CAIS Northern Regional Meeting 2011- Presentation Notes

Managing Children’s Challenging Behavior
Presentation – Keynote Version
Presentation – PowerPoint Version
Workshop Notes

Book Recommendations
Behaviour Management: A Whole-School Approach
Cracking the Hard Class
How to Manage Children’s Challenging Behaviour

Teach Spelling and Grammar in Creative Ways
Presentation – Keynote Version
Presentation – PowerPoint Version
Workshop Notes
Scattergories – Random Letter Generator
Snakes and Ladders Board
Buzz Off – Cards
Jeopardy

Math Resources for Gifted Children

edward zaccaroEngaging gifted mathematicians in a regular classroom can be incredibly challenging without good resources. Finding these resources is always the challenge. It is one thing to have good resources, it is another thing to use them effectively. Starting math lessons with an engaging and challenging problem can be useful for all students, however, it can be captivating for gifted mathematicians. Two resources that have helped me enormously over the last two years are the Challenge Math Series by Edward Zaccaro and the NRICH website.

While teaching resources rarely meet teacher’s high standards, Zaccaro’s books come very close. Three books I would highly recommend are Becoming a Problem Solving Genius, Challenge Math, and Primary Grade Challenge Math.

The NRICH website is a collaboration between the Faculties of Education and Mathematics at The University of Cambridge. This website has a vast array of games and problems. This website can be frustrating to navigate at first, however, once you use it for a while you learn how to unlock a treasure trove of incredible resources.

Edward Zaccaro
nrich.maths.org

My Way

It is important to get to know your students as quickly and deeply as possible at the beginning for the school year. It is during this establishment phase of the year that the seeds of a successful year are planted. On the first day of school I play “get to know you games” such as class bingo and a “guess me” game. These games, and many more like them, help develop a supportive and co-operative class culture. However, I believe, of equal importance is understanding how your children learn, what they would like to learn, and how they best like to express their learning.

Joseph Renzulli and his team at the Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at UCONN developed an excellent tool that allows teachers to quickly gauge how your students best like to express their learning called “My Way”. I have found this tool incredibly useful when planning lessons and units of work. One year I discovered that the majority of my class liked to express their learning through building and constructing. Therefore I gave them a lot of opportunities to express their learning in this way. Read this article if you would like to find out more about “My Way”.

Two other fantastic tools that will help you understand your student’s interests are the “Interest-A-Lyzer” and “If I Ran the School”.

My Way.pdf
Interest-A-Lyzer.pdf
If I Ran the School.pdf

The Transition into Leadership

For a number of educators the step into leadership is a logical one. They are excellent practitioners and it seems reasonable that a great leader of children will be a natural leader of a school. However, this is not always the case as the demands of school leaders are great, and without adequate training, people can become burned-out and lost to education.

Not all leaders are born with the skills to lead. Many develop their skills through years of study and observation. There are countless resources available to aspiring leaders. Here are a few books and online resources I would recommend. This is not an exhaustive list, but a wonderful starting point. If you would like other suggestions please email me.

Good to Great
Improving Schools from Within
Leading Change in Your School
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The Art of School Leadership

Developing Resilience in Children

As children get older, they are faced with many more complex decisions and situations. For many children (especially gifted children), learning comes very easily to them when they first start school. They recite their alphabet and count their numbers at a very young age, much to the amazement and joy of family and friends. Learning is fun and easy, and challenges are quite rare.

However, as children get older they are given greater challenges and find themselves in unfamiliar learning environments. These situations are designed to enrich the children’s learning. However, for some children, they begin to question how “smart” they actually are when they are working at their highest level amongst their peers. Some children may even begin to recoil from challenges to stay within their comfort zone.

Combating this recoiling is incredibly important. If it is not addressed a child’s self image and view of education can be in sharp contrast to the actual situation. One of my previous principals, Rowena Lee, at Sydney Grammar School (an all boys’ school in Australia) said our role as educators was to “Grow the Boy.” We were encouraged to “grow” the students in all areas of their lives.

