Swimming Week

It is swimming week.  Please ensure your child has everything he or she needs each day.  There were no medications listed and I have most of the forms back for the children without which they cannot enter the pool.  There are three who have not paid to date so alternative activities will be prepared for them and they will be with an older class for the time we are absent from the school.  Although one has filled in the relevant forms, without payment is unable to attend.  It is now too late for payment.  Please make note of any due dates for future events as late payments will not be accepted and the children will miss out.  They will be sent to another class who is not participating at that time, with some work to do.  It is quite difficult for those who are excluded as often discussions and follow up activities hurt as they feel they no longer belong.  I have sent home reminders but they were not followed up.

Last week the year one children were studying <qu> but most found it very difficult.  It is often the way and so cw is used or even kW as they forget the combination.  As we are swimming this week I am going to continue with the sound and see if a few more can take it on board. The Receptions, my owlets, have been continuing through the sounds and discovering that they can be combined to make words.  Some are more than ready, others are just happy with recognition of individual sounds but not quite ready to combine them.  I have been sounding out patterns like   p. i. n.  and asking them to identify what I mean and a couple can hear the patterns, others eagerly repeat a word they hope it might be but are not in the area at all, and they are all enjoying the songs that go with the Jolly Phonics program.

So far the owlets have been introduced to the sounds s,a,t,p,i,n,ck,e.  They have their own pocket of sound cards they can manipulate to make into words and although a couple of children have misplaced one or two, most of the children are carefully caring for them.  The year one children who have already been through the program love to sing along when the songs come onto the screen.  It’s like a party time, everyone joining in. They all do the actions and I was watching one of the older children working out a word in writing time, using the actions to work out the sounds.  Some sound the same like c and k so they are introduced together but as time goes on they learn to discriminate which is the correct for a spelling exercise.

My aim is that the children read everyday and they are remembering to bring their folders each day and putting them in the blue box in preparation.  Only about three need a reminder and it is usually because they were distracted by something earlier and missed that step of the routine.  Because we have had alterations to the time table to cater for swimming many of the specialist lessons are first thing in the morning.  Just for this week.

I do not know how many people are planning to watch the swimming but if you are there are a couple of things you need to be aware of.  If you use the canteen it is not allowable for you to buy a treat for the swimming child as none of the others will be getting treats and they are not allowed to eat or drink on the bus.  We will be rapidly exiting the pool as the bus is required for another group and it is a very tight schedule.  None of the children will be changing at the pool as there are no sufficient spaces or privacy for such a big group, and time restrictions are a big factor.  We have been informed that we are not permitted to photograph and would appreciate you refrain too.  The instructors are adamant that they are not to be photographed and as the children and other pool users are ‘disrobed’ it is an invasion of privacy too.  Please keep this in mind.

I have informed the children that everything MUST be named. This includes towels, goggles, shoes, clothing and the bag they carry everything in.  Sounds like over the top but we always return with a couple of children who cannot find their underwear and do not recognize any we may have located.  Bathing sets are also lost, as they forget what they were wearing and do not recognize their own belongings.  Please help with naming everything so that we can easily return things to the right people.

Swimming week is always stressful in the strangest ways.  The children may have fears about the water but this actually acts out in other ways like being unable to put on the seat belt, or scared we’ll miss the bus and even forgetting to collect the bag when getting off the bus. Because we are going in the middle of the day concentration in the academic areas is often down as they are anticipating.  I am not expecting massive new learning and that is why I am treating it as a revision week in sounds and words, the familiar being the safer option.  New learning will be in water skills and safety, investigation and discovery.

Once more we have a full class as Jessica comes back from her overseas trip and it is a couple of weeks before Ryan heads off on his adventure.  Tyler and Vian are settling in well, making friends and working well with other children. The class is made up caring children, cooperative, and taking on more responsibilities.  Each child is a competent and capable person and as such are sharing their skills and knowledge with each other.  To encourage this even further can I ask that you allow your child to carry his/her own belongings into the classroom, sort them out for themselves and follow the routine, taking ownership of their role. They are quite capable of doing this and it helps with their perception of success.

Do do not forget it is the AGM this Monday night.  It would be great to see a lot of parents who are interested in their children’s education and the role the school plays, to attend.

cheers Kath.

Week 4, term 1 2016

There are a few matters I need to discuss.

