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Dinosaur Activity – Digging for Dinosaurs

dinosaur dig

This is one of the most requested dinosaur activities at our house – dinosaur digging! It is a fun way to give kids access to some real-life tools and develop hand-eye coordination.

It’s really simple to set up and clean up, so you’ll love it too.

You’ll need:

Small bowls (IKEA kids bowls are really good!)

Water

Food colouring

Dinosaur figurines – buy cheap ones as sometimes the dinosaurs can come off worse for wear! You don’t want to use your expensive or well-loved dinosaurs for this activity.

Metal baking tray

Screwdriver/chisel

Hammer – a lighter version if you have one

How to make:

Put a dinosaur and some food colouring drops into bowl – you may like to make a few at once!

Add water and freeze overnight.

Take out of bowl and place on oven tray – keep away from surfaces/materials that can stain

Demonstrate how to chip away at the ice, using the hammer and chisel/screwdriver, keeping fingers safely away.

Let your little archaeologists have a turn!

 

 

dinosaur dig - Teachier Tings
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The first rule of playdough club…

playdough club

Alright, I’ll be the first to admit that playdough club isn’t a real club. I’m not even sure WHY we call it playdough club.

What I DO know is that playdough club is a fantastic way to foster parental involvement, and save yourself time. It’s also systems like this that make parents exclaim, “WOW. Brady’s teacher is SO organised!” They will think you are a total teaching ROCK STAR!

So WHAT is playdough club and HOW does it work?

Playdough club asks your parents to volunteer to make your class playdough. Playdough is hugely creative, manipulative, exciting and so useful in all areas of the curriculum. Sadly, batches don’t last that long when 20-30 little hands are playing with it day in, day out. That’s where your parents come in! 

Simply hang my free printable on your class noticeboard, or email a copy of the pdf home, to introduce the club. Then ask parents to volunteer a date they would be happy to make the dough for. You could choose a calendar date, or week of term. Parents who can’t come in to sign up can email you their preferred date for you to write on the form – heck they can even send in STORE-BOUGHT playdough!

Once you have your volunteers, organise a schedule and send home your thank you notes, which include an awesome recipe.

Put a reminder of who is scheduled for the following week in your weekly newsletter, and watch the playdough roll in! 

Grab your freebie here or on my TPT store!

Other tips:

  • I like to store my dough in Chinese food containers, and in the fridge if you are lucky enough to have one (In Australia we are sometimes lucky to have a small fridge in our building block, not just in the staffroom.).
  • You can ask for a combination of colours and write this on the top of your note, or just let parents choose.
  • Glitter is a fun addition!

 

 

 

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What is a Learning Wall?

what is a learning wall

 

What is a learning wall?

Learning Walls are visual classroom displays that center around a LEARNING INTENTION and include elements such as text scaffolds, word walls, and bump-it-up walls.

They support students on their learning journey, becoming a reference point for them as they work towards knowledge, understanding, and application of skills. Anything that builds on your students’ knowledge as they work towards their LEARNING INTENTION can be included. The wall is not linear like a Bump It Up Wall – it grows in any direction, depending on your students’ needs.

Why do I need a learning wall?

  • Learning walls simplify your teaching because you focus on the ‘big rocks’ – what is really important
  • Your students will know exactly HOW to improve and demonstrate a task’s success criteria
  • When used with a check-in/feedback cycle, student progress is accelerated
  • Your principal or leadership team is probably starting to expect that you are using  learning walls in your classroom

So how can you improve your student results, and impress your leadership team?

Get a learning wall happening in your classroom ASAP! I know this feels like another thing you have to do, but trust me you’re already doing the work. A learning wall is the final piece of the puzzle that will help you to be more effective, and even make you look good (if that’s what you need in your classroom right now!).

 

I believe that being an effective teacher should feel AWESOME, not overwhelming.

