Monday, July 30, 2012

Messy Maths Boxes...

What a fun week I have coming up in maths! Following the C2C Australian Curriculum for Year 1 (Unit 5), this coming week has its focus on Length, or more exactly, comparing lengths with informal units. Don't you just love working with kids using informal units??? They always have a ball, and don't realise they are learning. 
Informal length chart

The first thing I am 'required' to do is put together a Messy Maths Box. C2C gives the following outline...

Find and prepare
Messy Maths Box (two or three large tubs to share  between groups) containing a range of the following:
straws, counters of different types, 3D shapes, 1 cm cubes, match sticks, cotton reels, paddle pop sticks, MAB blocks, 2 cm cubes, milk bottle tops, bread tags, 
dice, Cuisenaire rods, linking cubes, plastic coins, 
lengths of string or wool, lengths of paper tape

So from this...

Messy Maths equipment

To this...

One empty Messy Box
To this...

Organisation is the key to all classroom lessons, expecially those involving the word 'mess'.
I have also sourced a few brilliant activities for maths rotations this week, inkeeping with the theme. Thursday is a 1:1 assessment lesson on the topic, so several independent activities are needed.

Maria at Kinder-Craze has a super little Hands-On Measurement Freebie -

Jessica at TpT has a fun bat measurement activity -
Jessi at Fantastic, Fabulous, Firsties! has a Monster Measurement Mansion Game to help reinforce non-standard measurement.

And my last piece of informal measuring for the week is an idea that I saw(???) where you tape the units together so the groups actually have a tape measure made out of paperclips, paddlepop sticks, breadtags etc. This helps to reinforce the idea of butting the measuring pieces up for accuracy.
So it looks like I am all set for the week in maths. Is there anyone else out there following C2C for Year 1, or who uses a Maths Messy Box??? Also, jump in with any other measurement activities that you use...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Peggy about Behaviour...

Just how brilliant are all the peg clip chart behaviour systems being used in classrooms around the globe!!!
From Sunny Days in Second Grade
From Miss Kindergarten 
From The Inspired Apple
Where this idea originate from I do not know. But a huge 'Thank-You' to the clever person who did indeed invent this concept. 
Here is my little chart, that hangs proudly out the front of my room...
Close up (and a much clearer picture!!!) - 
My pegs have been dyed in various colours, and are stored in one of my drawers...
And when my little lovelies reach the Outstanding, and remain there for the entire day (what a challenge I do set!!!) then they receive a little jewel...
Five jewels and the peg goes home, choose a new colour peg, and the cycle continues. Now, just how easy is that??? 
After seeing the stunning guitar chart above, and the many other creative charts out there, I would love to make a few more up to match my theme each  school term. 
So many ideas, and so little time...

Why, Thank-you...

Drum roll, please..........for my first teaching blog award!!!!
A huge Aussie thanks to a talented teacher, 
Tania, from Mrs Poultney's Ponderings 
for passing this onto me. She has been kind enough to acknowledge my little blog. Go and meet Tania, and say hello...
And also, would you believe it!!! A second nomination from Vicky who lives at -

The award is the Liebster Award, which has been blog-hopping around the globe for some time now.

But the award comes with rules, that I must adhere to (now I know how my little kids feel in class). 
The rules:
1.  Link back to the person who gave it to you. 
2.  Post the award to your blog. √  

3.  Give the award to other bloggers with less than 200 followers. √ (This was easy with the Newbie Blog Hop happening)

The 5 Newbie Bloggers that I am passing this award onto are...

- Ms Feuerstack from over at Fun and Learning in First    
- Liz at Polka Dot Firsties   

If you have already received this award, think of it as a double bonus at the end of a long week. 
Catch up with you all again soon.....J

Monday, July 23, 2012

Reinventing Sight Words...

