Games to play at home to develop numeracy skills

Hi! Here are two games we played in Term 1, Week 5 to develop confidence with the counting sequence 1 to 10 and with quick recognition of numerals 1 to 10.

‘Before and After’

  1. Dealer deals each player 5 cards and puts the rest in a pile face down in the middle.
  2. Players pick up their cards not showing them to each other (or lay them on the table to assist learning if needed).
  3. The non-dealing player may put a card down if she has the card one before or one after the one that is turned over. It doesn’t matter what colour or suit the cards are. If she does not have the card before/after she picks up one card and it is the other player’s turn.
  4. The other person does the same.
  5. Continue until the counting sequence reads 1 (ace) to 10 (no picture cards are used).
  6. Whomever has zero cards left or the least cards in their hand when the counting sequence is complete, is the winner!



This is the regular game of ‘Snap!’ as you know it, but it is easier for Preps to play if you each place your card down side by side, as below.

  1. Dealer deals out all the cards among the players and places one card face up on the table.
  2. Both players pick up their cards, holding them face down so they can’t see which number is coming up.
  3. The second player places a card next to the first face-up card.
  4. If the cards match (eg. a ‘3’ and a ‘3’) players race to put a palm on the cards and say ‘Snap!’ (it doesn’t matter which colour or suit the cards are).
  5. Whoever ‘Snaps!’ the pile first, takes all those cards in the two piles.
  6. First player to obtain all the cards in the pack wins.

Happy playing!

Welcome to Prep 2016!!!

Welcome all students, families, friends and carers to the Prep class of 2016 at Grovedale West Primary School!

The Prep Team (Miss Benci, Miss Hoiles, Miss Smith and Malinda) have been so happy to see students launch into this new stage of their learning journeys with bright eyes, big smiles and positive attitudes! Such a gentle and cheerful start to the school year has been aided by your work at home last year in conjunction with kindergarten programs, in helping your child to be ‘school ready’ and has also been assisted by the ‘Kinderlinks’ and ‘Transition’ programs provided by our school and attended by many students last year. It is lovely to see our learners enter their learning space with confidence, a sense of belonging and the air of continuing an already strong connection to the people and spaces that will support their learning this year and in the years to come.



There are lots of ways you can stay up to date with what is happening in the classroom and throughout the school!

  • Download the ‘Skoolbag’ app from the App Store or Google Play and you will receive ongoing information such as whole school newsletters and notifications of changes to planned activities (for example, due to inclement weather)
  • Make sure the school office has your current email address in order to receive the school newsletter directly to your inbox
  • Look out for the ‘Prep Newsletter’ twice a term (this will come home with your child as a hard copy)
  • Establish a bag unpacking/checking routine with your child at the end of each day, in which you check for notes sent home
  • Subscribe to this blog (simply type your email address into the box at the top right hand corner of this blog page; your email address will remain private and you will receive email notification whenever a new post is published)
  • All students must have their IT consent form signed and returned before they are able to feature on the blog; please also read the ‘Our Blog Rules’ section (by clicking on the tab at the top of the page) to ensure safe blogging practice
  • Check out the learning snapshot that is displayed each Monday on the glass doors to the breezeway at the Prep entrance
  • Write a note in your child’s diary if you require clarification about anything or would like to arrange a meeting with a teacher(s)


In case you have missed these, this is what students have been focusing on during the first three weeks of school. For quick reference click on the ‘Notices’ tab located on the right hand side of the page.

Learning Tips

Stay up to date with fun ideas on how to help your child with his or her learning at home! For quick reference, click on the ‘Learning Tips’ tab on the right hand side of this page.

Here are some to keep you going…

Oral Language Development

Spending time each day in conversation with your prep children helps them tune in to the rhythm and grammar of language which is an important forerunner to reading and writing. If you are aware of incorrect grammar in your child’s speech, gently repeat what s/he said using correct grammar. For example, if your child says ‘I runned to the tree’, you can say ‘Yes, you ran to the tree’.

Talking with you also helps your children organise their thoughts. Asking questions like ‘Can you tell me some more about that?’ or ‘What makes you say that?’ assist your child to add detail and explain their thinking. This will help them when learning at school.


