Monday, 6 May 2019

Fun with Alpacas with Maracas - A Colourful and Fabulous Book by Matt Cosgrove

Alpacas with Maracas is a fun and colourful story of two alpacas, Macca and Al and their desire to do be in the Talent Show! This fabulous story by Matt Cosgrove is the ALIA National Simultaneous Storytime picture book for 2019! I wanted to share some fun activities to celebrate this wonderful book and a great event! 

The book is hilarious and I am sure your students will absolutely LOVE reading it! My favourite part of the story is when Macca and Al are so happy with their performance even know they came last! It is a great lesson on how having fun is the most important part!

If you would like to find out more information about the ALIA National Simultaneous Storytime and to register your class CLICK HERE! 

I purchased my copy of the book from Kmart Australia, however the book is avialble at almost every shop that sells books! 

In the download I have included some writing and drawing templates. Students can write about their favourite part of the story using the templates that have a starting sentence in Print, Victorian Modern Cursive, QLD Beginners and NSW Foundation Font.

There are also a range of writing and drawing sheets with blank lines - just choose the one that meets to needs of your students the best!

My favourite activity is where students decorate their own alpaca! I will be encouraging my own students to use their creativity and imagination when they colour in their alpaca. They can also name their alpaca and choose a special talent!

If you would like to download these templates to use with your class - please click HERE and an automatic download will begin!

I would love to see your students completed work and the joy of this fabulous book shine through! Please tag me on Instagram or Facebook @bigworldteaching


Tuesday, 9 April 2019

We are Shape Detectives!

A Shape Walk is perfect for little learners because it allows for the connection to the real world. A Shape Walk allows students to identify shapes in context, using their new knowledge and understanding of shape properties!

One of my favourite topics to teach in Prep is SHAPE! This year I am not teaching prep, however the amazing prep team at my school used this resource last week to complete a Shape Walk! I was a little bit jelly that I wasn't on the Shape Walk wearing my crown and exploring the environment!

What is more fun than wearing a crown?! What is more fun than your class wearing a crown and learning!? Answer- there is nothing more fun!! Seriously a crown just makes for so much fun!

After your shape walk and you return to class this is the time to brainstorm and discuss the shapes that you found. Each student can then demonstrate their knowledge by drawing and writing about the shapes they saw on the walk. This allowed for differentiation, as I could extend students thinking by asking them to record the number of sides or corners.

There are two recording options available in the pack. There is the one-page recording sheet where students can draw and label the shapes they saw! 

And there is also a mini book! In the mini book students can complete the sentence starter 'I saw a _______________' and draw a picture to match.

You can purchase this resource from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store - Click Here!

I hope you have a fabulous Shape Walk! I would love to know how much your students loved this activity, so please tag me in your posts about your Shape Walk on Instagram and Facebook!


Thursday, 14 March 2019

Hanging Out the Washing!

Fine motor and number sequence practice = hello, washing line! Your kids will forever be asking you to bring out this activity!

What I love most about this resource, is that there are so many ways to implement it in your classroom! I have used it for whole class warm up, small group instruction and Math group/centre activity!

We made a little washing line to be used to peg the number cards in the correct order. We don't always start at the number 1. Sometime I give a group a range of cards to put in order, other times I peg some of the numbers on the line and have my students find the missing numbers (before and after). There are numbers 1-50 included in both black and white and colour options!

The cut and paste activities are a great way to differentiate number work in the the classroom. When I add the activity to our Math group/centre rotation, I change the number range based on the groups ability!
The number range for the cut and paste sheets are:

  • 1-10
  • 6-15
  • 11-20
  • 16-25
  • 21-30
  • 26-35

You can purchase this resource in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Please tag me in if you post a photo of your kids having a ball hanging out the washing - I love (and amazes me) to see my resources in other classrooms!


Thursday, 7 March 2019

3 Ways to Make Reading Groups Run Smoothly in Your Classroom!

We are on our way to establishing our routines for Reading Groups in my new class and I wanted to share what works well for us! I hope you have can take away some new tips and tricks for your setting up or revamping your Reading Groups! This blog post is packed full of resources available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store! I have also shared my Reading Group Reminder cards to help you set up your own routines and procedures for Reading Groups!

