter makes it easier for students to find the sound they are after quickly.

Kinetic Sand & Lego Imprint Words
Kinetic sand and Lego? Yes please! I absolutely LOVE kinetic sand almost as much as my students do. At this station, students use Lego pieces to create imprints of their words! I have a feeling this station is going to be a favourite!

So these are the stations I've come up with so far, stay tuned for the full addition of Word Work activities coming soon!

What are your most popular word work activities?

Keep Smiling!
Miss A xx

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Moonlit Starry Night Sky Painting

I've found that a lot of teachers are quite hesitant to use paint in art lessons. The prospect of 20+ children with paint trays can seem quite daunting, but I think if you have clear expectations and structure, your lessons will run very smoothly. One of the most important things is to make sure you have EVERYTHING set out and ready before your lesson begins- the last thing you want to do is to be juggling mixing paint, finding paint brushes, tying students aprons etc along with making sure students are on the right track with their art work.

This week we did a 'Moonlit Starry Night Sky' painting. I got the idea here on pinterest (for those who have not invested in a Pinterest account yet- do it! It's a must have for all teachers) and couldn't resist trying it out with my kiddo's!

I have a period at the start of every art lesson which I call 'Instruction Time'. During this time, we talk about the different art techniques behind the painting we are about to do and I do a demonstration. For this activity we discussed colour shades. I showed students how we can add white to a colour to make it lighter, and the more white we add, the lighter the shade becomes.

We started by painting a white dot in the middle of our page. Then we used the second lightest shade and painted a circle around the white dot.

We continued doing this until we had used all the shades of our colour, then we painted the rest of our page in the darkest shade.

The beauty of this lesson is that the students don't have to watch their paint brushes as they change shades! I love lessons like this as it can get pretty messy when you need to constantly wash your paint brush a million times a lesson!

We used a flicking technique to create little stars in our sky. I added some water to my white paint and got the kids to flick the paint on their paint brushes onto their page. Make sure that you do this OUTSIDE as it can get quite messy! But the kids had an absolute ball doing it :)

The final step was the trees. I cut up different lengths of cardboard and got the kids to dip the edges in black paint to create our trees. I made sure I told the children that the base of the tree must come off the page- there are no such thing as floating trees!

I must admire, I love walking into my class and seeing this display :)

Keep Smiling!
Miss A

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Creative Writing- If I won a million dollars...

One thing I really enjoy doing is jazzing up our creative writing stories with a fun art activity. Inspired by St Patricks Day, this week I incorporated our 'If I won a million dollars' creative writing with a 'Pot of Gold' art activity!
The children first completed their good copy and illustrations. For the pots of gold you need thick cardboard so guess who stayed back one Friday afternoon wrestling a stanley knife through chunks of cardboard to create 19 pot templates? ME! The end result was totally worth it though :)

Using PVA glue, we glued pasta shells, lima beans and rice on the top of our pot. I made sure I got students to fill the entire section and to full in any blank spots with rice.
When the top had dried, I used gold spray paint to cover the entire area and give the illusion of gold. I then got the children to paint their pots grey.

I gave the top one more spray of gold to create a 'glowing' effect at the top of the pot. The students then added a dollar sign and used some lighter grey paint to create the effect of light reflecting off the pot. 

 I laminated the students work, added a bit of gold glitter to the edges and TA DA!! A fantastic looking creative writing piece :)

Miss A

Friday, 20 March 2015

The Magic Box

I think a lot of teachers overlook the importance of stimulating interest at the beginning of a creative writing. I've got Box to help me with that! Who is Box might you ask? He's my trusty creative writing box buddy! Creative name I know ;) Every second week we have a creative writing lesson, and I tell the students that Box is actually magical and will decide what the topic is about. His way of letting us know what he wants us to write about is by showing us some different objects which are supposed to be clues for our story starter. The difference in quality and engagement of writing when I use Box is amazing! Here's what Box had in store for us this week:

Inside of Box I had put a winning lottery ticket, a cheque for one million dollars and $500 dollars cash with the label 'Spending Money' attached to it. Using Box is also a great way to improve infrence making ability. I encouraged students to look at ALL the clues to find out what box wanted our story starter to be. It actually took a lot more guesses than I thought! Our task this week was 'If I won a million dollars'. Even though I'm pretty sure my students are aware that Box is really just a box, no one has breathed a word about the fact that it may be ME putting the items in the box! In fact, the students were absolutely delighted with the prospect that Box had potentially robbed a bank to provide us our clues! Too cute :)

Miss A

Monday, 16 March 2015

Hello Blogging World!

So I have finally done it- I've taken the leap and created my teaching blog :)

This has definitely been on top of the to-do list for a very long time and I'm excited to be sharing teaching experiences, resources and lessons with you all!

I've wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember because I simply adore children! I am currently in my fifth year of teaching with the best bunch of year 3's in the world! I honestly couldn't imagine life without these adorable children. I absolutely love love LOVE my job and feel so fortunate that I am able to come to work everyday doing something I am so passionate about. 

Every year, every term and every day I learn new things about teaching and student learning and I would love to share these experiences with you. Welcome to Living, Breathing and Loving Teaching! I hope you stick around :)

Miss A