Sunday, March 29, 2015

Those moments that make it all worthwhile

Our school is currently learning about ANZAC Day.  Big year this year as it is 100 years since the ANZAC's landed in Gallipoli.

One of the teachers in an older class had her students writing letters to home from the trenches.  The trenches were under their desks!

I modified it for my little guys, and we were completing an activity about the different armed forces.

First we watched a short clip about life in the trenches and discussed what we saw.  When I put it to them that we could pretend to be in the trenches they were EXCITED.  They suggested the desks for the trenches (love it when they come up with my plan all by themselves!)

Chairs were moved, activity in hand they dived under their desks.  Then I turned on a youtube clip of gun fire!  Well... Did they love that.

So for the next hour they completed their activity and were then able to choose their own activity.  BUT they could not be above the desk tops because they never knew when the gun fire would start again.

They loved crawling around the room... Going quickly across the unprotected areas to safety.  Was brilliant imaginary play!  One of my boys stood up between bursts of gunfire with a chair on his head!  Apparently that was his helmet while he scoped out the area! Hahahahaha

Check out the videos on our blogs.  In the trenches

Another funny moment I had this week ...
Me: What's your mums first name!
Child: I don't know
Me: You don't know what her name is?
Child: it's mum.
Me: what does Dad call her (then I realized what I asked and really hoped I hadn't put my foot in it)
Child: He calls her darling!


Don't you just love those precious moments.  All the politics and paperwork sometimes bog us down, but it is moments like these that make it all worthwhile!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Still alive, still teaching!

Just a slight change in direction.

This is my third year teaching Reading Recovery in our school.  I am .5 in the classroom and .5 reading recovery.  I am loving working 1-1 with students who struggle to learn for a variety of reasons.  Most children I have been able to help, but there are a few that have had me stumped.  I could identify the problems, but didn't have the knowledge to be specific about what I was noticing or what  to do to help.  So this year I have started a diploma in SLD (specific learning disabilities).   -more on that in the future.

This year I have moved levels.  I am now teaching year 1 students... 5 year olds!��. What was I thinking?!?  To be fair it is still early days, (week 4) it is getting better... And I'm sure it will get even better... But what was I THINKING?

A change in level means creating a whole new lot of resources.  I am trying to create an environment that is multi-sensory to cater more widely to the learning styles of my students.  It also ties into my course.

Maths and topic (arts, science, Maori etc) are my classroom subjects.  My offsider teaches all the literacy.

Here is one activity that my kids are loving.  Giant sized tens frame.  I made it out of a tarpaulin and colored tape.

My aim is to get them moving their whole bodies while learning math concepts and knowledge.

My new class blog is  Aces@Allenton. We would love you to check out all the other things we are doing

Friday, July 19, 2013

It's been awhile...

over a year in fact, when I look at the last post.

Such a lot has happened in that year - personally, and professionally.

Let's start with the personal. I have lost 30kgs and still aiming to lose more.

I am an emotional eater! I get stressed... I eat. I get upset... I eat. I get happy... I eat.
It could be worse, I could be an emotional eater and drinker! :-)

Last October I hit crunch point. My weight had ballooned ALOT after my class from H. E. double L. last year. I knew what was happening wasn't healthy for me and somehow I managed to take a stand. It started with going to the gym (curves) and then I started their eating plan as well.

2 weeks later I "threw my toys out of the cot" so to speak. I went to my Principal and told him it was them or me... either he did something about moving 2 of my students or I was going on stress leave for the rest of the year (8 weeks). Going to my Area leader all year about my problems had resulted in NOTHING. Thankfully he listened and 2 students were moved. What a difference it made in my class. I actually enjoyed teaching (well... enjoyed is a bit extreme... but it was BETTER than it had been all year). I still had 4 problem kids, and some of the fringe kids stepped up as well (with their naughty behaviour), but I could cope!

So it has been 9 months, and I am now 30kg lighter. Very proud... my treat... We (hubby and I) are going to Adelaide in the October holidays. We have never been there before, and I am really looking forward to exploring that part of Australia.

Now let's look at the professional side of my life.

This year I have a class from HEAVEN! I can't really decide if they are... or if after last years class, ANY class would feel like that. But they are the most delightful class I have EVER had. They want to learn, they are keen to do things, and the biggest plus is that they are pretty good at managing themselves, listening to instructions and actually doing what I showed/asked them. We are having such a great year.

