A Week in Wonderful 1M
Georgiana Molloy Anglican School is a seven year old school with approximately 850 students offering 'Little Georgies', a 3 year old programme, up to Year 12. It is situated in Busselton, a picturesque, coastal town in the south-west of Western Australia.
My class consists of 25, enthusiastic and energetic 'Space Explorers', 16 boys and 9 girls aged between 5 and 7. As well as local students, many travel from neighbouring towns to attend our school, so I always strive to make their daily learning, as innovative and enjoyable as I can. I have a diverse group of students with a range of abilities. One student joined us from Pre-primary in Term 2 due to her incredible skills and abilities and 2 students work daily with an enrichment assistant on an intense literacy programme. The majority of the class is working at or abovelevel, with 6 students working well above expected level in literacy and numeracy.
Teaching has always been my passion, so my philosophy reflects my enthusiasm for helping young students achieve their full potential, while having loads of fun. I believe a happy, confident child can achieve anything! If a child believes they can do it-they will. I teach by totally immersing students in the topics we cover. This term we are venturing 'Out of this World', exploring 'Space'. My desk has been transformed into a flying saucer, complete with coloured lights, while the reading corner has warped into a fully equipped rocket. All of the windows have been blacked out and strange moon rocks have appeared from nowhere! I love to stimulate all of my student's senses and inspire and encourage their curiosity, by providing hands-on, inquiry based activities which cater to each of their individual learning styles and needs.
Information Technology is of high importance in our school, as this is the future of our children. My class has a natural curiosity and fearlessness when using different technologies, which is inspiring. We are fortunate to have our own interactive Smart board and our classroom is attached to a computer pod which houses 16 computers. Each computer has heaps of interactive software programmes to compliment our teaching and learning programmes. Our students love to use them independently during literacy and numeracy rotations.
Every day begins with a personal greeting at the door for each class member. It gives the students a chance to say good morning and to share any exciting news they may have. It gives me an opportunity to have a special chat one-to-one and be able to encourage each of them to have a happy and productive day. Students then use the interactive Smart board to mark their name off the roll. I like to promote responsibility and independence before school, so everyone has a routine to follow to get ready for the day. This involves setting up their desk space and completing one side of a laminated 'tracing mat' which has their name, the alphabet, numbers and shapes on it. It helps them practice their fine motor skills and handwriting, whilesettling them before the bell goes to start their day.
Our mat session each morning is an integral part of our day as it includes a diverse range of oral literacy and numeracy activities. We sing greetings, share important messages; complete class jobs and it allows one lucky student to complete the dailycalendar. The calendar activities include the date, season, weather and counts how many days we have been at school using small plastic bags containing pop sticks. Each day we add another pop stick to the 'ones' bag and when we get to ten, bundle them up and move them into the 'tens' bag-a wonderful way to teach place value. We have a special 'estimation' jar which I fill with differing amounts of objects each day, for the class to guess 'how many?'. It is a great way to promote reasonable estimation. We count and record how many students are at school, breaking it into boys and girls to model simple addition and subtraction calculations. A piggy bank holds various amounts of money for the class to count daily and an analogue and digital clock are set for the class to read.
We have a huge focus on being cooperative with each other in our class. Desks aregrouped together and the children have given their teams special space names. Theteams are encouraged to help and support one another throughout the day and work together on different classroom tasks. They are becoming much better at sharing and taking turns. We talk a lot about being a good friend and team members have developed a better respect for each other. Each team is awardedspecial points for showing excellent team skills. I am very proud of them!
I love to reward my class for positive behaviours; I believe it instils in them a strong feeling of self worth and congratulates and encourages them for doing the right thing. Each student has their own special 'sticker reward book' to add to when they work hard. When students receive ten stickers, they get to choose a prize from my Super-dooper Prize Box.
