The first full week

The first full week of school was tough, very tough. I was exhausted by Tuesday and still had three more days to go. This blogpost is just a quick overview of things that worked well for me this week and things that I need to change.

Classroom Layout

I started the year with 3 groups (2 groups of 10 and 1 group of 8) – I wanted to have groups for station teaching but I soon realised that wasn’t the best option for my class – especially at the beginning of the year so I’ve now changed to a U shape with tables sticking out.

Procedures

The main procedures for this week were lining up, walking down the stairs (we have two flights), tidy desks, stop/listen signal and using the toilet, ruling copies.

  • For lining up/walking down the stairs we line up quietly in twos and walk around the school/down the stairs. If we meet another class on the stairs, the children move to single file.
  • For tidy desks, we put the biggest books on the bottom and the rest of the copies/smaller books on top! I give dojo points to the tidiest table throughout the day!
  • For stop/listen I use 3-2-1 or hand in the air.
  • For ruling copies, we learned how to do a ‘Perfect Page’ which you can read more about here.
  • For using the toilet, I usually ask children to make a T sign or ask as Gaeilge but with 5th class, I’ve just told the children to go to the toilet whenever they need to except at the beginning of lessons/ when I’m giving instructions. This has worked well so far!

Lessons/Activities/Displays

Boggle was a massive success! The children worked in pairs to write as many words as they could – some groups managed over 100 words in less than 15 minutes. I got the Boggle letters from Create Teach Share which you can download here. I then cut out the black rectangles to stick on the board. I just googled Boggle Board for Classroom and used the first one I found! You can find lots on Teachers Pay Teachers too!

I also created a wall for ‘Wow Work’. I made the frames two/three years ago by using a piece of A3 black card which I laminated and then adding tape (red, yellow and blue) around the edges. I then wrote each child’s name on a star and stuck that to the black card. I will add pegs/bull clips once the children have chosen their favourite/wow piece of work.

The children also really enjoyed two art lessons on the theme of ‘Myself’. The first one was ‘Self Portraits’ where the children drew all their favourite things. Secondly, we wrote a list of positive adjectives and the children then created an ‘I am…’ poster sharing some of the adjectives which best described them! (This was a great way to integrate SPHE, Literacy and Art!)

The full display can be seen here along with one of my favourite phrases ‘It’s Okay to Be Different’!

Learning Log

This is another activity that we do in our school each week. The children write about things they learned about, the things they enjoyed and the things they’d like to learn more about.

Assessments

We completed a few assessments this week, in spelling, maths and number facts. For spelling, we used the ‘Single Word Spelling Test F’.

For maths, I just used the Beginning of Year Assessment in Maths Matters – Tried and Tested and for the number facts we used ‘Ballard and Westwood Timed Arithmetic Tests’ where the children have to answer 33 addition questions in 1 minute (followed by 33 subtraction/multiplication and division). This was a great way to see if the children knew their number facts. I think its so important for children to know their number facts fluently. We will be practising maths drills for a few minutes every day to ensure that the children can recall their number facts as quickly as possible!

I also created a quick assessment glance sheet for our first writing lesson ‘My Summer Holidays’.

Blog

I haven’t had much time to write blogposts this week so I’m hoping things will settle down a bit over the next few weeks and I’ll have more time. My inbox is also full of messages and emails so I’ll get back to everyone as soon as I can! There are over 400 blogposts on the site now covering lots of different topics!

I hope everyone had a good first week back! If you’d like to share any ideas/pictures of your classroom – please message me! 

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