Monday, 26 January 2015

First Days

Happy Australia Day to all my Aussie friends!  I hope you are celebrating with family and friends. We will be having a family lunch and a relax.  Down here we still have another week of holidays before we head back to the classroom but I know there are many teachers who will be going back to school tomorrow.
As we think about all those kiddos feeling nervous about their first day of school, I like to keep in my mind all of those teachers who also feel equally anxious and butterflies in their tummy.  I am one of those who always thinks their first day is going to be a disaster, even though I have been doing this for 16 years now.

So I thought I would put together my top 5 ways to make sure your morning runs smoothly.

1.  Class lists

Make several class lists with the ability to check off.  These can be used for a number of reasons, to check off items students have brought in, check off notes that needed to be returned on the first day, and to make notes that you need to remember.  I often have parents tell my little tidbits about their child that they didn't put on enrollment forms and I know if I don't write it down it will go out the window.  I also make a note of parents names as I meet them for future reference ( I know I can look it up on the school files) I like to have it close by for those times when you need to make a quick call or they pop in and you have forgotten their name.

2. Name tags

I like to have 2 large copies of names (for lockers, tubs etc) and 3 small copies of names on card and laminated.  We use these when we are making graphs or when answering questions among other things.  I also have blank templates for those surprise new enrollments that show up on the first day, these can be written on with a marker and then transferred to a digital copy later on when you have time to breathe.  Don't forget to make a name tag for yourself as well :)

3. Take pictures!

This is something I nearly always forget to do!  I like to take photos of my kiddos on the first day to use throughout the year on things like, roll call on the IWB, data and graphing, gift making, art and craft.  Some teachers like to make special photos with frames and props for the first day as part of a memory book or gift.  If you do not have help in your classroom and you would like to be able to take photos on the first day make sure you have planned an activity that will keep the kiddos engaged while you pull students to take the photos. Think about the backdrop and the lighting prior to the first day (speaking from experience).  I once had a classroom that had lots of windows and was lovely and bright but very few places for a decent photo to be taken without the backlight, subsequently all my photos came out looking dark.

4.  Busy work

Have some activities out on tables and the carpet.  I usually put out puzzles, drawing, a construction/building (lego), books and playdough. Of course these activities need to be altered to suit your grade level, the important thing is to always make sure these activities are not messy and can be quickly packed up.   Having something for the students to come in and immediately engage with means you are free to talk to parents and or kids as they turn up and it gives parents an opportunity to engage with their children in their new classroom in a positive way.

5. Bulletin Boards

Some people like to have their bulletin boards empty waiting for their new class to fill it with their amazing learning.  Personally I like to have some encouraging messages put on some boards as well as posters with classroom routines and rules.  One special thing I have started to do is to get my students from the previous year to write a letter to the incoming students letting them know what they can expect for the coming year.  This is also a great end of year activity for your students to reflect on their learning.  If you have a very young class you could get them to draw what their favorite subject, memory, activity for that year was.  If you would like a copy just click on the pic below or right click save as image.

This last one is not in my list but just a little reminder.  Remember to smile and breathe :)

I hope for all my friends heading back to the classroom in the next couple of weeks you are feeling excited and happy to be going back....and if you are just a little bit nervous, (or a lot nervous)

PS Don't forget you still have a chance to win a $10 TpT voucher by entering the Rafflecopter in out Back To School Bounty Giveaway. Just click on the pic below :)

Saturday, 24 January 2015

First Five for Friday

I made it to my first five for Friday for this year!  Woo hoo!  Here they are :)

We arrived back from our holidays last weekend so I had a bit of a holiday hangover for a few days.  We spent 3 weeks in Townsville with my family which included my niece getting married, it was a very special day and I was so happy to be able to be there.
However arriving back from holidays means unpacking, washing and the letdown that there is no pool in my backyard.

We have had some very up and down weather here (which I hate!) sunny, gorgeous days and then windy, rainy days.  This beautiful double rainbow came out at the end of a rain filled day and just made me smile!

I put this helpful little freebie in my store this week.  Head over and download your copy by clicking on the pic below

Ice Creams by the seashore, a great way to spend an afternoon

My friends and I have gotten together to throw a little Back To School giveaway for all of the teachers heading back in to the classroom.  Make sure you pop in and enter the Rafflecopters to win either a Literacy Bundle, Maths Bundle or a $10 TpT voucher.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

BTS Bounty Giveaway!

My friends and I have gotten together to commiserate celebrate heading Back to School! Even though the end of the holidays is met with sighs and "why didn't I do ..... on the holidays?" We have decided to cheer you all up with a giveaway!

My friends and I have teamed up to give you a chance to win 2 fabulous prizes!

All you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Not only can you win these fabulous prizes above but you also have the chance to win a $10 TpT voucher by entering the Rafflecopter below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But wait there's it is not a set of steak knives :) you also get a FREEBIEEEE!!  Just click on the pic below to get a copy of my Reminder Bracelets, an easy way to send quick reminder notes home.

If you are heading back to the classroom best of luck and look for my upcoming post on my 5 Top Tips for your first day in the classroom.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Back to work!

