Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Liebster Award

I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by Julie from Teacher Fluff & Really Good Stuff. I actually really appreciate being a part of the online teaching community and if it wasn't for the nomination I may not have come across Julie's blog, which I bookmarked immediately...You really should too!

The Liebster Award was created to highlight blogs with smaller amount of followers, but none the less worthy of recognition. 

The rules for receiving this award are
1. In your post link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and a 'shout out'.
2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you've tagged to answer. (The questions I have answered please)
3. Nominate 11 people (Blogs with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post. 
4. Let your nominees know and provide them with a link back to your post (so they can see the rules)
5. No nominating the person who nominated you, however send them a thank you :)

These are the questions that Julie has set for me to answer...

1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
I started this blog back in 2006. I had graduated university in 2005 and was about to embark on a whole new adventure in Japan, teaching in a kindergarten so it became a way to document my journey. 

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
Evolving. My blog changed direction a little, and I have actually removed some of the posts over time because they didn't represent the teacher I am now. I have also edited posts because I believe that we never stop learning as educators, so opinions and approaches have been challenged and I have adjusted. 

3. Is there something you learned late in your blogging journey you wished you knew before?
That to have a successful blog you need to become involved with the blogging world. That means visiting other educators blog, recognising other's achievements and commenting. Everyone appreciates that sharing of resources and knowledge, however I used to rarely spare the time commenting.

4. What is your favourite past time other than blogging?
I love taking photos. My camera is with me most of the time and if not, my mobile is always in my pocket. I actually have another travel blog where I upload some of my favourite photos. Passport, Tickets & a Suitcase

5. How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?
It varies, but approximately 3 hours. 

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?
Literacy. I have a passion for teaching EALD students and absolutely love teaching English using a Functional Grammar approach BUT who doesn't love posting about the cute crafts we make too?!

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from?
Everyone around me. My students inspire me and I like to share our learning. I also like sneaking into colleague's classrooms and checking out what they are doing. 

8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of?
Proud, I am not sure, but passionate, yes. A post called How do you know?. It is about asking students to share their thinking to promote greater self awareness while at the same time, perhaps helping another student to think about thinking.

9. Is there any post you have been planning to do, but have been postponing it for a while now?
Not a specific post but I find that I never seem to have enough time to post everything I want to.

10. What's your favourite aspect of blogging?
Writing and receiving comments. Hint hint :)

11. Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself?
I love love love the post on Intentional Kindness

My Nominees
Aileen @ Mrs Miracles Music Room


I am a little behind the ball with this one, but better to be late than never. It's a great resource for all bloggers. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Use old photo albums in the classroom

I will admit I find it difficult to throw things away because I always think I will find a use for them in the classroom. Well I am happy to say that I do actually have a reason this time. I found this old slide in photo album (non-adhesive) that I am using as reading assessment. I wrote the words on post it notes which helps to stop the paper from sliding about.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Recount Writing - Word Wall

This is what is up on the wall all the time during our recount writing session. The photos I took from but I actually used a screenshot of the photos to add my own writing. It is not that these are not a good resource, instead it is because they don't reflect the language I have been using with my students. It is for this reason that I changed the writing and colours to match our prior learning. 

The words under the headings are just written on scrap bits of paper and are added to as students need them. We do also use dictionaries and students are free to search for their required word or have-a-go. Once they have found it, we add it to the wall. 

We have spent a lot of time focusing on the adding of circumstances, 'when' and 'who with?'. My students at the beginning of the year may have been able to write 'I went to the park' (after we spent a long time getting them out of using the word 'go'). I started by asking when they did this e.g. On the weekend, On Saturday, On Sunday, Last night to name a few. I asked them to write this at the beginning of the sentence, though at the end still would have worked well. After we had achieved this successfully we started talking about who we went somewhere with, or who we played with and so on. 

Our next step might be to concentrate on a different circumstance or change the sentence structure around. 

