Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Comprehension - Part #3. Predicting.

Predicting is also an easy strategy to teach. Chances are, you are already doing it with your students, but the aim of this is to;

a) get your students to look closely at the clues in the text 
b) get them to do it automatically, rather than have the teacher prompting all the time

To start off, define what predicting means. Explain that we predict before, during and after reading. Talk about what students can use to make a prediction; cover, titles, illustrations, blurb and text.

Pick a text and have students make a prediction. Give them the sentence starter "I predict". When they tell you their prediction, ask them why they think that. What clues from the text did they use? The sentence starter now becomes "I predict.....because.....".

You can use the above discussion for during reading predictions too.

As for after reading, the discussion turns to talking about what would happen if the author were to write a sequel. Students will use the events from the story to make this prediction. The sentence starter would be "I predict that......would happen next because.....". This can then turn into a writing task if you wish.

It is also important to confirm or reject predictions. That is, talking about whether they were right or wrong. Confirm or reject is just a more technical and nicer way of putting it. At this point, emphasise that it's totally okay if their predictions were rejected. Build up esteem by talking about how well they used the clues from the text :)

A neat way to set up this activity is to use three columns. My Prediction, What Happened and Confirm/Reject. The first two columns are pretty self explanatory, the confirm/reject can be completed with either a tick or a cross, or a C or a R.

If you want students to write about their predictions, here are some ideas;
1) Sentence starter "I predict" or "I predict....because..." Students can draw a picture to support their writing
2) Two columns. My Prediction and Clues From The Text
3) Have students predict what the characters will do, what the problem will be and how they will solve the problem.

My all time favourite activity is to stop reading just before the big ending. Have students write what they think will happen and draw a picture. Then read the ending and compare. It's one activity that the students absolutely love and it's pretty interesting seeing what they come out with.

That's pretty much it for predicting. If you are looking for some graphic organisers they can be found in my Super Six Activity Pack;

Next up in the series; Making Connections!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Five for Friday!

Linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five For Friday!

School - Friday was the last day of Term 3. I am now on holidays for 2 weeks! :D My plans? scootering, swimming, days out and resource making. I am keen to get back out on the scooter as it's been ages since we've been able to do it. Next term I officially start my contract! woo hoo!

TV - We got the TV we wanted! Now our lounge room has a brand new, 50', 3D, smart TV. It's awesome. I love it, especially watching movies in 3D. We watched the Lego Movie and it looked pretty cool especially when there was lots of movement. Of course watching that movie got the Everything is Awesome song stuck in my head, which lead to random outbursts of "everything is awesome!" over the past few days.

There are also other neat features with the TV, like the ability to go online, download apps or even tweet from the TV.

Resources - I've been pretty productive with my TPT store lately. I've made a few new things as well as made different designs for some of my most popular products. This morning I revamped my 2D Shapes pack because I felt like it should be more colourful. It wasn't ugly or anything, I just decided that rainbow paper would make it even better! (did I ever mention I was a perfectionist?). Click on the picture to see it in my store :)

Text Type and Purpose - This week one of the focus points of my reading groups was talking about the text type and author's purpose. I introduced the three types; Informative, Imaginative and Persuasive. We then talked about how we know which type it is, e.g. whether it was giving us facts, about a made up person or telling us why something is good. These three types then link to the author's purpose; inform, entertain or persuade. To help with these concepts I created a few posters.

Comprehension - In my reading groups we are also using the Super Six Comprehension strategies. We do a lot of discussion, which is great but then I want the students to be writing/recording ideas so the classroom teacher has a way to see what we have been doing. So to cater for this, I am using my Super Six Journal Prompts!

These are great because I simply need to print off one or two copies of a page, cut out the strips and then the students glue the prompt at the top of their page. They then complete the activity. So now when the teacher looks back in their book they will be able to easily see what the activity was :)

That wraps up my Five for Friday. Will work on the next part of my Comprehension series sometime in the first week of the holidays.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Lost my voice!

This is my first week on the support job and I am already off sick! Yesterday my voice was pretty croaky all day and by the afternoon it was gone. So I decided to take the day off and rest my voice in the hopes that it will come back asap.

I am being a bit of a workaholic by making, printing and laminating resources to use in my new role :)

Here are some things that I have done so far;

This week has been good so far. On Monday I started the Year 6 Reading Program. We worked with the text Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. Our focus for this week is on Vocabulary. After the reading program, I spent the day with people from Stage 2 and we talked about the teaching of Writing. I picked up on a few interesting ideas. One idea which I thought was pretty cool is the See, Think, Wonder strategy. I am going to try this out with my little groups. You can check out one of my See, Think, Wonder resources by clicking the picture below :)

Yesterday, I got to work with the 2 classes I have been assigned to. I didn't get to work with the year 4 class as they had a guest speaker come in, but I did get to do some reading with the year 3. We focused on Fluency as that seems to be a common need.

