Random Post: Term 1, Week 6
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    Term 4, Week 6

    November 1st, 2010

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: Continue with the assessments started last week. 

    If you have an interactive whiteboard in your classroom then you can enjoy this online talking story about bugs – it ties in nicely with this week’s theme story about “Goggas”: BUG BUZZ

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 1 Advanced, “Goggas” continued.

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Continue with the assessments started last week. 

    If you have an interactive whiteboard in your classroom then here is a super online talking story in keeping with this week’s theme of maps:
    THE TREASURE MAP

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 2 Advanced, “Maps” continued.

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: Activity 2 of this week’s Talking Story focuses on alphabetical order.  This is an important concept for children to learn.  Here are more activities you can use to re-inforce this:
    INTERACTIVE ABC ORDER – easy
    WHAT’S THE MISSING LETTER? - a bit harder
    DRAG AND DROP WORD ORDER – good for use on an interactive whiteboard
    WORKSHEET 1
    WORKSHEET 2
    WORKSHEET 3 - difficult

    In the computer lab this week: 

    Talking Story – Level 3 Advanced, “The flood” continued.


    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 2, Week 8

    May 31st, 2010

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: Have some fun with goal-scoring word-building on your interactive whiteboard or on any computer.  Children need to build simple three-letter words to score a goal:
    IT’S A GOAL!

    In the computer lab this week:


    Talking Story – Level 1 Core, “Sizwe’s new clothes.”

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Revise alphabetical order, using the letter NAMES.  Here’s a game to help you do this on an interactive whiteboard or classroom computer:
    ABC ORDER

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 2 Core, “New clothes for the scarecrow”.

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: Have fun building words using the
    WORDBLENDER GAME.
    This game will help learners to think about:

  • consonants and consonant clusters at the start and end of words
  • medial short and long vowel sounds
    The game can be played at three different levels of activity.  Use your interactive whiteboard, or any classroom computer.
  • In the computer lab this week: 

    Talking Story – Level 3 Core, “Lindiwe’s baby”.


    Term 2, Week 6

    May 16th, 2010

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: Re-assess alphabet sounds for every child.  Use the same Alphabet Assessment Sheet that you used before – just add a new date and remember to assess ALL the sounds, even the ones that were recognised last time.  Sometimes children forget!  Send home a copy of the assessment.  It’s important that you and the parents know which children have not yet mastered the alphabet.  NO CHILD WILL MAKE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS IN READING UNTIL THEY HAVE LEARNT TO SOUND OUT EVERY LETTER OF THE ALPHABET.

    Here’s an excellent PowerPoint presentation you can use to revise initial sounds using your interactive whiteboard:
    Initial Sounds

    This week’s Talking Story focuses on all the things that one small child is learning to do.  You can make your own I am special book in class.  Click on the link to download the lovely photocopiable sheets. 

    In the computer lab this week:


    Talking Story – Level 1 Core, “I can jump”

    This story is about things we can do.  One of the activities is about rhyming words.  You can teach more about rhyming words using this animated poem about a king who loved to have butter for his bread.  It is written by A A Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh.  I think you and your class will find it very funny!
    The King’s Breakfast

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: This week’s Talking Story is about animals and where they live.  One of the activities helps children to recognise rhyming words.  Why not take this further by playing this beautiful video of that famous animal poem, The Owl and the Pussycat.  This works particularly well on an interactive whiteboard.

    Here is a worksheet you can use:
    Animal Homes
    Here is a printable book:
    Animal Moms and Babies

    In the computer lab this week:


    Talking Story – Level 2 Beginner, “Can fish live in the desert?”

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: This week’s Talking Story is about a country hen who takes a trip to the city.  Here is another animated story about the same theme.  It is particularly suited for using on an interactive whiteboard:
    Country mouse and city mouse
    Follow-up worksheet comparing and contrasting country and city life

    In the computer lab this week: 


    Talking Story – Level 3 Core, “Helga goes to the city”

    Helga goes on a big adventure when she takes a trip to the city.  Here’s another story on a similar theme:
    Teddy’s Adventure
    Use it as an extension activity in the computer lab or play it on your interactive whiteboard at story time.


