Friday, 30 August 2013

Spotty Origami Dogs

We have been learning how to sound out words and hear the first, middle, and last sounds in words. This week we have been looking at words that have /o/ as the middle sound. Dog fits in perfectly!

Our spotty dalmatian origami dogs.

We have also been reading this poem about a bad dog, and we watched funny these clips on You Tube.

If you would like to read a little more about how I am teaching the children to segment and blend words have a look at this blog post.

My New Alphabet Card for Writing

When I noticed my previous alphabet cards looking a little worn and tatty, I decided to make a new card that fits the needs of my children better.

We use an alphabet card during our writing time. The children have one each. On one side of the card are the letters of the alphabet and a picture associated with that letter. Because I teach phonics using Jolly Phonics, the picture is of the action or image that the children learn for that letter. For example 'a' is a picture of an ant, because of the sound 'a' makes in ant. On the reverse I had a list of commonly used sight words.

My new cards follow the same format, alphabet on one side and sight words on the other. But they are a little prettier!

As well as the letters of the alphabet, I have included the digraphs (two letters that make one sound) that we have been learning, and coloured each row of the alphabet card a different colour. That way I can tell children who are having difficulty locating a particular sound what colour the letter is they need to look for. "You said /a/, /a/ is in the red row." I also had just enough space to fit a little visual reminder about saying the word, listening to the sound, and writing it down. Something we are currently working very hard at achieving independently. (Because I like a hook on my 'y' and a loop on my 'k' I had to play around with a mixture of fonts to get the letters looking how I like to teach them.)  

On the reverse of the alphabet card are 5 boxes of sight words. Each box has a different colour border. That way I can tell the children to look for a word in the blue box or the yellow box. They may not be able to read all of the words, but they may be able to guess with just a little hint at what box to look in. 

In my classroom I have some of the sight words that we use the most in our writing written on little bees that are attached to the wall with sticky velcro. I call these words our 'busy bee' words and if the children need to write them I encourage the children to remove the the word from the wall so they can copy it into their writing book. On my new alphabet card the 'busy bee' words are in a box with a picture of a bee. This gives the children the opportunity to use the alphabet card to copy the 'busy bee' word or find and pull the word straight off the wall.

Click here for a free download of my new alphabet card. 

UPDATED: Click here for an updated version with a 'kiwi' handwriting font.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Father's Day 2013

I hope our dads are ready to receive their amazing gifts this Sunday for Father's Day. The children had a great time making something special for dad or grandad during our Discovery session today.

We have been talking a lot during Discovery about perseverance, and how TP (Totara Park) kids try and try again if something is hard. I was pleased to see the children completing an activity even if it was tricky or had several different steps.

Have a look at some of our fantastic Father's Day activities:

 Portraits of dad with paint.

 Ties for dad to wear to work. All the shapes were cut from paper using special punches, then glued on.

 A paper rosette, each part of the rosette was coloured and cut out separately before being glued together.

 Certificates for dad or grandad from Sparklebox.

 Father's Day cards from Sparklebox.

 Playing My Playhome on the ipads. I love this app, it is just like a dolls house. You can change the clothes on the people, put them into bed, close the curtains, and turn off the lights. If the family feel hungry you can cook them dinner or make lunch.

Playing snakes and ladders with one of our Mountaineers (we call our pre-school visitors Mountaineers) dads.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Perfect Peg Bats

If you visit Room 4 you may need to look out for our hanging peg bats. 

Some of our bats are hanging upside down and some are flying. (We discovered that bats hang upside down because they need to fall down to start flying.)

Believe it or not these bats are part of our phonics programme.

Now that we are masters of saying the sound that each letter makes (and some digraphs too). We have been learning how to segment and blend CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words this week. Blending and segmenting simple words is going to be a major focus of our phonics programme for the rest of this term.

Segmenting words involves saying each phoneme (sound) separately. The children are learning to break down a word into each of its individual sounds. We 'robot' each word to hear the phonemes that make up that word. When I teach 'roboting' with the children we move our arms up and down like a robot, one arm movement for each separate sound. 

Blending is about pulling all the sounds together again. When we robot words the last movement is moving one arm across our bodies to sweep the sounds together and saying the whole word at the same time. Bat becomes "/b/-/a/-/t/ - bat."

