Friday, 30 May 2014

Five for Friday - Teaching Animation

Happy Friday Everyone!

I can't believe how quickly this week off school has flown by. Back to school on Monday for 38 more days...

Over the holiday I have been planning our unit of work on animation and searching for great animation lesson ideas. This was not something I was looking forward to doing but now that I have thought about it and found some great ideas, it looks like it will be fun!

My Five for Friday are some of the things I have planned for us to do each week...

We will begin our work on animation by making thaumatropes! I stumbled across the Youth Learn site which had some good information here. Our topic is Travel and Transport so we will each pick a different type of transport to animate. I've made a simple one to show them (please don't judge my drawing - it was just a quick example so they can get the idea!). When I spin it, it looks like the people are in the bus and that the bus is on the road!

We will then make flick book animations. Again, we will link this to our topic so I have made a (very) simple example of a hot air balloon either rising or landing (depending on how you flick it). I've laid it out as it would show when flicked here because I can't show it moving in a photo!

After making our flip books, we will move on to cut out animations. I haven't had a chance to make one yet but I'm thinking of one static background and a simple car moving across the page (or the sky with a plane flying across). This is a lovely animation that I will show my class:

Paper Cut Out Animation on Vimeo
I also got some good ideas and liked the clips on Moving Image Education.

Next it will be Stop Motion Animation (a great chance to watch some too!). I haven't decided yet if we will use lego, teddies or plasticine - any thoughts? This is a useful clip from BBC Learning Zone Class Clips to show the class before we get started:

BBC Learning Zone Class Clips
I do also like the idea of a huge whole class 'Art Attack' animation which I just found here.

If we have time we will also explore Pivot Stick Animator. Simon Haughton's Website (which I have used for planning other great computing lessons) has some great information about using this in the classroom. I used Pivot with much older children a couple of years ago and they loved it. I'm hoping my 6-7 year olds will be able to enjoy it too!

I'll keep you updated on how we do with these activities each week. 
(feel free to follow me for updates!)

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If you've had success teaching animation or doing any of these activities in your class, please leave a comment below - all tips and advice will be greatly appreciated!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Big Writing!


I am linking up again with Christina at Second Grade Sugar and Spice for another Wordless Wednesday.

Here is a display I used to have in my room to prompt children when writing. The spiders web was full of different connectives, the magpie was searching for different wow words and the door was surrounded with great sentence openers. Later I added different punctuation marks in stars at the top as a reminder to use more than just the basics.

My question for you is: 

What displays and prompts do you find most effective or useful when promoting great writing in your classroom?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Sunday, 25 May 2014

When the summer finally arrives...


I have this week off but then the long stretch of 7 1/2 more weeks of school awaits before the summer break begins (it's going to be a struggle!). I was reading Mrs Jump's Class Blog and it got me thinking of the things I would like to do once the summer finally arrives...

1. Box Sets: I love getting involved in a great box set or a series on Netflix. I have some waiting to be watched and it'll be great to have the time and not feel guilty because I should be working! I have House of Cards and The Newsroom lined up. What are your favourites?

2. Gardening: My poor old garden is in a real state. I hope to make a start and tame the grass during this week off school but it needs a lot more TLC. Sadly, this garden is not mine but one I liked at Hampton Court Garden Show last year and aspire to!

3. Sorting out: I HATE mail. I never know what to do with it and it piles up everywhere. Then, when I am clearing up for visitors, I am guilty of taking those piles and putting them in drawers so they are out of sight! My shameful secret... I must go through it all and get it sorted. Anyone else guilty of hiding things in cupboards or drawers instead of dealing with them?!

4. Be Healthy: No excuses during the holidays - I will get to some exercise classes!

5. Decorating: I have been promising myself a new bedroom for ages now. I want to paint/wallpaper, get new furniture and accessories and finally get some curtains (I have blinds at the moment and the sun wakes me up far earlier than I would like at weekends and during the holidays!). Here is a bedroom I would love. So pretty.

6. Sleep in: This has to be the number one priority in the holidays. When I get my curtains, this will be much easier. Late nights reading and watching TV and late mornings sleeping in my newly decorated bedroom... Bliss!

7. Bruges: I hope to get away for a long weekend and explore this lovely city.

8. TpT store: I am pretty new to this and hope to have the time to create some great new resources for my class and my TpT store

9. Sewing: I got myself a sewing machine and started learning to sew about 2 years ago. I've been neglecting it recently and really want to get back into it. Making some new notebook covers for school and a few cushions for my classroom will be my starting point!

10. Reading: Like most other teachers, I really hope to find the time to read some non school based books over the summer. My new years resolution was to read more (and a wider variety) books and I haven't done as well as I would like sticking to that so far. Any recommendations?

