Tuesday, 31 December 2013

All the best for 2014

Wishing all the people that have read over my blog this year, 2013 all the best for the new year. May happiness come your way always and keep smiling! I'll be back on board ready to do some blogging early next year. 
What will 2014 bring in the classroom and the school in which I work? Let the new adventure begin! 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Science success

It's been a while since my last blog. My class have spent time completing science inquiries. They are now currently working on their integrated inquiry on Earths Place in Space. At the end of last term and success at PICSE students had the option of entering their inquiries into the Tasmanian Science Talent Search. This was open to Grade 5 and 6's. The results for this competition haven't been released but judges select the best inquires to be sent off to BHP science awards which is a national level science competition. 

I received news on the weekend that we had five enteries (8 students) from our school that had been selected to enter BHP and three of those students were from my class. I was extremely excited to inform my students and demonstrate that a good science topic and hard work will take you places. The boys were very proud when they found out the exciting news which was great to see. 

As I have mentioned in previous blogs I place a big emphasis on purpose in the classroom. Purpose =engagement! 

The boys topic was on finding the best egg replacement for the binding quality in muffins. This has a strong link to helping the community as there are a lot of people who have anaphylactic reactions to egg. I wish my grade 5 students all the best of luck and also the grade 6 students who I taught last year. Great to see so many students engaged in science. 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Success at PICSE science competition

The last six weeks Grade five and six at our school have dedicated their time to science. They have chosen their own inquiry to run. There were so many different inquiries happening in class which took a lot of organisation but it was well worth it. The students ran their investigations and then wrote a science report. After their report they displayed their information on a display board. We had an open day were parents came to visit the classroom and observe students work and also ask students questions. This was a good practice for students before the PICSE science competition judging. 

On judging day scientists from the community judged students on their science inquiries. Students had to speak to their inquiry which demonstrated a good understanding of their science knowledge they had gained. 

Their were five or six different schools and many entries. From Grade five we had two students win and another two win best environmental for 5/6. We  got 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Grade 6 and also multiple high school winners that were ex students and had been through our program which was great. 

The kids were so engaged throughout this experience and can't wait to do it all again next year. 

All students science reports can now be entered into a state science competition for further judging. 

I am extremely proud of the work my students have done and the sound science inquiry skills my students have gained in the last six weeks. 

Monday, 5 August 2013

Science Inquiry

Term 3 has begun and my students are into their PICSE science investigations. PICSE is a science competition where students run an inquiry of their own choice, write a science report and then head to the University to be judged by a variety of scientist. The kids at school love PICSE and can't wait to be a part of it when they reach Grade 5 and 6. In Grade 5 students complete their inquiry in pairs and then individual when in Grade 6. During their science inquiry my students are learning about dependent and independent variables and controls. They are using scientific language throughout their written report and are creating hypothesis and conclusions. Some of the topics my students have chosen are: absorbency of tissues and paper towels, best paint based on drying times, plant growth using grey water, the best egg replacements for binding properties, bread and vegetable mould, the amount of salt in different salt water locations from Tasmania and which chewing gum keeps its flavour for the longest. Student choice= student engagement which improves student outcomes. Looking forward to watching my students discuss their scientific findings with the judges.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Sensory processing disorder

I would like to blog about something close to my heart today. Sensory processing disorder. My daughter has it and we found out this year. So many aspects of her life are now in perspective and make sense to me as her parent. A little bit about her which will be completely different to other children with SPD as they are all unique. My daughter has cried every day of her life when we have brushed her hair or tried to put it up. She is always wanting to eat and has no feeling of fullness. She occasionally complains of a sore heart as she can feel it beating in her chest as she is more aware of it. If she hurts herself she is hard to settle as pain is multiplied by ten for someone with SPD. She wont wear many clothes as they itch her and put her in Sensory overload. She constantly is bottoms up, in other words she has her head on the ground and bottom and legs above her as this helps her to self regulate. She hates loud noises and will often run away from them or put her fingers in her ears. She has high anxiety about lots of things that wouldn't bother other kids. The list goes on but when she is in sensory overload she wants to eat because of the deep pressure associated with chewing. After seeing an OT she has a few strategies in place like chewing gum to help her calm. She also has a brushing routine for her body to help with sensory overload to touch. She has a weighted blanket for her bed and I have recently made her a weighted blanket for her to have at school. We have made lots of little adjustments that are helping. 

