Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Getting into the Classroom

I've just realised that I need to start working on my room this Friday if I am going to get it decorated and sorted in time. Eek! Students start on the 4th of February which is only 2 weeks away.

So today I drew my floor plan and I will ask hubby sweetly to come help me move some furniture.

What is the first job that you do? What sort of back to school schedule do you have?

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Why Hello there Summer!

So it has been a while since I last posted. Whoops. And now it is Summer. In the past 4 weeks I have finished a school year (our state finishes on the 18th of December), moved classrooms ready for next year, had Christmas, 3 birthdays, the birth of a niece and had my son in hospital. It's been quite a month. But I finally feel like I am on school holidays. Two trips to the beach this weekend has helped!

So a few more days of relaxing and I will be back posting teacher ideas! I have a feeling the school will start again before we know it!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Musings on play, choice and self-direction

At the moment I am on my 2 week break, so I have some time and energy to plan and revamp some of my ideas.
As I read about the Daily 5 and how important it is that children can self direct and choice their learning goals, I made connections with the wonderful Walker Learning Approach. If you're not familiar with it, here is a youtube clip...

Video - what is the Walker Learning Approach?

Here is the official website: http://walkerlearning.com.au/info/

This is only my second year of teaching Prep (the first year of full time schooling in Tasmania) so it's been a steep learning curve, but wow, play is definitely a powerful tool! I have put a lot of effort into it this year by setting up topic based play areas such a post office, and giving children lots of open ended opportunities to play and discover and manipulate materials such a counters, blocks, magnetic letters, playdough and animal counters. It's amazing what the children come up with! I just cruise around the classroom with my camera and record their hilarious conversations!

If you're worried about bosses questioning a dolls house, lego, play kitchen or pirate ship in your classroom and saying that it's not "in the curriculum", well, my answer would be YES, it is! First and foremost, it's literacy! Oral language is CRUCIAL in the early years! The English Curriculum asks for rich, topic based vocabulary and speaking and listening skills.

What do you think? Do you still have time and support to have play-based learning in your classroom?

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Curriculum Mapping

I am already thinking about next year! Call me crazy, but I think with all the demands of the new curriculum I need to work smarter and cut out the clutter! So here is what I am currently thinking next year's integrated units will look like. Next year Australian teachers will have to report on Math, English, Science, History and the new subject will be Geography. I will link Geography with Habitats and Weather. Each Term is 10 weeks, so I have planned for 9 weeks to allow for any interruptions. How do you plan for the upcoming year? Do you do the same thing every year or do you change it up a lot?

All about Me (2 weeks)
Science - Colours (2 weeks)
Science - Oceans (4 weeks)
History - My Family (4 weeks)
Science - Australian Animals (3 weeks)
Science - Healthy Bodies (3  weeks)
History - Life Long Ago (3 weeks)
Fairy Tales (3 weeks)
Science – Life Cycles (3 weeks)
Science/Geography -Weather (3 weeks)
History - Transport (3 weeks)
Science - Habitats (3 weeks)
Author Study (children vote)  (2 weeks)
Christmas (final 2 weeks)

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Online Planning and Assessments

Has anyone used OneNote, Evernote or even the Digital Pensieve for Daily 5 for their planning?

I have just started using OneNote for my planning after attending professional learning session. I am keen to have my files and notes central instead of having so many binders and folders everywhere!

I would love to hear other teacher's experiences!

Monday, 30 September 2013


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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Term 4 Timetable

Every time I redo my timetable I worry that I am missing something out. It's so hard to fit it all in! So, I prioritise, decide upon the "non-negotiables" and just do the best I can.

For me, "non-negotiables" are -

  • read alouds several times a week, preferably daily (with all the decoding, sequencing, vocab and comprehension teaching snuck in!)
  • 20 minutes of phonics/handwriting explicit teaching each day (this has been shortened on some days so I will sneak it into Daily 5 mini-lessons instead)
  • reading time - aiming for children to be reading as much as possible
  • math needs to be 1 hour each day (this is mandated by powers above!)
  • time for the children to have hands-on, active discovery and play time
  • craft and creative time to assist fine motor and spatial awareness
  • This term I will begin trialing Daily 5. I only seem to be able to fit 2 sessions in each day, but I guess quality rather than quantity! I have allowed each "session" about 25 minutes, which would become 5 min mini-lesson, 15 minute D5 choice, then 5 min discussion time. I think this is developmentally appropriate for 6 year olds. Would LOVE some feedback from other teachers though!
Here is my weekly overview- 

Please visit Brooke at Teachable Moments because you can see her planning too! :)