Engaging LAPs in recount

Today I delivered a literacy speaking and listening lesson to feed into a writing session on recount, in the context of a diary entry.

What struck me most was how engaged my LAPs were (lower than average ability) and they in fact seemed the most keen on transferring their work into a written activity. To warm them up into speaking and listening I displayed the question ‘how would you decide who to share your sweets with if you only had two left?’ and got them discussing this as soon as they walked into class. This question, by the way, directly related to my input which was a Pixar clip relating to a similar decision.

The clip was ‘one man band’ and lacks any dialogue. After watching the clip, children had to write down how each character would have felt on post-it notes, sticking these onto character pictures in small groups. They also had to stick speech bubbles around the characters to indicate what others would say about them; here I extended the above average children by going into how others would feel, as well as how they would describe the character.

Following this activity, the groups hot seated each other as one of the characters and we looked at questioning techniques. They were able to take any ideas that came up for their diary entries into their literacy books.

This is where my LAPs seemed to shine; when I brought the groups together into 3 big groups for hot seating, the children who usually struggled were better able to get on independently.

On Monday we will be focusing on writing and creating a diary entry as one of the characters. Lets hope this engagement feeds into their writing :). Obviously this isn’t a minute by minute guide to my lesson, I’ve just included the main activities. If anyone is trying to teach recount writing to level 2 writers then ‘one man band’ may be a good idea to hook them in.

Wolves in Britain – A quickie

Back at University, I wrote an essay on wolf conservation with an emphasis on its reintroduction to Great Britain. I was hoping to get the essay onto my blog but alas, I can’t find it on this computer. If it isn’t on my old computer when I get chance to check then I will have to spend some time on writing a decent post regarding this issue. So, I thought I would write a brief one as I won’t have time to get into a reasoned argument until half term (only 2 weeks now!).

Gray wolf. Français : Loup. Nederlands: Wolf T...

Wolves were eradicated from this country around 400 years ago, largely through persecution. There is a large body of evidence showing that re-establishing a wolf population in Scotland (maybe Yorkshire is a bit optimistic) would actually be good for the Scottish ecosystem AND boost tourism. Opposition comes largely from the sheep farming industry however, a compensatory system for any sheep losses could be offset by this projected increase in tourism.  This is basically just an introduction to my main post on the matter, which I want to try and dedicate an entire day to writing so I can really hammer it home and show you where a lot of the evidence I use comes from. It would be great to hear your initial thoughts on reintroducing wolves to Scotland, and I will incorporate these into the next post 🙂

Country of the week

I’ve noticed that a lot of adults, let alone children, have a terrible knowledge of political geography. Many have not even heard of some countries, let alone know their capital cities or where they are in the world. To help my class get one up on the world I’ve been running ‘country of the week’ where we have a small display and link each country, however I can, to the current topic. A lot of the work we put up is now done at home by choice and therefore doesn’t take up any class time.

To start with I used my guided reading sessions and had one group focusing on sentence work using information books on that country. I still do this now but also offer team points for any work brought in from home which encourages the children to write at home.

We started with European countries during the Autumn term. This half term we are doing North America and after the half term holiday we will cover South America. For now I’m going to recap the links I made for some of the countries and after this post I will start writing a weekly, detailed post on each country we cover; this week is Mexico. Since the photos of my displays are on my phone I will also post a separate, photo only post to go alongside this one (apologies for this being text only, I always find them less enthusing).

Great Britain
For our first week back in September, we focused on our own country so the children could write about places they had visited within Great Britain over the summer holidays. We also recapped and discussed the Olympics.

France + Norway
The topic for Autumn term was ‘Defending the Realm’ with a starting focus on the Norman Conquest therefore it was ideal to have our 2nd and 3rd countries as France and Norway; this way there was an instant link with William the Conqueror and Harald Hardrada. We also did some French since this is the language our school uses for MFL.

Bulgaria
One of our children is originally from Bulgaria, so this was an opportunity to explore their culture and it helped them overcome some reluctance to writing. This is a good idea for any classes with a large proportion of children with English as a second language.

Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland
We went through these Scandinavian countries towards the end of the term so there was a good link to descriptive writing and winter scenery. It was also possible to link Christmas activities to country of the week through reindeer in Lapland.

USA
This term the science topic is space. To hook the children into this topic I used NASA as a link to country of the week. There will be a post shortly on some of the science lessons I’ve taught around the national curriculum ‘Earth and beyond’.

Photo’s to come soon 🙂

Tissues

I’ve come to find that there is a direct relationship between children in my class being refused permission to go to the toilet and their sudden ‘runny’ nose. Where else are the tissues kept for this ailment other than the porcelain heaven they wanted to visit 2 minutes earlier. Needless to say, a box of tissues is the newest purchase for my class :).

It would be good to hear anyone else’s pointless classroom stories!

New Years Resolution

My new years resolution is to blog at LEAST once a week!

I’ve updated the about section and I’d like to hear any feedback you may have to help me improve this blog, whether it be the layout, content etc.

Hopefully my posts will be more than weekly, with regular updates on ideas in the classroom that have gone well. This coming week should be busy as I have a few posts to catch up on since I started in September! I’m also going to try and get back into the wolf conservation and I have a post on its way regarding reintroducing them to Scotland (a ice controversial issue!). Travelling posts, for obvious reasons, will be fewer but clustered within school holidays when I get away; New England in August is the big one!