Saturday, 28 March 2015

My Classroom Library - a peek inside!

As I was doing my end-of-the-week tidy up yesterday afternoon I snapped a few photos of my classroom library to share with you all.  Hopefully you'll find a few easy ideas that you can use to organise yours or to help your kidlets become excited about reading!

First up, let's talk about how I organise my books.  I know it's not perfect, but I wanted there to be some order so that kidlets could make informed decisions about the books they choose for their book box - and I wanted to scaffold their choice of a 'best fit' text. 

One shelf holds our levelled readers, organised into baskets of 2 levels.  For this term, I have been choosing these books for kidlets - explaining that I'm giving them 1 book at their level, 1 that's easy practise and 1 that's more of a challenge.  Next term they will have control over these choices.  I was undecided as to whether or not I should display the levels... I didn't want reading to become a competitive sport.  Luckily enough, my Preppies have always been happy to choose their level and not worry what their friends' levels are. :) As these are all school books I can't really re-sticker them with colours etc. so the levels are the easiest for organisation at the moment.

Two other shelves hold our picture books and non-fiction texts. The left shelf has baskets organised by author - Mem Fox, Dr. Seuss, Pamela Allen and Jez Alborough - as well as two baskets of non-fiction.  On the top are pink baskets with Grug and Little Golden Books.  We also have a returns box. Children can choose whichever books they like from here.  It took a few weeks, but they are getting pretty good at leafing through to check and see whether a book is one that interests them rather than grabbing random ones.

Now on to the fun stuff! I have a little collection of tools that my kidlets can choose any time they are reading to help them engage with a book.  Our 'Reading Glasses' are just dollar store sunglasses with the lenses popped out.

'Sight Word Stars' are the newest addition to our library.  I typed our sight words onto some star clipart, laminated and cut them before taping them onto a giant straw (from Ikea!).  Kidlets use these to search for sight words they know in 'tricky' picture books.

We have a variety of pointers to use as well, these really help to ensure that kidlets attend to the text they're reading - particularly in Guided Reading groups.  At the moment I've only got the googly eye sticks out, but now that my clever Preppies are using these responsibly I'll add some new ones next term.  I get everything from the dollar store!

Googly eyes glued to craft sticks.

Magic wand party favours.

Plastic magnifying glasses.


Two big containers hold our 'Reading Buddies' and 'Whisper Phones'.  Buddies are available any time kidlets want to read their book aloud.  They never interrupt and are nice to cuddle. :)  I asked parents last year if anyone knew a plumber who could get me cheaper plastic pipes to make Whisper Phones, and was so appreciative when one of my little girl's uncles just went ahead and made them as a donation!  They're two pieces glued together, and I just decorated them with colourful duct tape.

Lucky last - our Book Boxes!!

I used the 100 Scrappy Kids set that Mel (Graphics from the Pond) made to personalise each label.  I chose the scrappy kid that most looked like each kidlet, and we also use the same graphics for desk labels.  Each week we change our books (3 levelled texts and 4-5 other books) to keep for our independent reading time.  At this stage of the year my class can read for 10-15 minutes in silence, which I think is pretty good for Term 1 Preppies! :)

That's all from me today!  Easter holidays are coming up so hopefully I'll have some extra time and energy to post a little more - I have lots of photos of fun activities we've been doing but end of term exhaustion has just kicked my butt.  I really hope you found an idea or two today that you can use, and I promise to be back soon!!

Monday, 2 March 2015

It's Currently March!

It's that time again! March here in Australia brings Autumn, and cooler weather.  I'm excited to bust out my collection of scarves, cosy knits and boots but I think we're a few weeks away from that yet. :)

After a surprise professional development day at school I was not in the head space to stay last this afternoon in my classroom, so I was home in time to watch 'The Bold and The Beautiful'! I've been watching this show since I was about 12 so I love to catch random episodes when I can.  

My class this year is absolutely gorgeous. They are kind, caring and considerate, they love to learn and they behave beautifully.  I just love spending time with all of my kidlets. :)

Yesterday I finished reading 'The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society' - an old favourite - and think I might start another book tonight.  Any recommendations for me??

I stayed up late last night watching 'Argo' on TV so I think tonight will be an earlier one.  If I find a book to read I'll soak in a hot bath and read a few chapters before bed.

As I left school this afternoon I realised that my office is seriously a disaster.  I use it as my "I'll just put this here until I have time to put it away properly" space, and as you can imagine I never come back to it... I really need to tidy it up and put things away because I know there's some things in there I probably should be using!

No Spring break for us! But we will have 2 weeks at Easter time.  Autumn is wonderful beach weather (not so hot that it's uncomfortable!) so I'll most likely spend a few days in the sun.  I've also got 4 free movie passes so I might take my little cousins to see Cinderella!  

Link up with Farley to share your Currently - lots of people share on Instagram so if you don't have a blog there's no reason to miss out. :)

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Our Week in Photos!

This post is brought to you by the wonderful condition called 'Sunday Afternoon Laziness'!  I took lots of photos this week and have lots of fun activities to share... but am feeling too lazy to organise them as anything other than a photo dump with quick captions. I hope you'll still find an idea or two that you'll be able to use in your classroom. :)

Tumbling Chimps is perfect for fine motor fun! I found it at Big W - they have lots of cheap games that would be wonderful for the classroom.

Kidlets used bingo dabbers to dot over a line...

...and if they had time, cut along the line through the middle of the dots.  Fine motor and scissor skills all in one!

 Tracing this week was with our new Scentos markers! Had to remind them not to sniff the pen directly. :) The room smelt so gorgeous all week.

New favourite maths game? Dino Dash!  This super fun game works on early addition concepts, or you can use it as a counting game for those who still need that practise.

We played Beach Bingo (part of Mel's bundle) - working on numbers to 10. 

My kidlets loved making a Flip Strip from Cara's pack!  This week we matched quantities to 5 as our easy review task.

We worked on representing numbers in different ways using counting cubes and ten frames.  I called a number, the kidlets built it and then told me how they had organised their cubes - 6 might be 3 and 3; 4 and 2; 5 and 1 etc.

During Literacy groups we played Stretchy Snake Bingo -  I love this as phoneme blending practise.  The caller says each word as individual sounds, and the kidlets have to blend them together to figure out if that picture is on their card.

It was a bingo kind of week - we played Brooke's Alphabet Bingo, using wooden letters drawn from a bag instead of calling cards.  

Our sight word work was stamping with playdough!

We used the pocket chart to sort Letters, Words and Sentences - this was a whole class activity that will be reviewed with an independent cut & paste task this coming week.

Last but not least - I love these colourful vases of flowers that we made as part of our phonics work.

Phew! That's all from me, friends. :) Enjoy the last of your weekend!