With my teaching hat on I find a lot of the signs are present in certain kids in the classroom which I haven't ever noticed or linked my knowledge with before. Through educating myself with this disorder I am able to see ways of supporting other students who might benefit from strategies. Please read up on this disorder if you are a teacher and educate yourself. Many autistic children suffer from SPD. I am currently making weighted blankets to sell. They cost $50 plus postage. My daughter has hers in class to help calm her when she in overload. If you are interested in ordering one please email me on tameika.munday@gmail.com

SPD is a neurological disorder and something that my daughter will always have but through treatment and understanding she will certainly improve. If you have any questions blog away and I will try my best to answer them.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Oceans alive work in progress


Ocean Alive unit is in action with high levels of engagement from all students. Students are learning about adaptations of ocean animals and are utilizing their learning strengths to choose a variety of activities to complete. Students are producing work with a high level of thinking and are organising their time efficiently to work through their independent learning contract. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

Science Integrated unit

I love to integrate units in my learning program. There is just not enough time to teach in isolation and also by integrating units, students have the opportunity to transfer knowledge across curriculum areas. The most recent unit I have designed and given to my Grade 5 students is called 'Ocean's Alive' and it is a science intgrated unit focusing on an understanding that living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment. The unit is handed to students as a learning contract where depending on the level of thinking involved in the activity more points are rewarded and depending on points students at the end of the unit are rewarded with an A-E. It follows the philisopical thinking of Ralph Pirozzo. The unit integrates Bloom’s Taxonomy and Multiple Intelligences. It provides for the thinking skills and learning styles of all my students. It is an engaging, exciting and challenging learning environment for all my students.The best thing is it helps improve independency and time management in my students. If you would like to check out the unit head over to Teachers Pay Teachers and preview it. I also have a picture of half of the unit provided in my blog. I hope it inspires some of you out there to get on board with the importance of catering for all students through student learning styles and Blooms Taxonomy. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Mrs-Mundays-Memoirs

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Completion of history unit

My Grade 5'a completed their student led inquiries yesterday with oral presentations. I was amazed at the engagement level and pride these kids had in their work. Student choice dramatically increases engagement in their learning. All students had to choose an event or person that had a significant impact on a colony in Australia in the 19th Century. We had an array of subjects. Students also had choice over how they presented their work. Some chose PowerPoint, some posters and others made books. The final result was rewarding as a teacher as it allowed me to reflect on the teaching and learning and see that this experience was worthwhile. Engagement=Learning!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Term 2

NAPLAN complete and feeling great to be back into a normal classroom routine. My grade 5's are currently working on an integrated historical inquiry of the 19th Century. Timelines have been completed and now students get to choose an event or person from the 19th century to do an Inquiry on. They can present the information however they choose. Students are so engaged which is fantastic. When completed students will complete an oral presentation on their Inquiry. I have found many historical resources on Scootle which have been helpful. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

NAPLAN nearly completed!!

My Grade 5's have been working so hard on their NAPLAN tests this week. Only one more to go tomorrow. I felt like a proud mum watching them all focused and working hard on their test the last few days. I am really looking forward to getting back to my normal routine. Bring on final test tomorrow so some normality can occur. 

