Monthly Archives: November 2014

Hour of Code

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 9.32.01 pmSo I’ve been running a Coding Club with the kids in my school throughout Term 4, and I cannot believe what they are creating! It’s absolutely amazing. I have kids from Grade 1s through to 6 come in once a week and create things (at their own pace) using various programs such as Google’s, ‘Made WIth Code,’ and ‘Scratch.’

I also recently just heard about the, ‘Hour Of Code,’ so I thought I’d sign our school up and raise more awareness about Computer Science.

I honeslty believe it’s so important to provide these opportunities for students. Let your kids catch a code and jump on board the coding train!

Put a spell on spelling!

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 10.19.17 pm

I remember going to school and receiving the same list of spelling words as the kid who sat next to me… You know exactly what I’m talking about don’t you!?

It’s blatantly obvious that rehearsing a list of random words once a week through the look, cover, write, check method is probably the best way to waste time. There’s so much research to back up the importance of personalised spelling lists and teaching spelling in context.

Over the past couple of years I have been experimenting with a variety of ways to teach my students various spelling strategies and techniques. I think there’s a few things worth sharing.

We begin every Monday morning with a spelling investigation. Here’s how it looks. (Please note that the first thing we did, prior to beginning these lessons was compile a list of things we could do when we can’t spell a word. This helped the students to realise that there are a variety of ways to spell. See the link below for our list)
1. Children independently investigate their workbooks and identify any misspelled words. They need to highlight these in green. The rule of thumb is generally no more than 5 spelling words per week.
2. Once they have a list, they need to draw upon their spelling strategy list and/spelling rules and work out how to spell the word correctly. I encourage children to try a different strategy each time.
3. Each child is also give a copy of the THRASS sound chart so that they are able to identify the different sounds letters make. They can also draw upon this to help them. 

4. Children add their words to their own personal spelling lists which live in a Google Drive folder. As children compile their lists, they’re required to complete each section in the table below.

5. Children are able to decide if they want to practise the 5 words they identified, or find words with the same letter-sound blends that they are struggling to spell correctly. The students who decide to do this are generally those who continue to spell the same sounds wrong. Eg: tion words.
6. Students are then required to practise these words in any way, shape or form they wish throughout the week for homework. This may be in the form of a song, word search ect. Here’s a link I share with the children. They love it!

7. Each following Monday, children test a partner on their list of words. If they spell the word correctly it gets removed, if not, the word stays on the list for another week.

The cycle continues on a weekly basis.

It’s important to ensure the tests are completed in a non-invasive environment so that children feel comfortable and at ease.

This is a system that works for all of my students. It’s personalised and targets each of their individual needs. I’ve also seen a great improvement in their spelling and they’re drawing on a number of strategies, rather than just relying on one! Give it a go.

Take a Risk

Something to share with the children to tomorrow! Thanks for sharing!

Orlando Espinosa

Once you believe in yourself, taking risks shouldn’t be a difficult thing to do!

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Live and Give

So true!

Orlando Espinosa

Never be afraid to share with others the knowledge you possess. Remember you can’t take it with you!

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Using Google Docs for collaborative report writing, editing & moderation in realtime

What an awesome way to justify writing your reports using Google Docs! I’ve been doing this for the past 2 years now but can’t seem to get everyone on board! Hopefully this post and video helps. Thanks for sharing!!!

mr. dan

Reports time, fun. Well maybe not. Though I can’t get rid of reports with shiny new things – yet (I have talked in the past about using platforms like evernote and blogs – systems that can provide parents with constant, easily accessible info on their children – as a way to get rid of reports) I do want to make the process easier for my staff.

For this term, we will be using Google Docs exclusively for report writing. The collaborative realtime creation, commenting, editing and chat, sharing with other members of staff for moderation (goodbye wasted printing) and more will save staff a lot of time and stress.

It is also a great way to introduce staff to the Google Docs platform and allow them to see the possibilities that they could then take into other aspects of their teaching.

To make this work is it is now…

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