Friday, 8 July 2016

Active Children, Engaged Learners (Part 2)

I teach children aged between 5-and-a-half and seven-and-a-half years old. Children at this age need to be active; they need different strategies and activities to keep them motivated and engaged in their learning. The interesting part is that the children love to contribute and give me advice on how to change or add to an activity or make their own activities. Here are a few that we enjoy in my class. See my earlier post for more.

1. Physical activity before or after a lesson
Green Light: Move quickly.
Red light: Stop – and make a funny pose or a funny face without moving or speaking.
Orange Light: Go slow – act out in slow motion.

I ask the children to find a spot anywhere in the classroom and to act out the activity in silence.
I say: “Green Light, you are a beautiful butterfly looking for a flower to sit on”.
Allow children to act out this command for a time then say, “Orange Light”, then “Red Light”.
Change the command, eg, “You’re an aeroplane flying in and out of clouds,” or, “You’re a slithering snake looking for food ... “.

This activity helps with listening, following instructions, and thinking quickly while having fun.

2. Another activity children love (and it’s good for learning adjectives too)
  • Have a student walk around the classroom. 
  • Find an object to describe to the class. 
  • Come back to the mat. 
  • Describe the object chosen by only using 3 specific descriptions. 
  • The rest of the class have 3 chances to guess what it is. 
  • The child who guesses correctly goes next. 
Example: it is square, it is hanging on the wall, it has orange and red stars on it.

3. “End of the day” activity to solidify learning
I say: “I am not an animal, I am not a thing, I am a person, I work in the circus, I have funny make-up on my face and I do funny things that make you laugh I am a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ “.
Or: “I am not a person, I am not a thing, I am an animal I have a trunk and I am the biggest mammal on land, I am an _ _ _ _ _ _ _“.

I tailor this activity depending on what the letter sound, blend or family word for the week is. In my books, The Language Contract 1,2,3 there are activities such as this that can used or changed to suit.

Peggy Bruce is a primary school teacher, specialising in teaching children who are learning English as speakers of other languages. She enjoys writing and has developed many of her own classroom reading and writing resources.

Peggy is the author of the series The Language Contract which is available in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the rest of the world.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Downloading ebooks from your Filebox

Downloading our ebooks is simple. When you purchase ebooks from us, you will receive an email that includes quick links to download them. These links will expire if not used within 2 weeks or if they have been partially downloaded. If that happens, you can always find a copy in your FILEBOX.

Simply go to our website and click on SIGN IN.

Enter your Username (which will be the email address on your email) and enter your password. If you can’t remember your password, reset it by clicking FORGOTTEN YOUR PASSWORD. We will send you a link to reset your password to your email address

Once you have logged in, click on FILEBOX in the top left menu.

In your FILEBOX you will find a copy of all your ebooks.

Clicking on each title allows you to download a copy onto your computer by clicking Download PDF File.

Save your ebook to a safe place on your hard-drive or school server. Launch Adobe Reader and open your ebook or locate the file and double click on the icon. To download and view your ebooks, you need to have the current version of Adobe Reader on your computer. If you don't have Adobe Reader, click here to get the latest version for free.

Frequently Asked Questions:

I don’t really know what an ebook is. Could you explain?
An ebook is an electronic version of an Essential Resources book you can download to your computer and use in your classroom today.

When I use Adobe Reader, there’s an error message. How do I fix it?
You may have an old version of Adobe Reader on your computer. To download the latest version for free, click here.

My computer says it has downloaded my ebook. But now how do I find the ebook?
Your computer will have saved your ebook to the place indicated by your computer's browser. If you can’t find it, search for the file using EB + the product code number (which is stated on your account) + .pdf. For example, the code for Awesome Alphabet Activities is 0395 so the ebook has the file name, EB0395.pdf and you would use this file name to search for the ebook on your computer.

If, after searching your computer you still can't find it, you can always log back into your Essential Resources account, click FILEBOX and download your ebook again.

I’ve ordered more than one ebook. Do I download them together or separately?
You need to download each ebook separately.

Are your ebooks compatible with my Mac?
Yes. Essential Resources ebooks are portable digital files (.pdf), which means you can open them on any computer or digital reader able to open and view pdf digital files. You need the current version of the program Adobe Reader on your computer; click here to get the latest version for free.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

7 ways our website makes life easy for you

We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to bring you our new website, packed full of features to make finding the ideal resources even easier for you.

