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    Christmas

    November 25th, 2010

    Reading and Fun Activities

    If your children have access to the internet at home or school, they might like to try some of these literacy activities:

    A Christmas Carol 

    Black and white front cover with main characters
    This 10-page story can be read online or it can be printed out and  made into a book.  Each page has a picture to colour.

    Anancy and the Christmas Plant

    Anancy sitting in a tree

    This is a nine-page story with colourful pictures and accompanying text.  Find out what Anancy, the spider man, decides to sell at the village market.


    Smilebox :)

    November 15th, 2010

    This weekend I discovered Smilebox!  While our children danced the night away at their matric dance, we parents (excitedly? nervously?) sat in front of our computers checking Facebook for regular uploads of photos.  In between Facebook updates (Teenagers don’t use Twitter!) I found a wonderful online photograph album, complete with turning pages and your choice of background music.  You can also create scrapbooks, recipe books, calendars, slideshows etc.  Have a look at this one I made at 2am… it was very quick and easy.

    Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook
    Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
    Personalize a scrapbook

    With plenty of year-end events coming up at school, why not put all your school photos into Smilebox and create a super-professional presentation for parents and children!


    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 4

    October 23rd, 2010

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: Have you ever played BINGO?  This is a brilliant game, enjoyed by children and adults around the world.  I have made a special version for you, using all the Level 1 key words, and with enough unique player cards for your whole class to play at once.  Use this game throughout the fourth term, for fun key word revision.  Click on the link below to print out everything you need:
    TALKING STORIES BINGO

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 1 Advanced, “In, out, over and under” continued.

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: In this week’s Talking Story we learn about adjectives.  If you have a data projector or interactive whiteboard in your classroom, you can use this super presentation as part of your lesson: ADJECTIVES

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 2 Advanced, “Big machines” continued.

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: Recycling is a topic that is addressed in this week’s Talking Story.  Have a look at this VUVUZELA RECYCLING COMPETITION.  You will find some incredible ideas for re-using these proudly South African items!  Share these innovative ideas with your children.  Then why don’t you set up your own competition in class?  Children are far more creative and inventive than the average adult… and you will be strongly re-inforcing the message of this week’s book.

    In the computer lab this week: 

    Talking Story – Level 3 Advanced, “Pick it up!” continued.


    Term 3, Week 9

    September 6th, 2010

    Did you enjoy last week’s craft activities?  If there are still some unfinished pieces of work, then take the time to finish them off this week.  Children need to feel the satisfaction that comes with the completion of a task.  This is one of the reasons why Talking Stories software comes with three short on-screen activities – even the slowest learner has the opportunity to complete at least one activity!

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: Revise Level 1, List 2 Key Words in readiness for next week’s Third Term Assessment.

    You can introduce this week’s Talking Story by making a really easy model see-saw, using a mug and a ruler.  Do your children understand what makes each side of the see-saw go up and down?  If you demonstrate this it will help your learners to understand the central theme of this week’s story.  Click on this link for your easy-peasy visual aid: Model See-Saw

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 1 Advanced, “On the see-saw”.

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Continue making elephant pegs as a craft activity in class.  Your children will love taking these home!  This week’s Talking Story will have so much more significance to them now that they have followed the same instructions as the main characters in the story.

    This week you should revise the Level 2, List 3 Key Words in readiness for next week’s Third Term Assessment. 

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 2 Intermediate, “Elephants don’t forget” continued.

    Have you ever wondered whether it’s true that elephants never forget?  Read this interesting article and share your thoughts with your class.  Perhaps your learners could try and find out more…
    Fact or fiction? Elephants never forget

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: Continue making the board games started in class last week.  Did your learners come up with some great ideas?  This week give them the opportunity to play their board games with each other.  This will lead quite naturally to a “quality-control” process, where they will find weaknesses in the games or gaps in their rules.  This in turn can be used to refine their designs and produce a final version to take home.

    This week you should revise the Level 3, List 2 Key Words in readiness for next week’s Third Term Assessment. 

