Monday, 2 March 2015

Magnetic Letters in the Classroom

Magnetic letters were always one of the most used items in my classroom. They are used a lot here at home too! 

When I had a classroom full time, I had a corner of the classroom set up with a nice big pocket chart with 26 pouches. I had it mounted on the wall adjacent to a whiteboard at student height. A daily small group activity was to build words with the letters. Having the letters so accessible and organised made such a positive impact on our class program. 

I also utilise these portable magnetic letter organisers. I found them in the hardware section of a cheap store and they are fantastic. When I first started teaching, I was very concerned with finding 'matching' magnetic letters that were consistent in size and shape. Let me tell you, do not worry about that at all! With experience I have learnt that the greater the variety, the better! A variety of letter styles, sizes and shapes will assist your students in learning to identify letters in multiple font styles. I do like to try to provide my students with lower case letters for spelling activities, so sort my letters into two boxes - one for upper case and one for lower case. 

Asking you students to pack away the letters at the end of each activity is a valuable learning experience. It will help them with practising letter identification and alphabetical order. 

A simple activity for small group time, is to provide your students with just a small selection of letters  on a sorting tray. Challenge them to see how many words they can make using just those letters provided. 

 If you do not have time to get your letters sorted, ask your students to do it for you! Another easy-to-prep activity is simply having a big box of magnetic letters and a pile of alphabet flash cards. 

Students in the small group take turns to select a card, identify the letter and then the whole group search for it. The first child to find the identified letter is the winner for the round, and may keep it until the end of play. The student with the most letters at the end of play may be declared the winner. Challenge students to see if they can make a word from their letters at the end! 

How do you use magnetic letters in your classroom?

Sunday, 1 March 2015

It's Autumn

It is the first day of March and the first day of Autumn here in Australia. In my opinion, it is the best season of the year!

Take the opportunity to discuss some thoughts and ideas about the change of season with your students. Encourage them to keep observing the playground to see how the trees and other surroundings change over the coming weeks. 

A simple-to-prep art activity for this week is an Autumn tree. Use this time to discuss the traditional colours of the season and how using these will help to convey a message in their artwork. It also provides an opportunity for you to integrate an Aboriginal perspective into your lesson and discuss the use of natural and earth tones in their traditional art making. 

For this project, simply chip some tissue paper and provide your students with some PVA glue and a brush. Students can layer the chips and overlap them to create interest.

Once they have done this, the artwork can be completed with a black tree trunk. This can be made by cutting three rectangles from black paper and arranging them to make a tree shape. 

These will look so effective when you line them up as a class display. Perhaps even add a wash  background.

I love collecting and sharing art project ideas. Follow my Pinterest board to get some daily art inspiration!

I am excited to announce the winner of my February gift voucher - Purple Palmetto! Thank you so much for entering. Please enter the March giveaway every day that you visit my blog over March. 

Friday, 27 February 2015

Five for Friday

My favourite time of the week is here - Five-For-Friday-Time

First, let me just say - you MUST hop over to Kacey's blog to see her post full of adorable photos this week and of course, check out all the other linked-up posts. 

So, random things from my week....

As always this post is mostly about me. I use my blog as a place to share and discuss my teaching ideas and the printable teaching resources I design. 

I would simply love to share with you some photos of things that happen in my classroom - and perhaps one day soon I will be able to - on a totally separate and employer-approved classroom blog.  A blog that has absolutely no connection to my privately run business.  

That is what I am conformable with - for MY blog - so I apologise if any of my posts come across a little self-centred. It is indeed, not at all how I truly am as a person. 

I don't want any of my content to infringe on the rights or intellectual property of any other person, colleague or student - now or in the future - so keeping the content mostly with a focus on "me" is the best way for me to express myself at this stage. 

Let's get to it. 

1. Planning

Today I made a 'work planner' to try to get  a little more organized. I have tried quite a few different systems over the last few years. I am hoping this one will nail it. 

2. We played. A lot. 

I take my little man to a play group each week. Here he is making a beautiful painting/collage.

3. More play

We did lots of Lego this week. Here is a Duplo house we made. 

4. A new book
I found a new 'Wombat' book! Loving that this one may fit in well with a nursery rhyme unit (Hey Diddle Diddle). 

5. I added a new craft to my paper craft collection - Little Square Bunny - a twist on one of my first craftivities - Little Green Frog

Thank you so much for stopping by! Please head over to Doodle Bugs to find more Friday-randomness!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


Thank you 2 Super Teachers for this adorable button!

Hi friends! 

TpT has a site wide sale! You can receive a 10% discount on all your purchases by entering the code "HEROES" in the checkout. 

I have my resource and clipart stores on sale for 2 days, and every item is reduced by 20%. 

It is a great time to stock up on larger resource packs and bundles which can be more expensive to buy at other times in the year. 

One of my current faves is my "Worksheet Wonder Pack". I fully expect this bundle to take me a few years to fill (it will be huge)! It is a collection of my random-worksheet-ideas and I add to it progressively. 

You can download this butterfly tracing worksheet, to give you an idea of what might be included in this bundle of surprises! Click on the butterfly to find it on Google Drive. 


Please also head over to Blog Hoppin' to find links to the stores of some of my teaching heroes! 

Thank you so much for stopping by - have a great day! 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

A Creative Slump

I have been writing some blog posts about creativity in the classroom over the last few months. I wanted to do a post on 'being a creative teacher' but when I sat down to think about it, well, I found it a little challenging. I have been in a little 'creative slump' lately. I wanted to share a few of the strategies I am using to get myself back to normal. 

Do you ever hit creative stagnation? What do you do to get yourself in a creative groove again? Please share - I would love to have more strategies. Here are four simple ideas that can get you started.

1. Delight in 'nothing'
 I need to preface this to say that I don't actually get much time at all to be bored - but it does happen. I get agitated when I have nothing to do, and as soon as I feel an inkling of 'boredom' I try to jump straight into a project or think of something new to do. Lately I have tried to relax into any moment where I feel lost, and try to work through it. I allow myself time to just sit and ponder. 

2. Go somewhere new
Try something different. I recently had morning tea in a cafe by myself - something I have never done before! 

3. Try a new colour
Wear a colour that you normally avoid. I get in a rut with my clothing choices. This week I purchased and wore a yellow top - a colour I normally avoid. To my surprise it did work. I felt, just a little, like a new person with a new outlook! If you are really fixed in your daily choices - start with something small like some jewellery. 

4. Create an inspiration area
Do you have an area of the house that is just yours? I don't have too much room at the moment, but I have created a small work space that is just for me. I recently added a visual 'inspiration' noticeboard. For now, I have it just resting on a chair near my computer. When I have a home office I will put it on the wall. Include anything that inspires you, encourages you or just pictures of things that you like. Try not to feel too 'locked in' to what you display or follow any rules. Simply follow your heart. 

They are simple ideas, but they are having a very positive impact!

Thanks so much for stopping by - please share some of your ideas too!