Classroom Inspiration

Friday, 5 February 2016

New Year, New Focus

Hi everyone!

It's been way too long since I've written a blog post. Last year was so crazy busy that I just never seemed to find any time to blog. HOWEVER!!!! With the new year, comes new found motivation and enthusiasm for what I love the most...sharing the fun and exciting things I do with my beautiful grade 1/2 students.And boy are they beautiful! I am so lucky to have 21 lovely little ones this year, I can't wait to get stuck in to some fantastic learning with them.

I thought the best way to get back into the swing of things is to link up with Kasey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for five for Friday. Make sure you head over to her page to check out all the others that have linked up by clicking on the image below.

So to start off my first week back was not what I expected. Not by a long way. I had spent so much time getting ready for my new class before school started back that I must have worn myself out. I started to experience chest pain on the Sunday before school, which progressively got worse over night. Come Monday I had severe chest pain and trouble breathing. Being the stubborn person I am I refused to have the first day off sick so I soldiered on and made it through the day. 

I went to the doctors at about 4 o'clock and was immediately sent to emergency where I was admitted to hospital for pneumonia. Crazy! I spent three days hooked up to an antibiotic drip which cleared it up super quick. This is the first time I've ever been in hospital and can now quite confidently say I never want to go back. My first night back in my own bed was possibly the best sleep I've ever had, not exaggerating. 

Despite my boss' objections I went in to work today and I'm glad I did. I was reminded of the fantastic class I have to look forward to this year. 

The rest of my Five for Friday is going to be some classroom snaps. I have been lucky enough this year to be able to open the doors between my classroom and the empty one next door, to have an incredibly spacious double room.
(Insert massive grinning face). 

My absolute favourite area of my room has to be our reading corner. 
I revel in this photo as my reading corner will never be this tidy again. I changed its configuration this year as I inherited the white bookshelf that I was dying to use for our book boxes, so I was determined to make it fit. The green faux grass mat is from Kmart and is made up of eight squares that cost $6 each. It's super durable and comfy for the kids to sit on. I think I'm going to get three more squares to make it a little wider. The green, red and purple cushions are from Ikea a few years ago, as is the green Lack side table in the corner. 
The book boxes are from Elizabeth Richards. In hindsight I wish I had have ordered yellow instead of blue to make it a bit brighter...but oh well I still think they look great. This is where the children will store their IPICK books for Daily 5. I used canvas bags for the previous 3 years, but wanted to try something different. 
Here's a close up of our book boxes. I made the labels using the Peepsicles graphics set from Lettering Delights. They are a great website for really cute and high quality clipart sets and fonts. 
The tubs on the top shelf are from a cheap shop (discount store) in my town. The pink ones cost $5 and the small blue ones were $2.50, which I thought was a great price. 
I got this Book Buddy idea from Jennifer at First Grade Blue Skies in her 2015 classroom reveal. I thought it was such a great idea to give the kids the choice of some friends to read with during Daily 5 and silent reading. 
My birthday display this year was made using the Birthday Cake Birthday Chart from a new site I found called Busy Little Bugs. They have so many gorgeous display ideas, I highly recommend you check them out! They're an Australian site which is also a bonus.
I am determined this year to use my Word Wall more effectively. I refuse to let it sit there unused especially after the amount of work I put into it. I'll take a better photo next week of it with the words on it and a close up of the letters. The letters are from Lady Bug Teacher Files and I just love how bright and fun they are. I have already seen my kids referring to it during their independent writing time, which is extremely satisfying.  
This is a photo of our whole class learning area. Aka where I plant my computer at the beginning of the day. At the end of last year I had a bit of money left in my classroom budget so decided to invest in a new portable whiteboard, and I absolutely love it! This one is from Modern Teaching Aids and it's called the Literacy Centre Mobile Whiteboard. What I love most about it is the amount of storage. It has four large tubs that slide in and out, big book storage behind the main board, small containers for whiteboard makers, hooks at the top to attach anchor charts, and it even has a lined whiteboard of the other side if you turn it around. If you're in the market for a new whiteboard, I highly recommend this one! The triangle banner that you can see in the top left corner was made using Jennifer's Back to School Banner, click here to get it free.

