Thursday, September 29, 2016

The stamp that changed my life

Hi friends!
I need to share something with all of you that I feel as fellow teacher-friends you will all appreciate and love as much as I do.
I am a part of an amazing collaborative group for Queensland Prep teachers on Facebook and one of my wonderful friends posted a picture of a stamp that she was getting made up through a company called Family Tree Fine Crafts.

Crazy good ideas like this pop up in this group all the time but this one I NEEDED to have. Take a look and I feel you will see why...

(No, this is not a paid post. I actually love this stamp!)

I use this stamp two ways:
1. For my own reference. I tick what the students have used and I like to asterisk the things they need to work on. It is quick and easy for me to look at, when I flick through their books.
2. It's fabulous feedback for students. I have Prep (Kindergarten) students and, yes, it absolutely works a treat for even the young ones. The visuals match perfectly as a reference for them. I have even blown up a big version of the stamp on my whiteboard for whole class modelling. I usually go through the check list with them during conferencing.

Now, it hasn't been the cheapest teaching resource investment that I've made but golly gosh it's one that I use daily and will continue to be able to use for the remainder of my teaching career. It has hands down been one of the best things I've ever bought for teaching and worth every cent.
They have created a range of stamps that target different age groups, too. Check out their Facebook page to see more.
Oh, AND they don't just do teacher stamps. They also do other incredibly beautiful hand-crafted wooden creations, too.

The lovely company Family Tree Fine Crafts are 100% Australian owned and operated (which I love). I spoke to them before I wrote this post and they have been generous enough to offer a deal for Classroom Chit Chat followers.
If you mention 'Classroom Chit Chat' when you make an order of $100 or more, they will throw in a free ink pad. Early Christmas presents, perhaps..?
At the very least, make sure you go and visit their Facebook page to see what I'm talking about.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Some new looks!

I thought it was about time some of my products had some touching up. After all, it has been about 4 years since I've created some of my resources.
Click on any image to visit them in my TPT store!
First up is my very popular Super Summer writing craftivity. Use this any time of year, if you have a super hero theme :)
 I also jazzed up my title pages. There are a selection of simple and cute title pages for a range of subject areas. If you need something different, just email me!
 Lastly, I touched up my George's Marvellous Medicine novel study. It was a little out-dated so I spruced it up with some new borders and a revised craft.

Fine Motor Monsters and Crafty Crabs

A while back, RIC Publications sent me some goodies and I wanted to share with you some of my favourites.
My little Preppies have gotten pretty good at their fine motor skills but this Fine Motor Skills book has a STACK of so many fun ideas - many I'd never even thought of! Activities range from shoulder, wrist, hand and finger strength building games to scissor, drawing and writing skills.
There are 233 pages of wonderful printables and ideas. There are mazes, dot-to-dots and even recipes for paints and play doughs! Yes, you can see my sticky notes that I've placed on pages that I want to try. One of which my Preps did - the scissor skills monster.
I modified this activity a little to include not just the suggested scissor skill work but also pattens. I modelled how to do different patterns in each section of the puzzle and then the kids had a turn on their own. We glued them onto the fabulous paper I bought from Kmart at the beginning of the year and put them on display. Super cute, in my opinion :)
Another one of my favourites was the Awesome Art and Craft book. What I love about this book is the range of arts and crafts. There aren't just simple printable crafts (don't worry, there are still some of these with templates included). They have included crafts that require all sorts of materials. Here are a list of a few of my favourites:
"Sponge" cakes
Adorably decorated 'cakes' using kitchen sponges. Can you imagine the little kids' excitement?
Crawling Caterpillar
Thread coloured plastic cups to create a cute caterpillar.
Stain Glass Butterflies
Who doesn't love using cellophane to create adorable art for classroom windows?
Sensory bottles
Students can create their own sensory bottle using recycled materials.
Plus there are a bunch of really easy and cute paper plate crafts like this crab that my class made. They loved them!
The last two of my favourites were the Phonics Fun and Patterns and Sequences Stick Kids Workbooks.
  These are for individual student use and would be great for parents or even for teachers with just those few in their class that still struggle with some of those basic foundation skills. Some of my kids tried the rhyming and dot-to-dot number recognition pages.
Thank you, RIC Publications! I love having a fresh lot of useful teaching resources!
Have you purchased any great finds lately?

Saturday, February 27, 2016

2016 Back to School Buys

Hello, friends!
This is my first year teaching Prep (K or Foundation)! 5 weeks in and my head is still above water - hooray !!!
I know I'm completely late to the party but I still wanted to share with you some back to school purchases that I made because.....well, let's be honest, I just wanted to! I spent WAY too much but it made me happy.
 I don't do a theme every year but this year I went with bees! Our class are the Prep B Brave Bees!

Some hands-on accessories for the new classroom: Foam blocks, plastic connecting blocks, wooden blocks and a plastic food playset - all courtesy of Kmart :)

I've seen many teachers that have headbands or hats as a visual to show students they are not to be interrupted (for example, during reading groups). I chose this cute bow headband from the cheap shop.

Some prize box additions!

When your local Riot Art craft shop has a 50% off sale, you stock up!

Thanks to Aldi, my stamp supply shall never diminish! The poster I am going to cut up and laminate.

These books were crazy cheap at Aldi! A nice Australian twist on some classics.

Is anyone else out there a massive Daiso fan?! You just find things there that you can't // don't find anywhere else! Like these amazing magnetic pen holders!

 THESE !!!!
My lovely teaching partner found these at Daiso. They are actually just super cute microfibre cleaning mittens but she has used them for her sensory students. Well, I just needed (yes NEEDED) to have one of each colour :)

 See what I mean??? I've never seen cute memo sticky notes like these before! I love them!

I follow an amazing teacher on Instagram (@smartieeepants) and she made these adorable marble monsters to build strength in her students' fingers and hands. I made some of my own and am in love with them!

I did some handy work (and got VERY sunburnt doing it) and spray painted these perfectly-sized tins for my group tables. I also decided it would be a great idea to spray paint the blue trolley yellow (to fit with my bee theme).
It took forever and was soooo expensive. Not one of my best ideas but at least it looked good.

 I unashamedly went to extreme lengths to acquire one of these Lorna Jane lunch bags. My heart was set on it and I just couldn't let it go. So happy I persevered in finding one!

One last message...
I'll post some classroom pics next post! :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Some helpful resources!

Hello friends!
 It's been a while since I've shared anything so I thought I would kick 2016 off with a few resources that I found useful in 2015, while teaching first grade.

Although teaching shouldn't be centred around nor relied upon textbooks and blackline masters, I feel they still have their place as a useful tool.

I received some wonderful books from RIC Publications last year and thought some other teachers might find them useful, too.

Being in Australia, it can sometimes be difficult finding resources that are linked to and relevant to our curriculum. What I love about these books is that they are all Australian Curriculum linked. At the beginning of the books (and for some, on the side of the pages), it shows curriculum links.
 Here is a closer look (I'm very visual and love to SEE things before I understand or make my mind up about it):


The Literacy texts are wonderful for whole class and small group instruction. They are a great tool for modelling those essential comprehension skills.

Don't be deterred by the amount of text for the little ones. I projected some of the pages onto a whiteboard and we highlighted sections and discussed the text and questions altogether as a whole class. Some of your more highly able students may be able to complete some of the tasks independently.



 They cover so many different skills and I found them very useful. Be sure to visit RIC Publications, if you think that you may find these resources useful in your classroom.

I'll be back soon to share with you some of my back to school adventures!