Archive | November, 2011

Week Five

24 Nov

Just when I thought things seemed to be completed and up to date, but guess again.

 I was able to print off my reports and handed them to Faye on Tuesday for proof reading. She has now handed these back to me (Thursday) so I can now work on the corrections. There are not too many mistakes, and I am hoping it will not take too long to do. I am planning to correct these over the weekend, or on Monday afternoon, when I have release. I will also print these off then also, for Faye to look over and just double check and then if there are any corrections I can fix them on the Tuesday, when I have release, or during the week nights. I just want to finish them and have them out of the way. I think once the reports are completed I will feel less stressed and be able to focus on other things that need to be completed.

 We also got told this week that cumulative records need to be completed for all children by the end of this year. There are a lot of assessments and tests that we need to put in this record, which I have already done, but it is still quite over whelming.  I am a person that wants to get things done when I am told about them, and this means at the moment I am rushing to get everything completed and finished for the end of the year. I want to get the hard work done now, and work as hard as I can to finish what I need to do, so that later I can enjoy the class and being with my children. I can’t believe there are only 2 and 1/2 weeks to go. Time has flown by, and I have been so busy.

Tonight I have my friend’s registration ceremony, in Palmerston North. I would have been registering, if I was still in Palmerston North, so it is quite weird knowing mine is still in a few weeks time. I can’t wait to see all of the C.N.S staff and celebrate this time with them. I hope to have a lovely night, and not think too much about work that needs to be completed for school.

This term is coming to a end quite quickly and I am wanting it to slow down, just a tad, so I can be organised and get everything that needs to be completed sorted out. I know that I will meet all of my deadlines, but I just want to get it completed as soon as possible so I can sleep easy and enjoy the rest of the term.



Week Four:

18 Nov

Wow, what a week. I am mentally exhausted from assessments, reports and just teaching in general.  On Saturday and Sunday I got stuck into writing reports and was able to get about 10 general comments finished, oral language comments and reading comments completed. My goal this week was to do 2 reports a night (Monday- Wednesday), which I managed to do. I had release Tuesday which allowed me to do all of my GLOSS tests on the children. I was impressed that some of them had moved up to another stage, and it was good taking this test to see were the children are and it also identifies their next step of learning. The data from this test have been put onto MUSAC. I completed all of my general comments with release for half a day on Thursday, which I was so happy about. I went home on Thursday night expecting to start marking writing and wanted to get about 5 reports written out for writing, but to my wonderful surprise I managed to complete all of them. I am so happy with my progress. I only now have maths next step comments to do, which I do not anticipate to take to long. I have the effort for my children, from the other teachers in my team, and I can easily write where they need to move to next, and what they need to work on. I am just so thrilled that the workload is nearly over. I was able to complete the writing assessment and put the data on MUSAC. I also did the basic facts test sheet for the portfolios and have entered the data on MUSAC for this also. I am all up to date, and even have some children completing writing samples for records for next year. I have sorted out the planning for next week and I am all organised for starting back on Monday. The children seemed a bit unsettled this week. I think we are all tired and exhausted from such a busy, full on time in the year. They know we are stressed and can sense this, which means they take on how we are feeling. I am sure it will settle down and for the last 3 weeks we can enjoy the time we have together.  I hope to have some of Saturday and Sunday to relax and catch up on some well deserved sleep and me time.

Week Three:

10 Nov

Compared to last week, this week seems to have moved slowly along. I worked really hard and finished all my running records and planning for week 4 earlier on in the week, and I think this may be why I feel this way. I worked so hard and was so focused on what I needed to get completed I wore myself out to early. I am so thrilled that I completed all the running records that needed to be done and all the children I tested moved up a whole year, and even a year and a half. Getting back into school, and even routine at home and gym, has been harder this week, after last week’s busyness with camp and being out of the school. I also think the children have not wanted to focus and be settled, as they are still worked up and bubbling about their camp experience. I have evaluated my fourth term goal, which I am thrilled about, and I have sent away for my registration and they have taken, out my payment, which is great. I will hear from them in 4-6 weeks about whether I register or not, I am sure I will, but I can’t wait to hear back about this. In team meeting this week we started sorting out and looking at placements of children for next year. I am fine with my class, but I am a bit uneasy about one child that has behaviour concerns. I should be ok, and I am up for the challenge, but really hope I can still have a great classroom environment and relationship with all my children next year. I am planning on doing reports Saturday and Sunday this weekend, and I also have two days of release next week, so I am planning on working on these on the Thursday next week, which should allow me to get most of them completed (I hope). These are not due for another two weeks, so that does take a bit of the pressure off me for the time being, but it would be nice to get these completed before the due date so I can be more relaxed at school and at home I can not be stressed with having to complete these in a rush or under pressure. Everything has gone really well this week, I am up to date with school tasks and even at home I have been able to focus on learning my tracks for step and carried on with my normal gym classes. Had a great week and I hope to have a productive and focused weekend writing reports.