Be sure to read the note on this inside of your child’s reader folder. This contains lots of useful ways to help you and your child enjoy reading together while practising reading skills and behaviours learned in class. This note will be updated as the class/child focuses on different reading strategies. Videos will be posted to show you what it looks like when children use the reading strategies they are taught in class. A love of reading will help children with learning across their whole lives, so the time your child spends close to you, enjoying books together in a relaxed and calm environment is time well spent!


Strengthening the large and small muscles we use to write and building hand/eye co-ordination will greatly help your child in the process of learning how to write. Some fun ways to do this are:

  • Playing on monkey bars
  • Playing ‘catch’ with medium sized balls or little bean bags
  • Playground play (balance beams, climbing equipment, ‘follow my leader’ with skipping, hopping, jumping actions)
  • Play Dough
  • Lego/small block building
  • ‘Kinetic Sand’/building sandcastles at the beach
  • Drawing with chalk (encourages the correct ‘pencil grip)
  • Drawing on a vertical surface (eg. chalk/markers/pencils on a vertical blackboard/whiteboard/paper on an easel)
  • Threading (eg. making bead jewellry/pasta jewellry or decorations)
  • Collage (ripping/cutting different coloured paper to paste onto a picture); using small textured items in art, like grains of rice
  • Cooking (mixing, rolling cookie balls and pressing them flat)


Continue to build an awareness of numbers into your everyday routines:

  • Talk about the numbers you see around you (house numbers, advertising, number plates). For example, ‘I see a ‘5’, do you see any numbers?’
  • Count things together when you are going for a walk or drive (cracks in the pavement, houses, letter boxes, cars etc) or when you are shopping (like putting fruit or vegetables into a bag) or packing up toys into a toy box. This will help your child develop an awareness of the language of numbers, counting in sequence and to connect quantities to numeral names.
  • Encourage your child to touch each item once when counting in order to develop the skill of saying one number word only for each item counted.
  • Play board games together like ‘Snakes and Ladders’ or ‘Trouble’ where students need to read the dots or numbers on a die.
  • Prep students spend a lot of time initially working with the numbers between 1 to 10. A solid foundation in these numbers gives students a good base on which to build further mathematical understanding.

Social Skills

We use a special book called ‘Have you filled a bucket today?’ by Carol McCloud to help our students learn about the benefits of being kind and looking out for every member of our learning community (and the converse disadvantage to ourselves and others when we are not). Click on the link below to read the book for yourself and to become familiar with some of the language your child will be using as they fill you in on their social encounters at school.


Working in home groups, students have been introduced to philosophy. Philosophy sessions are planned into the weekly timetable. During Philosophy students are assisted to create a more formal circle than usual, using classroom chairs. In addition to playing community strengthening games, they are guided in developing the language needed for respectful discussion, for example, ‘I agree’, ‘I disagree’; they are supported to explain their thinking (‘I think ……. because………’ or ‘I dis/agree because…’), to exercise the right to speak and respect the right of others to speak. Philosophy sessions allow students the time and space to think and talk more deeply about issues that affect them in every day life, assisting with the development of emotional intelligence and the social skills required for confident collaborative learning.

Special events coming up this week

  • Family Night! – Wednesday February 17th, from 5pm to 6.30pm. Come along with your children to celebrate and explore your child’s learning space and community. We look forward to seeing you there!
  • Prep Incursion – Thursday February 18th. Students will enjoy a special visit from Barwon Water and have fun while learning about this important resource.

The Prep Team looks forward to sharing your child’s learning journey this year! Photo updates of learning will be included once consent forms are finalised.

Have a great week!

The Prep Team



Term 4 Week 2 Literacy & Numeracy

Inspired by the Jpod’s new look, the Prep Class Blog has had a colour makeover to celebrate Spring!

In other learning last week….

Reading – Exploring different text types!

Students continue to be challenged by teachers in guided reading groups to independently choose and use CAFE reading strategies while reading readers. You can encourage this when you read at home with your child. If they are stuck, wait three seconds then ask them ‘Coach or time?’

