Saturday, 28 December 2013

Catching Up!

Wow! I've been MIA for a LOOOOONG time. I'll be honest, once the wedding and honeymoon were done, school started and I felt so overwhelmed. Writing blog posts went straight off the agenda, as did reading blogs (which I actually love doing). Now that school has been out for a week and the first term is over, I finally feel like I can get myself back into the swing of things.

I suppose that since this is technically an 'educational blog' I should probably try and write something about school. The last few weeks were some of the most tiring weeks ever, especially as I had an obscene amount of free time. Our lower school (years 3 & 4) put on a Christmas production every year. We spent two weeks rehearsing with the children. In the time that we weren't rehearsing I was trying to keep myself and the kidlets sane by having them do 'meaningful activities'. To my relief, Teaching with a Mountain View was generous enough to give away some multi-digit multiplication task cards for free! It definitely pays to be FB fans of your favourite bloggers.
I've only recently introduced task cards into my maths set and have experimented with how to use them. My students had just learned how to play Scoot (or my made up version of what I think Scoot is based on Google searches). Task cards aren't really a thing here so it's been great to share my ideas with my colleagues. Anyways... I thought these multiplication cards were perfect because
a) I've already worked on multiplying with my kiddos as this is my 2nd year having them
b) There wasn't a need to much input, other than refreshing the rules and telling the kids where to move.
c) It was a great way for them to review the LATTICE METHOD, our school's adopted multiplication method. If you haven't given it a go, I urge you to do it. It has worked wonders even for the most struggling mathematicians AND it works with multiplying decimals.
 These two picture show students working away using the lattice and checking their work using their handy answer sheet.

We used the task cards over 2 lessons, which meant that I wasn't able to play Scoot on Day 2. For the 2nd day I taped all 32 task cards randomly around the room. The children had 20 seconds to find a card they hadn't done yet and only 1 student was allowed at a card. They then had 2 minutes (a long time I know, most of them finished on time, but I wanted to make sure my students that weren't as secure with their times tables got enough time) to complete their answer. One of my most able students commented that she really enjoyed these lessons. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them move around and being able to work independently!
Day 2, students up and about around the room, all on task!

The other item that got me through those two weeks was courtesy of Amber Polk, over at Adventures of a Polka-Dotted Teacher. She has a glorious holiday themed lap book, which I can honestly say was worth the $5. I have never attempted lapbooks or interactive notebooks and to be honest, still am not 100% sure what they are or how to use them, but I had a go (after Googling again and watching a Youtube tutorial). I wish wish wish I had some pictures of the results, but you'll have to trust me when I say that the kids thoroughly enjoyed it. It worked on so many skills for them, reading, comprehension, writing, fine motor skills (the amount of 8-9 year olds that still struggle with scissors...) that I didn't feel like I was just giving them 'busy work' although that is kinda what it was. I didn't mark their efforts but they were pleased to be able to take them home and show off to their parents.

So...that is me kinda caught up? I already have one other blog post planned (uh oh, look out) and am going to make it a resolution to try and keep up. I love reading other blogs and the amount of ideas I get from everyone is great. 
To a more organised 2014!


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