Thursday, 29 October 2015

Global Glitter Tribe: October Linky

Did you hear?
I'm one of the admins on the amazing Global Glitter Tribe blog! 
What does that mean?
We are a group of 13 teachers from across the globe who are dedicated to making connections and strengthening our student's understanding of being global citizens. 
Every month a different member of the Glitterarti will produce a jam-packed post full of ideas for teaching global awareness- be it how we celebrate festivals from other cultures or how we address the issue of Fair Trade, you will find a host of ideas just waiting for you to read! 

Now… along with a monthly blog post there will also be a monthly link-up for everyone to take part in! It's simple- save that months linky template, add your answers, pop it into your blog post and link back to the Global Glitter Tribe blog! Easy-peasy! 
Look- even I managed it! 

Totally inspirational 
Are you trying to develop thinking skills amongst your children? Do you want them to be aware of which thinking skills are needed for a particular situation? Are you seeking to develop self-aware and independent learners? 
I LOVE, like more than chocolate love, using De Bono's Thinking Hats in my classroom. The 'Hats' each have a specific thinking skill attached to them and by using them you can focus a child to apply the type of thinking needed for a specific task.
 To find out more about Thinking Hats and how I use them with my 6 and 7 year olds, read this post

I appreciate that sometimes 'Hands Up' is needed but in my classroom I try to foster a more relaxed and collaborative approach to questioning where children are given time to formulate answers, not always be right or original in their thinking and develop other's ideas. 
The PPPB approach works every time! 
Thanks go to Teacher Toolkit for bringing this notion to my attention and I will just provide a brief overview of it for you here-
Pose- a thought provoking question relevant to the topic at hand
Pause- provide thinking time (as much as you can!) and, if you feel it is necessary, partner talking time
Pounce- NO HANDS UP!!! 'Pounce' on a child for an answer
Bounce- continue 'pouncing' on children with the aim of them elaborating on the child before them's thinking

I never confirm a child's thinking- I always ask the next child 'Do you agree?'- it is so hard not to give away your opinion through facial gestures but it does work wonderfully as a method to develop collaboration and speaking and listening.

Igniting Passionate Readers
Reading is HUGE in our school! Not just the teaching of it but fostering a love for it too!
During the first half term of every school year our class becomes 'Camp Learn-a-lot'- the children bring in sleeping bags and torches and we have a 'campfire' in class. 
After children have learnt how to choose a good fit book the next step is getting them to enjoy reading them. 
Over the 2 weeks of 'Camp Learn-a-lot' the children snuggle in their sleeping bags around the 'campfire' or in pop-up tents and use their torches to read their books. 
The novelty aspect of this really captures the children's interest and even if they are simply looking at the pictures I don't care- they are enjoying a book!  

Bridging the Gap
If you read my 'BUILDing our confidence' post a few months ago then you will know that I have given my Numeracy lessons a bit of a shake-up. 
By taking on more of a 'guided' approach 2 days a week, my children have had the opportunity to have  up to an hour and 20 minutes of 'teacher face time' on top of the quality teaching they receive the other 3 days a week. 
LEGO men are available from Glitter Meets Glue
During the session we have a 10 minute introduction, two 20 minute rotations and a 5 minute plenary. 
Children will take part in 2 of the following centres a day- 
B- Buddy Games
U- Using Hands
I- Independent Learning
L- Linking Learning
D- Diving in Deeper

It has worked wonders for our Using & Applying skills and Problem Solving skills. BUILD allows me to really focus in on what each small group needs and provide activities which will address their needs whilst pushing them further yet with the support of an adult. The Buddy Games centre has truly inspired a love of Numeracy within my children AND provided lots of opportunities to practise those crucial basic skills.
With the new emphasis on 'Mastery' in the New National Curriculum- I can see how using BUILD will develop my more able children's 'Stage Security' too! 

Enjoying Your Time
I know this seems bizarre considering I live in the drizzly north of England BUT I have loved getting home from work, making a steaming hot cuppa and sitting in my garden. Up until our recent house move, I've not had a garden to sit in so this is something of a novelty for me! Plus, unless it is my playground duty, I very rarely venture outside during the day at this time of year so the opportunity to get some fresh air and reflect on the day is priceless! 

I'm sure as the weather turns then this will stop and I'll be curling up with my cuppa on the sofa but for now- this is bliss! 

Fancy linking up? 

Hop over to Global Glitter Tribe now and get your blog on! 

