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    Term 4, Week 7

    November 7th, 2010

    All Levels

    Over the past two weeks you have assessed your learners’ ability to read key words.  Now you need to communicate this information!  Send a copy of the assessment sheet home so that parents can encourage and help their children further.  Also remember to file a copy for each child so that next year’s teacher will know where to start with each one.

     Level 1

    In the classroom this week: This week’s Talking Story is all about exercise.  Physical activity gets our hearts beating faster and oxygen pumping through our brains.  This helps to give children more energy and keeps them more alert during lessons.  Many schools do not give enough attention to P.E. and games.  You don’t need special equipment or training.  Think about the games you played as a child.  Did you play Stuck-in-the-Mud or Open Gate or Tag or Hide-and-Seek?  I still see children playing “Elastics” and skipping and Hop-Scotch in the same way that I did at primary school.  Some people believe that playing these games is a waste of precious teaching time… But try it for yourself and see how much more focused the children are when they have had a chance to expend energy in a fun way.  They also learn to take turns, to co-operate as a team, to win and lose graciously, to support and encourage each other and to have fun!

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 1 Advanced, “Bend and stretch”.

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Print out the classroom activity – It has the template for the spider in the Talking Story.  Your kids will have a lot of fun cutting this out and following the pictorial instructions for assembling their bouncing spiders!

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 2 Advanced, “Let’s make a spider”

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: The printable classroom activity contains a template and instructions for making the Climbing Clown that the Talking Story is based on.  This clown really does climb up the string!  Try it and see for yourself!

    In the computer lab this week: 

    Talking Story – Level 3 Advanced, “Make a climbing clown”.


    Term 4, Week 2

    October 10th, 2010

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: Learn to read this term’s key words. 

    Don’t forget to keep revising alphabet sounds for those children who haven’t yet mastered these.  Here’s a LOTTO GAME you can print out and play with your children.  Make enough copies for everyone to have their own sheet Then play in groups.  It’s a great way for little ones to practice matching and saying alphabet sounds.

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 1 Advanced, “The beetle and the butterfly” continued.

    This week’s talking story is about two tiny animals.  See if you can name all the animals in this activity: Animal Names
    Drag the name onto the picture.  If you get it right, the name will turn green.

    The theme of our Talking Story this week is that we can all do something well.  Here is another Talking Story with the same theme:
    I Can Do That, Said Jack  Use it for whole class story time – with computer, data projector or interactive whiteboard.

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: If you have an interactive whiteboard, then use the video below to reinforce alphabet sounds this week.  Your children will love to sing along!  This week you should also carefully work through this term’s new key words with your children.  Ensure they are learning to read them at home too!

     

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 2 Advanced, “Lost!” continued.

    Here’s another interactive story about getting lost:
    THE LOST CYGNET
    And here’s some useful practical advice to share with your class:
    WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET LOST

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: This week you need to go through all of this term’s key words with your class.  Also, start making a weather chart, to tie in with your Talking Story.  You will find an excellent template in the printable activity that comes with the Talking Story.

    In the computer lab this week: 

    Talking Story – Level 3 Advanced, “Weather”. Continued.

    Here’s another great interactive weather story to enjoy.  It’s particularly good to use on an interactive whiteboard, where children can join in…. But it can be used on any other computer too:
    WEATHER STORY


    Term 4, Week 1

    October 6th, 2010

    The fourth term rushes by in a blur of assessments, report-writing and end-of-year events and parties.  But don’t forget we still have two months’ worth of wonderful Talking Stories and great learning activities. 

    This week, send home the key word assessments that you did with your children at the end of last term.  This keeps parents up to date with their children’s progress and shows them what revision is needed this term.

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: Send home Grade 1, Term 4 letter. Send home key word assessment from the end of last term. Send home Level 1, List 3 key words for this term.

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 1 Advanced, “The beetle and the butterfly”.

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Send home Grade 2, Term 4 letter. Send home key word assessment from the end of last term. Send home Level 2, List 4 key words for this term. (2 pages)

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 2 Advanced, “Lost!”.

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: Send home Grade 3, Term 4 letter. Send home key word assessment from the end of last term. Send home Level 3, List 3 key words for this term. (2 pages)

    In the computer lab this week: 

    Talking Story – Level 3 Advanced, “Weather”.


    Invitation: Talking Stories at Cape Town Book Fair

    July 19th, 2010


    Term 3, Week 1

    July 7th, 2010

    We’re back at school after the looong winter holiday.  Don’t take a few weeks to gear up – get off to a cracking start!  Your children are well rested and ready to learn.  Take full advantage of this first week and capitalise on your children’s eagerness.

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: Send home the following information:

    1. Grade1 Term3 Letter to Parents 
    2. Level 1, List 2 Key Words 
    3. Individual assessment of key words from the end of Term 2

    Read the parent letter carefully before sending it.  You may want to make a few changes to individualise it.  You could also copy and paste it onto your school letterhead. 

    You are also sending home the second list of key words that Grade 1 children should learn.  If you have systematically followed the Talking Stories blog advice, then by now you will be delighted with the progress your Grade 1 children are making!  This term you should continue sending home Talking Stories reading books for children to enjoy with their families each week.

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 1 Intermediate, “Bath time”.

