Sunday, 8 September 2019

Grade 4 PYP Classroom Reveal

I have survived! Just about! I always forget just how much energy goes into the first week of school. Anyway, I managed to get a few snaps to show you around our grade 4 PYP classroom. Here's the first board. The students wrote their yearly goals on the popcorn pieces and wrote the Learner Profile attribute they related to. Also, how cute are the dog pegs we have in our school corridors?
Here's the view from the back of the room. I kept my cacti on the teacher board (They make me happy!). See how I crafted them here. I made the clock labels last year with the free digital papers from Jena Hudson at Sew Much Music.

I've displayed the PYP key concepts on the bottom of the board. I got these fantastic keys for free from Ms. Murdoch. When the students create initial questions at the start of a unit of inquiry, we have a discussion to categorise them according to the key concepts and stick them on post-it notes above the laminated keys. I have also attached my remote controls to the side of the board using adhesive velcro squares. I can guarantee I'd lose them otherwise!

I kept more or less the same calendar / self-assessment / Student of the Week display as last year. I'm still in love with this grey and mint calendar. The way I did "Student of the Week" worked very well last year. I choose a student on Monday to be our Student of the Week. The other students are 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 have similar ones in my TPT store but I edited these so they fit with the colour-scheme on this board.

This is going to be built up to be an international corner. Here is where we record the greeting we use for the register (we choose a new language each Monday). The students are already excited to use this Rugby World Cup wall chart to mark in their team's scores. I look forward to seeing how they get on with this target board (rugby-themed of course! It's part of my Rugby World Cup resource pack).

Here you can see our Class Agreements already up. The students chose to do them on a giant sheet of paper! And the "Magic Maths Words" display is still going strong. 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 Sparkleboxthe symbols from Fun for Learning and the adhesive googly eyes from Flying Tiger. Above those are these multiple posters (from Twinkl) which proved to be a very useful aid for some students last year. It's also very handy that I can cover them up with a blind if I need to hide that visual aid! They're free, even if you don't have a paid Twinkl membership.

In line with the enhanced PYP, I've updated the header on my ex-transdisciplinary skills posters so it now reads "Approaches to Learning." As you can see, the Learner Profile header is up on the door. On the second day, the students worked collaboratively on Google Sheets to create their own posters for each of the Learner Profile attributes. I then cut out a small, laminated photograph of each child. They move their own/ somebody else's photograph to the Learner Profile attribute they catch them displaying. We did this last year and it worked really well.

These restorative practice steps posters are a new purchase from @teacher_elaine_ (formerly Diary of an NQT)'s store. I placed them on the back of my locker so they are close to use when we have circle time.

Here's the back of our classroom. The Italian board was done by the Italian teacher and the other is a central unit of inquiry board. I've used resources from by Unit of Inquiry Bulletin Board Display Kit to display the important information. For now, 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 my classes in the past and it is used school-wide. Having read quite a few articles online this weekend about the effect it can have on children, I'm going to reflect on if I want to continue with this tool. I try to keep it as positive as possible and adjust expectations according to individual students' needs. If the clip chart doesn't work for a student, a separate individual behaviour management system can be put in place so they don't feel that their peg is always at a lower point on the chart. I made a cute little "Are we being principled?" sign for above it. That sign has traveled with me through many rooms and grades!

If you look closely in the last big picture, you can see this inquiry cycle poster in the middle of the big board. I got the circle graphic from Mr. PYP and I created the header using Twinkl Create. I've left the rest of the board blank so that we can add to it as we go through the stages of the inquiry cycle together, documenting along the way. Stand by for future posts on that!

And I love this little action board in the reading/reflection corner. I thought it would be nice here as the students can spend some time pondering on their ideas. I got these action posters from Susan Powers. If you are a PYP teacher and you don't know her blog PYP Teaching Tools, GET ON IT!!! She has amazing ideas and resources and you will be full of inspiration. She has also started a series of videos which are great for teachers who are new to the PYP to get their head around inquiry-based learning in PYP schools. I also picked up these action cycle posters from The Classroom Contessa. 

Up high you can see another new purchase, these Developing IB PYP Student-Led Action posters, again from the magnificent Susan Powers. I can't wait to use her planning templates so students can plan their action and reflect on it. I've left two boards blank for the students to create displays as they learn.

And last but not least, our Burning Questions board. Again, I've put the key concepts around it (I used the little ones from my UOI display kit mentioned above). We did this last year and it really helped the students to understand the key concepts. 

