Monday, 3 September 2018

Grade 4 PYP Classroom Reveal September 2018

It's finally classroom reveal time again. I was very excited to get cracking on getting my room ready. This year I will teach grade 4. Having been a grade 3 teacher for the last few years and moving to a new classroom, I was very motivated at the thought of creating a fresh space for my students and me. As I will have some of the same students as last year, I wanted to create a learning environment that looked a little different and more mature. As you'll see, I've kept some things that have worked well in the past and I have added in some new systems. Read below for more details!

I'll begin with my favourite. This is the popcorn display just outside the classroom door. On the first day of school, the students are going to write their goals for the year on popcorn-shaped paper. We're then going to analyse them - noting which attributes of the Learner Profile, transdisciplinary skills or PYP attitudes are connected to their goals.

And let's take a look inside the classroom. Here are some views of the whole room. Scroll down to read about specific sections of the room.
 You'll notice there is just a "Learner Profile" title on the door. The children will make the Learner Profile posters in the first week of school. To do so, I'm going to share a Google Slides presentation and they will all be collaborators, adding text, pictures, drawings, photos, etc. as they see fit. This will be used as an interactive display. I will cut out pictures of each student. When they feel that they/their peer has shown an attribute very well, they move the picture to the related attribute. We will regularly discuss who we have moved and what they have done. The skills posters are my own. On the narrow board, we have our class jobs. Each child's name is on a crayon template on a peg. 

As with other years, I will continue to use this polkadot behaviour management clip chart that I got for free from Under The Alphabet Tree (on the tall bulletin board). It has worked very well for me in the past. The purple and orange object hanging on the left of the photograph is my PYP Attitudes certificate, handmade by one of the children in my class last year (and again this year!).

I've displayed the PYP attitudes posters on the cupboard doors, along with our school's mission statement. If you look closely you can see that my "superglue" basket is still going strong! The "Vowels glue words together" poster and "Super Adjectives" word mat are from SparkleboxThese two boards at the back of the room will remain blank until for now. Then they will be filled with student work related to the first unit of inquiry. 

This year I decided to ditch the words "Wonder Wall" and have a "Burning Questions" area instead. I've also put the 8 PYP key concepts around it so that the children's questions can be sorted as they place them on the wall.

Next to the burning questions, we have a reflection area / "Wow work" wall. If you've seen my other classroom reveals, you'll see that I've used homemade Lego superheroes to hold up the essential agreements in the past. As I'm still not ready to part with them, I decided to use Hulk to hold up this title. How cool is the Hulkbusters font? I then hot-glued some Hulk fists to pegs so the kiddies can pin up their favourite work. They can then take the attitudes / Learner Profile attributes or skills from the plastic envelopes and pin on the ones they feel they developed while doing their chosen piece. I made the skills posters. I couldn't resist making the "Reflective" lettering actually reflective. Have a look at my blog post to see how I did it!

Behind you can see this lovely inquiry cycle graphic that I got from Mr. PYP. Then there is this Action board. I downloaded the action cycle posters from The Classroom Contessa. Underneath is a fantastic "What kind of action do I want to take?" poster from Jessica O'Hanley.

Above this is the main unit of inquiry board. I created this display pack last year and love it. I have all of the transdisciplinary themes, Learner Profile attributes, attitudes and key concepts printed and laminated so I can just switch them every time we start a new unit. 

At the front of the room, I made a more grown-up looking calendar in a grey and mint theme. I made a sheet for our birthdays using the same colour scheme. I'm very excited about the "Student of the Week" section. This year, I'll choose a student on Monday to be our Student of the Week. The other students will be encouraged to note instances where they demonstrate attributes of the Learner Profile. They can add this to the sheet. The sheet will be given to the student at the end of the week. As you can see, this sheet is put on with little pegs so it's easy to change weekly. Also on this display you'll see some reflection posters based on Marzano's Levels of Understanding. I just changed this one what I had previously to match the colour scheme and fit better.
I also put together those clock labels to help with reading digital and analogue time. I made them using these gorgeous free glitter digital papers from Jena Hudson at Sew Much Music.

On the other side is my personal teacher board. There I have these 3D cacti that I made over the summer. Read about how I made them in this blog post. You can also see my name card which I made with this Southpark Avatar Creator. I'm still in love with my Van Gogh "Starry Night" laptop case. It makes it so much easier to find my computer if we move around in staff meetings / collaborative planning sessions. 

In the green cup, you'll find these Ladybug & Chat Noir flipsticks. I use these to choose students at random. You simply flip them over and then you can easily see who you have not yet chosen. 

