Saturday, 26 December 2015

Camouflage Art

Chameleons are cute, clever and have the ability to blend in completely with their surroundings - what a fantastic animal to learn about in your class!

The rise in popularity of this little creature certainly rose when Pascal appeared on our screens (he's from Disney's Tangled if you didn't know that already! Great movie by the way).

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Sunday, 20 December 2015

Year of the Monkey Flipbook

As 2015 quickly appears to be coming to a close here is another post for all you organised bunnies for 2016.

I posted a few weeks back that 2016 will be the Year of the Monkey in both China and Japan. In order to have a bit of fun (and learn something of course!) I have put together a flipbook (also known as flip books). Now this is only the second flipbook I have ever made - but they are fun and students do seem to enjoy doing the activities and putting them together!

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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Possum in the House: Book Review

Title: Possum in the House
Author: Kiersten Jensen
ISBN: 9780949130020

Classification: Fiction
Themes: Australia, mischief, possums
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Saturday, 12 December 2015

Getting Organised with Class Rules

Before I begin about another idea you might want to consider for your new class in 2016 I wanted to make mention of a blog change...

Yes, it's official that you can access this blog now direct from the following address http://www.missjennysclassroom.com - Yay! It is so much easier to remember!

Okay, time to talk about what you are here to read about!

Class rules. Two words and yet the entire year you have with your class can be greatly influenced by how you set up and maintain your classroom rules.You certainly do not want to be steering staff or parents away from your room because the behaviour is out of control.

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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

A Gift of Time

I have been thinking a lot about what I might give to my children on their next birthday - it's a while off but it's never too early to start planning! I really want to be able to give them more than just "stuff". My house is already full of stuff (which I am now sorting through and making the tough decisions on) and with the passing of two family members I know how precious time you spend with loved ones can be. My grandparents were always at a loss as to what to give - and this leads me to my latest creation!

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Sunday, 6 December 2015

Getting Organised

Going through my organisation tub (I should write one of my organisation tubs) I came across some of the materials I use at the beginning of the year. The tubs were meant to make it easy for me just to grab them and take to a new classroom in the new year and know I had everything ready to go - of course I am still looking for the one thing I was searching for...fingers crossed it is in the other tub!

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Friday, 4 December 2015

Classroom Pets

I have always had a classroom pet, of some description, while teaching students. Why? I personally feel that it teaches students a degree of responsibility and life skills that are important for them to have if we expect them to grow into thinking adults.

Over the years I have had frogs and fish as my main classroom pets. As a student myself I vividly remember my grade 2 teacher having a pet axolotls in the classroom - we were so enthralled by them but cutting up the meat was a little icky (but we loved it anyway). Another teacher I remember has silkworms - though only a couple of us got to have the silk (we were never told the truth about the poor moth!). Overall though I have grown up to love animals and be a responsible pet owner. Unlike other children though I was fortunate to also have pets at home (including a fish, mouse and cats).

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Thursday, 3 December 2015

Aussie Mossie: Song Review


Song: Aussie Mossie
Artist: Don Spencer
Year: 1988
Nationality: Australian

Classification:
Narrative with science elements
Theme:
mosquitoes

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Monday, 30 November 2015

SALE: Swimming


Download the free E-Book from TPT.
Includes information and pricing.


Here is post #3 about the sale now on at TPT and all my products will be set at the highest discount including my mega packs and bundles. Remember the sale is on November 30th and December 1st.

Now while the Northern Hemisphere are (as of tomorrow) in winter us Southern Hemisphere people are about to be in summer. What does summer mean for us? Hot heatwaves and the pool or beach - whatever is the place to cool you down.
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Sunday, 29 November 2015

SALE: Dutch


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Miss-Jennifer-Ward
Here is post #2 about the forthcoming sale on TPT and all my products will be set at the highest discount including my mega packs and bundles. Remember the sale doesn't begin until November 30th and finishes December 1st. For fellow Aussies that means it begins in the evening of November 30th and finishes in the morning of December 2nd - so straightforward!

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Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Twits: Book Review

Title: The Twits
Author: Roald Dahl
ISBN: 014241039X

Classification: Fiction
Themes: humor
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SALE: Russian


A sale is coming on TPT and all my products will be set at the highest discount including my mega packs and bundles.

Now, I personally love a bargain and have myself been holding off buying a few things for next year because I had hoped a sale was coming - okay, so I can be a bit of a scrooge but with a single income and myself and two bubs I think being a scrooge (or thrifty) is a good thing.

I have been working on several new larger products as well as attending to a lot of language resource requests! I am also open though to put together a requested item!

I will be posting over the next couple of days one category at a time to highlight what resources I have.

