Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Our Big Writing Programme & some anchor charts


The countdown is on. Just finished conferences, I've got a class trip Friday, carol service next week, staff Christmas party and then we're on a plane to go home for Christmas on the 15th! Can't wait!

So what have you been up to? 

Have you been Christmas baking and enjoying Christmas-y things? I'm jealous.

I can't wait to wear my polka-dot pajamas and watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation with a hot chocolate and not think about school.at.all.


Look at this stamp that we use to mark English. Love it! This stamp helps focus my feedback:

I got it here in the UK, but I'm sure they make something similar elsewhere. Totally worth it.

Individual target cards guide me so I know what goals the students are working towards.

Our school does Ros Wilson's Big Writing programme. All week the children do a variety of activities that lead up their 'Big Writing' session at the end of the week. On that day, they have a double English session-the first session (1 hour) is a summary/overview of things learned that week, with the last 10-15 minutes for planning their Big Write (a set writing task). Then they have recess, and when they come back, the lights are low, classical music is playing, there are little fairy lights, they have their Target card, plan and paper....and they have sustained writing for 45 minutes.

There are some kinks that I'm working out (trying to get more 'free' writing in, and add in the actual writing process to get to an occasional final copy)...but really this runs alongside the style of exams in this country and all in all, it does seem to highlight needs while also giving students a focus when writing.

Sorry, that went on a lot longer than I thought. How about some random pictures?  These are some anchor charts (perfect size-about 11 x 17 paper) that the children and I brainstormed together over the past couple weeks/months.

Bit of a photo dump.

To bed now.

How are you? Would love to hear from you!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Book List and Bread!


I'm feeling better since the last time I blogged. Things are changing at our school and it threw me for a loop (My head teacher is leaving)! I cannot imagine what the school will be like without her (leaving at Easter to have a baby)......hopefully the change won't be too bad.
Anyway, I've got the OK to update the books at our school-now I'm just not sure where to buy them. Scholastic, Amazon? Some of you gave book ideas and asked for my ideas. I've attached a google doc with the list I've created so far. Of course I may move around the books, depending on levels, etc. Many are British authors (since I'm in England)...anyway, I hope this helps. This list takes into account the books we already have (lots of Michael Morpurgo, Anthony Horowitz, Jacqueline Wilson, J.K. Rowling).


I'm also on the lookout for any good British comprehension assessments with links to levels (2c, 2b, 2a, etc)??!! Let me know if you've got a recommendation!

Aside from parent conferences this week (2 nights, very short, not too bad), I have had a "good" sinus day and even managed to get the gym! Our Bible study group has our Christmas party tomorrow night which I'm looking forward to and after this week I will have 2 weeks of school left until Christmas break!!

Here is my latest math notebooks/journals resource that is nearly finished:

I will end with a funny photo-I was the elf at our 'Santa grotto' on Friday for our Christmas fair!

Oh and also-this bread is soooooooo good! I make my own applesauce in the blender and cut down the sugar.

Happy Thanksgiving week to everyone in the States!

Friday, November 15, 2013

How long will you teach?

Sometimes I wonder how long I will teach and what job I might do next. Do you ever feel like that?

After a looooong week of reports and making a mistake on homework I sent home and a seriously low student that is never on time (missing lessons!) and teaching English 'Club' every Friday until 5...sometimes I don't know. I love my students, and I do have very small class sizes, but. There's still so much to do. I enjoy (mostly) the added responsibility of English Coordinator, but someways I feel like I'm getting burned out. Again.

So how about you? Do you ever think you might go for a different job at some point?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Guided reading book ideas?!?!

Hello! It's been awhile...I'm two weeks back into school and four weeks away from Christmas break! Have I mentioned I love how our school does holidays???? 6 week half terms work so well for me!

