Reading Fluency

Reading Fluency is an important element of literacy and should be encouraged from the early years. NEPS have developed their own document Balanced Approach to Literacy Development in the Early Years which documents many literacy skills for early years and infant classes.

I particularly like the Literacy Tree that they include in their document.

2017-01-24

Literacy Tree –  NEPS Balanced Approach to Literacy Development in the Early Years.

Language forms the trunk of the tree and reflects the importance of developing oral language when developing reading skills.

Fluency is just one element of meaningful reading. There are many strategies to develop reading fluency in the infant classes.

Prompt Cards: Focusing on a set of 5 words from the Dolch List, the children can read through the card and identify all the words. Then ask the child to repeat this activity as fast as they can and time them. This will encourage the children to build their recall skills and aid their reading fluency.

Phrases: There are many examples of Fry’s phrases online. These are short phrases and sentences created using the Dolch words. Children are again encouraged to read the phrases as fast as they can. This could be used with Senior Infants in Term 3 or for infants that may need an additional challenge. This activity could also be used in other classes as the phrases can become more difficult.

Games: Games such as Roll Say Keep and bingo also help with word recall and fluency. I purchased a game called Fry Words Spin and Read from the Primary Techie and my class loved it. The spinner will choose a character and the children then must read all the words in role as the character. It could be a robot, a baby, a princess to name a few. The class were really engaged. Primary Techie has lots of other downloads of games for sight words. Find her on Teachers Pay Teachers or click here.

These are only some of the many fluency activities available for infant classes. I have prompt cards for Dolch words in my  Mash.ie store. If you have any questions about this post please send me a PM.

 

A.M.

 

Electricity in Senior Classes

This month in Science we are exploring Electricity.

We are fortunate to have a good range of equipment for electricity topic, however it was all contained in one box. I took some time out this week to reorganise the box with the help of small plastic tubs and ziploc bags. Once all the bulbs, batteries, battery holders were sorted and packaged. I set up tubs for my class to use. Each tub contains everything you need to make a simple circuit using a light bulb and a buzzer. It also contains different materials to explore conductors of electricity.

We started with simple circuits with lightbulbs and explored the idea of conductors using the materials in the tub. Next week I hope to introduce making a switch. In Art we will be busy making dioramas and then I hope to add to our diorama by adding an electricity element, a door bell or a light switch. I will add photos to my page as they progress.

If you are looking to add to your resources for electricity check out craftpacks.co.uk. I ordered some resources from them during the Summer for Science. I think they are very reasonable. You will need to use a Parcel Motel or Address Pal account to make the ordering process easier. But their delivery service is very quick. Check our Craft Packs here.

If you would like further inspiration for the Electricity topic I have designed step by step instruction cards with photographs. I am also making cards to add to the children’s tubs so they can reorganise them quicky and easily. These will be available as a bundle on Mash.ie soon.

As always if you have any questions please send me a PM.

A.M.

Construction in Infants

The construction area is a very popular area in Aistear among the children. It can be hard to find resources for this area so here are a few ideas.

Firstly, it is important to establish the construction area in your classroom. If you are fortunate to have space within the classroom to create a construction area then I would add a display with words specific to the construction area. Twinkl have a great downloadable resource for a construction area (subscription required). Find the resource by clicking here.

To establish the construction area I find you need larger construction toys. Ideally larger than lego blocks or other blocks used within small world. Initially I purchased a Giant Jenga set and the class loved it. They made tables and chairs for the three little pigs with the Giant Jenga. I also managed to purchase a set of Melissa and Doug Jumbo Cardboard Blocks second hand and these were also a great addition to the construction area.

Never underestimate the power of a post-it and fancy pens and pencils within the construction area. During the restaurant theme one group created a restaurant with separate kitchen. They used the post-its to label the different areas and to make little signs for the restaurant too. Free writing can be encouraged in many areas of Aistear.

I always have a look out for resources for Aistear, even now when I am in the Senior Classes I am still looking for bargains for Aistear resources. Recently my school purchased the giant polydrons and I have to admit I was a little jealous. However, when they were delivered I helped to unpack them and actually sat and built different things with them, just to check they were OK of course. Nexus stock the Giant Polydrons and you can find them here.

If you have any questions on this blog post or on any resources I used in Aistear please send me a PM.

 

A.M.

Oral Language in Senior Classes

Hi everyone, I hope you are settling back into school after the holidays.

I have decided to focus on Oral Language with my class until midterm. Aistear in the infants plays such an important role in developing oral language skills and developing vocabulary in line with each topic, however I felt that in my senior class the value of oral language was beginning to get overlooked.

As you may have guessed I love board games and there are many different types of board games that focus on Oral Language. An Irish game 30 seconds is excellent for developing describing skills and to encourage thinking too. Articulate is another great describing game which is also available in a junior version.

