Monday, September 30, 2013

Building Complex Sentences

I'm on holidays over here in Australia and am enjoying the break to catch up on lots of things. I have a list a mile long and am a little bit addicted to crossing things off of it!

First of all, wow! I have had such a great response to my Building Better Sentences post that I've decided to do a sister packet called Building Complex Sentences.

I realise that these are only taught from certain grades but it can be great for differentiation in some of the lower grades, also! It is not for teaching complex sentences but simply for reinforcing them.

Here it is:
It has the same basic layout as the first packet, which is great because the children will be familiar with the sheets.
1. Students write a simple sentence to match the picture. In this case, a sad child. Again, I've included differentiated simple sentences to match each picture, in case students cannot think of their own.
2. They then 'build' their sentence by using a conjunction to form a compound sentence.
3. In this packet, however, I've included an anchor chart with some linking words that can be used to build complex sentences. I would enlarge this so it is visible to the children in the classroom. As I said, this isn't supposed to be used to teach complex sentences but for reinforcment.
Students may choose some linking words that will suit their sentence to create a complex sentence.

You can find it in my store here!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Building Better Sentences

Ok, I know I said a couple of weeks ago that I would do a follow up post on my maths but I'm skipping that for the moment and will do it soon!

Today, I wanted to share with you some easy activity sheets that I've put together to help children 'build' better sentences.

I thought the best way to explain the sheets is to show you!
#1 Give students an activity sheet.
#2 See that cute little picture in the corner?
Students write a simple sentence to match that little picture.
What if they have trouble coming up with a sentence, or you have some little ones that you know you'll need to guide?
No problem!
I've included a simple sentence sort that matches each activity sheet/picture so you are able to differentiate!
#3 Students 'build' their sentence by using a conjunction to make their sentence 'bigger'.
#4 Finally, they make their sentence even better by adding some adjectives to make their wonderful sentence descriptive and exciting!
I've included 30 activity sheets with different pictures and each one comes with a simple sentence sort for differentiation.
I've also included different spellings/words to suit everyone (e.g. crocodile/alligator).
It's 20% off for the next few days!
How do you get your students building bigger sentences?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Counting with Truck Driver Bob

This week the little ones and I have been revising counting patterns. I'm currently learning a new math program that connects concepts to reality and am really enjoying it so far.

I decided that for counting patterns I would create a 'scenario' for the kids.

Queue Truck Driver Bob.

'Truck Driver Bob' was on a delivery and had an eensy weensy, non-fatal, itty bitty crash.

Oh no!

It's alright. He's OK...BUT now the items he was supposed to deliver have spread ALL OVER THE ROAD! :( AND he has no idea how many of each item he has....and you know...he NEEDS to know...

Ruh roh!

***This is where the kids came in***

It was their job to find out how many of each item there was that had been 'spilled all over the road' so that we could report back to 'Truck Drive Bob'.

There were 5 stations:

I set a timer and they had about 7(ish) minutes to complete each station. I had group leaders who were in charge of keeping noise down, cleaning up at the end of each activity and making decisions.
As they completed each activity, they had to fill in the following recording sheet.
PS I was devastated at not being able to find cute 'crash' clip art and had to settle for what I could find.
Font by Jen Jones
Truck by Ashley Hughes
Border by Coffee, Kids and Compulsive Lists
Truck Driver Bob made a return 'appearance' today. Come back in the next few days to find out what we did ;)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back-to-School is better with Friends Blog Hop!!!

About a year and a half ago, I discovered the world of blogs and quickly became obsessed with reading the teaching lives of others from all over the world. It didn't take long for me to join in on the fun and what you see as you read this is a product of my obsession!

Over the past year, I've continued to be inspired by the amazing things teachers do in their classrooms but the most rewarding thing, for me, has been the new friendships I've made.

I have 'met' some crazy talented teachers and people through blogs and TPT and I truly believe that they have helped me become a better person and teacher, simply through their encouragement and inspiring words.

I've teamed up with some of my amazing new bloggy friends to do a Back-to-School is better with Friends Blog Hop.

What do you need to do? 
Visit all the blogs on the hop (there are only 7!)

What do you get?
At each stop there will be a Rafflecopter for you to enter and win a value of between $10-$20 to spend at that person's store.

Is that it?
Well no!

Then what else?
The bonus of visiting each blog is that you will be able to collect a free file. Once you have collected all the files, you will be able to piece them together and create an awesome BTS Welcome Poster/Wall Display for you and your kiddies to colour!

Click here to see how to assemble and what it will look like! (Thanks so much to our girl Mel at Graphics from the Pond)

Anything else?
You are a bit demanding aren't you? Well there is one more thing.

