Sunday, 24 February 2013

Recalling Details (The 5 W's)

The school that I work at runs fluid groupings for reading and maths, and we have now just started it for writing (I will keep you posted on how that goes!). For those who aren't familiar with fluid grouping, students are divided into groups based on their academic ability in that subject and more specifically the topic being studied. So, as an example, all grade 5 and 6 students are grouped initially based on start up tests on, let's say, maths. There are six grade 5/6 teachers, so there will be six groups. Then, if the topic being studied is multiplication, and some students need more help or others need more extension, students can move between the group based on the teachers discretion. Although there are some negatives to this system, I think that from a teachers point of view, it is very helpful to have students in closer ability ranges as it is easier to teach to a more targeted group. It also allows the students to receive more targeted instruction at their level. 

So, after all of that, this year I have been given the lowest reading group. These students are in grade 5/6 but are working at a much lower level. This has been a challenging few weeks for myself as I am needing to re-evaluate my teaching practice. I have been working a lot with the grade 1/2 teachers to get ideas and direction of how to run my reading lessons. 

This week, we are working on recalling details from a story/text. Although the rest of the grade 5/6 teachers are working at a higher level, I have modified this topic to focus on the 5W's (who, what, when, where, why). Hopefully this works for my students. I have created a 5W anchor chart for this week and it includes our learning goal and success criteria.

I have created some very scaffolded activities for the students this week on the 5Ws with their guided reading books. Essentially, like the anchor chart says, I just want the students to understand the 5Ws and how to find them in a text. 

Oral Language

I have been horrible at posting lately as school has got the best of me. But, I promise to make an effort to post more regularly, since we have been doing some wonderful activities and lessons in the past few weeks since school has started. 


Here is a quick but handy post on oral language. Teachers are often at a loss for ideas on how to run an oral language activity (I will post some more ideas in another post). This book is wonderful, and although it is targeted for EAL students, it really can be used with an grade and academic level. 

Inside this book, there are numerous flash cards relating to different topics (school, home, activities, food, etc.). I have simply photocopied the flash cards that I wanted onto coloured paper and laminated them. 

Now, in my reading class, we use they flash cards for tons of different oral language activities. 

Some activities we do with the flash cards are:

- alphabetical order
- categorising
- synonyms/antonyms
- letter patterns
- 20 questions

Hopefully this helps spawn some other wonderful oral language ideas!

Monday, 11 February 2013

First Week of School - Getting To Know You

I feel like I've been neglecting my blog lately but work has just been very overwhelming. The first week of school is often hectic and busy but this year, I am taking on the role of being a team leader which as exciting as it is, gives me greater responsibility = greater workload. So I have been adjusting to this role and getting settled into routines. I promise to post more regularly soon!

This post is a simple one based on an activity we used in our first week of school. Our school merged two campuses together this week and it was crucial that we assisted the students in getting to know each other. One of the easiest ways of doing this is through a "Get to Know You BINGO". I absolutely love this activity and have used it in other school years also. 

Here is the worksheet that I created with a teammate. Essentially, students need to go around the room and place the name of a classmate in one of the boxes. They can only use a name once (no repeats). The first student to finish wins. Enjoy!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Our New School

This past week has been very chaotic trying to get the new school ready for the students. The builders were there all weekend finishing things up and our school isn't fully finished yet, but was ready for instruction to begin. So today was the first day in the new school! The students were so excited and it was a very exciting time for teachers too (especially those who have been at the school since the plans for the new building began). 

Our new building is a complete open learning space. This means team teaching and team planning at its finest. Over the past two years that I have been at the school, we have practised team teaching and at first I was hesitant, but now I love it. So with that said, some of the members of my team have had experienced team teaching so this move is not too drastic of change. In our 5/6 space, we do have breakout rooms to take out small focus groups for work but in general, it is an open space. 

I don't have any before and after yet as we haven't been able to make our area look beautiful since we are still waiting on pin boards to be installed and some more furniture to be delivered.  But, I do have some pictures of what my week/weekend looked like in the unpacking/setting up process:
Our "teacher office" is hidden behind all this sports equipment stored in our area over the break.

This is me in my new home room learning space. No desks to be found at the moment but plenty of chairs. 

All our boxes to be unpacked. We had a superstar team that got this unpacked quite quickly. 

One of the learning spaces in our area. This is a larger break out room. Can you see the blue theme in our area?!

Our wet room - another team teaching space but with lino instead of carpet and sinks. This area will be the primary science and art learning area.