Random Post: Term 4, Week 4
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    Term 4, Week 5

    November 1st, 2010

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: It’s time to assess whether each learner is able to read all of this year’s key words.  You have two weeks to do this assessment.  Take time to sit with each learner individually and tick the words they are able to recognise.  Be sure to send a copy home to parents!  Click here for the Level 1 assessment sheet: Key words Assessment Level 1 lists 1-3

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 1 Advanced, “Goggas”.

    Your children can create their own SUPER BUG game card.  Each child gets to choose the head, body, legs and special powers of their bug and then name their bug.  This can be printed on a Top-Trumps style of game card.  Children could create several if they choose, and then compare these with their friends’ cards.  It’s a great way to make the “Goggas” Talking Story come alive!

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: It’s time to assess whether each learner is able to read all of this year’s key words.  You have two weeks to do this assessment.  Take time to sit with each learner individually and tick the words they are able to recognise.  Be sure to send a copy home to parents!  Click here for the Level 2 assessment sheet: Key Words Assessment Level 2 Lists 1-4

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 2 Advanced, “Maps”

    Make maps relevant to your children by visiting GOOGLE MAPS and typing the full address of your school (including your country) in the “Search Maps” box.  They will love to see the map of your school’s local area.  In addition, if you click on the red pointer on the map, you can then select “street view” which shows your children a photograph of the building taken from the street.  It’s an awesome experience when children see this for the first time!  Within minutes they will be exploring on their own, typing in their own addresses and those of family and friends – just think of all the wonderful learning that is going on as children explore this feature on their own!

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: It’s time to assess whether each learner is able to read all of this year’s key words.  You have two weeks to do this assessment.  Take time to sit with each learner individually and tick the words they are able to recognise.  Be sure to send a copy home to parents!  Click here for the Level 3 assessment sheet: Key Words Assessment Level 3 Lists 1-3

    In the computer lab this week: 

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

    Teach your children about flooding: what causes it; what we can do; emergency measures; watch videos about flooding.  Here is a wonderful set or resources, designed for primary schools: FLOODING RESOURCES


    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 4, Week 3

    October 17th, 2010

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week:  Remember to learn Level 1, List 3 Key Words throughout this term.  Each child should have their own printed words, cut into single word cards and put in a small bag or envelope.

    The theme of this week’s talking story is prepositions of place (in, on, under, over etc.) Here is a video song that will help to reinforce these concepts:

    In the computer lab this week:

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

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Learn to read and spell Level 2, List 4 Key Words during the course of this term.  Here is an online game to help reinforce high frequency words: I CAN READ GAME.

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 2 Advanced, “Big machines”

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: Throughout this term keep practising to read and spell Level 3, List 3 Key Words

    In the computer lab this week: 

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

    This week’s Talking Story is all about litter and waste, and the impact on the environment and the animals who share it.  You can ORDER A FREE VIDEO called “Share the World” which contains a section about how litter harms animals.


    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”.


    Term 3, Week 10

    September 13th, 2010

    Did you revise all your key words last week?  I hope so, because this week it’s assessment time!  There is no substitute for one-to-one reading assessment with each child. The only way to find out how each learner is doing with their reading, is to spend some time with them individually.  Use the list of words you downloaded last week.  It’s much better if you cut these into word cards so that they are given in a random order. (After all, you’re not checking whether the child can recite the page – you want to know if they can recognise each word on its own!) 

    In addition, ask each learner to read their book to you.  This will show you each one’s reading fluency.  Ask a few comprehension questions to ensure that the child understands what is being read.  This is particularly important if they are being taught in a language other than their home language.  If a child is struggling to learn to read, do three simple checks:   

    1) Have eyes and ears checked to eliminate sight and hearing problems.
    2) Check whether the alphabet sounds have been mastered.
    3) Check that the child understands the language.

    Of course there are many other specific learning barriers, but the above 3 checks will often take you to the root of the problem.

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: Assess Level 1, List 2 Key Words.

