Little Miss Teacher Blog

By Clara Fiorentini

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Hang tight! Weekend is in sight!

Hello one & all!!

Apologies for the total lack of posts this week but I have just been beyond busy!  The week before a break is always bananas anyway, so time to blog was virtually non-existent! We are off next week....are you? I seriously need to reboot my system over the next week....I KNOW it's only been four weeks since the Easter break yet I am zonked!?!?

Here's a little snoop at some of the things we've been up to this week!

Since Easter my class have been deep in learning how to add. I just love when you see them take off with a topic, and have that proud teacher moment when they finally 'get it'! My little ones are so chuffed with themselves! I find that the textbooks are a bit yawn when it comes to adding....like adding is one of the main concepts they learn in Junior Infants and there's only about 5 pages on it! I have a variety of my own worksheets that I like to use instead and I make up little adding books for them. I'm going to give away a few next week so stay tuned for that.
As adding is the big deal in our class at the moment, one of our 'early finisher' activities are these lovely adding worksheets from Twinkl. I laminated a whole variety them so the children can re-use them, They love them - any excuse to use the whiteboard markers! Twinkl have heaps of adding resources....and with the colour printer they really are nice!


Another early finishing activity is our 1-20 jigsaw. My class are obsessed with counting at the minute and they love getting to work on this. Some like to do it in pairs, some are determined to do it all by themselves. I've some packs made up that just go up to 5 and 10, so everyone gets a taste for success at maths! Again, this can be found on Twinkl!


Also to tie in with our Spring theme, I love these pattern picture activities. The children really enjoyed them....they tested their scissor skills, sticking, counting and pattern recognition. Kept them busy! 
 

 

Lastly, we have a few maths games we use each week. I try to change it up every week so they don't get bored of the same old activities...I have a box brimming with folders of little maths games and I'm constantly adding to it. These are this week's maths games (from Sparklebox). We play them in pairs at the end of Maths lessons a few times a week and I also like to send them home as a fun homework activity too. Counting, fun & team work all in one! Easy peasy!

 


If you're off next week or even just for the bank holiday, enjoy the break....you know you've earned it!!






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Monday, 18 April 2016

Mad for Maths!

Hello, hello!

Monday again, and a busy one it was too! I do like to do Maths Monday in my classroom....a little attempt to bring a little more maths to our day..... and why not bring it to the blog too!?!


I've had various queries about how I promote numeracy in my infant classroom....and my honest answer is always: "Make it fun!" If it isn't enjoyable, then what's the point??
 I was always good at Maths in primary school and I always enjoyed it until I hit fourth class and I remember facing long division and 'the circle'..... YAWN!!! From then, right through secondary school I had very little interest in Maths. It didn't trouble me too much...it just bored me!  Sin, Cos, Tan....zzzzzzzzz!! All those buttons on the calculators? What did they even do?! I went through secondary school never even seeing a picture of all those theorems we were supposed to understand! Sure, some maths need to be practiced over and over but dear god surely it should be enjoyable? It was only when I started teaching that I fell back in love with Maths.....and realised that it is SO easy to make it fun!!

It's so easy to incorporate games into Maths...especially in Primary School. Spare your students death by textbook boredom. Stimulate their maths skills with games, activities and whole class tasks to help them envisage maths as something other than numbers on a page.

Since Easter, we've been working on addition, so here are some techniques we've been using as part of Maths to make it interesting and help the little ones envisage what exactly the process of adding is!


 
These are little Maths adding cards from Sparklebox. I punched a hole under the numbers so the children can attach links to help them calculate the answers.

The adding machine always words a treat! It is a novelty to use and the children can literally see the parts of the sums.

 
I love the Ready Set Go Maths for dipping in and out of for activities. Ladybirds are a great way of bringing addition to life. I write sums in whiteboard marker on the laminated ladybirds and the children add the spots. Simple!



I like to send games home too. This is by far the most popular one I send home with the kiddos. This tower game means that the children need a partner like a parent or a sibling to play with. Roll the dice, count and build your tower. The person with the biggest at the end, wins. Who doesn't love a little competition?



Here is my supply of Maths games. Many are from Sparklebox & Twinkl. Laminated, labeled and stored in individual zippy folders. The more the merrier! If only I could organise my bedroom this well!

 
Here's another adding activity we began using today! Clothes pegs and numbered clothes. They loved it! 


Obviously we need to practice our counting everyday so we make it a nice physical challenge too! Movement break and counting combined with our Action Counting. I've had these for a few years but I'm pretty sure I got them from Sparklebox!


Obviously number recognition is a big thing for Juniors.....especially when I find more and more coming to school with no concept of numbers at all. This 'hidden number' activity is very popular in our class. 


Well that was another little snapshot from my room, hope it was helpful!





