Friday, 31 August 2012

Pink Peg Pigs

  Our pink peg pigs (try saying that fast) are the final installment of our phonic craft. The children have spent the week learning to robot (sound out), read, and write 'ig' words. For each of the past 5 weeks we have concentrated on a different  short vowel sound every week. A as in cat, U as in bug, E as in hen, O as in dog, and I as in pig. Some of these vowel sounds are hard for the children to make, so the practice we have had as made a huge difference to the clarity of sound.

Although it might seem odd 'i' is one of my favourite sounds to teach. When we are learning what sound the letter 'i' makes I talk about how Inky the Mouse spilled ink on her whiskers and the sound 'i' makes is Inky trying to clean the ink off them, 'i, i, i, icky ink'. We pretend to be Inky Mouse and stroke our fingers over our pretend whiskers while we say the sound with lots of expression.

After 5 weeks of practice nearly the whole class is able to listen to a cvc (consonant, vowel, consonant) word, sound it out by moving their arms like a robot (one movement for each sound), and write down the sounds they have heard. This skill has already started to transfer to their reading and writing books. And several parents have mentioned that their child is practicing being a robot at home too!

There are some words that the children will attempt to robot and will unable to. Some of these words are sight words like 'my' or 'come' and some the children will not yet know the necessary digraphs or trigraphs , words such as 'home', 'click', or 'sheep'. When you are reading or writing at home with your child you can either tell your child what the word is, "That word is a sight word from your list - my" and let them carry on reading. Or help the say the first sound and encourage them to think about what makes sense. Or if it is appropriate and if you feel up to it you can teach them the single sound that two of the letters make (the digraph), "The two e's make an ee sound - sh-ee-p-sheep" or "In this word the e at the end, makes the o say it's name - h-oh-m-home." (At school we call that a split digraph - a consonant in between two vowels).

We have also been reading this poem - 'This Little Pig Went to Market' and spending time each day taking off our shoes and socks and tickling our toes as we recite the poem. Taking off and putting on our shoes and socks has been good practice for getting undressed and dressed for swimming, which starts in two weeks.

Check out these posts to learn more about our phonics programme and crafts.
Watch Out, Bats About - 'at' words.
Dalmatian Dogs - 'og' words.
Happy Hens - 'en' words. 
Lovely Ladybugs - 'ug' words. 

I love peg animals - we have made the peg bats mentioned above, and last year my class made these peg elephants.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Look at the colourful ties we made for our Father's Day Discovery session.

The children made presents for dad at the woodwork table. (It was great to finally have a warmish sunny morning for construction outside.)

 I love these Father's Day tool box cards.

Our school has been extremely lucky to have been provided with funding to purchase 29 iPads, so today some of our Mountaineers enjoyed experimenting with them.  

Monday, 27 August 2012

Lovely Ladybugs

 Our ladybugs are too cute! We had a great time making them, and they look very eye-catching sitting on the windowsill. 

The stones needed several layers of red paint and it took a couple of afternoons to cover them with enough coats, next time I will prime them with proper primer before hand. We used black circle stickers for our ladybugs dots, and I used a water-based sealant over the ladybugs once they were finished.

This ladybug rock craft is part of our phonics programme for this week - 'ug' words. 

We have been learning to read and write 'ug' words, as the week went on it was great to see the children's confidence sounding out, reading, and writing these words improve. We have also also been reading this classic ladybug children's poem.

Check out these posts to learn more about our phonics programme and crafts.
Watch Out, Bats About - 'at' words.
Dalmatian Dogs - 'og' words.
Happy Hens - 'en' words. 
 Pink Peg Pigs - 'ig' words.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Paper Plate Pizza

In Room 4 you can choose your pizza from our wide variety of paper plate fraction pizza. We have salami, cheese, ham, and green pepper to select from for your toppings. (I pre-cut pieces of tissue paper for the pizza toppings.)