One way we did this was to focus on resilience. We used the “Bounce Back” program developed by Toni Noble & Helen McGrath. This resilience training gives children tools and strategies to deal with situations that feel overwhelming and stressful. This program is incredibly effective and if used consistently, and across grades, will help your students deal with life’s ups and downs in a more balanced way. I have found that even simply using the Bounce Back poster (offered below) is a great way to begin talking about resilience if you do not have access to the Bounce Back program.

Bounce Back Poster
Implementing Bounce Back

Keeping a Leadership Journal

Teachers deal with school leaders on a constant basis. For aspiring school leaders, your own school environments are a wonderful place to observe and take notes on leadership. Keeping a journal, either paper or electronic, is a great way to catalog observations about leadership. To get started ask yourself, “What do your current school leaders do that works?”, “How do you believe they could be more effective?”, “How do your school leaders run meetings, interact with parents, support teachers, and compensate for their own shortcomings?” For students of leadership, remember schools are wonderful places to learn.

Rethinking Spelling

As a child I was taught to memorize my spelling words. While at university, I was taught to teach spelling by memorization. For the majority of my teaching career I taught spelling by memorization.  That was until I read, “How Words Cast Their Spell” by Joshi, Treima, Carreker, and Moats published in American Educator, 2008.

The authors convincingly dispel the belief that memorization is the most effective way children learn how to spell.  This article energized the way I taught spelling.  The authors explained how half of the English words have predictable sound-letter combinations and another thirty-four percent of words are predictable except for a single sound.  They go on to explain that when children know these patterns it makes spelling predictable.

To help guide us through this new way of spelling my colleagues and I used the Spellography by Moats and Rosow.  We are all learning a lot about spelling and language thoughout this journey.

For more information you can purchase Spellography for Teachers – How English Spelling Works.

Teaching Time Management To Children

For some children managing their time is one of the more natural aspects of school, where as for others it is something they need a lot of support with. Helping the children manage their time and workload is key component of Grades 3 and 4.

I saw an expert in classroom management, Dr Bill Rogers, speak I heard him say, “Children need reminding because they’re children.” I adopted this theory and used it as a key component of teaching time management to children. Learning time management skills often has a lot to do with creating a classroom culture where handing work in on time is the simply the everyday expectation, similar to putting their hands up if they want to speak. However, creating solid organizational and classroom cultures takes time, patience and persistence. It also requires many different strategies for different children.

The purpose of creating a positive time management classroom culture is that I have found it is much more affective that punitive measures. I have found few things as powerful as creating a sense of belonging. There is something inspiring about being a part of a successful and cohesive culture that I have found has the tendency to sweep children up. Getting to this point takes time, patience and flexibility (did I mention patience!).

I read a lot about time management and goal setting when I was an aspiring professional soccer player trying to earn a contract in England when I was eighteen. A quote that stuck with me was, “Begin with the end in mind” by Stephen Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. When trying to develop a culture around time management, I imagine the children are in their final years of University and the seeds that we have planted in elementary school are helping them hand in their work on time.

NAPLAN Again!

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is rolling around again in Australia.  It will be conducted throughout Australia from Tuesday May 12 to Thursday May 14.  A number of teachers found the links I posted last year helpful so I thought I would search the Internet for helpful resources and research for teachers.  I hope these make your life easier.

Naplan 2008 Tests
Preparing for Naplan
NSW Public Schools
Research Developments
Research: Graphics and the National Numeracy Tests

Prime Numbers

Prime NumbersPrime Numbers can be a puzzling concept for many children.  “Why is one not a prime number?”, “Why are they important?”, “How many are there?” are all common questions.  The study of prime numbers can open the door to  an incredibly rich and deep mathematical knowledge.  A great place to start when teaching prime numbers is a clear definition and then an ongoing investigation into prime numbers.

According to A Maths Dictionary for Kids a prime number has exactly two factors and a prime number can only be divided evenly by itself and one.  It also states that one is not a prime number because it has one factor (1), not two.  Investigating prime numbers can be a fun and engaging whole class activity.  I have uploaded two charts that may help your class with prime numbers.  One is a one hundred chart with the prime numbers highlighted and the other is a one hundred chart that has not been highlighted.  You can use the blank chart to have the children investigate prime numbers and then enlarge the highlighted chart as a wall display.

