Sunday, 18 January 2015

Making Writing Special

Today I have written a post as part of the Adventures in Literacy Land team all about making writing special in the classroom in an attempt to motivate reluctant writers and get the best out of every child. There are tips on creating a calm atmosphere and some thoughts on self assessment and targets.

Make sure you head on over there and don't forget to leave me some comments letting me know what you do to make writing special in your classroom!

Sunday Scoop 18-1-15

Sunday evening has arrived already...

I've had a lovely weekend visiting the spa with my sister and finally exchanging christmas presents with my Dad (even though his gift from me was not working) but I'm not ready to go back to school tomorrow! I need more time!

So much to do means I need to link up with the lovely ladies at:

for one of my favourite linkies:

I think my list is fairly self explanatory this week. 

I'm really excited to be writing my first post as part of the Literacy Land team tomorrow. Make sure you stop by to find out how I try to make writing special for my reluctant writers. Hopefully you'll find lots of tips and ideas there and will leave me some comments with your ideas so I can use them in my classroom!

Thank for visiting today!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Sunday Scoop 11-1-15

It was a long and tiring first week back at school last week - so why has the weekend flown by so quickly!?

Sunday again means it is time to link up with the Teaching Trio for the Sunday Scoop.

Here's my scoop this week!

A week of being on edge waiting for a drop in observations is not a fun week! I need to make sure I am extra prepared to minimise the stress in the week but can't get motivated at the moment... No doubt I will leave it till tonight then be rushing to get everything sorted!

I must also work harder to get to 10,000 steps each day. I managed it once last week and then failed at even coming close for the rest of it! I'll aim for at least 6000 each day and 10,000 on at least 3 days before Friday. I'll let you know how I get on back here next week!

One good thing is that I saw someone on IG mention their favourite book was a Veronica Mars one by Rob Thomas and was so excited! How had I missed that he had written books following on from where the film left off?! I ordered it immediately and it should be coming tomorrow - I can't wait to read it!

Don't forget to link up your scoop with the lovely Teaching Trio and to check out what everyone else has planned for the week ahead!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Favourite Things - January


The Teaching Trio have come up with another great and easy linky - A Few of My Favourite Things! A chance to share a few of your favourite things (any category) that you're loving this month!

As we have just had Christmas I thought I would share 3 of my favourite little teaching/school/stationary related gifts that I was most excited by!

1. My sister got me that amazing bag with an image of me and 2 piles of books each topped with one of my gorgeous cats! I love it and it will be perfect for ferrying marking back and forth to school (that part is not so exciting I suppose...).

2. I hope to spend more time on my blog this year and have joined the team at Adventures in Literacy Land so have a new diary (Where's Wally because he is amazing!) to keep me organized!

3. Such cute winter animal page markers along with a whole host of other sticky notes came my way this year - I have a great collection now and really must start using some instead of just saving them!

What were your favourite school related christmas presents this year?

Don't forget to link up with the Teaching Trio for this fun linky!

Monday, 5 January 2015

Winter Wonders Blog Hop

Welcome to one of the stops on the Adventures in Literacy Land Winter Wonders Blog Hop!

This time last year a group of amazing bloggers launched Adventures in Literacy Land as a way to share great tips and advice for teaching all things literacy! I am delighted to be joining them as they start their second year and look forward to being part of the team and sharing more of what I am up to in my classroom with you!

To celebrate their one year anniversary and first birthday, Adventures in Literacy Land have organised a great chance for you to pick up some fantastic freebies and enter an amazing giveaway for a chance to win one of FOUR $25 Barnes and Noble gift cards! 

Make sure you hop all the way through, gather up your freebies and enter that giveaway! Now on to my little gift for you...

My school is in an area where our youngest children often join us with lower than average language development and it is one of out biggest challenges to build their vocabulary and continue that development throughout their years with us. 

Every classroom (and I'm sure yours too!) has a huge focus on vocabulary displays to support the children. I became bored with one of mine recently and have decided to change it with each season as a way of introducing more ambitious and relevant vocabulary that is likely to support a lot of the writing we will be doing in class.

Here is my Wintery Words display (minus any actual wintery words!):

It already has a lot more on it than this - words I have added (a few at a time), words my class and I have collected together (though class discussions and shared books) and words they have found in reading books or heard at home and have decided to add themselves (I leave post it notes out below the display). Currently there are just nouns and adjectives on display but I plan to do some work on similes and other figurative language soon. 

I encourage them to refer to this display during writing sessions but do have to swap out some of the words every now and then as too many things seem to become 'blustery' or 'glittering' - that's the sign it is time to introduce some new vocabulary! I never discourage the overuse of ambitious vocabulary at this stage in their writing development - even when it is not always used correctly (this does depend on the child and their maturity to some degree) as making and refining choices when it comes to vocabulary comes a little later. I do make sure they have plenty of words to choose from though so I don't go crazy! 

(Click on the images to link to the websites you can download the vocabulary from for free!)

When I taught further up the school I loved exploring idioms with my class - it was always a lot of fun to teach and really improved their writing by making it more interesting for the reader. We don't explicitly teach idioms in the year group I'm in now but I thought I would make a mini wintery idioms pack freebie for you to use in your classroom to help children build their vocabulary in a fun way - click on the picture below to download. I hope you find it useful!

Here is what you will find inside:

I plan to share some more on activities to build vocabulary in the classroom soon so watch this space! In the meantime, I would love to hear from you about displays or activities you find really effective in supporting vocabulary development in your classroom - I'm always looking for new ideas so please comment below!

Your next stop is the lovely Tara over at Looney's Literacy - go pick up your next freebie (and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the hop on Adventures in Literacy Land)!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

First Sunday Scoop of January!

Hello and Happy New Year!

While I'm glad to be linking up with The Teaching Trio for The Sunday Scoop, I feel sad that it means it's back to school tomorrow and that my lazy(ish) days of holiday are over...

2 weeks for Christmas are just not enough and I am not ready to go back! I was on a lesson planning mission yesterday and managed to get a lot done - including 6 weeks worth of guided reading planning. Hooray! I HATE guided reading planning so felt incredibly pleased with myself that I persevered and  finished it. I know it's going to make my half term a lot easier having it all done!

It's not a day of relaxation and celebration of my guided reading planning achievements though! There is still so much to do... How about you? Have you managed to get all the work you needed to done this holiday? Are you ready for school tomorrow?

Here's my Sunday Scoop:

I also need to tell you that Adventures in Literacy Land are having a Winter Wonders Blog Hop and Giveaway to celebrate their one year birthday on January 6th. Make sure you stop by to pick up some great freebies and enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of four $25 Barnes and Noble gift cards!

Thanks for visiting today - enjoy the last day of your break!

Link up!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

January Currently

Happy New Year!

I hope you all enjoyed bringing in the new year in whatever way made you happy and that you are feeling positive about the year ahead!

Currently with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade is a great way to start this new year - thank you Farley!

Here is my Currently for January 2015!

What are you currently up to? Make sure you link up!