Thursday, 31 January 2013

Afrikaans Poetry Rap

Gr5/11 year olds, Imogen, Jessica and Zoe rap "Met My Hande"
(Translation from Afrikaans: "With My Hands"),
a poem about using the different parts of your body.

As a reward for getting the loudest claps, they each won a Jelly Baby!

Robot Listening Activity

The students were given instructions verbally, step by step, to create the pictures above. They received points based on the accuracy of their pictures. The results were so sweet that I had to put them on the wall.

Teacher Time Saver

For money collections, to reduce lost or mislabled money received from parents.
Lable is pasted on the front of an envelope.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Our Classroom Tour

The Star Constellations

We created these star constellations in Science class today. We used black paper, a mathematical compass and pencil, diamond gem stickers and a white milky pen.

I made it very clear to the children that we were studying Astronomy and not Astrology. We discussed the difference between the two words. We also discussed the fact that constellations look different in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. We looked at ancient African constellations and talked about their purpose in navigation and story telling.

20 Ways to Encourage Reading

The boys above are 3 and 5 years old. This photo was taken on Monday afternoon. I have been their Au pair for the past 2 years. Every 2 weeks we visit the local library to take out seven books each. They can't wait to get home to explore the books they've chosen.

The following are some ways to turn a young reader's reluctance into enthusiasm:

1.  Scout for things your children might like to read.  Use their interests and hobbies as starting points.
2.  Leave all sorts of reading materials including books, magazines, and colourful catalogues in conspicuous places around your home.
3.  Notice what attracts your children's attention, even if they only look at the pictures.  Then build on that interest; read a short selection aloud, or simply bring home more information on the same subject.
4.  Let your children see you reading for pleasure in your spare time.
5.  Take your children to the library regularly.  Explore the children's section together.  Ask a librarian to suggest books and magazines your children might enjoy.
6.  Present reading as an activity with a purpose; a way to gather useful information for, say, making paper aeroplanes, identifying a doll or stamp in your child's collection, or planning a family trip.
7.  Encourage older children to read to their younger brothers and sisters.  Older children enjoy showing off their skills to an admiring audience.
8.  Play games that are reading-related.  Check your closet for spelling games played with letter tiles or dice, or board games that require players to read spaces, cards, and directions.
9.  Perhaps over dinner, while you're running errands, or in another informal setting, share your reactions to things you read, and encourage your children to do likewise.
10.  Set aside a regular time for reading in your family, independent of schoolwork, the 20 minutes before lights out, just after dinner, or whatever fits into your household schedule.  As little as 10 minutes of free reading a day can help improve your child's skills and habits.
11.  Read aloud to your child, especially a child who is discouraged by his or her own poor reading skills.  The pleasure of listening to you read, rather than struggling alone, may restore your child's initial enthusiasm for books and reading.
12.  Encourage your child to read aloud to you an exciting passage in a book, an interesting tidbit in the newspaper, or a joke in a joke book.  When children read aloud, don't feel they have to get every word right.  Even good readers skip or mispronounce words now and then.
13.  On gift-giving occasions, give books and magazines based on your child's current interests.
14.  Set aside a special place for children to keep their own books.
15.  Introduce the bookmark.  Remind your youngster that you don't have to finish a book in one sitting; you can stop after a few pages, or a chapter, and pick up where you left off at another time.  Don't try to persuade your child to finish a book he or she doesn't like.  Recommend putting the book aside and trying another.
16.  Treat your children to an evening of laughter and entertainment featuring books!  Many children (parents, too) regard reading as a serious activity.  A joke book, a story told in riddles, or a funny passage read aloud can reveal another side of reading.
17.  Extend your child's positive reading experiences.  For example, if your youngster enjoyed a book about dinosaurs, follow up with a visit to a natural history museum.
18.  Offer other special incentives to encourage your child's reading.  Allow your youngster to stay up an extra 15 minutes to finish a chapter; promise to take your child to see a movie after he or she has finished the book on which it was based; relieve your child of a regular chore to free up time for reading.
19.  Limit your children's TV viewing in an effort to make time for other activities, such as reading.  But never use TV as a reward for reading, or a punishment for not reading.
20.  Not all reading takes place between the covers of a book.  What about menus, road signs, food labels, and sheet music?  Take advantage of countless spur-of-the-moment opportunities for reading during the course of your family's busy day.


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Geography/Technology Group Task

We are learning about maps in Geography this term. The class has been divided into groups and will be making a contour island like the one above. I will upload photos of the process as it happens.

Friday, 25 January 2013


Is there anything prettier than bunting, especially in a classroom?!
Next week we will be making bunting from paper, pastel and ink in colours to brighten our class.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Our classroom door

Since our theme this term is SPACE I thought that little student astronauts would be a fantastic way to decorate the door. The template comes from here:

Space Aliens

Our Engglish and Science themes this term are SPACE related. Above is the brief that I hand out to students at the beginning of the theme, to be glued into their workbooks. Each English theme will last 3 weeks and cover creative writing, oral presentations, a listening activity, reading, a comprehention and poetry.

Here is a link to my SPACE folder on PINTEREST for more ideas:

Using the Government prescribed skills to be covered by Grades 4-6, I have created these Oral & Writing rubrics which should cover most tasks. I may need to adjust them to fit more specific speaking tasks, like an interview scenario or writing a menu for example, but for now they cover what I need to assess.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Creative Writing Challenge 1

Choose one of the following and respond by leaving it in the comments below:
Brief: Must be 100+ words, use spell check, capital letters and full stops.
  • The highlight of my Christmas holidays.
  • I've won a ticket to the Moon/Mars/planet of your choice.
  • When I'm big I'm going to...
  • The World's best sandwich!

Our first week of Term 1

We wrote stories about robots and we made space men. - Neo
We designed our own robot and alien invasion.- Kane
We enjoyed unpacking our new stationery. It was shiny and new. I can't wait to use it all. - Summer
We enjoyed the colouring of the cover pages of our new themes. I used my new new pencil crayons and made my covers so bright and colourful. - Jessica
We did a quiz on discovering if you are left brain or right brain dominant. Most of us were "lefties" but there were a few "righties" or 50/50. - Imogen

We divided into groups of 4 students and came up with a group name, a star chart and rules. The group names are:
  • Busters
  • Pythons
  • Spain
  • Zues Lightning
  • The PBM Kidz
These are our class rules. We are going to try hard to stick to them. We have this poster printed out and coloured in on our classroom wall. What are your class rules? Are they the same as ours or are they different? - Miss Tyler-Smith