The Prime Numbers Game

Gather the blank or coloured 0-100 chart, dice and a counter starting on zero. Then ask the children to role the dice and move that number of spaces on the chart.  If they land on a prime number they get to jump to the next prime number.  The player who passes 100 wins.  You can modify the game to suit younger age groups by making the winner the first to pass twenty or fifty.

Prime Number Chart 0-100

Blank Chart 0-100

Commonly Misspelled Words

Learning to spell can be an extremely frustrating experience for many children.  During my ten years of teaching, I have heard many discussions about the most effective way to teach children how to spell.  As with nearly all aspects of teaching a one size fits all approach simply does not work.  Unfortunately the most gifted spellers in a classroom are often not challenged as much as they need to be.

As I result, over the past few years I have given my more gifted spellers ownership over what words they learn to spell.  One way I have done this is by giving them a large list of commonly misspelled words and asked them to research at least five words per week and learn to spell them.  The children have enjoyed the challenge and their spelling has improved as a result.

Here is a list of 600 commonly misspelled words for you to use.

“Behaviour Management” by Dr Bill Rogers

Behaviour Management“Behaviour Management: A Whole School Approach” by Dr. Bill Rogers is a must have educational book for any educator who wants to develop their classroom management skills and modify classroom behaviour.  Bill Rogers is an Australian teacher and educational consultant who has worked and written widely on the topic of behaviour management (often referred to as classroom management) for over twenty years.  The magic of Bill Rogers’ writing is that it is extremely practical.  The ideas outlined in “Behaviour Management” are easily transferable to a vast array of educational settings and ages.  I was first introduced to this book during my undergraduate studies in 1996.  I have read it cover to cover numerous times and implemented many of the ideas outlined in the book to great effect.  I have also seen Bill Rogers lecture a number of times which is always inspiring.

Behaviour Management: A Whole-School Approach
is available in the US and the UK via Amazon and in Australia via Scholastic Education and Dominie.  You can also visit Bill Rogers’ website at www.billrogers.com.au . While I highly recommend this book his other books and DVDs are also a valuable resource for any educator or school.

Bill Rogers’ Online Articles

Five Tricky Personalities — and How to Handle Them
Making a Discipline Plan
Teasing
Building  Playtime Communities

Reestablishing Classroom Rules and Routines

As your students return from their winter holiday it is important to reestablish the classroom rules and routines that you set up at the beginning of the year.  This helps students reconnect with their peers as well as the overall classroom and school expectations more easily.  It is important to remember that the routines and expectations at a student’s home may be quite different from the classroom.  Therefore, the time spent reestablishing rules and routines can help your students feel more at ease.  When my students return to school from a break I welcome them and give them a brief overview of the weeks ahead.  I then read through the class rules we had written and posted on the wall earlier in the year and explain why each is important.  I also talk about the classroom routines and jobs and explain how each job if done promptly and thoughtfully benefits everyone.  This introduction may take twenty minutes, however, I have found it sets a positive tone for the months ahead.

The Ranger’s Apprentice

I have always enjoyed reading to my students. I love finding a book that enthralls my students and has them asking for, “Just one more page!” I fondly remember discovering Harry Potter with my fourth grade class and reading them the first three books and waiting excitedly for “The Goblet of Fire” to be released so we could read it together.

To better help my students choose books to read I have made a point of reading a lot of children’s and young adult fiction. I love reading these books and sharing and discussing them with my students. While putting together the list “101 Book Series for Children” one of my students suggested I read John Flanagan’s “The Ranger’s Apprentice” series. While reading the first book “The Ruins of Gorlan” I felt the same excitement and connection I felt while reading the first Harry Potter novel. I have since read the first four books (there are only four released in the US) and have enjoyed them all immensely.

If you are looking for a series to read to your students try “The Ranger’s Apprentice” it will keep you and your students captivated for hours. For more information about “The Ranger’s Apprentice” please visit the website. I believe this series would be suitable for Grades 4 and up.

