This resource follows a families trip around Australia.
Created for students in grades 3-6 it involves problem solving using time. It allows students to practise and consolidate their skills in reading and using timetables, elapsed time, converting time and more!
This activity has a mixture of simple and challenging tasks to suit varying student capabilities.
We are very lucky to have these fantastic robotic kits at our school.
This term in STEAM I gave my 3/4 and 5/6 students the chance to pick a kit and see what they could build. Some were more successful than others and some required resources I didn't have on hand (such as rock salt) to make them move, but it was great to see the cooperation between the students and them all working together to create a final product.
This type of construction and following directions is not my strong point! I can do it when I really focus but what I think is fantastic about these kits is giving the students full control and allowing my self to work along side them, show them I was learning too and allow students who were fantastic at robotics, lego etc to step up and share their skills with us!
Don't be afraid of doing lessons like these- work together, its great for students to us modelling real learning, failure and persistence.
Here are some images and videos of what they created!
Coles minis are back! With their crazy popularity among students why not use them to create fun lessons, activities and warmups to further engage your students in literacy, maths and general classroom behaviour!
#1 Open ended questions
This is a simple math idea that can be used over and over again. It can be used for small groups or for whole activities. Because of the student choice involved it can be easily differentiated to suit the whole class or changed to suit a small group of students by simply changing the values of the products or the number of products being purchased.
#2 Create your own math problem
Have students choose items and create a math story or math problem using them.
For example: I went to Coles and purchased toothpaste for $3.00, weetbix for $5.00 and hand sanitiser. If all together my shopping cost $10.50, how much was the hand sanitiser?
#3 Shape sort
Have students sort the minis into groups based on their shapes
This one is simple use them as fun counters for games or math lessons!
Speaking and listening
#5 Ask a question warm up activity
Students stand in a circle and the teacher chooses a Coles mini.
Students each have a turn asking a question about the item.
Questions can not be repeated and can be as simple as why do people buy it? Or more complicated like how does the manufacturer decide on the packaging?
The activity is over once each student has asked a question.
If students have not thought of a question yet they are allowed to pass once, however if they think of one after saying pass they can call it out even if it is another's turn.
The purpose of the game is get students brains active and develop students speaking and listening skills. It is perfect as a brain break game or as a warm up before literacy sessions.
#6 Whats an adjective for the mini- warm up game
#7 Creative writing
Students choose a Coles mini and have to use the mini as a basis for their story.
The teacher can facilitate this further by giving students some story starters such as
- The day my mini (one chosen) came to life...
- Oh no! I turned my teacher into (Coles mini chosen)...
- My adventures in finding the magical (Coles mini chosen)...
#8 Up Level it
It paThe teacher chooses a Coles mini and writes a boring sentence involving it such as;
'I used the soap to wash my hands'
Using our Up level it resource students use VCOP to up level their sentences to make it more creative.
This resource can be used with students of all ages and abilities as it is easily differentiated based on their writing ability, extent of their vocabulary and knowledge of sentence structure. It is the perfect activity to do in mixed ability pairs so that students can work together to grow their vocabulary and understanding of sentence structure.
Below are example of two different ability levels with the same sentence.
#10 Describe it to me - warm up game
Students pair up and are each given a Coles mini.
Not showing their partner the mini one student describes the mini to the other, describing its appearance, how to use it, taste etc to see if their partner can guess the mini.
Students then swap.
This activity can also be done as a version of 20 questions with the whole class.
Students can ask descriptive questions such as;
does it have a green label?
can it be used in the laundry?
would you describe the taste as pleasant or unpleasant?
#11 Information reports
#12 Behaviour management- reward system
Download, print and display our Coles minis reward chart.
Students receive Coles minis for positive behaviour, achieving class or personal goals etc.
Students get to stick them onto the reward chart and work towards achieving a certain goal set by the class.
Download our free behaviour charts for Coles minis by clicking on the image of the version you like below.
#13 Sorting/ pairing tools
This works fantastic if you have doubles of certain minis.
Hand out the minis randomly and students find the person with the matching mini to be their partner.
Alternatively you can say the person who has the bananas is partnered with the person who has the toothpaste etc.
This was such a fun and interactive way to develop and consolidate my students basic understanding of using coordinates.
I created a giant grid on the floor and the students were immediately intrigued and engaged!
First we started with a simple game of students telling me what object was in the coordinate I called out, then I called out an object and they had to name the coordinates of it.
We also used the grid to play a version of battle ships. I wrote down 6 corodinates on a piece of paper and the students took it in turns guessing where the 'ships' were. If I ran out of paper before they got them all I won and if they got them all they won.
This was a great activity to play as a warm up game to a lesson and as a activity to play when students were eating their recess or lunch.
