THE CAT IN THE HAT AND THE TIDYING MACHINE

Today, year one students have met A CAT IN A HAT, by Dr. Seuss.

Seuss-cat-hat

You can get the application here. I highly recommend you get it: it allows you to read all the words one by one or point to a drawing to know how it is said.

Children have really liked the tricks and pranks that Cat in the Hat does…; but what they liked most is the “Tidying Machine;” which allows you to tidy up the whole house in a jiffy.

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For this reason, we have designed one in the Arts and Crafts lesson:

LET THE DICE DECIDE.

Let the dice decide the fate of your drawings, doodles and stories in this fun fill-in book. 

Readers can roll to create their own creatures, mash up incredible monsters, randomize names, assemble their own superheroes, plot their own adventure stories, predict the future and much, much more. 

With quirky illustrations by Sophie Foster, there are hundreds of outcomes and the possibilities are almost endless. 

let the dice decide

let the dice decide, by Sophie Foster

Year one students really enjoyed the following game:

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They had to draw a bug. First they have to draw the body and then the head. Then the rest of the body parts of the bug can be drawn, regardless of the order. The one who ends first is the winner.

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THE GIVING TREE

I always read this story by Shel Silverstein to my year two pupils when I teach about plants.

the giving tree_

My way of talking about plants is a little special. I tell them that plants are the most important living things on the planet, without plants life would not exist. Plants do not need other living things in order to live. They do not eat other beings. Plants are the only living things able to make their own food. For this reason, the rest of living things depend on them. The strategy that plants use to reproduce and ensure their existence, is also very beautiful and very generous again. With their colorful and fragrant flowers they attract the attention of insects and give them nectar and pollen. In this way, insects pollinate the plants, and fruits are born. Fruits either fall to the ground or other living things catch them and eat them, spreading the seeds of the plant so that new ones are born…So reading this story is my little tribute to the plants and a way to contribute to stimulate the awereness of my students regarding this issue. I hope you like it. The narrator in the video is the author himself, Shel Silverstein:

 

 

LET THE CHILDREN GET BORED AGAIN

Humor is an essential ingredient of life. Anytime. Anywhere. It is always necessary. It is always is good. Especially when we talk about teachers and children. However,  articles like the one I share now  always make me think. It is true: humor is very good and you have to use it from time to time, and so on, yet we should not feel guilty when  kids get bored. Boredom is also necessary in life. We should not fall into the trap that children can not follow long explanations, and we should plan lessons that engage our students, full of interaction and visuals, etc. Maybe we should not create false expectations. Perhaps it is also important to teach that  boredom is part of life. Maybe tomorrow they will have to do boring jobs…

 

living things,non-living things and… WILD THINGS!

It is time to use creatively all the information and vocabulary we have learned throughout this unit …

I randomly handed out our Schleich animals among my students. Next, they wrote a detailed description of the animal, saying if it was vertebrate or invertebrate; reptile, mammal, amphibian, bird, fish; carnivore, herbivore or omnivore…,  and made a small drawing.

When they finished, I put all the animals into into my top hat, so that they could not see them; and I described the animals for them to guess… It was a really good practice.

To include a surprise element and just for fun, I introduced among the animals a WILD THING!!!

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Some students thought I was describing a platypus!

Well, it was the perfect excuse to introduce the wonderful story by Maurice Sendak: WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE…

We watched the movie trailer:

And then, of course, we read the story:

 

 

CLASSIFYING ANIMALS ACCORDING TO THE FOOD THEY EAT

It’s been several weeks now that my year two students are working on

ANIMALS

First, they learnt the distinction between living and non-living things; then between vertebrates and invertebrates…

Later, we took advantage of such an interesting topic

TO LEARN A NURSERY RHYME, READ A WELL-KNOWN STORY AND LEARN HOW TO DRAW AN OWL …

After that, my students were able to tell by heart and to classify the animals in

BROWN BEAR using what they had learnt…

This week we will finish the unit and my students have studied a new way of classifying animals. By paying attention to the nutrition of animals they can be classified into carnivorous, herbivorous and omnivorous animals

The following worksheets provided us with  structures and vocabulary so as to talk about the subject:

animal nutrition

animal nutrition 1

animal nutrition 3

animal nutrition 2

herbivores, omnivores and carnivores

The following story came to my mind when I thought of “animals eating …”

the very hungry caterpillar

the very hungry caterpillar

After reading THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR, I share the following web site, where you can find 20 amazing transformations from caterpillar to butterflies or moths…

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I hope you find these resources useful: they have been very productive and my students have enjoyed a lot.

