09 December 2017

Welcome to Swimming Through the Year with Miss Thresher

It’s been a whilewell more than a while reallyit feels like forever since I blogged last.

It was a hard decision to stop but at the time I was teaching a lovely, curious and amazing class but they were also a hard class. There were so many needs within the classroom it was emotionally draining and I could feel I was burning out trying to do everything.

So I made the decision to put aside the blog and put my class first which at the time was what I needed.


It’s funny though, how we tend to return to what makes us feel at ease most through tricky times.

This year I was blessed with 31 incredible and beautiful children which was a God send for a very hard and emotional year. I lost one of my beautiful past students and my Dad. I don’t mention this for sympathy but more for emphasising that this is how I have got to this point.

For me, my blog is my release. I find it grounds and calms me writing everything out. Even if no one reads this, that is fine because it’s about me feeling I need to say something to get it out and work through it all.

So I am going to blog. I can’t promise it will be regular. I can’t promise it will be pretty all the time. I can’t promise it won’t be a rambling mess BUT I can promise that it will be real and honest.

If you want to come along for this ride feel free to drop by every now and then.



SO


Welcome to my blog!
I’m Teagan and I teach in Perth, Western Australia!

In the teaching world I go by Miss Thresher!
I have been teaching for five years and I am about to go into my sixth year!
95% of that time has been in Year Two and 5% in Pre-Primary.


I actually LOVE Year Two and always panic at the prospect of having to move from this year group. I learn so much each year I could literally just teach Year Two for my whole teaching career and STILL have new things to learn!


I love to sing, dance and generally make a fool of myself in front of my class because hey 8 years old don’t judge ;)
It is also a perk 8 year olds think EVERYTHING you do is the best thing they have ever seen!


Some things about me:

-My last name is actually a species of shark so it is a great talking point for students in my class  last week my students went NUTS because they found a book dedicated to the Thresher shark. You would have sworn I told them it was Christmas by the levels of excitement displayed!

-I have a dog named Molly who is my world!

-I LOVE reading, dancing (even though I’m terrible!), drawing and generally being creative!

- I am not a super duper organised teacher in fact I think the correct description would be that I am an organised mess!  
It’s messy but it’s messy organised so it kind counts right??!?!

-My favourite colour is blue and my favourite font is CCBOOYAH by the amazing Cara Caroll!

-I am addicted to TPT  its possibly getting to the stage of an intervention .but it’s not there yet!

-I am passionate about teaching and my students


So welcome to my blog!
I hope you enjoy my random babbles and rants and maybe even have a laugh every now and then!
If you came here for amazing organisational tips . . . maybe find a different blog!


I am Teagan.

I am a passionate, creative, organised mess of a teacher and that’s fine by me. 


xxx

21 October 2016

Mental Health Week Ideas

As I stare at the time and date located at the bottom of laptop screen I am asking myself did that week really just finish?

Week 2 is done and dusted and we are now in Week 3 like how is that even possible!

Did I blink? Fall asleep?

No but SERIOUSLY!

Which then leads to that fact that I am having one of those moments (or lots of those moments lately!) where you go in that blind panic!

There is still so much to do What have I even taught my kids this year? I have taught them nothing .my kids know nothing I am the worst teacher.

PANIC PANIC PANIC!

So from one panicked teacher to the next just breathe!

You are a good teacher!
You kids DO KNOW things!
You have taught your class MORE than you will realise!
You have that amazing ability to hit multiple skills in one lesson so you can get through that content!

And lastly

As a teacher you were built to roll with the punches so do what you do best and TEACH ON!

(. My wayward song) - sorry couldn’t resist the Supernatural reference! ;)


On the theme of panic and stress I thought I would share with you what we did at school for Mental Health Week!
I am a HUGE advocate of trying to ensure our students’ emotional and social needs are at the forefront of our minds as educators.

Too often these days I hear stories of children breaking down for fear of performance in tests or are too nervous to say the wrong answer in class.

