Friday, October 20, 2017

Chain reactions!

Hi All,

We had loads of fun (and learning :-) making chain reactions yesterday afternoon. We used blocks and dominoes, but the children especially enjoyed "stick bombs". This experiment involves weaving craft or ice block sticks together to create tension (potential energy), so that the sticks fly up when released. Here is a link in case you want to try this at home with your child over the long weekend.

They will need some help with the start of the weave, but should be able to pick up the pattern and carry it on. In particular, Annie-Rose, you really impressed me yesterday with your perseverance and innovative techniques to achieve the weaving pattern. Kei runga noa atu koe!

Hint: I couldn't do this with ice block-sized sticks. You need the larger ones, tongue depressor-sized. You can get these at $2 shops or hardware stores.  Have fun!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Puppy power

Hi Room 9 Whanau,

I have just sent a slew of emails around the Shore, looking for puppy "experts" that might want to visit our class while we are studying the topic of puppies and other pets. I thought I would see if anyone in the class family had a good contact for this. So, if you know a vet, dog trainer, or other pet expert that you think might be willing to visit us (or maybe even bring us a furry visitor or two), please let me know or put them in touch with me!

Thanks heaps!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Reading groups next term

For the first few weeks of Term 4, I am trialling mixed-ability reading groups in Room 9. 
I have split the class into 5 ability ranges, and each week we'll have 5 groups that include students from a given ability range, the group above, and the group below. This means that in some weeks, a child will be working with a group on a text or texts that are above or below the instructional level of the child. For the most part, children will be challenged with texts above their current level, but they will occasionally take on the role of being a leader for students working at a lower level. Where children are working in this role, they'll have the option of bringing home a text at their own level, rather than the lower-level text they've read in class.
I'm also sourcing some longer texts that can be read over the course of 3-5 days, instead of a new text each day. I hope that this repetition and the mixed-ability group model will enable children to experience success in reading texts at a challenging level.
If you're interested, there is a wealth of research into mixed-ability grouping, particularly in maths instruction but also in reading. Just google "mixed ability reading groups", or check out this article to get you started.
I would welcome your feedback or questions at any time. I intend to run this new format for at least the first three weeks, at which point I'll look at the results and gather feedback from the children and parents before deciding whether to continue.
Thanks in advance for your support!

In case you missed it...

Here's a link so you can view our class production. The kids really enjoyed watching this, and the others made by other classes. Many, many thanks to those who helped, with props, costumes, and even acting. Enjoy!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Old MacDonald had a ... great time!

Hi All,
We had an amazing time at the farm today!! We fed lambs, sheep, chickens and goats, saw a sheep being "dagged", patted a pig, saw piglets, and just generally got muddy and explored the farm. Your children should be ready to sleep very well tonight. In fact, some couldn't wait and zonked out on the bus!
Many thanks to our wonderful parent helpers, Ksenija and Nikki. You were fantastic!
Here are some photos of our day:
Farm photo album

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Maths superstar extraordinaire!!!

We have been using skip-counting (2,4,6,8,10... or 5,10,15,20,25...) to warm up to the idea of multiplication, or "times" as many of the children prefer to call it. Our maths superstar pictured below has really grabbed this idea and run with it! She has the concept that multiplying means making many groups of the same size, and she is shown here carefully making 4 groups of 6 for 4 x 6. She went on to even larger numbers, making the groups with materials and using skip counting to find the answers. Ka pai, Isabel, kei runga noa atu koe!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

100 days PARTY

Hi All,

On Friday, we will celebrate our 100th day of school! We have learned a lot about numbers, place value and the calendar by keeping track of this progression. We are celebrating all week with 100-related activities, and on Friday we're having a 100 Days Party! The children made their own invitations to bring home on Friday. You are welcome to come along! We had hoped to celebrate all day, but there are a few school events we also get to attend - an assembly at 9 and our dance show at 1130. We'll be in our class having fun together for the rest of the day. We are planning:

  • a movie
  • a shared lunch
  • to wear dress-ups or PJs
  • to bring toys and board games to share
Some optional homework - if you have time, could you help your child collect 100 of something, in a sealed and named plastic bag? We will make a display of 100s in our window to share our 100 learning with the school. Some suggested items: 100 pebbles, marbles, raisins, cheerios (the cereal, not the sausage!), paper clips, pieces of lego, beads, stickers, anything!!
Happy 100 hunting!