1. Routines

So, so, SO important!! And with the word routines the word consistency should come next! For your Reading Groups to work, consistent routines need to be established and followed through!

Every morning after we had finished our Read Aloud and mini lesson, we all went through our Reading Groups routine:
  • What do we need to have next to us when we are at our tables?
  •  What do we do when we have a question or stuck on something?
  • What do we do when we are finished our activity?
Now when I say I went through this every morning, I mean every single morning!

I want to break down each of the above question with some ideas that you can use in your classroom! There is no right or wrong - you just have to think about what works for you and your students and go with it! BUT if it is not working - stop and try something else!

What do we need to have next to use when we are at our tables?

In my classroom we use book boxes for Reading. Each child has their own book box (purchased from Elizabeth Richards) and inside they keep their Reading response book and a selection of picture books, levelled readers and chapter books. This depends on the student's reading ability and interests.

So, when I ask the above question, my students know that next to them they would need to have their book boxes!

However, in your classroom you might have one book that everything is added to, students may have personal pencil cases or they all might be reading chapter books. Like I said, there is no right or wrong, however you need to be clear and negotiate with your students what you expect them to have to ensure they have everything they need to last the session - none of this wondering around the classroom for 10mins trying to find a book, piece of paper or a pencil!

You can download these FREE rainbow dot labels from the blog - CLICK HERE!

What do we do when we have a question or stuck on something?

Have you heard of 'Ask 3, Before Me'? If this is a new concept, then WELCOME! Welcome to the sanity club! This saying is a game changer and, trust me, it increases independence and accountability in your students! It's a simple concept and simply means that if you are stuck or have a question, then you need to ask 3 of your peers, if they do not have an answer for you, then it is time to speak to the teacher.

But, wait, I can hear you think 'So the students just come straight up to you and asks away?' Oh no! There is a second part to this routine - the 'do not interpret' silent cue! There are so many fabulous ideas floating around on Instagram and Pinterest. When I was teaching Prep, I had a hat I would wear and my students knew that when I had my hat on, then they had to stand on the smiley face on the mat and wait their turn! I literally just had a laminated sticky note that had a smiley face on it sitting on the mat next to my small group table.

Below I have shared a couple of other ideas for a 'do not interpret' silent cue that have popped up using the #ausb2s19 hashtag on Instagram!

Kmart Australia Light Up Rainbow by Alysha at
Kmart Australia Do Not Disturb Lightbulb
by Vanessa at @miss.goodytwoshoes

What do we do when we are finished our activity?

Again, this question has a million different answers! However, your students need to know the answer before starting their activity or you will have quite the queue at your smiley face!

In my classroom last year my students had a few options and they changed throughout the year. However, because we went through these questions every day, they knew EXACTLY what they could go on with after they finished their set activity.

Two options stayed the same for the entire year and these were - read a book from your book box or finish something off in one of your books. In the second part of the year after we had introduced Writer's Notebook, my students had the option to work on this as one of their options as well!

In your classroom you might use early finisher activities or task boxes or have iPad activities available for when students finish their set work!

Whatever the activity just makes it clear to your students before starting the session. My only advice is to keep it simple - you shouldn't need to find more than 5 minutes to fill, so having lengthy or complicated early finisher tasks defeats the purpose of Reading Groups altogether!

The last part of this routine is about how you are going to correct the work and check-in with your students when they have been working on individual or group activities? Again, the answer lies within you and your classroom! However, I wanted to share what works for me and my students!

I spend the whole session with a small group doing Guided Reading, so I don't have time to run around the classroom correcting work nor is this a good use of time! Instead, at the end of the session when we are packing up, I ask students to bring me their work in their books and stack them on my table ready to be corrected. If it is group activity such as matching initial sounds or uppercase and lowercase, I go and visit that group as the other groups start to pack up.

In my class we have fruit break following our Reading Groups. This is my opportunity to go through the work books and check in with individual students about their learning! This ensures that I am giving relevant and authentic feedback in a timely manner.