A great way to see my students understanding of coordinates when I was calling out objects, was to get them to write them on their iPads. We used iPads as whiteboards quiet frequently but the same result can be achieved with just using students sized whiteboards.
Design and research
The creation process
Bee-Bots are a fantastic piece of technology for children of all ages!
There are so many various uses for them across all areas of the curriculum.
This term, whilst teaching STEAM, I allowed my Prep and 1/2 students to go a bit crazy with Bee-bots as a end of term reward for all their hard work.
The students were given 2 tubs filled with thousands of icy pole sticks and told them to create mazes to code their Bee-Bots through. What transpired was a Bee-Bot city! My students started joining with other groups and before we knew it we have giant classroom size mazes that the students were trying to code their Bee-bots around. It was fantastic to see the cooperation between students, the sharing and kindness the showed and how well the helped each other to ensure their Bee-Bots were successfully coded.
My Story is a fantastic app that can be used in many different ways across all curriculum areas. Below are 5 different ways I have used MyStory with students fro Prep to grade 6.
This lesson was completed with Prep students who had their grade 6 buddies helping them as it was their first time using the app.
The students were asked to make a My Story showing their understanding of the numbers 1-10 (and higher if time permitted).
The students were asked to create a slide for each number that included them writing the numbers using the drawing tool and the number in stickers or photos.
Once completed the students were able to share their My Story with their parents using the app Seesaw.
As a tool for teachers
Open ended math questions
I have used this opened ended question many of times using blocks, farm animal toys, work books etc. This time I mixed it up using My Story.
On the board I displayed the slide above.
Students took a photo of this and it became the first page in their My Story.
Each student or pair of students was given a number that was differentiated to suit their learning abilities.
The students had to create as many slides as they could showing that around of legs in various ways.
We had a discussion about how all animals had all their legs and none had any mutations giving them extra - there is always on student who will try it!
The students loved this activity and once again it was an was one to share home on Seesaw.
This activity can be adapted to suit students personal interests such as wheels on vehicles, legs on insects etc.
My Story is great to use for publishing writing and it one of its most common uses.
It allows students to put each paragraph on a new page, allows them to add their voice reading the text and allows them to add images, drawings, pictures and stickers to make into an actual book.
If you add the students voice over you can save it as a movie is a fantastic way to share their work with families.
Demonstrating mathematical understanding
Using My Story as an assessment tool is a great way to keep track of students understanding of many different concepts. I frequently use this in numeracy lessons to allow students to demonstrate their understanding of an activity or concept. They can show me in numerous ways with various numbers and be able to share their work with myself and their families.
At home this app can easily be used on computers, iPads or smart phones. My nieces love to play on my phone (what 3-6 year olds don't love technology?) and this is the app they are allowed to use. The first time my niece who was 4 used it I was amazed! Within half an hour she was recognising the sounds that s and a could make and was able to work through the app independently.
I have also recommended this app for parents with students who are struggling readers to help them practise their sounds at home, with those parents raving about how easy it is and how they feel it has helped their child's reading and understanding of sounds improve.
This app does cost however it is well worth the price! At times it also becomes available for free- so keep a look out. If you are looking for a free option the computer version is for you!
For more information about this app check out their website by clicking here
Please note we were not paid for this review or asked to do it we simply wanted to share this great app with you!
Developing a growth mindset in my students is something that I strive to achieve each year. I actively teach them about being resilient and accepting failure as a positive over a negative. I encourage my students to make mistakes and challenge them to step out of their comfort zones because if we are always right and always do what makes us feel comfortable how are we going to learn?
The Lego Learning Pit I have displayed in my classroom helps give students a visual reminder of this and allows them to track their learning progress when things are challenging. It allows them to rethink their learning process and consider different ways or tools they can use to find an answer to their problem or to develop their understanding of a task.
Being in the Learning Pit is not a negative thing and it is something we celebrate. EVERYONE must go into the put at some time. Sometimes its a quick visit to the bottom of the pit before we can climb out the other side, other times it can be weeks. Everyone will go in and out of the pit at different times. What makes your time in the pit useful however is trying out various tools to overcome your challenges. We have the 5 B's that give students tools to assist them.
When I first heard of the learning pit by James Nottingham I was instantly excited to use it in my classroom. I searched the internet for the perfect one to suit my teaching classroom and my style. After not being able to find it I created my own- by hand, cutting each Lego brick out individually. After seeing the reaction from people on our Instagram page I decided to create a a digital version to share with others.
Well did they go crazy! We have sold over 200 copies of both our Lego and Cactus versions and are so excited to help students all over develop positive growth mindsets.