Thanks for taking the time to virtually visit our learning space! 

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Rugby World Cup 2019 Teaching Resources including FREEBIES!

I'm very excited about the Rugby World Cup. It's starting on 20th September and running until 2nd November. Here I've gathered some resources so you can celebrate the Rugby World Cup with your class in school. First I'll show you some of the resources I've made. Scroll down to the second part of this post for free resources!

Due to its popularity in previous years, I have updated this resource pack with lots of things to decorate your classroom (in particular, the RWC bunting would be a great first day back to school / golden time activity to  brighten up your classroom) and some different resources and ideas for various subject levels. I've also got a page in there with links to other good resources I have found.

The maths activities included in the pack are quite challenging so I would say that this pack is most suited to upper primary/elementary school.

The pack includes:
  • A heading and posters displaying the 4 pools
  • Flashcards with each of the participating countries' names and flags
  • Bunting with black and white versions of the participating countries' flags for the children to decorate - a very easy display to create and it would make your classroom/corridors very festive!
  • An 8-page research project template - This could be used in class or as a homework task. The idea is that the children choose (independently or randomly select from a hat!) one of the participating countries to study in depth.
  • Two maths loop games (one is based on the 5 times tables, the other is quite challenging!)
  • A rugby-based maths target game (this one's a good challenge!)
  • A table quiz about the RWC (with answers!) and an answer sheet for the children
  • Language, drama, PE, music, art and history lesson ideas.
  • Useful links to other resources that might be helpful
The pack is just $3 (that's less than €3!). If you wish to purchase it, pop over to my TPT store by clicking here.

Here's a pic of some of the kit already in use in some schools in Ireland (thanks, Sandra and Timmy for the pics!)

And here is the start of the RWC corner (work in progress) in my classroom.
(Note: The "We can greet each other..." poster is not part of the RWC resource pack)

For Irish teachers, a version as Gaeilge is available in my TPT store for the same price. This could be very useful for teachers in gaelscoileanna or if you choose to do "caitheamh aimsire" as your téama in September or October.
(To clarify, I've only translated the materials that the children will use and the questions for the tráth na gceist. The teaching ideas and instructions are still written in English.)

I have also created a Rugby World Cup Fixtures Wall Calendar which is available in my TPT store for just $1! Irish teachers, I've also created a leagan Gaeilge (version in the Irish language) for the same price. 


Discover different country's war dances: 
Show them videos with this YouTube playlist. Have your class choreograph their own version of a haka.

Have the students find participating countries on a map:
Here's the one we did in my class. If you'd like the heading, grab it for free from my Drive here. I printed that on card, found an image of the world to print on A3 and glued it on.

The BAZILLIONS of resources on Ruggerland:
I can't recommend Ruggerland's teacher resource section highly enough. This site is jam-packed full of RWC-themed resources that span lots of curricular areas. And best of all, everything on there is free! Get browsing - you won't regret it!

Here are some of my favourites from Ruggerland:

Design their own Mascot:
Introduce your students to Ren-G, the official Rugby World Cup 2019 mascot. They could read some information about Ren-G on the official RWC website or watch this cute video. Have your class design their own mascot for this year's world cup or maybe one for the 2023 RWC trying to incorporate something from French culture.
History of Rugby Reading Comprehension:
It does what it says on the tin! Check out this lovely freebie from Top Teaching Tasks. It includes great graphic organisers and higher order thinking tasks.

Have a quiz about Japan...
...with All Blacks' captain Kieran Read on the amazing Ruggerland website.

Get playing!
If you're in an Irish school, check out Aldi Play Rugby - you can register your school for free by clicking here. Find out more about it on Aldi's website from the man on Superman's pyjamas. If you're in another country, check out your national team's website to see if they offer programmes for schools.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

IB MYP Command Terms Posters

Boy have I been busy this week! I've been working on creating IB MYP command terms posters. I found some beautiful clipart that literally got me giddy (I'm easily pleased!).

I've created a set of posters for each MYP curricular area. Each pack is $1.50. If you're interested in purchasing all of them, check out this mega bundle. If you get this you can save $3.

Also, as I only got these up in my store today, I've decided to extend my 20% off sale until Friday. If you manage to purchase anything by the end of today (Wednesday), use the promo code BTS19 to get a further 5% off your purchases.

Click on the images below to view any of the packs in my TPT store.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Back to School Sale on TPT - Tuesday and Wednesday

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 BTS19 at the checkout (Just make sure to select "Apply a Promo Code"). 