 

ANIMALS IN BROWN BEAR

These are the animals that appear in BROWN BEAR, by Bill Martin.
In addition to learning the story, we have classified all of these vertebrate animals into AMPHIBIANS, MAMMALS, BIRDS, and FISH. We have discovered that teachers are mammals 😉
So, we have used an accessible INPUT (authentic language exposure) that has made OUTPUT (production, what children say using the English language) possible, prompting questions like, “Can you name an amphibian?” or “How many mammals can you see?” Then, we have placed all the information in a diagram: LIVING THINGS> ANIMAL KINGDOM> VERTEBRATES> and within vertebrates, the classification mentioned above in amphibians, mammals, birds and fish.

 

_brown_bear animalslittlefolkvisuals.com: brown bear brown bear what do you see

 

We took the opportunity to color the animals in the story …

brown bear what do you see

brown bear activities

 

 

APATHY IN SCHOOLS

I share today a very interesting article about one of the biggest problems in the classroom:

HOW TO FIX THE APATHY PROBLEM IN SCHOOLS

I very much agree with what the article says. Nowadays, all the pressure falls on the teacher, who must constantly train and find new methodologies that are motivating and adapt to the ever-changing reality of the classroom. What impact does this have on our students? As the article says:

many students do not see education as a privilege. They see it as a product. And if they do not like the salesperson, if they are not impressed with how it is packaged, they are not buying. But our kids have to learn to be self-motivated because at some point in every person’s life, either at school or in a job or in a marriage, he or she will have a buck up and say, “This is hard. This is boring. I do not want to do this. But I’m doing it anyway. And I’ll do my best.

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I leave here some of the most interesting aspects discussed in the article:

[…]“That problem is apathy. In classrooms all over the country, the teacher cares more about her students’ grades, learning and futures than they do.”

[…] “Teachers are expected to combat apathy by continually finding new and innovative ways to reach students – through multimedia lessons, group work, games, alternative assessments or whatever it takes. To ensure student engagement and skill acquisition, we must teach to the individual learning styles, interests and abilities of each of our students. If a student can’t learn the way we teach, we must teach the way he learns – times infinity.”

“Sadly, all the attempts to dazzle and awe eventually wear some teachers down. They burn out. They leave a profession they are good at and once felt called to.”

[…] “The real danger is that this way of thinking has shifted the responsibility of learning, and of caring about learning, from the student to the teacher. Because it isn’t just administrators and parents who believe that it is a teacher’s job to make learning fun. Kids believe it, too. As a result we have a generation of students who think that if a lesson or an assignment or a class is not interesting, if it isn’t engaging and fun and inspiring, then it simply isn’t worth caring about. They are not obligated to care about it. It’s a teacher’s job to make all learning exciting. If the teacher hasn’t lived up to her responsibility, why should the child?” […]

 

Love of Reading

During literature week, teachers and students shared their love of reading and their love of books with each other! 5th grade students read to their ‘little brothers’ and ‘little sisters’ in 1st grade and the 1st graders practiced reading with their ‘big brothers’ and ‘big sisters.’

(At the beginning of every school year, a 5th grade student is paired with a new 1st grade student. We call the 1st grade students the ‘little brothers’ and ‘little sisters’ and the 5th grade students ‘big brothers’ and ‘big sisters.’ The ‘big brothers’ and ‘big sisters’ are happy to take on the role of helping the new students learn about our school, spend time with the 1st graders during recess, and share some lessons together throughout the school year.)

‘Big brothers’ and ‘Big sisters’ reading with their ‘little brothers’ and ‘little sisters.’

During our literature week, students and teachers were also encouraged to join the fun at our Book Market! Students had the opportunity to bring a book from home that they had already read. If a student brought a book, they were allowed to swap it for a book another student had brought. The Book Market was a great success and a fun way for students to find a great new book to read.

Our lovely teacher Katariina helping with the student Book Market!

Teachers also took part in the fun of the Book Market and brought their own books from home in order to swap for a new book!

The Book Market in the teachers’ room — many great books to swap!

To end our literature week, students and teachers were encouraged to dress up as a storybook character!

Students were extremely creative with their outfits and we had characters from many different books. Teachers also took part in the fun and students who dressed up were rewarded with Moomin lollipops, of course! 

Some of our fantastic teachers! Can you spot the Moomin characters? 🙂
Moomin lollipops for students who took part in our dress-up day! 

Teachers and students at Töölö elementary school loved coming together to celebrate a week all about Tove Jansson, the Moomins, literature and reading! What a great way to promote a love of reading with fun activities and ideas! 🙂