Saturday, 21 February 2015

You Oughta Know about QR codes


I'm so excited to be linking up with the lovely Jasmine over at Buzzing With Mrs. McClain for this months blog hop.
This month….you oughta know about using and creating QR codes in the classroom!!!

At my school we have been lucky enough to get a set of iPads and one thing we are all desperate to use are QR codes! The problem is not many of my co-teachers understand how to use them or how to make them so I thought I would use this blog hop to share a few of my QR code secrets! I am by no means a techie so please feel free to correct or share a new way of doing things in the comments section. 

Using QR codes in the classroom- practicalities
Step 1- ensure your iPad or tablet has a QR reader on it- there are loads out there and they tend to be free to download just visit your app store.
Step 2- train the children how to use the scan feature by opening the app and holding it over the QR code until the scanner takes you to the desired website, word doc, picture etc. Sounds simple but hold it too close and parts of the code won't get scanned or too far away and it won't read the code properly.

Using QR codes in the classroom- resources
There are lots of resources available on TpT which use QR codes and below I have simply given you examples of some of my favourites which cover a variety of subjects and activity types. Click on the pictures to be taken straight to the relevant TpT stores.
This product boosted my Listening Area texts without me having to break the bank- plus the kiddies looooove using the iPads to read and listen. 
QR codes lend themselves perfectly to scavenger hunts- they are a perfect way to incorporate technology into an already stimulating activity. I love QR codes as a way for children to research topics because they either a) take children to a preprepared word doc containing all of the information YOU want them to have or b) to a specified web page YOU have deemed safe for them to have access to.
I love using QR codes within maths as a way to easily differentiate work OR as a way for children to self check their answers making their learning just that little bit more independent and saving paper!

All 3 of the products I've listed are created by talented fellow TpT authors who's stores are full of QR code products. I would suggest downloading one of their amazing freebies to try with your class first to see if QR codes work for you.

Using QR codes in the classroom- creating
If you are loving using QR codes but need something a little more specific to your class then don't panic- here are a few simple steps to creating your very own QR codes!

Step 1- visit a QR creator website, I like www.qrstuff.com but simply google 'QR creator' and find a site which suits you. 

Step 2- 
I usually choose 'plain text' which is where you input your own information into a word type document or 'website URL' and then paste in the website details from the search bar.

Step 3-
Most of the time QR codes are fine in black but if you want them to blend in or complement a document's colour scheme then here is the place to do it.

Step 4- 
Finally, choose the format you want your QR code in- usually I download it and then paste it into the document. As with most objects you can resize the QR code to fit the document.

So there you have it- your very own QR code!
Need another? No problem just go back to step 2 and repeat- you will see the configuration of the QR code change as you input the new information.

I hope you have found this post useful- I would love to see any QR products you make as result of this so please feel free to tag me on IG @year2tastic 

Friday, 20 February 2015

5 for Friday

Well the Half Term break has finally come to an end and I have very little to show for it! 
Today I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to reflect positively on a week of slothenliness!

Since August the Mr and I have been waiting to move house. Moving dates have come and gone (you may have noticed this in previous posts of mine!) but finally a date is set!! Even though I haven't got much school work done this week, I have succeeded in packing up all of my clothes, shoes, bags and jewellery and filling about 5 bags for charity! 
The countdown is on…. fingers crossed! 

I managed to escape the packing for a few hours on Tuesday to spend a small fortune on school supplies in Home Bargains…
One of my favourite clip artists and fellow IG poster, Glitter Meets Glue, posted a pic of a mega cute phone case… I followed the link and discovered Zazzle!!! OMG….my bank balance is going to cry!!! You should sooooooo go and check it out but be careful…one click and you're hooked! 

This week my lazy-ass ways have led me to binge watch the entire first series of 'Revenge' in 3 days… that's 22 episodes people…22!!!! 

I lie… I haven't just been sat watching Revenge, I have also been blogging…a lot! Just FYI I am now on Facebook- check me out by clicking here.
I finally finished my Guided Reading post and I'm rather proud of it thank you very much!
To top it off….tomorrow my second 'You Oughta Know' blog hop with the lovely Jasmine goes live! WOOHOO! 
Check back tomorrow to find out how I use QR Codes in my classroom and a step-by-step guide to creating your own

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

My essential Guided Reading tool kit


Everyone has there own unique way of organising their supplies but here is a sneak peak into mine-

Each GR group has its own basket- you can get these peg baskets from most cheep shops but I picked mine up from Poundland. Each one contains a whiteboard, pen and cloth, weekly text and plan, follow-on materials and the children's GR journals.
 
I teach GR on the carpet with the children so this is a fantastic way for me to just grab what I need and go.

Besides the basics (and the children) there are a few items I think are staples of a good Guided Reading tool kit which I believe no teacher should be without-
Post it notes
Highlighters
Mini-whiteboards and pens

However, there are a few items I have come to love and 
now consider new classics of the Guided Reading tool kit-
Sparkly gel pens
Question dice
Question Cards
Witch Fingers and partner pointers
RR role cards 
Recordable postcard or strip
'I'm invisible' Light


How have these become must haves? 
Well I think the sparkly gel pens are self explanatory- my kiddies are always eager to note down their ideas if they get to use these.