It starts at 4:01am GMT (Irish time!) on Tuesday 6th August and finishes at 3:59am GMT in the early hours of Wednesday 7th August. 

If you're looking for Rugby World Cup resources, now is the time to get them at a discount!

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, 1 August 2019

Rugby World Cup 2019 Fixtures Wall Calendar

Who else is counting down the days to this year's Rugby World Cup? I, for one, can't wait for it and I'm really looking forward to celebrating it with my class. I've created this wall calendar. I'm going to print it on A3 card. Each child will have a team to follow and they will be responsible for writing their team's scores on this chart. If you'd like a copy, just pop over to my TPT store where it costs just $1.

If you're looking for any other Rugby World Cup resources in English or as Gaeilge (in Irish), have a look at my previous RWC post here!

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Freebie: Division with Remainders Board Game

Hello there,

Just a quick freebie for you. It's a board game to practice dividing with remainders that I used with my 8-9 year olds. I've included four differentiated sheets. I also differentiated by giving groups either one or two dice and by giving the students the option to solve the problems mentally or to write them down. 

The game is very simple to play. The students roll a die. They then divide the number they are on by the number on the die. Next, they move forward the number of the remainder. So if I am on 41 and I roll a 5. I would get an answer of 8r1 so I move forward one place. If there is no remainder, they don't move for that turn.

Click on this link or the photo to download these sheets for free from my TPT store.


Monday, 22 July 2019

Student-Created Displays in Our PYP Classroom

I admit it. I really have to consciously work on this. I love to create an inviting classroom but I definitely need to be reflective about how much input the students have in the set-up of the classroom and of creating displays. I just wanted to share some ways in which my students designed how they were going to share their learning this year. 

I was very lucky last year to have a very small class of just 13 students. This made group decision-making a little easier and students were often able to work on the same giant sheet of paper at the same time. In our school we have our displays on backed and bordered boards. I prepared big sheets of paper about the size of the display board for the students to design. 

For this one, the students just went at it and drew their cave painting where they liked. They also wrote what it meant on flaps of paper so that other students could check if the message was communicated correctly.

This next one was for personal inquiries (some students chose to work independently, some collaboratively). They spoke together before even starting their research and decided roughly where their section of the display would be. They voted on how the header would look, where it would be positioned and who would write/draw it. Then, as they researched, they wrote directly onto the giant sheet. 

And finally, I had used this blank map as a pre-unit assessment tool to find out what students knew about the economic activities of different regions of Italy. (If you need to make a giant display, check out the wall art generator, Rasterbator and get your mind out of the gutter!) I then gave them free reign to use it how they pleased to document what they had learned. They chose to paint it and then you can see some students have added on information about landforms, "the industrial triangle," capitals of the regions, etc. When focusing on map skills, the students then asked if they could create a key for this map too (it's the white sheet at the top right). I was more than delighted!

P.S. If you want to see what we did for the summative assessment for this unit of inquiry, check out my post about that!

Next year, I'm going to continue to focus on this and give the students a lot more freedom to design their learning space.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Key Concepts Review: PYP Classroom

Oh key concepts! They can be a little tricky for our PYP students to understand. I made a conscious effort this year to focus more on helping my students to understand the key concepts. I could really see a difference. Here are some things that we did.

The key concepts are on our burning questions/wonder wall. As students added their questions, they put them beside the relevant key concept. If they were unsure (which they often were), we would have a class discussion to figure out with which concept it best fit.

To explore them even further, I took inspiration from this amazing blog post by ProDivas. This activity could be done at any point in the year with any unit of inquiry. Here's what we did.

Firstly, we had already done a lot of research into the circulatory system. As a whole-class activity, we brainstormed what we have learned about the circulatory system relating to each key concept. Here's what they came up with! (That student's mother in the reflection box is a doctor who came to school to speak to them about the circulatory and respiratory systems.)

I then split the students into small groups and gave them an A3 sheet and a copy of some their questions from the burning questions wall. They cut out each question and decided as a group which key concept it fit under. We had a group chat to discuss how we categorised each question.

Finally I divided the students into interest groups. Each student had previously chosen another system about which they would like to inquire further. I shared a  template with them on Google Slides. You'll see the three concepts we were focusing on in that unit of inquiry have stars beside them. 

All students used their iPads to collaboratively update their slide with questions relating to each key concept. This was really useful for guiding their inquiry. If you'd like to use these templates (for free), pop on over to Google Drive and make a copy to edit and use in your own classroom.