Healthy minds are open to learning and growing.

In order to learn we need to be ready to fail!


So this year we decided to host a Mental Health week at our school to encourage positive conversations about how people were feeling and also encourage students to take time out to do things they love!


It was a GREAT week!

Each day we had a daily focus and a little YouTube video to watch to inspire or promote conversation.

At lunchtime we put out drawing paper, musical instruments, printed slogans for the students to decorate and had a giant banner for students to decorate before it was hung up.



We created a positive jar where students wrote down a positive message or thought and put it in the jar. If someone was having a down day they could pull out a sweet thought and hopefully it may just brighten their day!








As if HP was ever NOT going to make an appearance haha


We also had some fun themed days!

On the Wednesday, everyone was invited to dress up in colours or clothes that made them happy!

The teachers had ordered wigs and all came dressed up as characters from Inside Out. I chose Sadness because I knew it was going to be SO MUCH fun pretending to be Sad my students thought it was HILARIOUS!!


One day we had the school band rock out and some fellow teachers jam on the guitar leaving the rest of us to show off our awesome dance moves!
But let’s be honest you really don’t have to ask me to dance twice! ;) or really even ask I’ll just be doing it already!

Finally on the Friday we partnered up with our buddy class and watched the Inside Out movie with popcorn on beanbags! So nice for the students to just stop and enjoy each other’s company!

You can see a brief outline below:



If you are able to hold a Mental Health Week at your own school I highly recommend it!


If you do I would love to hear what you do!

13 October 2016

Eric Carle Inspired Art

I tell you I have been struggling lately because I have had such dodgy internet connection. I have tried to blog SO many times for it to not publish or crash half way through!!  ðŸ˜¡

It was literally one of those I can't even moments!!  ðŸ˜“
Hopefully this will be the last of it!!! 😅 Positive Polly reporting here 😉

Reading and Art. Two of my favourite things in the world. Together they make my heart soar!! ❤️
So whenever the chance comes to intertwine the both - I'm all on that!!! 

There is not better time to do this (although side note there is ALWAYS time to do it 😉haha) than during book week where we can celebrate reading and books through artistic creations
- what could be better!?!? 

We read SO many books during book week but when it comes to artistic illustrations I really love to look at Eric Carle's creative creations!!! 

We decided to put an emphasis on his style and create out own Eric Carle inspired creations!! 

To begin we painted patterns onto coloured paper. I made sure to emphasise that we would share the paper and students were not just painting patterns for themselves as we wanted a variety of colours and patterns to choose from!! 

After painting a range of patterns we discussed how to cut shapes out to create body parts of their animal creations! We discussed how to start at the edge so we don't wast paper etc! 



We mixed shapes and prints, exploring what worked and didn't. 


Finally we placed our shapes together to create our work! 




Some of my students went on to paint he background - I recommend staying with a plain white background as it makes the pictures prominent but hey kids are kids and do what they like when it comes to art 🙊


I am loving our Eric Carle wall! ❤️❤️

Hope you have had a great start to this final term WA teachers!!!

Only 41 days left of school with the little ones so make the most of it!!! 

16 September 2016

Art Ideas 101

I am saddened it has been so long between posts ...this term has been really full on and I made the decision that I needed to put my focus on my class and my students for this term. Now we are towards the end and I can tell you I can most certainly see the light at the end of the table tunnel!! (see what I mean haha)

The one bright side is I have loads to share and report!!  

This semester junior primary teachers took over teaching art (and gave up science) and well I feel like someone just told me it's Christmas!!! 

I LOVE art! Like LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! 

So I have been super excited to be teaching it this term!! We began exploring art using different mediums.

One of my favourites has been straw painting. We used watercolours and straws to create two pieces of art. 

Our first piece was an experimentation piece! 
Students blew, splatter and dripped paint onto their designs. They then stuck a silhouette on top! 




They turned out pretty amazing in the end! 