Here are the top 7 features that you should know about…

Your Filebox
Once you’ve logged into our website, you’ll immediately have access to your Filebox. Here you will find all your ebook purchases, ready and waiting to be downloaded. These can be downloaded more than once so if you ever misplace the files on your computer, you can easy download another copy. If you purchase ebooks directly from the website, they will be available in your Filebox immediately.

Improved search ability
Being able to find exactly what you need is really important, so we have made our search function even bigger and better. You can search by keyword, age range and subject area, or any combination of all three.

New releases, featured products and specials
Our range of quality resources is constantly increasing so you can always stay up-to-date with our latest new releases, feature products and great-value specials directly from our homepage.

Larger visuals 
No one loves our bright, bold designs more than we do so we’re making it even easier to see what you are looking for with larger, pin-able graphics. You are also able to look inside each resource to get more of a feel for what it is about. But don’t forget, if you need a more in-depth look, our resources are available on a 14-day right of return so you can ensure you are getting exactly what you need.

Quick order
If you have our print catalogue open in front of you or if know the code of the resource you’ve been dying to get a hold of, simply use the Quick Order button to quickly and easily add that product to your cart.

Charge school accounts
Just because you are buying online, doesn’t mean you need to use your personal credit card (although you can if you wish), just use a school order number and you can charge your purchases to your school. We’ll send out the invoice with the resources and if they aren’t exactly what you’re after, you can send them back within 14 days without incurring any fees.

Download a digital catalogue

Maybe you don’t have to time to peruse the website at the moment or you might prefer to have a handy reference to our resources on hand at all times without another piece of paper cluttering up your desk. Now you can download a copy of our latest catalogues so you’ll always have access to what you need when you need it.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Active Children, Engaged Learners (Part 1)

I teach children aged between 5-and-a-half and seven-and-a-half years old. During the years I have developed different activities I use in the classroom to keep the children engaged and motivated during the day while learning and having fun.

Here are three of them.

1. Physical activity after sitting on the mat
  • I ask the children to stand in front of me. 
  • I say: “Shake your hands, shake your hands and jump up and down, shake your hands, jump up and down, and wiggle your body, shake your hands, jump up and down, wiggle your body and make a funny face ...” 
  • Carry on for as long as the children can do it – they usually break down with laughter. 
2. Learning activity that helps basic fact learning and simple catching and throwing skills!
  • The children stand on their chair. 
  • I throw a big ball to one child and call out an equation, e.g. 4+4= (it can be as hard or as easy depending on the child’s ability). 
  • The child catches the ball and responds with the correct answer. 
  • The child then throws the ball to another child and sits down. 
  • Carry on until all the children are sitting on their chairs. 
3. Reflection
  • I ask the children to stand facing a buddy and they act out exactly what the other person is doing. 
  • I say: “You are getting ready for school, you are looking in the mirror and are brushing your teeth, pick up the toothbrush, brush your teeth, pick up the water glass gurgle some water, spit it out, etc.” 
  • “Combing your hair, putting socks on, shoes on …”. 
  • Each instruction is given separately up to sitting on the dining table, pouring milk into your bowl, picking up spoon, or picking up your bag and saying good bye to mum. 
  • Two children stand facing each other 
  • They make up an activity to mime 
  • They mime it out with one person copying the other exactly 
  • When they are ready they can with the class 
  • The other children have to guess what the pair is miming. 
This is a good activity for topic time. For example, at the moment my class is learning about “Community Helpers”, the children choose a job in the community they know about and they mime it or act it out. They have to be mindful of how they present their mime so that the rest of the class can guess correctly. Here they are using prior knowledge, thinking skills as well as cooperative and participating skills.

Peggy Bruce is a primary school teacher, specialising in teaching children who are learning English as speakers of other languages. She enjoys writing and has developed many of her own classroom reading and writing resources. 

Peggy is the author of the series The Language Contract which is available in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the rest of the world.

Monday, 10 December 2012

A Mentor Teacher Guide

Mentoring is a valuable role that many teachers take on, either formally or informally. But how can you pursue it in reality so that the mentored teacher continually improves their practice, while making the most of their strengths? In the video below, Deidre Senior talks about her latest book, A Mentor Teacher Guide, which is bursting with tools and tips that have been proven to work in a wide range of mentoring situations.