In terms of TPT, I have been creating different designs for some of my most popular products. This is because I realise that people have different tastes in terms of colours and themes so I am trying my best to cater for everyone.

In personal news, I have sent the boyfriend out to buy that huge TV that we have been wanting. I'm hoping that it's still in stock and that he comes home with it :)

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

200 Products!

This is my 3rd post this weekend! I have never been so active on this blog before, haha :P Don't worry this is just a short post!

Today I posted my 200th item on my TPT store. To celebrate this milestone I am offering a FREEBIE! I figured I'd make it pirate themed as Talk Like a Pirate Day is coming up soon. Click on the picture to download it for yourself :)

Hope this week is a good one!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Comprehension - Part #2. Visualising.

It's time for part 2 of my comprehension series!

This is the easiest strategy to work on, so it's the best one to start with.

Introduce the strategy using a poster/PowerPoint/movie e.t.c. Find a text that has a description of a character, object or place. Texts that are good for this are; The Twits by Rhald Dahl, The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, The Gruffalo's Child by Julia Donaldson and Inside Mary Elizabeth's House by Pamela Allen.

Read with an emphasis on key features that you want the children to pick up on (i.e change your tone of voice). This will signal to students that they should pay attention to this feature for their visualisation. Of course, once students are more familiar with this strategy you will not need to alter your tone.

Depending on what age group you have, you can get students to label their drawing using words and phrases from the text that they used to create their visualisation. These labels can then be used to write sentences. Don't you just love it when everything links together? At the end, show students the picture in the book and have them make comparisons between their drawing, the book and their classmates' drawings.

Music is the perfect text for visualising scenery/setting. YouTube has lots of great clips for rainforest, oceans, cities and whatever else you want. Start off by playing the music, have students close their eyes and visualise the place. After the piece has finished, brainstorm a list of this that they heard and talk about what kind of place it would be. Students can either draw or create a mixed media artwork to represent their visualisation.

Another fun visualising activity is to read sections of a text and have students draw what is happening. You could even extend the activity and have each student visualise a different section, then put all the pictures together at the end to create a comic strip of the text.

Create a wall that teaches in your classroom by hanging up student work samples under posters/anchor charts. The students will love it, it will make your room look bright and colourful and it provides a visual reminder for student learning! 

If you are looking to do the Super Six in your classroom, I have a range of posters in my store. Click here to check out the Comprehension category.

I'm pretty proud of these posters. The backgrounds and borders were made by myself :D

Next strategy; Predicting!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Five for Friday!

Once again I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five For Friday! I love this linky party!

Work. This week I received some awesome work related news, for the rest of the year I will be working as a support teacher on Year 3 and 4. I am super excited to start this new job as I have been enjoying working on the older grades this year. Will be a great opportunity to build up even more experience.

Birthday Celebrations. It was my mum's 60th birthday on Tuesday. After work, we went out for dinner and then on Wednesday we went out for lunch and shopping. We had the most delicious lunch from Salsa's. I love their chicken burritos and Mexi-crinkles. It was nice spending some time with my mum as well, I do miss her now that I've moved out.

Surprise blender! I came home from work on Thursday to be greeted with a blender from the boyfriend's parents! (lol, this probably sounds funny, but I was actually excited about it). We have been meaning to get one for a while now so we can make smoothies/milkshakes. This weekend I am going to make some Orero and Tim Tam shakes. It's pretty easy to do; one cup of milk, some ice cubes and 2 biscuits. No more trips down to the coffee shop and spending ridiculous amounts on these things :D Of course, now that we have this appliance, we're on to the next one; a bigger TV! Furnishing this apartment is fun.

Wanderlust. Sometimes I miss the travel lifestyle. We have been looking up some things to do for the end of the year/school holidays next year. So far the one trip that looks very appealing is a 2 week Japan and other Asian countries trip. I would absolutely love to go to Japan. I studied Japanese in high school so getting to experience the culture would be awesome. However at the moment it's all just plans, nothing is actually booked or set. I really want to go to Disneyworld Japan though...

Free Travel Fridays. Loving the fact that my travel to work on a Friday will be free from now on. Using an Opal card means that when I travel for 4 days, the rest of the week is FREE! Brings a whole new meaning to TGIF!

