Hi Everyone! 
Chantelle from Miss Jacobs' Little Learners here! :) 

I hope you are all well and are enjoying working with your new Grade and new teams. 
Now that all the 'Getting to Know You' activities, setting up classroom protocols and dreaded assessment tasks are out of the way, its time to get stuck into some TEACHING!!! YAY!!!

Today, I wanted to share with you a few really fun and engaging lesson ideas that you may like to incorporate into your upcoming planners - A bit of inspiration for you because lets face it - it's hard work coming up with authentic lessons and activities that will keep your students motivated whilst learning. 
I LOVE that social media allows us to share these fabulous ideas. with one another. We are not on our own anymore - we have sooo much support now!! Its FABULOUS!


Anyone that knows me personally (or has taught next door to me :P) will know how much I just love to incorporate lots of music, singing and interaction into my lessons. Most of the time, I will start off my lessons with a little song or clip to get the kids into the topic.

Here are a few fantastic clips that I use regularly at the beginning of my skip counting lessons. You can find them on Youtube - or if you don't have access to Youtube at school, you can always use Keepvid to download the clip at home and save it to your computer as a .mp4 clip.

Click on the clips to be taken directly to the link.

Another great interactive tool to use if you have an IWB is Splat Square by Primary Games

Children can come up to the IWB and click on the 100 square to create a skip counting pattern.
TIP: For extra fun and giggles, make sure your sound is ON... :)

Crab Lesson: Counting by 10s

If you can get your hands on a copy of this book, I highly recommend it for both counting by 10s. It is also fantastic for an introduction to Addition.
For counting by 10s, after reading the book children can make their own crabs and count how many legs there are altogether. I sat my grade in a circle with their crabs and we went around and counted by 10s. Then I created a cute display for our Numeracy Wall :)

If you would like to make these crabs with your grade, you can find the FREE template here: 

What activities have you used to teach skip counting in the early years? We'd love it if you posted some ideas or photos of things you have implemented in your classroom in the comment section below.

Hello everyone!
 It's Casey here from Little Lifelong Learners

Today I would like to share with you how I implement Writer's Workshop into my Prep/Foundation classroom.

Writing is such an important skill for our students to master and it is really important to give your students time to work on this skill every day. It is for this reason that I implement a Writer's Workshop lesson every morning in my classroom.

At this early stage of the year, most Prep and Foundation students are at the stage where they can write using squiggly lines with some students who write letters or names they are familiar with.

To start my very first Writer's Workshop session, I ask my students to show me some writing in the sky with their fingers. We do some squiggly writing, zig zag writing and write some letters we have already learnt at school. I really reinforce that kids have their own way of writing (called Kid Writing) but with lots of practise, they can start to write like grown ups too. You might even get some students to come to the board and write an example of how they 'kid write' which might include the squiggles, their name or even a sight word or two. This gets them really excited and makes everyone feel like a writer already. It also shows your little writers that we can all write, we just do it differently at the beginning of the year.

Next I model what independent writing time will look like. I close my eyes and imagine what I'm going to write about while verbalising this process "Hmmm on the weekend I did some really fun things with my husband at the beach. I wish I could go to the beach right now! I think I might write about that today."

On my whiteboard, I start by drawing a picture to match what I thought about in my head. Then it's time to write! I get the students to help me with sounding out the words as I go. When we get to a tricky sound or word, we use a magic line to show that we know something needs to go there but we aren't too sure how to write it. I mostly focus on just beginning sounds or sounds that are very obvious so that I don't overwhelm the students. When students give me incorrect responses [y for was] I use their suggestions and praise them for trying really hard to hear the sounds and words we wanted, I don't correct them at this stage.

At the end, we celebrate as we read back our writing and see that it matches my picture beautifully. To conclude the session, I do my grown up writing underneath - we can then notice that there are lots of sounds that we got right! You could also get students to come up and write with you.

