If you are interested in practising and applying the skills required for NAPLAN, then please visit the websites below:
|ADULTS | CHILDREN | EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE||
With NAPLAN fast approaching, many students may feel a little anxious or the pressure of "having to perform" to a certain level or expectation. Schools can too often place an emphasis on teaching to previous NAPLAN assessments rather than focussing on the skills required to answer ANY question in ANY given test. It is important to teach the skills of explaining, describing, evaluating and eliminating (just to name a few), so that students are prepared to perform to their potential when presented with a range of assessment situations or formats (e.g. multiple choice, short answer questions). Since skills are mastered through constant practise, it is on this premise that NAPLAN practise should be carried out.
If you are interested in practising and applying the skills required for NAPLAN, then please visit the websites below:
The beginning of a new School Year is only weeks away and many teachers will be spending their days planning and preparing for first term. Feelings of excitement and anxiousness come and go as thoughts turn towards meeting new faces, embracing new experiences and building quality relationships with staff and students .
The first day back can sometimes seem a bit daunting and a little uncomfortable, but it doesn't need to be! With careful planning and a little creativity, teachers have the ability to establish an environment that is fun, welcoming, safe and positive from day one! You may choose to begin the day with a joke, a song, some craft...but I would suggest you begin the term with an icebreaker.
I prefer to start the year with an icebreaker as it enables the children to interact with one another in a friendly and relaxed environment. It is also a great way for you to learn more about the personalities in your classroom and to appreciate the individuality of each student.
I like to begin the day with a People Hunt activity and include myself in this game (kids love it!) I then finish with a sharing circle, where students gather together to make a circle on the floor and share some interesting facts, hobbies and interests about themselves and other students (the children can 'pass' if they wish). It is also a good opportunity to introduce good listening skills, including appreciation and respect for others.
Please take a moment to look at our Pinterest page for inspiration or visit the website below. After all, you want the BEST from your students and this CAN start on the first day with an icebreaker!
Visit the link below for some more icebreaker examples:
I am currently using the C.U.B.E.S strategy to help students work through a number of word problems in Mathematics. It is a particularly useful tool as it enables children to work systematically through a structured process and helps them to better understand and solve the mathematical problem.
It has been particularly helpful for those students who find comprehension difficult and/or deciphering mathematical problems overwhelming. C.U.B.E.S takes the stress and “guess work” out of solving the problem and promotes systematic and thorough problem solving techniques.
The teacher can also track the progress of students at each stage of the C.U.B.E.S process by simply viewing the action of each letter. For example, if the child has not B-boxed any words or the appropriate words, then you know the student may not understand this step. Teaching can then be targeted to provide additional support in these areas of uncertainty.
Mention the word "assessment" to a teacher and he or she will tell you that they're never ending! You may also get mixed reactions, followed by some of the buzz words below...
And yes, sometimes your brain feels like this when confronted by the topic of "assessment!" So...why do it?
Well, let's focus on pre-assessment. If we take a look at the diagram above, we know that pre-assessment activates students' prior knowledge to expose misconceptions and reveal knowledge gaps. So...again...why do it? Well, the simple, one worded answer is: differentiation. If the learning experience/s can be tailored to the individual's needs, then we have a more successful model of learning since the individual is presented with specific opportunities, enabling them to acquire new knowledge and skills by way of various systems and/or environments.
Let's say I wanted to teach to this content descriptor for Year 5: "Identify and describe multiples of whole numbers and use them to solve problems (Australian Curriculum)." I would then use a basic pre-assessment (such as the one below) to gauge their understanding and fluency of multiples first. The data would then be analysed and for those who struggled with the pre-assessment, an emphasis on understanding and fluency would be a priority. For those students who passed the pre-assessment, the activities would be designed to focus on problem solving and reasoning. Since these skills are classed as higher-order thinking, your gifted and talented students will be catered for (especially if the activities are open-ended)!
For more on differentiation please visit: http://syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au/support-materials/differentiated-programming/
These unusually shaped, moulded plastic pieces can be very beneficial if used correctly. I see many students who hold their pencil/pen awkwardly and writing becomes laborious due to fatigue and the frustration of being unable to form letters correctly. I believe every teacher should have an array of pencil grips (particularly those that have been ergonomically designed by professionals) on hand to administer to students who struggle to hold their pencil/pen properly. This certainly is not a “one size fits all” model and I am not advocating that this will miraculously cure or be the answer to illegibility, but it is certainly a small price to pay if it does work for the child!
Some students may need to be referred to a specialist (such as an OT), who is able to provide recommendations based on a thorough assessment of the individual.
In previous posts I have alluded to the fact that early intervention is imperative! You may want to try some fine motor activities to encourage a correct tripod grip. Check out our Pinterest account for examples of these.
“Tell me and I forget,
Teach me and I may remember,
Involve me and I learn.” -Benjamin Franklin
This famous quote by Benjamin Franklin is more like a mantra for the everyday teacher. Involvement in an activity or task is imperative to reinforce the fundamental learning within the classroom. Any early childhood trained teacher would agree emphatically with the notion that children learn best through play.