Our second piece gave students a chance to further explorer and in some ways learn from our first piece. Some people learnt not to mix to heavily or add to many colours!! Our focus for this artwork was 'crazy hair day' where we found something crazy in our hair! 




Students used the straws to create some spectacular crazy hair and then used paper drawings to create something in their hair!! I think the kids did a WONDERFUL job!! 





Well that is it for now! Looking for award to bringing you more news and posts next week! :) 

10 August 2016

Numeracy Warm Up

Do you ever get that AMAZING feeling when your students are understanding EXACTLY what you are trying to teach them??!?!? 

It leaves you on cloud nine and fist pumping the air!!! 

It is magical...UNBEATABLE!!! 

...
and then the next day comes and it as if that lesson never took place. You feel as if you obviously taught a different class because you KNOW they had it yesterday/two days ago!

I mean its only been a day or two!!!

Well that's memory for you! It is a fickle thing!

Moving learning from short term to long term memory may seem hard but through the use of warm ups it can become a lot easier!!!



Warm ups are basically a review of both past lessons and content you have covered or was taught in previous years! 

As its name implies it 'warms' your little learners' minds up ready to learn something new by reminding them about their prior knowledge!!!

Now it is NOT about reciting and drilling sums!

And if you know anything about me you know I AM NOT ABOUT THAT DULL BORING DRILLS!

So add some fun!!! Don't sit down and count find some videos, do some jumping jacks!!!

Here is a glimpse of  some of my Maths Warm UP!! :)


Counting To 100
I love dancing and music! It is just incredible what you can teach through music!!
I think it is important to not get bored with the song so we have a selection and the students choose the one they want to do for the day!!!

                                                               What Comes Next?
We pretend we are trains chugging along and then toot our horn as we call out the number that comes next!


                                                             Count on From
We pick different starting numbers to begin counting from and jump around the classroom from these starting points!


                                                       Double Jumping Jacks
Yes that is right we do jumping jacks! 
We call our double fact answer out to one jumping jack!



                                                               Expanded Notation 
We pretend we have a balloon that is getting bigger (moving our hands further apart for each number) and then POP the balloon by clapping and saying the number this equals!

                                                                      Rainbow Facts
This is just an easy stretch from the bottom of the floor, creating an arch as we come up and return to the floor on the other side - creating a RAINBOW!!! 
All while calling out our rainbow fact! 


                                                              Skip Counting
These videos are amazing! Sometimes we groove to a couple or sometimes we make a circle and clap our 3's or 4's together!


                                      Skip Counting by 10's from any starting point
We LOVE stomping around like a dinosaur all while counting by 10's from different starting points like 90,140, 55 or 16!


Well that was just a small GLIMPSE of some of the things we do in our Year 2 class Maths Warm Up! 

Hopefully you got some new ideas!!!

What do you do to help your kids transfer their learning to long term memory?

18 June 2016

Jurassic Park Day

Well last week I had what has got to be one of the MOST FUN days I have ever had in a classroom!


I just love reading blogs and I am ALWAYS on the lookout for new ways to engage my students in any way I can! I came across a blog post by Hope King about some Jurassic World themed lessons she had done with her yr 7’s and yr 8’s and I fell in LOVE!!!

I love dinosaurs and I just LOVE the Jurassic serious so I got to work brainstorming how I could do something similar in my class!

Let’s start with decorations!!!



I only had a weekend to create everything and one afternoon to get it all set up for the next day.
I am very lucky to have an incredible Mum who is very creative! (she passed her love for it onto me!) She helped me with decorations!!! Mums are just the best.

We created some vines using brown material and coloured paper for the leaves!
Mum had these bamboo mini fences in the shed so I grabbed those!!!

Mum also added two palm trees to my collection!

I used some garbage bags, pie tins, aluminium foil and some pipe to create our Jurassic Park Jeeps!!!!

Finally I taped off some areas with my DANGER! Do not Enter Tape!!!!

Oh also we made EPIC head lights using push lights and headbands! The kids went NUTS over them!


