Friday, 1 July 2016

Thursday, 9 June 2016

READING FLUENCY

Building phonemic awareness at the outset is the key to reading fluently at later stages in any reading development program. In reference to the debate on avoiding students from sounding out the word, I am of the opinion that this holds good for students past the emergent stages of reading. During the first year, a Kindergartner is learning the sounds of the letters of the alphabet and decoding and blending is an effective prelude to reading of the CVC words that build for later fluency. Once the student has passed the emergent stage, other strategies other than sounding out the letters may be employed.

One resource that I found particularly useful  to build reading fluency for my Kindergartners was the 'Fluency Readers' featuring 144 CVC words.

These Readers double up as accordion-style foldables for interactive notebooks or a collated collection of reading fans. Just attach a brad to the individual strips and fan out as words are read.



The reading strips are folded on the center horizontal lines accordion style. That way, it is not too overwhelming as the child reads one word at a time as the accordion is unfolded.


For use in interactive notebooks, the second strip (marked 2) for each set is glued to the notebook, then the first strip (name on cover) is glued to the second strip, only at the top tab. The strip may still be folded accordion-style to be read.




If using as fans, all the strips are collated and attached at the top with a brad. The strips should be able to move around loosely.  A blackline version may be sent home with students to practice reading.


As the child reads, the read strip can also be easily moved to the opposite direction so the fan is not cumbersome for little fingers to handle.



My kids simply love reading from these Reading Fluency strips. Needless to say they are all pretty good at reading those clever CVC words!


You can find these Reading Fluency strips here:



Saturday, 4 June 2016

END OF YEAR

Reporting is done. Everything set in the curriculum has been taught - well almost... and there's a spirit of carefreeness in the air. It's perhaps nearing the End of Year or School Term for you and students have little or no motivation to keep going right till the last day. The secret is to keep them busy and organized/organised right till the very end, more for the sake of your sanity. That doesn't mean you can't have fun whilst learning. There are lots of fun activities out there that promote subtle learning. A favorite/favourite of mine is the 'End of Year Scavenger Hunt'.


This activity not only enables students to reflect on the school year but also provides the teacher with an overview of the effectiveness of teaching and learning that took place throughout the year.

For example the question in card #16 below gives the teacher a notion of an ideal teacher from a student's perspective.



Card #13 helps the teacher know a student's lasting impression about a particular topic taught.


This card would be a good indicator of what lessons students take away with them as the year comes to an end.



Here's one on what students have learned to become better writers.



This one links to learning outside the classroom.


Finally this one asks the students to give a one line clever sum-up of the year gone by.


For students and teachers who love technology and want to integrate this into learning, the same activity can be done with QR Codes. Here students scan the code and are taken to the question.


Using these cards are simple. Just spread/hide in the classroom for students to find and answer. They must record their responses on the Recording Sheet.



I hope your students have fun with these - I know mine did!


Have a memorable End of Year/School Term and here's wishing you and your students all the best for the next one.




Sunday, 29 May 2016

Summer Review

Studies show that many children forget what they've learned at school during the long summer break. This however needn't be the case if children were to spend just 15-20 minutes of their day engaging in some fun learning activity. Reading daily and doing a couple of math activities would help maintain their learning stamina and keep them mentally alert till it's time for the regular routine of school again.

A key to keeping children engaged on learning tasks during their summer break is to provide them with fun interactive activities. For instance, the sheet below targets the skill of number identification and tracing and all through a fun medium of spinning a spinner and seeing what number the spinner lands on. Students will love flicking the pin and will even predict the number it will land on - I know my students do!



Visuals too play an important role in arresting a child's attention. In the sheet below, students have to identify the greater number and color the representing scoop. My students enjoyed coloring their ice-cream scoops different colors and learned to differentiate between the greatest and smallest number in  the process.



Here's another one on writing the number before and after a given number.



These interactive sheets are definitely  more visually appeasing and fun to work on than plain old boring 'worksheets' - don't you think?



You will find more fun interactive activities in this 60 page pack:



Wish you and your children a super summer!

















Saturday, 30 January 2016

SCAVENGER HUNTS: SUBTLE LEARNING

Do you know a great way to convey complex, otherwise mundane content, is through fun and exciting Scavenger Hunts? This is also a fantastic way to integrate Social Studies, History, Geography, and the other sciences. My kids just love them!

               
The Scavenger Hunts I talk about are the ones where main facts on the subject are written on little cards.

There are 32 fact cards in this set - that leaves enough cards to go around the classroom and more.


Each set of 32 fact cards on the subject are hidden around the classroom. You also have the option to break down the activity by doing half the number of cards: 1-17, 18-32.


Students are given copies of the recording sheets (4 in all) and go around the classroom looking to record the answers to questions on their sheets. They must find the matching fact card number to answer the question.




My kids enjoy this as it gets them out of their chairs and moving. It's akin to a game as it leads to much excitement, chatter, and fun.


You can also add an element of competitiveness in this by rewarding the team that finishes the Hunt first or even set a time limit. Kids love the excitement of competing - all in good fun.



These Hunts could be just about for any subject.


The best part is that learning is happening subtly, although outwardly - it seems to be all fun and games.


This growing bundle sure is a life-long investment - one that will give you much joy - nothing better than to watch your students in action.