I found that most of the learning within my classroom took place when I differentiated the tasks to cater for a range of learning styles and abilities. It was most successful when I implemented a variety of activities using stations on a rotational basis. The objectives of the task had to be clearly stated, written down for reference and easily accessible for all students. Every activity had a common denominator and all tasks were linked in some way to the explicit teaching that took place earlier on in the week. An example of an activity that can be implemented within the classroom as one station in a Maths lesson on Number is ‘Jump Frog.’
‘Jump Frog’ enables children to become more fluent in recognising numbers that make ten, counting and addition. There are numerous ways to extend students or cater for those who may find it challenging to make ten, and some examples are included on the instructions. As you can see from the photo, there are 2 players (the pink frog and the blue frog) and the person with the blue frog has just rolled a nine and jumped to 1 (9 + 1 = 10). You can see the pile of lily pads each person has collected at the bottom of the photo, which will be added at the end of the game to find out who wins! You can purchase this activity at my TpT store by visiting this link: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Jump-Frog-1938943
I would like to include one final activity to end the ‘Brain Break’ series: ‘FUN V.A.N’ (Verbs-Adverbs-Nouns). Remember: the importance of regular breaks during work/school work is imperative to improved performance, engagement and job satisfaction. The following activity will get the heart pumping, the blood flowing and increase oxygen flow to the brain! A HUGE positive in any work place!
I stumbled across an activity similar to ‘FUN V.A.N’ on Pinterest called ‘Action Cup!’ by Ms. Jessica (by the way, if you haven’t signed up to Pinterest yet, I highly recommend you do as there are numerous ideas, activities, worksheets etc. that you can use at home or within the classroom). ‘FUN V.A.N’ is a great way to engage students by integrating ‘Grammar: Parts of Speech’ with silly actions and fun movements.
For this activity, you will need 3 vans (made out of cups): one containing verbs, another with adverbs and the third containing nouns. You can use this activity to break up a long lesson or for transitioning to the next activity, subject or lesson. A student randomly chooses a pop stick from each van and everyone has to act out what’s written on the pop sticks. For example: “jump” (verb), “wildly” (adverb), “like an elephant” (noun). Some verbs, adverbs and nouns are not going to make any sense whatsoever, but that’s the whole point of a ‘brain break’ and applying individual creativity to release some energy or tension.
Be warned: there’s plenty of noise, movement and laughter with this ‘brain break.’
These pop sticks can be easily designed and made to meet the requirements of your class. Just contact me to have a set sent to you for a nominal fee plus postage. ENJOY!
This will be my second last post on ‘brain breaks.’ I started writing about different brain breaks due to the importance and benefits of taking regular breaks when at work…school included! (see post ‘Tricks of the Trade’ – April 2015).
If you haven’t visited ‘Wimp’ then I will directly quote the website by stating that Wimp is “a collection of the best family-friendly content across the web that informs, inspires and entertains.” (Wimp.com)
Wimp is a fantastic tool to use in the classroom as your students can view a range of videos and pictures that you can select according to themes or topics. If you head to my Pinterest page by clicking on the P icon at the top of the page and 'follow me,' you’ll be kept in the loop when I pin or create new boards.
I have included a ‘Wimp’ board on Pinterest where you can view the videos that I’ve already watched and pinned. Please take note of the captions, as they provide you with an example of how you can integrate these videos into your lessons. For example, I used the ‘Cats and Dogs’ video to talk about bullying in Health. After having watched the video, a Venn diagram was displayed and students noted all the similarities, differences, characteristics and traits of each animal. Following that, students were asked to relate the responses given to everyday people. The lesson was concluded with the question: If we were like the cats in the video, what could we do to be a better cat?
It was amazing to see how engaged the students were when the lesson about bullying was presented in this way. (Also check out the ‘Intense Downhill Mountain Biking’ clip JUST FOR FUN!!!)
Okay, so completing a quiz doesn’t exactly sound like much of a ‘brain break,’ but guess what…kids love it! They really enjoy completing an activity where they are competing against one another and especially when there are prizes up for grabs!
I have chosen this activity to be part of the ‘brain break’ series as it is technically a break from the regular routine of thinking about and doing constant numeracy and literacy activities. Students particularly loved getting into groups at the end of a day and completing the general knowledge questions together. I would call out the question and give them a time limit to write the answer down on a piece of paper. They would then swap their answer sheets with another group to be marked. The highest scoring group would usually win a prize!
AND…as a thank you to those who follow this blog and to anyone who signs up in the months of MAY and JUNE, I will email the ‘A-Z Quiz’ (A pictured) directly to you - FREE! ENJOY!
GoNoOdle provides a range of engaging, interactive activities that enable your students to have a quick ‘brain break’ in class. These ‘brain breaks’ are fun for all (teachers included) and encourage students to be physically active rather than mentally exhausted! Some of the songs and moves in the dance videos (that students have to follow) are hilarious and may have your class in stitches! Be warned…once you have started the GoNoOdle trend, your students will be asking for it every day!
It's free to sign up to GoNoOdle, providing you with free access to different channels and categories such as ‘Stretching’ and ‘Kinaesthetic Learning.’