Saturday, 24 November 2012

Technology in the classroom ~

There is nothing better as a teacher, than seeing students fully engaged in the learning process and working on ipads means this happens regularly. Whenever my students get a chance to use an ipad they are super excited about learning. Whether it is working on phonic and maths apps or reading and comprehension tasks, students are keen to learn and stay focused for extended periods of time.

Students who are tempted to disengage during mat time or those who are easily distracted become focused and dedicated learners when they can manipulate this particular learning tool. The ipads have proven to be a great tool for buddy work where students effectively peer tutor one another. By teaming students up in their individual areas of strength, they are able to co-teach their peers and further the consolidation process of curriculum content, concepts and facts.

I have used the ipads as a successful differentiated learning tool across a variety of different learning needs. Students in need of learning support enjoy tasks that assist them in consolidating their sounds and phonological awareness in a fun and stimulating format. However, I have found that these students need careful monitoring to ensure that they use the app tasks effectively and purposefully. Careful hovering ensures that students do not make random selections or undertake unnecessary guesswork when learning their letter and sounds. Students are reminded to carefully select sounds and letters by also using wall charts and alphabet cards displayed around the classroom.

For those students ready  and in need of extension of curriculum content, the ipad has allowed them the freedom to learn autonomously and independently at their own pace. Opportunity is given to pursue areas of personal interest around broad curriculum themes. This term a few of my students investigated matter and specifically explored the concepts of solids, liquids and gases. After gathering the information that they needed, students worked in their project books and presented their learning to the rest of the class. A highlight was showcasing the variety of science experiments that they had worked on, which was a great teaching and learning tool for everyone. Used wisely ipads compliment classroom learning in purposeful and meaningful ways.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Writing a paragraph .. Hamburger style! ~

When teaching my students about the art of writing a good paragraph, I came across this very fun way of teaching them how to make sense of it all using the idea of a hamburger  ~ thus sandwiching their ideas together. 
The top and bottom bun hold everything together - all the details (the yummy bits of the meal) are stacked one on top of the other. 

Writing took on a whole new meaning and the students enjoyed sharing their delicious ideas.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Class Newsletter ~

This term we had a lot of fun with our 'Farmyard Frolics' unit. A highlight of this unit was our visit to Paradise Country where we watched sheep being shorn, working dogs round up sheep and stockmen with their whip cracking skills. Feeding and petting the baby animals brought squeals of delight and great photo moments. Throughout the term we learnt how a farmer looks after his animals and what products come from the farm. We even churned butter into cream, shaking it up in a jar, right in the classroom. Exploring animal habitats in other regions like the arctic, rainforest and the ocean opened our eyes to the vastness of the world around us and the plethora of living things that roam the earth.

As part of this unit we investigated a micro habitat and set up an ant farm in the classroom.
Ants are fascinating little creatures and provided hours of fun exploration as we learnt a variety of ant facts.

Below are a few drawings of farm animals from our amazing little artists.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Educating the next generation ~

A teacher's job is to take a bunch of live wires and see that they are well-grounded.  
~ D. Martin

Education in its broadest sense is about nurturing and cultivating the next generation of young people. Formally it is the process of imparting knowledge, developing skills and dispensing values in academic disciplines ... informally it is the harnessing and shaping of limitless potential. This is what I get to do every day of the school week (The awe of this role does not escape me). Yes, in the day to day craziness of a week, it can seem chaotic (very chaotic!! ... I currently teach Grade One ... patience is indeed a virtue!). However, there are moments in the day (priceless moments) that centre me, moments that bring me back to the very reason I chose this profession - a desire to educate small minds and inspire little people to believe that anything truly is possible!

'Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools.  The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task.'  ~ Haim G. Ginott

Welcome to 'Tales from the Classroom' ... with Ms Ed.ju.kayt ~ Ms Educate, in case you didn't already guess ...
 ~ an ordinary teacher who tries to keep extra ordinary live wires well grounded!!

'A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others.'  
~ Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, translated from Turkish