Inquiry Observation (Number Two)

5 Nov


Diary Sheet when Visiting & Observing other Classrooms


Date: 5th October             Term:  3                    Classroom:  Mrs Margot Mackie                           Observer: Miss Alicia Kyle  
What learning is going to happen during the visit: – Discussed prior to visit

This is an appraisal observation. Margot is going to be focusing on teaching using thinking skills. The tasks involve deeper thinking from the children and are taught most mornings when the roll is being called and during the morning session. It is just a great way for the children to ‘switch’ their brains on for the day and to have some really meaningful ideas discussed and brought out.


Date Description of practice Reflection/comments: Future Steps

5th Oct





Task one:

Teacher asks the children a question to focus on answering as the roll is being called (by the student of the week). The question of the day is displayed on the digital teaching station:

“Today’s challenge… Which would you choose for your next party?”

Then there are three pictures on the screen for the children to choose from. Cupcakes, cake and biscuits.

Children have to say what item they would choose and say why. If they do not say why the teacher asks them to explain in more depth why.

When the child of the day calls a Childs name out they say yes they are here and then answer the question.

An example given by one of the children was: I would choose cupcakes because you can decorate them all differently”

The teacher had two signs on the whiteboard next to her when she was talking with children and used them to prompt the children by pointing. They each said: Think, choose and I could add (with pictures to connect to the word).

Teacher selected the ‘top’ thinkers of the day and explained why their thinking was really good.

Task two:

Go over the day on the board, all set up already (by the student of the day). This chart showed the date, day, month, season, calendar, which the children read together as a class.

The child of the day then selects a song the class dance and sings to.


Task three:

This task focuses on phonetics. Teacher says the sounds. The children have to respond to the sound that their last name starts with. When their sound is used by the teacher they go away and then get their whiteboard and marker.

Children use the whiteboard and markers to write down sounds and words the teacher makes and uses.

The children had to write their last name- practising writing this and saying how many sounds they have in their last name.

Teacher used ‘GR’ as the sound of the day. Used cards with all GR words on them for children to write on their white boards, discuss, and then write how many sounds in them.

Grit, gruffilo, grid, grump, Gran. Shared examples as a group.

Catch the word- teacher said it, children caught it in their hands and used their hands to say the word. Then children counted how many sounds in the words on their shoulders and they then had to show how many fingers they had used.

Teacher then made up a silly sentence the children had to write out on their boards: “My Gran got grit in her bed”

The children had to write this out correctly on the whiteboard.

Marked as a class- teacher wrote the correct sentence on the board- circling the capital letters, full stops, GR sounds etc.

Count up the scores and say who the winners are. (Children record their scores as they go in a little box on the side).


Task four:


Q bear- smiley, sad faces (on a stick, drawn). One side shows a happy face, the other shows a sad face. Children show the face which expresses whether a task is good or bad using this bear.

Children sit with their buddy of the week, in a circle.

Teacher: “we have been learning about good/ bad decisions”

“Think and choose about it”- (the signs on the board, by the teacher are referred to again). The children turn and face their buddy- give good and bad idea- children have to use their Q bear to show whether it is happy or sad face.

Children had time to discuss a number of scenarios together.

Share as a class, one pair, giving an idea they discussed, the class then shows the face they think Q bear should have.


Task five:

Using the signs by the teacher again:

Think- of an animal (all children). The class is in a circle. One child is called into the centre of the circle to share their animal by acting it out (without sound). Other children have to guess.

Showing if the children can make the right choice to express different animals or not. And even making a decision in what they needed to do.


Task six:

Teacher asks the children: “Has anyone ever asked you to do something you know was wrong to do?”