I have also been teaching the children to imagine that each word is a piece of stretchy chewing gum. We put the word in our mouths and stretch it out with our hand. At the start of the word your hand is near your mouth and as you say the word slowly your hand moves further away from your mouth. By the last stretched out sound your arm has reached right out away from your mouth. Bat becomes "/b/..../a/...../t/.....

This week we were looking at /a/ as the medial (middle) phoneme, next week we will practise /o/ as in 'dog'.

Because these bats are so cute (and I love peg animals) I have made these bats with my classes a couple of times now. Click here and here to have a look at our bats from previous years.

Because we were making bats we wanted to find out some facts about bats. So we watched some amazing bat videos on You Tube. Here are a couple of them:

We wrote these bat facts:

Did you know?

'Bats eat the moths.'

'Bats sleep upside down.'

'Bats have wings and long fingers.'

'Bats use echo to bounce squeaks.'

'Bats eat insects. Bats drink water.'

'Bats feed their babies milk.'

'Bats can climb on trees.'

'Bats echo to find moths. Then they eat them.'

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles


 Look at this amazing 'name train' created by one of our Mountaineers (a pre-school visitor). I think she did a great job completing each of the different steps, cutting first, then arranging, and finally gluing, and beneath those boxes she wrote her name - one letter for each carriage.


Paper planes made for lots of gliding flying fun, which continued during morning tea. (At least our Principal won't have to go up on the roof to retrieve these planes, unlike the many balls and frisbees he gets down for us.)

 I love these peg planes, we used permanent marker to colour our pegs, but if you have enough time you could also paint them.

and Automobiles....

 Careful cutting and folding practise helped to make these cute paper cars.

 Making tyre tracks with paint. We put the paper in a shallow cardboard box to contain any mess.

 The children enjoyed driving box cars around our chalk road outside J-Block.

 And my favourite, check out these brand new scooters that were ridden non-stop for all of our discovery session. We were lucky enough to be able to purchase 3 scooters for the children in J-Block to ride during Golden Time and Discovery.

I was very pleased to observe the children taking turns using the scooters, asking politely for a go, and waiting patiently for their turn to start. They were actively practising some of our school values - cooperation and inclusiveness. These values are not something that always comes naturally to 5 year olds, but are attitudes that we continuously promote and model during our school day.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Talk Like a Robot

We practised talking like a robot today for Discovery. Here are a few of our robot activities:

Robot masks, these were perfect to practise our cutting skills with. At the end of our Discovery session we talked about how it was great to see children working together and helping each other cut out the eyes of the mask. It is always nice to see children teaching others. That's one of my favourite things about Discovery, the children have the opportunity to develop cooperative skills.

 Amazing robot construction with reused boxes and drink bottle lids.

 Terrific robot collage, I love how this robot is wearing boots on her (3) legs.

 Using the ipad to feed a furby. This furby was bought in by one of the children in my class for us to discover about.

 Magnets and what they attract or don't attract.

And, these fantastic colourful robots with long stretchy paper arms and legs. Colouring, cutting, and using little fingers to fold paper are all excellent fine-motor skills that we like to support during Discovery. This activity also took a little while and involved several steps. I was very impressed to see children persevering and staying on-task to complete their robot.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Our Kindy Visit

Here are a few photos of what we got up to when we visited Totara Park Kindergarten today. We had a great time and we will be writing some amazing kindy visit stories next week.

 Thanks to those lovely parents who walked to kindy with us. 

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Dr Seuss Discovery and ..... Crazy Sock Day!

 Even the teachers were ready for our Crazy Sock Day to celebrate Dr Seuss Discovery. 

Dr Seuss' Fox in Socks was our inspiration for our crazy socks.

We also designed our own crazy socks.

We used the Cat in the Hat and his amazing super tall stripy hat to make ....

.... our own stripy Cat in the Hat hats, ....

.... and write 'at' words.

We made The Lorax mustaches ....

 .... cotton ball and pipe cleaner truffula trees ....

.... and planted bean truffula seeds.

Our Horton ears are good for listening ....

.... and helped us practise our cutting skills.

 Then we used them to listen for the Whos from Whoville, located as a speck of dust somewhere on our clover flowers.

Our oobleck or gloop was great fun to play with. Gloop is a non-Newtonian fluid, something that is a solid and a liquid at the same time! Hit the oobleck hard or try to pick it up it acts like a solid, hold it in your hands and it drips slowly through your fingers.

You can make it at home with cornflour and a little water. Mix the water in slowly until it turns into gloop.