Tuesday, 1 January 2019

It's New Year's Day!

I want to start this very new year with one very special poem by Kenn Nesbitt:

Hooray! Hooray! It's New Year's Day!
The day we start anew.
So this year I've decided
to become a kangaroo.

Or maybe I will learn to fly,
or how to walk through walls,
or how to turn invisible,
or surf on waterfalls.

I'll make myself elastic
and I'll teach myself to shrink.
I'll turn into a liquid
and I'll pour me down the sink.

I'll visit other planets
and meet aliens galore.
I'll travel to the distant past
and ride a dinosaur.

I've got so many wondrous plans.
I'm starting right away.
Yes, this will be the best year yet.
Hooray! It's New Year's Day!

Everything is new and hopeful... Everything is possible... I really enjoy this time of year and wish you all a happy beginning! Make your dreams come true! I know I will try my best :)

Monday, 31 December 2018

Ending The Year...

Teachers get to finish the year twice - in June, when the school year ends and in December. I like both endings. Both are the time of goodbyes and welcomes.

I find my previous year busy as always with lots of happenings worth celebrating. I also learned a number of lessons and realised how many more things I would like to discover.

In December we spent many days singing Christmas songs with all my classes (Let It Snow, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Rocking Around The Christmas Tree, Twelve Days of Christmas, Little Snowflake) and "Glorious" with class 3. The song last mentioned is really special and I hope to share it with you one day. I am really lucky to have students who enjoy singing :) Just like me!

We also watched some videos. One of my favourite cartoons is "The Snowman". I could watch it every year! This year's new favourites are "Hey Deer!" and "The Short Story of a Fox and a Mouse", beautiful animations and music. And they give thoughts for discussion with children.

Before Christmas we also listen to stories. This year I read "Mog's Christmas" by J. Kerr...
You can actually listen to it from here.

... and we watched and listened to "Mooseltoe" by M. Palatini.

My students from class 4 finished their year with writing about Christmas in their family. I was happy to realise that they are already quite confident in writing and since January we can try creative writing methods :)

I would like to finish the year with the following rhymes:

Goodbye! Goodbye! 
A year is done!
We worked! We played!
We learned! We laughed!
We had some fun!

Let 's be happy!
Let's be safe! 
Let's be kind!

Goodbye to the year 2018!

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Looking Back at Dull November


No sun - no moon!
No morn - no moon -
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, -
                       by Thomas Hood

Don't you agree that these lines quite aptly sum up this month in Estonia? I was actually rather surprised to find this poem. If anyone is interested in the full version, then you can find it here. Anyway, my students learned to say this poem and just like I supposed, they enjoyed it :)

Actually, November was not so dull after all. We were rather busy with different mini-projects.

First of all I presented all my students one very peculiar book "The Wolf, The Duck and The Mouse" by M. Barnett and J. Klassen. This is a story about one mouse, and how he gets swallowed up by a wolf. Surprisingly that is not the end of his life but a new beginning.

Presenting this book was also the introduction to the animal topic. With class 2 we actually learned to know two more animal-books: "Giraffes Can't Dance" by G. Andreae and "Dear Zoo" by R. Campell.

This time I preferred the video version.
Each child got a different animal. The animals were divided by drawing lots. Then they had to fill in the "Animal ID".
They were encouraged to use their ipads to google the needed information. I was actually a little anxious about that, but they managed very nicely :) The second part of the project was to use this information to complete the gap-fill text.

The last part of the project was to make a fair copy of this text and add the picture of the animal. Children also had to read their text to the classmates. Here are the final works:

All the animals are a part of "Our Zoo".
With class 3 we didn't spend so much time on animals. We only learned to write wild animals and practiced guessing them according to the description.

With class 4 we also spent more time learning about animals. They also got different animals and the "Animal ID" task. However, as they are older, they had to find a little bit more information:
Again, the given information they had to use to compile a text. Here are some examples:
by Delisa

by Chris Robin
by Laine-Liise
by Mia Marta

I also want to point out the book I presented for class 4, "The Storm Whale" by B. Davies. 

It is a lovely book that very nicely combines with another story that this class has in the program, "A Thousand Pails of Water" R. Roy. Both of these stories have a whale as the main character and people need to cooperate to help them. Just one way to bring up the discussion about saving and helping animals.

Well, November was actually long enough to start one more mini-project. Classes 2 and 4 presented their homes. Class 2 used their drawings for labelling the rooms and the most important parts (like windows, doors, roof etc) of their homes and used the information in the Show and Tell presentation.

Class 4 made detailed maps about their homes and labelled them with all the suitable words. Finally they used the information to create a written text. They could use a gap-fill text for help.

Before we noticed, November was over and the very last month of the year begun :)

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Celebrating Halloween

Halloween is also known as All Hallow's Eve and it is believed to originate its traditions from ancient Celts. The Celts celebrated this time of year the ending of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. Still, the popularity of Halloween trick-or-treating and costume parties comes from America.

Although Halloween is not an Estonian holiday, we still celebrate and speak about it at school. It gives many exciting possibilities for language learning - starting with poems and songs to all kinds of writing activities.

Class 4 started thinking about Halloween already in September. We read a text about one festival in Spain and I decided to connect it with Halloween. The children drew their Halloween costumes and wrote a note to their friend.

The Halloween Party actually did take place in our school and it was great fun! Class 3 performed at the party with a Trick-Or-Treat Rap. They truly enjoyed practicing it in the lessons :)

Click here to see the video.

Class 2 learned to say one fingerplay - "Five Little Pumpkins". You can find the text here:
Class 1 got to know Halloween symbols and origins and sang "Ghosts and Spiders" and "Halloween".

Actually, the main topic during Halloween week was MONSTERS! The readers this week were "Do Not Open This Book Again" by A. Lee and "I Need My Monster" by A. Noll. Both books are funny and give many possibilities for discussion.

Classes 2- 4 also got to draw and write about monsters. With Class 2 we first revised body parts and I gave them a short list with the words (the pictures matching the words were also on the board, for help). Then each child got a dice and rolled it to get to know the number of each body part on the list. After that, children filled in and copied a short gap-fill text and drew their monsters according to the numbers on the list. Finally, each one presented their work. Here you can see the monsters:


Class 3 started with drawing a monster and then compiled a text with the help of gap-fill exercise. Here are their works:

Class 4 focused on adjectives and filled in a poem. Here are some examples:

So much about Halloween this year. Next year again ;)