Enjoy your holidays whenever they may start!

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Saturday, 24 May 2014

Five for Friday - Going Green!

Happy Friday Everyone!

So glad the half term has finally come. A lovely week off to sleep (and write reports...)!

I'm looking forward to our plants unit of work when we get back to school and have been searching Pinterest for ideas. There are so many out there! If you click on the images it should lead you to the original source.

My Five for Friday are some of the ideas I hope to try out...

Growing new plants from kitchen scraps 
I am always meaning to try out some of these ideas but never seem to get round to it. I think the kids would find it facinating. Let me know if you have had success with any of these in particular!

Glove garden

I love this idea. I can't find the original source so please let me know if you do so I can give proper credit. I think these will look great hanging on the classroom window so the parents can see what we are doing in class too!

Grass seeds in a cd case

We could make great detailed observational drawings using this. So simple!

Cress heads

Always a favourite for the kids to take home!

Leaf art animals

So clever. There are lots of different animals on the site (the elephant is very cute too!). Will make a lovely arty addition to our plants display.

That's my Five for Friday! If you have any other great ideas for our plant unit or if you have tried some of these and have some advice, then please leave a comment below.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Wordless Wednesday


Thank you Christina at Sugar and Spice!

I LOVE The Literacy Shed for great animations to get the kids talking and writing in my classroom. It's perfect for Big Writing prompts on a Friday! This animation is called 'Don't Go' and it is wordless!

This is in the Great Animations Shed. Just scroll down a little to watch it.
My question for you is:

How would YOU use this animation in your classroom? What would you get your class talking or writing about?

Have a good week!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Back to basics with addition and subtraction

I've taught my class to add and subtract using lots of different strategies throughout the year but still felt there were some children who didn't have one completely secure strategy for solving addition and subtraction problems.

I decided to go right back to basics and make sure that we could all add using the dienes equipment and that everyone felt really secure using this. I think I am guilty (having moved from teaching 10-11 year olds to 6-7 year olds) of assuming the children know how to use the maths equipment I give them and don't actually teach them how to use it sometimes!

I made some Tens and Units (or Tens and Ones) frames to use (see my freebies section) and off we went...

I started off by modelling how to play a simple 'build it' game using the visualiser. They rolled the dice to generate numbers to add and aimed for different totals depending on how confident they were. Some used 0-9 dice and just added ones each time and others used the place value dice to add bigger numbers. They loved making this a game by winning if they were the one to roll the number that hit (or took them over) their target number!

I kept stopping them to model again and pulled groups or pairs who were struggling to work with me using the magnetic dienes on my flipchart.

Once they were feeling more confident we moved on to recording addition problems (from addition and subtraction question cards). I had 4 different levels of addition cards hanging in colourful bags at the front of the class (they love choosing their own questions). I guided some to certain bags to challenge or support, but let other choose depending on how confident they felt.


I was really happy with how everyone finally got it and were talking about what they were doing when they rolled a number that meant they tipped into the next ten!

We then moved on to subtraction and started in the same way but playing the game 'demolish it' this time. They started with 30 and rolled the dice to see how many they had to take away. While they certainly enjoyed the game and keeping score of who was the winner (whoever rolled the number that meant they had 0 left), some definitely did not get it and seemed to alternate adding and subtracting! Lots more practice needed there...

Friday, 16 May 2014

Non Fiction Explorers

We've done plenty of work on non fiction texts this year - looking at them in guided reading sessions and writing information texts, non chronological reports, instructions, recounts etc. 

I just wanted to check if some of my class could remember and recognise the main features when looking at non fiction books. I stumbled across this free resource on TpT and it was just what I needed.

I declared us Non Fiction Explorers and we started by matching the feature picture and name together:

Next I gave them the scavenger hunt sheet. Some looked at books from the library and other looked at big books on the carpet with me. They chose a book and ticked off the features as they spotted them. I had some of them use sticky notes to draw arrows to and label the features so I could be sure they were really spotting them and were getting it right (and were not just ticking them off without actually finding them).

The big books in school just seem to gather dust these days as texts are so easily available and shared online and on the IWB. I've realised they are perfect for guided reading though and that the kids loved having them out on the carpet and sharing them together. They'll definitely be featuring in my guided reading sessions for independent work more often now.

Once they were done finding the features they read in pairs and recorded interesting facts ready to share with the rest of the class at the end of the lesson. I learned at lot during that time...

Did you know that foxes have whiskers on their legs as well as their faces, which they use to help them find their way? And that astronauts can see the Great Barrier Reef from space? My class thought these facts were amazing!