    Term 1, Week 10

    March 13th, 2010

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: Did you complete your alphabet assessments last week?  By the end of Grade 1, Term 1 your children should have covered the entire alphabet, and a good number of them should be fairly secure in their alphabet knowledge.  It’s crucial to let parents know which sounds their children have not mastered.  Parents want their children to succeed.  Enlist their help with the alphabet. 

    Download this ALPHABET FRIEZE that you can print out and stick on the wall in your classroom.  (Scroll down the page to find the alphabet frieze.  Have a look at the other resources too!)

    Play the game ALPHABET BEAR CHARLIE when you have a few minutes for revision at the end of the day.

    You can make your own set of ALPHABET LOTTO to play in class.  Make one set for every four children.  (There are four lotto sheets to print out and four sets of letters to be cut up individually.)  Four children sit in a circle on the floor.  Each one has a lotto sheet.  All the individual letter cards are placed face down on the floor.  Each child has a turn to pick up an individual letter card and check whether it matches one of the letters on their lotto sheet.  If it does, they place it on the letter on their sheet.  If not they return the card to the middle, face down.  The winner is the first child to complete their lotto sheet.  Have fun!  Kids love this game.

    If you have an interactive whiteboard you can read the story of THE GINGERBREAD MAN to your class.  This story does not have sound, but does have beautiful pictures.  Enjoy it in a quiet moment at the end of the morning.

    In the computer lab this week:

     Continue: Talking Story - Level 1 Beginner, “Can you help me?”

    Here’s another interactive resource you can use for alphabet revision.  Children can use this independently in the computer lab or as a classroom activity on the interactive whiteboard… It even has the sign language alphabet!
    ALPHABET PRACTICE

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Did you complete all your assessments last week?  Regular, individual assessment is vital because it tells you where each child is at, and this helps to guide you in what to teach next.  We could call it the “PLANNING AND ASSESSMENT CYCLE”.  Good assessment informs your planning of the next lesson – if your children can do something you move on; if assessment shows you that most haven’t grasped the concept, you repeat, but try to teach the concept in a different way.

    Do you need to revise initial sounds?  Here’s a terrific, interactive PowerPoint presentation contributed by Tina Godden.  It’s quite big (1.3Mb) so download it once and save it (Common on K in a Khanya school).  This is particularly fun to use on an interactive whiteboard.  Children can take turns to choose the correct letter and click on it.  Download here: Initial Sounds

    If you have an interactive whiteboard in your classroom then give your children a treat and play the story of  HOW MONA LISA GOT HER SMILE.  It ties in nicely with this week’s Talking Story, focusing on smiles and feet – very important features of our bodies!  I think it will bring a smile to your face too!

    In the computer lab this week:

    Continue: Talking Story – Level 2 Beginner, “This is my body.”

    Here’s a terrific game to play about PARTS OF THE BODY.  Children are given a clue and need to spell the correct body part…. Too many mistakes and the poor monkey will get squashed!!

    Cut out and MAKE YOUR OWN SKELETON.
    Then learn to sing the SCARY SKELETON SONG!
    Finally, you can PRINT A SKELETON WORKSHEET.

     Level 3

    In the classroom this week:  We continue with the assessment of key words.  I hope you found a parent helper to assist you in this time-consuming but really important task.  Last week you assessed all the Level 1 key words.  This week you need to assess the Level 2 key words.  Children should know these words in order to read adequately at Level 3.
    Key Words Assessment Level 2 Lists 1-4 

    If some of your children are not able to read the key words, this means they have not mastered their alphabet sounds.  Use the Level 1 and 2 alphabet revision activities above.  The children will not move forward in their reading until they know their alphabet sounds. 

    This week’s Talking Story is about a boy who grows vegetables.  Want some more on this theme?  Here’s a story about a little old man and a little old woman who grew some vegetables.  Use this as an extension activity in the computer lab or play it on your interactive whiteboard at story time:
    THE ENORMOUS TURNIP

    In the computer lab this week:  

    Continue: Talking Story – Level 3 Beginner, “A surprise for Daniel.”