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

FREEBIE! Fall Paper and Frames

This week has been pretty awesome so far; 3 days of work and some great news (work related, but more on that later).

This is just a short post to advertise my latest FREEBIE!

I have branched out and started to make my own digital papers. I was making a resource the other day, I had an idea in my head of what paper I wanted, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I decided to give it a go myself. It was actually pretty easy and 10 minutes later, I had the design and colours that I wanted.

I am super excited to make more of these. I love playing around with colours and design. I actually find it relaxing (weird, right?).

To celebrate this new venture, I've created a FREEBIE. Click on the picture to get your own copy.

If you like it, you can follow the links through to the rest of my paper collection :)

Enjoy the rest of your week. Stay tuned for Part #2 of the Comprehension series!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Comprehension - Part #1

One of my favourite things to teach on a relief day is something related to comprehension. When I say comprehension I'm not talking about those 'read a passage and answer some basic questions' activities, I'm talking about metacognitive strategies.

One of the biggest impacts on my teaching was the 2 year long professional development program that I participated in while on year 1. The things I learned in that program have stuck with me and have changed the way I teach. I noticed a positive impact in my students growth, so of course I am passionate about it and keep on finding new ways to implement it in my teaching. This is reflected in my TPT store as quite a few of my products relate to comprehension.

Over the next few posts I will be sharing my knowledge and experiences as well as some teaching ideas :)

The Super Six Comprehension Strategies
Obviously this is the starting point as the rest of the ideas all relate back to the strategies. A while ago, I wrote a post about how I introduced them to my year 1 class. You can read all about that over here.

I recently revamped the strategies into 'Super Powers'. Kids love Super Heroes, so I thought that it would be cool to have a 'We can be reading superheroes by using our Super Six Comprehension Powers' theme. I think it works pretty well as by using these "super powers" they are able to have a deeper understanding of what they are reading :)

If I were on class, I'd have a wall with each poster hanging up and student work on display underneath each poster to form a wall that teaches. The work would rotate regularly to keep it fresh and be relevant to the topic that we are covering. Sounds like a lot of work, but it's really not that hard. The pride the students have when their work is up makes it worth it :)

My role is different this year, so what I do with these strategies is sort of the same but different. I'll use all the strategies with each text that we read, but I'll have a focus lesson on one of the strategies. In the lesson we define what the strategy is, what we do with it and how it helps us. Why do I do a focus lesson? because I think it's always beneficial to brush up on these skills! As a classroom teacher, I loved when a relief teacher would do a lesson that recapped key skills because there are always some kids that could do with that extra practice.

Examples of focus lessons for each strategy;
Visualising - read a section of text and have students draw what they think the character/scene/object looks like. Students label their picture and then write sentences to describe. By getting students to label you can what clues they used to form their visualisation (i.e it the text mentioned that the monster has red, bloodshot eyes and the student uses that exact label you can see that they have been paying close attention).

Making Connections - read the text and students use a sentence starter to write and draw their connections.

Predicting/Inferring - Have students orally tell or write down their predictions throughout the reading of the text. Get them to back up their predictions with evidence from the text.

Questioning - Have students come up with "I wonder..." statements and then have other students answer the questions. Great way to encourage accountable talk!

Summarising - Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then. I love this strategy for summarising. It's a great way to introduce it and a starting block for moving onto more detailed summaries. Have the younger grades draw a picture for each, the older grades can use it as a writing prompt. e.g ______ wanted to ____ but _______, so ________ and then ________.

Monitoring - Fix up strategies. This is probably the hardest one to do as a relief teacher, but if you're on class start off by introducing each strategy then slowly start integrating them into your reading groups. The more practice, the better :)

If you're on class, you'll notice your students using these automatically, once they have got the hang of them.

To help develop these strategies, I made two resources. I am finding this first resource very useful in my new role. As a relief teacher, I'm never quite sure if the class teacher would mind if I let students use their books, so naturally using paper is the easier and confrontation free option. Of course, if you're on class this is also very useful in developing the strategies with your students.

This pack is full of graphic organisers for each strategy. There are variations of each activity to cater for different grades and abilities. Each page has a cute border and heading that can be decorated at the end (because students always want to colour in and make it pretty).

Not only do these serve as an activity, they can be used a part of a comprehension journal, a portfolio, an assessment or even as part of your wall that teaches.

Another thing that can be done with the strategies is a Comprehension Journal. I created a collection of journal prompts that can easily be printed and stuck in student books. This will benefit students who struggle to copy off the board as well as combat those "Miss, I only copied the question" moments. Each prompt has a reminder of the strategy at the top for quick reference.