As we are learning to read and write 1/2 and 1/4 and share our fractions fairly, our fraction pizza is cut into halves and quarters. The children were very careful to make sure each slice of pizza in our shop was the same size as the others.

We will be doing more hands on fraction work this term, including cutting play-dough pizza, making fairy bread, and cooking real pizza. Yummy!

These Sparklebox fraction pizza resources are displayed in our pizza shop. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Recycle and Upcycle

Today for Discovery we explored how we can look after our school and our local environment by recycling and upcycling rubbish stuff to create new things we can use.

Magazine strip collage heart magnets. We used the same method that I posted about here.

Painted rock paper-weights.

Yoghurt container baskets.

Ice-cream lid name tags.

The name tags were a great independent activity. I cut the tags out before our session and the children punched a hole for the pipe-cleaner and threaded on some beads. They used a vivid to write their name on their tag and attached it to their bags. By the end of our Discovery session lots of bags in our cloak-bay had a sweet recycled name tag hanging from them.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Happy Hens

 Our happy hens are hanging by our door to greet visitors to our classroom. 

We have been learning to read and write cvc (consonant, vowel, consonant) words for the past few weeks and this week we have been working on 'en' words. Our happy hens were a perfect craft activity! These hens were inspired by this post.

Use half a circle of card and roll it into a cone shape. Staple, glue, or sellotape on feathers for the tail, draw a 'v' shaped beak, and glue on googly eyes. Too cute! 

The children loved holding and stoking themselves (and each other) with the soft feathers.

We have been reading and acting out this hen poem. I also displayed these 'en' rime words so we can keep practicing reading and writing the sounds we have learnt. 
Check out our these posts to learn more about our phonics program:

Watch Out, Bats About - 'at' words.
Dalmatian Dogs - 'og' words.
Pink Peg Pigs - 'ig' words.
Lovely Ladybugs - 'ug' words.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

On Safari

We had a fantastic time On Safari for Discovery this morning. Here are some of our safari activities:

Hand-print lions.

Hand-print elephants.

Super long beaded snakes.

Mask making.

Binocular paper craft. 

The children are doing a fantastic job making sure they explore all of the different activities available. And I am super impressed to see our school children looking after and working with our Mountaineers (that's what we call our pre-school visitors). It can be quite scary when you first come to school, a kind friend or familiar face to work with can make the transition from kindy or pre-school much smoother.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Dalmatian Dogs

We used this website to create these origami dalmatian dogs. We have been learning to read and write 'og' words this week and the children have been doing a great job listening carefully to the sounds (phonemes) that they can hear and then writing them down. 

By the end of the week during our phonics session I was asking children to listen carefully and robot (this is the way we are learning to sound out words) the word 'dog', write it down, then change it to 'dig', once they had done that I asked them to change 'dig' to 'big'. It was great to see them moving their arms like a robot and saying the sounds that they could hear quietly to themselves before erasing d and writing b. We did the same with 'log' to 'leg', and 'mog' to 'mig' then 'pig'. 

While this week the focus is on 'og' words, we will spend several weeks learning to sound out, read, and write the all of the vowel phonemes in cvc words (about one vowel sound a week). 

"CVC words are words that follow the pattern consonant-vowel-consonant. These are considered the simplest words and the starting point of many phonics programs (after some work on initial sounds). These words highlight the short vowels such as the a in cat, the e in bed, the I in fin, the o in top, and the u in sub."

We have also been reading this dog poem, and the children practiced writing independently with these 'og' words using the whiteboards and chalkboards during our reading and writing sessions.

I love how each dog is slightly different covered with carefully drawn spots.

Check out our other phonics art and craft:
Watch Out, Bats About - 'at' words.
Pink Peg Pigs - 'ig' words.
Happy Hens - 'en' words. 
Lovely Ladybugs - 'ug' words.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

From Greece to England - More Olympic Discovery

Last week we had a great time discovering about the Olympics. This week we learned about the Olympic torch traveling from Greece to England. Here is a selection of some of our favourite activities.