    If you enjoyed the jokes in this Talking Story, here are some more JOKES FOR KIDS!

    Daniel was learning to plant vegetables.  Here are a couple of short activities to help you find out more about plants:
    Learn to label the PARTS OF A PLANT.
    Find out WHAT PLANTS NEED in order to live and thrive.


    Term 1, Week 9

    March 7th, 2010

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week it’s assessment time! 
    This week you are going to check whether your children know all the alphabet sounds that you have covered this term.  Download the assessment sheet here:
    Alphabet Sounds Assessment
    Work one-to-one with each child and tick every alphabet sound that they recognise.  Send a copy of the assessment home, so that parents can help their children with those sounds not recognised.

    Keep this assessment sheet safely filed in your classroom.  At the end of term 2 and term 3, use the same sheet again.  Instead of ticks, use circles and then crosses on the different dates.  This will help you to keep track of progress throughout the year.

    In the computer lab this week:

     Talking Story - Level 1 Beginner, “Can you help me?”

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Assessment week is here!  Did you remember to recruit a parent helper to assist you in this very important task?  Download the key words assessment sheet here:
    Key words Assessment Level 1 lists 1-3 
    The only way to do this assessment effectively is by sitting quietly with each learner, one at a time, and ticking off the words as they read them.  It takes a long time, and that is why I recommended that you get a parent to help you.  It is extremely important to send home a copy of the assessment sheet.  Parents need to know exactly how much help their children still need in recognising these high frequency words.  If you do this well, you will be building an excellent foundation for reading progress.

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 2 Beginner, “This is my body.”

     Level 3

    In the classroom this week:  It’s assessment time for Grade 3s as well!  This week you will do the first Key Word Assessment checklist.  It’s the same as the one used in Level 2 this week, so you can download the assessment sheet from Level 2, above.  This should be mainly revision.  Next week we will assess more of the revision key words.  Let’s be sure your children are up to speed with the alphabet, as well as the level 1 and 2 key words, before we launch into the key words for level 3!

    In the computer lab this week:  

    Talking Story – Level 3 Beginner, “A surprise for Daniel.”


    Reading Game #3

    March 7th, 2010

    More fun for early readers:

    3. Sounds Scrapbook

    Write a letter at the top of each page of a scrapbook. Concentrating on a few letters at a time collect pictures of objects that begin with those letters. Do not use as examples words where the first sound does not make its normal sound such as in giraffe, ship, cheese, thumb. Stick the pictures on the appropriate pages.

    Scrapbook

    (This resource comes from the Topmarks website.)


    Seven years in school and still can’t read!

    February 21st, 2010

     A few days ago I was asked to visit a South African high school to help teachers with some strategies to improve reading levels.  I was shocked to discover that between 10 and 20% of children entering that high school cannot read a single word.  A further 60% of these learners were reading at a very weak level.  This is an ordinary school.  I had just spent 15 minutes chatting with a lively class of Grade 10s – ordinary, intelligent kids.  How is this possible?

    We cannot blame the poor teachers for all the ills of society.  Socio-economic status and parental involvement are the two greatest indicators for academic performance in learners.  But this should spur us on to do whatever we can to help these kids overcome barriers and difficult circumstances.  Every child matters!

    So let’s start in the Foundation Phase.  I have heard and read about many different methods of teaching children to read and write.  There is no shortage of experts telling us how to do it!  Sometimes it can get quite confusing trying to apply different methods or follow the latest trend.

    Essentially, teaching someone to read is not difficult!  For a moment, just think about how you would teach reading if you were on a desert island without resources.  Where would you start?  What would you do next?  Sometimes we get so caught up with our methods and documentation that we can overlook the obvious…

    Start with the alphabet…. sounding the letters, not naming them (‘a’ as in ‘pan’ not ‘pane’).  Then build small words with these letters.  Let children have a go at building some of their own words – writing them down.  Then let them try a sentence on their own.  To begin with they will probably just write the intiial sound in each word… with a few extra sounds here and there. e.g. ‘I w t the pk.’ (I went to the park.)  Then you can write the sentence out for them to copy correctly and draw a picture.  It’s that simple!  Done regularly, together with the learning of key words (and lots of other reading activities) children WILL make progress in reading and writing.