Question dice
Cheep and cheerful they are a quick fire way to get the children thinking about a 
narrative text and can be a handy way to prompt paired discussion.

Assessment Focus key questions- ever struggle to think of a question perfect for digging out responses which match a particular AF? These cards are ideal for the planning process, on the spot blanks and for Teaching Assistants. I'm also building them into my Reciprocal Reading sessions and encouraging the children to use them.
 (Click here to find out more about Reciprocal Reading)

'Wiches fingers and partner pointers are a must have for my lower ability groups and really keep the children focused on the text and encourages them to really slow down and read each word carefully. I've also just purchased some of the little rings with eyes on them which I've seen all over IG- very excited!


RR role cards- with my more able groups I like to throw in the odd Reciprocal Reading session and these cards are the perfect reminder of how each explicit comprehension skill works in the world of RR. 

Recordable postcards or strips- I can ask the children to record 1 idea or key fact each and use it the in the following session to refresh our memories- this is particularly useful with my lower ability readers who often struggle to retain information within one session never 
mind between sessions- plus there is no writing needed.

FINALLY- my light! I used to struggle with children from groups who were working independently constantly interrupting me during GR and sometimes even the hand (you know the one I mean!) just didn't cut it. Well over the past year I have used my light and the children know that when it is lit, unless someone is hurt, then I am invisible and they must seek out the help of a friend, TA or simply wait until the light is switched off- it has worked a treat!


So…. you've seen my baskets, you've peeked inside my tool kit…it must be obvious that, yes, I am a GR geek!! 
I love finding new tricks and tips to try out so why not comment and share yours with me? 
If I give them ago and love them then I'll tag you in a future TGIF post. 

Monday, 16 February 2015

I'm on FACEBOOK!!!!

So guys… just a quick post to let you know that year2tastic and I are now 'Facebook Official' Woohoo!!!!!
It's a big step for me as I am now taking something I am very proud of and presenting it to my family and friends- fingers crossed they love year2tastic as much as I do! 

Head on over and follow for TeacherPayTeachers updates and some Facebook followers exclusives! 
Click here to go directly to my page.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Half Term Sunday Scoop

I think this is my favourite link up out there!
It's time for….
Head over to the Teaching Trio's fab blog to link-up and get your week off to a super start!
Sometime over the next few days all of the children in our Year 1 and 2 class will be receiving this in the post…
Our new theme will be 'Fabrics of Fairytale' and a lot of our Literacy will be taken from this gorgeous book (click here to visit Amazon)
Our Learning Challenge 'BIG' question for the Half Term is 'Could you be the next Fairytale stylist?' and we're kicking it off with a Ball of course…only problem now is what to wear! I've got a beautiful Belle dress already but I'm saving that for our 'Castles' theme next year (the year 1 littlies will be mine then and you can bet they'll notice if I come as the same princess!)
Oh and then there is the issue of the following weeks costume…I've been The Gruffalo, Where's Wally, Princess Smartypants, Robin Wood and Sophie from The BFG in the past (we don't always do book characters…last year we were countries!) 
Any and all suggestions for fancy-dress are very much welcome!

I flew out of school on Friday as we were driving to Leeds to watch the rugby so didn't have time to tidy away all of my Valentine's decorations and the Space resources from this past Half Term so a day in school is very much needed!

Well the long awaited moving day is next week (fingers crossed) and it's been a long time coming- it was supposed to be October!!! So I will be spending a lot of my week off boxing up and cleaning as well as planning but I shall endeavour to squeeze in some Netflix and cuppas! What are you currently Netflix'ing? We're just about at the end of Homeland- any suggestions? Something cheesy along the lines of 'Witches of Eastend' would be fab! 

2 of my best girls have very cute baby bumps at the minute but, as a group, we're not really into the whole 'Baby Shower' phenomenon that seems to have gripped the UK so this week we're meeting up for big fat greasy take-away pizzas and some cheesy DVDs- bliss!

Any of you lovely people also on Half- Term? 
Let me know how you're planning to spend the week.
Here's to the 'no-school-tomorrow-Sunday-night-joys'!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Wordless Wednesday


This week has been all about breaking hearts!
We've become little heart breakers and divided numbers by 2! 
How do you integrate holidays into your lessons? 

Why not link up with Miss DeCarbo over at her gorgeous blog and share your mid week news?


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sunday Scoop

Teaching Trio's Sunday Scoop really helps to focus my thinking for the 
week ahead and look at the positive rather than just the workload! 
To link up yourself click on the button above.
How often does your school level children? We level every half term in reading, writing and maths. Our school, like most others in the UK, is currently stressing and desperately testing out new ways to 'level without levels'! Oh the joys of Gove! How are your school approaching it? 
Please comment- I'd (sadly) love to know!

