Learning is....
Planting a seed in our brain... learning to water, nurture and grow it.... so we can live on the fruit of our learning and plant more seeds.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Using the book The Diabolical Mr Tiddles with more classes

I love books.
I own A LOT of books.  Boxes and boxes and boxes of books.  Picture books.  Novels for children and young people.  Romantic fiction.  Rollicking adventure novels.  Historical Fiction.  Biographies.  Recipe books.  Art books.  More teacher resource books than you can shake a stick out.  Literally boxes and boxes and boxes and more boxes of books.  Everytime I move there are more and more books to pack.
I give books as gifts to every child at Christmas.  They know their present is not a box of Roses chocolates.  It is a book.
And I can make the same book rock for any age group in a relieving situation.  My book of choice currently is The Diabolical Mr Tiddles.  I have a lot of fun reading and we get some fabulous discussion out of talking about cats.
I have used this book as the basis for working on a cartoon strip with another class and blogged about it at Cartooning about diabolical animals.  I will be back with this same class later this coming week to hopefully finish these cartoons off, and to do a similar unit with another class.
Below is the cover and blurb for The Diabolical Mr Tiddles which was a spot on bargain buy at the Warehouse a few months ago.

On Tuesday I was in a Year One class with five year olds of varying levels.  Of course, they enjoyed the story and had lots of things to tell me about cats.  Being the part owner of a large cat colony out in the shed, I find children love hearing about the antics of my cats.
I decided we would draw cats.  I demonstrated some ways they could draw cats on the board.  We talked about how cats have eyes, noses, ears, whiskers, claws and a tail.
I showed them some photos of my cats, particularly Marmite because he is very fluffy.
And below, this is what the five year olds came up with.  I was so pleased with the detail they achieved to get all of the features of the body we discussed.

Of course I drew my cat Marmite while they were drawing too.

A couple of days later, at another school, I was asked to relieve in a Year 2/3 class.  As they had been doing Art Week for the School Exhibition all week, the teacher requested no art.  I was a little sad.  But no worries, because I had a cinquain poem plan that I could execute and adapt to the level.

The children were learning about verbs and adjectives... but I didn't worry about the idea of synonyms or imagery for this group.  Instead I got them to start with the animal and end with the name of the animal.

I demonstrated the writing, by talking through what we would do on each line.  I got them to start with the top and bottom line first.  The second line was describing what the animal looked like/behaved like.  The third line was three action words and the fourth was a sentence about the animal.

I also demonstrated how authors make mistakes or change their mind and rewrite parts of their writing.  I stood up and mimed Marmite when he sees me outside and the children made suggestions to help me as I wrote.

Not all the children had cats, so if they had a dog or a rabbit or a chicken I said they could write about them.  Some had no pet, so I got them to invent a pet or use a pet from another family member.

The model above was also what the children used to write their cinquain poems.  After lunch we published them.  Again I modelled this to ensure the children knew what was expected.  99% understood it. 

Below are some of the finished cinquain poems from the Year 2/3 class.  I also got them to "prettify" their poems by colouring in the borders and drawing their animal.

I think these children did a superb job of publishing and illustrating their poems and I was very impressed by them.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Cartooning about diabolical animals

The joy of being a reliever is the creativity you have the freedom to allow students when you have the opportunity to decide the day's programme.  As a classroom teacher, I always tried to leave a space in the day for the reliever to leave their mark on my class, and I really appreciate the opportunity when classroom teachers I relieve for do the same for me as a reliever. 
Last week I was with the class I did the original Matariki pictures with in term two of this year.  Felicity left me the afternoon slot.  We started by reading the picture book The Diabolical Mr Tiddles which is a delightful book about a cat who is a cat burglar, which I picked up in a Two for $10 deal at The Warehouse.

We got talking about the crazy things animals do.  And I challenged the children to create their own cartoon strip with a diabolical animal character at the centre.  They needed to have a minimum six boxes to tell the story of the character.
Below are the creations we worked on last week.  I will be back in the same class next week, and Felicity is looking after our creations so we can continue where we left off.

I am really looking forward to being back in Felicity's room next week to continue this with the students.