Powerpoints and Worksheets
This week we were focusing on counting in 5’s and problem-solving activities. I have included a powerpoint with problems for the children. Obviously, these are starting blocks so feel free to change the numbers to keep them practising. Revisiting the same question but with different variables helps to embed the process and they should gain speed and confidence over time. There is no specific problem for each day, just pick and choose and you do not have to do them all.
Counting in fives is done by rote. Once the children are confident, a good game is to sit in a circle (the more people the better) with hands behind your back. Count 5, 10, 15 and everyone puts either one or two hands in. Then the children have to count them. What would be 5 more / less? What if everyone put one / two hand(s) in? What are all the possible answers you could get with 3 people playing? How could you record that? How do you know if you have got all the possible ways?
Then focus on counting backwards in fives. This time, everyone starts with their hands in the circle. Count back 15, 10, 5 and then they remove one or two hands each. We had … hands which was ….. fingers / thumbs. Now …… hands have gone? How many fingers/thumbs have gone? Can we start at (beginning number) and count back in fives for how many hands have gone? How can we check this is right? (Count up the remaining hands in the circle in fives to see if they get the same answer).
Problem Solving We regularly set problems for the children to solve and these are often discussion based. They can be tricky and the children are often stumped to begin with, but we try to leave them time to think about what is being asked, and what they already know that can help them. A range of manipulatives are always out, as are wipe boards, pens and paper. I appreciate this may be hard to do but marbles, lego bricks and counters are just as effective.
The aim, during these exercises, is not to just solve the question and get an answer but to take their time exploring how to get to that point. Is there more than one answer? If so, can they use a method to check they have got all possible answers? What is the important information being asked? It is often easy to rush them and guide them (as the method is obvious to us) but try to hold back and let them struggle a while. REMEMBER Children can be taught knowledge through repetition and practise; however, problem solving, reasoning and that extended thought process is what builds brilliant minds, as it allows them to apply their understanding. A page of calculations is easier than a worded question, which for us evidences that greater depth and mastery. See the different stages of questioning (progressively getting harder) and what is required to get the answer:
- 5+5+5 = ?
- 5+5+? =15
- 5+?+5 =15
- If a pencil costs 5p. How much do three pencils cost?
- If 3 pencils cost 15p. How much would one pencil cost?
- If 3 pencils cost 15p. How much would five pencils cost?
The task involve the less than and greater than symbols (< and >). The crocodile (as it is called) always eats the bigger number eg 4 < 10 (4 is less than 10) 81 > 6 (81 is greater than 6)
The children regularly use these symbols comparing two numbers and we were just beginning to introduce 3 numbers in comparison but we will revisit that at a later stage ie
46 < 50 > 48 (46 is less than 50 which is greater than 48.)
Literacy, History and Art
Hopefully the postcard and letter writing has worked well. Over the next few weeks encourage the children to write letters, cards and postcards to each other. It is also wonderful as a history link to get them to understand how, in the olden days, this was the only way people communicated and how different life must have been. Many of them have not even considered life without a mobile phone and instant contact, via text and chats, and we often have many insightful discussions about life in the past, when they stop and take time to compare it to their own experiences.
I have included a photo of some magical eggs on the final page of the powerpoint. The childrens’ task this week is to write a story entirely independently about the time they found a magical egg. They would have to consider:
- where the egg is found (were they on an Easter egg hunt, did it fall out of the sky, was it at the bottom of a rainbow etc);
- what happened when they found it (did they hide it, take it home secretly, find its mother)
- what hatched out of it (dragon, unicorn, butterfly etc);
- what happened (did it eat them, become their pet, fly away).
As a class we would talk about eggs and their purpose. We would look at the images and discuss what might be in them talking about why we suggested that? We would discuss the size, texture and colour of them as to give us an indication of their contents and the place where they would be found (icy mountain, volcano, top of tree). We do sometimes use a short video clip to support our writing tasks however, often the children will then just write about what they have watched rather than developing their own ideas so I have purposefully not included this.
This task requires discussion and sharing ideas before planning so I am allowing both days to complete.
Before we began the actual writing, we would recap about different sentence starters using time words (before, suddenly, later that night), onomatopoeia (sound words – drip, drip, drip, crack, arghh) and using good adjectives to describe. They would then get 20 minutes to write. Any more than this and they really lose focus. Please note it is totally okay if they do not finish it if they don’t want to. I would far rather an incomplete but well-written beginning, focusing on full-stops, capital letters and handwriting, which is interesting and engaging, rather than them rushing to have to finish it and writing short simple sentences. We do often listen to gentle music when writing.
Phonicsplay are free for the current time and the children are familiar with the games. Try to spend time practising up to phase 5.
As an art activity I would also like them to paint their own magical egg. This could be a blown egg or even a stone from the garden. This could be done after the story writing to go with it or beforehand to build enthusiasm for the task. It’s totally up to
Realised I omitted specifics last week but whilst the weather is good try creating an obstacle course in the garden. Make their own little jumps, circuits which they then time how fast they complete one lap and improve or how many laps can they do in 5 minutes. Take a breather, change it up and try it again. Kids like nothing better than beating adults so dig out your trainers too!!