At the final stop of the hop, there will be a special rafflecopter to enter. There will be two winners. One will get a $50 Tpt voucher and one will get a $50 Amazon voucher to help get their school year off to an awesome start!  

So what are you waiting for? Enter my Rafflecopter below.
Make sure you click the picture below to grab your free file and hop on to collect the rest!
 Enjoy Back-to-School with your Friends!
Frog Spot Mrs Poultney's Ponderings Coffee Kids and Compulsive Lists Teaching Maths With Meaning Miss Galvin Learns Clever Classroom Teachable Moments Image Map

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Five For Fri......Sunday....


Umm, yep. I'm a little late to the party. Better late, then never!

I've been doing lots of fun things in my classroom lately but always forget to take photos! I'm anxious to put pictures of kids and their work on my blog so I try to do what I can...

1. In Science, we are looking at life stages of living things. We drew our own life stages using the template below. Click on the images to get your own copy!
We are observing the growth of mealworms. I know. Not the cutest thing to watch grow but the kids LOVE it! We had to buy wood shavings and the mealworm larvae. We keep them in a little plastic container and feed them bits of carrot.
The picture below shows the larvae on the left and the pupa stage on the right. I think they look like little aliens...
2. We learned about homophones and made these adorable 'pair of pears' from Sarah Cooley's homophone packet.

3. I'm trying something different with my rotations this term. Monday and Tuesday I do 'Writers Workshop' rotations with 3 different levelled groups.
I don't run it like the typical Writers Workshop. I have three activities - Teacher Time, Handwriting/letter formation and Journal writing. For Teacher Time, I decide on a focus for the two days. It may be a genre, it may not. The past couple of weeks it has simply been 'stretching sentences' where we look at starting with a simple sentence, making it descriptive, then compound and complex (for those smart cookies).

My TBB (Teaching Buddy Bestie) in third grade came up with the most FABulous idea!

1. Write a word on the board for the 'theme' of a sentence. For example, I wrote 'beach'.
2. Tell the students they can write any sentence they'd like, as long as it is about that theme. Some will write simple sentences, some will write compound, etc.
3. Have them swap books and rate each other using the following: (1) They used a simple sentence. (2) They used a compound sentence. (3) They used a complex sentence.
4. As a group, discuss their sentences and provide feedback.
5. Students give books back and then get a chance to earn more 'points' by changing their sentence.
6. Swap back and rate books again.

4. At the end of last term, we did some reflection of the things we learned so far this year. We made these super cute ice-cream scoops. They look great hanging in the classroom. Click on the pictures to check them out.
5. I don't have a picture of this one, but to link with our Science we are going to be creating our own insects for Technology. My teaching partner's student teacher found this super fun YouTube clip to teach about the different parts of an insect. For some reason the YouTube clip isn't working through Blogger, so click on the image below to go to it :)
After we watched this, we go down on the carpet and created 'human insects'. As we revised the different parts of an insect, I had some student create that part with their bodies. There were many laughs and they had so much fun!

That's it! I'll hopefully be back soon with some more useful posts ;)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fraction action!

I know it's been a while since I posted anything useful so hopefully this will make up for it!

This week we've been looking at fractions. It's early days for my guys. For now, we are focusing on wholes, halves, quarters and eighths.

I've been getting some wonderful advice from a maths guru who is doing some training at our school at the moment. He's really opened my eyes to the importance of linking maths to reality.

I've realised that it is easy for teachers to dive straight into the 'maths' of mathematics (if that makes sense).

When you think of addition, you think '+'.

When you need to teach multiplication you think 'x' and arrays.

What the little ones really need is for maths to make sense to them. They need to be able to link it and see it and experience in some sort of reality. If (when) you do that, you'll start to see that the kids will link the maths that you do teach to reality on their own. It's like their eyes open to the maths around them and you'll start hearing things like "Mum cut my orange into eighths today" or "You can divide our hundred board into half at 50 and quarters at 5".

It's exciting!!!

So, here's some snaps from our fraction action so far:
Our fraction action began with a 'fraction hunt' where we located things in our school and classroom that were either 1 whole part, 2 equal parts, 4 equal parts or 8 equal parts. I printed off some photos and have made a 'Fraction Action' display in our classroom that we are still adding to as we do more activities.

I didn't want to introduce the mathematical language straight away. The focus was connecting to reality.
The next lesson, we represented what we found on our hunt using abstract materials. We glued matchsticks into our scrapbooks and wrote sentences to match them. In another lesson, we used play dough as 'oranges' and made 2, 4 and 8 equal parts.