I'm over half way through the 18 month NPQSL programme and I am just about to gather lots of data to determine how influential the project I implemented as part of it has been on our reading levels- its a LOT of extra work but it has been very interesting so far. 

We have loved our 'Journey into Space' Learning Challenge but as with the end of every half term I now have the task of packing all of the resources away- boring! 

I sat with my lovely co-teaching friend yesterday- SATURDAY- and planned out next half term's Literacy and Theme work. I've already scoured TPT for lots of lovely resources to use and I'm in the middle of creating some of my own which I hope to post to my store by the end of the week- our theme is Fabrics of Fairy-tale so keep your eyes peeled for some Cinderella- themed time work coming soon!

I have been working on a blog post 'What's in the box? My Guided Reading essential toolkit' for a couple of weeks and I'm just about done- I would love to link to some of your blog posts so please comment and let me know your details- let's share readership! 

Yes next weekend is Valentine's Day and yes I have a date with my husband! If any of you know me then you will know that Mr T often plans or buys gifts that also benefit him- lovely pink onesie for my birthday…thank you very much….oh you got yourself a matching blue one even though it's not your birthday…oh ok! So our lovely weekend away now also includes a visit to Hendingley for the Rhino's game…hey-ho… I get to cuddle in the cold with my man and watch fit men in tiny shorts run around…I'm not one to complain! 

Here's to a week of cute cards and a profession of undying love from Ryan Gosling!
Thanks for stopping by

Friday, 6 February 2015

TGIF photo frames

Well TGIF indeed!!! This week has dragggggged or is it just me!!! The huge and very beautiful full moon has sent us all a bit loopy this week and for those of you who think it's a load of tosh…. come and teach my littlies during a full moon and you will soon change your mind!

Anywhooo…. thanks for all of your support with the post last week. I thought I would continue down the whole shabby chic/ home from home theme and share with you how I use photo frames within my classroom.
I picked up these 2 little frames for 50p but wasn't sure how I was going to use them at first. I decided that my Guided Reading shelf was lacking something and they totally fitted the bill. 
Why not try using a frame to label an area?
If you read last weeks TGIF post (click here if you missed it) then you may have spotted some cute frames up on my parent's notice board. Until I revamped my board the other week all of my important dates and Learning Letters were just written on laminated paper or pinned up as they were. I find my new method of displaying them both totes cute and more hard waring. 
Other than displaying pics of the kids in frames around the classroom, the other main way I use frames is to display quotes and saying. 
I love my class and want the space we all work in to be comfortable and familiar to them. I totally believe that my words may be the kindest and most encouraging some of the children in my class hear from day to day and I want to build our classroom into a community of friendly faces where we can all be ourselves. 

All of the frames I have in class are plastic moulded with clear perspex- no glass and not breakable. They also cost a maximum of £1 each so won't break the bank! 
Why not pay Home Bargains or Poundland a visit and snag yourself a frame?!

Also, FYI, you can download these editable chalkboard messages from my TPT store- they are a forever freebie and my most downloaded item :) 

Feel like linking up? 
Just copy the graphic bellow into you post and head back here to link up by clicking the button and following the steps.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

February Currently

Did you remember to say your 'White Rabbits' this morning? Apparently you have to say them before anything else (or so Mr T says) otherwise they don't count- I disagree as I had been awake and chattering away for a full hour before I remembered!!!

So to welcome in the new month it is only right that I keep up another tradition and link-up with the super Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for the fab 'Currently'….
Yeah so my listening has mainly consisted of 'Thinking out loud' and 'Shake it off'…a bit of a juxtaposition as regards to lyrical content but still…. please these are totes the new Beyonce and Jay-Z…a cute, crazy talented baby needs to arrive soon. I realise I'm jumping the gun here seeing as they don't even date…but they totally should right?! 

I feel Hawaii 5-0 speaks for its self really….I get out of a nice hot bubble bath, make a cuppa and snuggle down for some lighthearted crime viewing….and the cute guys don't hurt either!

Spring Term is always super short and I can't believe how quickly the first Half- Term has flown in. This holiday we are supposed to be moving house, although this was supposed to be the case back in October and we have been on hold ever since!! The boxes are ready and I am, cautiously, beginning to pack- I hate this part of moving! Boo!

So my big little cousin had a beautiful baby girl last week. He is the first of the boys to become a daddy and he is going to be fabulous! All of the family have had a cuddle already but seeing as I live 3 hours away I'll have to wait a while for mine but it will totally be worth it! Such a beautiful name too….Isobel Molly! 

Now….if you know me then you will know that I have a slight crush on all things Cath Kidston, Laura Ashley, Joules or Emma Bridgewater inspired and a bit of bunting never hurt anyone right?! I'm so obsessed that I've even brought the Shabby Chic look into my classroom…
 therefore…my pageant title would be 'Grand Supreme Shabby Chic' and my crown would totally have a spot of bunting draped on it! 

Click the button below to link-up or have a read of other 'Currently..' posts 

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