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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Crazy for Caterpillars & Bonkers for Butterflies!

Hello one & all!!
Today was a hectic day...topped off with a long Croke Park hour evening! But fear not, I still have energy to post this evenings update as promised! Even though I was missing 6 kids today, we were still super busy! I haven't had a full class since the Easter break....which is sooooo frustrating when you have content you want to cover in a certain time frame! I blame the weather....there are so many splutters and sniffles at the minute, I actually don't know how I'm still alive! I wish our weather system would make up it's mind and decide if it is supposed to be Spring or mid Winter!!

Anyway, whether Spring has officially kicked in or not, we're powering through and we've been deep in Spring learning!

Since coming back after Easter, we've gone caterpillar and butterfly mad! I love this time of year and I LOVE 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'. It never gets boring. The teaching that stems from this delicious little story is endless!!


 Here's our Very Hungry Caterpillar Hat. It's rough and ready but a great incentive for good behaviour, because one lucky student gets to wear it during reading. Who knew a few bits of card could cause such excitement??














Our wall display...it's still a work in progress as we're adding to it most days!



Our book selection on display for all to examine and explore. Another nice incentive and activity for our early finishers.

A phonics activity at the moment is matching the magnetic letters to these picture cards. We're busy blending at the moment....these are obviously difficult words but the children are recognising them now because we're using the story so much.


We're recording our own little versions of the stories in these little mini books. The children are enjoying filling in each page with a number and pictures of each of the Hungry Caterpillar's meals!


This little guy is helping us with our prepositions! He's creeping all around our classroom! Today he was 'under' the library...who knows where he'll be tomorrow!


 Lifecyle - nothing new here! Just some cutting and sticking which they love! Posters are from Sparklebox.
  

Adding is our latest topic in Maths. It's a tricky one for many infants but the Hungry Caterpillar is a great story to use for making adding a little more exciting! We've been adding, matching, sorting and working on our number formation. I got these little maths booklets from Twinkl:

 


   
Colouring the correct amount of caterpillar body parts! These are my own worksheets.
Below are some differentiated activities from Twinkl.

  


We've been doing lots of Art too! I love art and so do my Juniors! They just love been let loose with it and I like letting them go for it.....after a while in infants you really do stop being up tight about 'mess'!  As Pablo Picasso said "Every child is an artist!"

  

 
"If you could be a butterfly, what would you look like?" 
I just love how I can see each of my little Juniors personalities in these!! 

 
Honestly, I thought this might be too tricky for my little ones, but they surprised me! These turned out great...I'll post some coloured ones tomorrow!

These are my favourite....our very own Hungry Cattepillars! We painted these using balloons! They're so easy to do and the children just loved the novelty of dipping balloons into paint! Legs were added with a sponge when the bodies dried!
                                      

This is a brief insight into what we've been up to so far on this theme....and there's plenty more to come! If you want to see some of they rhymes and songs I'm using this month, you'll find them in one of my previous posts!

Here's a song we did today however that the little ones LOVED!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-gNaNOWdg8

I'm going to sign off now before I babble on about caterpillars any further!

Let me know what you think!


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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Hanging out at the Hairdressers!

Hello everyone!

Don't you just love when your class are genuinely delighted with something novel or new before their little eyes? Well, that's the exact situation I had on my hands this morning when I introduced our latest role play area....The Hairdressers! You really know their imaginations are working when they can overlook a big cardboard box and their kitchen with a few new tweaks!

 
So before anyone can get stuck into styling, they have to sort out their appointments! Discreet writing practice!

  
Our waiting area!


Many oohs and ahhs came from this...our little kitchen ''transformed'' into the hairdressers sink area!
We have our hose at the sink for rinsing the customers' hair.....the pipe was another fab find from www.recreate.ie!

Our towels are stacked and ready for use!

Our styling stations were ready and waiting with our hairdryers, capes, spritz bottles, mirrors & flashcards. The children especially loved the diamond stickers around the mirrors...they're hard to see in this picture but they add a little pzazz to the cardboard background! Oh and to some of your teacher-eyes, my Twinkly flashcards may  look slightly to the wonky side...but I like to let the children help with setting up our areas! 


Our selection of styles available are from Twinkl. The children have to choose a style at the beginning of their appointment. Great for blending and letter recognition!

A role play area in our class wouldn't be complete without a Twinkl banner!

In the meantime, while waiting on their turn at the Hairdressers, the Creative Station were busy making heads with hair & expressions! 

Check out the mohawk on this child's creation!


 
 

The playdough station were busy making people and giving them funky hairstyles with feathers, gems, pipe-cleaners and straws!

It's going to be a fun month with the Hairdressers and all the great activities that stem from this theme! I'll keep you all posted!



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