The children then asked Q bear (the teacher) to do something wrong and they had to listen to the responses he gave to each of the children when they asked him to do horrible things. Children were thinking about the bad decisions they were asking Q bear to do.

Teacher at the end of the lesson reminded the children to use the responses they heard Q bear give in the playground or at home when someone tells them to do something wrong.

Task seven:

Movie for children to watch (short film).

Little girl has to make a decision about who to give her money to- two music players, or the well. The movie was stopped half way and as a class the teacher encouraged the children to discuss the choices the girl had to make and asked their opinion as to what they think she should do,

Task eight:

This was a game were the children talked about thinking hats. The black and yellow hats- bad and good ideas.

The teacher laid out on the mat some yellow hats and black hats (cut outs) in a circle. The class sat in a circle, around the hats. Three children were chosen to stand up and walk around the hats and when the music stopped playing, had to jump on one of the hats. Whatever colour they landed on they had to give an example of what they were doing- if it was a black hat they said they were doing something bad, and if it was a yellow hat they expressed an idea that they were doing that was good.

Task nine:

Talking book. The children are to buddy up with their buddy of the week and create a page to place in the class’s talking book. The pair had to select either a good or bad idea to do. If it was a good thing the children did a tick at the top of their page, or if it was bad they did a cross. Children had to draw the image, choose a colour of their page, choose materials to use to decorate and colour in, and use a vivid to go around- all of these things were the children’s own choices to make.









I thought this task was really fast and was simple to do. The children thought they were just discussing what food they like better, but underneath it all they had to think about why they liked one over the others.


I thought having the question on the digital teaching station was a great idea- really bright and children were drawn to it.










Really positive feedback to the children about this task and the thinking they were doing.




Good to get children talking about dates, seasons etc.


This song allows the teacher time to get her sorted for the next task.




I thought this was a great way to get the children listening carefully to what the teacher was saying and practise using the sounds in everyday examples e.g. names. Good task to get children thinking about sounds in words and how many we have in words.



Good to see how well the children understand sounds and what is in each word. It is clear what child understands the task and who are confused.


Could tell this task was competed often as the children collected points on the side really easily and could skip from one little task to another when the teacher called out different tasks they had to complete.

-hands showing word.

-counting out the sounds etc.


Good to give children responsibility of being honest and marking together as a group, as this happens a lot later on in later years, and is good to see if children are able to answer the task correctly.

Counting scores gives the children a bit of motivation to finish the tasks correctly.









Using the Q bear was a great way for children to not feel pressured to get the answer correct, they had time to turn their little bear the right way and could work with someone to get the right answer. I found the task was really focused and relevant for the children.










This task was quick and simple to do and perfect for this age group. They thought it was just a bit of fun, but they had to really think about the animal and how to make it act the way it needed to, to be guessed.







A quick and simple task for the children to complete, and a bit of fun. Really good for the teacher to share with the children how to say no in a positive way to doing something wrong.








I really enjoyed this movie and it was a funny little clip to share- and it was very obvious the children enjoyed watching it and because they enjoyed it, learnt a lot and focused on it.




Really simple task using the thinking hats- children are having fun and not realising they are thinking carefully when they change hats on the floor and having to switch their ideas or thoughts suddenly. Fun with the music playing also other children who are watching.







I thought the talking book was great for the children of this age to use, as it reads the story to them, so if they struggle to read it can help them figure out what the page says. It also allows the children to be more interested in the book, as they have created it.


Good to let children make their own decisions of what to use to create their page and work with their buddy to create it.














Can easily adapt this to seniors but maybe make the questions given more challenging, and get them to justify their answer with more in-depth discussion.


























This task made me become more aware of how phonetics are a big part of teaching and how children need to understand how important sounds in words are and recognise them more.











































Very simple idea, but could be used in senior school, but change the image used to make it more sophisticated and to a character the children can relate to.












Something I do now in my room, having signs around and just using these to make connections to activities or tasks the children should be doing.

























I loved this video and would love to use it to teach my children, I know they would respond well to it, and enjoy watching it.








Resources used:

Yellow and Black Thinking Hats (laminated) – There are many of them and can be used in a range of tasks.

Microphone- attached to Margot she can use this when talking to the class on the mat and when she wants to gain children’s attention.