I have been MIA for a few weeks now as I have been on a family vacation up North in Queensland visiting my sister, her family and my Mum and Dad.   It was hot and humid and we spent many hours swimming in the pool which was a lovely change from the cold weather we have been having in Tasmania.

I managed to catch up with some teaching buddies while I was 'back home' which included 2 teachers who taught my kids when we lived there, it was so sweet seeing their faces when they saw how much my kids had grown!

While I was away I managed to unplug from the internet and the computer for most of the time so I am ready to start creating again and hope to have some items ready for uploading soon so watch this space.

I have been home for a couple of days now and am still unpacking and washing (do you think your clothes breed in your suitcase?) I'm still torn on which I dislike more...packing or unpacking?

I'll leave you with some photos of my holiday which also included my niece getting married!  I cannot believe I am old enough to have a married niece.  My son was one of the groomsmen in the wedding party with his cousin as his partner, lordy they were so cute together!  My daughter played the keyboard with a trio as the wedding party walked down the "aisle", she was amazing as usual!  My role included doing hair for the bridesmaids and the bride....I will point out here that I am not aiming for a second career in hairdressing in the near future.  I was the emergency replacement for the original hairdresser that had to pull out of the job at the last minute, no wedding is a wedding without some small dramas!

Soooo cute! These two are mischief together, a rare moment when they look well behaved, heehee

The happy couple

The musician
Hanging out in the pool, this was my second home while I was vacaying (yes I think that should be a word!)

Well I am back home now and it is time to get back to work before I head back to school.  Our state starts back to school quite late (as in Feb) so I still have a couple of weeks before I have to start thinking about what I need to do for the classroom.  For all of those still on hols, enjoy!  For those who have headed back into the fray....enjoy?

Monday, 15 December 2014

Counting down!

Well friends we are on the downhill run to the end of our school year.  Reports have been written, proofread and edited and sent home.  IEP meetings have been scheduled, I only have 2 more on Monday then they are done!  We have started Christmas crafts and the classroom is looking very festive, we have had our Christmas assemblies and have only our Graduation assembly in the last week.

So with only 4 more school days  I want to share a little story with you about a little group of kiddos I have been working with.

I have had 2 little boys who have delays in so many areas the list would be too long for a single blog post.  These 2 little boys have a seperate education program that has a focus on literacy and numeracy as well as a social program.  The social program among other things involved social play, which I believe is very underrated in schools.  To help achieve this we took the boys to the Kinder/Pre school room which is on our campus and didn't have the Kinder/Pre-School students attending on this day during the week.  The Kinder teacher would let us use the play based resources that were out for her kids that week and we would guide the boys through appropriate turn taking, oral language development and imaginative play.  We also had a focus on gross motor skills by using the outdoor equipment and fine motor skills.  During the year our little group grew to 3 boys and for me to say that this visit was the highlight of the week for the boys is to downplay how much they loved going.
We were only able to do this with the co-operation of the Kinder teacher and the support of our Principal both of these amazing people went above and beyond what I expected.  The Kinder teacher would greet the boys at the door and show them the new items she had put out, this was her planning day and she would take time out of her day to interact with the boys and create a welcoming environment for them.  Our Principal very early on saw the benefits of play based learning and valued the gains the boys made.

Well our final visit was last week and we were all sad.  The Kinder teacher and I decided that we would have a morning tea with some fairy bread and fruit skewers as a little surprise for the boys.  The boys made her a card to say thank you and gave her a bunch of flowers which made her cry.....then made me cry.

The boys followed a procedure to make their fairy bread.

We made some great gains in fine motor over the year together!

This was my fave part of our little morning tea party, how cute are they!

I just love that we as teachers all feel that we have made a difference for these boys and help each other to increase their development.  It has been a special part of my year in a role I have never done before and I am grateful to have been part of it.

Sunday, 30 November 2014


I am happy to say that I did manage to get a new file finished just before the Cyber Sale that is happening very shortly on December 1-2.

Here she is!  A-MAZE-ing Alphabet!

All the way from a-z!!  These are going to be great for fast finishers or those littles that need a little bit of extra practice.  
I have also included 2 extra mazes that is alphabetical order in both letters and pictures.

Now these are in my store now for sale but if you can wait just a little while the Cyber Sale will be happening on December 1 and 2.  My whole store will be on sale for 20% and by using the code TPTCYBER you will get an extra 10% off at the checkout.  

Just click on any of the pics to head over to my store and start clearing out your wishlist!  Happy shopping :)

Monday, 24 November 2014

Christmas Fun

I started this earlier in the week and said I would have it finished by the weekend, I am happy to say that I got there!!!  I even finished up reports in time as well, this is a red letter day friends.

So I am happy to bring you my Christmas Activity Book, this would be suitable for Grade 1 or 2.  It is chock full of literacy and numeracy activities and also includes a craft and a game for kiddos to play.  All you need to do is print and staple, this would be great for fast finishers or to send home with kiddos to finish off over the holidays.
Or you could just pick and choose which activities you would like your kiddos to do, personally I think the Bouncy Gingerbread people would be soooo cute on a bulletin board or hanging up.

Just click on any of the pics to get your copy!