Monday, 29 April 2013

Sunrise/sunset art

My Grade 5's have been working on an integrated unit on light so I decided to integrate art by drawing a sunset. We looked at images of sunsets on google and discussed observations. The forefront in a lot of images was dark with the sunset and sky as the focus. With this in mind I offered students the use of charcoal for the forefront and oil pastels for the feature. Students also discussed perspective and distance and the use of a horizon for a focal point. I also modeled how to shade. The students enjoyed working on these and they are now proudly displayed on the wall.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Buddies Program

Nature Scavenger Hunt Recently my Grade 5s helped their Prep buddy class complete a nature scavenger hunt. A list of treasures, which included things like something green, something rough, two types of seeds and a chewed leaf, were written on a piece of paper and given to the Grade 5s to read to the Preps. The items were collected in a bag by the Preps and taken back to class. This activity took a whole lesson. Next time the Grade 5s will be helping their buddies classify their chosen items. This has a strong link with Scientific learning intentions where students will have to observe their chosen objects and classify them according to their appearance. This activity can be extended by using two hoops and making a Venn diagram where students would have to put items into the hoop and classify their similarities and differences.

photos of buddy book

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Happy Easter

I am enjoying some family time over the Easter break. Time to recharge and enjoy watching my girls excitement after Easter bunny has been. I hope everyone has a lovely Easter break.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Birthday Chart

Finally finished my birthday chart for my classroom. Had lots of other things on the agenda that took priority, but found the beginnings of my chart on the bottom of my pile on my desk and was determined to complete it today.

I love, love, loved the reaction from my grade 5's. They loved coming back from music and seeing the end results up on the wall. It was also great to hear the comparison and conversations that where happening from their observations. Great links to data conclusions based on reading the graph that was presented to them. Perfect learning opportunity leading into my whole class lesson on graphing results this afternoon during Science.

The idea came from a resource by Peacocks and Penguins on Teacherspayteachers website and it was free to download. Check it out and check out my items for sale while you are there under mrsmundaysmemoir.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Buddies program

It's been a while since my last blog. Been busy teaching and writing reports. I just wanted to blog about the Grade 5 buddy program as we will be catching up with our prep buddies tomorrow. The Grade 5's are extremely engaged with the buddy program and can't wait to see their buddies.

The first time we met, the buddy combinations were formed and then a Venn diagram was completed. The grade 5's wrote down things that were different about their buddy and themselves and then interests they have in common. They drew some pictures of each other and enjoyed each others company.

Throughout the week the Grade 5's used the information from the Venn diagrams to write a book for their buddy. It follows the pattern of I like ... My buddy likes... We both like.... This task is great as it has a purpose and my students need to learn to write for a particular audience.

Tomorrow when we meet, the students will be working together to type up the book on the laptops. This is another learning experience where the grade 5's get to lead the learning by teaching computer skills to the Preps. Clip art will be added and also space for students to draw pictures if they want. Once published the grade 5's will read the book to the Preps with the intention of the Preps learning some common sight words and also getting to a stage where the Preps will read the book to the grade 5's.

I'm really happy with the numerous learning intentions this process will offer and look forward to seeing the engagement of students and the final outcomes. Stay posted in the next couple of days and I will share some photos.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Quotes for inspiration!

I use a lot of quotes in my classroom to inspire and direct students in their learning. I have a wall which displays quotes that students can refer to.

Next week we will be attending PCYC which is aimed at building resilience and team work amongst other qualities in students.

Before we go I ask students to choose out a quote and write it down to direct and focus students on certain independent goals.

At the end of each session I ask students to reflect on their quote and give examples of how they achieved it or what they could do next time to achieve it.

I frequently refer to the quotes on the wall to help guide my students. An example of this is when I hear a student say 'I can't do this' and I will reply with one of the quotes on my wall which says 'don't tell me what I can't do, let me show you what I can do!'

Quotes play an important part in my classroom practice.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Writer's Notebook focus

Second week of school and my class have already completed their first week of swimming lessons. Wow!! Busy, busy.

My class routines are coming together. Literacy routines are quickly being learnt and I am loving the engagement of students with their Writer's Notebook.

For those of you who don't know much about Writer's Notebook it is an amazing writing program which is directed through student interest which really increases engagement in students.

