A Reflective Excursion

A Reflective Excursion

On our latest class outing we did away with the traditional excursion worksheets, where meaningless facts, dates and answers are painstakingly copied out from museum display signs for fear of students not ‘learning’ anything during the experience. Instead we went for a much more meaningful and enjoyable option.

In their concertina-style reflection booklets students were asked to draw what they wanted to remember from the various places we visited. They also had sections for jotting down facts and feelings if they felt the need (a touch of De Bono and his coloured hats).

The other pages were ‘Questions to Ask the Experts’ and an A-Z brainstorming list of words associated with the topics covered on the excursion (a nice reflective activity for those fast eaters looking to fill in some extra time during our lunch break).

Thank you TMAG Education Team for suggesting this type of creative approach. Instead of nagging my students to complete their worksheets, they were free to simply be inspired and engaged by their experience.

Throughout the day I would look around and see someone doing a quiet sketch of something that had taken their eye, or another referring back to a question they had thought of to ask the tour guides, and others writing down certain facts that had interested them. Our booklets suited many types of learners and my students were in charge of their own museum adventure.

Verbs with Tin Foil

Verbs with Tin Foil

Can you guess each action?

We chose our favourite verb and then made these tin foil sculptures to represent the action.

We’re about to begin our unit on narrative writing – I’m thinking these tin foil on black paper collages would make excellent illustrations for their stories when published into little books…? I’ll keep you posted!

Thank you Mrs T for the pinspiration!

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Mini Whiteboards

Mini Whiteboards

Something new to my classroom this year was the purchase of a class set of mini whiteboards. My students were extremely chuffed to receive their very own whiteboard marker and couldn’t wait to get started incorporating these ‘new toys’ into our lessons and activities.

It’s been so liberating for them to be able to participate instantly in class discussions by writing or drawing their ideas, instead of wearing out their raised arm waiting for their chance to speak. They simply hold up their board and I am able to acknowledge their contribution and classmates can simply see each other’s thoughts.

Instructional teaching sessions have become much more engaging and dynamic with these boards in my students’ laps. So far we have used them for brainstorming, history timelines, scoreboards, maths quizzes, class voting, note taking and summarising.

To top it all off, it’s been an excellent way to reduce our use of paper in the classroom!

I first heard of using these mini whiteboards through UK educator, Dylan Wiliam, and am on the look out for more innovative uses of these amazing little tools, so please share!

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Learning through Play

I am lucky enough to have the very talented Mrs B working in the room next door to me. Each week she is determined to create a new and exciting play space for her Kinders and ‘playgroup’. Often the play spaces are left for a few weeks with subtle changes, maybe the animals change or something little is left for the children to discover. This week she focused on frogs but some horses crept in too! For the babies we found some great bead mazes from our local tip shop and pom-poms with cardboard rolls! It is true as early childhood teachers our occupation is play.

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Class Museum Curator

Class Museum Curator

The excitement builds every Friday afternoon in anticipation of…the selection of the new Museum Curator!

We pull out a name and then the space belongs to them for the following week. Students are able to display their collections, interests, artworks, artefacts and so on. The curator gives us a guided tour and their classmates love to point out all the personal connections they have made. It’s been powerful way to get to know each other.

Some curators provide labels, or even informational handouts. Some change their display a number of times during their week. It’s all up to them!

Easter with Toddlers

This Easter is a little different from others… Because now I have a toddler! Evie is almost 2 and right into anything messy. My aim today was to create a few Easter drawings for her great grandparents. We ventured into painting with brushes and using the most fabulous drawing product I’ve come across, Crayola Twistable Slick Sticks. Painting was great fun but wow it covered me, her and the deck! The crayons were a delight and although a little messy they were so smooth to draw with. The slightest touch and they produced beautiful marks. Crayola suggest using them on all sorts of surfaces. I experimented with them on tin foil and they shimmer; perfect for Rainbow Fish art? Might try that at school.

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Magnet Mazes

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Miss M’s Grade 4 class were learning about contact and non-contact forces. As a tuning-in activity, students were given a paperclip, a magnet and a shoebox lid. Their design brief was to create a maze for their paperclip to travel through, guided by the non-contact force of the magnet. Of course, things got pretty creative straight away with water jumps, tunnels, bridges and race tracks incorporated into plans. This exploration phase of the lesson raised many questions for the budding scientists, which they later went on to test (Will the paperclip make it up the slope with a stronger magnet? Will magnetic force work in water?). They only had 20 minutes to complete the task, but they would have happily worked on their designs all day.

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Sustainable Classroom Ideas

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If your students are anything like ours, they love to use paper hand towels by the truckload. For a more sustainable solution, invest in some cheap face washers (or better still just cut up some old towels). These can be used over and over and require a wash or soak in the sink every few weeks depending upon grottiness levels. They’re also ideal for the art studio where students can use them for wiping brushes between colour changes.