As a whole group, we read a newspaper article about bees from a kids’ newspaper, a children’s magazine and a ‘Dennis the Menace’ comic strip. Students linked the comic strip to the digital text of the ‘Dennis the Menace’ cartoon and movie. All of these texts present information in different formats and for different reasons. At home, talk with your child about the different text types you see around you. For example, if you are looking at a kid’s magazine together, discuss what message you think the author wanted to get across to you and why different colours, font sizes and text boxes may have been used. If you’re reading a comic together, consider the shapes of the speech/thought bubbles, caption boxes and the print features – why do you think that word is in bold type? Why do you think the author wrote that sentence in all upper case letters?

Last Wednesday we had some special visitors in to read with us! Grovedale College Year 7 students came over to share the different books they had created, with the preps. Preps were treated to a range of texts – fiction and non-fiction created using mixed media of drawing, painting, collage and digital format. Before session end students shared their favourite books and asked some questions about the book making process. They learned that the Year 7s plan before making, just like preps do!


Individualised focus areas for writing last week were: learning to use connectives correctly (like ‘and’, ‘then’, ‘because’); correct use of a full stop and upper case letter to begin a sentence; re-reading writing as you go to ensure it makes sense.

When your children write at home, encourage them to always re-read their writing before they are finished.

Seeing as their were lots of birthday parties in the holidays, students were given opportunity to write about one of the best parties they have ever been to! Here is some of their work…

Maths – subtraction & two digit place value…

Some students were introduced to the concept of ‘subtraction’ – they were exposed to other words that mean the same thing, like ‘take away’ and ‘minus’. Students told each other number stories & used tens frames and counters to model their stories for a friend. At home, tell subtraction number stories to each other using real life objects (eg. socks). Students are only working between 0 and 20 at this stage.

Other students are consolidating two digit place value learning. Solid understanding of place value is an essential foundation for further numeracy learning and will help students get to grips with the slightly tricky ‘teen’ numbers! Learning took place while playing the card game ‘Go Fish!’ with place value playing cards.

Concurrently, students continue to revise previous learning during ‘warm ups’ that help them tune in to the impending numeracy session. Two recent warm up games have been ‘Bump!’ and ‘Doubles Bingo’. ‘Bump!’ reminds students that when adding a small number (like 1, 2 or 3) to a larger number, counting on is a good strategy. ‘Doubles Bingo’ teaches children that they can learn useful facts to assist them in problems requiring addition. Numeracy strategies are like reading strategies – you can choose the strategies you know when you are solving maths problems! At home, give each other ‘Doubles Facts’ quizzes (students will let you know which doubles facts they are ready for). Start with doubles facts to 10. Use household objects to model the doubles if they find it difficult!

Investigations Creations

Following our short community walk in Week One, students identified people and things in our community & considered why they are important. Working individually or in small groups, they received a ‘building license’ once they had planned how to show their learning and set to work on their creations. After a gallery walk to share the learning it went on display and can be viewed in the prep room.

Here is a snapshot of the learning taking place in Term 4 Week 3:

Have a great week!

The Prep Team.


Term 3, Week 4, 2015

Last week was very full and exciting! Check out the video below for a quick look at some of the learning undertaken by students.



Our trip to Scienceworks went very smoothly and gave us all food for thought! Thank you to our two parent helpers for the day, Jess and Jeremy. Photos of the day will be posted soon.





Learning tips…

Here are some ideas you might like to try at home based on our learning last week:


  • practise skip counting together (start with 10s and 5s and move on to 2s if your child would like to)
  • talk together about the coins and notes you use when handling money during your daily activities
  • practise mentally ‘counting on’ by 1, 2 and 3 from a bigger number (for example: ‘5 and 2 more is….?’ or ’22 and 1 more is…?’
  • play ‘What is the number before/after?’ games
  • encourage your child to draw a number story and tell you about it (for example: ‘there were 4 snails and 3 more came along, then there were 7 snails altogether’)


  • encourage your child to listen and look for interesting words and ask about their meanings during story time, conversations and when watching television


  • encourage your children to write about things that interest them when at home (for example: shopping lists; household job roster; reader into the diary; Magic Words; experiences like play dates, weekend activities and exciting things at school they want to share with you)

Social wellbeing:

  • talk with your children about how we all experience different emotions throughout the day and strategies they can use to change the way they feel should they wish to do so

Well done on a great week, Preps!