Lots of very creative teachers around the globe use the Dolch word system,  Fry words, or the Magic 100 and have made up many, many brilliant games to help kids practice and learn these words. And they have published these games on their blogs, or Pinterest, to share with others.
There are bingo games, flashcards, posters, songs  and 100's of games made, all ready for use in our classrooms, and all created with a fun element. So, why am I reinventing the wheel???
MULTILIT game lists 1 - 10
Well, my school is using a system called MULTILIT - Making Up Lost Time In Literacy! It helps struggling students pick up the basics. There are 200 words in the sight word component, presented in 30 groups of 10 words. But when I went to the usual spots to get some inspiration (yes, I'm talking Pinterest!) there is nothing. Not a single solitary flashcard  or sheet to be had!!! But, worst still, no fun games for rotational groups!!! 

Result is - time to make my own...

First game is just a basic roll the dice, move and say the word game. The above photo covers games for the first 10 groups of words. The school has 'modified' the way we display the words. Instead of working from list 1 to 30 we cover a 5 colour system (very confusing, I must say). Lists 1 and 2 are blue, 3 and 4 are pink the kids progress through the colours as their sight word knowledge increases. So you can see why I need to reinvent this poor old system, quickly!!!
Game for Lists 1 and 2 (blue)
This is the first 'blue' level, lists 1 and 2,  which basically covers all the initial words. For each level I glued the game onto backing cardboard that matches the level, and made the picture and arrows on the game in the same colour as well.
Game for Lists 9 and 10 (orange)
These are the words for the first 'orange' level, covering lists 9 and 10. You can see that the progression of words is increasing in difficulty. I made up 5 copies of each level so that the class can play in pairs, at their level during group time.
Recording sheet
And a quick little recording sheet for the kids to write down the words they land on!

So my plan of attack is to create one or two new games each week using the MULTILT words. Fingers crossed that I stay motivated enough to stick to this goal...

By the way, has anyone else ever used this MULTILIT system at all??? Would love to hear how you made it work successfully...

Friday, July 20, 2012

'r' influenced vowels...

This teaching year 'Down Under' saw the introduction of our new National Curriculum. Strangely, not all the States and Territories are following it. Queensland is, so that means I'm in the thick of it!!!
My year level is on-track to the day, which means we are up to Unit 5 Week 2 Lesson 1 in spelling...'r' influenced vowels 'ar', 'er', and 'ir'. I have noticed that they are also called 'r' controlled vowels overseas. Same thing, different name.

We are 'given' the spelling words for the week ...

And we are allocated 4 x 15 minute sessions in the week for spelling! Whilst we are provided with an overview for the week, I am going to hunt out a few exciting games and such to use.

First port of call was TeachersPayTeachers ...
I take my teachers-hat off to each and every talented teacher who puts their resources out-there. You are all a credit to the profession!

Kerrie from Look Whoo's in First  has a great free-download game called Captains Crew R Controlled Vowels 
Captains Crew R Controlled Vowels

A Year of Many Firsts has included a poster for free, with some really adorable characters
Meet the Super-Three UR ER IR
Then, of course, I just HAD to check out what is showing up on Pinterest - and there goes the rest of my day!!!
Kathy at First Grade a la Carte  has a super game for kids to practice their r-controlled words. 
Rainforest Treasures
And Classroom Freebies has a quick little cut and paste activity 

Something for everyone! I am off now to whip up a few of these great activities ready for next week. 

Does anyone have any other super ideas for introducing and teaching 'r' influenced vowels to little Year 1'ers???

Enjoy your weekend...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Newbie Blog

A Blog Hop for newbie teachers....just in time for me!!! 

This excellent idea has come from  
who is hosting the hop.

All you have to do is share a little information about yourself so that the rest of the teacher blog world can get to know you better!

1. What state country you are in ...
Well, I live in the sunny state of Queensland, Australia.

2. Your current teaching position ...
This year I am teaching a Year 1 class, which are 6 to 7 year old children. Last year I had a Year 3 class. 