This is also a big help for teachers who face photocopying restrictions. Only a few copies need to be printed as opposed to a full class set :)

Visuals are a very important in student learning. I love walking into rooms full of anchor charts and walls that teach. However sometimes it's not practical to have students roaming around the room so this is where bookmarks and a quick reference page come in handy!

Simply print and laminate to have a colourful bookmark that students can easily refer to at their desks. The quick reference page can be stuck in their workbooks.

An important part of using these strategies is incorporating them into classroom discussion! By modelling these to your students, you will be encouraging them to use the strategies in their own conversations. Here is a fun way to get it started; Question Sticks!

These require little preparation! Just print, laminate and attach to a paddle pop stick. Alternatively you can just print, laminate and put in a jar. Make asking and answering questions a little bit more exciting by having students pick a question from a jar and have a class discussion. Think about it, what's more fun? sitting there being asked questions by the same person? or hearing from a variety of people? You'll also find that once students become familiar with these questions, they will start asking them without the prompts. Remember, modelling is the key!

Comprehension can be a lot of fun, integrate it as much as possible. The only time it should be a stand alone lesson is when you are introducing the strategies! Once your students have got it, they should become a natural part of your lessons.

The next couple of posts on this topic will be talking about specific strategies. Stay tuned!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Casual Teaching and a WOW Text!

I changed my blog layout again, I decided that I wanted something a bit more simple and clean looking. I'm quite happy with the way it turned out. Though that never lasts long and in a week I'll want another layout :P

This week I worked 2 days. I didn't expect much work as the school production was. It was good timing, as I felt pretty sick on Wednesday and Thursday. There's no way I would have managed to drag myself into work anyway.

On Monday, I had year 5. I was excited about this because that meant I could finally use a book I recently bought; Journey by Aaron Becker.

This was one of those WOW! Books; you know when you pick it up for the first time and all these teaching points just jump out at you and you're just like "wow!"? (Please tell me I'm not the only book nerd out there).

If you've never heard of it before, it's a story told entirely by the pictures. So straight away it lends itself to Inferences. The illustrations are beautiful with lots of fine details and a clever use of colour. Each page can be used as a stimulus for deep discussion.

To kick of the lesson, I revised the skill of Making Inferences. What is it? Why do we do it? 

Then we viewed the book trailer. Which you can view here. That was a really great way to build excitement about the text. If only every text could have a trailer!

Students made an inference on what they thought would happen in the book and they had to back up their inference with the clues that they used.

Then we went through the text and discussed what they thought was happening on each page. At key points we stopped and students wrote down their during reading inferences. Once again it was important that they justified their response with what text clues they used. This was a way for them to show me their thinking and ability to read the visuals.

The ending of the story is awesome. Basically another lonely child rescues the main character and they become friends. People who were paying close attention to the first page would have noticed that the boy is also lonely at the start. It somewhat blends in so you don't notice it, but it's there.

The students loved this text. There is a part 2 called Quest. I am looking into getting that too. I would recommend this text to anyone. It can be used across all grades and for a variety of purposes. A must have for any casual/sub/relief teacher!

This class participates in Genius Hour. I have seen this going on in a few classrooms and I am quite interested by it. The class was supposed to go to the computer lab to work on it, but the lab was taken by another class due to room changes. Never mind, we made do inside the classroom with the iPads and few computers available. I sat with a group of ESL students and helped them research their questions about pirates. I learned a few things while helping them. Did you know that only one pirate ever buried their treasure? :) I can't wait to get my own class again to try this out as a regular thing.

For the past few days while I've been at home sick, I have worked on some more products for my TPT store. Here are three of my latest products. Click on the pictures to view them on TPT;

Writing Task Cards - List Making & Sentences

 These are great to use as part of your literacy groups or a 'work on writing' center. Each pack includes 52 cards as well as an instruction page for students.

Social Skills - Making Friends

This pack aims to teach students about making and keeping friends. I think this is an important skill for some students as they lack the knowledge of what makes a good friend. I created a text that explains 7 "rules" of being a great friend with an explanation of each. There is a poster, worksheets and a sorting activity. I love using these social skills packs on my casual days as it provides a simple 30 minute lesson on key skills that sometimes students need reminding of. Also helps with the smooth running of a classroom :) If you are interested you can check out my Social Skills collection here.

Lastly, I was super excited to FINALLY see myself on the front page of TPT. I just had to screenshot it! I've always wondered if I have been on there and well now I know :P

That's all from me, enjoy your weekend!