Another change for me this year is that I am training to be a reading recovery teacher (remedial reading for struggling 6-7 year olds). So I am only in the classroom half of the day. The other 2 hours, I teach 4 students for half an hour each reading and writing.

It is very intensive. It is very prescribed (as in how to do things) and I have had to learn ALOT of things. Such a lot to get through in half an hour. And some days it really feels like I am hitting my head against a brick wall... but when I look back to the beginning of the year, to where they started, I feel proud of the progress they are making.

I am responsible for reading, topic (curriculum areas), art and PE with my class. I have the best release teacher who does maths, writing, phonics, oral language and music/drama/dance.

So there goes a quick update on my year past.

I hope all is well in your life.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Snow day!!! Yah...

I know most of the people that will read this post have either just started their summer break, or about to... but here on the other side of the world winter is here! And I have the proof...

And I know to alot of people this is just a sprinkle, but here, it is enough to close all our schools for the day! We don't get snow every year, and certainly not for months on end.

I am just hoping that it stays long enough for us to have a couple of days off school! :-)

The fact that Monday was a holiday (God Bless the Queen) is neither here nor there... nor the fact that I had classroom release last Friday (giving me an extra long weekend break from the kids)... I will take snow days ANYTIME!... I so deserve them with the class that I have this year!

Enjoy your summer break, while I sit here sipping on my hot chocolate!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A moment of brilliance!

Sometimes I spend hours trying to come up with some kind of activity that will stimulate, motivate and most importantly keep them busy learning! But it doesn't quite work.

Today I was just puddling when I had this brainwave... My kids LOVE playing cards and they enjoy write the room as part of my literacy activities. So I combined the two of them! Brillance... I KNOW!! :-)

They had to take the top card of the deck, and whatever the number was (J,Q,K A all mean more than 10 letters) they had to find a word in our room with that many letters and write it down.

They LOVED it... there was lots of discussion about the words they were finding, and trying to decode some of them as well using a range of strategies.

It was fantastic to watch! Brilliant infact!

And the best thing... didn't cost me a cent! I just grabbed the cards from the maths box and away they went!

I do have photos to share some other things we have been doing... but they are on my camera at school!

What brilliant activities have you stumbled across?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Thanks.... and a freebie!

I have spent every spare minute today madly clicking and saving files from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Living on the other side of the world I had NO IDEA when the sale actually started. It turns out I could have started last night (my time)but the first few I clicked on had not yet started, so I was unaware of the wasted minutes!

So today was revenge day for me with the sparrows... I was up farting first!!!

I even had a SHORT shower so that I had more time for clicking and saving! Gulped down my breakfast in a somewhat awkward postion so as to not even tempt fate to spill my breakfast on my laptop.... all with the single-minded focus of saving money so that I can provide even more motivating, authentic, realistic learning opportunities for some of my ungrateful students!

THANK YOU to all the fantastic teachers who took part in this day. I will endeavor to go back and look at your other resources as I just did not have the time today.

I would like to share a resource that I made to go with what my student teacher started teaching my students last week.

I have called it Ladybird Facts. I have printed and laminated the sheets to put in the group boxes for my groups. I can also print them as a worksheet to check their learning/understanding. The file include addition, subtraction and family fact sheets. Please click here for a copy.

Today in the scheme of things was a good day! I had 3 of my challenging students away today and what a difference!!! I was even able to mark some writing samples as they read at library time. I loved being able to glance around and see all (ok... all but 1) of my students reading and sharing together without me having to reinforce remind them of what they are supposed to be doing!

See.. so it isn't me that is the bad teacher... I just have a VERY challenging mix of students, who individually are wonderful wee human beings... but together become the devil incarnate!

I wonder what tomorrow will bring?!

How was your day?

Monday, April 30, 2012


The bubble has burst!

We had a pretty good first week back at school... yes it was only 4 days. There is alot to be said for having a Wednesday holiday!

How do you teach children to talk in a whisper?

This group of kids just can not do it! It is soooooo difficult to try a teach small groups when I constantly have to stop and tell them to be quiet.

The task for writing today after our shared writing was to draw a picture of the new sentence we had written (focussing on adjectives)... I couldn't even type an email, I had to constantly walk the room, whispering to children to lower their voices...

And it's only Monday...

It's going to be a long week!