Monday, 1 December 2014

Another blast from the past...this is a photo of work produced from a PSHE lesson I did with my Year 3/4s last year. It is called 'Rainbow of feelings.'

The children had to think of happy and sad times in their lives. They painted a rainbow using one colour and different shades - starting with light in the middle and getting gradually darker towards the outside of the rainbow. When dry they wrote the happy times on the lighter parts of the rainbow and then the sadder times on the darker parts of the rainbow, with the saddest time on the darkest part. This was a really useful activity to do with the children to compare their experiences in their lives so far. Very insightful into their lives and how they deal with different situations and how the different situations make them feel. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Marvellous Maths!

Here is a photo of my most recent Maths display centred around Place Value and Measure. I have included some things on my display which I will keep on there all year round as they are useful essentials which I will be referring to regularly in my teaching. Others will be taken down and replaced with other things relating to new maths units covered. 

The middle of my display was left blank deliberately to be used as a working space where current tips and steps to success could be displayed clearly. You don't have to cover all of your displays - leave some spaces blank for success tips to be displayed each lesson. I have also pinned up some of the children's extra homework they have sent in as good examples of maths homework! 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Year 5 Expectations!

It is great to start the year off with a display of your expectations of the children for the year. My display is a combination of behaviour expectations and the expectation of the presentation of their work. I have included tips and hints for both as well as including some quality examples of Year 5 work from last year to show the children what they aspire to achieve by the end of the year. Around the edge of the display I displayed some of the children's wishes about their year ahead. This serves as a little reminder about what they said at the beginning of the year they would like to achieve by the end!

You will notice on this display (and some of my others) I am starting to label things and write things up onto the display in my own handwriting. Presentation and joined up handwriting is a whole school focus for improvement and what better way for the children to learn how to write joined up than for the teacher to be modelling this every day as well as on the displays. I definitely think there is a place for typed up text and handwritten text on your displays! 

Monday, 10 November 2014

The Romans Enquiry Display

An old display from my previous school. As a class we studied the Romans. Here is a display themed around the Romans. Again you will see a KWLH grid was used to elicit the children's prior knowledge, find out what they want to know, record what they learnt and record how they did this. A useful tool to use to make your teaching and learning child centred.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Variety of Literacy displays over the years...

Here are a few photos of different Literacy displays from my classrooms over the years! All themed differently and reflecting different topics! Some a celebration of the children's work and some working walls! Please leave a comment to tell me what you think!

Descriptive Writing Display
Themed around describing the haunted house and grave yard!

Adventure Stories Display
Showing the key features of adventure stories as well as examples of adventure stories.

Literacy Working Wall
Fairy Tales and their key features + VCOP.

Magic Box Poems
Creative poems inspired by the Kit Wright poem - The Magic Box.

Diary and Letter Writing
A variety of genres of writing inspired by the book 'Friend or Foe' by Michael Morpurgo.

Spelling washing line
Hanging spelling rules on a washing line to remind children of the rules we are currently learning. Easily accessible and easily referred to in lessons.

Art through Literacy
Children explore the setting in 'Flat Stanley in Space' by creating their own art work of Planet Tyrra.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Behaviour System

I love my new school's behaviour system. We follow a warning, yellow card, red card system where the children have a verbal warning, then if their bad behaviour continues they get a yellow card, if it happens again they get a second yellow card which means time out in another classroom. If on their return their behaviour doesn't improve or for one off severe events where they break the school rules they will be given a red card. This means an extended period of time out in another class room or with a member of the senior leadership team.

I have a visual representation of this at the front of my classroom which is easily accessible and a visual reminder for the children. Each child starts the day on 'golden' as they are all golden and sparkle! They each have a name tag on golden which can then be moved down the behaviour system if needed. The children can also move back up to golden if they improve their behaviour. I love this system as the children respond really well to it, they respect it and try their hardest to move back up to golden if they have slipped down the system.

Children that finish the day on golden can be in with a chance of being awarded with a 'star of the day ticket'. These are collectable in my classroom and there is a competition to see who has won the most tickets at the end of the term/year. (I made these using a free business card provider) I have a star of the day chart where the children take a ticket for the day won and then I place a picture of them on the chart so everyone can see that week who has won a ticket! The children love this and this is a really successful positive reinforcement of behaviour you want to see in your classroom!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Progress Display

Progress and attainment - always tricky to get the children to connect with and understand it. This year I have created a 'progress' display where I will be able to visually record the children's progress in Reading, Writing and Maths in relation to 'sub-levels'. I have included 3 jumps on my display to reflect aspirational progress of 3 sub-levels progress over the year (E.g. moving from a 3b to 4b).

I have included three jumps for each subject and for each subject the children have their own name label with their starting level on at the bottom. They will be able to see their progress on the display as well as be able to tell me and other adults what their target levels are by using the progress ladder at the top. 

The children will have a greater awareness of their starting levels and their responsibility to make progress over the year. Later on in the year I will post other photos showing how the display changes over time. I intend to update the children's journey on the progress path at key assessment points throughout the year. Who will leave the year having made the most progress?

Friday, 24 October 2014

Winter Wonderland Reading Corner.

In my new school they have a reading corner competition. Each class has to design and make their own reading corner centred on their chosen theme. My class chose a Winter Wonderland theme to link to the class novel we were reading (Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe). We made snowflake bunting on with our theme title, the children painted twigs and branches white and covered them in glitter, they made snowmen and snow flakes to decorate the corner and I added inspirational reading quotes from famous authors and celebrities. On the window I put tips on how to be a good reader.

