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.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

What I have to show for nine weeks for being a New Entrant teacher.

Last Saturday I went to school and put up the last of the children's artwork that I had not yet had a chance to put up.  Sounds strange.... with it being the last week of school and all.... but I only had this class for nine weeks and I wanted to see eight weeks of work on full display before I took it all down in Week 9 to send it home and turn the children's bedrooms into mini art galleries.

Firstly, standing at my desk, I did a panoramic shot of my class.  I had also scrubbed the tables clean of PVA glue, so they are gleaming.

B is for bear and B is for bee.  I'm so proud of the work we did in the first week.

D is for dinosaur.  I got this off Pinterest and was a good one for following instructions and getting things glued on accurately.  Originally we were going to do dragons... but then my cousin, Susan, a long time NE teacher and now RTLit said (after I had done S) not to focus on words that start with blends.

D is for dabbing dots on d.  Another inspired by Pinterest and it got the children using a paint brush in a different way.

N is for numbers.  Another simple idea I got from Pinterest.  It also helps children put numbers in order and practice their gluing skills.  While the examples I saw on Pinterest used capital letters, I focused on teaching the students lower case letters.

T is for turkey.  Again this was an activity to teach the children gluing on and spacial awareness.  T is for tree.  It is important to give the students the opportunity to draw what they see for themselves.  T is for taniwha.  T is for tui.  For these two communal activities we were learning to "colour inside the fence" with crayons and then use long brush strokes to dye the picture.  Some students needed to be taught how to not keep stroking in the same place.

T is for tiger.  We made the tigers from paper plates and I got them to paint both sides as I envisaged them hanging.  We looked at a picture of a tiger when we put it all together and used white crayon before we glued on the black stripes.  We used white wool for the whiskers.

S is for snake.  We started off with the ideas of putting a pattern on the snake.... but these kids weren't very good at colouring patterns that repeat with crayon.... it was a bit above them.  And then we used dye.  I cut out the snakes and glued them on coloured paper and cut them out again.  Then I cut different coloured shapes and after we had done some patterning with beads on thread, and other materials, the children had more of an idea on patterning and were able to make a two colour/shape pattern and glue it on the back of their snake.

S is for sheep.  An idea inspired by a former colleague in 2014, Kimberley, when she was a BT.  Finally found an opportunity to use it.  Two learnings from this: don't make your sheep so big because you use so many cotton wool balls; this would be a better activity when teaching blends - sh.  Thanks for that tip Susan!

S is for strawberry.  We looked at and discussed the strawberries before we drew the strawberries and then we ate them.  Again, this would be a better activity for str.  S is for sweetcorn.  I bought the sweetcorn for our class garden.  We discussed what it looked like and then we drew it.  Again... sw probably would be best for this activity.

This is an idea I got off Pinterest in 2014.  So I made it for my new class in term three 2014.  I did not use all of the cards this time.  I went for a few to keep it simple.

A is for ambulance.  We were visiting by Daniel from St Johns in Week 1 and the following week we were doing the letter A, the short one.  A is for apple  So I made a study of apples.  I purchased five different varieties of apple for us to discuss, examine, draw and colour.  I love their apples.  Then I had also found an awsome apple in an a activity on Pinterest.

G is for garden.  For this one I wanted to introduce the children to using scissors themselves.  So I drew a whole pile of flowers in pencil, gave one of each colour to the students and asked them to cut it out.  I cut out the yellow centre, stalks and leaves, but this gave the flowers a more individual look.  I first got them to draw a flower garden on blue paper using crayon to give this depth.  Then we glued the flowers over the top.

G is for goose.  Another cool as idea I got off Pinterest.... but I was up to after 2:00am cutting out 144 feathers and sorting them into twelve individual snaplock bags so each child would have a variety of colours.  My original intent was to also discuss the various textures of the paper.  But we had some difficulty doing this as two of my special needs students were somewhat distracting.  As you can see we had a variety of individuality in how the feathers were stuck on.

M is for mouse.  Another inspired by Pinterest and getting the students to glue on and be aware of space.  The original Pin uses a capital M so I adapted it to a lower case m.

 N is for nest.  This inspiration came from a staffroom discussion.  So I found some simple birds on Google images, printed them out, gave the children water colour paints to paint their birds and then we went off looking for things in the school grounds to make nests with.  A bit of PVA glue and waahlaa, we have a nest for our birds.

This was delightful to see as we went off to collect nest materials....

D is for dog.  This was our Art & Craft day focus.  We put together all the skills we had been learning for the term:  crayon and dye, long brush strokes for both paint and dye, gluing on, cutting out (they cut out their spots for their dogs).

M is for me.  On the first day of school for the term, I tried to get them to draw a picture of themselves in crayon.  It was a failure.  But later in the term I decided to try again.  So here they are in crayon with dye.

M is for monster.  This activity was all about getting the children to cut out their own shapes.  I was trying to teach them some tricks like folding the paper in half and how to draw the shape before cutting.  I also was trying to teach them how to hold the big side and cut off the small side.  All those things we take for granted when cutting.

L is for lemon.  We had already drank lemonade and sucked on lollipops, so I brought in a lemon off our tree and we looked at it and discussed it before cutting it in half, sniffing it and drawing it.  Later I squeezed it out and we tasted the juice.  Lots of good oral language and very impressive detail of the features of the lemon.

P is for pig.  Paper plates were my inspiration for this.  We painted our pigs pink.  I cut out ears and noses for them to paint too.  We glued on the ears and under the nose is a thick piece of corrogated cardboard to make the nose "stand out" from the face.  White and brown circles for the eyes along with black buttons, and the nose is finished off with two pink buttons for the nostrils.

This is the teachery stuff at the front of the classroom: thinking hats, months of the year and days of the week, colours, visual timetable, the calendar, number of the day and all that.

We made a Christmas tree.

These were our Super Acts of Kindness.  On the last day we took them all down, sorted them and sent them home.

These are the toys I purchased for the play based aspect of my class....

And from the outside of my class, I photographed the plants we have grown this term for the children to take home.  We grew a sunflower plant each and the seed tray has four pea plants and a basil and corriander plant.... that's if all the seeds germinated!

We took regular photos to record the growth of our plants.

This is our class garden.  We planted a tomato plant, marigolds, basil, peas and sweetcorn.  The mint and gladiolus were already in place.

I am so proud of what we achieved in our short time together.  I learnt a lot.  I hope they learned a lot too!!


  1. Thanks for sharing your work. What lucky children to have such a colourful start to their schooling with an obviously dedicated teacher. I enjoy reading your blog and wish I had half your imagination.

  2. Such a special level to teach! I'm sure all your students learned a lot too, they were lucky to have an experienced teacher who provided lots of interesting learning experiences :)

  3. Incredible!! I want to be in your class!

    Well done on a successful term. You have obviously worked very hard indeed! Have a lovely summer break :)