Literacy activities in our class are centred on a specific topic each week relating to our overall class theme. I select a 'Book of the Week', either a fictional or informational text, to match it. Using the 'First Steps' resources, I create reading comprehension, grammar and word study activities based on the book. Each activity is modified to allow for the varying literacy levels. Reading is modelled daily using class novels, poems, listening posts and big books. Literacy rotations are often used to allow ability groups the time for explicit teaching using guided reading.
Writing is modelled daily using the Smart board. Most days of the week are focused on a specific area of writing. Mondays cover different text forms, Tuesdays covertheme writing, Thursdays cover grammar and punctuation and Fridays developconcept writing. Students are always encouraged to use their 'writer's toolbox' which is made up of their dictionary and have-a-go pad. They are also encouraged to ask their peers for help. Children are always given an opportunity to illustratetheir writing and to share it with the class.
We have had so much fun in class with a variety of speaking and listening activities throughout the year. We have had show and tell, Word of the Day, Mystery Bag and this term I have introduced the 'Space Bag'. Each Friday, four students take home aspecial bag each, which contains a moon rock, star dust, a rocket, telescope and scrapbook to write their 'Space Adventure'. They bring their adventure back to school and share it with the class. So far, the adventures have been amazing. Some children have written poems, built models of rockets, written stories and even written a picture book using Lego construction and photos as the illustrations. Their talents and support from home, never ceases to amaze me!
Our Numeracy lessons are all very practical, using as many concrete materials to grasp concepts as possible. We love to delve into the 'Messy Maths Box'. I have found that the class, especially the boys, respond well to 'doing' and experimenting to work things out. Our activities are based on the First Steps resource books which promote hands-on tasks and challenge and extend each student. The Smart boardis also a fantastic tool we use daily to play interactive and engaging maths games. Mental computation games are played throughout the day, which encourages the class to stay on their toes. Their favourite game is Shoot the Sheriff. I always get a buzz from seeing the kids having fun and learning at the same time.
Every day students participate in daily PE. Their favourite games are Octopus, Dodge and The Black Hole. We always have 'Fruit Break' around 10am every day which encourages the class to eat a healthy, brain snack. Only fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, cheese and yoghurt snacks are allowed to encourage healthy eating-a fantastic initiative. Every Friday, is 'apple slinky day'. I use an apple processor which turns the apple into a slinky. The class loves it and everyone brings in an apple or two. I am in so much trouble if I forget to bring it in!
Science, SandE, Health and Technology and Enterprise are all integrated into our class theme. Many students are hands-on/kinaesthetic learners, so this is taken into consideration when choosing and creating activities which allow them to have fun and to experience success. Students are also fortunate to have passionate Italian, Art, Music and PE specialists once a week. Every Wednesday, 1M meets up with their Year 6 buddy class to complete a variety of exciting indoor or outdoor games and activities. They have built close friendships with their older friends and the Year 6 class have enjoyed being role models to their younger friends. They look out for one another in the playground and have shared lots of crazy, memorable moments with one another.
1M attends Chapel every Thursday with the Pre-Primary to Year 2 students. They take it in turns to do a reading from the Bible and to write and shareprayers. It is a special, quiet time for the students to reflect on all of life's precious gifts. A whole school assembly is held once a week and gives each class an opportunity to perform an item once a semester. Deserving students are presented with Merit certificates and are a highlight for our class, as we love to be surprised to see who the winners are.
The most amazing thing (other than the students) in our class is the outstanding support and relationship I have with all of the children's parents. They communicate so openly through our daily school diary and are a huge part of our class' success. They often volunteer during class activities, which means we can do so many more practical (messy!) activities. The positive feedback and support of their children's education is humbling.
To end our week, children are rewarded with special Golden Time, which allows them to choose an activity of personal interest. They can play in the rocket and shoot off on exciting space adventures, draw pictures, use the Smart board, play games, build with construction sets , whatever takes their fancy. I believe it is a just reward for the amazing effort they put into their learning during the week.
Someone once told me, 'Children are born with wings, teachers help them to fly'. I say, grab your passport and climb aboard!Leave a comment
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