Teaching Problem Solving Strategies

A number of years ago I was introduced to the concept of teaching formalized problem solving strategies to elementary aged children. This mathematics program was a tremendous success and dramatically improved the mathematical reasoning and problem solving of the students I taught. Most importantly the students enjoyed it and looked forward to it each week. The problem solving strategies included:

Acting it Out or Using Concrete Materials
Create an Organized List
Creating a Tree Diagram
Drawing a Diagram
Drawing a Table
Guess and Check (Guess and Checking)
Look for a Pattern
Using Logical Reasoning (Logical Reasoning)
Using Simpler Numbers (Solve a Simpler Problem)
Work Backwards (Working Backwards)

Once I began to look, I found a  number of problem solving resources online and in book stores. However, not all of the resources were easy to find. The purpose of this post is to bring these resources together so you can introduce problem solving into your classroom or school or further develop your program if you have one in place.

The program we taught was based on books published in Australia by Blake Education called Solve that Problem by Sharon Shapiro. There are two books in the series Upper Primary and Middle Primary. These books are available in the UK via Badger Publishing. US residents are able to purchase these books via Amazon in the UK.

A good starting point is to use resources offered online.  A number of the strategies explored in Solve that Problem are available free in .pdf format via the Blake Education website under the Problem Solving heading. Samples of another great problem solving book, “Mathematics Problem Solving Coach” are also offered in .pdf format online.

There are a number of books and online resources available to help you teach problem solving including:

Online Resources

Bogazici University Faculty of Education
Figure This Challenges
MathStars Newsletter
Math Stories (paid subscription)
New Zealand Ministry of Education
Port Angeles School District
Thinkquest 1
Thinkquest 2
Thinkquest 3

Books

Mathematics Problem Solving Coach
Maths Problem Solving Series by Val Morey
Problem Solving Strategies by Steck Vaughn
Solve that Problem by Sharon Shapiro
Targeting Maths Problem Solving by Judy Tertini & Gloria Harris
Problem-Solver’s Math Journal by Teacher Created Materials

How do student layout the problems?

The students would paste a copy of the problem at the top of a page in their workbook and then set out the problem as following:

What? The students write a full sentence explaining what they are trying to find out.
Strategy: The students write the strategy they are going to use.
Working: The students set their work out as taught for each particular strategy.
Answer: The students write a full sentence answer.

Problem Solving Layout Example.pdf

Marking

To reduce the emphasis on just the final answer each problem is given a mark out of five.  This encourages the students to set their work out in a clear and systematic way and take care when planning and formulating their answers.

What? One mark for explaining what they are looking for.
Strategy: One mark for choosing the correct strategy to solve the problem.
Working: Two marks for demonstrating the working for the strategy they chose and setting the working out in a clearly.
Answer: One mark for finding the correct answer and explaining the answer in a full sentence.

Problem Solving Unit

I have created a unit of work containing 56 problems using problems from the invaluable Port Angeles School District WASL website. The unit contains eight questions and answers for each of the following strategies, Act it Out, Draw a Diagram, Guess and Check, Logical Reasoning, Look for a Pattern, Using Simpler Numbers and Work Backwards.  Please download, modify and use this unit to suit your needs.

Problem Solving Unit of Work.zip

Classroom Feedback

Now that the school year is underway and you have set up your routines and have your classroom management structures in place it is time to gather feedback from your students.  It is easy to avoid gathering feedback from your students as it never feels good to receive less than positive feedback.  However, student feedback can be an extremely valuable tool in maintaining a positive classroom culture.  Three methods I have successfully used are class meetings, a suggestion box and a feedback survey.

To begin a classroom meeting have all the children sit in a circle on the floor, or on chairs.  You may need to rearrange furniture for this to work in your classroom.  Explain to the children that only one person is allowed to talk at a time and you may only talk if you have the ball.  I used a miniature soccer ball for this, however, a tennis ball is fine.  Pose a questions such as, “what can we do as a class to make the classroom a more positive environment?”  Then ask the children to raise their hands if they have a suggestion and roll the ball to one student.  Once the student has finished they roll the ball to someone who has an idea.  It is important that the children are aware that all ideas will be considered.

