Sunday, October 11, 2015

End of Year Teacher Tips

Hello teacher friends!

Here in Australia, we have just started our final term of school for the year. This means that we have about 10 weeks until our summer break commences. It is a fun term for us, filled with lots of exciting activities for our students to conclude their year of learning.

It is, however, often a term that can be stressful and busy. I have teamed up with some online Australian blogging friends to bring you some tried and tested teacher tips that you can implement now (or begin to plan for) to make this term easier to manage.
These tips are simple and relatively easy to implement. Keeping things simple and practical is one effective strategy for easing classroom craziness.
So, what's my tip?

An end-of-year events calender!

Sounds like common sense but it can be an absolute life saver for yourself and parents!

My amazing teaching buddy sends home to parents a calendar that clearly shows important dates for the last few weeks of school. I think it's a brilliant idea and will be doing with my class this year. The end of the school year can be pretty crazy for us teachers but it can also be pretty stressful for parents, too. There are often many events and important dates to remember in the last few weeks of school and a calendar is the perfect visual to keep track of all of these.

Visit the other blogs in the link up below to find more ways to cruise through Term 4. For continued ideas and time savers, don't forget to also follow me on Facebook and Pinterest!
An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Class Pets, Painting and Rockets!

Three weeks since my last post - woops!
It has been a very busy three weeks. Let me show you why!
In Science, we have been looking at habitats and minibeasts. I bought the class these hermit crabs to look after. You can imagine the squeals when I put these little guys on the ground and they started to crawl towards the kids! They still aren't named - any suggestions?
A tropical cyclone recently went through North Queensland, here in Australia. It had downgraded by the time it got to our area but there was still huge amounts of heavy rain so many kids were kept at home. We decided to make the best of the rainy situation and made some butterfly blob prints. They are SO bright and colourful!
We have introduced the idea of MABs to the kids so I made these cute place value pals from Amy Lemons to put on the wall for display.
We also have been revising 2D shapes. We made these super cute shape monsters using parts of Kindergarten Smorgasboard's free shape monster pack.
Last but not least, we need to practise sight words! In my first year I had a wonderful teacher aide that made me a bunch of reading rocket folders. I needed more so I created a few extras this week. I'm so happy with how they turned out. They will be put to use next week!
I hope you all had a lovely week!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Week 3 Yippee!!!

Hello friends!
How was your week?
It was pretty busy in our classroom this week!
I thought I would join up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for this week's post.
 It was Valentine's week and we decided to make cards. We started off by painting some hearts pretty pinks and adding some glitter and stars.
We coloured in some cute love bugs to paste on the inside of the cards. Click on the picture to find the download.
The cards we were making were inspired by Art with Jenny K's craft below.
We didn't have time to do the whole activity but we did still cut the hearts up and paste them back together on the front of the cards. They turned out very cute!


Finally, we wrote 'Happy Valentine's Day' on the inside and pasted this super cute poem on the back.
I found the original poem over at Mrs Albanese's blog. I just typed up my own version.
My teaching buddy made these super cute tags for some Love Day gifts for the students. We just bought some Tiny Teddy packets and stapled these to the top. They were very cute!

I hope you all have a great Valentine's Day - whether you celebrate it or not! My husband is not a huge fan of the day but has sent flowers to school for me every year that we've been together, anyway. Since it is on a Saturday this year, this was what he did instead.
He knows the way to my heart!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Week 2 Yahoo!

My first post with my new 'look'. What do you think? I'm in love with it! Gabby over at Gabby's Classroom did an AMAZING job at redecorating my blog. She was so quick, helpful and reasonably priced, too! Be sure to check out her work, if you're considering a blog makeover!
Now, onto some classroom chit chat.
Week 2!
I can't believe 2 weeks are down already! Only 8 weeks and we are on Easter break. Crazy!
This week was another busy one, with lots of writing and number work.
I forget how wonderfully innocent and young first graders are. It melts my heart to see the kids giggle at the tiniest things that we say or do. Makes my job that much more rewarding!
We revised short vowels in CVC words and made silly vowel posters to help us remember them all. This idea came from my amazing teaching buddy :)
We started talking more about partitioning and how numbers can be made up of many combinations. We looked at rainbow facts again, made a class poster and used blocks to represent the different rainbow facts.
One of the kids' favourite activities was one that my teaching buddy lead. Ten children stood as 'soldiers' and had to march forward to show the different friends of ten. They loved being involved and using their bodies so much that we did it nearly every day last week but changed it from soldiers to being crabs (and crab walking to the side to show parts) and ballerinas (and prancing to the side).
This week we also read 'Oh, the places you'll go' by Dr Seuss and did a little balloon collage to go with it. The craft idea was from @smartieeepants on Instagram. One of my very favourite Insta accounts to follow. I just found the ballon and basket templates online, cut up little square pieces of coloured paper, took pictures of the students and printed them teeny weeny.
We decided to print number lines to put at the top of our whiteboards, on display. THIS happened because silly sausage me put the pouch in wonky!! Only teachers would understand the pain of seeing this!!!
I hope everyone had a fabulous week, too!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Week 1 Fun!

1 week down. A squillion to go!!!

We met our Year 1 students this week and they are seriously beautiful! I couldn't be happier or have had a more positive start to the year.

The children are so keen to learn and SO sweet. I wore a dress on Thursday and had not one but TWO students stop me and tell me how pretty my dress, shoes and earrings were :)

I have taught First Grade before but it was in my first two years of being a teacher AND we have now had the Australian Curriculum implemented, which has changed what we teach a bit too.

For the past 3 years I have taught Second Grade and it has made me forget how little they are coming from Prep (or Kinder) to Year 1. Needless to say, I have had to adjust my brain this week and get into Year 1 mode again!

