A holiday break

Christmas Day has been and gone and New Year's Eve is approaching. I will be on holidays with extended family until the 8th January. I would like to wish everyone a very safe New Year and I will be back blogging soon.

I am looking forward to seeing family, enjoying sun, seafood and bubbles! Here's to a great 2013!


I am huge fan of Mathletics. I have just organised our school to become part of this program for 2013 and while it is a program that will cost per child the benefits outweigh this cost. We have enough resources in our school currently to support a very extensive maths program so do not need to reinvest our money in hands on resources at the moment. I have also co-ordinated a leasing program for parents and students in Grades 3-6 to have their own netbook and the take up rate for this has taken our ratio of access from 1:8 to now 1:2.2. So given these two very significant changes we need to support our increased technology with great resources and Mathletics is a way to do this.

With the introduction of the Australian Curriculum/AusVels we also need to be addressing the four proficiency statements - Fluency, Understanding, Problem Solving and Reasoning. Again this will be supported by the diverse components of the Mathletics program. Plus we can now access most parts of Mathletics on iPads - a new feature - just download the app and if you have a log in you are right to go.

In addition this program also gives you access to Rainforest Maths as well as a great dictionary and a concept dictionary that groups all information ie tallies and how they look and how you might present them.

New Year's Eve Unit

This link will take you to the item.
Even though school in Australia is done for the next five and a bit weeks- I thought I would post this unit I have been working on. It has Mathematics tasks and English Tasks, 10 in all. Your students can organise numbers 0-12, as they need to be able to do this to have a sense of number before they can tell time. Make a clock and draw a clock, put times in a sequence and then match them to digital times, plus sequence them and then record what you might do on New Year's Eve. English tasks include making some resolutions, compiling a shopping list, creating an invitation and then completing a recount. Here is the cover and a sneak preview of what is in the Unit. You can access it through Teachers Notebook and TpT.

Have a great Christmas everyone and a safe New Year. I will be enjoying being with family and doing some jobs around the house that have been neglected. I can't wait to see my own kids reaction to presents on Christmas morning.

Last hurrah....

The end of 2012 for the school year is here. Today was a day for celebration, saying goodbyes and handing over our files. We did a version of speed dating with our files and met with the teachers of our current students for next year. We had the opportunity to discuss each child one by one and share evidence, where to next and likes/dislikes. This was an amazing handover process and will enable each new teacher to already be familiar with their grade.
Have a great break everyone and keep an eye on what I am working on for next year. Units on New Year, Australia Day, Start of the School Year, My Family and more.....

Almost there

We have one more day with our current grade before we say goodbye and pass them on to another teacher to work with, care for, challenge, extend and enjoy! Our job is a joy, but this time of the year is tinged with joy and sadness. We are joyful that we have travelled together and made a mark, made an impact, made an impression. We are sad about saying goodbye, sad about not being the one to make an impact anymore. But you know what-  I will always be their first Prep teacher and what an honour that has been.
Thanks to Claire, our 44 students and their parents this has been amazing 2012!

Christmas Fair

Today we had our Annual Christmas Fair. Our students make and promote their goods for sale to sell to our students and families. The weather was great and in our double teaching space we made cards and stars at 20c each. We sold all our goods and had a great time selling and buying things from other stalls.

Watch this space......

On Friday the current Prep teachers moved most of our stuff into the new space for next year. Here are some photos of the space waiting for our preps to use on Monday. We are experimenting with different table arrangements. Claire and I are in one end and Pascale and Mike in the other. The space is huge and will be even better with students in it this week.

Preps are on the move

How very exciting to be moving to a new open space for our preps for next year. Our gorgeously big old library space will house our four new grades for next year. This coming week our current preps will be trialling it and helping us see what works and what doesn't.
We will be planning together and delivering very high quality programs for all our new preps. We are looking forward to working with our new parents and taking on board what has worked brilliantly with Claire and I in our double learning space and making this work for all four of us.
Next week I will write more about our trial phase - watch this space.

School Council Dinner

I have just had dinner with our School Council in our staff room. This was a very special dinner cooked by Terri who single handedly manages our canteen for 520 students and 30+ staff. The food was gorgeous, company was great and the odd nice drink. This was a great celebration of what we have done as a group this year. Our new Parent Rep Group has been a fantastic initiative ably led by parents and supporting teachers and students across the school. The real focus on curriculum was acknowledged and celebrated. Next year we have student leaders taking an active role in curriculum - how exciting.

50 places mapped

I am so excited to have this map on my blog - it tells me where people are when they look at my blog. Paula's place is being looked at in places including Germany, France, Costa Rica, Perth, Brisbane, Phillipines, America, Russia and Hong Kong.

Art Show for MoneySmart

What a raging success! We all produced an art piece and had it displayed in our Art Show.
We have been trialling MoneySmart and how to fundraise. We decided to fundraise for our Art Room and it seemed logical to have an Art Show.
We made posters, invitations and publicised in our newsletter. Pictures were priced at a gold coin donation and we have raised $119. Our Preps were excited to count the money using skip counting and were keen to do clever counting.
We have learnt about how we fundraise, what we do when we fundraise, what is a worthy cause and what happens to the money. In this learnng journey we looked at paid and unpaid work as well. Tomorrow we present to the school community what we have done and can celebrate our success.
We made our parents giggle when we collected the money in our toy cash registers.