A suggestion box is a small box in the classroom that the children can anonymously write ideas to improve the classroom or explain things about the classroom or school that have been worrying them.  The ideas in the suggestion box can also be used to guide class meetings.

A feedback survey can also be used to gather information.  The survey may be very open ended or may focus on a particular area of the school such as the classroom or playground.  I have uploaded a classroom climate survey for you to use.  I have adapted it from the school climate survey.  Please download and edit this survey to best suit your classroom needs.  Administrating this survey anonymously may lead to more honest answers.

Classroom Climate Survey.doc
Classroom Climate Survey.pdf

I believe it is vitally important that children feel they are active participants in the classroom.  Participation fosters a sense of belonging and can help reduce disruptive behavior.

Back to School – Student Book Covers

In some schools children are asked to cover their own workbooks while other schools have printed covers the children must use.  I prefer that different exercise books are different colors so they are easier to find for both students and staff.  I have uploaded a template that I used for my student’s workbooks this year.  I would photocopy the different covers on colored paper, for example the English cover orange and the number cover blue.  Please feel free modify these covers so they best suit your needs.  I used Microsoft clipart for the images.

I have uploaded an A4 and letter version of the book covers.

Book Covers – Letter.doc
Book Covers – A4.doc

Back to School Activities – “The 4Rs”

At the start of the school year I spend a lot of time establishing “The 4Rs”, Rules, Rights, Responsibilities and Routines (again, a Bill Rogers idea!).  Class rules have a large role to play in creating a cohesive class atmosphere while also helping with ongoing classroom management.  Rights are the expectations that the student has of the school. For example, the student expecting to be treated with respect and to be safe.  Explaining student rights can be difficult at first, however, I have found that the students soon understand and embrace the ideas.

I generally see student responsibilities as two fold, the students have a responsibility to follow the classroom rules and respect the rights of others as well as having responsibilities, or jobs, within the classroom.  I use class jobs as a way to foster a sense of belonging and responsibility (for more information about class jobs please see the post “classroom jobs” below).  The last of “The 4Rs” is routines.  Having routines helps children feel safe and at ease.  This does not mean that a classroom has to be overly regimented, just that children have an idea of why, how and when things are done. For more information about classroom routines you can read a good article by Denise Young entitled “Classroom routines and procedures”.

During the first week of school I discuss classroom rules with the students.  I explain why I believe they are important and ask them to think of rules they have had in previous classrooms.  I write these on the board and ask if we can write any of the rules in a more positive tone.  For example, instead of writing, “Don’t run in the classroom,” I write, “We walk in the classroom.”  Writing the rules in this way emphasizes what the student should do rather than what they should not do.

Below are two sheets to help you create class rules. The first is a sheet I give to groups of two or three students and ask them to formulate class rules.  The second sheet contains the class rules I had on my classroom wall this year.  I photocopied this sheet on different colored A3 paper and displayed it around my classroom.

Creating Rules.doc
Class Rules Example.doc

For more information about “The 4Rs” please read this keynote address from Bill Rogers:
www.antibullying.net/documents/freshstart.doc

Back to School Activities – Questionnaires

Many schools across the Northern Hemisphere are preparing to go back to school in the next few weeks.  A new school year brings tremendous opportunities for teachers.  We are able to reflect on our previous year’s success and failures and modify our classroom methods and routines.  Bill Rogers calls the start of the year the “establishment phase of the year” and writes, “The first few weeks are crucial in developing the smooth running of a class group.  In fact the first day – the first meeting with a new group – can have a significant effect on how students perceive our leadership” (Rogers; 2006, p. 86).  I spend a lot of time planning the few weeks of the school year.  This time allows me to set the tone for the school year.  Over the next week I will post a few ideas that have helped me begin the school year in a positive way.

Getting to know your students names and interests as soon as possible has a tremendous impact on a classroom culture.  As does establishing communication with the child’s parent or guardian. A have uploaded two sheets that I have found useful. One sheet is a questionnaire for the students to fill out and the other is for their parent or guardian. These questionnaires will give you a good understanding of your student’s interests.  Please modify these sheets so they best suit your needs.

