Saturday, 29 November 2014

Is there an Elf on the Shelf in your classroom?

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Many American teacher bloggers who I follow have an Elf on the Shelf in their classrooms. If you don't know what it is, have a look at this page. You can "adopt" an elf who brings their Christmas magic. The elves tend to get up to some mischief when humans are asleep/away. If your adopted elf lives in your classroom, the children arrive to find something out of the ordinary when they get to school. 

The official Shelf The Elf website has a gallery of photos of elf sightings. There is also a Buzzfeed post with 43 interesting sightings, providing lots of inspiration (though not all are suitable for classrooms.) Pinterest is full of photos of sightings in classrooms.

Mel D from Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations documented her Elf on the Shelf ideas on her blog. She has also shared a freebie with some writing templates. It's available in her TPT store. 

Photo from Mel D's Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations

Adopting an official elf from this website can be a little bit pricey. I'm sure less expensive elves can be "adopted" from other places. Is this something that you think you'd like to try in your classroom? 

Irish teachers, this concept could very easily be applied to St. Patrick's Day and leprechauns!

Thursday, 27 November 2014

2D shapes teaching resources

Hi all! Happy Thursday! Only 3 weeks to the hols after tomorrow!

I just wanted to share a quick resource of two hands-on activities that we did in class  yesterday to investigate the properties of 2D shapes.

The first one was determining if shapes tessellate. The children made predictions and then used shapes (made from card) to check if they were right.

They then did a shape factfile for two shapes of their choice, as below.

To download the materials used in this lesson (templates of the 9 shapes to be photocopied on coloured card, shape factfiles and a tessellation investigation sheet), click here!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Edublog Awards 2014 - Nominations

I'm delighted to have been nominated for the 11th international Edublog Awards. If you wish to nominate your favourite educational bloggers, pop over to the Edublog Awards official site to submit your votes in as many of the 19 categories as you like! You can nominate until November 24th (next week). 

My blog post: "10 Reasons NOT to Date a Girl Who Teaches" has been nominated in the "Most Influential Blog Post" category. If you agree with this, please give me more nominations! If not, maybe you would consider nominating me for "Best Individual Blog."

Here are my nominations for the #eddies14
Best Individual Blog: Seomra Ranga
Best Ed Tech / Resource Sharing Blog:
Best Teacher Blog: Step into Second Grade with Ms. Lemons
Best Individual Tweeter: Seomra Ranga
Best Free Web Tool: Pinterest
Best Mobile App: A+ Spelling Test

IB teacher blogs worth checking out!

PYP PE With Andy:
This blog does what it says on the tin. Andy is a PE teacher in a PYP school. He shares ideas for good teaching practice. I love how he makes anchor charts that are very simple and visual. Some examples of the central idea broken down and related to PE like the one below really caught my eye.

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@alisoneducates Reflections of an Early Years PYP teacher:
Written by a very passionate Pre-K teacher, this blog shows exactly how you can promote visual thinking in your classroom. She is very experienced and clearly cares a lot about becoming more knowledgeable about the best practices for active learning.

A very interesting blog giving the insights of author, Edna Sackson, into teaching and learning in an IB PYP school in Melbourne Australia. She writes in a very honest way and her posts are great to get you thinking and reflecting.

Mrs. Twist's Classroom:
Though this blog has not had a very long lifespan, I have taken lots of inspiration from Mrs. Twist. This post in particular, really stood out for me, especially when I was new to the IB way and needed to see some good examples.
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The Land of Glitter:
Run by a PYP Kindergarten teacher, this blog captures life in early years in an IB school. Click on the IB or International Baccalaureate tags to view IB-specific posts or just browse to get lots of ideas from a very passionate teacher.

PYP ICT blog:
Copenhagen International School's ICT blog shows how technological skills are taught and how they connect with the PYP.

Making PYP Happen Here:
With posts from September 2013- March 2014, this blog has lots of great ideas about how the IB is visible in the International School of Ho Chi Minh City. There are also ideas about how to incorporate parents into the learning community.

The Unquiet Librarian:
This is a blog from Buffy Hamilton, a teacher/technology specialist/librarian with over 20 years of experience. Her blog documents IB-friendly methodologies with detailed descriptions, photos and sometimes videos. This really gives an insight into inquiry in action in the MYP.

And last but not least...
... A Crucial Week:
Let's not forget little old me. I share ideas and resources some IB specific, some more general here. I also have a TPT store with IB resources

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

500,000 post views celebratory giveaway

Well hello there! To celebrate more than half a million views on my "10 Reasons NOT to date a girl who teaches" post, I'm having a giveaway.

The winner will receive one item of their choice from my TPT store for free. To enter, simply pop over to the A Crucial Week Facebook page and comment on the status related to the competition!

I'll pick a winner on Saturday, 15th November!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

6 Things to Expect When Teaching Abroad

1. The pain of trying to pack your life into a couple of suitcases and realising that you can't bring your mountains of stationery or random resources with you.

2. The confusion of adjusting to another climate. If you've grown up in a country where  blustery weather is normal all year round, then your teaching wardrobe doesn't really vary from season to season. Then you get to a country where it's upwards of 30 degrees Celsius and you have to find a way to dress appropriately while letting as much skin free to the air. It can be quite the dilemma!

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3. The absolute shock when you realise it's Fathers' Day in your new country and you hadn't factored it into your planning. You'll also probably forget Mothers' and Fathers' day in your home country and pray that the post will get your card across countries/continents in a day.

4. The immense satisfaction of spreading your culture to another place. Watching the students in your school make decorations and take part in activities to celebrate a festival from your home country can make your heart bubble over with national pride.
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5. The fear when you realise that not all hand gestures mean the same thing in other countries. While you might think a simple "rock on" hand sign is innocent, think again! The students in your class may point out that their parents told them it was a bad thing! Check out this guide to offensive hand signals that you may have previously thought were perfectly safe to use in school!
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6. The joy of meeting colleagues from different places and learning lots about their ways of life. With that comes learning a lot about yourself and things that you didn't even realise were characteristics of your own people.

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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Resources for teaching coordinates (freebie included!)

Hi there,

The children in my class are learning about coordinates this week. I wanted to share with you the visual reminder I use to help to remember the order of the numbers in the brackets. I use the phrase "We crawl before we climb" and the children can then visualise a baby crawling along the x-axis and (as they grow up) learn to climb a tree vertically along the y-axis.

Just click here or on the image below to download the poster from Google Drive.

I'm very lucky that my school has a 1:1 iPad programme. We've used the following apps in class. 
Maths Attack Vol 2. - This one was great as an introduction. They give you coordinates and you move the butterfly to the correct position to feed it.
Coordinate Pics - This one has options for plotting points in one quadrant or in four. As you touch the points it creates a picture which becomes animated when completed. Here's a pic of it being used in my classroom.

There are some fantastic coordinate picture worksheets on SuperTeacherWorksheets (members only!) and Maths-Aids (4 quadrants only but free for all!). My favourite one of all is this Minion coordinate picture from TES.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

IB PYP (PEP) posters en Español (in Spanish)

For the attention of Spanish-speaking teachers in IB schools:

I'm delighted to announce that there are now lots of IB PEP poster sets in my TPT store en Español. You can buy any of the following sets individually or there is a bumper set, including all of them for $10.

  • Perfil de la comunidad de aprendizaje 
  • Actitudes del PEP
  • Conceptos clave
  • Habilidades transdisciplinarias
  • Los temas transdisciplinarios