You can preview A Mentor Teacher Guide on our website here.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Action Stations

We’re refreshed and inspired after attending Ulearn where we had the pleasure of launching two new books, Marnie Etheridge’s Interactive Literacy and Laetitia de VriesAction Stations. These two busy authors also ran workshops and it was fantastic to hear teachers’ feedback afterwards. Thank you so much to all the teachers who visited our stand to buy books or attended our iUgo workshop or demonstrations. We loved hearing about how you use our books in the classroom.  

Check out Laetitia’s video. This gives a taster of her Action Stations programme which is designed to nurture children’s curiosity for learning and the language they need to make the transition from early childhood education to primary school.  

Laetitia de Vries is a new entrant (reception) teacher and e-learn lead teacher at Wanaka Primary School in New Zealand. Read Laetitia’s reflections on her blog. You can preview Action Stations on our website.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Author chat ... Q & A with Kate Lloyd

Kate Lloyd is the author of the Bring Spelling Alive series.
Kate Lloyd has 25 years’ experience in primary education
as a classroom teacher and a manager. Passionate about literacy, Kate began implementing literacy programmes into schools
in 2002. Due to her solid, manageable approach to embedding sound teaching practices, she is in demand
as a consultant within this field. Kate and her family currently
live in Vanuatu.

Spelling tools transcend culture

Can you tell us about your teaching and education background?
I have been a primary school teacher for 23 years. I have taught across Years 0–8 and been involved in all aspects of a primary school structure from AP, DP, Acting Principal, SENCO and Literacy Leader. I have always been passionate about all things to do with literacy.

The Bring Spelling Alive books are based on the Sounds Alive spelling programme that you developed. This programme is a huge success and is used in about 80 schools all over New Zealand. What inspired you to develop this programme?
While teaching at Wanaka Primary I developed the Sounds Alive programme in response to a perceived need. There was a flood of phonetic based programmes becoming available, however they were (in my opinion) weighted disproportionately towards learning the vast amounts of sound knowledge, rather than the focus being strongly placed on the habitualising of strategies to 'unpack' and 'build' words.
The programme was initially written and trialed at Wanaka Primary School and through word of mouth other schools requested implementation. This created an opportunity for me to leave full time classroom teaching and devote my energy and time to the programme. The jungle drums did the rest. I was soon fully committed to supporting other schools on their implementation of the Sounds Alive Programme.

How do the Bring Spelling Alive books support or add to the ‘Sounds Alive’ programme?
Those schools that have already implemented the Sounds Alive programme will benefit for the Bring Spelling Alive resource. The new programme is the 'best of the best', with new ideas and activities to support the programme. Bring Spelling Alive is the most effective aspects of the Sounds Alive programme refined and presented in a clear and concise way.

How did you come to live in Vanuatu?
In 2010 we made the decision to come to Vanuatu for a three-month period to spend some quality time with our two daughters and experience life in another culture.
We LOVED it!  My daughters and I spend time volunteering at a local village school, supporting them in their English programme. The conditions are so primitive but the desire to learn so encouraging. There are now many children who can use the Sounds Alive 'tools' to support their learning! After my husband had secured employment as a pilot we made the decision to come for a year. That has now become two!

How does working in Vanuatu schools compare with working in New Zealand schools? What new ideas and/or strategies about teaching literacy have you learnt and/or developed from working in Vanuatu schools?
I am currently teaching at Port Vila International School as the Literacy Leader and working with teachers and students to improve effective practice in literacy. The students are international with about 40% of them being Ni Vanuatu.
Many aspects of teaching transcend location, however there has been some adjustments needed when teaching the local Ni Vanuatu children. They are very respectful and reluctant to 'risk take' in their learning. They take time to learn and transfer strategies.
When volunteering at the local school, in the village where we live the curriculum is very knowledge driven and there is a lot of rote learning practice. They are very focused on the product rather than the process. The teaching resources are very limited. There is a great need to not only increase these but to 'show' teachers how to use them.
When learning to speak and spell in English, learning the sounds is a real challenge. The Sounds Alive programme has been a very useful resource to help them in this regard. It is very rewarding working with the local children. Their beautiful smiles and sparkling eyes shine with gratitude.

We will all be richer for the experience of living and working in Vanuatu.

Kate Lloyd's Bring Spelling Alive series will be available in mid-September.