I hope you've enjoyed having a peek inside my classroom for 2016. Stay tuned for exciting posts about what we've been up to in our first few weeks!

Happy blogging :)

Friday, 19 June 2015

Five for Friday - What a term!!

Hi! It's been a while! I honestly can't remember a term that has been as full on as this one. There have been a number of things that have been happening that have contributed to me feeling super busy and a little overwhelmed. First and foremost I am now a home owner!! I am extremely terrified excited to now be part of the population that has a mortgage. Well not so much the mortgage part... I am also still studying (one semester to go, one semester to go, one semester to go) and I am the literacy coordinator as well. So lots happening!!

Today I'm linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. These things didn't all happen this week, it's more of a catch up. 
I thought to kick it off I'd share a photo of my little home :) I hope you like blue... I don't! I will be painting it as soon as I can. It's also in need of a new fence and a little work inside, but it's mine, and I've got plenty of time to fix it up. 
Our Inquiry unit for this term was all about Portland in the Past. We learnt so much about our special little town and the part in played in the early history of Victoria. As part of this unit the little wonders created murals depicting the different stages of Portland's development and presented it to the class.

The first group did 'Portland Before Settlement'
They included lots of native animals, aboriginals and their huts, as well as weapons the aboriginals would have used. 

 The second group did 'Edward Henty Arrives in Portland'.
They included sailing ships in the harbour as well as people whaling. They placed Henty's wooden shack on the grass, complete with pony paddock. 
 The third group did 'Early Life in Portland'.
They included the beach huts that lined the foreshore, pony rides on the beach, the train and train track and a lot less animals. They also placed our church up on the hill. 
 The last group did 'Portland Today'. 
They included the port, smelter, boat ramps, hospital, playground and skate park. This group went above and beyond with the detail in their mural. To be fair they were the group with the most knowledge about what it looks like. 
I was very impressed with how all my kids worked in groups and cooperated to get their mural finished. They delegated jobs such as painting, research and drawings. 

Whaling was a huge part of Portland's past and was an industry that we learnt quite a bit about. The little wonders were quite adamant from the beginning that they didn't agree with this process. As a response to what we had talked about, the children had to decide wether whaling was 'good' or 'bad'. Needless to say they all chose bad. They then had to come up with reasons why they chose this stand point and write them on these adorable whale outlines.
One of our art focuses this term was collage. I have recently found an AMAZING website called Deep Space Sparkle that has absolutely fantastic art ideas that are organised by technique and grade level. It's run by a super talented art teacher named Patty who has a plethora of incredible art lessons available for free as well as paid options. We used her Foil Turtle and Fish Collage lesson to create these aluminium foil collages. 

Our writing genre for the past few weeks has been information writing so we began our unit with a whole class focus on frogs. You could ask my little wonders absolutely any question about frogs and I'm confident they could answer it. We listened to songs, watched videos and read books about frogs to learn as much as we could. 
At the beginning of the focus I created this display at the back of our room. It had all the stages of the frog's life cycle as well as key words they kids were able to access when they were writing. 
(I'm secretly loving the heck out of it!)
 To finish our frog focus we created these froggy diaries on TPT that were created by Teacher's Breathing Space. I love how they are written from the frog's point of view. It was such a great way to see how much the children knew about all the stages of the frog's lifecycle. 

FYI if you're doing anything about frogs, watch this video about metamorphosis and this one about amphibians. My kids LOOOVED them!
Another art activity we have done this term was based around a book by Kevin Sherry called 'The Best Artist in the Ocean'. It's about a giant squid that loves to be artistic and messy, despite the complaints of the other animals. We did a guided drawing of our squids, before painting them with water colours. Once they were dry the little wonders went over their grey lead lines with black ink. I have done this lesson before and the kids just love it. I love how different all the squids look, and how CUTE!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out what we've been up to. Hopefully next term will be more settled and I'll have more of a chance to keep up with it all.
Head over to Doodle Bugs to check out what everyone else has been up to.
Happy blogging :)