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Send home the following information:

    1. Grade2 Term3 Letter to Parents
    2. Level 2, List 3 Key Words
    3. Individual key word assessment from the end of Term 2

    By sending home a copy of their child’s assessment sheet you are providing clear information on individual progress.  This also enables parents to give focussed help to their children where necessary.

    You are also sending home the third set of key words that Grade 2 children should learn.  Remember to keep sending home a reading book each week this term.

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 2 Core, “The sweet machine”

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: Send home the following information:

    1. Grade3 Term3 Letter to Parents
    2. Level 3, List 2 Key Words (2 pages)
    3. Individual key word assessment from the end of Term 2

    Your children should be able to read quite confidently by now.  Strengthen their LOVE of reading this term.  Encourage them to visit the local library, and remember to keep sending home a reading book each week this term!

    In the computer lab this week: 

    Talking Story – Level 3 Core, “Chickenpox”


    Ohhh ohhh ohhh oh oh…. (Football World Cup 2010 Resources #6)

    June 13th, 2010

    Have you been singing that song?  Here’s the full version, before Coca Cola made it into an advert.  Enjoy it with your kids!


    Term 2, Week 1

    April 15th, 2010

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: Communication with parents is the key theme for this week.  Send home the following information this Friday:

    1. Grade1 Term 2 Letter to parents + Jolly Phonics Sheet
    2. Key Words, Level 1, List 1 
    3. Individual alphabet assessment from the end of Term 1

    Read the parent letter carefully before sending it.  You may want to make a few changes to individualise it.  You could also copy and paste it onto your school letterhead.  The letter tells parents that you have covered the alphabet in Term 1 and assessed which letter sounds each child can recognise.  You are attaching this assessment and the Jolly Phonics sheet so that parents can help their children with the letter sounds that they didn’t know.

    You are also sending home the first list of key words that Grade 1 children should learn, now that they know the alphabet.  We’re making fabulous progress on the road to reading success!  This term you should begin sending home the Talking Stories reading books for children to enjoy with their parents.

    In the computer lab this week: Revise computer lab rules and the procedures for logging on and opening Talking Stories.  Let children choose their favourite story from last term.

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Focus on strengthening parental involvement in children’s learning.  Do you have parent interviews at the beginning of term?  Use the opportunity to talk about developing a culture of reading in the home.  Send home the following information this Friday:

    1. Grade2 Term 2 Letter to Parents
    2. Key Words, Level 2, List 2 
    3. Individual key word assessment from the end of Term 1

    The letter reminds parents that you have now revised and assessed all the Grade 1 high frequency words as well as learnt the first set of Grade 2 words.  By sending home a copy of their child’s assessment sheet you are providing clear information on individual progress.

    You are also sending home the next set of key words that Grade 2 children should learn.  This term you should see real progress in reading.  Keep up the good work – don’t let the pace slip at this crucial stage!  Send reading books home each week to encourage parental involvement and a love of reading.

    In the computer lab this week: Revise computer lab rules and the procedures for logging on and opening Talking Stories.  Let children choose their favourite story from last term.

     Level 3

    In the classroom this week:  This is the week for clear communication with parents.  Send home the following information this Friday:

    1. Grade3 Term 2, Letter to Parents
    2. Key Words, Level 3, List 1 
    3. Individual key word assessment from the end of Term 1

    Each week send home Talking Stories reading books for children to share with their families.  It is SO important for children to have access to reading material outside of the classroom.  Encourage parents to join a library and to read themselves!

    In the computer lab this week: Revise computer lab rules and the procedures for logging on and opening Talking Stories.  Let children choose their favourite story from last term.


    What’s the most important success factor in education?

    March 25th, 2010

    Research shows that parental interest in their child’s education is the single most powerful predictor of achievement at age 16.
    Tony Richardson, Executive Director, Strategy and Communications, Becta

    Tomorrow the South African school holidays will start.  How can you encourage parents to play a more active role in the lives of their children over the coming weeks? 

    Here are ten ideas to get you started:

    1. Go to the beach or dam or climb a mountain or go for a long walk in a beautiful place.  This won’t cost much, it’s healthy and it gives time for meandering conversations.  You will learn what’s on your child’s mind and have unpressured time to share thoughts and ideas.
    2. Visit your local library together, each take out a book and read it!  It’s important for children to see their parents reading as this provides a model for them to follow.
    3. Switch the TV off for one evening.  Let your child choose how to spend the time together.
    4. Play a board game or a card game together. 
    5. Draw or paint a picture at the same time as your child is drawing or painting.  Sit at a table together.  This is surprisingly relaxing and fun!
    6. Cook or bake together or plant some seeds together.
    7. Go to the local park and kick a ball around or play on the swings!  Buy an ice cream.
    8. Use your cell phone to have a text conversation with your child.  You may be surprised at how different this is from a normal conversation.  Children  and teenagers often use text messaging confidently and express themselves better using this medium.
    9. If you have bicycles, don’t leave them rusting away… Go for a bike ride together.
    10. Have a treasure hunt.  Hide a small item and then write lots of little clues that will have your child scurrying from one place to the next before finally finding the treasure.

    What else can parents do this holiday?  Add your own ideas.  Print these suggestions and send them home with your end-of-term letter or school reports.