DVD- Had a teaching resource. Really useful for the children- they liked it and where focused on the ideas it promoted.

Q bears face– each child had one- something for the children to use to share their ideas without being focused on. 

Whiteboard/ marker– can be used for giving things a go and practising writing/ spelling.

Talking book– really good for this age, as if they struggle to read, they can have it read to them.

Materials for making pages in the talking book


Inquiry focus: Thinking tasks

  • I liked how you got them to give examples of bad and good decisions, and they changed from one way of thinking to another very fast.  
  • You talked about the thinking hats and it was clear how they complimented one another- opposites, and it was easy for the children to think about good ‘verses’ bad.
  • The task they were given was clear and I liked how simplistic it was. The children all had so much fun, and didn’t really think of it as focused thinking, but just having a good time.
  • The children enjoyed watching the movie, playing the games and discussing as a class the good and bad decisions, it was clear it all tasks linked into the main focus of getting them thinking using the yellow and black hats.
  • I really liked how simplistic and easy the task during the roll- my challenge for the day was for the children to complete. They had to think why they would choose one of the images, and had to explain why- clever tool to use, even can adapt to seniors).


I really enjoyed coming in and watching you teach. The children were focused on tasks they were completing because you made it fun and explained how to complete it clearly. You fitted so much in to the lesson, but it just fitted and flowed so well. Thank you for allowing me to observe youJ. Alicia




Reflection of Term Four goal:

5 Nov

Reflection of Term Four goal:


The goal I set for myself in term four was to be organised and well planned for camp and to enjoy the experience. I set this goal as I was unsure about how much I needed to have organised and sorted for a camp to run successfully, and I was also unsure about how the experience would affect my patience and behaviour with the children and how well I would cope in the situation of being in ‘teacher mode’ for three full days. I wanted to start thinking about how I could push my children on the camp to face challenges that arose and how I would be able to deal with situations were children became upset, or issues arose. I also just wanted to enjoy the whole situations and build stronger relationships with my children because of this time together. I must say that I definitely did achieve my goal, and I achieved it well. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole time away with my children and I grew a lot as a teacher because of it.

The things I did well this term in planning camp and going at camp were:

–          Before camp I was able to organise some great team building activities for the children in my class, and all fitness groups to compete in. The children worked hard and well together in these groups to solve problems that arose and to complete the challenges set by myself.

 Some of these activities were:

  • Creating towers with only newspaper and a certain amount of tape. Each tower had to be a certain height and hold a tennis ball.
  • Threading a piece of string through half a class of people. The string had to go through a piece of clothing from each child. The string was then cut in half for each group, repeating the same process. Then the string was put in ¼’s which some classes did not manage to do, but mine did. It was great to see how well the children worked together to complete the challenge.
  • Minefield- this activity involved the children leading their buddy through a group of obstacles and objects that where positioned in random places. The person that was lead through was blind folded and they had to completely trust their partner to lead then through safely. Children could not touch one another, but had to talk to each other using voice and directions.

There were a lot more that I tried and they were very successful, but these ones were really fun and I know that the children did well in these ones, especially.

–          I created the camp booklet, with some help from Geoffrey. This was a great way for me to help out my team and to make sure I had some meaningful tasks for children to complete, which allowed them to evaluate and will carry on, even when returning from camp, about what they achieved and how well they did at camp. This looked great and I am proud of what I achieved with this booklet.

–          I helped and worked alongside the rest of my team to plan tasks for the evenings. I inputted into placement of children in certain challenge groups with a mix of different children that would work well together. I sorted out rotation of activities for children, knowing what ones would work well after one another. This was all done in team meetings, and took a lot of work, but if we did not take the time to get these sorted before we went, the camp would have not been successful. I now know how important really in-depth planning and sorting children into groups is for a successful camp (and it allowed us to enjoy the experience more- as it worked so well and flowed).

–          I organised people to print booklets, and got help from Rex to figure out how to get the photocopier to print out the booklets already stapled, and with a cover, which made it so much faster.

–          I got involved with my children on camp, and visited all my children, as they completed activities. I got to take photos, talk with them about the activities, helped them, talked them through, challenges and even got to challenge myself and complete the activities along side them. This allowed me to form really strong, relaxed, and encouraging relationships with my children. They saw that I faced my fears also, and we got closer as a group.

