Quiet Critters

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 6.59.59 AMAlthough I have been a teacher for many years now, this year my skills have been truly tested.  As a relief teacher I have had to get used to the rules and routines of so many different schools, grades and classes.  One thing they all have in common, is a need for some AWESOME behaviour management strategies.  There are many a child out there who use having a new teacher as a  chance to test the boundaries!

I have used the tried and true, stickers and prizes but for the Early Years (Ages 4-7) I was needing a new creative strategy.  I make no excuses for my strict classroom style but I also love to play tricks, joke and make up stories for the kids.  Thats where the Quiet Critters come in.

THE STORY GOES….

My Quiet Critters have been very lonely at my house as my kids go to school all day and the baby just wants to put them in his mouth!  So they asked me if they could come to school with me to find some new friends!

They are looking for a very particular kind of friend to show them how school works.

  • An attentive listener (because they have very quiet voices)
  • A hard worker who always tries their best (so they can learn new things)
  • Responsible (So they wont get lost)
  • Kind and Caring (So they can make new friends) 
  • Keeps their hands and feet to themselves. (so they wont get hurt)

When they see a friend like this they will want to sit with them! They will sit quietly on your desk or at your feet and watch and learn with you!  

BUT if you suddenly are not doing the right thing they will ask to find a new friend or even worse just go back home into their container! 

HOW TO MAKE QUIET CRITTERS

The Quiet Critters

The Quiet Critters

You could make them out of anything!  I have seen pet rocks, pom poms with eyes glued on, teddy bears or in my case party favours!  These cute little soft and spiky guys were in a pack of 6 in a discount store in the party aisle!  Then for a bit of variety I found a pack of 4  little of “Moshi Monsters” (in The Reject Shop) for $3.  I placed them in a round plastic container (plastic so its light and unbreakable in my bag) added some sticker letters and a bow for the lid!

THE VERDICT

Yesterday I tried them out in a Prep class (5 year olds).  ABSOLUTE WINNER!!!  They were all desperate for a quiet critter and were trying so hard to get one!  No one got silly or attempted to hide or throw them (which I had thought could happen)  I was glad I had quite a few and at times they would sit in the middle of the hardest working group.

This is definitely a fun technique I will be using in my classroom in the future!

 

 

 

Kids ANZAC Day Activities

ANZAC Day is such a special day for all Australians and this household is no exception.  We have had four generations serve in the Australian military including my own Father, Husband and most recently my Borther serving in Afghanistan.   My husbands great uncle died in WW2 and is buried in El Alamein.  My two sons proudly bear his name as their middle names.
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In the lead up to Anzac Day and on the day itself there are lots of easy ways to get your child involved.

BAKE ANZAC BISCUITS TOGETHER

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ANZAC Day is an important part of our Australian Calendar. In our homes and in our classrooms, children learn about ANZAC day through stories, craft and real life experiences.

READ A STORY

Sometimes a story can explain a complex topic in a more age appropriate way then we can. It is often difficult to find the write words to covey such an important message, in a way that children can understand. Stories do just that. Ask your child’s teacher, librarian or even local RSL for some recommendations. Be sure to pre read the story yourself to make a judgment on whether it is appropriate for your family. Some of our favourites are;
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CREATE AND CRAFT
Young children learn through hands on activities. There are many ANZAC day themed art and craft ideas that are both simple and cheap.

Pinterest is your best friend here!
Poppies: Make poppies with paper plates, cupcake papers and pipe cleaners or even with red paint and a potato stamp!

Wreaths: Paper Plates make a great wreath template. Simply cut out the middle of the plate and paint the remaining wreath green. For texture stick on small squares of crepe paper or leaves from the garden.

Flags: Colour in some Australian or New Zealand flag templates and attach them to straw or paddlepop sticks.

EXPERIENCE

Their really is no better way for your child to learn about Anzac Day, then to visit or participate in an ANZAC Day March or Ceremony. Contact your local council or RSL for your areas events. A march will help show your child the range of people that have served their country, men, women, old and young in their varied positions. The colours, the sounds and the amazing memorabilia, will keep them interested for longer than you imagine. Bake some Anzac Biscuits to take along with you, wave your flag proudly and applaud the soldiers as they march by.

Through stories, craft creations and experiencing all that is ANZAC Day, our children will have a new understanding and appreciation of this special day.

Hands On Sight Word Activities

Sight Words

After years of teaching Preps, and one not so enthusiastic son going through Prep, I have found some fun activities to motivate kids to learn sight words! 

The key to motivating kids to learn anything is to make it hands on and FUN! 

SAND

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Mrs Ricca’s Kindergarten – Down By The Sea Sight Words!

Use Sand, Seeds, or rice to fill a small shallow container.  Use a finger to trace words in the sand.  This helps form letter and word order, memory and develop writing and fine motor skills.  Get those fingers moving! 

FINGER TRACING

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Tactile Cards. From Lakeshore Learning

These cards are fantastic and great for tactile learners.  Each letter is grooved out of the card, ready for little fingers to trace over them.  There are three packs that vary in difficulty.

PLAY DOH

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Play Doh Sight Words – Make Take Teach

Playdough!!!!!  Easy, cheap and often at home already!  Exercise those hands, fingers and wrists to form letters then words.

MAGNETS

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Cookie Sheet Sight Words – Make, Take , Teach

Magnetic letters are easy to find in toy shops, discount stores and large department stores.  Use on a cheap baking tray and you have a word building magnetic activity.

PARKING LOT

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Using a large piece of cardboard draw up a sight words parking lot.  Call out the word and let your child drive their car (a small matchbox car will do) to the correct parking spot

MAGIC WRITING

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Magic Sight Words – Simply Centers

A craft activity teachers have been calling upon for ever, MAGIC WRITING!  Also known as Wax resist, use a crayon or candle to write the word “invisibly”  Ten paint over with watered dwon paint and your word “magically” reappears!

 BUBBLE WRAP

Bubble Wrap Sight Words

Teach Beside Me – Learning With Bubble Wrap

Using a piece of bubble wrap (with the large bubbles works best) write a sight word on each bubble.  As you call out a sight word, your child pops the bubble with their fingers! 

SHAVING CREAM

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This activity can even be done in the bath tub or shower!  Spray out some shaving cream and use your fingers to wipe out the words.  When you are done use your hand to mix the shaving cream to start again!

MAGNETIC FISHING

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Magnetic Fishing Words – From Playdough to Plato

 Cut out some cardboard fish, attach a paperclip (this will act as your magnet end) use a piece of dowel (or even a pencil do) with a piece of string and a small magnet on the end as your fishing rod. You can buy magnetic tape to attach to your rod or even hot glue on some cut up old fridge magnets.

 FLY SWAT

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 Always a class favourite, the fly swat game.  Simply put out your words (on a wall or on the floor) call out a word and SWAT IT!  This works great in pairs as a racing game!  Who can swat the word first!

 

Sight words are an integral pert of the early writing and reading process.  The more exposure your child has to learn these words the quicker they will grasp them.  By making the learning opportunities hands on and super fun they will begging you to practice!