    In the computer lab this week: 

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

    Level 2

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

    In the computer lab this week:  

    Talking Story – Level 2 Advanced, “Slowly, Sylvia, Slowly”.

    Level 3

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

     In the computer lab this week:

     Talking Story – Level 3 Advanced, “Alfie finds a home”.


    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 2

    July 18th, 2010

    Did you send your Term 3 parent letters and key words home last week?  If not, it’s not too late to do so now.  Perhaps you could create a key word reading or spelling competition in your class this term! 

    This week we’re learning about dictionaries and poetry – my favourite!  I hope you enjoy the brilliant resources!

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: you will make the personal dictionaries that accompany the story, ‘Bath time’.  These are a very valuable resource for children who are learning to read.  The printable sheets come with clear instructions.  Allow plenty of time for the cutting and stapling involved.  Teach children how to use the dictionaries and see how it cuts down the number of times that learners come to you to spell a word!

    In the computer lab this week:
    Talking Story – Level 1 Intermediate, “Bath time” continued.

    Did you enjoy Bath time?  Now here is a story about bed time that every child in your class will relate to:
    I am not sleepy and I will not go to bed  Enjoy it on your interactive whiteboard or any computer.

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Teach children to read and spell the Level 2, List 3 Key Words that you sent home last week. 

    In the computer lab this week:
    Talking Story – Level 2 Core, “Shy like me”.

    This week’s Talking Story is a poem, with rhyming words at the end of each line.  Here is a link to another lovely interactive book that helps children learn about rhyming words:
    Sebastian’s Rhyme 
    This book is great to use on an interactive whiteboard in class!

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week: Teach children to read and spell the Level 3, List 2 Key Words that you sent home last week. 

    In the computer lab this week: 
    Talking Story – Level 3 Core, “The duck and her daughter”.

    This week’s Talking Story is a poem, with rhyming couplets.  (Have a look at this week’s Level 2 poem above.) 
    Here is another interactive poem to enjoy with your class:
    Nessie’s Story


    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”


    Term 2, Week 7

    May 22nd, 2010

    Level 1

    In the classroom this week: Individual assessment of Level 1, List 1 Key Words.  These are the words you sent home at the beginning of Term 2 and that you have recently revised in class.  One by one, call children to your desk and tick the words they can read. Do this in a supportive and encouraging way, never chastising children for not having learnt the required words.  Always try to be encouraging and to eliminate stress when doing this kind of assessment.  Stress and fear are the two greatest inhibitors of learning.

    In the computer lab this week:

    Talking Story – Level 1 Core, “Where is Pravesh?”

    Here’s a great story that children can interact with… also on the theme of the main character hiding:
     Here, Clifford!
    Then help Clifford to make some words:
    Make a Word Activity

    Level 2

    In the classroom this week: Individual Assessment of Level 2, List 2 Key Words.  You need to sit with each child and ask them to read each of the words in order to assess whether each learner has mastered their key words for this term.  Parents need to be alerted immediately, to provide extra support where needed.

    In the computer lab this week:


    Talking Story – Level 2 Core, “Can I live with you?”

    Here’s a story about another bird who was looking for a friendly home:
    The Ugly Duckling - You can even print this story out for children to make into their own books.

    Level 3

    In the classroom this week:  Individual assessment of Level 3, List 1 Key Words.  Level 3 learners have had a lot of key words from Levels 1 and 2 to revise this year.  This is the first set of Level 3 key words.  Please take time to carefully assess how many words each child can recognise.  Your children should by now be well able to sound out unfamiliar words.  If this is not happening, check whether they are confident with their alphabet sounds.  If not, please take remedial action straight away.  Do everything in your power to ensure that no child is left behind! 

    In the computer lab this week: 


    Talking Story – Level 3 Core, “The peacock and the nightingale”

    This story is written in the form of a folk tale.  If some of your learners are struggling with the amount of text and the level of reading required, here are six more folk tales at an easier level.  These can all be printed out for reading at home too.
    FOLK TALES


    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.