When I teach my class Art, I always try to take it as serious as I would for Maths or phonics. I think carefully about the skills children will need and how I can model the skills required.
Even though I am pretty rubbish as Art! I tell all the children that we are going to be Artists and we are going to take our time. After all practice makes perfect!
We have been working on water coloured paintings and I came across this painting from Pinterest. It links perfectly into our Arctic theme and it is so simple but effective.
The children painted their backgrounds and were so amazed by the colours red and blue being mixed together to make purple!
They then carefully cut out outlines of a polar bear and used a black pen to create the eyes and nose.
They then stuck their Polar Bears onto the picture.
I strongly encouraged expressing their own ideas in the paintings. That’s why each one is so unique! Some children chose to have more than one polar bear, while others mixed a range of shades of blue and purple.
I think 5-6year olds have done a great job! It was one display that was hard to select a fair few of, as everyone did an amazing job!
Tai Lopez is extremely motivated and successful. He shares his story of success through YouTube. I listened to a few of his videos as my boyfriend loves that sort of stuff! But I also shared the first part of his video in an assembly to motivate children.
Getting the children to see that the most successful people had to read.. lots! It got children thinking of what they want to do in life and how they can be successful too!
It also linked to having a purpose for reading linked to the real world.
As previously mentioned on my last blog post, I am trying to engage parents in reading with their children more. I have started to invite parents in on Monday mornings to listen to their child read for 10-15 minutes.
This has already started off great and children were really motivated when their parents were sat by their side in the classroom. Some children that are usually reluctant to read and really struggle were so engaged so it was great to see!
I would love you know what other reading strategies are good to implement in the classroom / whole school!
Shonette also discusses the term ‘Lemon suckers’ those members of staff that suck out your happiness! You may be in a great mood then something or someone just squeezes it out of you with negativity. Her advice is to write the names on a piece of paper and sing the song let it goooooo (we all know the tune) as you throw it out!🙈😂
I think this is a great idea! I think teachers always look at the bad. Look at what went wrong all the time but are hardly ever proud of what went right. Being acknowledged and appreciated for all of the hard work certainly makes my day! If all you hear is criticism you could easily think you aren’t doing a good job! ‘Let it go’ is definitely my motto after I come across any lemon suckers ☺️👌🏾.
Getting children to read has been a great debate for many years. There has been so many researchers that have tried and claimed to know how to help children learn to read.
To me, a child’s love of reading and a child’s first educator -their parents have a significant influence on a child’s reading development. Not to mention us as the teachers too!
As part of my MA and my interest area of reading in school, I will be researching and carry out action research on the parental involvement of children’s reading.
I will most likely publish the action research on my blog after the submission as I don’t want to plagiarise myself! But I am looking forward to putting in place new strategies for reading in school.
My first strategy is to invite parents in every Monday morning to read with their child for 10 minutes. When I reflect on the mornings it involves parents and children stood outside waiting for the doors to open in the cold and us teachers rushing around like crazy.
Why not let them in and invite them to snuggle up with a good book to start the week off? That way teachers can also address and catch any parents about any issues too.
What are your thoughts and strategies for parental support and getting children to read?
Philosophy for children (P4C) is a topic I came across in my first year of my MA in Education. It’s one that is full of great debates but the more I researched into it the more I became to love it.
Getting children to think for themselves and listen to other people’s opinions is definitely a well needed life skill in the society we live in.
Children learn that other people have different perspectives in life and we have to respect it but we don’t have to agree to it either.
I have started small P4C sessions with my class. At the moment we are learning all about th Arctic. I started off by asking my class if they would like to live in the Arctic. Without prompts I just listened to each child’s response.
As you can imagine some children said no because it’s too cold. Other children said they would love to because they could play in the snow all day.
I placed a yes and no sign in my classroom for children to decide and stand next to.
I then added more to the scenario. What if you could have a heated coat to keep you warm in the Arctic, would you live there then?
Some children began to change their decision and perspective of it after listening to others and after the scenario changed.
