Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Spring Time Science - All about Bugs

Now that it is Spring time, what do students want to learn about? ...Bugs! Butterflies and ants are my personal favorites but every child finds insects to be so fascinating, especially when they can see them up-close. 

My school is surrounded by nature. We have a garden and an empty lot nearby with an abundance of wildlife in it. Many of the boys like to go hunting for grasshoppers. (I guess that grasshoppers are their favorite insects). When they bring them back to school, they go straight into my science-drawer for my bug containers and magnifying glasses.

How do I make bug containers? Any transparent container that I come across, I never throw them away. I peel the labels off, wash them out, and reuse them as bug containers. I cut out some pieces of mesh material and keep them in my science-drawer along with rubber-bands so that the students can cover each container with something that will prevent insect suffocation.
Containers like these, as long as they are transparent, never throw them away. 

Commercially made bug containers and handling sets are also available like the ones seen below:

Don't forget to keep the insect books handy!

   This book is such a classic that there are lots of free printables from TpT (see two examples above) that you can use with your students for integrating math and ELA into your insect theme. 

Other Eric Carle Insect books are below:


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Using a Reading Tree to Encourage Reading and Book Reports


Our library has started a reading tree to get the kids excited about reading the books from cover to cover. On the tree is a reward system of leaves, flowers, and fruits. The goal for the children, is to get their names on a many leaves, flowers and fruits as they can by reading. For each book that is read, the child has to fill out a form to answer a basic set of questions like: What is the title of the book? Who is the author of the book? Who are the characters in the story? What was your favorite part of the story? What did you love or hate about the story? These questions can be modified for different genres of books and for different reading levels of the students but you get the idea. I hope that this post can interest you in Using a Reading Tree to Encourage Reading and Book Reports.

The reward system is simple. For reading three books, students get to have their name printed on a leaf of the reading tree. For six books; a flower, and for ten books; a fruit. This tree is made from twisted up sheets of brown paper and hand-drawn cut-outs. Now here in Trinidad and Tobago we have Summer all year, but for those of you who have the four seasons, there are customisable tree templates that I found on Amazon that can work for you. To your large tree, you can add accents such as apples, acorns, flowers, bees, owls, snowflakes, and autumn leaves too.

Take a look at some close-up pictures:
Using a Reading Tree 

Using a Reading Tree to Encourage Reading and Book Reports
The birds are a cute addition, aren't they?

If you need some free templates of book reports for any book, check out the list below from TpT. 
Free Book Report Writing Grades 2-5

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Free Shamrock Clipart

Free Shamrock Clip art
To help you get ready for St. Patrick's Day, here is a set of Free Shamrock Clipart. I searched the net for this but decided to make my own because I prefer a puffier look to the shamrocks. I put together an assortment of green shades and white versions. All are png format, royalty free and can be used for personal or commercial use.  So if you like, you can download your free copy here from my TpT Store.
I got the green background in my poster from Sassy Designs.

Making Real-world Connections in Geometry - Solids

I got some amazing images of real world examples of 3D shapes last month so I decided to incorporate it into a new math word wall for solids. So here it is. Each card shows the name of a solid, a 3D rendering on the left and a corresponding real-life picture of a solid object on the right. The shapes in this set are: cube, cuboid, sphere, cone, cylinder, triangular pyramid, square based pyramid, triangular prism, solid, 3D shape, face, edge, and vertex. A large sentence strip is also included which has the definition of a 3D shape on it. You can place just above your word wall in your classroom. I posted on TpT for you. You can check it out by clicking here to see more pictures from the file.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

It's Carnival in T&T

I've been having so much fun this week with my students. It's Carnival season which always has us busy with field trips to mas camps, carnival shows (for kids), and any historical displays we can find. Carnival is a national festival in Trinidad and Tobago that is celebrated annually on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It is similar to that of Brazil but for us, aside from the mas, we have a lot of Calypso and Steel Pan competitions in the weeks leading up to Carnival.

So, in our schools, we have our own version of Carnival. My favorite aspect of it is the Old Mas portrayals. Each class has to do skits using signs and props - no words - to portray current events in a humorous way. Students also sing their own calypsos and party to loud soca music. Soca music originated out of Calypso but it is very fast paced and just gets you off your feet. They love it.

Here are some pictures I took out on one of our school trips. This was at a soca event for kids. The traditional Carnival characters were there to meet the children.
Moko Jumbie Moko Jumbies
Moko Jumbies - they dance around on stilts.

A Soca performer takes to the stage as Moko Jumbies dance. The children are in awe. These ladies above are traditional Carnival characters. On the left is a Baby Doll and next to her is a Miss Mary.
These are the Fancy sailors and the Dame Lorraines

The very poetic Pierrot Grenades
 There are many other traditional Carnival characters by the way, like the Bookman, Burrokeet, Fancy Clown, Fancy Indian, Guarahauhn, Jab-Jab, Midnight Robber, Jab Molassie, Minstrels, Bats, Seybucan, Soumayree, Stickman, Imp, and Dragon. 

Oh gosh, I have so many pictures to share. These below are of a display at the airport in Trinidad. I could not resist posing with the mannequins.
I'm next to a Fancy Sailor costume. 
A contrast of costumes on the left. A butterfly costume on the right.

Now for the best part... my little three year old, Ashley, had some Carnival fun at her school too. I had to take pictures! I wish I could have gotten pics of all the kids in their costumes for you. They had a street parade masquerading in their head pieces. These are what I got... It was all about head pieces (hats) and face masks with a nature theme.


 These are for the flowers and butterflies band.

 Butterfly face masks


These are for the weather section. I think in all, the sections were nature, fruits, and weather. Awesome! Hats off to all of the hardworking teachers at Ashley's school, Mt. St. George Early Childhood Centre!

Happy Carnival to you!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Degrees of Adjectives - St. Patrick's Day theme

Hi guys! St. Patrick's Day will be here soon and I made these Shamrock Degrees of Adjectives worksheets (cut and stick matching) for the different examples of degrees of adjectives which can be used for interactive notebooks. There are blank shamrocks in both small and large sizes for students to write other sets of examples of adjectives for each of the three degrees. A black and white version is also included and each page here is to be printed on legal sized paper (8.5" x 14"). The classes of words chosen (in terms of their rules) span the levels from Grades 1 to 4 and are separated on different pages so that you only need to print out the sets that are suitable for your students' level.

About Me

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As a Caribbean primary school teacher, I share my unique classroom with the world through this blog. Readers step into my class through the pictures, articles and classroom samples of games and lessons used in my class. I have been teaching since 2005 at the std. 4 primary level in Trinidad and Tobago. I am particularly interested in sharing my own personal lesson plans, tests and activities. Teachers need to share ideas and support each other because in doing so, we help to educate our students and develop ourselves as teachers. Technology is ever evolving and we as teachers should get on board with it, collaborate and keep up to date with this new age that we live in. Our students belong to this technological era and we must embrace opportunities to learn from each other in this global community. I also love to express my creativity in the classroom. I am a bit of a craftster . So I'm always cutting, gluing or making something... a game, a chart, a learning center, etc. So, teachers and parents, feel free to stop by and see what's new at Nyla's Crafty Teaching!