We are currently looking at writing snapshots which is a great quick way to assess how students go at writing in present tense and from first person.

It's a process to change the students who want to do a first draft and then expect to do their final presentation. I try to refer to professional writer's and talk about how many drafts they complete. Most students can see how much their writing improves from first draft to final draft and that converts them. But there always seems to be one or two who don't want to change what they have written and will get disheartened with constructive feedback.

Would love to hear from other teachers as to what they have done when challenged with the same situation. What are your ideas?

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Behaviour chart

First few days into school and things are running smoothly. I am loving the balance of personalities in my class and the uniqueness that each student brings to the table.

Over the last few days I've been busily trying to get around and finish those little jobs that need doing. Today I finally finished off the behaviour chart in my room.

My behaviour chart has three levels- 1,2 and 3. If students make the wrong choices they move up this chart by finding their picture and sticking their picture on the level applicable. The thing I like about this is it is making students remove themselves from the situation they were in to choose out their picture and place it on the display. This gives students time to think and make a better choice.

I have used this process over the last few years but I wanted to add a more positive behaviour spin on it. Therefore I have added another element to the display which says "star performer". If I find a student working hard and making good choices then their picture can be placed on this to reinforce good behaviour.

To make my display I use Velcro dots on the display and the back of the photos to make the photos of students stick to the display.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Star Goal Setting

Today was my first day with my wonderful students and the day seemed to fly by so quickly. The students seemed excited to be back to school and full of energy. I had an amazing first day and I am very excited at the prospect of what the year will bring. One of the activities I did which I put onto Teachers Pay Teachers website is a yearly goal setting using the five points of a star. On each point students set a goal to improve something from the areas of literacy, numeracy, science, physical and social. When this is completed they cut the star out and each star is placed on display for students to refer to throughout the year.
First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth - TeachersPayTeachers.com

Sunday, 3 February 2013

School starts back tomorrow!

My lovely Summer holidays have come to an end and I am back to school tomorrow feeling re-energised and ready to go. A quote that I have found to inspire new beginnings for myself as a teacher is... "The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn."(John Lubbock). I will envisage to engage all of my students so that they have a smile on their face and can't wait to come to school each day to learn. It's not what you teach, but how you teach it. Looking forward to having an amazing year with an amazing group of kids.

Mrs Munday's Memoir!

I am not the most computer savvy intellect but I am hoping upon my journey this will improve. Join me in sharing my memoirs of my life as a teacher.

Before we begin... A little bit about myself. I am a loving and devoted mother to my two gorgeous girls. They are my number one passion in life along with my loving husband. My second passion in life is teaching. Which brings me to this blog.

I am a grade 5 teacher and in my 5th year of teaching. Along this journey I will frequently use quotes because I love them. My first quote is based on my teaching philosophy. It is "In all humans, innate capacity is transformed into performance through its interaction with motivation, environment, and the opportunity to learn and practice" (Cathcart, 2005, p.20). I will endeavor to blog my teaching beliefs, ideas and reflections which I use to transform student capacity into performance. So please join this blogging journey with me as I attempt to improve my technological capabilities and reflect on my teaching practice.

To be continued...

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Sharing resources on teachers pay teachers- Check it out!

I have recently started selling some of my unit plans on teachers pay teachers. Feel free to head over and check it out. The unit I just posted is designed with the aim of developing student’s understanding of what it means to be an Australian. It is also intended that students develop a wide range of general knowledge about all things Australian. This will include Australian geography, flora and fauna, animals, Australian landmarks, aboriginal history and culture, food, pop culture, government, history and iconic Australians. I love the work of Gardner and Bloom and feel that the work of these two are a huge part of who I am as a teacher in regards to catering for diversity in my classroom. The link is below. Enjoy View my profile on First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth - TeachersPayTeachers.com

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

1 thought now completed

I have been busy over this last week preparing the classroom for student arrival next Tuesday.
One of my earlier posts I discussed the possibility of using a sewing machine and attempting some curtains. Well I had a go and taught myself to see on my Nan's sewing machine and really enjoyed the experience. I also had left over material and so I cut a row of apples off and sewed around them and used the as a border for my display. Great way of recycling and tying in apple curtains with the classroom. Check out the before and after shots.