On Friday last week, the swimming notices were prepared for sending, but I was unable to collect them in time to send them home.  I did however discuss with the children that they need to be able to dress after swimming and to practice after each bath, so that they are prepared and ready.  Because of tight timetables for the bus service and regulations the children are no longer permitted to change at the pool.  They will leave the school in preparation already in their bathing outfits with an outer layer of clothing that will be removed prior to entering the water.

After the lesson they will return to their belongings and will towel down before adding a warm layer of clothing over their bathers to return to the school.  At the school they will be able to dress properly, removing their wet clothes and putting on fresh underwear and outer clothing.  The boys will use one area and the girls another and same sex teachers will supervise.  We are not permitted to dress them and can only help with outer clothing, so it is vital that each child knows how to dress themselves and not stand there expecting someone else to do it for them.

In past years the children in the final session do not have time to change and go home in their wet clothing with the warm over clothing as they return on the final bell of the day.  Those who need to go to OSHC change because it may be some time before they are collected.

This year our class are not in the final session so will be changing on return to school, so can you please ensure they have the necessary items named and packed each morning to support them.  Please clearly name all items, including shoes, towels, bathers, underwear, socks, uniform pieces, goggles medications as inevitably someone will misplace something and it is simpler to return items to the proper owner if it is well labelled.  Thank you in anticipation.

Most of the year one children will be working on <ng> words this week.  So far we have investigated and worked with <sh>, <ch>, <th> words. As we work through the English Matters work we will also look at y at the end of words, making an <ee> sound as in jelly, sunny, funny.  The Receptions will continue discovering sounds, so far we have had s, a, t, p, i, n, and have discovered many words we can make from these sounds.  At, is, in, sat, sit, pin, nip, pan, nap, are examples.  I try to introduce and work on two sounds a week, but sometimes can even introduce a third.  By playing with the cards, rearranging into words and talking about first, initial sound, middle sounds and ending sounds some of them are making the connection between sounds and words.  Then when they recognize one of the little words in their texts they are excited in re telling and sharing their findings.

I am still in the process of getting the Oxford wordlists onto the blog so that you have access to the sight words.  I will aim to send home a hard copy for your reference.  Little games you might try with your child could be memory, write each word on two cards and arrange the cards face down in random order.  Each person takes turns at turning over two cards, saying each word aloud, and if the same word is seen on both they keep the pair and at the end of the game the person with most pairs is declared winner.  Another game involves a paper with a word and set out like stepping stones.  Each ‘player’ steps over the paper saying the word out loud.  If cannot identify a word, he/she goes back to start and observes the next player until successfully crossing the stream.  Bingo is another game that involves recognition and the child must say the word before putting the marker down, again to ensure they really know the word not taking a guess or visually matching without real recognition.

In Maths we are concentrating on number, number placement, adding and subtracting, grouping, making collections, number lines, doubles and near doubles.  The receptions are working on the first 10, matching quantity to numerals, forming numerals, counting on and counting back. A couple of the receptions have strong mathematical skills and a couple of the year ones can benefit from the work the receptions are doing.

Cheers Kath

2016 A new year and new children

Welcome to the blog for 7E this year.

My intention is to keep regular posting on the blog with information for you to see what we are doing and the fun we are having.

The Reception children, my OWLETS, are settling into routine and all are eager to learn.  So far we have worked on sounds ,” s, a, t ,p and i” and will continue to work through the alphabet sounds over the term.  Once we have a few that can be sorted we are building words and a few have already picked up on the idea.  We made “sat, at as, pat, sit, it, is” and they were excited to read the words they made.  Each day everyone reads.  There are a lot of levels being covered and support given to the children who are really new to the process.

I ask the children to bring their communication/reading folders each day and if for some reason they are unable to they will choose a book from their ‘box’ and read.  It can be difficult for some if they haven’t had a pre read at home but I understand when time commitments have precedence some nights.  I rarely have homework other than reading which is a non negotiable, as it is for their benefit the constant practice is for fluency and understanding.  Occasionally there may be small projects or word work but I know commitments can be a barrier.

I have named the file boxes that have been brought with the name tags the children wore in the first two weeks.  They look great.  If you haven’t yet sent a file box can you please do so soon as we will be starting to use them next week.

Thank you to those who made it to Acquaintance evening and hope that any questions that arise you will let me know.  I am proud of the children settling so well.  We had very few tears and lots of strong friendship bonds happening in the class.