Student Questionnaire.doc
Parent/Guardian Questionnaire.doc

Google Search Tips

Having children research a topic on the internet can be a nightmare for teachers. The children either find too much information, not enough information or end up on sites you would rather they would not be. A fantastic way to improve your students, and your, internet searching skills is to learn search operators. These operators make searching much easier and unleashes the hidden power of search engines. I generally have my students use Google to search the internet because I am familiar with it and like the clean search page. I find my students get too distracted with the Yahoo! search page. Windows Live is also very good although I have not used it very much myself.

I have summarised commonly used operators and created a “Google Search Tips” sheet for the children (and staff) at my school. These tips have dramatically improved the children’s searching skills. Please feel free to download and distribute it.

Google Search Tips.doc

AudibleKids

AudibleKidsFor a number of years teachers have used books on tape and CD as an effective educational tool. These audiobooks have been used in a number of ways, such as exposing children to books above their reading age, developing reading skills and, of course, enjoyment.

The online audio book store Audible have over 45 000 audiobooks, predominately for adults. With the help of parents and educators Audible has launched AudibleKids. AudibleKids has over 4 000 children’s books by authors such Morris Gleitzman, Judy Blume, Roald Dahl, Christopher Paolini and John Flannagan. These books are generally downloaded as one file which makes them easy to use and store on a computer or mp3 devise. Audible has certain geographical restrictions. So please check to see if the book you want is available in your country before you sign up. Audible audiobooks can be played on an iPod and on over 230 other devices. Audible is also working with Reading Is Fundamental and as a result are offering some books for free.

I have recommended that parents of the students in my class use audiobooks at home. Audiobooks can be enjoyed as a whole family and by a child while they are travelling or playing.

If you have any comments or questions please email me.

Here comes NAPLAN!

In May 2008, Australian State and Territory based assessments will be replaced by the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). National assessments will be conducted in both literacy and numeracy for Grades 3, 5, 7 and 9. The assessments will be held on the 13th, 14th and 15th of May. I have included some links to sample papers that may help your students become more familiar with the layout of the assessments. I have found that photocopying practice papers on overhead transparency sheets (or displaying them on an interactive whiteboard) is a good way to introduce the format of an assessment to a whole class.

www.mathletics.com.au/naplan/
www.naplan.edu.au/test_samples/

Comprehension Strategy: Here, Hidden, Head

readingTeaching children how to comprehend written information is one of the most fundamental aspects of teaching. However, what does it mean to comprehend? This is a complex question and one that is often debated amongst educators. While some teachers may argue that children learn to comprehend as a by product of learning to read, I have found that children’s comprehension improves when they are taught specific comprehension strategies.

The following comprehension strategy is very useful when teaching children how to approach and answer written comprehension questions. The children are taught that comprehension questions often fall within three broad categories; here, hidden and head. Here (right there) refers to questions that are easy to locate and generally found in one sentence. Hidden (think and search) are answered by joining together information in a text and Head (world in your head) questions ask for the child’s opinion or for information that is not contained in the text.

Click on the link below to download a Word file outlining this strategy. I have found this poster useful to enlarge, laminate and put up on my classroom wall for the children to refer to.

Here, Hidden, Head.doc

For more information please see Adrian Bruce’s wonderful work on comprehension.

Buongiorno! Buenos días! Umhlala gahle!

I received and email from an Australian teacher, Amanda Walsh, in response to the post I wrote about greeting children in the morning. She would greet her students in other languages which they really enjoyed. For those of you who are not multilingual, Amanda has supplied a link that lists 250 ways to say good morning! For Australian teachers this can also be a good opportunity to introduce different Aboriginal Languages of Australia.

classroom jobs

Assigning classroom jobs or roles is a fantastic way to build a cohesive classroom culture. I have found that giving allClass Jobs students in my class a job works most effectively. I introduce a few jobs at the beginning of the year and ask the students to come up with others. Each year there are enough jobs for every student. One of the favourites in my class this year is the “Window Monitor”. It is a student’s job to open the windows in the morning and close them in the afternoon and they take great pride in doing it each day.