Anyway, I'm back at it, trying to develop this English/Literacy department at my school, slowly but surely. I started with spelling and found a more differentiated approach that is fairly easy for teachers and students to follow. Currently I'm working on creating PowerPoints for Year 3-Year 6 (second through sixth grade) that has a daily starter for the VCOP part of our Big Writing program. VCOP stands for vocabulary, connectives, openers, and punctuation and is a huge focus at our school. Anyway, more on that when it's finished.

The next thing on my list is to sort out the (lack of) guided reading resources for Years 3-6. I've researched books and come up with a good list for the school to buy, but need a bit more. I've got everything from Charlotte's Web to Holes, Skellig and Goodnight Mr. Tom. Please give me more book ideas!!!!

Speaking of books, I've really enjoying the break from using a basal series. I like aspects of using a basal, but really enjoy the curriculum here at the moment. I do wish we had more time for literacy though as it's hard to fit it all in. On the other hand, I'm happy to get away from the 3+ hours a day of literacy I had to do in Arizona.

I will be back soon with pictures of some things we've been up to in our classroom...until then, have a great rest of your week and weekend!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Notebook freebie & Vienna pics!


I'm on week 2 of my half term (fall break). Very lucky girl to have 2 weeks! I'm loving it!

Last week my husband and I visited a friend that's currently living in Vienna, Austria. We had both never been there so we were excited!

My friend was so generous in opening her home to us and showing us around. It was so.relaxing. Vienna is also super beautiful and Danube Valley was stunning, especially with the changing leaves.






Wow, sorry that was a lot of pictures!

If you're still with me, here is a freebie (until Nov. 4) that I rounded up. I had a few resources from here and there from over the years as well as recently and I put it together. PLEASE give me feedback as I'm not sure if it's better for K-2 or 1-3. Thanks!

 I'm off to enjoy some more relaxing in my pjs! Hope all is well with you!

Kelli xx

P.S. I've just started Clean Eating in an attempt to fix my sinus problems and just generally feel more healthy...do any of you eat this way?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

This school year ROCKS {so far}!

Well, we're nearly 6 weeks in, and have half term break around the corner (2 weeks off starting with a trip to Vienna on Saturday)!

This year is SOOOOOO much better since I've stayed on at the school and am actually teaching the same curriculum again (what a concept?!)...I've moved around a lot in the past remember, so this is all new to me!

So I've been able to fine-tune lessons from last year (wonderful lessons that had been put in place by the teacher I was covering) and now I actually know everything I'm teaching ahead of time and feel so much more on top of it all! Last year it took so much time to learn about the British history and other stuff I had to teach because let's face it...my knowledge of WW2 and the Tudors and Victorians were not exactly up to scratch!

Battle of Britain
My students are wonderful and working very hard. My Year 6 class (fifth grade equiv) just finished a unit on Holes and we watched the movie on Friday (I've rarely done this so what a treat!). Can't wait for the compare/contrast segment tomorrow at school. On a side-note, can I just mention that this class is so sweet that they brought in stuffed animals for the movie?! Stay innocent as long as you can my lovelies! Aw!

Another thing I love about teaching over here (particularly at this school) is that the curriculum is so balanced. English is 1 hour a day (I've been able to add an extra on Mondays for reading comprehension/guided reading)
Math is 1 hour a day
Science 2 hrs/week
Geography 1hr/week
History 1hr/week
ICT (ipads/computers) 1hr/week
Art 1 hr/week
PE 2-3 hr/week
Music 1 hr/week
Languages (2 languages) 2 hr/week
D&T (design and technology) 1hr/week...currently making musical instruments!
RE 1 hr/week...currently cut down to 30 min this term because of gymnastics

And I only teach English, Geography and History (and whole school Gymnastics) out of all those subjects! How lucky! I teach each of those subjects to a couple grade levels, but it's still very manageable. What do you think about a balanced curriculum? Do you think your school is too heavy in one area?

Health-wise, things have returned back to crapville. The summer was not bad, but once the weather changed and I was back to work, it was back to sinus infections day.after.day.week.after.week. I've seen an EMT again and am trying to get my nose scan scheduled....anyway I feel like a broken record talking about this constant health problem that never seems to get better. I know it could be worse. But grrrr. It could be so much better! Must persevere!