Frankie Says….. Shameless Self Promo!

So… I don't often blog just about a product I've created but I really want to share this one with you as I am super duper proud of it and hey… why shouldn't I make a fuss?!

Do you like to link holidays and celebrations in meaningful ways? 
I love activities where children have to work problems out and solve in a fun and practical way rather than always recording their work on a sheet. 

'Frankie says…' ticks that box for me! It is active and engaging- children have to use an appropriate method- for most of mine it was using objects- to workout if Frankie's statements were true or false. 
Task cards can then be sorted into a 'True' or 'False' pile using the poster cards included. 

I snagged some Frankenstine 'loot' baskets which added a WOW element to the activity- 

'Frankie says…' is currently 20% for Halloween so make sure you snag it before the month is out!
Already finished school for Half Term? No problem - get Frankie ready for next Halloween! 

How do you like to bring Halloween into your classroom? 
Is it a no, no in your school?

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Take a Second to Peek into 2nd

I'm so excited to link up with this bunch of amazing 2nd grade teacher bloggers on the 22nd of every month!

This month's featured teacher is…..
Visit Suzy over at On the go Teacher Mama by clicking here

As well as getting to meet so many awesome teacher bloggers, the best part of this link-up is that we get to bring you a super-duper product each month which is ON SALE…. can you say 'bargain'?!

Suzy is putting her Spooktacular Math Center Bundle on sale from $6 to $5 this whole week!

If you like to theme your Math like I do then this is a MUST buy for this time of year.
Hands up if you also love using QR codes in class?! Me too! This product ticks all of the boxes for me!
It is jam-packed with lots of engaging and fun activities suitable for a range of concepts AND it's CCSS aligned! 

Take a peek…

You can purchase your very own Spooktacular Math Center Bundle by clicking here to visit Suzy's Teachers pay Teachers store.

Don't forget to check back next month to grab more 2nd Grade bargains.

Friday, 23 October 2015

How to 'do' Halloween in Year 2...

Hey guys, so… if you caught my periscope this afternoon they you will know that my blogging mojo has gone missing! 

I've searched and I've struggled to find it but rather than just giving up I've decided to try and win it back! 

I've taken matters into my own hands and 'forced' myself to blog tonight! 
It is a perfect opportunity to link-up for Five for Friday  with my favourite- Doodle Bugs Teaching 

This week has all been about Halloween in my classroom! 

Even though I teach Year 2 (1st Grade) I still incorporate many areas of continuous provision more commonly found in Foundation Stage units and I am a firm believer that play is an integral part of children's development.
Whilst we have to get our half term assessments done, I always like to add in some fun too! 

 This week has proven to me just how right this approach is….

I have adored my role-play area and so have the children. I had hay-bales left over from our Farm Shop role-play so I decided to mix the 'rural' look with the Halloween theme and create a pumpkin patch! Visually, it WOWed but beyond that…. it excited! 
I split some pumpkins open using a rolling pin (very therapeutic) and let the children explore the pumpkin 'guts'- they developed their own ideas such as counting out the seeds and discovering which pumpkin had the most. 

The children also came out with great comparative language when pulling the pumpkin apart 
and it was great to be a part of.
'This piece is very rough compared to the slimy, stringy piece' said one little girl as she ripped off a piece of the pumpkin flesh!
 Messy hands, slimy pumpkin pieces and 6 year olds= fantastic! 

I also placed a lovely odd and even sorting activity made by the lovely Brittany of Tickled Pink in Primary who was my very first SLANT box partner! 

It was a great hit! 

Even though I knew there would be very little opportunity to do formal Literacy lessons this week, I wanted to look at instructional writing with the class as, although the children had produced 2 sets of instructions for BIGwrites, we hadn't formally looked at them. 

I wanted to capture the children's attention and create a sense of mystery about the lesson to fit with the Halloween theme. Sure, I could of dressed up as a witch and taught in role but I decided to use the magic of technology to hook the learning this time.

In order to set the week up and discover what the children knew about instructions already I used the 'Morfo' app to create a witch. 
You can get this app for free in the iTunes App Store 
She sent us a message asking for our help- apparently her potion wasn't working and she wasn't sure she had written her instructions correctly. We took a look at them and decided they were not a good set of instructions at all! Leading on from this, in groups the children produced 'What makes a good set of instructions?' thought showers and fed back their ideas to produce a class poster for our Working Wall. 

With the help of this poster we fixed the witches instructions and then followed them.