    Which key words should you teach children?  In any language there are some words that are used more often than others.  We call these high-frequency words.  If you want a child to be able to read story books independently, then clearly you should teach them these words first - so they will recognise more words on the pages of story books!

    I have selected and sorted all the high-frequency words for you in the Talking Stories package.  I’m introducing them week by week on this blog.  First your children must have mastered the alphabet.   Then you can teach them to read the words in the lists I have given you. 

    It may seem a bit boring doing a letter sound each day and following it up with the same kind of worksheet or practice at writing the letter.  Similarly, it may sound tedious doing a list of key words each week and using them for a simple spelling test on Friday…  But this is EXACTLY the sort of repetition and reinforcement that is needed at this stage.  You can use easy games (I spy; guess which word I’m thinking of; find the matching words…) to liven things up a bit.  But please don’t give up!  Keep at it day after day; week after week. 

    The most important thing of all is that your heart is in what you’re doing.  Do you walk into your classroom with a spring in your step and expectancy in your heart?  Do you believe that your children will learn something new today?  Do you look at each one with love and compassion?  If you can answer “Yes” to these questions, then I am confident you have what it takes to get your children reading fluently!


    Interactive Alphabet

    February 8th, 2010

    Are you one of the lucky teachers with an interactive whiteboard in your classroom?  I just LOVE this interactive alphabet  – I can think of SO many ways to use it with Foundation Phase learners:

    When you click on the star on each letter, it gets hidden.  Click again and the letter re-appears.  You can drag letters onto the centre of the screen to make words.

    1. You could use this for basic word building.  Children could guess the missing letters.  What I like about this activity is that it is ”bomb-proof” – a group of learners can work on their own at the whiteboard, building words and asking their friends to guess the missing letters.
    2. You can use this alphabet resource to teach spelling, and to do some “look, cover, write, check” reinforcement work before Friday’s spelling test.  (Have you picked up that I’m a fan of spelling tests?  One day I’ll write a blog on spelling…)
    3. You can use the alphabet to teach plurals; or past tense; or aphabetical order (hide all the letters and ask a child to tell you the ninth letter of the alphabet – then click to check).
    4. Children can practice writing their full names.
    5. Use it to play hangman.
    6. Use it to teach the difference between vowels and conosonants, and the role played by vowels in word-building…. (Can anyone think of a word without vowels in it???)

    What other ways can you use this resource with your children?  Share your ideas by adding a comment to this blog.


    Term 1, Week 5

    February 5th, 2010

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week you will continue teaching the alphabet, doing one letter each day.  Start on Monday with the letter ‘k’.  By Friday you will have got up to the letter ‘o’.  Click HERE.

    Send worksheets home to encourage parents to help with teaching each alphabet sound! Click on the days of the week to find a selection of pages for each alphabet sound:
    Monday   Tuesday   Wednesday   Thursday   Friday

    In the computer lab this week:

      Talking Story – Level 1 Beginner, “Sweets.”

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Revise Capital letters.  Here are some super alphabet dominoes that make easy work of capital letters:
    Dominoes 1
    Dominoes 2
    Dominoes 3

    Also revise the last set of Level 1 key words.  It’s very important that children cut these up and learn to read each one individually.
    Level 1, List 3 

    Homework: Continue revising the alphabet.  Here are some worksheets for the letters k, l, m, n, o:
    Monday   Tuesday   Wednesday   Thursday   Friday

    In the computer lab this week:

       Talking Story – Level 2 Core, “Mom gets cross.”

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week you will be revising more key words that your children should be able to read by now. 
    Level 2, List 1 

    Homework this week is to learn to read this week’s list of key words that you have revised in class.  Use these key words for a spelling test on Friday. 

    In the computer lab this week: 
       Talking Story – Level 3 Beginner, “Can I play with you?”