WE WON THE COMPETITION! The children were very proud with their creation!

How will you theme your reading corner?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Before and after: New school, new job, new classroom!

This year I have the pleasure of moving to a new school! I have been promoted to Year 5 and 6 Phase Leader as well as Literacy Leader for the whole school. I am now teaching Year 5 again, an age group I love!

Someone recently asked me on my blog how my classroom looked at the beginning of the year. I was asked if I put up displays or left them blank.

Here are some photos of my classroom when I arrived!


Well here is my answer!

I back all of my display boards and designate them to particular subjects. I fill the display boards with a variety of things - key information, key vocabulary and expectations of the children's work. I also have a couple of display boards filled with the children's work that they completed with me on 'going up day.' This is nice for the children to see their work on the wall in their new year group in September. Some display boards are deliberately left blank for working walls and usually Art displays which will be filled with the children's work early on in the term.

I think it is really important for the learning environment to be stimulating and inviting at the beginning of term to welcome the children back to school. It also needs to be organised! Here is a photo of how I organise the children's resources on their tables. I show them this picture at the beginning of the term to show them my expectations of keeping their table pots tidy and organised!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Crime Scene Investigation ~ Linked to The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe!

Linked to our book topic of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, I created a crime scene investigation themed lesson. I created a carousel in the classroom where the children had to look at five different pieces of evidence which could point to the possible criminal. They had to scrutinise the evidence and decide at the end which character from the novel was the criminal.

Here are some images of the resources and carousel from the lesson.

I created the image of footprints on the carpet by cutting out footprint shapes out of paper, lying them on the floor and the sprinkling talcum powder over them. Then I lifted off the paper to reveal what looked like footprints in the snow! The children really believed this! 

Here is a photo of the display I created after the lesson celebrating the children's work. From the lesson they had to write a wanted poster for the character in the story which they believed to be the criminal. On the display I included some of the evidence the children had looked at in the lesson. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe!

Here is the development of one of my displays all about our book topic - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I have attached a series of images to show how the display developed over time and what the final product looked like!

I started with backing it in a deep blue colour, putting green at the bottom for grass and then adding a black lamp-post in the middle to create a setting in the book as the background to my display.

After that I started to add some of the detail to the setting by using white paint to create the effect of snow. 

Then the children helped me to create snow flakes to add to the display.

Finally I began to add some of the children's work to finish it off. The children loved the display and enjoyed helping paint the characters to go on the main display. I also added photos from the film for the children to visualise the setting and characters in the novel.
Next to the main display I had room to showcase more of the children's work. This included setting descriptions of Narnia and cartoon scripts sequencing the main events in the story. 

This year I have used this book as the basis for my first Literacy unit in Year 5. Rather than creating a display like this, I created a working wall themed around the novel. Take a look at how different this is to my earlier display. This display included quality examples of the children's writing, photos from the film, key vocabulary cards to help their spelling and shared pieces of writing we produced as a class. I also included steps to success for punctuating speech correctly as this was one of my differentiated class targets.

There is a place for both a creative, celebratory style display as well as a working wall in your classroom. It totally depends on what your children need. 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

A tribute to Van Gogh!

We were very lucky this term to have an artist in residence working with our phase. One day when she was working with my class she decided to create a large scale 2D piece of art work which every child in the class contributed to. 

We talked about introducing a style of art to the children which was different to what they were used to and which could be built up in different layers over time.

Throughout the day the artist worked with small groups of children to create this wonderful recreation of Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. The children thoroughly enjoyed the experience and love having the finished piece up in the classroom. It has wowed many other teachers in school! 

Don't be afraid to create large whole class pieces of work as the final product is amazing! 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Learning Zones!

This is something I have trialled in my Year 3 class this year and it is fantastic! 

We call it 'The Understanding Egg!' This represents the different zones to learning within a lesson or over a topic. The middle of the egg represents confidence and full knowledge and capability. The white part represent trickyness where work may seem difficult and they need more help. The silver part represents the frying pan which is the 'panic zone'! At the beginning of the topic I tell the children the desired learning outcome (like writing their own mythical story!) and they have to write their name on a post-it and stick it in one of the learning zones. This is an excellent tool for self assessment which is very visual for the children and the teacher - immediately you can see who is panicking and who will need that extra bit of support to get going. Thoughout the lesson or topic I ask the children if they would like to move their name. The children are so good at using this as a self evaluation tool that they jump up in class and move their name without even asking! Independent learning here we come! Then at the end of the lesson or topic just before we complete the desired outcome I ask them if they would like to move their name for a final time. This is quite powerful as now we can discuss the movement in the zones and how some children are much more comfident now than they were at the beginning. 

This is a photo of my egg at different points in our literacy topic when the children at the end of the two weeks were going to write their own myth. Take a look at the movement in their names! 




Ideally we do not want any children in the panic zone, especially at the end of the unit where we are hoping they have learnt everything they need to be successful. But by picking those children up after I have marked their work to actually show how good their work was was quite powerful. One child actually said 'I didn't need to panic did I Miss?' 

Try it in your classroom and see the benefits!

Literacy Working Walls

Here are another few examples of literacy working walls in my Year 3 classroom. 

Here you will see I have included a display about 'Magpieing' - this is where the children read good quality texts, act like magpies and steal the quality vocabulary from it to use later in their own writing. They absolutely love it! This display also acts like a working wall as it changes regularly depending on what unit we are covering!