To help remind me and my students of the expectations for Reading Groups I have reminders down the side of my interactive whiteboard. These are prompts for when we go through each of the above questions or I can direct students to go back over them if they are off task throughout our Reading Group session.

You can download your own set of these visual reminders, including an editable set HERE!

2. Organisation

Organising your Reading Groups is crucial - it allows for a flow in the classroom! I LOVE using google slides to plan AND display my Reading Group activities each day! This way I don't double up with planning and displaying what each group is doing for the day. This all makes sense when you see the example below!

Your groups should be fluid, depending on the learning intention or reading ability. My reading groups can change weekly! If I have the display on google slides, I can easily change the groups around and change them back again easily.

Each group had a matching rainbow tub which had their reading activity - easy! If the activity needed a mini whiteboard or a sensory tub my students knew exactly where to find them as they had the same spot in the classroom for the year! My advice with reading group tubs is to keep it simple!

You can purchase the above template for Google Slides and PowerPoint in my Teachers Pay Teacher Store - just click here! It is available in a 4, 5 or 6 group template!

3. Sustainable, Ongoing and Differentiated Tasks!

I love using the same activity for all my learners in Reading Groups - yep- that means that everyone at one stage of the week has the same activity! "What about differentiation?" I can hear you asking! Well they may have the same learning intention; however, they are all using different books! I have two favourite activities that I use all throughout the year and when students complete the task, they continue reading an independent book of their choice! Talk about differentiation!

1. Words in Books

This is a great resource pack that combine independent reading and word work. You can find it in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

2. My Favourite Part of the Book

This is a great resource because it can be done as a whole class using the read aloud text from the day or it can be completed using student's individual books! This resource is FREE and can be downloaded from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store!

If you have found these tips and tricks helpful then please leave me a comment below! I would love to know what works well in your classroom!


Saturday, 2 March 2019

Jellyfish Numbers!

Last year we made these super cute jelly fish numbers and I just had to share them everywhere! I love these because they help to consolidate my student's learning of numbers 1 to 10, AND they also look super cute and brighten up our classroom! 

I originally saw the idea on Pinterest for octopus numbers, I however I wanted to include numbers to 10. 

I printed the bodies and legs on a range of different colours and mixed up the colours for the body and legs for each student. 

My kids used crayons to draw on dots to match each number. However, you could paint, use stickers or bingo blotters to make the dots for each number! 

Click on the picture for the free template from my TPT store!

Make sure you tag me in your pictures on Instagram and Facebook - I would love to see how bright and colourful they look in your classroom!


Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Organise Your Perfect Teacher Binders To Make 2019 Your Most Organised Year Yet!

Having organised teacher binders are so important! It helps you keep all your documents in one place and have the best data on your students when you need it!  Whether they are your weekly work programs, student data sheets, parent contact, student records, or writing, reading and mathematics assessments! Start 2019 with a system that works!

Big World Teaching Teacher Binders Organise Assessment Anecdotal Notes
  • Have you ever had a meeting with a colleague or parent and spent time collecting work samples or tracking down data sheets? 
  • Have you ever had to call a parent for a check in and spent ages trying to track down the parent's name and phone number? 
  • Have you taken home work books to complete your reports? 
  • Have you lost a piece of assessment on a student before?

Confession - I have done all those things above! 🙋
BUT not anymore! I have a found a system that works for me and I am sharing with you for FREE! 
All my assessment pieces, student information and anecdotal notes are all in the one place and easy to locate - YAY, double YAY! 

Join my email list and you will receive an email with a link to Dropbox folder! Download the folder and you will have access to EVERYTHING!
Joining my email list means you will get a weekly email from me and a FREEBIE every month! 

You can read earlier posts about my Guided Reading BinderWriting Notes Binder and Mathematics Notes Binder

What is Included in the Download? 

  • Spine Labels 
  • Editable Covers for:
    • Work Program Binder
    • Student Records Binder
    • Guided Reading Binder
    • Reading Assessment Binder
    • Letter and Word Assessment Binder
    • Word Assessment Binder
    • Maths Assessment Binder
    • Maths Notes Binder
    • Writing Assessment Binder
    • Writing Notes Binder
  • Guided Reading planning, checklist and recording sheets
  • Maths Notes checklist and recording sheets
  • Student Records plus Parent Contact sheet
  • Writing Notes checklist, student sheets and Guided Reading recording sheets 

Binder Covers and Spines

There are 10 designs - YES 10!! And they are editable in PowerPoint so you can add your name and the year!