So to help you out, here’s my mini-guide to begin using learning walls in your classroom:

  • Start off with a large wall space in your classroom that is visible from every student’s desk, and easy for you to access during lesson time.
  • Make sure you include learning intentions and co-created success criteria, marking guides/rubrics so that students know how they are being assessed, modeled responses, and word/vocabulary walls.
  • You can also include a means for students to self and peer assess. This may be a personal tag that they can move to mark their learning journey.
  • Your walls should be co-created with students. Through the course of your lessons, students can contribute to success criteria, anchor charts, goals, and other parts of your display. The greater ownership they feel over the wall, the better!
  • Want to know more? Grab a copy of my Teacher Guidebook.

Can learning walls still be themed and complement classroom décor?

Yes, of course. In fact, you can still share your teaching personality AND co-construct a learning wall with your students.

Check out my different décor options here – your learning wall DOES NOT have to be boring!

Your learning wall should show your students’ learning journey and be an amazing artifact at the end of your unit of work. How it looks at the end is completely up to you and your students!

Let me know how you go – I’d love to hear how you implement learning walls in your classroom!

P.S You can also find my learning wall kits in the Teachie Tings Shop!

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Bump It Up Walls in Your Classroom

Bump it up walls are a fantastic tool to make learning visible in the classroom.

Not only are learning intentions clear, but students can also use the wall as a ‘third teacher’ when you are busy with other students.

What does the research say about Bump It Up Walls?

How to set up a Bump It Up Wall

How do I use Bump It Up Walls in the classroom?

At the beginning of each unit, I find worked examples to use as leveled texts on my Bump It Up Wall display. I may also write them myself if I can’t find good examples or past student work to display. WHile writing them myself is more time consuming, it also gives me a deeper understanding of the task. If you have the time, give it a go. If you don’t have time to write your own samples, download some of ours.

At the beginning of a unit, normally the end of week one, I will collect a student (pre-test) work sample from each of my students. Then I will introduce the bump it up wall, learning intentions, and the work samples. I deconstruct each work sample as a whole class, and we also deconstruct, annotate and analyze lots of different examples to identify success criteria and WAGOLL (What a good one looks like).

In week two, I mark and return each student’s pre-test sample, along with some feedback. Normally feedback is verbal and I will help them to write one thing that they can improve on a post-it note. They can refer back to it late or add it to our Learning Wall. Then I ask students to determine where they currently sit on the bump it up wall (which worked example best represents their current ability?). They can label themselves using tags I have created with their names on, or anonymously with a picture they have drawn (and their name on the back for my reference).

Throughout the learning cycle, I reference the board and encourage students to see how they can improve their writing. The language we use remains the same, students know where they need to go and HOW to get there – it’s powerful stuff! We also co-construct success criteria and example texts together. Once success criteria are decided on and added to our wall,  they become the foundation of our student checklist – a more robust means of giving students feedback. You can read more about that process here.

I often leave the entire wall up during assessments (negotiate this with your team), allowing students to reference the wall if need be. 

Personally, I’ve also found that it keeps my teaching on track. I conduct almost weekly check-ins with my students where I collect a work sample (for narratives this may be a weekly story they have written or just one paragraph) and give either written or verbal feedback, with a goal slip that they keep on their desk. Sometimes our weekly goal is a WHOLE CLASS GOAL, such as sentence boundary punctuation, and sometimes it is very individual (e.g. letter reversal).

Bump It Up Walls give me a framework within which to monitor my students’ success (formative assessment) while also receiving feedback on my own teaching. They become the third teacher, allowing students to self-assess and monitor their own learning. Further, they become a visual artifact of learning – students remember what was taught and apply it, rather than viewing meaningless anchor charts on the wall. Bump It up Walls are a huge help for me in my classroom, help my students to know what I expect of them, and give them the tools to get there.

-Ana

bump it up walls
Co-constructing success critieria
bump it up wall
Bump It Up Wall using Teachie Tings Clipart