Another job that has been very effective is class photographer. During certain whole school or class activities it is the responsibility of one or two students to take photographs using an inexpensive digital camera. I have found that the students always take great care with the camera and take priceless photographs. The size of the job does not matter, it is the sense of belonging that it develops that counts.

For a number of younger students a class job could be their first taste of responsibility. The author Sark writes in her book Inspiration Sandwich, “My first job was at age 4 as the wake up fairy in kindergarten. I had a magic wand, and touched each sleeping child. I still have that magic wand.”

Read the rest of this entry »

101 book series for children

One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching is watching children develop a love of reading. The Harry Potter books inspired many children to read, however, a common question teachers and parents hear is, “What do I read after Harry Potter?” To help answer this question I enlisted the help of the children in my class. I asked them to list the book series they have enjoyed over the past few years. I compiled their responses and with some further research, came up with a list of 101 book series for children. The wonderful thing about book series is they develop a sense of expectation. As a child finishes one book they automatically have something to reach for.

I hope this list helps teachers, parents and children find book series that foster a love of literacy. Please print out the list and let children explore their favourite library or book store. Remembering that school and local librarians are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to children’s literatutre. I compiled the list with the the ages 8 to 14 in mind. In my experience children have particularly enjoyed reading the following authors; Eoin Colfer, John Flanagan, Anthony Horowitz, Robert Muchamore, Garth Nix, Christopher Paolini, Emily Rodda and Carole Wilkinson. If you have other book series you would like to share please contact me by clicking the about tab. The NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge site has an extensive list of children’s novels sorted by grades.

101 book series for children

101 book series for children.doc 

Creating a Fraction in Microsoft Word 2003 and 2007

Since I started teaching I have been creating maths worksheets and assessments in Microsoft Word. One of the most frustrating aspects was creating fractions. The fractions never looked or behaved the way I wanted them to. I eventually found a webpage that had detailed how to create a fraction that worked. I created a screen recorded tutorial demonstrating how to create a fraction for the staff at my school and wanted to share it with you. I used Word 2003 for the demonstration, however, it works equally well for Word 2007.

Greeting Sudents in the Morning

I went to visit one of my colleagues at the start of a school day last year. She was checking the student’s attendance in a way I had not seen before. Instead of saying the students’ names and having them answer “Yes” or “Here”, she was saying, “Good Morning Noah,” and the students would answer, “Good Morning Mrs Bromwich.”

This was such a fantastically simple idea that I could not believe I had not thought of it earlier. I now greet each of my students with “Good Morning” as it sets a wonderful tone each day. This is one of those simple ideas that has such a positive effect on the culture of the classroom.

Teaching and Programming Resources

I recently stumbled upon the “Latest Teaching Resources” page on the UK Standards Site. The number and quality of resources is amazing. These resources detail numerous activities that could be used for class lessons and would also be invaluable while programming. The site also allows you to search by mathematics and literacy and by year levels.

I am continually looking for new lessons and ways of teaching concepts and am sure I will be returning to this site a lot in the future. Another helpful thing about the site is the resources are generally offered in both Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF formats.

www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/primary/teachingresources/

Cleaning the Classroom – Magic Scrap!

Magic Scrap

There are some days when the children leave the classroom at the end of the day and I wonder how the room became such a disaster, with pencils, paper and books scattered across the room. When I first started teaching it was a struggle trying to clean the classroom in the afternoon. That was before Magic Scrap

Magic Scrap is a simple, fun game you can play in the afternoon. Just before the bell rings in the afternoon choose something on the floor that will be the Magic Scrap. Then tell the children they have thirty seconds to search for it. Once everything has been picked up, put away or placed in the bin, tell them who the winner is. The winner receives a small price. It is amazing how effective this game is. The children look forward to playing it and it makes the cleaners very happy! It is also easy to modify to suit different age groups. When I taught Grade 2, two children were the Magic Scrap Monitors and it was their job to choose the Magic Scrap and supervise the game. Needless to say this job was very popular.