Assessment Binders  Covers Editable Big World TeachingThere are also spine labels that you can print and add to the side of your binder so that they are super easy to find on your desk!

Student Records Binder

This is a great binder to keep medical information, parent communication, behaviour plans, Individualised Learning Plans and any other student information sheets that you might collect over the year! 
Big World Teaching Teacher Binders Organise Assessment Anecdotal Notes

You can also print off a student information sheet and a parent contact log to keep track of parent communication throughout the year!

Big World Teaching Teacher Binders Organise Assessment Anecdotal Notes

Work Program Binder

Keep track of all your Work Programs this year and add them to your folder each week!

Big World Teaching Teacher Binders Organise Assessment Anecdotal Notes

Guided Reading Binder

Once you have your cover individualised and printed, it is now time to organise your planning and recording sheets!

First you will need sheets for planning your Guided Reading groups, your term plan for each group and then weekly plans.
Next is a checklist page - perfect to add skills or levels at the top and check off as you go.
Finally print a load of recording sheets - this will depend on if you are using your binder for the term, semester or year. (I like to make them for each Semester!)

Big World Teaching Teacher Binders Organise Assessment Anecdotal Notes

Reading Assessment Binder

Unlike your Guided Reading Binder, this binder is for your reading assessments such as running records. These can be formal assessments such as an Alpha Assess or BAS or an informal running record on a GR text! 

Keep them all together by having a plastic pocket for each student in your class!
Letter and Word Assessment Binder or Word Assessment Binder
Keep track of all your letter and word assessments by adding them to this binder. Again, have a plastic pocket for each student so you can find everything you need straight away!

Big World Teaching Teacher Binders Organise Assessment Anecdotal Notes

Maths Notes Binder 

This is a like your Guided Reading Binder but for Maths!

If you have small teacher groups during maths, then print out the group sheets. If you are a roamer during your maths sessions, then print the individual pages or the whole class page. (The Whole Class Mathematics Notes Page is editable so you can add your students’ names before printing - how easy is that!)

Big World Teaching Teacher Binders Organise Assessment Anecdotal Notes

Maths Assessment Binder

This is another binder where you can add things in that your school uses - get those plastic pockets back out and label one for each student. As you complete different formal assessments or pre or post assessments in class - just add it to the student's plastic pocket!

Big World Teaching Teacher Binders Organise Assessment Anecdotal Notes

Writing Assessment Binder

This binder is like you Reading Assessment or Maths Assessment Binder but for Writing! This is one of my favourite binders to use and it has changed the way I do my Progression Points for Writing at reporting time! YAY! 

You guessed it - you will need some more plastic pockets, one for each student! 
Twice a Term I take a writing sample from each student - either random or a school wide moderation piece and I analyse it using the Mackenzie, Skull and Munsie Writing Analysis ToolYou can also download a printable copy here! 

Big World Teaching Teacher Binders Organise Assessment Anecdotal Notes

Writing Notes Binder

And finally, we have the Writing Notes Binder! A place to keep all your anecdotal notes for Writing in one place! 

Again, you can add what you think you will need! Checklists are great for adding skills and checking them off as you observe them. You can also use the checklist to check off when you see each student either in a small group or a conference. 

If you do Guided Writing in your classroom, then there are a range of recording sheets ready to go – just print the one you think will suit your needs the best!

Big World Teaching Teacher Binders Organise Assessment Anecdotal Notes

First – thanks for sticking with me throughout this post! Second – add your email address to the ‘Subscribe Via Email’ section on the side and keep refreshing your inbox until you get the email from me! Don’t forget to download the folder before editing or printing any of the files!

Big World Teaching Teacher Binders Organise Assessment Anecdotal Notes

I would LOVE to see your binders when they are finished so make sure you tag me (@bigworldteaching) on Instagram or Facebook!