Obviously the verbs/processes are in past tense in order to the fulfil the recount writing genre requirements, but this same type of writing prompts could be used with other genres. I have my paper on the wall with blu-tac, and this makes it easy to change papers. You could also put plastic sleeves on the wall and slide the paper out when writing a different genre. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Domino Maths

We've been practising subatising using dice and then revising our addition skills by adding the numbers together. Today we simply changed it up a bit by using dominoes.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Wombat Description

I wanted my students to become 'wombat experts', to learn everything we could about wombats, with end goals of being able to first confidently and accurately talk about wombats and to write an Information Report about them. Keeping these in mind, all the learning we had achieved was to keep us interested in wombats, always looking at new videos, finding new books, looking at photos of wombats and discussing wombats. I wanted my students to be as successful as they could be, and so I tried hard to keep learning exciting and I wanted to arm them with the skills they needed. 

One step before writing an Information Report was writing a Description. Before they could write a description, they needed to know the names of wombat body parts and think of descriptive words they may use when writing their own Descriptions. We printed off a photograph of a wombat and set to work. Students were then able to use this as resource when writing independently. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Excursion to Gorge Wildlife Park

I personally love this place and have been many times. If you are fortunate enough to live in Adelaide, it is well worth a visit, for an excursion or in your own time. Our group was too large (121 students) to have the education sessions but they are on offer. They did allow for every student to either touch or hold a koala. Below are some photos of what we saw. The only issue we found was not having enough places to eat our food. There is a grass area and a covered area to eat but with that many students, it was difficult, but staggering eating times or smaller classes would be fine.

Gorge Wildlife Park
Redden Dr, Cudlee Creek SA AUSTRALIA 5232
9am-5pm daily (Except Christmas Day)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My New Home By Dawn McMillan

We read this book over and over and the students asked to read it in their free time also. I used this with a group of 10 students.

What we did with the book

  • read the book together
  • read the book with each student reading a page
  • found the 'doing words'/processes/verbs in the book
  • counted words in sentences
  • counted letters in words
  • read the book and put our hands on our nose/head when we read a particular word e.g. my, said, dig
  • found the high frequency words
  • Used the colours for Functional Grammar to highlight aspects of the text e.g. participant, process, circumstance

We also created our own paper books where students cut and glued the story back together. I gave them little black and white wombats to place on the page on the same way they were in the book. They then coloured them, one grey, one brown. Students were then able to go home and read this to their family.

Friday, September 12, 2014


We have been a little wombat mad recently. These loveable Australian animals have been our inspiration for a unit of work involving guided reading, oral language, writing information reports and writing descriptions. The group of ten students (Year 1 & 2 EALD/ESL students) I work with have become wombat experts and are very proud of their learning. 

I thought I would start by sharing the learning experiences we had, which ended with the students presenting their newly gained knowledge at the assembly.

I will explain some of these in more detail in future posts. These links will be bold. 

  • Read (several times) the Oxford Guided Reading book 'My New Home' by Dawn McMillan
  • Students to reconstruct 'My New Home' in a stapled book. 
  • Viewing clips/videos of wombats
  • As a group explore and jointly construct a description of a koala (to use a template for independent construction)
  • Label a photograph of a wombat
  • Use labelled photograph to write a description of a wombat
  • Read (several times) the Oxford Guided Reading book 'Common Wombats' by Carmel Reilly
  • Independently construct an Information report about wombats
  • Excursion to Gorge Wildlife Park to see wombats and other Australian animals
  • Make a burrow for a wombat. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Rita Pierson

I don't know where I've been but I've only just found this wonderful woman and educator. There are many videos where she is addressing education and the sheer importance of what we do. Have a listen.

I loved what she said because it rings true for my own experiences working with new arrivals to Australia. They can often feel so deflated about their knowledge, or worse still, begin so optimistic and enthusiastic about school only to begin believing they "don't know anything". Some are so traumatised that they are never really 'present' in the classroom. The relationships we make with these students can be the catalyst for change. We show them that they matter, we start our learning by what knowledge they have already, and they ALWAYS have knowledge. We validate that what they feel is okay and we show them appropriate ways to express themselves. Every student deserves that!
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