Sunday, 22 March 2015

Unit of inquiry: Tell Tale

Hi all,

I've just finished my "How We Express Ourselves" unit of inquiry called "Tell Tale." Our central idea was "Ideas are expressed through stories and tales all around the world." It has been my favourite unit of inquiry to plan for and teach this year. 

Here's an idea of some of the things we did:
Week 1: Cinderella Around The World I- Revised the story of Cinderella, worked on character descriptions. We then listened to the story of "The Invisible Warrior" (also known as "The Rough Faced Girl") and conducted research into Native American culture. We also made some dream-catchers.

Week 2: Cinderella Around the World II - We looked at the story of Yeh Shen (Chinese Cinderella) and Rhodopis (The Egyptian Cinderella). We used Venn diagrams to compare the different versions of Cinderella and the children used investigation sheets to carry out research into Chinese and Ancient Egyptian culture. The children then created a costume for one of these Cinderellas inspired by their culture.

Week 3: Fables I- We looked at the difference between fables and fairytales and made posters to show the characteristics of both types of story. The children examined many fables. They worked on identifying the morals of stories, filling out story maps and writing their own version of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf."

Flashcards from Yvonne Dixon and nice/nasty character traits word mat from Sparklebox

Week 4: Fables II - We continued examining some more fables and discussing their applications in real-life situations. The children created another fable of their own based on "The Ant and the Grasshopper." They then created an animation of their own story using the iPad application, Puppet Palls HD. They purchased the "Directors' Pass" (in app purchase) so that they could design their own backgrounds and characters to include in their animation. The children then reflected on what Learner Profile attributes/PYP attitudes the characters did (or did not!) show!

Week 5: Folktales and legends - This week we focused on identifying cultural clues that tell us about where the stories were set. We looked at several stories from around the world and plotted the countries on a map. The children carried research into the culture behind these stories.

Week 6: Legends, assessment, reflection - For the final week of the unit, we looked at some Irish stories (it tied in nicely with St. Patrick's Day). The children then planned and carried out their summative assessment - to write an alternative version of a familiar story including elements of a culture of their choice. They made a plan, drafted, edited (using a self-assessment checklist), redrafted and illustrated their story. 

I hope this post is useful to anybody doing a fairytakes, folktales and fables theme or any IB PYP teachers doing a similar unit.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Free multiplication word problems TU xU

Ever feel like you can't find exactly what you need quickly sometimes? Well that's how I felt about searching for simple 2-digit by 1-digit multiplication word problems.

These went down a treat with my (mostly ESL) seven year olds!

Hope it saves you some searching!

Click here or on the image below to download from Google Drive.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

IT Room / Computer Lab Poster Kit

 Looking for ways to decorate your computer lab / IT room? Well, look no further! I've just created a computer room decor kit. 

The kit includes:
Door signs
Computer lab promises (rules!)
Keyboard shortcut posters (for PCs)
Flashcards with technology vocabulary
A simple technology timeline
...and other cute posters.

Have a look at the preview image below to see the full pack.

This set is available for $6 (about €5.60) in my TPT store.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Teaching children about portion sizes

Hello everyone!

These popped up in my Facebook news feed recently. They are portion size infographics. I found that there are lots of resources out there for teaching children about healthy eating. There are lots of food pyramid and food plate posters and activities. However, lots of these neglect to mention portion size. This is a question that comes up a lot when my classes have focused on healthy eating. Click here to see all of the infographics. (Please note that these inforgraphics show adult portion size. Visit the SafeFood site for more information about portion sizes for children.)

*both images sourced from

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

10 TpT seller problems

We've all heard of #teacherproblems but how many of you in the community of Teachers Pay Teachers sellers have these problems? Who's with me?

Please feel free to add your own in the comments below or to tweet them using the hashtag #tptsellerprobs

1. Spending far too long deciding on the PERFECT font.

2. Wanting to use all of your gorgeous new purchases on creating a new product and realising that you've just epitomised "death by clip art."

Clipart by MyCuteGraphics, badly put together for instructional purposes by A Crucial Week

3. Relishing at the thought of creating a new product and then spending hours on end staring at your computer screen until you go googly-eyed. All work and no play makes TPT sellers dull boys (or girls, but then The Shining reference might have slipped by unnoticed). Long sessions like this require lots of "teacher juice," be it Diet Coke, coffee, wine, etc.

4. The come-down after the back-to-school period when your iPhone TPT app stops making those delightful cash register CHA-CHINGs so often.

5. Finding clip art that perfectly fits your resource but not being able to find the terms of use or finding out that the creator doesn't allow commercial use.

6. Seeing that look on your partner's/friends' faces telling you that you've been talking about TPT-related things for faaaar too long. Shhh! Remember, only allowing other sellers to be privy to such thoughts can help you appear to be "normal."

7. Getting a monosyllabic "Thanks" or "Great" as feedback on a product that you spent countless days creating. Come on people, give us a little more for our time and effort!

8. The feeling like maybe nobody understands just how warm and fuzzy you feel inside when you find exactly the digital paper you were looking for and it's FREE!

9. Realising that your product-making habits have seeped into your blogging life and you can't do a blog post without creating a (Pinterest-friendly) graphic to accompany an otherwise pictureless blog post. (See above!)
Background and frame from MyCuteGraphics, font from Kevin&Amanda

10. Losing the ability to create non-prettified resources for your own class as you may have done in your pre-TPT-selling days. Though the quality of your resources may be more child-friendly, it adds to your class-prep time.