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Friday, 27 November 2015

Handing Over the Baton


It's that time of year here in Australia when reports are written and classes for 2016 are set and ready to go with just a couple of weeks left until the end of the school year. Many classes begin the daunting task of finishing off work, sorting through trays and lockers, and then the dreaded fill-in tasks begin!

This activity was introduced to me by a colleague who was teaching next door to me at the time. I found it to be a fantastic activity and have completed it every year since. To me, this is the perfect end of year activity as it has meaning, is creative and allows for the teacher who will be gaining each student to have a sample of work to consider over the holiday 'break'.
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Saturday, 21 November 2015

Year of the Monkey

Being organised for the classroom next year is something already on the minds of teachers in Australia as term 4 rapidly draws to a close. For language classrooms it is equally important to be looking for resources relevant to the upcoming year to brighten the class and make it look and feel a little different than this year.

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Friday, 20 November 2015

The Tale of the Lucky Cat: Book Review

Title: The Tale of the Lucky Cat
Author: Sunny Seki
ISBN: 0966943791

Classification: Fiction
Themes: Japan, history, legends, courage, compassion, resilience
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Monday, 16 November 2015

Not Pretty Enough: Song Review


Song: Not Pretty Enough
Artist: Kasey Chambers
Year: 2002 (written 2001)
Nationality: Australian

Classification:
ballad
Theme:
feelings, social awareness

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Thursday, 29 October 2015

Don't Tell Lies, Lucy

Title: Don't Tell Lies, Lucy
Author: Phil Roxbee Cox
ISBN: 0746097190

Classification: Fiction
Themes: moral, right & wrong
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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Plant Environments

Having plants in the classroom is a great way to get the students interested and involved in science.

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Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Quiltmaker's Gift

Title: The Quiltmaker's Gift
Author: Jeff Brumbeau
ISBN: 0439309107

Classification: Fiction with moral
Themes: moral, journey, generosity,
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Saturday, 3 October 2015

Letter to the Beatles: Song Review


Song: Letter to the Beatles

Artist: Four Preps
Year: 1964
Nationality: American

Classification:
Ballad
Theme: pop culture, rhyming, humour

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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Places and Spaces

Title: Places and Spaces
Author: Debbie Diller
ISBN: 1571107220

Classification: Non-fiction
Themes: classroom, organisation, staff
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Friday, 18 September 2015

Nature Up Close

One of the reasons I love teaching science is the diversity that comes with it. Teaching 5 different classes however can be rather monotonous so it is important to ensure that there is some differentiation in work that is completed in the classroom - otherwise marking become repetitive!

On a lovely day I took my classes out (one by one) to collect 5 different natural items. In order to do this each student was given a small bag which had a number attached to the bag (the number corresponded with their assigned seat number) which was just a laminated number on a string hooked onto the handle. I bought the bags in a pack of 3 from Cheap as Chips for about a $1 each.

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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Basic Word Walls

When I first started teaching I don't think I truly appreciated how important word walls would become. I had always intended to work with older students - thus those first couple of years were a bit of a shock.

Here is what I have learned over the years about setting up and maintaining a working word wall...



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Saturday, 5 September 2015

On Fortune's Wheel: Book Review

Title: On Fortune's Wheel
Alternative Title: The Tale of Birle
Author: Cynthia Voigt
ISBN: 0689829574

Classification: Fiction
Themes: adventure, self belief, courage
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Friday, 4 September 2015

The Writer Within

Encouraging students to write well is occasionally difficult. The first time that someone puts pen to paper they are convinced it is the most fantastic piece of writing ever created...and then they learn to be brutal and edit...and then they embark on become a truly talented writer.

I was very disappointed to learn this week that Authonomy was closing. For those of you who have never used the website, Authonomy was run by HarperCollins and along with reading the work of other writers you could also review and comment. The highlight was the top 5 books being reviewed by HarperCollins...but this is now all closing down.
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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Birthday Cake Debate


This morning when I was reading the news this article from the Sydney Morning Herald caught my eye: "Birthday cakes banned at Only About Sydney childcare centre in Surry Hills".

There are, without a doubt, people who will have the opinion that this is unAustralian and ridiculous and then there will be those who will be thinking "Hooray!". Most of you are unfamiliar with the fact that I am not afraid to weigh in with my own opinion, so here it is...

Having grown up in a very religious family who didn't celebrate birthdays or other occasions from the age of 4 I used to dread birthday parties at school in particular. Often I would be asked to leave the room and go to the library. It was very isolating as I felt as though I was being punished.
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Monday, 24 August 2015

Sports Day Lead-Up

As term four looms ahead many thoughts turn to Sports Day (the equivalent of Fields Day in the USA). While many schools have theirs in term 1 while summer is still in full swing many other schools choose term 4.

