Where has April gone?
I can not believe this is the first day of May!!!
I love this month- we have lots of Birthdays and our 6th Anniversary to celebrate plus a Half Term break to look forward to!
Speaking of breaks- TGIF and this weekend is a long one! I love Bank Holiday weekends… spending time with family, having fun with friends and a big lie-in on Monday! If the weather holds then we will probably go for a walk around one of the lakes and then we've been invited over to a friends for a BBQ on Sunday- woohoo! What do you like to do on long weekends?
This week I got to pay a visit to a lovely Foundation Stage unit at a local school to see how they run their Funky Fingers/ Dough Gym session. The development of both fine and gross motor skills is a major issue for our children and has a massive knock on effect for handwriting so we have been looking at ways to address this for quite some time. After lots of research and trials we are planning on adopting Alistair Bryce-Clegg's approach as a whole Key Stage.
There are many elements of Funky Fingers/ Dough Gym we already do but it was great to see how a school facilitates a discrete session and we have come away feeling amazing! If you would like to know more about Alistair Bryce-Clegg and his work then click here to visit his website which is jam packed with fantastically creative ideas for foundation stage and KS1 classrooms. I'm sure there will be a future post dedicated to our progress so watch this space!
Our Staff Meeting this week was all about using iPads effectively in our classrooms rather than just an add on. Our wonderful and very technically minded Deputy did a 10 minute highlights lesson with us taking on the role of the children. The lesson focused on using the Epic Citadel and Tag Cloud Apps as a creative stimulus for writing- it was fantastic! Although I am quite happy using presentation Apps such as 30hands and PicCollage with the kids, I have to admit that building my lessons around the iPads is something I am yet to master. Anyway, this 'lesson' inspired us and after chatting with my lovely co-teacher we came up a way to use Tag Cloud as the main forum for collecting descriptive language in our next lesson.
Each group was given an envelop and had to secretly open it. Inside was a Galapagos animal from our current book- 'We're sailing to the Galapagos'. The children were given some thinking time and then asked to 'silently discuss' appropriate word choices using Tag Cloud. The only rules were 1. each cloud must include at least 1 verb 2. they must not mention the animals name and 3. they could not repeat words. Once they had collected all of the words they had (they could input more than 1 each) then they could choose a cloud which matched the appearance of their animal. Using air server each group then took it in turns to share their cloud with the class who had to guess which animal they had been given- if they guessed correctly then the group had successfully made appropriate word choices.
It was fantastic to see how the children co-operated and used facial expressions/ gestures to support each other-during the 'silent discussion' you could of heard a pin drop! We then built on this lesson to create descriptive passages about the Galapagos animals.
I know this is not the most jazzy lesson in the world but I was so proud of my little friends and myself- if you have any Apps you think I should try or blogs I should red then please let me know.
Whilst we're on the subject of Galapagos animals…. to link with our Tag Cloud lesson I decide I would try to make some craftivities for our kiddies. I'm not the most talented graphic designer by any stretch of the imagination and I don't have any real graphic design programs just good old PowerPoint but I am very proud of the results-
|Some of my creativity elements|
|A finished Lava Crab|
I loved taking part in the Stop, Swap and Roll blog hop last weekend- did you visit any blogs involved? I entered loads of give-aways and gained lots of inspiration. I was overwhelmed by the amount of readers I recieved and the give away to win Anchored in Learning's 'Button Task Card Center' was swamped but as always there must be a winner!
Teresa L. YOU ARE MY WINNER!!!
I'm excited to be a part of future blog-hops and getting to know some of you lovely people better.
Here's to a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend friends