3. Your teaching experience ...
My teaching career has all been in what we call 'lower primary', that is, Year 3 and under. Though I did do a few years in Special Education.

4. When you started blogging ...
I started this teaching blog only a few months back. After seeing such wonderful, creative blogs and ideas out there I just HAD to join in - you all know how it is!!! Once the blogging bug bites there is no return...

5. Share a blogging tip/ blogging resource ...
So hard to share a tip with being so new to this obsession. But the blogs I admire are the ones that reflect the owners passion to teaching, their enthusiasm  shines through the words, and is contagious. Then on some level they encourage me to follow the evolution of their classroom, or resources throughout the year. The best blogs are written by teachers who work hard and obsess about teaching. And this list of brilliant bloggers in the teaching world is endless ...

So time for me to check out the other newbies around the globe, and hopefully you will 'Hop-across-the-pond' and visit my little new blog.

Looking forward to meeting everyone ... J

'New' Filing Cabinet...

After inheriting the old pink filing cabinet, I went to work on spray painting and adding my own touch to it....
And with my new decoration sitting on top...
Don't you just love decorating your room???

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Boggle Wall Chart...

Have just whipped up my own Boggle Wall Chart for use in class this coming term...
Not the clearest of pictures, but you can get the idea. The backboard has been laminated, as have each individual circular letter. They have been attached with Velcro to the backboard for easy changing. All the vowels are in blue to help the kids, and a vowel has been placed on each line. 

Ohhh, and I have a follower...thanks Tania! Tania is from Mrs. Poultney's Ponderings . Pop on over to this site and see what she is up to in her room.

Next task for me is to try to take a clearer shot of the above, and add in the sheet that goes with it...nothing like a newbie in the blogging world - so much to learn...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Coffee, Kids, and Compulsive Lists....Giveaway...

I simply must promote this super giveaway - from a fellow Queenslander!!!
Shanyn, from the blog Coffee, Kids, and Compulsive Lists is giving 9 lucky teachers the chance to win brilliant products, all generously donated by the likes of -

* Tori at Tori's Teacher Tips is donating her Seasonal Word Lists for K-3

*Aimee at Pencils, books & Dirty Looks is donating her Number Jars Maths Workstation

*Tanja at Journey of a Substitute Teacher is donating her Scoopin' Up Beginning Fractions, Decimals and Percents

*Brooke at Teachable Moments is donating her Skip Counting Extravaganza

*Dana at Fun in 1st Grade is donating her Place Value Puzzles

*Katie at Dirty Hands and Lesson Plans is donating her best seller I have...Who has Math and English Language Arts pack

*AND last, but certainly not least, Shanya will be giving away ALL of her priced items in her store to one lucky follower!

So, I suggest you all head over quickly and register your interest....

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Quick Re-think....

I am not one who likes unplanned changes in my classroom!!! So on the last day of term, when a telephone technician turned up and installed my new classroom phone I was a little on edge. Very glad that I now had contact with the outside world from the boundaries of my classroom, but distraught that the 'only' place in the room to install this new piece of technology was right in the middle of the class manipulative/computer area. Really???? Computer dislodged, shelving moved, wall hangings loosened, but at least he 'attempted' to make it look half decent... see, new phone on top shelf...
So this has boosted me along rather quickly to re-think the configuration of my classroom (yes, mid year!!!) And no, the phone can't be moved or wall mounted at all (asbestos in the building, so no drilling, nailing etc to be had).
And, at the same time I inherited this 'lovely' filing cabinet - is it just me or is this colour strange???

So, as a teacher, we always have a Plan B tucked up our sleeve...
The end result is using my holidays to first of all come up with Plan B, and to repaint the cabinet. It is in really good condition, and a quick coat of spray enamel should liven it up for a deserved spot in the room - extra free storage, who will turn that down based on colour????
The 'new' section of class will be set up later this week, after the filing cabinet has dried off and been transported back to school. Looking forward to sharing it with you all......