First Week Back after Easter

Things have been quiet on the blog front for the last few weeks. I’ve been organising posts by subject so you should be able to find blogposts easier! We will also have a curriculum evaluation in Maths this week so things have been hectic in school. (I’ll let you know how it goes once we finish). Overall the first week back was good, but I was exhausted by Friday – I hadn’t taught full time in over 6 weeks as I had a student teacher for 4 weeks before Easter so it took some time to get used to teaching all day!

Here are some things that worked well this week….

Classroom Management

Usually I use Class Dojo in my classroom for behaviour management and I find it very effective. So far I have mostly used individual points but my student teacher used group points and it worked well so I decided to continue that this week. The groups get points for working well together, being ready first, tidy workspace etc. At the end of the week – the winning group get a homework pass each.

As well as this, the class are working together to achieve 2000 points. Once they reach this goal, we will have extra P.E./yard time – which they love!

Classroom Layout

I moved my desk to the back of the room before the Easter holidays. I don’t know if it was because I was used to being at the back when the student teacher was teaching or if I just needed a change. So far – I love it! My laptop is still on a small table at the top of the room but my books/resources are all at the back. I moved the library to the place where my desk was.

At the beginning of the week, I changed the tables to a U shape with rows in the middle which I like but we were doing a lot of group work so we changed back to groups during the week. I have 5 groups – 1 table of 8, 2 tables of 4 and 2 tables of 6.

Literacy

One of my favourite lessons this week was based on a short film from The Literacy Shed. The Piano is a brilliant animation by Adrian Gibbons. There is actually 2 versions of this (on You Tube) with different pieces of music but this one is my favourite. Here are some of the activities we used;

  • Listen to the music without the video
  • Brainstorm what you think is on the screen.
  • Brainstorm words/feelings/thoughts about the music.
  • Watch the video
  • Talk about the different things that happen. What is the video about? Who was the woman? Look at the expressions on the mans face.
  • We watched the video a second time and I stopped the video at various points and asked different questions – how is he feeling?
  • Afterwards we focussed on the scene when the man is in the war and the children imagined themselves as the man and wrote a letter home to their family.

More ideas from the Literacy Shed here.

Mental maths competition

We were focussing on rules and properties in Maths this week. So for 10 minutes each day, I wrote a sum on the board. The children had to work with their group to come up with the solution. (Each sum had 3/4 parts so they were quite tricky.) We then worked out the answer together and the winning team got a point on Class Dojo. It was a great way to practice Bomdas.

Chess

This year my school purchased class sets of chess boards. The children have loved learning how to play chess through the Chess for Learning powerpoint and we have had lots of class and school tournaments which are a huge success. I find chess brilliant for problem solving skills and getting the children to think ahead/predict what their opponent will do next. I also love the social element as the children play with different classmates and not just their ‘best’ friends.

You can read more about Chess for Learning here.

Displays

I have changed a few displays in my classroom this week – mainly the Maths display and also my WOW wall. The Maths display is now ready for our next topic – Money. I also used the shelf below the maths wall to put a variety of items that the children will use to find the unit price tomorrow.

I set up my WOW wall at the beginning of the year and to be honest, I haven’t really used it properly at all so this week I got the children to take out their art folders and pick their favourite piece of art and now the WOW wall is filled with colour! I think I’ll use it for the childrens favourite art for the rest of the year!

Buzz Off

This was a spelling strategy that my TP student used and the class love it. Basically all children stand up and I say a spelling word – e.g. computer. Each child says one letter C-O-M-P-U-T-E-R, the next child says Buzz and the next says Off and the next child has to sit down. If a child misses a letter/ repeats a letter they have to sit down too. It’s a fun way to practice spellings, listening skills and it isn’t always the best speller that wins!

 

Hope you had a good first week back!

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