Using the colours of the apples in the curtain material I then completed my other displays with those colours. My classroom is now very vibrant and inviting for my grade 5's.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

DIY zen garden

I am always collecting shells from the beach with my girls. When we go on holiday the girls always come home with a bucket full of shells.
Last year in class I took the shells in and got students to choose a shell to sketch.
This year I decided I wanted to make a zen garden to place in a quiet area in the classroom for a calming down strategy. Students can rearrange the shells or rake the sand and calm down whilst doing this. The thing I liked about this most is it doesn't make noise (bonus).
To make a zen garden I brought a photo frame from a discount store. I then removed the glass and used electric tape to tape the base to the frame. I then turned the frame over and filled it with sand collected from the beach. I let my girls place some shells and drift wood on the sand. Completed. Easy enough for all students to make. Give it a go and feel free to let me know how it goes in your classroom.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Eyes, ears and heart!

I was reading a blog this morning from drjeanandfriends.blogspot.com.au and found some great ideas about ways to get students to stop what they are doing and listen. My favorite was 1,2,3,4 sit your bums on the floor, 5,6,7,8 hands in lap and sit up straight. Definitely something I plan on using this year. My catch phrase which I use is "Eyes, ears and heart!" I teach a lesson to my students about effective communication and what attentive listening is. You can be using your eyes by looking at the speaker and using your ears by listening, but not using your heart, which means not respecting the speaker by not giving them your full attention. I have a few students that go off into daydream land at times so the heart is a very important element of being an attentive listener. I hope you have used your heart and taken on board what I have just said instead of simply reading it and not absorbing it- lol.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Positive Behaviour Support Ideas

I started looking at my positive behaviour support resources and decided to share one of my many ideas with you. I use a bank system for positive behaviour support in my classroom. Students are rewarded with bank money for different activities for example they may receive $50 for completing tasks in a certain time frame, or the person who is first to solve my lateral thinking problem in the morning will get $30 or it can be used for rewarding students who demonstrate the social skill in focus for the week consistently. The beauty of this system is you give out the bank money for whatever you want as an encouragement for that behaviour to continue. When students have saved and reached a certain amount they can cash in on a reward. For $100 they can receive a pencil, right up to $1000 which will allow students to do some cooking of own choice with friends, spend a block helping out in another class or possibly computer time. The ultimate reward is a movie ticket for $3000 which is a year of savings. I keep the bank books and regularly ask a student to update them which sllows students to focus on their numeracy skills. The other positive about this system is it teaches students about savings.

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Monday, 14 January 2013

100 thoughts in process

So I began this journey yesterday and entered sleep zone with 100 thoughts in process. Where do I start. So many things to discuss.

After looking at some other blogs I have decided to start this journey at the beginning of any new year within the classroom and that is "setting up!"

I was made to move classrooms once again and so the torture begins. What do I throw out, what do I keep?

I entered my storeroom to, once again, unpack my resources. 6 boxes down and 2 to go. My brain is in overdrive. I have nearly filled the entire wall of shelves making sure that the desk below is clear for a quiet writing conference area for students.

Upon reflection I begin to think about utilising this space to its best potential which leads my thoughts to working in a cluttered environment. How can students complete writing conferences with a multitude of visual distractions going on above them? It would be like me trying to cook a masterpiece with all my cupboards and draws in my kitchen opened baring utensils. So a simple solution (also a step into unchartered territory) is to make some curtains on a sewing machine to cover the resources. Hence hide the visual distraction and allow my grade 5's to concentrate on their writing masterpieces!

I will take a before and after shot as mentioned on a blog I am following which is clutterfreeclassroom.blogspot.com. Stay tuned...