It was great to see fantastic listening skills from 5 year olds too!
Teaching early writing skills for children in Year 1 has always been a topic I continued to reflect upon. I didn’t feel 100% sure whether the writing opportunities we offered them really met the potential of all of the children’s needs.
I really really wanted to make children much more independent with their writing. As the class teacher I also wanted to feel much more confident when assessing what the children can do without a heavy amount of adult support.
I just couldn’t put my finger on how I could do it.
Until Alison Philipson arrived!!!
So many questions I have been itching to know have been answered.
What does it look like for a child to be meeting in writing?
What is greater depth?
What is classed as children writing independently?
Children can have prompts during independent writing such as ‘what should go at the end of your sentence?’
To me, this simple question makes much more sense to help facilitate children’s writing without heavily telling them – you need a full stop at the end.
After the talk I was motivated and recharged with new ideas. I looked around my classroom and reflected on the session.
Do I give children opportunities to use their environment to help them independently write?
The answer was clear to me- no! Most of my displays were focused on showing off children’s end outcomes, which I still think is important. But… I realised my focus on maths was much stronger than writing.
Now it seems so obvious. I am constantly reminding children to remember capital letters, full stops, finger spaces. Let’s have it visual stuck up on the wall – around the classroom to remind them.
I’m constantly wanting them to use and spell high frequency words in their writing. Let’s cover my display in high frequency words. Let the children create a bookmark full of the words and have that in their writing books.
After looking in further detail at the National Curriculum expectations for writing with Alison Phillipson, it is clear to see that Year 1 needs that practice, practice, practice of an objective. It needs to be instilled before the greater demands of year two!
I could literally talk about this session for hours on end. I feel so passionately motivated about it now! It has always been in the back of my mind but now it all makes sense!
Here is my plan of action!!
Children will hand write every afternoon during registration. Not handwriting random letters but handwriting the 100 high frequency words, numbers in words, spellings based on certain phonemes that they need practice with.
High frequency words will be sent home to practice reading and writing every week.
Children will write about what they did at the weekend in new writing books every Monday afternoon. We will also use part of Monday afternoon to discuss misconceptions of writing and play a phonics / sentence structure game.
I will remove part of my maths display and create a working wall including the things children need to remember to include in a sentence.
My working wall will have a WAGOLL on and it will be broken down into simple steps of what we want the children to achieve over the half term.
Children will receive a special pencil if they write neatly and form letters correctly and consistently and can use this at all times.
Every half term children will write independently based on a taught topic. This will be used to assess where every child is at and what they can do on their own!
We will use Alison Philipsons writing grid to assess all children at different points of the year.
Take a look at Alison Phillipson’s website for further ideas. It is truly amazing!
I love to bake so I thought I’d get my bake on in the Xmas holidays! This time I made some cute cupcakes with Oreo or terrys chocolate toppings – they didn’t last two minutes with everyone visiting over Xmas!
I think it’s great to find some time to relax a little and enjoy something different each week or day of you can!
Less of the baking this year and back to the gym for me!
Work life balance is so hard for us teachers but a key to feeling great! This year I’m going to participate in yoga Monday’s class, the gym 3 times a week, and a good girly catch up every two weeks!💕
Let’s all make sure we make time for ourselves this year!👌🏾👌🏾💕👍🏾
Its January and I’m back to my MA in Education. Some people might think it’s a crazy thing to do, rush to University after a long day at work in tea time traffic until 8pm. But actually it’s great! It’s great to sit, reflect and have a lot of laughs from teachers of a range of backgrounds.
I will soon be on my journey to fulfilling my dissertation which I will be excited to share at some point towards the end of next year! At the moment we have discussed teachers being a researcher.
In my first year of teaching, I could not even think of an available moment to research more. I was just trying to manage the teacher workload itself. But now three years in, I absolutely love being aware of the teaching world and how to improve my own teaching or even others.
I know that there is a great debate of teachers being part of the research – or not. What are you views? Should teachers be researchers?