Cheers Kath

Another term almost gone

Wow it amazes me at how quickly each term flies past.  We have done a lot of work and it is really wonderful to see the class get into routine and start each day with Daily Dash, writing all types of genres.  We spend the morning until recess on literacy based activities, read to someone, word work, listen to reading with a review, read to self, and handwriting. On Fridays dictation and mental routine follow up the word family and Maths processes of the week.  The children show great interest in all these activities and are disappointed when other factors cause changes in the routine.  Because they are also developing in independence and responsibility I am able to leave them in the care of a relief teacher knowing they will follow the routine. We have almost finished BFG and still have a range of Roald Dahl books we can continue  to access, he is quite a favoured author with this group of children.

The gecko’s tail continues to grow and it enjoys its diet of crickets. Researching about the gecko and studying our example the children made posters which they presented at assembly.  They also shared the bean plants which they had watched from seeds, grow into small plants.  They measured the tallest plant in each pot and discovered that there were  differences of several centimetres between the plants even though they were planted the same day.  Also not all the seeds had germinated. The two ‘test’ pots are still at school although the others went home last week.  Great excitement was shown when flower buds appeared and a possibility that beans may result.

Tomorrow is the official RedNose Day, with funds going to SIDS.  Because the last day of term is the usual casual day the Lighthouse Keepers Executive decided to make it our Red Day and the children can wear red and a gold coin donation will be sent to SIDS, as our recognition.  No costumes or hair colour, but red clothes and a red nose will be acceptable, even without the red nose.

I will be mentoring a practicing teacher for the next few weeks.  She will start with us on Monday and remain for the week, returning again after the holidays for a further four or five weeks.  I am expecting the class to exhibit and show the usual respect they have for visitors and we all make her feel most welcome and accepted.

I trust our final week of term two continues to go as well as the rest of the term has been and that you all have a great two weeks holiday.  The gecko will visit with Blake and family again as they kindly cared for it last break.  I am actually spending time away or would have brought it home with me, but know that it will be well cared for

Mid term already, wow

It is mid term already, where have the weeks gone?  Many of the children are heavy with colds and experiencing all the side effects.  The weather has been interesting with some warm sunny days and wet cool days and even frosty mornings.  The changeable weather has its effect and vulnerable people pick up viruses very easily.

My trip away with my granddaughter was extremely busy and great fun and she met her wish, Dora the Explorer and also met a couple of dophins at Seaworld.  We were out everyday and I walked miles.  It was precious family time and great appreciation to Make a Wish foundation for the organization must be expressed.  I never expected to do some of the things I did and will probably never repeat but can cross a couple of things from my bucket list!

As as we have a leaf tailed gecko in the room we researched on the computer to discover more about them.  It was interesting, especially when told they are only found in the Sydney basin and lower coastal Queensland area.  They like to hide in tree roots or in hollows in sandstone or rocky areas.  Ours preferred the little blue box but after rearranging the rocks so s/he could climb into the leaves and sand box, it has found a hollow where it now prefers to reside.  The patterns on the back of the gecko should be on its tail, but I think it must have dropped its original tail and this has regenerated but is plain.

the beans planted at the start of the term are enjoying the sunlight through the window and the children have been excitedly watching the changes.  They have between two and four plants in each pot as the seeds didn’t all generate.  The fragility of the stalks have also seen some bend or break but most have at least one taller plant that we measured yesterday.  The children noted the tallest plant in their books, although some were around 12cm others were 24cm.  Each has been treated in the same way and we have compared it to the way children differ in height and weight even though they are the same age.

at the end of the term the plants will be coming home, some may not survive the trip well, and I have asked the children to negotiate with their parents where they can place a hole to put their biodegradable pot and plants to continue to grow.  We’ve talked about protecting from pets and pests, so I hope the negotiations go well and the successful replanting can occur.  If they do survive they are dwarf beans, so with luck and care a few to eat might be possible.

last week we discovered that the “magic e” could send his special magic over one letter to change the short vowel sound into the long sound in a-e words.  Further investigation this week has seen the same magic in i-e , o-e and u-e words.  With the morning literacy routine the children have shown interest in each section and have enjoyed charting it as well.

In Maths we are discovering more about solid shapes and have been creating some from paper, with maps or by rolling or folding. We looked at volume too when they made open ended cylinders. Working with partners, cooperation and negotiation are evident and peer support invaluable.

