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!

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