Classroom Inspiration

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 :)

Friday, 27 March 2015

Five for Friday!

What a term! The past 9 weeks have gone so fast, I can't believe we've arrived at school holidays already. We (myself and my students) are most definitely ready for a break though. Term 1 is always very full on with setting up a routine, testing and getting to know each other.

I'm linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Click here to check out what other bloggers have been up to this week.
I picked up these super cute Easter books from Aldi at $5 each, bargain! The kids loved reading them this week, and the Pepper Pig and Spot books were easy enough for my struggling readers.
These super cute Holy Week posters were in a pack I purchased from Anne Hoffman's 1st Grade TPT store. They feature clip art from the amazingly talented Kari Bolt. This is the second year I've put them up during Lent to help teach my little wonders about Holy Week. They were a great visual reminder of the days involved in Holy Week and what occurred on each day. 
The little wonders created these beautiful cross silhouettes this week in our art lesson. They used chalk pastels for the background, and we talked about using colours that are touching on the colour wheel or in the rainbow. They practised smudging and blending their pastels, which I will admit, ended up in chalky jumper and pants. I am so happy with how these turned out, I think they look fantastic! I got the idea for this from Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connections.
We made these suuuuper cute Easter baskets out of paper plates as something a little different to the usual paper cut out ones. They have a pocket on the back made from another plate flipped around, as a space for their eggy goodies. They required a fair bit of help with stapling and hot gluing, but it was worth it.
 At the beginning of this Lenten season, we made a Lenten prayer chain. The little wonders wrote a prayer on a piece of paper and we linked them together to make a 40 link chain for every day leading up to Easter. They wrote prayers for animals, their classmates and for people who were sick, travelling or poor. We read one (or two depending on how many we had to catch up on) every morning during our daily prayer. The kids really enjoyed this.

Hope you've enjoyed a peek at my week.
Happy blogging!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Special Delivery from the US!!

I could not wait to get home today to tell you about my very special delivery that came all the way from the United States!

When I got to school this morning I noticed a parcel in my tub. Being an avid online shopper I had to think hard as to wether or not I was expecting anything. When I checked who the sender was I recognised the name right was Deborah Diesen, the author of one of my favourite book series The Pout Pout Fish. 

I opened the package to find a signed copy of 'The Pout Put Fish Goes to School' and a handwritten letter. As I read the letter I began to tear up! Deborah wrote that she had seen my blog post about learning to learn, and how I used the Pout Pout Fish story to get students ready for the school year. 
I honestly cannot explain how amazing it felt to know that she had read my post, and had been so kind to send me my very own copy of this gorgeous book. 
 Inside the book was a beautiful message to me and my students. 
I shared it with them this morning and they were just about as blown away as I was!
 It's nice to finally have a book for our little Pout Pout Fish to sit by :)
 Today was most definitely the highlight of my blogging career.
 Thank you so much Deborah for reading my blog and taking the time to send me this amazing gift, it means so much to me.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Five for Friday!

Holy moly it's been a while since I've linked up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday, and I must say I've missed it! Here is a look at our hectic, fun, creative and colourful week (well a mix of this week and last). 
This activity was all about identifying our talents, and the things that make us special. We brainstormed lots of different words we could use to describe ourselves and they chose one to write on their mirror. They then finished the sentence 'Mirror, mirror on the wall, I am special because...'. 
We stuck the mirror and writing piece onto black paper and hung them up outside our classroom. 
Last week we celebrated Shrove (or pancake) Tuesday. To mark the beginning of Lent we made these super cute pancake headbands. Each child was given four pancakes and on them they had to write a word that related to or described Lent. I was quite impressed with some of the words they came up with (not to mention their spelling choices); prayer, hope, Jesus, Easter, fasting, kindness and sharing, to name a few. They wore them for the day and had a great tim
Last week our art focus was warm and cool colours. I asked the children to think of the warm colours that remind them of summer, fire, the sun etc. Most of them were on the right track with red, orange, yellow and pink, some suggested blue and green, perhaps they were thinking of the water they swim in when its hot...I then did the same for cool colours. After we distinguished the different colours the little wonders divided their paper in half, they filled the top half with curved, wavy lines and the bottom with straight pointed lines. They coloured the top half with warm coloured oil pastels, and the bottom with cool colours. I loooove how bright and vibrant they are! They look fantastic on our wall in between our number line from Kinder Craze, and our months of the year. 
 For show and tell this week one of my little wonders brought in some perfume he'd made at home. He explained that he wants to be a scientist when he's older so thought he'd experiment with making perfume. He soaked the flowers in water, then crushed them up  and removed them from the liquid. You would not believe how amazing this stuff smelt! I was actually blown away. It smelt like Calvin Klein CK joke. Clever little thing!
This week's art focus was on painting techniques. I'd seen this done on Pinterest so decided to give it a go. The little wonders used blown up water balloons to blob paint from their paint tray onto lone side of their paper (which I had pre-folded down the middle). I can't get enough of the super bright colours they used, they look amazing! Once they were happy with the amount of blobs they'd done, they folded their paper over and gently pressed to transfer the paint to the other side of the paper. Once they dry I plan to cut them out and turn them into Blob Monsters similar to the ones on Kindergarten Smiles and Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep.   
I hope you've enjoyed your glimpse into my classroom :)
Happy blogging!