The children receive regular, structured, timely and ongoing feedback that is aligned with teacher and student chosen learning objectives. We take standard assessment tasks and bring them alive for children.
Once we have carried out reading assessments with the children we share the findings with the children straight away. We point out what we have noticed in their reading.
Zoe: So I noticed when you wondered what the word was you stopped and used the pictures to help you. That is a strategy that seems to be working well for you. I also noticed that you keep reading until you run out of breath and don’t stop at the full stops. That is something you could work on. What do you think you are good at as reader? What would like to work on as a reader?
Child: I like the pictures. It tells you the story. I use the sounds to say the word. I want to use more sounds.
Zoe: So you want your reading goal to be about getting better at using sounds. How about if you work on using the ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ sounds in words like “ship”? I will type this for you and you can have it in on your book box and reading log.
When the children read at home or at school they can refer to their reading goal. We revisit their goal each time we read and children explain their progress. We also add a list of the next steps in reading for the parents and children to see. We talk to the children about these and mark off when we notice reading strategies. We also add questions in English and where possible in the home language, to prompt understanding of the text and build inferential understanding.
We carry out an assessment to learn which spelling patterns children need to work on. We believe children learn best from applying skills from their actually writing, not unconnected spelling lists. Each writer’s workshop folder has the next stages of spelling. The children also pick commonly misspelled sight words they want to work on. The children refer to them as they write.
We use a numeracy diagnostic interview with each child and discuss the results with them. We then give the children a numeracy learner profile. It targets the next stages they are working on. The children choose what they will work on each day and make a tally mark against the learning they choose that day.
Video of children taking control of their learning using their numeracy learner profile. Although the children have only been doing this for two weeks you can see how independent they are becoming and the decisions they are making about their own learning.
We start our day with a personal greeting. A small moment to connect with each child. We look at each other and say hello. The children now come in and make this connection by themselves. These are intentional acts to develop personal bonds built on mutual respect and trust. We give time to this because we value these connections. The children realize this is part of our classroom culture and copy it.
Children quickly realize what a school and teacher value. We intentionally and explicitly create our learning culture. We give time to what we value An example would be the morning meeting. A child often runs the meeting and the teacher sits on the floor with the children. At first the teacher modeled the format and now the children listen and navigate the “no hands up” class.
This sometimes means children putting fingers on their shoulder every time that have an idea. They also have a symbol if their idea is the same as someone else. This gets everyone thinking and not just the same people holding up their hands. Their is an expectation everyone will be trying to think of something.
Children are encouraged to add their name to the agenda and share any ideas or concerns. Today’s items included Miu telling us that children were not looking after pens and tops neede to be looked after. Sohee who shared her picture that had a mistake on it and so she turned it into a “beautiful mistake”. The children decided to use this picture as a front cover for a book about the value of making mistakes and learning from them. Finally Greyson had further questions about Fresh Fruit Friday, a grade 5 initiative to feed the homeless of Yokohama. He wanted to know who set this up and what made them do it. The children offered suggestions, but the teacher remand silent.
How we negotiate coming together as a group
The children sit in an informal group for morning meeting. The children have negotiated 7 different ways of being in this group. Some children sit on their bottoms, some stand, some hold a squishy toy in their hands and some kneel. We want the children to be in control of themselves and find the best way for them to concentrate. It is an expectation that children think about how they learn best.
These are just two examples of intentional acts designed to build a classroom culture based on trust and mutual respect. We wonder if this is seen outside the classroom at home?
Each day we present some Maths challenge to the children, they also have lots of opportunities to develop and solve their own problems. Our class Maths challenges can be accessed on many levels. The children like to return to old favourites… as the children’s skill develop their strategies change and become increasingly complex. One favourite is how can you make 10.
We constantly read about the need for programmers and the advantages this gives. Coding is challenging but fun, just like grade1!
The children are learning how to develop sets of logical instructions to program into our toy robot. We discussed this as a form of writing. The children are developing their understanding that the robot only does what they program. This has proved challenging… especially if they forget to program the “clear” command and get the last person instructions!
Why is this Maths?
We have five areas of Maths we cover (Number, data handling, measurement, shape and space and patterning). Shape and space encompasses the language of direction. As with all good Mathematical thinking this affords an opportunity to be creative in our thinking and application.
Check out your child’s Seesaw account for personal examples!
We constantly strive to find authentic reasons for children to apply and transfer learned number facts to real-world situations. This is a true indicator of what children understand.
The reason for doing this
The children will lead the onigiri making for the homeless of Yokohama. They have taken this responsibility and leadership challenge very seriously. They realise they have to raise all the money for the supplies. There was some money left over from last year and the children decided to count it.
The Mathematics involved
Each child guessed how much there was. We discussed the importance of naming items which are counted. If you just say 300, no one knows what you are referring to and it is not accurate or mathematical.
The children started to take the money, some children took piles for themselves, others realised it would work better if they sorted the coins into different types. The next issue was removing coins from other countries. The children are increasingly aware that this can not be used in Japan,
The children were then faced with large amounts of coins… how would they count it and not lose track of the amount? Someone started sorting by tens.
The amount was recorded and then checked by someone else. The children are becoming aware of the need for accuracy, especially when dealing with real items like money.
The amounts were put together… no one felt they wanted to add up all these numbers!
The children have shown initiative and entrepreneurship as they are working out how to raise money for others.
The children are excite to be given the responsibility to lead the onigiri making session for the homeless of Yokohma. We asked the children where they were going to get all the supplies from. Who will pay for it? Many conversations ensued. The children thought they could ask for money. We told them they were responsible for raising the money.
How will you raise the money?
Ken said he had made a lemonade stand. Vita said she had made a circus show for her parents, both of these activities were rewarded with money. We showed the children what the children did last year. We also showed them the video of Caine’s arcade. The children were very taken by this idea.
How will this raise money?
The children decided their parents could play the games and pay.
How much will you charge?
The sums ranged from 100 yen a turn to 300 yen for a Fun Turn (unlimited turns). Caine made a Fun Pass in his video, but the children noted you can’t take his word – but you can be inspired by him.
Chloe and Sophia often make restaurants, cafes and banks so we asked them what we should do. Chloe suggested tips. She explained this way people only paid if what they made was good. Vita said if people didn’t pay she would explain she had worked very hard on the game.
The games are being developed, prizes are being made.
Come and play the grade 1 arcade Wednesday 25th 8.20am to 9.00am