Like last year, I've displayed the PYP key concepts around the board. I got these fantastic keys for free from Ms. Murdoch. I have also attached my remote controls to the side of the board using adhesive velcro squares. 

I'm reusing the giant symbols and header of "Magic Maths Words" display. The students will add useful words to it as the year goes on to help with problem-solving e.g. multiplication words could be "multiply," "groups of," "by," "double," "times," etc. I got the title banner from Sparklebox, the symbols from Fun for Learning and the adhesive googly eyes from Flying Tiger.

If you've got this far, thank you for taking the time to have a look around our room!

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

PYP Class Essential Agreements / Mission Statement Displays

Creating classroom agreements or a class mission statement is a must-do in your first week with a new class. I've found the book, "If Everybody Did" by Jo Ann Stover a fantastic way to lead into discussion on what we should do in our own classroom. I've always worked with my whole class to create their agreements and split them into groups to illustrate them. Here are some of the ways I've displayed them over the years. Then I'll show you some inspiring examples I've happened upon online.

This Angry Birds display was from my first year teaching in a PYP school (clearly I did not yet know that the word "rules" is not used in PYP schools. Perhaps that should have read, "Our Golden Promises.") The children wrote and illustrated the agreements on giant eggs. Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the finished display!

Next came these hanging owls. The children illustrated the agreements on their tummies. 

And I'm sure you'll recognise these Lego superheroes from my blog header. They've been used to hold up classroom agreements for the last few years. They were painstakingly and lovingly made so I couldn't part with them after only a year.

 Here they are hanging at the front of my classroom.

Lately I was really inspired by these class mission statements shared by Susan Powers' (author of the PYP Teaching Tools blog) on Instagram.

If you don't already follow Susan online, make sure you do so! She shares fantastic, thought-provoking posts about inquiry-based learning in the PYP.

This gorgeous Class Promise display was shared by Jennifer Jones.

I love how simple this one from Upper Grade are Awesome is! The key words really stand out in colour. Naturally in a PYP school, you would not use the word "rules." However, the process she and her class have carried out to make these agreements is perfectly PYP-friendly!

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Make Someone Smile FREEBIE

Hi all,

Here's a little freebie to brighten up your staff room or classroom! Print it, laminate it and then you can write jokes with a whiteboard marker. Simply wipe it clean when you're ready for another terrible joke!

Here's hoping it brings your staff/students lots of eye-rolling and hidden smiles!

Monday, 6 August 2018

3D Cactus Art

Question. What do you do when you have too much bright green tissue paper lying around your house and you're trying to stop hoarding craft supplies and actually use them? Answer. You make 3D cacti, of course!

I was looking at some cute cactus clip art on Pinterest and thought they might be a cute way to brighten up my teacher bulletin board. I learned this technique from a children's art magazine when I was about 8. The resulting 3D fruit bowl stayed in my parents' kitchen for many years after. So why not take a trip down memory lane? Here's how I made them!

I drew the cactus shapes on card and cut them out. I then balled up cotton wool and taped it on top.

Next, I wrapped tissue paper over the top of each part and taped it at the back. I taped all of the pieces together and used strips of card to make it more sturdy.

I drew on eyes and a mouth and then added bead stickers and tissue paper pom-pom flowers. Here's a tutorial on how to make pom-pom flowers. Finally, I made some cardboard pots et voilà, they're done!

Friday, 3 August 2018

Miraculous - Ladybug and Cat Noir Flip Sticks

Do you use flip sticks in your classroom? They're a very useful classroom management tool. You have two colours on a lollipop stick. Each child's name is written on one end. It's very easy to choose a child at random (fairly!) for a special job. If you want to keep track of who you have questioned, whose homework you have checked, etc. you can simply turn the sticks upside down and it's very easy to see who has not yet had a turn.

Last year the watermelon theme seemed to be EVERYWHERE on Pinterest. I jumped on that bandwagon and had these ones in my classroom. The children LOVED them. Though I was in love with the watermelon print when I made them, I wanted to make fresh colours for the coming school year. 

(TIP: If you want to reuse the same sticks, simply stick on the child's name on little pieces of paper with PVA glue - then you can peel it off and reuse the sticks the following year). 

I decided to go for a "Miraculous - Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir" theme. I'm really happy with how they turned out! Even if children don't recognise where it comes from, they may still like the contrasting colours/animal print effect. If any of you have other suggestions for possible flip sticks themes with contrasting colours/patterns, please comment below!

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

TPT Back to School Sale - at least 20% off everything in my store!

It's that time of the year again - online sales time!

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a site-wide sale on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd August. I'm having 20% off everything in my TPT store. In addition to that, TPT is offering another 5% off when you use the promotional code BTSFRESH at the checkout (Just make sure to select "Apply a Promo Code"). 

