Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Calming Corner

Hello everyone. It's been a while since I have shared a post. I have a few things that I want to share and I will do very soon. This is part one of two blog posts that I am going to share about a space that I have created in my classroom. It is a combined area for my students to use. It is a reading area and also a calming corner. It is a space designated for students to go where they can calm themselves when they are stressed, angry etc before they resume and rejoin the class. It is not a big area but large enough for up to four students to use.

I used an Ikea hack as part of my design plan. For any Australian teachers reading my post, the cubes are from Target. They come is sets of two which gives you flexibility in moving them around the room or to another classroom should I change rooms next year. The cushions and the rug are from Kmart. I wanted a homey feel and soft furnishings create that.

The first cube is designated as the calming cube. Inside are the strategies and tools the children can access. The other three are designated for books.

Each time a student uses the calming corner, they record their name and the date inside this book. This is inside the cube. It helps me keep track of the students who use it and also for me to collect data that may assist me in  planning any social skills that the children may need.

Inside the cube I have an egg timer to time the amount of time they should stay in the calming corner, laminated social stories on a ring and also some calming strategies also laminated and on a ring. I also have two kaleidoscopes as well.

I have had these books for a very long time. These books are also available in the cube for the children to read while they are calming down. Sometimes I read them to the whole class.

As the term has progressed and the students have used this space, I have updated and changed how the space is used. I will share this in my next blog post very soon.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Setting Up Spelling City For the First Time

This video will assist you in setting up your Spelling City activities. Things explored include:
  • adding students
  • creating groups
  • adding lists
  • types of activities
  • tracking student progress
Once again, I apologise for the sound quality.

Thanks for stopping by!

Spelling City Overview

I have a short video that outlines a program that I have found useful in my class for assisting students with spelling. Spelling City is a program that enables teachers to personalise spelling lists for students as well as group students and track their progress. This program is available on a few platforms including PC, Mac, iphone, iPad and andriod. My next post will have more details in how to set up students and create groups.

My apologies for the sound quality. This is the first time that I have filmed a screen recording and I will need to purchase a more suitable microphone!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Gift of Giving

In term two the weather becomes colder and I like to teach the children a new craft, one that has always been popular - French Knitting. I have two types of looms, handmade and store bought. I find out out if any of the children have any experience so that they can help me train up a few children at a time. It's a bit rocky at first but after a few days, the ball get rolling and the wool gets moving! The longest part is casting the children on as they are all eager to start knitting and make something.

The reason why French knitting is so popular is that it is portable, repetitive and simple once you get the hang of it. You can have conversations and it is very relaxing. The children can also make their own looms and knit at home. While the children were knitting one morning I overheard some of their conversations:

"I want to make a necklace....."
"I want to make a new headband...."

It got me thinking...could we make something for someone else for a change? Could we use our new skills to create for someone in need?

I raised this question with the children and they agreed. We would combine our French Knitting to make a blanket and give it to a someone who needed it...give it to the night patrol and allow them to hand it over to someone who is homeless. This act of kindness reinforces our College values and at the time supported the acts of kindness/justice our campus was promoting at the time. This activitiy also implements PYP action.

We quickly worked out some dimensions for our rug and decided that one metre lengths would be required. Using masking tape, we created a square metre on the floor of the classroom to define the finished size of the rug. Once the children started to knit, they could measure their knitting alongside the mock rug before having their work cast off. Once a few children completed their knitting, we measured again to calculate how many strands we would need and how many each child would need to make. We had a plan and now we just had to knit away!

To finish of the blanket, I crocheted some granny squares and crocheted a border around the outside.

We certainly hope that the blanket brings comfort to someone. It took a long time make, but it was certainly worth it.

Below are the links for my French Knitting Tutorials

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Watercolouring Tutorial

Hello everyone! I hope that you are well. Today I am sharing a watercolouring tutorial to create the fun crazy birds! I'll also show you how to create the cloud background.

This tutorial was designed for beginners. I am going to use it with the students in years 3, 4 and 5. The children in my class can't wait to start (they are HUGE fans of the crazy birds).

Sit back and enjoy the tutorial. I hope that you'll give it a try!


Paper: Prima Watercolor Paper Pad #980269

Stamps: Tim Holtz Bird Crazy, Tim Holtz Crazy Talk,

Dies: Bird Crazy Sizzix Framelits, Sizzix Thinlits I Heart This 659767

Ink: Distress Ink Tumbled Glass, Versafine Onyx Black

Other: Derwent  Academy Watercolour Pencils no 2301941, Stampin’ Up! Heat Gun and Stampin’ Dimensionals, Sizzix extended multipurpose platform and magnetic platform, Tsukinek sponge dauber, T-square ruler, Copic Multiliner 0.3,  Cloud template

The cloud template can be found here

Thanks for stopping by!

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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

SketchUp in the Primary Classroom

SketchUp is a 3D design program that has great uses in the classroom. It is available in a freeware version. The use of digital technologies in classrooms opens the doors to so many possibilities. It was suggested that Year Three use this program when exploring their fifth UOI (unit of inquiry).

The central ideas presented to the students was  Structures are influenced by design and purpose.  It was driven by the key concepts of change, function and form as well as the related concepts of adaptation, systems, structures and design.

The summative task the children engaged with was:

To modify an existing structure or create a new structure to meet the growth in enrolments at Del Monte for 2016

To enable the this process, SketchUp was a key vehicle in the childrens' learning. The following video outlines the process as well as provide an example of a structure created by two students.

The students' sense of achievement was immense.  SketchUp enabled them to share their thinking and also to produce a product of which they were proud of. 

This is a learning tool that is certainly an asset in a Primary Classroom.

Thanks for stopping by!

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