Casual Teacher Blog

June 12, 2012

Poetry Resources

Filed under: ICT and Web 2.0 Tools,Literacy,Literature — monetsgarden @ 12:15 am  Tagged , , , ,

I thought I’d post about some great poetry resources for casual teachers. One thing I have come to hate over the years of my kids going to school is the endless number of acrostic poems they have to create, when there are so many other fabulous things they can have access to. Last week I read a Roald Dahl poem from Revolting Rhymes to a Year 3/4 class at the end of the day. It was a fantastic little activity that created lots of laughs, and most importantly, lots of discussion. So, I am now inspired to create a list of poetry resources that can be integrated into a unit of work, or that can just be used for one-offs for casual days.

Ken Nesbitt’s Poetry4Kids has a range of funny poems that children can search through and select their favourites.

Ken Nesbitt’s rhyme dictionary. This is a fabulous tool for rhyme-structured poems, and for motivating less-interested students to create poems.

Scholastic has a Poetry Generator on their website that explores Haiku, Limerick, Cinquain, and Free Verse. It demonstrates the structure of each kind of poem and gets children started on their own poems.

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes. Read this out loud to the kids and you will definitely create enthusiasm for poetry. Listen to the author reading Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf online on The Poetry Archive.

60 Classic Australian Poems, by Christopher Cheng (Ed.). See also the teacher’s guide for this book that uses Bloom’s Taxonomy for activities.

Michael Rosen writes some fantastic poetry that is accessible to kids.

Haiku Poems at the Kidzone website, which describes the structure, and give examples and worksheets.

Nonsensical poetry such as The Jabberwocky can be used to teach about rhyming structure, alliteration and onomatopoeia.

C. J. Denis wrote Hist!, which can be read by any primary age-group. This website provides biography, timeline, selected poems, letters by the Australian author and much more.

May 25, 2012

Comprehension – Here, Hidden, Head

Filed under: Comprehension,Literacy,Literature — monetsgarden @ 10:43 am

This is a simple comprehension strategy (stemming from The Three Level Guide) that is commonly divided into three categories: ‘here’, ‘hidden’ and ‘head’.
Here refers to literal comprehension or surface level of the text. Students search for information within the text, usually within one sentence.
Hidden refers to inferential comprehension or reading between the lines. Here, students combine the information found directly in the text with other information in the text or with their existing knowledge or experiences.
Head refers to applied comprehension or going beyond the text. Students combine literal and inferential information to generalize, hypothesise, create or consider other viewpoints.

Any teacher will know that they need to ask a range of these question types to ensure comprehension, however, this strategy is set out for teachers to explicitly teach the language of comprehension to students. Students can work in pairs to pose their own questions of each type. Teachers can combine here, hidden and head questions to ensure comprehension of any kind of text (written, visual, audio, multimodal). Adrian Bruce has put together some posters on his website which show kids how to pose each type of question.

Sometimes casual teachers find themselves with a block of time to fill. Consider reading a book, watching an advertisement or online story, or showing a still image and writing a combination of these types of questions on the board ahead of time, for discussion or written answers. It’s a very productive way to fill in time.

March 14, 2012


Filed under: ICT and Web 2.0 Tools,Literature,Uncategorized — monetsgarden @ 5:37 am  Tagged , , ,

Here’s a Storybird that I created at home in just a few minutes with my kids. It’s called My Library Teacher is a…




March 12, 2012

Vocabulary Instruction for Casual Days

Filed under: Literacy,Literature — monetsgarden @ 2:18 am  Tagged

As a trained teacher I have lots of ideas in mind about how I would go about promoting a vocabulary-rich classroom. I read a fantastic article this morning called “Bumping into Spicy, Tasty Words that Catch Your Tongue”: A Formative Experiment on Vocabulary Instruction (Baumann, Ware & Edwards) on just that topic. However, as a casual teacher, I often don’t get to contribute to vocabulary instruction beyond reading a particular story and pointing out and discussing the meaning of any interesting or novel words in the text as I read it. In an attempt to make my casual teaching days more meaningful, I thought that I might try to adopt/adapt some of the strategies in the article and combine them with my preferred Shelfari books or to class books.

1. Word Finder Think Marks. During our shared reading time early in the day, I could show the students how to use a Think Mark to list any interesting or novel words we encounter, writing both the word and the sentence it is in on the Think Mark. Once the book is read, we could go back to the novel words and the pages they are on, and work out what it means using firstly the context (Does the sentence define it or provide any synonyms, antonyms or examples?), then look at the word structure (root, prefix, suffix), then return to the context (check if what you have worked out makes sense). We could also use dictionaries and thesauruses. Later in the day, if independent reading time is allowed, the students can be given their own Think Marks and work together to find out the meanings after their reading time, before sharing them with the class.

2. Linear Arrays. Again, using our shared reading experiences, I can preselect words from a text that can be placed on a linear continuum. I would model how to develop a linear continuum (eg. puny…frail…weak…sturdy…strong), then have students work collaboratively to develop their own linear continuums. We could incorporate the use of thesauruses and draw on the knowledge of the whole class. This should both enhance meanings of familiar words and develop meanings for new words. This exercise would work great with poetry.

3. Writing Time. Ask students to write and share sentences incorporating new or interesting works they have learned throughout the day.

March 5, 2012

Shelfari Picture Books for Causal Teaching

Filed under: Literature — monetsgarden @ 1:52 am

February 17, 2012

Picture Books for Casual Teaching

Filed under: Literature — monetsgarden @ 2:53 am  Tagged

I always pluck a couple of books off my shelf to take into school. Here a a few of my favourites for teaching K-6.

I will update these regularly on Shelfari

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