It starts at 4:01am GMT (Irish time!) on 1st August and finishes at 3:59am GMT in the early hours of 3rd August. However, I've decided to have 20% off everything in my store from now until the sale begins. 

I've created some new categories to help make browsing easier. The "Irish Classrooms" category is for anything that might be of interest to Irish teachers (and not stuff for international schools).
Then you'll also find these new custom categories on the top left:
Behaviour Management

Happy shopping!

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Tutorial: Mirrored Lettering Using Old CDs

How's the weather where you are? It's absolutely pouring here and has been all day. What better excuse to get in a day of crafting! I had been trying to think of ways to display the word "reflect" or "reflective" for the reflection area of the classroom. I was thinking about having the writing on a mirror-like background or maybe making tin foil (aluminum) letters. Then it hit me, why not make the lettering from old CDs? I'm really happy with the finished result. Here's it turned out. Scroll down to find instructions for how to do it.

Resources needed: A computer and printer, paper, thick card, black marker, PVA glue, paintbrush, scissors, craft knife, old CDs/DVDs, boiling water, heatproof container, towel ...and a LOT of patience!

1. Soak some CDs/DVDs in boiling water for 10 minutes. This will soften them and make them easier to cut. I did two at a time so they didn't cool down too much.

2. Take the CDs out of the water and dry them off.

3. Cut the CDs into tiny shapes. I realised that these were much too big for my letters so I ended up cutting them much smaller.

You'll might also be able to pull apart the two layers. This makes cutting easier. I was able to snap some pieces. NOTE: Snapping is a bit risky - my eyes are lucky to have survived! :)

4. Print your lettering. I used the Franklin Gothic Heavy pre-installed font in PowerPoint (size 287). Glue the lettering to some thick card and cut it with a craft knife.

5. (Optional) Get a black permanent marker and colour the rough edges so you can't see the colour of the card.

6. Cover the letters with PVA glue, small sections at a time, and stick your CD pieces on with small spaces between them. When you're finished sticking on all of the pieces, add a layer of PVA glue over everything just to seal it all in properly. It will look cloudy at first but it will dry clear and your CD lettering will be nice and shiny!

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Free International Events Calendar 2018-2019

Hi all,

I recently put together a calendar with many celebrations during the 2018-2019 school year. It includes things like international events, major religious celebrations, commemoration days, World Book Day etc. Some of the events include links to websites about them. The calendar is editable so feel free to remove and add in what you like. Click here to download it for free from my TPT store.

Irish teachers, Ciara Brennan (AKA @PrimEdTeacher on Twitter) is compiling a list that includes lots of Irish-specific events like GAA matches, national science fairs, the Texaco art competition, etc. You will find these "Dates for Your Diary"published on the wonderful Seomra Ranga website in the near future.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

FIFA World Cup 2018 Teaching Resources

Summer 2018 is fast approaching which means that the FIFA World Cup is on it's way. It's taking place from 14th June - 15th July. If you want to follow it with your class, download this free A3 wall planner where you can mark in the scores:


I've also created a pack with over 100 pages of teaching resources, posters, flashcards, worksheets, sample lesson plans, lesson ideas, bunting, word searches etc. The lesson plans and related resources are most suitable for upper/middle primary school. 

The full contents are:
  • 2 title posters (FIFA World Cup)
  • Groups posters
  • Flashcards with names of each participating country
  • Sweepstake kit
  • Bunting for the children to colour
  • Table quiz questions and answer sheet
  • Maths lesson plan, worksheets and self-assessment sheet
  • English lesson plan and prompt cards
  • PE lesson plan and station teaching cards
  • Science lesson plan
  • Geography lesson plan and project template
  • Visual arts lesson plans and ideas
  • Drama lesson plan and related resource materials
  • Music lesson plan and related resource materials
  • Flag hunt sheet and solution sheet
  • 2 differentiated word searches with solution sheets
Here's an idea of some of the contents:

Some things to note:
-The geography project is in the same format as that of my Rugby World Cup 2015/UEFA Euros 2016 resource packs
-Some of the objectives in the lesson plans include objectives from the Irish primary school curriculum. These should be easily adaptable to any primary school curriculum. These are the same lesson plans as in my UEFA Euro 2016 pack.

If you're interested in this pack, you can get it for $3.50 (about €3.20) from my TPT store.

If you're an Irish teacher - there's also a separate pack with a leagan Gaeilge (Irish language version) of the posters, flashcards, bunting, project template and sweepstake kit available on its own for $2 (approx €1.85) or as a 166 page bumper pack with this English-language pack for $4 (approx €3.65). See the preview below for some of the contents.