Sunday, 16 November 2014

What An Opportunity!

Happy weekend everyone! I hope you aren't all busy with report writing, school work, planning and organising (although I know a lot of you are!). 

Recently, I was contacted by RIC Publications with the fantastic offer to review some of their books. I have been a HUGE fan of RIC books for quite some time so I jumped at the chance! 


I responded with a YES, YES, PLEASE, PLEASE and within a few days I received this great pack of books! 

The first book I looked at was the Maths Handbook For Teachers and Parents. I was immediately drawn to this book because one of the author's is Paul Swan. I can honestly say, that Paul Swan's Maths Games books are some of the most used teacher resources I have. I was introduced to them at the MAV conference when I first started teaching and even went to the US and back again with me! 

This book focuses on the Australian Maths Curriculum in Grades 3 to 9. It is the perfect addition to any teachers or parents library. It covers all areas of maths with simple explanation, some background information on the topic and ideas to help you teach the children the concept. One of the best things is that it includes the correct wording! Teaching children the correct wording right from the start is of great benefit to their Maths career! There is a detailed index meaning you can find your answer quickly. Overall this text is a comprehensive, easy, reference that is very teacher friendly! I LOVE that you find you answers quickly and easily, without having to read to a whole chapter! Would I use it? Yes! At only $24.95 it is definitely the cheapest I have seen. 

The second lot of books I looked at was this series called Starting Point Mathematics. These bright and colourful booklets are designed to be used at the start of the school year to give teachers a head start on their understanding of where individuals in their class are at with basic maths concepts. 

They could be used all in one go, or completed in 10/15 minute lots. As you can see the pages are very appealing to students. They are a total 10 pages, including a Student Assessment page, Teacher Comments and Parents/Guardian Comments. Theses areas are covered:
- Addition
- Subtraction
- Worded Questions
- Multiplication 
- Division
- Number (Place Value)
- Number Patterns
- Financial Literacy
- Measurement
- Geometry
- Statistics and Probability
 Do I like the idea of these booklets - yes, definitely! At $32.50 for 10 copies, they booklets would be needed to be organised ahead of time and allocated as a priority from the Numeracy team so the budget can cover the cost accordingly.

I was very excited to explore the third book I picked up. I love playing maths games and am always looking for new and great ideas. Engaging children through playing maths games is a great way to teach concepts. This book covers Year 1 and Year 2 which is great for those schools operating as multi-age classrooms. 

Firstly, each game has direct links to content descriptors in the Australian Curriculum, making it quick and simple to link into your planning. 

All games require limited resources. Number cards, number lines and tens frames. I have many of these resources already made up and laminated so I could play the games without extra preparation. However, for others who don't have these resources already made up, there are BLM's at the back of the book. Each game has background information (including what the children are learning from the game), warm up games, explaining of the game (and playing) as well as differentiation and deepening  the understanding. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I love differentiation, especially when it is a simple change to the game. 
Would I recommend this book - definitely! Would I use this book - definitely! So many great ideas! 

The final set of books I was set were the New Wave Mental Maths books. I love it when I get to review something that I have used and loved in the past! These books are $11.95 each and when I taught Grade 3, we built these into the price of our booklist. Each child arrived to school on the first day of the year with a brand new book waiting for them as well as their usual grid book and exercise books. 

My Grade 3 team were a huge advocate of daily mental maths practise. Short sharp daily practise of basic skills such as fractions, time, money, shape and number meant these books were so easy to introduce into the classroom. I will admit, because we used these books as the first activity children did when they came in after recess, our Maths lessons were usually 80 minutes, by the time we did our mental maths, corrected it, discussed any confusions and then headed into our lesson. Not that there is anything wrong with that though!

These books are aligned to the Australian Curriculum and contain the same wording and types of questions as are found in our Naplan testing. They were also great for reporting. Each week is a double page making it easy for children to look back across the week if they are unsure about a question. Many times, children remembered when we had discussed the type of problem yesterday and were able to figure it out!

At the end of the book are some great resources that children had earmarked (such as shapes, timetables tables and conversion charts) as well as answers. I never had problems with children flipping to the back to copy answers. In fact, we only used the answers if there were differences in answers between students and teacher. 

Would I use it? Yes, I already have! Did I love it? Yes! Was it of great benefit to my classroom? Yes, definitely - children need daily practice! 

RIC have continued not to disappoint with creating high quality resources. In the day of digital teaching resources, it is tempting to get all your answers online, but nothing beats a great book! Especially ones that don't require any preparation or photocopying by the teacher!
Thank you for this opportunity RIC! 
]Click on the photo of the front cover to be taken directly to the RIC website so you can see about ordering you own copy! 

Enjoy the rest of the weekend readers! 


Monday, 10 November 2014

Who Sank the Boat? Loved That Lesson!

I'm linking up with Meg at The Teacher Studio for Loved that Lesson! This month's was simple - I LOVED a lesson I did a little while ago but haven't had the chance to blog about yet! 