Term two, week two

Swimming week was both exhausting and exciting for the class.  Arriving back on the bell was a bit of a challenge but we had the bag packing done before leaving, by the end of the week and so collecting belongings and going was the norm.  I was extremely proud of the class, being unaware of any lost items and they listened to their instructors well.  I was advised by one of the ladies that they enjoy working with our kids because they exhibit respect and responsibility.

this week you will notice a different teacher in the room as I have a week away with my granddaughter and her family on her Make a Wish trip to  Queensland.  Tahlia was diagnosed with liver cancer shortly before her second birthday and was not expected to achieve her third.  She is now five, has started school but still has several medical issues.  One of her great wishes was to meet Mickey Mouse, but unfortunately he is not available in Australia, only is Disneyland.  So she is meeting with Dora the Explorer instead.  I will be supporting the three children and their parents and hopefully having a bit of fun and excitement myself.  I do trust the flooding is over as it has been quite prolific recently and I would rather wait for Water world before needing to swim.

Bec Ward will be taking the class in my absence .  Please welcome her into our room and I am sure she will work well with the children.  There are a few changes to our specialist lessons next week with NAPLAN affecting several classes and so swaps needed to be made.  Instead of PE on Monday I think it will be Tuesday and so the children will need the appropriate shoes.

On Monday afternoon, 4th May, the children planted some bean seeds in little card pots.  The idea is that when they are well established the pot and plants can be planted straight into the garden.  We are also testing a theory about seed preparation.  Some seeds need to be put into boiling water before planting and so we have four seeds that had that treatment, and another test pot with un soaked seeds.  I must say that I didn’t much like the look of those that had the treatment, and will be surprised if they survive.  So for me it will be an experiment too.

you will have noticed I have not yet set a set of topics for sharing for this term.  I would like them to be a research type ideas, where they can seek out some information to share.  That worked well last term and several of the children came up with some interesting facts and even objects to support their talks.

The children have charts to record their literacy tasks each day.  They are seeing that they are actually doing more than they realized.  There are several headings and the are ten weeks of small boxes to mark off as things are achieved.  One area we haven’t pushed yet is the handwriting component but this will definitely be reflected very soon.  Each day the children read to someone,  do word work, listen to reading, write (daily dash) and often read to self.  It is like a contract and as one area is completed they can move on the the next.  It is something the children have taken to well and allowing them to work on their independence as learners and being responsible.

End of Term One

Absolutely amazing, term one is at an end. A lot has been achieved in the term and there is a lot more to come.

the first week next term is swimming and the payments need to be finalized this week.  That is only two days. I am still waiting on a few cyber safety agreement forms to be returned.  It would be great  if they could be finalized this week also.

tomorrow morning we are taking part in a celebration in recognition of ANZAC 100 years.  The children have each made a poppy that we will place by the flagpole .  It is expected that each child will be respectful and I have no doubt this class will be great ambassadors showing respect and understanding the purpose.

Friday is casual day with a gold coin that will support those affected by the Vanuatu damage from the recent cyclone.  The clothes need to be suns smart, no bare midrift or singlet tops and sensible shoes.  School hats need to be worn outdoors.

At the end of week three, term 2,  there will be a disco for the children.  The earlier years will be followed by the senior students and I extend a thank you to those who have volunteered to help.  The children enjoy the excitement of the dance party  and I hope that our class will be well represented on the night.

Thank you for your support and encouragement extended for your child’s education and learning.  Enjoy the holidays and any special family times.

Premier’s Reading Challenge

The PEC is not finishing until September as many of you know.  All the children in the class have completed a sheet, 12 books, which is the main requirement and some have completed more than a sheet.  All the children will be receiving their award later in the year.  I chose to set the challenge this term with a set of books in the room, for the children to make their choices.  Several have chosen suitable books in browse and borrow time and have been able to include them in their list.  The ‘end of it’ is in our room as I will be returning the books to the library so that children from other classes, who do not do it this way will be able to borrow books.  Some of the children still have their incomplete sheet but can continue to borrow ‘blue dot’ books from the library and they can be added to the list.  I will not be doing the changing and borrowing from the classroom which also frees me to hear reading and support the children writing at the start of the day.  I am so proud of the children taking on the challenge and reading their books.

thank you everyone for supporting the children to achieve the success as without your encouragement and support they would struggle to manage the task.

i am sure those who managed to come to the assembly on Friday will be able to take pride in the children’s dancing, singing and some speaking.  I am proud to mention that they are good role models, even for some of the older children who show less respect at times.