*Side note*

If you follow me on Instagram, you would have already seen this picture that I put up of the MOST AMAZING play dough that I've ever made, EVER!

It is seriously the BEST recipe I've ever used. I got it from here (click on the pic):

Thank you, Anna! It is amazing! I will never use any other recipe. So easy to clean up, too!


Back on track again, I then began to introduce the language of halves, quarters an eighths. Some little smarties, of course, already knew these words. This is heading away from the abstraction of the concept and moving towards the actual mathematics that I want them to learn.

We also did some fun games where they had to get into pairs, where they became two parts of one whole. Then one half (one student) had to sit down and one half (the other student) had to sit down.

They then had to join with another pair and became 4 parts of one whole and then joined together with another group of 4 and became 8 parts of one whole. The whole time the kids were using the language of halves, quarters, eighths and wholes.

After that, they went back to their desks and drew pictures of what they did with the game. It was great! It was such an easy way to see which little ones had understood and were using the kinaesthetic activity to draw a representation in their scrapbooks.

We had so much fun! Next week we're going to do some more fun activities.

How do you teach fractions???

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Five for Friday {Saturday here in Oz!}

Yup, it's certain. I NEED to start showing my b-log some more lovin'. What better way than a Five for Friday?
1. Look what the super sweet Lori from Teaching with Love and Laughter sent me after receiving a set of my new Simple Borders?!

She seriously made. my. day!!!! It was such a sweet gesture and it put a smile on my face for the entire day. Click the picture above to check out some of my borders.

2. I'm trying to be healthy. Crowd laughs. No. I'm serious. People around me are just so good at looking after themselves and I...well, I'm just not! So, to kick it off, I made a healthy dinner. Look!
Chicken kebabs with mushroom couscous! Look at me being a good girl?

3. I've volunteered to have my teaching BFF to come in and observe me next week as a part of our school's move towards providing feedback for teachers. Even though it's my BFF, I'm still nervouuuuuuuuuuuuuuus! It's always a little bit scary having someone 'observe' you. I heart her though so on the other hand, I'm thuper exthited!

4. I'm going to boast a bit here...I reached 1000 followers on Pinterest yesterday! I was probably a little bit more excited than was necessary. Let's just say, the BF does NOT understand. Pffft!

5. This is what happens to your favourite pair of wedges when you come home from your besties engagement party and your 4 and half month old dog wakes up before you because you are verrrrry tired the next day.
Mega. Sad. Face.

Lucky he's so dang cute!!!
Link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching!!!

Some Simple Border Love

I have been neglecting my little ol' blog BIG TIME lately. I've taken on a few more responsibilities at school, as our year level mentor is on leave, and I've been trying to make sure I stay organised and do a good job ;-)

In other news, I've found a new love...creating borders!

Mel from Graphics at the Pond has given me some hot tips on creating hand-drawn borders and I think she has born a new obsession of mine.

Take a look...
Simple Borders #1

Simple Borders #2

Simple Borders #3
Simple Border #3 set are all hand-drawn by me! I LOVE it! I've always enjoyed doodling and have found a way to put it to good use.

Each set contains 8 different style borders. Each of them come with a clear and white background. So that's 16 borders per set!

I've decided to bundle my Simple Borders sets. They're in a zip file and contain all 3 sets at the moment.

It's a file that I've decided to add to so it will continue to grow. Once you've purchased it, you can simply re-download to get any additional borders I create. However, that also means that as I add to it the price will go up slightly.

Sooooo, get if you're a border addict (like me) head on over and check out the bundle! Click on the picture below. Grab it now while it's cheap ;-)

{First person to comment below with their email will receive one set of Simple Borders of their choice for FREE!!!}

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Five for Friday...on Saturday!

Alright, so I'm a day late (TWO days late if you count that I'm in Australia) but I want to join in with Doodle Bugs' Five for Friday because I have a few things to share with everyone.

1. I only have 2 weeks left until Easter break. I am VERY much looking forward to this break. I wanted to squeeze in a few Easter activities before we go on break. To kick things off I created this cute activity last night:
 I can't wait to do it with my class! They will look so cute hanging in our room.

2. My fluffy Buddy boy has grown up! He is taking walks now (sort of) and loving playing with the 'big kids' at the dog park. Look how much he's grown!!!
He got diggin' in the backyard.
 3. I have started my Masters in Education. I'm doing Studies in Literacy and my first subject is Functional Grammar. The technical language is overwhelming! Has anyone else done any study in Functional Grammar? Any advice?

4. I've been busy creating some other products. Here they are:
5. I've put my St. Patrick's Day items on sale for the next day. Click on the images below to check them out!

I hope to have something more interesting to share with you all next Friday!!