We read "Who Sank the Boat" by the wonderful Pamela Allen and made our own boats using the bottom of a plastic cup. Each table had a shallow container of water, a boat and a bowl of different items classroom items of various weights. 



Children took it in turns adding an item to the boat from the bowl. There was great suspense as to when the boat was going to sink. Some children "threw" the items in, others placed them in more gently. It was a great discussion point for the children. 


Eventually their boat sunk and there was great discussion as to what was it that made the boat sink. Like in the story, sometimes it is the most simplest item (the mouse) that sent the boat into the water. I love connecting Literacy with Maths!


Enjoy!


Sunday, 9 November 2014

It's Money Time!

Happy weekend everyone! I hope everyone has had a fabulous week - not long to go for us until the end of the year!

My Foundation class spent some time over the last week exploring money! Many of the children bring money to school to spend at the canteen so they knew that the gold coins are worth more than the silver. But many didn't know other than that! Because they are always wanting a lunch order, we wrote pretend lunch orders (although they desperately wanted to take them down to the canteen). 

We gave the children a canteen list (we changed everything to whole dollars) and they had $6 to spend. Children had to add up the amounts of the items they wanted, and subtract from $6 to make sure they had enough. 

Children wrote what they wanted on their bag and then worked out the money they had to get to pay for it. 



I loved this activity because not only did it combine maths with writing, but involved money, addition and subtraction! It took a while, but it was well worth it! 

Here is a freebie for my Australian followers! The kiddoes loved playing this one. Full instructions are included in the pack. 




Saturday, 8 November 2014

Five for Friday

Anyway, time to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!




Exciting times in our house! I have been feeling the baby moving all week (it likes reading time at school) - it is definitely getting real now! I also finally (at 21 weeks) look pregnant! 


Our current inquiry is looking at old toys. I tried explaining to the children what life was like before TV and iPads and computers! Children went to puppet shows! We made a sock puppet! They were so creative! Harry Potter Sock Puppet is not quite finished yet....

It's been swimming week this week! We live so close to the water that children need to know how to swim. We travel down to the pool everyday. One more week to go!

My Elf on the Shelf has arrived! I am so excited to use it with my class this year!

R bought me some beautiful flowers this week. He has been buying lots of things for himself lately, so it was beautiful to get something too!

Check out the link below to see more Five for Fridays!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Currently - Late, late, late!

My Currently is late, late, late this month! Oops!

I'm linking up with Farley again. Head on over to her blog to see some more currently's!


LISTENING - We have been watching Jimmy Fallon on Facebook for sometime, but discovered it on  TV every night! We don't watch it every night, but when we do, we laugh! Love his Thank You notes! (And the Roots!)

LOVING - Yesterday we had a Professional Development day where we went to visit a few schools in a city nearby! We never get a chance to see other schools, so it was great to walk through them, see what the school is all about and be reminded on how lucky we are. Today we had a day off for Melbourne Cup Day! I love that we have a day off for a horse race!

THINKING - The end of the school year will be here before I know it - I need to get organised! So much to do before then - including reports! We had swimming for the next two weeks so we will have a disrupted program at school and it is going to fly by!

WANTING - I was so excited when the Giants won the World Series. Unfortunately, we didn't have any of the games televised in Australia this year :( . Luckily I follow them on Facebook I guess!

NEEDING - I have been so tired today! Even though I had a sleep in, I obviously need an early night to prepare me for the adventures that tomorrow will bring! 

READING - I am currently reading through a report my Graduate Teacher has to write to receive full registration. Not very excited. I wish I was reading a book....

Have a fabulous week!


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Five for Friday!

Another week down. I can't believe we only have 8 weeks left in the school year. It has gone way too fast! It is going to be hot again this weekend, so I am enjoying the cooler weather this morning (my favourite time of the day!) and getting a few things done! (It's Saturday morning in Australia!).

Anyway, time to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!



We have finished our weekly alphabet activities and are now onto blends. They always want to write so many words with the "l" blends, so we got started on them. We referred to this chart constantly throughout the week!

We are becoming experts at our teen numbers! I am so proud that I now don't have any child that says "fifty" instead of "fifteen" etc. Morning Maths works!

On Wednesday afternoons, we have been doing mixed social groups to get the children used to being with other children from other grades, as well as being in new classrooms with new teachers. It is the start of our transition from Prep (Kindergarten) to Grade 1. The children love this activity where they make pictures on cork!

On Friday we had our Grandparents Day! The children had a great time spending some one-on-one time with their grandparents. We did some reading, play some games, showed off our Morning Maths and had Morning Tea together. 

I love this photo of a boy who beat his Grandpa at Checkers. We only taught them Checkers this week and they love it! 



Friday afternoon, our buddies came to visit and helped us with our Spring Pictures. They were inspired by Tania Poultney's pack Reading, Writing, Calendar Craft. I loved the idea of using corks to paint!


Check out the link below to see more Five for Fridays!


Questions

Have you got an area of Maths you aren't really sure how to teach? Email me (aahislop963@gmail.com) today and I will email back some engaging and purposeful ideas!