Here are a couple of things we did this week that I managed to snap some photos of:
 This idea is all over Pinterest. Name rockets! You wouldn't believe how excited the kids were to make these. They wanted to take them home straight away! The children had to count how many letters were in their first name and then get the correct number of coloured cards. They wrote a letter on each card and then glued a triangle topper and a 'Blast off' sign, where they wrote how many letters were in their name.

 We cut up a squillion little squares to use for collage!
The first activity was a name collage which turned out MUCH cuter than we expected.

 We were going to let them use paint dabbers and the paper squares but the squares just looked so good that we didn't bother with the dabbers.

We are also going to use the paper squares to collage a craft to go with 'Oh, the places you'll go!' next week, so stay tuned!

I hope your first week back (Aussie friends) is/was as fabulous as mine!

It's never too late for Christmas ideas!

Hello friends!

I've been meaning to share with you the Christmas and end-of-year activities that I did with my Year 2s at the end of last year. My end of year was so crazy that it completely slipped my mind and before I knew it, it was time to go back to school again!

However, I believe it is NEVER too late for Christmas ideas (I am constantly taking screenshots and pinning ideas throughout the year in preparation). FYI that is where I get nearly all of my ideas - from everyone else! I am so grateful that there are other creative people out there willing to share their amazing ideas because I don't know what I would be doing without them!

So, yes it is February but here are some of the things that we did:

 Our class made these 'stained-glass windows'. They turned out AMAZING and looked so good on the windows. We had lots of compliments. The idea is from Kinder Craze.
My lovely teaching partner at the time had made the most adorable terrariums with the kids as parent gifts. I loved the idea so much that I made them with our class, too. They weren't as good as hers but were still very cute! I think I'll do them again this year :)
Schools are very strict on use of chemicals (understandably) and what the kids use for experiments. Instead of doing these together, we all used pipe cleaners to make snowflakes and I sent the recipe home for them to do if they wanted. I took this one home and did the experiment for the class. I brought it in the next day and they loved seeing the crystals that had formed. I was SO impressed with how it turned out! I used the experiment from Martha Stewart.
I saw this idea on Pinterest and knew I wanted to use it as an end-of-year gift for the kids. The original idea is from here. I just recreated my own labels, bought large, medium and small marshmallows, pretzel sticks (that I snapped in half) and choc nibs then put them in a small plastic bag. I couldn't find anything for the nose, sadly, but the kids loved them all the same!
We made reindeer cookies that turned about pretty adorable...and delicious! I just used milk arrowroot cookies, choc tiny teddies, silver sugar balls, icing and choc-organge balls (jaffas).


It was a great end to the school year!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Back to School...again!


It is here and I am pretty darn excited for this year.

I decided to beat the crowds and begin my new year's resolutions after Christmas, instead of January 1st. It worked out great and I feel more motivated than ever. I get to work with my TBFF (Teaching Bestie Friend Forever) this year, I am back on 1st grade, in a new classroom and on track to becoming a fitter, healthier and better me. Watch out 2015!

Now onto the classroom chit chat:

Back. To. School.

Three words some teachers dread but, to be honest, I always look forward to heading back to school after our Summer break.

I feel refreshed, inspired and have a bunch of energy that I just want to sprinkle like glitter all over my classroom.

So I do. And I have.

Although completely unnecessary and NOT a teaching requirement, I LOVE to make new purchases and do up little bits and pieces for the new school year (I'm sure many of you are with me on this).

Here are some of my 2015 representatives:
My TBFF made an amazing word wall with space to add new words so that was a must have display.
The only alphabet charts that were available at my school were full page size and my tiny room didn't have space to display them properly. I decided to create some of my own which I am in LOVE with! They match the word wall perfectly!
I searched high and low for number posters that I was happy with and Alison over at Teaching Maths with Meaning had the only ones that I was happy with. If you follow me on Facebook, you'll know how excited I was about these.
I kept my daily time schedule from last year, too, because 1) I love the bright colours and 2) I can refer to it when children ask me what time lunch/home time is.
I used these adorable labels from A Sunny Day in First Grade last year for birthday crazy straws and they were a hit so I've used them again this year.
The TBFF and I wanted to have a gift for the kids that was something do with 'sparkling' in Year 1 (what we call First Grade here in Australia). We bought packs of glitter HB pencils from Kmart (a pack of 8 for $2) and I created these cute little labels to stick on them. I wish I could share them with you but I've used clip art that is only for personal use, sorry! They were VERY easy to put together though.
I scored this Snakes and Ladders bargain mat for only $10 at Super Amart.
Now, I don't know if anyone has tried to find bingo dabbers in Australia before but it is VERY hard to find cheap and colourful ones. These are the best we could find and luckily they were MUCH cheaper than the ones at the craft shops and MUCH more fun, too! I got a pack of 5 on special for $7 (I think) at Target. These were extra colours I found at OfficeWorks for $2 each. Can't wait to put them to use!
  Now, these were some more completely unnecessary ESSENTIAL new school year purchases for me :) The drink bottle (that has a fruit infuser!!!) was from Sports Girl and the phone cover was from Forever New.


One of my goals for 2015 is to make more informative blog posts. I don't know about you but I'm getting a little tired of so many TPT product posts (that I am also guilty of!) so I am going to try to take it back to the good ol' days of quality and informative posts. I am an extremely visual person so be prepared for many pictures, too!

I've created a purely teaching and classroom related Instagram (no products, unless it's something I've used and loved in the classroom) so please follow me so I can follow you back:


I am SOOO excited for the new school year!

What are some of your 2015 classroom additions???