The Prep Team.




Learning Tips

All children learn differently! Here is a fun way that one of our prep families is helping their child to learn Magic Words. Thanks for sharing this great idea!

Magic Words learning idea

Below are links to some other ideas that have been posted on our class blog previously and may help when you are supporting your child’s learning at home.

Magic Words

Reading Tips

iPad and iPhone Learning Apps

We hope you enjoy trying some of these ideas together with your child!

The Prep Team






Incredibox music community

This week we introduced the prep students to the online music website ‘Incredibox’. The context for this was creating a class musical composition to show how creating a culturally diverse and colourful ‘community’ was similar to creating an interesting and colorful piece of music. i.e. if we were all exactly the same and played the same beat the world wouldn’t be as good a place to live in.

The students really engaged with the musical idea and it has inspired at least one student to create his own musical composition. We all listened to it today and the class thought it was fantastic. Here is the link if you would like to check out the composition. We thought it was very clever, especially the precise way which the track comes to an end with the different musical layers being removed. Jimi told us that he had to make sure he divided the time up that was left in the recording to do that!

we also have another composition

You might also want to watch this real life ‘Incredibox’

Week 5 learning focuses

Here is this week’s prep notice board.

As the weather is warming up, don’t forget a hat everyday for school, especially for Friday for our local community walk.

Children without a hat on Friday will unfortunately not be able to attend the walk with us.

If you are one of our registered classroom helpers and you fancy coming along on Friday pls pop a note in your child’s diary. We will leave school at 9.30 and will be back at school just before snack time at 10.45.

Also we would love to see you at school for our prep and level 2 assembly on Friday this week. It starts at 2.45 in the Jpod learning area.

Happy learning this week.

Week 5 learning focuses

Welcome to term 4

Welcome to back to Term 4 , its going to be a busy but fun term we are sure:

Here are just a few of the highlights to look forward to :

– Spring Fair
– Excursion to Narana
– Swimming program
– the school concert
– our end of year trip to Barwon Heads beach

Each week we will post a photo of our Learning focuses from our notice board to help keep families in touch with what learning is going on in the classroom. Here is week 1:

Term 4 week 1 learning focuses

Term 4 week 1 learning focuses

Philosophy for Children with Austen’s Butterfly

Austen’s Butterfly is an inspiring and though provoking film which demonstrates the power of quality feedback (peer critique) and persistence among other things in the pursuit of quality learning. It is certainly worth watching by anyone involved in education; teachers, students and parents alike.

We watched the film below as a staff recently and reflected on the power that this approach could have throughout the school; students seeing the need to re-work and re-draft based on feedback they receive from teachers and other students and the need to strive for excellence and show persistence with their learning opportunities.

Like the grade 1/2 team did early this week, we used the film today as a stimulus for our weekly planned Philosophy session and we were very impressed with the thinking and articulation of the students after watching the film. The short film made below was unrehearsed and the video of the students comments were taken without any prompting other than the comments and questions raised during the circle discussion.

We can certainly see the benefits of our regular philosophy sessions in helping the students articulate their thinking and strengthen and develop their speaking and listening skills.

We are looking forward to exploring the positive attitudes to learning shown in Austen’s butterfly further with the students. We can see the story of Austen’s butterfly being a great point of reference for students in Prep and throughout the school.

Reading eggs and Mathletics programs.

Just a reminder that last term we sent home each students login details for Reading eggs and Mathletics. These are both great programs that help students develop their reading and numeracy skills both at home and at school.

In prep we usually start using the programs in school during the second half of the year (term 3 and 4) but we would encourage you to use them at home before then. Helping your child learn how to login by themselves would be a great advantage to them when we start using the programs at school in the computer suite in the library.

If you have lost or misplaced the details please pop a note in your child’s diary and we will resend you the login details.

Many thanks

The Prep Team