–          I worked along side my team, especially Faye, at camp. I would ask her questions, ask her to explain why things were done in certain ways, and she would answer my questions in a positive way. I got to see how a good leader runs things, and how she needed all of the parents, and teachers to work hard and make sure things went well, so it was successful. I also believe that on camp our team became closer together as a group. We worked through issues, solved problems together, helped one another out and really just had some fun together. I believe I have a much stronger relationship especially with Dicey and Faye as we got to joke around, have some fun and talk about how we do certain things. I also saw how to work with them in different situations, and learnt that some people do things in different ways, and even though I may have not chosen to do something in a certain way, the way they choose to do it worked well.

–          I thoroughly enjoyed my whole experience and would love to do it again. I know I have grown as a teacher, and cannot wait to get back into teaching my children at school, as I know we will have a better relationship and really see each other in a different way.

Some things I have learnt from camp:

–          Challenge groups are important, and sorting these out a LONG time before going to camp is important. It s good to get the children working together before going away. This ensures you see if some children work well together, and if they don’t you can change them before going away, to stop problems and issues on camp.

–           Planning and sorting out lists of things that need to be completed before going on camp is vital to having a successful camp. Though it takes a long time and some sacrifice of time from me as a teacher, it is important to do in order to have a successful time and to make sure things run smoothly.

–          I now realise every person, and teacher, does things differently, and I have discovered that though it may not be the way I would have planned or done things, things worked out and were done great. All of our team was able to give something to the whole experience in order to make it so successful.


Overall camp was a wonderful experience, and I am so glad and thankful I got to be part of it. From the amazing parents I got to work with, the food I was freely given (and there was so much of it) and just the overall experience of gaining a closer relationship with my team and children was just great. I am ready for my next one!


Week Two:

5 Nov

The start of week two went very fast, with challenge groups, team activities in the classroom and trying to fit in mathematics (geometry), reading, writing etc, but we managed to get most of this taught and finished up before heading off to camp on Wednesday morning. Many of my children were so nervous about the whole experience, and about the ‘unknown’ camp experience they had to have for the second half of the week that it affected their behaviour, their relationships with others in the classroom, and even affected the health of some of my children, with upset stomachs and nervous butterflies in the tummy. I can understand why the children did feel nervous and unsure, because I was in the same boat and felt exactly the same. The nights before camp were tiresome and sleepless. I was ready and excited to go, but still unsure of what to expect and how tired I would become during the experience, and I thought about how I may react to certain children, or how I would cope being in teacher mode 24/7, for three days in a row. When we set off Wednesday morning it was exciting and the children were pumped up. I saw a few worried faces and even tears from some, but as soon as the children moved out of the school grounds, where they couldn’t see parent’s faces anymore, they loved it, and there were smiles and laughs everywhere. I thought it was great seeing the children outside of the classroom. I discovered children who became more independent without parents around, challenged themselves in every activity and I also saw who was mothered more, which seemed to be more the boys than the girls, which surprised me. The children that stepped up at camp where the last children I would have thought would have faced their fears, and pushed themselves in situations, it was so great to see. I enjoyed the whole experience so much and didn’t feel too tired, even after only 4 hours sleep, the first night, but I still had a job to do, and I just managed to keep going with it. I did feel like I was not involved in the groups as much as I would have liked, but that is because we had so many wonderful parents involved, we didn’t have to be working with certain groups, but wandered around and observed all of the activities. I wanted to get closer to the children and felt like I should have been doing more, even though I was always cleaning, or fixing morning, afternoon teas, and running to help some people somewhere etc. I even got to do some of the activities, the waterslide and the confidence course, and in these activities I got to face my own fears, and I didn’t want to be shown up by children, I had to do them.  Over the whole experience I just felt a bit more relaxed, and to be honest I thought it would have been way more stressful than it was. I enjoyed it so much and I loved doing the runs in the morning with the children, I got my time in the end, by escaping in the morning with theses runs, as so many of the children were too tired to get up in the mornings, which meant I had a nice quiet run with 3 children the second day, and 13 the first. I was absolutely shattered when I came back on Friday, and went to bed as soon as I got home, and had an early night also. It was such a great experience! I am so thankful I got to go, and I really felt that it was a great time for me to get to know my children better and for them to see me in a different light (even as a mother figure- with giving out night time hugs).