 This was the truly magical part! 
The instructions were simple- only 3 ingredients- corn flower, food colouring and water…. 
any guesses yet? 

Her instruction made oobleck!

 Each child got to explore the outcome and their puzzled yet fascinated faces made my day! 

I loved this lesson- it was simple, straightforward and engaging!
 All things a Monday morning lesson should be and as a bonus- I knew straight away that my kiddies are experts at instructional writing and I  didn't need to dedicate much teaching time to the features. 

I then added the remaining oobleck to the Pumpkin Patch in a pumpkin bucket so they could continue to explore it independently. 
This drew out even more descriptive and comparative language…
'I prefer this to the pumpkin' said one little boy…'prefer'…. I nearly fell off my chair!! 

Had I not provided this independent exploration opportunity then I would NEVER had guessed this particular little one had such a sophisticated word in his vocabulary! Sad but true! 

This week we had interviews for our new Head Teacher and as part of it my class were being taught by the candidates. 
As I knew my day would be disrupted I didn't want to get my teeth sunk too deeply into a new mathematical concept so I decided to build upon our 2 times tables practise and explore doubling and halving. 

We doubled numbers using pumpkin stickers on a mat I had made. I differentiated this activity easily using dice. As soon as I saw children were confident doubling numbers 1-6, I gave them a dice with 2 digit numbers on to try- quick, easy and effective! 
Some of my little ones are beyond using objects and are really comfortable using the partitioning method to add so I saw this as an opportunity to build on their place value knowledge and teach them how to apply it to doubling too!

I created a new resource which we loved! 'Frankie says…' contains halving statement cards- some of which are true and some are false. The children have to use an appropriate method, for many of mine it was still using objects, to discover which applied to their card and sort them. 

I bagged some bargain mini Frankenstine's head basket- 6 for £1- and the children used these to share their starting numbers between. 

I put all of these activities out during our independent learning time too- I love watching those who may have found an activity a stretch be supported by their friends in a fun and relaxed learning activity. 

As we had recapped the features of instructions I thought it was a perfect opportunity for the children to independently explore and apply their instructional writing skills in a play situation. 

I turned my writing and exploration areas into a Potions Lab- I provided the children with objects, coloured water, sand and glitter, a cauldron and writing prompts. It was a massive hit and lots of fun! 
We love Finger Gym in our school to develop fine and gross motor skills and pencil grips- our Potions Lab asked the children to pick up small objects and use circular motions to stir their mixtures- perfect Finger Gym enhancement!  

Even our daily Finger Gym sessions were given a spooktacular make over! 

Apples and salad tongs…
 Picking up spooky table confetti and collecting in mini skeleton heads…
Using tweezers to remove spiders and ants from green jelly…
Adding and removing table confetti to create our own Halloween dough….
and combining our mathematical and fine motor skills to sort spiders with tweezers in the small world! 

It has been lots of fun in school this week- all topped off with spooky snacks, creepy costumes and ghoulish dancing! 

Take a look at our Halloween decorations…
How has your week been? 
Awesome I hope!

Monday, 5 October 2015


WOW!!! I cannot believe I haven't posted for a month!!! My poor little blog! I'm so sorry! 

Settling back into the school routine has taken time and I think I am almost there…almost! 

So…what better way to get back my blogging mojo than linking up with the lovely Farley over at Oh Boy Forth Grade for the latest currently!

I cannot believe it is the final season of Downton! What will I do with my Sunday nights? Boo!

Woohoo- PSL's are back on the menu… can I get an Amen?! 
I've also just invested in my very first autumnal decoration and I am in love…. don't worry… more are on their way!

Yes I know…I've not blogged for a month!!! I'm sorry for being rubbish but I've just been so worn out and I've had no space in my brain for blogging but it is all about to change-I promise!

Hands up- who loves wooly hats?! Me, me, me, me and I can't wait to go shopping for my newest addition to my collection- I'm thinking a mustard bobble hat! 

With the new house came real fires and seeing as the downstairs isn't double glazed, I'm thinking we are going to be needing the roaring fire to keep us toasty when the cold nights set in!

Autumn leaves are just boo-tiful! I would love to visit New England in the fall but seeing as we only get a week off in October, I think it's safe to say that dream will be a while off! 

Wishing you all a lovely October and I promise you will be hearing more from me soon!

Popular Posts

L. Paull Designs for All
Blog Design by L. Paull Designs for AllFonts by KGFonts