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!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Goldilocks and the Three Bears Part 8

As promised, a post about the resources I have found that could be used when reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It is no secret that I love SparkleBox but there are a lot of wonderful other teaching resources out there. Also, others may have a dislike for SparkleBox for reasons I only found out last week. I wont go into them here but you can find out all about the controversy online, everywhere. Some schools have actually banned access to the site and so for all those educators, here are some alternative websites and resources. - This site has a range of activities that you may find useful for your classroom or child. - I originally visited this page for the sizing activity. I used a different set of pictures because I wanted more pictures. There is also a Finish the Picture, Colour by Number and Puppets. - You can find a printable version of the story here

Colouring Pages -These pictures could also be used as sequencing cards, as they are quite detailed. You can also colour them online if preferred. - This one I particularly loved

Goldilocks & the Three Bears Part 2
Goldilocks & the Three Bears Part 3
Goldilocks & the Three Bears Part 4
Goldilocks & the Three Bears Part 5

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Goldilocks & the Three Bears Part 7

The last lesson about Goldilocks was to label The Bear house. We used the picture of the house from the SparkleBox set. I typed up the labels and the students glued them in the correct place. We discussed the parts of the house and so students who could not read the words, were able to look at the first letter and try to decode what it might be. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Goldilocks & the Three Bears Part 6

For this session I used the pictures from kizclub, found here. These ones in particular make it obvious which is small, medium-size and big. My students had no problem putting them in the right place at all, without my help. We sorted  the first 3 objects as a group, the Bears ,porridge and chairs, after which students then cut and glued onto their paper individually. 

Goldilocks & the Three Bears Part 2
Goldilocks & the Three Bears Part 3
Goldilocks & the Three Bears Part 4
Goldilocks & the Three Bears Part 5

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Verb Card Game

After kindy, I also teach English to children aged from 6-12 years for 50 minute lessons. Each class has a textbook that usually briefly touches on a particular aspect of grammar, which I then try to create a game to review this learning in the future.

Recently we have been learning about past tense verbs/processes, mostly actions.
I originally intended the game to be played like Go Fish, with the students asking for the matching word (written in red on the bottom of the card).

I have also used them like a memory game and flashcards e.g students call out "walked" when I hold up the card 'walk'. I sometimes give a counter to the students who can say the correct word first and it becomes a competition.

The words I used are:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Goldilocks and the Three Bears Part 5

Today we talked more in general about bears and the different parts of the bear. I actually found it difficult to find a label the bear template, particularly one that was aimed at younger students. I decided in the end to search for 'bear colouring pages' and typed up my own labels to glue next to the picture. I chose this one because it made clear that bears had claws and we could see the paw shape, distinguishing it from the rest of the leg. As cute as this picture is, I would opt for a less 'cartoony' bear, perhaps use a photograph of the bear. You can find the picture here.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Goldilocks and the Three Bears Part 4

Re-telling stories and sequencing is a very difficult skill and for my students, as well as remembering the sequence of events, I am also asking them to re-tell the story in a language they are less familiar with. It does not mean that it is not worth it or above their abilities to try, however the expectations of my 4-5 year olds to be able to use long or even complete sentences is unrealistic. I am aware of which students should be able to do this and the ones that will need much more scaffolding, as in any teaching situation. 

To allow for those students who will have more difficulty, you will see in the photo below that I colour coded the cards, so that if a student could not actually tell me in English which scene/event was next, they could identify it by the colour. Once they had done that, I asked them could they use any English words to describe what is happening in the picture. Some said singular words like 'bed' and so there were more guiding questions asked about maybe who was in the bed or which bed Goldilocks was in. Other times, I then asked their peers 'Can anyone help .......? Can you use some English to tell us what is happening?'. 

It was definitely a collaborative activity and if the wrong card was chosen we discussed why it may be wrong by comparing it to the other pictures. One example of this, a student chose the picture of the The Bears finding Goldilocks in the bed, instead of the picture of Goldilocks sleeping in the bed. We then as a group looked at the leftover pictures and talked about when in the story, the The Bears came home. At the end of the lesson, I re-told the story again using the cards. 

Again, as my students take home a Memory Book at the end of the year, I decided that they would cut, sequence and glue the events onto one of the pages. Depending on the aim of the lesson, there doesn't need to be an end product. For my students, I am hoping that when they look at this again, they may be able to remember the story and try re-telling to their family when they show their books at the end of the year. It may also inspire them to find the story online or in the library at a later time. I should mention too, that the numbers were written after they had glued them to their page, again to help them re-tell it after time has passed.

You can find the cards I used on SparkleBox here. I realised that my resources so far have come from SparkleBox, but there are many more. Keep an eye out for a future post where I will share some of the other great resources out there. If you also have one to share for Goldilocks, I'd love to hear about it. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Books for the Classroom

I have been busy making books for the classroom that reflect the learning that has been going on in our classroom. As my students are from a non-English speaking background, many books are difficult for them to read independently and so these allow for the opportunity for all of them to be successful. I made them super fast and so that I did not have to worry about binding them together. I simply made them using one piece of cardboard approximately A3 size and laminating them. The pictures are cut out of magazines.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Goldilocks & the Three Bears Part 3

In this session using Goldilocks, we talked about some of the vocab in the book. The words I chose came from SparkleBox and are found in all retellings of Goldilocks. They can be found here

I changed the word cottage to house as this is what students would be hearing when I read our chosen version of the story. We did have a quick discussion about the word cottage, however it was very brief. 

At the end of the year, my students take home what is called a Memory Book and so we then coloured and glued these words onto a sheet of cardboard, however you may choose to make them into a book, or flashcards, or memory game etc. 

I also made a copy of A4 sized cards to hang on the wall. 

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