Tuesday, February 24, 2015

First Art Lesson Schumann the Shoeman

Students were read the book pictured above during their library lesson on Wednesday. Tomorrow (Thursday) they will have a double lesson where they will draw their favourite shoe from their cupboard, or they might choose an unusual one owned by someone else in their home or neighbourhood. We will look at proportion and students may like to draw a top view or a side view or choose a more difficult angle.  Next week they will be creating their own collage of an unusual shoe.

Students worked well and here a few examples of the work completed. There will be a display up in the room by mid week.

5th of March 

A good time was had by all present listening to their favourite songs. Students enjoyed creating their own collage shoes. Here a some examples.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Spelling Program

The Spelling program in the classroom is comprised of many elements. The South Australian Spelling test was administered a few days ago to obtain information of students' spelling age. These results along with the results from the SWST (Single Word Spelling Test) will be used to help place students on a level appropriate to their ability.

1. Each week students complete a spelling unit, usually based on a visual pattern or on the current science of history inquiry unit. Last week, for example,we looked closely at the vocabulary related to the states of matter. In the Spelling Matters program there are  two levels focusing on the same pattern each week. Adjustments will be made within these texts depending on a student's individual ability. We are currently looking at "ea" words and the following week we will be looking at the different sounds "ch" can make which is many e.g. chart, chassis, choir, character. This unit is thoroughly explained to each group and an hour is given in class time each Monday morning. The unit is always thoroughly assessed and then returned to students.
ei sample

ate sample
2. Each day the students run Spelling Bingo, a game based upon the weekly pattern. The students take turns at running this each morning. They like to experiment with the different tools available on the Smart Board.

Spelling Bingo each morning as part of a routine
3. The students are tested on their level each Friday and add any errors to their Individual Spelling Lists. They each have a card and are expected to accumulate five ticks on each word. These can be student-tested, teacher-tested or parent-tested. I would appreciate if parents could assist with the monitoring and testing of the words on this chart. Students should learn five to ten of these each week. These lists also contain words mispelled in other pieces of work across maths, science, English etc.

Example of an ISL card
 4. Danger words: these are the most commonly mispelled words in the class for this term and these are  displayed on a chart in the room for student reference when proof-reading their work. Students who  spell any of these words incorrectly must write them out fifty times each. The same rule goes for the  teacher! Note, a lot is two separate words.
Danger Words Charts at front of the classroom
5. Students' book work across the subject areas is checked regularly and spelling corrections are made on sticky notes in their books. Students have to add these corrections to their ISL cards. They should have a partner test on at least five words a week. Some students can manage up to ten words. I encourage students to take the words home to learn as well. Once they have learned the words they can request a teacher test by writing their name on the whiteboard in the lower left hand corner.

Corrections on sticky notes in marked books

6. Word Painting: Painting the words on the concrete with water outside of the classroom in the courtyard. (Can you paint your ten words before the first one evaporates?)

7. The Demons as identified by spelling guru Peter Clutterbuck. These words, in progression of difficulty are those most commonly mispelled by students from grade 2 to grade 8. Students work through these at their own rate. I usually suggest they learn 5-10 at a time. These are individually teacher-tested and there are some great incentives.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Change Detectives - Science in Term 1

Science in term 1 will be focusing on the three states of matter, solids, liquids and gases. Many of the practical lessons are taken from the above book. Each student has an Inquiry book in which to make their scientific notes and observations and to plan for reports.

In the first three practical lessons students are asked to observe substances in different states and to make detailed observations and use annotated diagrams. Here are the substances the students looked at. Some of the substances underwent a physical change whilst other underwent a physical and a chemical change.

Milk and frozen milk

Candle and burning candle

Salt and salt solution

Salt crystals

Students had magnifying glasses

Chocolate in original state, melted and burnt

Bicarbonate Soda mixed with Tartatric acid

Bicarb and Tartaric acid before water (H2O) was added

Bicarb and Tartaric acid after the addition of water

Icy-poles at room temperature and frozen

Raw egg and hard-boiled egg

Perfume in its liquid form

Perfume atomised and evaporating

As a class we will do an observation of denture cleaning tablets changing their state. This coming week students will be given coloured dots to model the three different states of matter.

Students worked in teams of four to do the observations on the eight substances.

Students hard at work during the practical sessions

Students have access to a word wall within the classroom and new vocabulary will be added to the wall during class sharing and discussions after each practical session.

Useful information and diagram for the unit:


Hopefully at the end of the unit, students will have a greater understanding of states of matter than many of these kids.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Battle Bunny - Jon Scieszka focus continues

This unit has been extended for some students until Wednesday 4th of March.  Well done to those students who handed me their work today; much appreciated and for meeting the initial deadline their work looked upon favorably.  Students will have a few more blocks of class time. It has been the only homework for two weeks. We look forward to sharing them with our buddies.

The inspiration by Scieszka
This is a new unit I have just designed and obviously never done before. I hope to get students really motivated with both their reading and their writing. They will be using their Writer's Notebooks to firstly read thoroughly, then to deconstruct, plan and re-write their chosen book. In this book (the motivation for the unit)  Alex receives a silly, sappy picture book entitled Birthday Bunny so he picks it up and transforms it into something that he would really like to read. An adorable rabbit's journey through the forest becomes a secret mission to unfurl a dastardly plan - a plan that only Alex can stop. This book features layered original illustrations and celebrates students as story tellers.

I read the text in two voices, one reading the original and one reading Alex's version at the same time. It was like a song duet. We discussed the major changes to the plot line, the intentions and qualities of the characters. Students later chose a picture book of their own to get to know thoroughly and then to transform. I have collected a very wide range of books from which they can choose. They will be given ample perusal time before making their final selection. Before commencing on the modification, they must have carefully planned their deviation from the original story and thought through the possible vocabulary and illustrative properties they could insert.. There will be an emphasis on proof-reading and evaluation of their own work. Students will be asked to set goals and reflect on their journey as they become authors.

Below the book release:

Students can download the PDF file to design their own Battle Bunny Book.

Selection of books students could choose from to make their own modified, infinitely-more interesting book.
Students chose from this selection and a few others not photographed.
Students brainstormed the ways the chosen texts could be modified to make them more attractive to readers and presented their ideas using a visual organiser called wheel spokes.

Possible conversions to the texts
Two absolutely amazing new Golden Book titles...
Clearly a great deal of time and thought has gone into these two deconstructions and reconstructions, both with a twist. Jon Scieszka would be proud!

Don't miss this very innovative book; really quirky!