Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Yeah, the crazy 5 weeks of flexible start is coming to an end! I love that we have been able to split up our students into 6 groups with 6 teachers and teach about 6 kids each time. Totally awesome, but it still has been totally confusing for the kids (and us teachers are tired). Plus now I still have to teach all my classroom routines to them. HELLO!

So it still feels like the first days of school, now that we are in a big group and students still have no idea how to act as first graders. If you didn't know, Finnish kids don't start any formal school until age 7 in first grade. It's cute and sad when they keep saying "I want to go outside and play".

Most importantly we have still been talking very much about rules and cooperation. Last week we had groups of students make posters together. Yesterday we did an activity that is super cute and the kids think is fun.

You need a large space to make a circle with your students (we went outside) and a ball of yarn. Once in your circle, the teachers starts by explaining the activity rules. You ask students to think of one thing about them, give them some ideas first (favorites, hobbies, etc.) and then explain that they will throw the yarn to each other and make a spider web. Did she say spider web? Yep, and the kids think that is SO COOL :P

The teacher then starts. Mine was "My name is Mrs. Pope and my favorite food is tomatoes". Then I threw the yarn skein to another child, while I held tightly to the end of the beginning end of the yarn. Each child then did the same. At the end, I asked them to put down their spider web. You could go then backwards still, if you think the students can handle it. They could then tell one more thing about themselves.

One trick though, is to make sure that the next person always throws all the way across, and keeps the yarn on top of the spider web. It makes going in reverse much easier at the end. 

We have been studying Jolly Phonics, and we're only onto the 6th letter. But regardless we have started 
-at, -an, -it and -ip word families. I have been using word sorting, making words with clay, stamping and writing on the chalkboard for extra practice of word families. And let's not forget Starfall!! Great free online resource for English, which the kids totally love. 

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