Saturday, March 31, 2012

Blogging Tips

I am so new to this blogging thing.  I like how people sign with a link to their blog, and wanted to do the same.  I now have this mastered!  (I think!!)

So if you are new and want to leave a link to your blog without all the address showing then this is how to do it.

copy this and paste to a blank document-

      <a href="">Sowing Seeds of Learning</a>

between the speechmarks, remove my address and copy and paste the address of the post you want to link to.  (either your home page, or if you want a specific link then grab that address).

between the > < part, remove my title and type in what you want to see in the comment box.

When you have finished your comment, leave a line or two, then paste your code at the bottom.

Tip: save the document to your desktop so you can quickly access the code whenever you make a comment.

Please feel free to leave a comment to test it out.  If you have other posts that you found helpful with your blogging journey then please leave a link.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Goals and self/peer assessment in writing.

I always find it a challenge when conferencing with my students to leave written feedback or feedforward that is meaningful to them, ie they can refer back to, as most are not able to read what I would write... and my drawings suck! so no point doing that.

I stumbled across a fantastic idea on pinterest the other day {here} from teaching blog addict.  I have modified it as we don't write on loose paper very often, most of our writing is in our draft books.  What I have done is made a template that I can laminate and stick to the back of their books, so they can see the targets that they need to work on. 

{click here for a copy of the version to be anchored in their writing books}  I have two on a page, trim off the excess and cut in half.  Then I laminate each section.  Then cellotape to the inside back cover of their writing book.  (when the book is full, I can remove to the next new book)

Students can choose one or two goals for that day's piece of writing.  I like that idea as it gives them ownership, motivation and focus to include that aspect in that days writing. 

When they have finished their piece of writing they  stick a copy of the template to the bottom of their writing.  They can check to see if they have managed to include their goal before sharing with a buddy.

{click here for a copy of the versions to be stuck in their book each day}  I cut them into strips, and have them already sitting in a container for them to grab when they have finished.

The buddy will read/look at the writing and if they think the goal has been included in the writing then they can initial it on the line below.

I will conference with the student, and when they have mastered that skill then I will sign on the original template (in vivid) and place a sticker on it saying they have achieved that goal. 

It is still near the beginning of our school year.  As they complete templates I will give them a new one that reflects the next learning step or next whole class focus with a new genre of writing.  As the year progresses and their learning increases I will be adding goals like using adjectives, verbs, describing words etc.

What kind of things do you do to promote self/peer assessment in your class?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Writing Instructions

I am loving teaching instructions with my students.  I have been kind of using the Lane Clark approach to writing.  First we followed some instructions on how to play hopscotch.  And then filled out a P B E and S.W.SW organiser that breaks down all the different aspects of instructional writing.  Click here for a copy.

We then repeated this using a youtube video on how to moonwalk.  Kids LOVE trying to be like MJ, but I have to admit I find it sad that I have to explain to them about the gloves and white socks.

We then created a venn diagram to compare the two instructions and come up with what we think good instructions should have.  We then used this to create a checklist to compare 3 more instructions.  Click here for a copy of our hypothesis organiser.

Once we had checked all of the instructions we then co-constructed our writing criteria for Instructions. 

We have been swimming the last 2 weeks and are experts on the routine of getting ready for swimming.  So we have been writing instructions for the new entrants in Room 14 who will start swimming next week.

Check out our classroom wiki to see pictures of our learning.

What kind of things do you do to teach instructional writing?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Counting Chickens...

I may well be counting my chickens before they have hatched... but I have had 2 days in a row with next to no blurting - or volcanoes as we call it in our room!  But I am taking all the positives that I can find with this class, they are so few and far between so far.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Class tree-ty!

Having students come up with their own rules for the classroom is much more rewarding because students have ownership. If students own it, then they are more likely to follow them. Of course I am allowed to have input, but mainly I turn the words into positives rather than starting with 'don't'. If we don't do something, what do we do instead?

I record their rules on our interactive whiteboard using a wood background.  Then each child is given a leaf to decorate with their name for our tree-ty.  This is how they sign the treaty.  It is a great visual to refer back to when rules are not being followed.

Behaviour Management

This year my class is testing all my knowledge and beliefs about managing behaviours in our classroom.  I am a strong believer in positive classroom behaviour, but have to admit, after 5 weeks of being a broken record it has become very difficult to remain positive!!  But it is a new week... sMonday's are always positive :-)... Friday's are another matter! :-(

Here is what I started the year with.  Once again while on pinterest I found this great link using warm fluzzies.  Click here for the original post that Sesusstastic posted. The resources on here are fantastic so I have basically copied everything from that link to set up my 'warm fuzzie' management. (no point re-inventing the wheel!!!)  I have added extra coupons that are relevant to our school and our class and not used some that are 'american'.

I started out handing out warm fuzzies for anything and everything positive that I saw in our classroom.  I would have a daily focus (book bags in desks, reading books away etc) as well as general classroom behaviours.  At an appropriate time children would put their warm fuzzies in their cup. (I have colour co-ordinated with their house colours red= pink, yellow = orange, green, blue)  At the end of the week children count up their warm fuzzies and then record their score on a graph (linking to graphing that we did at the start of the year for maths).  

The students love getting warm fuzzies, and hate having to give them back if caught doing something they shouldn't be doing.

If children have managed to get 10 warm fuzzies then they are able to trade in for 1 coupon from my organiser.  For every 5 after that they get to choose another one.  I have to admit that I haven't been totally organised when it comes to redeeming them in, but I am aiming to have trading Tuesday and Thursdays.

I have followed the original post and not allowed students to count their fuzzies until the end of the week.  With continuing behaviour issues with several of my students, I wondered if visually seeing what they had, would help motivate them to keep going with good behaviour.  So I have now started a reward chart that I give them ticks, and at the end of the day, I make a big deal about how many warm fuzzies they have achieved and hand them out.  The chart starts fresh the next day, and warm fuzzies are added to their cup again at the end of the day.

What do you do for positive behaviour management?  I would love to hear your thoughts.