    In the computer lab this week: 

    Talking Story – Level 3 Intermediate, “Snakes and ladders” continued.

    Do you have an interactive whiteboard in your class. Have a bit of fun and practice “counting on” using this cool interactive board game:
    Snakes and Ladders


    Term 3, Week 8

    August 30th, 2010

    This week we’re all doing crafts in class!  Each of the story books featured this week has a fun activity to make.  You can print it directly from the Talking Stories software.  Learning is so much more effective when children are engaged in DOING something – especially if they are having fun.  Have fun with your class this week!

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: Craft activity – continue making stick puppets.

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 1 Intermediate, “Make a stick puppet”. Continued

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Make elephant pegs as a craft activity in class.  The template can be printed from the Talking Story.

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 2 Intermediate, “Elephants don’t forget”.

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: Make a board game as a craft activity in class.  The template and instructions can be printed out from the Talking Story.

    In the computer lab this week: 

    Talking Story – Level 3 Intermediate, “Snakes and ladders”.


    Term 3, week 7

    August 25th, 2010

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: Craft activity – make stick puppets.  This is a really fun way of making this week’s Talking Story come alive in the imagination of your learners.

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 1 Intermediate, “Make a stick puppet”.

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Revise Level 2, List 3 Key Words .

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 2 Intermediate, “They are camouflaged”.

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: Revise Level 3, List 2 Key Words.

    In the computer lab this week: 

    Talking Story – Level 3 Intermediate, “Building a house”.


    Term 3, Week 5

    August 9th, 2010

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: Use personal dictionaries for revision of key words.  Also, ask children to write about their own experience of receiving a present or going to a party or special event.  Children need to learn to write down their own thoughts, and not just copy sentences from the board.  It doesn’t metter if the spelling is incorrect or if they are only just learning to build words.  “I w t the pk” is emergent writing… The child in this case is trying to write, “I went to the park.”  She has learnt to write “the” and is building other ‘words’ by using the letter sounds at the beginning and/or end.   This is excellent and should be praised!  You could extend her writing by asking her to read it back to you and then writing the sentence out for her to copy under each word. 

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 1 Intermediate, “Presents for Anna” Continued.

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Ask children to make up their own rainy day “Look and Find” activity – just like the activity in this week’s Talking Story book.  They could write their own clues on a sheet of paper and play the game with a friend.  Provide lots of unusual contexts like this for your children to write in different ways and for different reasons – a set of instructions; a story; a list; a letter; a diary – these are all interesting ways to encourage learners to write.

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 2 Intermediate, “Fun on a rainy day”.

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: Finish off the butterfly finger puppets started last week.  For those who have finished their craft activity, here’s a lovely colour-by-number butterfly

    You could also ask children to write about the lifecycle of the butterfly in their own words.  (Worksheets are useful, but they should never replace children’s own creative writing opportunities.  Learning to write your thoughts down in an orderly way, in full sentences, is an essential literacy skill.)

    In the computer lab this week: 

    Talking Story – Level 3 Intermediate, “I wish I could fly” Continued.


    Term 3, Week 4

    August 2nd, 2010

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: This week’s story is about Anna’s party.   You could have a theme about celebrations or parties - remember that some children don’t celebrate birthdays, so keep your theme broad.  Here is a lovely story about a child’s party, for you and your class to enjoy on an interactive whiteboard or computer with internet access:

    This is actually my party! 

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 1 Intermediate, “Presents for Anna”.

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week:  This week’s Talking Story is about what spiders eat.  Let’s enjoy another story about animals and their food:

    Nuts, nuts, nuts!  Click on this link to hear another Talking Story – use it on a computer or on your interactive whiteboard.

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 2 Intermediate, “I can’t eat what you eat” continued.

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: Make a butterfly finger puppet to tie in with this week’s Talking Story about the caterpillar that turned into a butterfly.  Click on this link to find out how:

    Butterfly finger puppet

    In the computer lab this week: 

    Talking Story – Level 3 Intermediate, “I wish I could fly”