Well I was going to talk about the Big Writing focus we have at our school, but I think I've talked long enough. Hope you are all well and enjoying life!
Sneak peek for Big Writing:

essential for end of the week 'Big Write'...indiv target card, plan, paper, dim lights and soothing music!

K xx

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fall Sale!!!

click on picture to take you to my TPT store

I love fall!! Change of weather, pumpkin everything, It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, scarves, etc!

Please stop by my sale if you so desire (runs til the end of October 1st). Have a great weekend!

Kelli xx

Monday, September 23, 2013

5 things (Sept 2013)


Can it really be nearing the end of September? How is that even possible?

I was going to do a post about the new spelling program I found for the upper grades, in addition to sharing some aspects of the writing program I like so much at this school. Anyway, can't find the pictures...another time then!

Here are some pictures that sum up my past week!

Love this show! I'm not huge into cooking by any means, and I have no desire to attempt what they make, but I love it anyway!

LOVE Jamie! Went to his restaurant this past weekend with my husband and a friend. Such a special treat. Everything.was.amazing.

My husband and I are going to Vienna for a week in October-can't wait!! Anyone been there and have any tips?

I am going to the ENT Dr again this week. I'm really hoping there will be a solution...surgery...anything!

Love him. That's all.  

Hope you have a great week!

Kelli xx

Monday, September 16, 2013

Back to school pictures!

My new chair for school!

I feel like I've been away forever!! Everything is so hectic now that school is in session again!!

The school year is off to a great start...small class sizes, and with the way it works at this school, I've essentially 'looped' with my class from last year for English. 

I'm mainly teaching English, Geography, and History for Years 5 & 6. I love it! Taking on the English Coordinator role full time this year is also very interesting! I dabbled in it last year, but this year I've been able to put some things in place that I noticed were missing last year. 

Here are some pictures!

download these here
download these here



Hope to be on here more often now that I'm into the swing of things. Hope your school year is off to a great start!

Kelli xx

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Why does it feel so good to throw stuff away?!

Wow!! It is seriously pathetic how happy I am about the amount of stuff in my classroom that I threw out!!

First I started with the school library (which has been a bit neglected). I got the OK from the headteacher to clear out unwanted books and donate them somewhere....my husband and I filled the car. The library is looking so much better!

Then I moved onto my classroom. Teachers from the past have left lots behind. I was unable to use any of the cupboards (there's only 3 as it's a very small classroom!!) because it was full of junk!

Again, my husband and I filled the car and went to the dump/recycle center and it feels like I've lost weight or something...does that make sense? Like dumping all that stuff (none of it was even mine!!) has taken 10 pounds off my classroom-ha ha!

It just feels so nice to have a non-cluttered, simple, organized classroom. I also made my copies for the first month of school and now feel ready! We have another week until we go back, so next week I hope to relax, read and rest.

I wanted to share some freebies:
This is from last year, but I updated it and wanted to share it again. It's for rules or aims for your class (maybe more uppergrade as there aren't pictures).

We discuss the aims of our class and then the children work in partners, coloring in the words and I hang it on the walls. Click here if you want it!

I also just made this:

 Students glue in heading, roll dice and draw shapes! Grab it here : )

Off to bed! Have a great weekend!
Kelli xx

Friday, August 16, 2013

Journal Giveaway + Summer Lovin'

Hello!! For those that have started school already, I hope your year is off to a great start! I still have a few more weeks of relaxing (although I will go in next week to make copies and clean out my classroom).

Here's some photos from last weekend's {local} travel for a wedding:

(giveaway after the pics!)

forgot my camera so these are from the internet!

OK!! The giveaway!!

My kindergarten and first grade math bundles are finished!!! (second grade is coming)...

click on picture for more info
click on picture
 The giveaway!!

Hope to hear from you! I'm off to 'tea' at a friend's. Tea time in England-gotta love it!

Kelli xx