August 7

Andy Griffiths rocks for older students

One of the best authors to read to older students (especially boys) is Andy Griffiths. I was introduced to his ‘Just’ Series way back in 1998 by a librarian I met on one of my prac teaching placements.

The series has become a firm favourite in my school library, was a secret weapon when casual teaching in London and guarantees whole class focus when I open one and start reading. Andy Griffiths writing style is extremely humorous, with enough quirky situations and toilet humour to engage reluctant readers. Just Stupid, Just Annoying and Just Tricking would have to be my favourites; stories of food fights in fancy restaurants, sealing up the shower cubicle to make a bath and swinging on the clothes line in the middle of the night.

His other books are equally as entertaining, including the ‘bum’ series, the ‘bad’ books and the ‘schooling around’ series. I had the pleasure of meeting and listening to Andy Griffiths speak at a children’s literature festival, and he explained how he would take a simple idea, such as being locked out of the house, and expanding it with a lot of what ifs… (that keep getting sillier and sillier) What if I was in my undies?  What if the girl I liked came past?  What if I fell in the mud?  What if dad got locked outside with me too?  In the mud? In his undies?   You get the picture.

If you are looking for something to entertain a class, or encourage a reluctant older reader, get yourself a copy of one of Andy Griffiths books.

June 6

Spelling Activity Cards

As part of my literacy groups I have a group that works on spelling activities, with their current spelling list.  So what do they do each week? I wanted something fun, engaging, easy to organise, no hours of creating worksheets, simple to mark (if any) and independent.

After trawling the internet and thinking creatively I came up with these Spelling Activity Cards. The group gets the card and equipment, brings their spelling book and Voila! Ready made spelling activity.

There are 42 different activities, most able to be used with classes from Year 1 to 6. At the beginning of the year I use them with the whole class, as a modelling activity. It’s helpful to do this the week before they have to do it independently, especially with younger students.

Here are some images of some of the cards and students completing the different activities.

And here is a link to the actual spelling cards

Spelling Activity Cards

What other ideas do people use to practice spelling?

April 30

This Week’s Lessons…

1. The day one of your students forgets lunch is the day the canteen will be closed. LESSON – Have a snack bag ready.

2. When you risk it and get to school later than normal, that will will be the morning where everything snowballs. LESSON – Hide in your classroom. Lights off!

3. When you find an AWESOME website (Scholastic’s StudyJams) check that it PLAYS ON A MAC. You have made this mistake before. Home PC = Classroom Mac = Stalling time while class get restless. LESSON – Get to school earlier and check before class!

4. Life education rocks. So many good strategies for engaging students from inside Harold’s Van. If only I had carpet walls…sigh. LESSON – Ideas are everywhere.

5. Another successful engagement tool for boys, using Brain Busters… Make it a competition and Voila! Intense Interaction. LESSON – Make More!