Data Walls

This has been something I have been doing for a while. Teacher judgments and data from a tool called OnDemand are easy to see in this way. This is a great way to see which cohorts across the school are sitting at the same level and need the same strategies, skills or content. By exporting the data into an excel spreadsheet and using the vlookup tool to attach student data and then colour code allows you to see all year levels. We copy them and display for staff/teams to use and also they are used to have conversations with parents when we are looking at trends. We do hide the names when using with parents though.  

A new nephew to love

I know - not work related but well worth bragging about! Welcome to a new nephew for us to love. Congratulations to my youngest sister Lesley, partner Richard and their daughter Mia. I am 2000 kilometres away and have to be content with a photo until Christmas time. Little Richard Lucas (Richie) is 4.34kg and 56.5cm long. WOW 9.56 pounds......maybe not so little!

Email from the two sisters......

Last week I received an exciting email from the two sisters who wrote 'daily 5' and 'Cafe Literacy'. To say I was a bit excited is a gross underestimation of how I felt. I have been using the Digital Pensieve and had been emailing Madeline, who is the daughter and niece of the famous two. When I started blogging I sent a link and they have responded by saying how brave it is to blog and share. I think what they do is brave and inspirational.

Excursion to Sovereign Hill

What an incredibly hot day! The jury is still out - was it 38 or was it 4o degrees Celsius? This year we have been to Werribee Park Zoo in the extreme cold and now this. But how proud am I of my grade and how they behaved, participated and enjoyed the day. We looked at old toys and got to play with marbles, tops, dolly pegs, washing boards, quoits, slates, puzzles and hobby horses. We panned for gold and found some, looked at a candle being made, where the wheels are made and enjoyed some old fashioned lollies.

Off to Sovereign Hill

Tomorrow we are off to Sovereign Hill. The expected forecast is 38 degrees, it will be hot, hot, hot. We have been looking at old and new toys and will see lots of old toys tomorrow. We will also pan for gold, look in old homes, see the schools and best of all taste the old lollies they still make. We will be taking lots of sunscreen, big hats and lots of water.  

Love that writing

We are looking at Toys and Teddies and we have been discussing what makes a great toy. How great is this writing for Prep - first year at school and some sophisticated sentences and great punctuation happening. I love the planning pictures and the supporting text.

Toys and Teddies and e5

Here is my unit on Toys and Teddies.

It is suitable for K-2 and has many tasks that can be differentiated for your students.

Click here to see it in my TpT store

This is perfect in leading up to a Teddy Bear Picnic and Teddy Bear study.

It is based on e5 and enables students to record their learning as they work through the five components of e5.

Embedded Formative Assessment

This book contains information about why we need Learning Intentions and links the importance in daily teaching and improving outcomes. Many teachers find it difficult to use formative assessment as the systems in place in their learning environment are not conducive to this practice. Wiliams puts forward a very striking argument for this type of assessment, providing feedback and activating students as owners of their learning.

A great professional read.

Report Writing

It is that time of the year again! Report Writing time....

When gathering evidence all year round about what our students do - we sometimes forget how far they have come and how hard we have all worked. The assessment of/as and for have assisted us to drive teaching and learning and continually set new goals together.

Looking at samples of work, numerical data, anecdotes and photos all add up to a gorgeous picture of learning. Happy report writing everyone.

Where does Cafe Literacy sit?

How do you manage Daily 5 and Cafe Literacy? Leave a comment, question or follow my blog - love to hear from you.....

Cafe Literacy sits underneath and alongside Daily 5. Daily 5 gives us the structure to have five tasks that students move through to make the most of their learning while we provide the teaching strategies to make everything explicit.
The ready reference guides within Cafe Literacy provide support for teachers to explicitly teach and look for misconceptions for each strategy. Check out the http://www.the2sisters.com/ where you can access these.
CAFE - which stands for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Extending Vocabulary. These four components enable rigour to occur in our lessons. In our double teaching space these are the focus for our Learning Intention and help frame our Success Criteria. Our Preps are now assisting with the formation of these and we discuss then as a whole grade.

This photo shows our Cafe Literacy strategies hanging in our space. We add a strategy after we have explicitly taught it and role played, modelled and revisited what it looks like and why we use it. We often have children standing underneath it looking for help on how to handle a word or how to be more accurate or show greater comprehension.

A milestone for my blog

A huge thanks to all the people who have visited my blog. I have just reached 1000 views, a huge milestone for me. Check back over the weekend for more information on Daily 5 and how Cafe Literacy sits within what we do.

Work On Writing - Daily 5

'Work on Writing' has been an amazing addition to how we work in our Literacy Block. Our Preps have enjoyed the independence that this creates and the writing that is produced is amazing.

As outlined in 'Daily 5' it is important that our students know what their role is and what our role is. They need to know what the teacher does to understand why we confer and why they cannot interrupt that important time - as their time will come too! We make these anchor charts together and it makes a real difference to how learning occurs.

As stamina increases for writing and the urgency of writing takes place the atmosphere changes. These examples are from students who have been at school for only 9 months.

The set up of the room is important. If you want independent writers they must know where the anchor charts are and where all the equipment is kept.

We have a shared meeting space where the timetable is kept, groups are listed and tasks are identified for students.

Our Preps are able to choose how to write using a variety of formats. We provide some proformas like alphabet keys, rainbow words and checklists to extend and challenge our writers.

Our checklists are for point of need, so each cohort group has a colour and there are different expectations for each group. Our Preps know which is 'best fit' for them and will check what they need to do and work independently.

We also have books in our book stand that are waiting for authors. Children take a book that interests them and plan by drawing a picture, writing, read to someone to get feedback and then make changes if needed. While they are working on them they stay in their locker.
 Here are some examples of writing from our learning space.

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