When a five year old starts school

This week marks week seven of term two and my class has grown from 4 children in the first week to 12 children! by the end of the term I will have 14-15. What a change! I have chosen to write a blog post about how the children transition to school this week because every child is different! My focus for this term is classroom management and this looks very different in a new entrant class compared to the rest of the school. For a start you have children that have just started and have come out from the very different early childhood environment. You essentially train them on the procedures of the daily school life and as soon as you think they’re starting to settle in, you have another new one start! It gives me lots of practise to ensure children are settling in smoothly!

I have just been reading some research conducted by Core-education about the case study of Mairehau new entrant teachers creating a play based programme for the first hour and a half of the day. They said it highlighted how the children just ripped straight into play that interested them, created friendships more easily, had incredible learning in their conversations and very rarely were upset to leave their parents side or be sad to see them go.

It gave me some time for a bit of reflection as to how I allow for the children to be excited to come to school, be engaged in activities that interest them and create a sense of belonging and relationships with others.

I have had a couple of instances of children coming to school already sad to be there and not wanting their mothers to leave. The mothers have reported to me how hard it has been to get the child up and ready for school in the morning. This is usually after a couple of days at school and the novelty of it all has worn in! I have tried to have discussions with the children or get them involved in what I am doing to help me, try and get them excited with the plan for the day or try and set them up with another child. Sometimes it works but sometimes they are still hesitant to see them go. One of the other teachers in my learning team has more play based things in her classroom that the children can rip out in the morning before school ( especially good on rainy days). The children generally seem to be engaged in play with one another with the cars, drawing, building blocks, and you can hear the relationship building through the conversations. This then gives that child already someone that they can talk to at morning tea and lunch so they are not left alone. And it gets the children building conversations with each other and not just me!

I have set up in my class colouring in, puppets, some building and books but maybe I shall go for a hunt for a train set or the likes to engage the boys in and make the morning transition of saying goodbye to our mummies a little easier!

Matariki Week

Well it was a busy week for Māori new year with it being also a short week due to Queens Birthday! The planning for Matariki week required a bit of decision making around making it meaningful and rich in learning for the children but also ensuring that the activities were appropriate for the age.

As we are a hub of five classes in the modern learning environment at Ashgrove, the planning had to be collaborative, We chose big books and activities in the reading roving room all themed around Matariki. There was group discussion about the stars,the myths and legends and of course whanau. The children loved it!

We also took the chance at the end of the week to explore it a little more in our writing classes and write what we knew about Matariki. My writing class produced some excellent writing pieces that I am very proud of. I have added a few below..

Kellan matariki writingMarley matariki writing

We also made the decision to use the school Whakatauki for the week instead of a poem. It made it meaningful to unpack what it really means and why it is special to the school as the children are so new to the school life and they will carry this all the way through to when they leave.

We finished the week discussing what we could do at home with the family on Matariki week like talking about our own family traditions, whether children that had gardens at home could prepare them and looking at the stars in the night star. Which lead us to talk about the special seven sisters that come out in the east during Matariki week. And when its a Friday in a new entrant class…. what better idea than to do some crayon and dye art! the faces of the children when they dye stained their paper…. AH-MAZING. The incredible wonders of five year olds!!

Matariki artPlus, it looks great on the wall!


Here are some links for Matariki education that we found helpful in our planning

The seven stars story

Star weaving, too much for the littlies but great fun for the older ones!

And honestly, if you google Matariki there is SOOOO much that comes up! no excuse not to get involved in the meaningful education of our culture.

Teaching and Learning New Zealand Sign Language.

Sometimes the greatest thing about teaching is when you learn alongside your class! In our team of five classes we are about to have a special girl start who is deaf. Although she has hearing implants which allows her to hear most things, her family has been using NZ sign language. This gave us a great excuse, not that we need one to pick up a bit of sign language in our team! NZ sign language is actually on of the three official languages in our nation. I am ashamed to admit that I know barely any so I am excited to start incorporating it into my daily practise so that I can communicate with more people.

In just two days we’ve already learnt the Rainbow Song as well as hello, goodbye and thank you. I am looking forward to next week when we will learn Old MacDonalds Farm song!

In our team we have created a classroom display in each of our classrooms that we will add to our ‘sign of the week’ that we will be learning and have already learnt. Children will be able to show their parents and hopefully start doing some sign in their own homes.

Here are some useful websites for getting some NZ sign started in your own class:

NZ Sign online dictionary

Thumbs Up! An introduction to NZ Sign Language 

NZ Sign Language Week

Enjoy signing away!


Welcome back to School

Welcome back!

It had been a whole year since I had stepped foot in a school, let teach a class! But here I was privileged enough to be awarded a position as a new entrant teacher at Ashgrove School starting for term two of 2016 Thank goodness I already know the school and some of the teachers! Today marks week five, of term two and I can’t quite comprehend how quickly it has gone! It has been my first chance that I have been able to look at my beginning teacher programme and decide to compile all of my evidence for meeting the graduating teacher criteria on this blog. Exciting stuff! I had to blow off the technology cobwebs as I hadn’t touched this blog since 2012 when I graduated university but it seems once you do something a couple of times it comes back fast!

So here goes, I am going to endeavour to post weekly reflective blogs on my teaching  and extra blog posts when the opportunity arises. This I hope will up skill my pedagogical practise and teaching as an inquiry approach. Plus of course give a range of resources and hopefully some good reading for my followers!


Icebreaker games

While thinking about how I am going to get to know my class and create a classroom community, I started to research different ‘icebreaker’ activities. Ice breaker activties are exactly as they sound. They break the ice of awkwardness and uncertainty in a new group situation.I found this awesome e-book that outline 40 great adaptable activities that you can pick and choose to use with your class.

Heres the link to the e-book: http://insight.typepad.co.uk/40_icebreakers_for_small_groups.pdf

Hope you find it useful also!