On Thursday we have Sport’s Day, and with a lucky dip we have six children in each of the teams.  The children have practiced the Japanese game and the buddy game, and as we have two buddy classes, we have two circles we will be in for the latter.

With Easter coming up very quickly we are also participating in activities that  have an Easter theme.  The children have created rabbits which are on display in the room, although there seem to be a few missing. A nifty rabbit basket will be coming home at the end of the week if they have an egg hunt and there is a problemized mathematic situation they will be working through.

Next week we will be looking at Anzac Day and the 100th anniversary  and making poppies.   It is a pity that it actually falls in the holidays but it is such an important part of our history we will be doing our part.  I will also be attending a dawn service on the day and will certainly be thinking of those who have made it to Gallipoli for the centennial.

our focus in words this week are the days of the week and today, tomorrow and yesterday.  We will continue with the ff, ss, zz and ll words as well. I did intend to add morning, afternoon, evening and night but will leave those words for a later time.

If I don’t see you on Sport’s Day may I wish you a safe and happy Easter. The children are certainly excited about its proximity.

New student

Today we welcomed a new girl into the class and the children were excited and welcoming which is really fantastic.  She has fitted in well and was cared for by others at play times, discovering the school surroundings and playing in suitable places.  We hope she will continue to feel like a valued class member, accepted and a part our community.   As she has come after I am closing the Premier’s Reading Challenge in the room, I will support her in choosing books from the library and it may take a little longer for her to complete the sheet as we usually only change books weekly, unlike the daily practice we have  had in the classroom.

If you have not already had the chance, don’t forget to look at the incredible timelines in our small room.  We are inviting classes to come and visit to view and there are a few questions for them to ponder if they choose to take time to examine the work.  It is again thank you, for your cooperation and support in this task.

the children are most excited about their involvement in the assembly on Friday.  Several have a speaking role as presenters and they will all be involved in a mob or flash dance.  The dance steps are a challenge for a few children, but there is exuberance and enthusiasm by all of the children.  The assembly starts about 2:15 on Friday.  If you take photos or video of your child, it is important that it is not published on public media especially if other children are visible. This includes sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter  and I’m thanking you in anticipation that you will honour this request.  This is also the case for Sport’s Day and any other school events.

I have been checking running records for the class to ensure I am aware of the instructional levels for the children.  Most of the children have moved two or three levels this term and it is evident that the daily reading and the use of strategies has had a positive effect.  The excitement of the PRC has also enhanced the interest and fluency. I would like to acknowledge the support of everyone sharing the books at home and encouraging your children to succeed in the task.

next week is Sport’s Day and then Easter.  I am absolutely amazed at how quickly the term has passed and pleased that the children are progressing steadily.  Then a further week and the school holidays marking the end of term one.  Don’t forget swimming is week one next term.  Please get the forms and payments in as soon as you can.  Also the agreement about computer safety needs to be completed and returned.  Thank you for your cooperation in these matters.

Student led discussions are this week

I am looking forward to meeting with you all this week as your children discuss their learning and interests.  Please bring the sheet with you as we discuss their views and ours.

it was great to see all the children wearing something orange on Friday for Harmony Day.  It was “say no to bullying” day too so each child was given an armband with the message. Some of the younger children found them a little large and several were displaced at times.

I am really pleased with the History Timelines, which are on display in the small room. I am hoping that the final few make it tomorrow as that is the deadline.  The children will compare facts about hospitals born, weights and holiday destinations.  Many have already remarked on those born at FMC and interstate or overseas.  They love looking at each other’s pictures and even finding themselves in photos of birthdays when they were guests.

on Friday we will be co presenting at assembly.  At this stage they are performing in a dance sequence which is really exciting.  We have had a couple of practices and I am proud of their efforts and behaviour. The assembly is due to start at 2:15 so if you have the time to come you will be welcome.  We will not be involved in the speaking roles as the older classes have taken those roles.

There are probably some conflicting messages coming home at the moment.  I bought some beans for the children to grow and initially suggested that if they had 1litre fresh milk cartons they could bring one to start the cycle. I have since found some little card pots that will be as effective.  I also have some potting mix, but we will not be starting the growth until after the holidays as the watering will be hit and miss while there are shorter weeks and then two full weeks.

I managed to find some crickets for the small gecko and so we are keeping it fed a little better than initially.  Still un-named, other than Lizzie, it is a cute little beast who has taken to hiding in the cardboard box.  Don’t forget to have a quick look when you visit to see the timelines.