I had sent each child an invitation to our Jurassic Park day to get them excited! They were told to dress up as explorer / paleontologists to get ready to come on our tour!!


I created a PowerPoint as our ‘tour’ of the park it took us through each step of the day!
As students entered the classroom I turned the lights off and played the Jurassic Park soundtrack using Youtube the first song is SO CREEPY! It is wonderful because it made the classroom feel eerie!!!

When the students came in I introduced myself as a park ranger and went through the ‘safety’ features of the park.
We discussed how we had electronic fences and to not touch or go beyond these points! (these were the DANGER tape!)
Some of my class can get quite loud so we discussed that some dinosaurs react to movement and noise so they must maintain an appropriate noise level at all times!

Finally I showed them their jeeps and loaded them in remind them to keep their valuable body parts inside the jeep at all times to avoid a dinosaur snacking on it!

I found a YouTube clip of some travelers riding a jeep through one of the locations of Jurassic Park we used this for when our jeep was moving to the next stop! They kids loved it and jumped up and down as if they were in a bumpy jeep!!!


Onto the activities!!!

We crammed a lot into the time we had! We had a mix of Science, English and a tiny bit of Maths tasks but if we had more time there would have been some more Maths too!

First up was looking at the science of fossils! We learnt that they type of scientists who study fossils are called paleontologists and dug for some dinosaur bones in groups!
Then we read a passage about fossils and had to identify the main idea using some skills we have learnt previously.   
I then handed them a ‘fossil’ that I had created by imprinting parts of toy dinosaurs on play dough. We tried to guess what parts were shown in the fossils! We had wings, claws, foot prints, plates and spikes, heads, legs and even tails!

Afterwards students worked with a partner to chip away at a ‘rock’ to find a fossil below. (I got the eggs for $2 at Kmart!!!) BEST MOMENT EVER!!! They were so utterly engaged and it took them a good 20 minutes to get through and not one person was off task for even for a second!

Next we drove in our jeeps to look at dinosaurs! We watched some clips from Jurassic Park via YouTube of the first time they saw the dinosaurs and the eggs hatching in the lab! I turned the volume off just to monitor the language but had the soundtrack still playing.

Then we discussed the life cycle of a dinosaur and students had to sequence and describe the life cycle of a Triceratops!

After this we drove to the stegosaurus and discussed dinosaur adaptions! We matched some adaptions to their purpose!

We journeyed on to look at the triceratops and we discussed ways the scientists find out information about animals today. We talked about how sometimes if we want to know what an animals has been eating we can look at their poo!!!
And would you believe it one of the triceratops was sick and we needed to know what she had been eating! I gave each group a bowl of DINO DUNG to investigate! (IT was chocolate YoGo mixed with crushed cookies with some different plants placed underneath)

This was an absolute riot to watch!!!!
*Hint: Leave the poo activity until LAST it went EVERYWHERE and made it hard to do the over tasks.


We had finished with the herbivore enclosure and headed over to the carnivore section, starting with my most feared dinosaur - the Velociraptor cage!!
We discussed what a carnivore/ herbivore is and then each student was handed a dinosaur. They had to classify it is was a carnivore or herbivore and serve it a meal by drawing it on a small piece of paper!   

Finally we stopped at the T-REX enclosure! I used a STEM challenge from one of Cara Carroll’s science units (side note those units are A-MAZ-ING!! Check them out!) where my students had to create a T-Rex using straws and plasticine. I changed the height to be the size of a 30cm ruler and they worked in pairs. They were given a set number of straws and that was all they were given. They could used scissors and a ruler to help but no other 
equipment. It was a great challenge that they found quite challenging but it was wonderful for them!

Check out some photo snaps!!







Well I was one EXHAUSTED teacher by the end of it!
I was covered in ‘Diino Dung’, fossil remains and generals sweat from running around like a crazy dinosaur lady!

BUT IT WAS WELL WORTH IT!