I remember practising endlessly with PE teachers in preparation for Sports Day. The enthusiasm of students when they saw the groundsman had marked out the running and hurdle tracks was overwhelming. All students would be out there at recess and lunch practising with friends. Does this still happen?
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Saturday, 22 August 2015

Garden of the Purple Dragon

Title: Garden of the Purple Dragon
Author: Carole Wilkinson
ISBN: 174203246X

Classification: Fiction with historical elements
Themes: China, history, dragons, friendship
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Sunday, 16 August 2015

All About Me Displays (Japanese Version)

Looking for a new Getting To Know You activity for your Japanese language classroom this year? Look no further (but do click to Read More).

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Saturday, 15 August 2015

I Was Only Nineteen: Song Review

Redgum on Tungun Beach, QLD
Photo by Michael Brown
Song: I Was Only Nineteen (A Walk in the Green Light)
Artist: Redgum
Year: 1983
Nationality: Australian

Classification:
Realism
Theme: war, perspective, consequences, realisation, protest

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Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Name Jar

Title: The Name Jar
Author: Yangsook Choi
ISBN: 9780440417996

Classification: Fiction
Themes: cultural differences, identity, friendship
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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

A Banquet

7 Wonders clipart (c) Phillip Martin
I have blogged before about my love of ancient civilisations. I love history and love to teach about it.

While digging through an old file (as I slow organise and burn them to CD) I came across some photos from a few years ago.

I taught in this particular composite 6/7 class for one term. They were a fairly sheltered bunch in the sense they attended a very small school and had limited exposure to different teachers - including teaching technique, style and expectations. I never apologise for the fact I have high expectations of students - how else will they challenge themselves?
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Saturday, 1 August 2015

Book Week 2015 Is Almost Here!


Books graphic
(c) MyCuteGraphics
Yes, it is already AUGUST!

Can you believe how quickly it has come? Me neither, but Book Week is just a couple of weeks away!

This year the week is from Saturday, 22nd August until Friday, 28th August. What makes this year special is that The Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) is celebrating 70 years! I know I always looked forward to Book Week when I was in school and while I haven't seen the library transformations like when I was a kid I am sure there are librarians and library assistants working hard to ensure they create an super-engaging environment for the students!

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Thursday, 30 July 2015

65 Roses: Song Review


Song: 65 Roses
Artist: The Wolverines
Year: 2002
Nationality: Australian

Classification:
Ballad
Theme:
disease, science, perspective

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Sunday, 26 July 2015

Day After Day

One of the first things we learn about are the names of the days of the week. This is usually closely following by the order of the days and finally how to spell them!

As the English names can be a bit on the dull side this week I turned my attention to my Japanese resources. I have created a series of both posters and cards that feature the days of the week in Hiragana, Kanji and English and have a matching picture to represent the Kanji word meaning.
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Monday, 20 July 2015

Celtic Knots and Shading

I absolutely love all things Celtic and therefore it should come as now surprise that I finally got an activity into the classroom.

Art is a great way for students to display their individuality and improve their skills. This is a lesson I first conducted with a grade 1/2 composite class. I had some already very talented artists in the class...but admittedly there were many others who could not colour in the lines, insisted on using one colour (or sometimes just the two) for all their artwork and some work I saw was so abstract even the student couldn't explain it.

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Sunday, 12 July 2015

Literacy Work Stations

Title: Literacy Work Stations
Author: Debbie Diller
ISBN: 9781571103536

Classification: Staff resource - literacy
Themes: literacy, work stations
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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Tadpole Blues: Song Review

When thinking about using music in lessons I am very particular about the artist and song I use. I strongly feel this is especially important when working with junior primary schools (reception to grade 2). For example, at a school I worked at in a junior primary class the combined school performed for parents a couple of times a term. At one such performance a grade R/1 composite class performed a Katy Perry song. I felt this was inappropriate given the content of many of her songs which are targeted at a much older audience than ages 5 and 6 years old. The teacher in question justified it by saying the "kids listen to her all the time" and "they love her". I doubt though that every student and every parent however would agree. Despite voicing my opinion it went ahead and leadership said nothing. As a parent I would be horrified if I had a 5 year old who was singing one of her songs. It doesn't matter what students are listening to at home - that is up to their parents to decide - but I feel in the classroom we should be striving to use songs that are appropriate and relevant.

This therefore is the first in a series of post about different songs that can be used to complement work being carried out in the classroom. All posts will have the label "song selection" to locate quickly.