The Learning Pit has been one of the most successful tools for changing students mindset that I have encountered and used. My students are much more resilient, much more confident in making mistakes and willing to take on challenges more freely.
Check out our Learning Pits here
For more information regarding Learning Pits and the research behind them head to
Our school uses Big Write as part our writing program and within that there is a big focus on VCOP.
VCOP stands for Vocabulary, Comprehension, Openers and Punctuation.
I have seen great improvements in my students writing since using Big Write and particularly in focusing on students incorporating VCOP elements into their writing.
Up Level it enables students to take simple sentences and 'up level' them to make them more engaging.
Students choose a simple sentence and using VCOP elements up level it to make it more engaging and creative.
This can be used as a independent activity, a classroom competition, VCOP activity or as a warm up to a writing session.
As the students progress in their understanding of VCOP, improve in their writing and use the activity more their sentences become more engaging and they are able to compose them more quickly and efficiently.
This activity can be used across all year levels and differentiated based on your expectation from each students writing abilities.
Check out some of my students amazing up levelling using the resource!
As the new school year gets closer, my anxiety is growing. I know that I am a great teacher- sounds arrogant? Yep! But I’ve had 8 years of students, parents and other teachers telling me it, so why not embrace it!
My anxiety is based on a number of things and when talking to my teaching friends I realised a lot of people worry about the same things.
So here are 7 things as teachers we often worry about and some thoughts and advice to help put your mind at ease.
We are always trying to create fantastic games that our students will find engaging, whilst practising the skills we have taught.
We have created a number of number based maths games that are perfect for whole lessons, lesson warm ups, independent activities in math rotations and even early finisher games!
Check them out and don't forget to share a photo with us of your students using them!
I love a good writing prompt that encourages my students to want to write!
I try to use a variety of media types to engage my students and get their imagination and creativeness following!
Below are 20 different movie clips, images, websites and question prompts you can use with your students of any age to create an amazing writing lesson!
It is now our first point of call when we need to find any resource and with over 118,000 pages of resources, we more often than not find what we need and more! Plus all activities are curriculum aligned!
Here are 10 Teach Starter resources we love using!
We have been working on persuasive texts this term and my students are loving it!
It is my favourite genre to teach as it can be so much fun and the students can get very creative with it!
Being a 1/2 class we start with a basic structure that all the students use- introduction with their thesis, 3 arguments with sequential language (firstly, secondly. thirdly) and a conclusion that relates their thesis and summarises their arguments. We also discuss the use of basic persuasive language and using punctuation to enhance the writing.
As it is getting closer to christmas I got my students to write a letter to Santa persuading him why they should be on the 'nice' list. My students used the app PicCollage to publish them and Seesaw to add their voices reading their letter.
There were some fantastic responses! We shared them with our parents using Seesaw and they absolutely loved them!
Here are some for you to enjoy
I love using open ended questions and challenging my students to use various strategies and problem solving skills to find answers in maths.
Today I used one and had a fantastic math lesson! All my students were engaged and focused on getting as many answers as they could. They were also have great discussions about what strategies each was using and lots of peer teaching on how to add money was going on! One of those lessons that makes you as a teacher feel very successful and just proud of your students!
I wanted to share the lesson, as it was simple and easy to do at any time!
I had a fellow teacher tell me about a game she had played where she put 3 coins in her hand and asked her students to ask questions to work out what coins she had. I loved the idea and wanted to take it further so I developed the below open ended question.
Here are 5 ways you could use this app in your classroom;
My 1/2 students created this fantastic movie as a class. We have been talking about ways we can make other people feel great and decided to make a video as a class.
The students brainstormed all the ways to make people at school feel 'awesome' and used the technique of filming themselves drawing and speeding it up to create this movie (with a bit of my editing skills).
Excuse the few spelling and grammatical mistakes- as the video says "we all make mistakes, thats how we learn!"
This term one of out literacy focuses was on being able to retell texts we read.
Our students created iMovies retelling the story of the three little pigs.
The students made finger puppets and sets, wrote scripts, filmed themselves and edited their footage using the app iMovie to create their retelling of the three little pigs.
Below is some images of their process and the final films they created.
Growing up I was a dancer and always thought I had particularly good balance, a fact that I liked to show off in my earlier years. Standing on one leg, walking across logs and then even cheekily doing the splits while on a gymnastics beam. But as I have grown up I have discovered balancing is actually a difficult skill. Not just physically but emotionally, mentally and especially when regarding work and your personal life.
This year I was ambitious; a new year, a new grade, a new start and study… how naive was I? Now looking back on the last 9 weeks I think how did I actually make it through? The year started as a breeze, my students were wonderful, I was on top of my study and I was organized… well this I now realize only lasted for a few weeks.