Check out our super simple Olympic torches - a small rectangle of black paper rolled into a cone shape, a yellow paper hand print, and a piece of red cellophane. This activity involved pencil work, hand-eye coordination, cutting, fine-motor skills, and using a stapler. Plus we had a great time taking our torch from Greece to England.

In Greece (Room 1) we dressed up in togas made from sheets of material and made a laurel camellia wreath, just like ancient Olympians. 

 In England (Room 4) we constructed double-decker buses - I love the little people some children drew riding their buses. 

 We also made Big Ben clocks, and an English Flag out of paper and pastel.

For Discovery we carefully select activities that allow children to practice a variety of skills. These can include using a pencil, cutting, gluing, social skills, self-discipline, sensory experiences, fine and large motor-skills, counting and number recognition, writing, reading, and plenty of other important skills children need for school. 

I view Discovery is an opportunity for children to participate in something they may not have experienced before, or to practice and refine skills that they are still learning. We also use our discovery sessions to welcome our pre-school visitors (Mountaineers) to school. This transition time allows children to participate in learning experiences that are run in a similar manner to kindy or pre-school sessions. 

Although planning for and running a discovery session is a lot of work, it is worth it. I love to see children working and helping others, sharing and taking turns, or sitting quietly working on an activity they choose to complete, and challenging themselves to learn something new.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Watch Out, Bats About!

Our peg bats are hanging about in our classroom today.

 We practised our careful tracing and cutting skills to make these bats. I was extremely impressed with the ability of my class of 5 year olds to follow the several different steps to make them successfully. Some bats are hanging upside down and some are flying.

We made these bats to support our phonics programme. This week we were learning how to read and write 'at' words. I explicitly teach several phonics sessions each week focusing on saying, reading, writing, and revision of previous lessons. 

As we have worked our way through the alphabet and several common digraphs, we are now learning how to put these sounds together when reading and writing. One of the strategies I use to do this is called 'roboting'. A robot can only make one sound at a time and must use his arms when he talks. So we move our robot arms when we say each sound (phoneme). The movement helps make it easier for children to say each sound separately, bat becomes b-a-t-bat. 

I love to make a big point about how we can use our robot arms to sound out tricky words when we are reading and writing. The children quickly begin to use this strategy independently. (Of course - there are some words that can't be 'roboted', and some that the children have not yet been taught all of the digraphs or trigraphs that make up that word.
I have printed out these 'at' words to hang with our bats. We also read this funny bat poem.

I love peg animals. Check out other peg animal craft that I have done with my class:
More bats (and a step by step tutorial).

Check out these posts to learn more about our phonics programme and crafts.
Pink Peg Pigs - 'ig' words.
Dalmatian Dogs - 'og' words.
Happy Hens - 'en' words. 
Lovely Ladybugs - 'ug' words. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Discover the Olympics

 How could we not explore the Olympics for Discovery this term?

   We used salt dough that I coloured with yellow dye and lots of glitter to make Olympic medals. We cooked the dough in the microwave so our medals were ready to wear during the session. I used this recipe for the salt dough and cooked it for 30 second bursts.

We had fun making these mini edible Olympic torches (inspired from here). We used pretzel sticks, white chocolate, and orange sherbet (I was going to use 100's and 1000's, but the sherbet was plenty). 

We drew and labelled Olympic sports using these cards on our mini-whiteboards and chalkboards.

We also used our Duplo to make our own mascots. 

We had lots of Olympic colouring. This website has some great colouring sheets of the Olympic venues.

We made Olympic flag puzzles.

We used water-colour pencils to colour in the Olympic mascots - Wenlock and Mandeville.

Last week we watched a series of You Tube clips about Wenlock and Mandeville. They are worth a look to help get children excited about the Olympics.

 This is one of the many videos we enjoyed.

If the weather had been fine we would have been outside practicing our Olympic sports; soccer, hurdles, gymnastics, and shot-put, but we only had enough space on our sheltered walkway for our equestrian eventing practice on the hobby-horses.