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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Acknowledging Swimming Achievements

Kids Swimming (c) My Cute Graphics.
While it is extremely cold where I live at the moment (and would not even dream heading to the pool) the northern hemisphere are in summer. Summer is inevitably linked with sun, sand and water. The water part however can only be partly enjoyed if you haven't yet learned how to swim.
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Saturday, 4 July 2015

The Doorbell Rang

Title: The Doorbell Rang
Author: Pat Hutchins
ISBN: 9780688092344

Classification: fiction with mathematical elements
Themes: mathematics (doubling), friends, visitors
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Thursday, 2 July 2015

My Two Blankets: Teaching Ideas

Looking for some teaching ideas to use with "My Two Blankets"?
You've come to the right place!

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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Warm and Cool Colours

I wanted to teach students about using colours in a different way. I would usually choose pencils but my class had begged me to buy oil pastels at the beginning of the year (anything messy just isn't to my liking but it was a new medium). This project was completed towards the end of term 1.
Grade 3 example of using cool colours.
Work in progress.

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Monday, 8 June 2015

Bugs In My Hair!


Title: Bugs In My Hair
Author: David Shannon
ISBN: 9780545143134

Classification: Fiction with real life element
Themes: hygiene, lice/nits
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Thursday, 4 June 2015

Twisted Rhymes

As adults many of us learn about the truth behind modern fairytales and rhymes. If you don't already know, fairytales were originally intended for an adult audience and not children - thus the content and outcomes of the stories is often unrecognizable with their modern counterparts.

This is an activity I did based on the rhyme "Little Bo Peep". We know she lost her sheep but I wanted my class of  grade 6/7s to think outside the box. They needed to consider what the real story might have been behind the rhyme - as if it was in code.


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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Book Week 2015: Fire

Book Week 2015

Fire by Jackie French is shortlisted by CBCA for the Picture Book of the Year.

This fictional book and a follow-up to her book Flood. This is a powerful story of the very real threat a bushfire poses in Australia. Through rhyming verses she explores the feelings of just how it feels to be confronted by such an imposing force.

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Saturday, 23 May 2015

Japanese: Family Trees

This is my first post in regards to a language other than English (more commonly referred to as L.O.T.E.).

Teaching English to students (when it is their native tongue) can be tricky enough on its own but then throwing another language at them can be confronting, scary, a little exciting...but normally just daunting.
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Saturday, 16 May 2015

Book Week 2015: One Minute's Silence

Teach your students about what the happened during the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915 with the book "One Minute's Silence" and these teaching activities.

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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Spelling: Trying Before Helping

I'm Not Afraid of my Words
spelling chart
In my first year of teaching I became a little frustrated with students thinking that I was a walking dictionary. At the time I taught several classes so I wasn't able to implement strategies I had been taught about at university, such as "have-a-go" books (otherwise I would be drowning in books).

In the end I found a novel little idea on Pinterest. A chart in the classroom to get them to have a go first.

I have searched my Pinterest boards for the original pin and also on the Internet but haven't managed to find it again. The idea though may have be based on Lisa Cleaveland's idea which is featured in a book. I believe the book is entitled About the Authors: Writing Workshop and Our Youngest Writers  written by both Lisa Cleaveland and Katie Wood Ray. An excerpt featuring Chapter 4 of the book (which includes the aforementioned chart) is included and available to download for free from Heinemann's website.

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Monday, 11 May 2015

Feelings: Being Scared

If you live in South Australia, like I do, and work as a teacher then by now you should have heard of the Keeping Safe: Child Protection Curriculum (KS:CPC). Every teacher who has this as a subject (usually incorporated into Health lessons) is required to have undertaken training first. In theory this is what DECD state but we all know that in the world of teaching not everything goes to plan.

The training is a one-day workshop. It doesn't tax the brain at all and is straight-forward. If you are a teaching graduate you will find that much of the content was covered at university (or is just common sense). Once you have completed the necessary training you will have access to the documentation available at the RAN website.

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Friday, 8 May 2015

Book Week 2015: A-Z of Convicts in Van Diemen's Land


Book Week 2015

A-Z of Convicts in Van Diemen's Land by Simon Barnard is shortlisted by CBCA for the Eve Pownall Award for Information Books.

This information book focuses on the 73,000 convicts that landed and lived on Van Diemen's Land (now known as Tasmania) after being transported there by the British. It investigates how they lived, what they wore and other experiences.
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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Pig the Pug: Teaching Ideas

The story is about a selfish pug dog named Pig. He shares an apartment with a sausage dog called Trevor who sadly is always on the receiving end of Pig's bad temper. All Trevor wants is one toy of his own but Pig is determined that they are all his.

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