Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Book of Knowledge

Since February, we've been undertaking something we've branded 'The Book of Knowledge'. It uses a resource on the ReadWorks website called Article-A-Day™.

We'd noticed that some of our Key stage Two pupils didn't always focus during reading time, didn't appear to know 'the purpose of reading' and struggled with some basic comprehension skills.

So, we did something about it. Either first thing in the morning or first thing in the afternoon, every day, the children complete their 'Book of Knowledge' activity:

1. Class teacher needs to print out one of the resources from here - we make them into a booklet for each child.
2. Each child chooses one of the articles to read.
3. They note down three interesting facts they've learned (into their BoK).
4. The teacher chooses three pupils to each share a fact and write these onto the Working Wall.
- The whole thing takes no more than fifteen minutes. We've learned all sorts!

In the week, all pupils read all the articles, but in an order they choose. They learn new facts, they note them down and the asking of three pupils to share a fact ensures everyone is taking part. The texts are in American English, but for us this is a minor issue.

At the start of each session we remind pupils that we're reading to:
- learn new information;
- practice 'the art of reading';
- develop of ability to recall something we've read. 

Monday, 15 May 2017

Here's How That COULD Be Spelt

The Phonics Screening Check is undertaken in Key Stage 1 and is supposed to indicate a child's understanding of phonics. 
As part of the check, children are asked to read words. Some real; others made up (pseudo):

How about turning that on its head when studying phonics, reading, writing and spelling across primary (and maybe even secondary) education?: 

When studying a spelling, ask the children for examples of how it could be spelt. There are 44 phonemes. How can they be rearranged and swapped to create the same sound, but a different spelling: fone, phone, phowne, fowne...

Which one looks right, do all the suggestions look likely, how could this be useful for spelling new words?

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Count von Count Place Value

Each day, or a couple of times a day, the count Tweets a number. Stick it on your board in your classroom:
 - can the children write it in numbers;

- what are its factors? Is it prime?;

- what's half of it? Double it;

- and so on...

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Physical Multiplying and Dividing by 10, 100 & 1000

Here, we go. Another, "We saw a Tweet and post..."

So, we saw the above Tweet and then went and tried it out. This video has always aided our teaching of this mathematical concept, but saw instantly how this could add to it. 

We took some chalk and wrote out some place value headings and asked the children to stand behind them. Then called out X and ÷ questions and watched them move. Sometimes they were correct, sometimes wrong and sometimes disagreed. They enjoyed it, did some learning and we had a few discussions. See below for a video of what we got up to.

Friday, 12 May 2017

#Taskmaster: 5 Letter Word Game

Yay! Taskmaster is back on TV. Yeah, it inspired us, again!

This time it was Series 4, Episode 3. On this occasion, it was the final task that we were most interested in. The contestants stood side-by-side and were told that music would be played. In turn, they needed to say a five letter word when the music stopped. If someone couldn't say a word or repeated a previously said word, they were out. Each time the game restarted, the number of letters in the word changed (2 letters was surprisingly hard). 

Image credit: UKTV - awaiting permission

- Group of children stand up.
- Give them a number of letters in a word (e.g. 5).
- Play music.
- Each time the music stops, the pupils, in turn, say a word with the required number of letters.
- Repeat or fail and you're out.
- Change number of letters.


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Letter and/or Number Reversal Search

Some children struggle to write some letters and numbers the correct way around. An alternative to getting them to write out lots of the letter or number the right way can be to find the letter, in its correct orientation, on a page of correct and 'incorrect' letters.

The above example is for finding b and d. A copy of this can be found here.

Monday, 1 May 2017

'We Make Use of...' 123 Learning Books

Our next post in our 'We Make Use of...' series...
"123 Learning books boost confidence and attainment in maths.  That's a fairly bold claim, but our repeat sales are testament to this.  They each work on the principle that some people need and benefit from extra support and practice." That's taken from the company's website, and we'd agree. 

In Years 3 - 6 we've used Plus 1, Power of 2 and Perform with Times Tables with some excellent results. The books are set out in a very similar fashion to Toe by Toe (for those of you that are familiar with it). A pupil, with an adult, answers mathematical questions a couple of pages at a time and when they've shown that they can recall a fact and group of facts a number of times, they move on through the book. The books get progressively more challenging and therefore build confidence while working on attainment.

It's important to provide this intervention for the right pupils. Also, for some, the books stay in school and are completed with TAs and teachers only; others complete some in school and some at home. For some children, maths is difficult because they're missing basic fact knowledge or strategies: this can help with that. 

If ordering, contact them in advance. Discounts are given for larger orders...

We've written this blog post to outline our use of these publications. We have not been asked to write this or received anything for the purpose or expectation of this blog post being written. This is, as always, the view and opinion of two full-time class teachers about something we use in the classroom.