Next I ask my students to think about what they are going to write about. I encourage them to share their ideas with a friend before they head off to the tables to start their drawings and kid writing. At this stage of the year, we draw first and write second. After 15 minutes of drawing, I ask my students to start their writing to make sure everyone has time to get some kid writing done. I walk around with my aide during this time to help any students that aren't too sure and to do grown up writing on a few books as students finish.

Below are some photos of the writing that my Prep/Foundation students did after our very first modelled writing session in March (Term 1). They absolutely blew me away with how many sounds the students were using, as well as the magic lines! As you can see, some students were happy to write a few random letters while others tried really hard to sound out a few key words and some even attempted some sight words which we definitely hadn't started at school. The magic line (which is something I saw in the Kid Writing book by Eileen Feldgus & Isabell Cardonick) is such a great idea because it helps to teach new writers that there should be print for each word they say as they write.

After the students finish their writing, we go back to the carpet and I select 2 or 3 students to share their work. Some days I pick students who have worked really hard and other days I select students whose writing I can use for a mini lesson at the end of the session. For example, the student in the last piece of writing used a full stop so we could use this piece to discuss punctuation. I am very careful not to negatively comment on writing ever because new writers are often not very confident, so I would never use a piece of writing without a full stop at the end to talk about why we need punctuation. 

I found that having a free choice writing session every single day really helped my students in all areas of literacy! We often dictate to students what they should write about, so having this time each day for students to just write about anything they like is incredibly beneficial! By the end of the year, some students are using their Writer's Workshop time to write their own multi-page books. It's absolutely amazing to watch.

Each day, our writing routine was exactly the same, so I made up a little Writing Workshop Expectations chart which we refer to each morning before we start our session.

I hope you have found some useful tips in my post this week! Feel free to drop by the Little Lifelong Learners blog for more teaching ideas and resources.

Have you considered trying out alternative seating in your class?  What is alternative seating?  It's all about providing your students with options when it comes to where they learn in the classroom.  They provide a chance for students to have a choice and get to move in their seating.  Studies have shown that it has helped with behaviour and academic achievement.

This was something that I have been anxious to try for 2 years now and I finally got a back to working full-time since the beginning of the school year.  I, personally, find it adding these options in the class are easier when you introduce them from the beginning of the school year.  You still can easily add them at any time of the school year though!

Establish Expectations/Rules

You break it, we lose out.  When introducing alternative seating this is important to emphasise.  Today we had a discussion about how much was spent of these and how if they break they won't be replaced.  The students talked about how they would miss out on a different seating choice.

Make a mindful choice when picking a spot.  This is the one expectation you may need to MODEL MODEL MODEL.  We discussed how it is not a chance to sit next to a friend, but a chance to find a better learning spot.  My rule is I will warn "buddy groups" who are off task once, and if I have to warn them again they lose that privilege.

Our priority is our learning.  We also discussed how these options are for us to improve our learning in the classroom.  When we're comfortable we learn better, so our main focus is learning.

Cushions, Stools, and... Clipboards?

Cushions - the easiest of choices you could get!  This cost me $20 each at KMart and they work so well.  My students started just using them for silent reading, but we had some wonderful learners laying down and sharing cushions to work quietly.  Great comfy option!

Stools - Such a BIG hit in my class, and my neighbour classes!  These were 2 for $20 at Target recently and I got 6 to use them in small groups.  However, my students love it so much that I definitely encourage using them throughout the day.  (We even have a class coupon to sit at this table for a whole day.)  These even have small storage for each seat.  **I do have to remind my students to not rock on them as they're made of plastic and may break.

Clipboards - Yes, I consider these alternative seating.  Some students enjoy sitting on the floor but would like a hard surface to write on.  I encourage my students to grab a clipboard and pick a quiet spot around the room.  Most of the time they like laying under empty desks.  

Other Examples

A photo posted by Aly (@justaprimarygirl) on

Are you up for trying out some alternative seating?

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