Chain Reaction is another game where the children work in teams on a specific challenge card. These challenge cards can be listing breeds of dogs to listing designers for women’s fashion. The teams have a limited time to list as many as they can for their specific challenge and the other team must listen carefully because they have the opportunity to contest any of the answers given at the end. This game is advertised at 12+ so some cards may not be appropriate for all children. My class have been playing it the last few days and are really enjoying it. It is encouraging those who may be reluctant to speak out to participate and those who may have difficulty with reading and writing are also more eager to participate.

Having played this game in English, my Irish lessons this week were less attractive to the class. We are covering the theme Sa Bhaile and while they play word tennis with their partners they were beginning to lose interest in it. So today we decided to make our own categories game for our Irish lessons. The children listed their own categories which included topics covered in other themes, Éadaí, Bia and Mé Féin. I am working on the cards and hopefully they will be added to my Mash.ie store soon. I will also let you know the progress in class after playing the game.

If you have any questions on the above post please send me a PM.

A.M.

Review: Destination Ireland Board Game

While out browsing in the Christmas Sales I spotted this board game in Debenhams. At home we have a collection of board games and it is continuously growing every year. So I picked up this to add to the collection but also for use at school.

It reminds me of the game Discover Ireland a little but with a few additions.

Aim of the Game:
Travel around in your taxi to specific destinations and collect your fares as you go. The destinations are land marks and places of interest all around Ireland, there is at least one destination for each county in Ireland. The winner is the taxi with the most money when all destination cards are gone and at least one taxi has come back to base.

This game also has Irish instructions and Destination Cards and traffic light cards are in both Irish and English.

Review:
While initially we had to read the instructions a few times to understand the various rules. It all became clear once we started playing. The game encourages an element of planning and logical thinking. While you ma have destinations in the south of the country the petrol station is located centrally in the board and you need fuel to move around the board.

The game also includes both euro and sterling currency and you are encouraged to use the sterling currency when in the North of the country. I think children would enjoy this element of the game.

I think this game would be very suitable for senior classes perhaps from 4th up. It could encourage discussion about the different landmarks in all the counties while encouraging maths, logical thinking and problem solving skills.

Currently this game is on offer in Debenhams for €10.50 reduced from €35. I think it is worth the investment. I have purchased one for home and will probably need to purchase another one for my class as it has become a popular game in my family.

If you have any questions please send me a PM.

A.M.

January in Infants

Hi everyone.

I hope everyone has enjoyed the festivities and are now relaxing before we begin Term 2 next week.

Returning to school in January can be like September all over again in the infant classrooms. Take some time next week to revise classroom rules and expected behaviours.

I would also plan some revision for the first week of Term 2 and possibly some assessments towards the end of the week. In Junior Infants you could assess their phonics, whether its Jolly Phonics or another scheme you are using, revise and assess the sounds covered in Term 1. In Senior Infants you could also assess their sounds covered and also their Dolch Words depending on the scheme you are using. There are lots of ideas for assessment in my assessment pack.

A transport theme is often a nice theme for January. I have covered the Mechanic as a topic in Aistear. The children loved this theme. We set up a garage using the gazebo in the role play area. I was very lucky that members of staff were able to give us a loan of little tykes car, tractor and other forms on transport. We used these and the tool bench to create the garage. I also managed to pick up a mechanic overalls in the dress up section of Dunnes. Finally we added the office using a phone, cash register and laptop.

In small world we had lots of forms of transport for the children to play with. In construction we built cars using the play centre and blocks.

In art the children made cars using lots of different materials such as cereal boxes and other small recyclable boxes. Finally I changed the sand area to a science area and we investigated cars travelling on ramps of different heights.

The mechanic topic can be linked across many curricular areas for integrated lessons and discrete lessons. A January topic plan will be available on my Mash.ie store in the coming days.

As always if you have any questions about my January topic please email me.

A.M.

 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all my followers.

Welcome to Term 2 in 2017. Can you believe it? Hope everyone is on the right track with their New Years Resolutions.

January is going to be a busy time ahead for Aistear Muinteoir. As some of you know I currently teach Senior Classes and this time next week we will be gearing up for the RDS Primary Science Fair. It is the first time the school will present a project at the Primary Science Fair and both myself and the class are very excited about this.

Aside from my own class I also have lots of reviews planned for Aistear Muinteoir. My class have been using an online Maths Programme Matific before Christmas and I have continued my trial into the New Year so I will be adding a review to my blog this month. I will also be reviewing the Froggy Match-it App from Easy Learn Phonics later in the month. My 6th Class have been using the Maths Box from Prim-Ed and I hope to introduce them to my 5th class in the new year so there will be an updated review on these too.

I aim to blog once or twice a week in January. I will also have my January topic plan by the end of the week. Some of my followers may be heading into their final teaching practice in February so I will be adding both Senior Classes thematic plans and Infants thematic plans to my blog and Mash.ie store.

Looks like the new year is shaping up to be a busy one for Aistear Muinteoir. If you have any questions or would like a blog post on a specific topic send me an email.

Hope you enjoy the rest of the holidays.

A.M.