Thursday, 3 September 2015

Color Code Your Week - Sanity Saver

What a week! The beginning of Spring has meant that I have spent a large portion of the last few days sneezing and wiping my eyes. And wanting to cut my head off. 

There is just no being delicate about the matter at all. Pollen is overrated. 

To put me in a more pleasing mood, I decided to link up with Blog Hopin' for 'Sanity Savers'. 

If truth be told, my linking up really is not about the good mood at all and more about the fact that I am living with hope that someone, anyone, just one, please Lord, just one person has linked up with a 


savemysanity blog post

I can live in hope.

Something that DOES save my sanity, is color coding. I have used a 'rainbow' system for remembering things in order for a very long time. If I rank my reading or math groups, generally the top performing group will be red, and I work my way down the groups and colors in order of the rainbow. 

It just works for me, and saves room in my brain for more important things - like how to cure the world of hayfever. 

I also color code my days. Monday is red (or pink), Tuesday is orange, Wednesday is yellow, Thursday is green, Friday is blue. I wish I could make Sunday blue - but we cant have everything we want now can we?!

So... the colors. On the days. Helps me focus. Quickly and easily. That makes more time for spending with our cherubic students and imparting wisdom. 

You can read in much more detail, how I use colors for the week, to help with time management and saving sanity - in my post HERE

And please, head over to Blog Hoppin for more fabulous ideas for saving your sanity. I promise there will be no cures for pollen allergies, just great classroom creativeness! 

Thank you so much for stopping by my friends!

Monday, 31 August 2015

5 Fun Facts - With Blog Hoppin'

Just over a year ago, I got an email - totally out of the blue from the incomparable Mrs Deanna Jump. She invited me to join a team of incredible teacher bloggers over at Blog Hoppin'. What an honour! I still pinch myself and feel so lucky to get to be a part of such a quality collaborative blog. 

You can join in on the Blog Hoppin' fun by linking up with our teacher week blog posts this week. 

My invitation to join in with Deanna and the girls could very easily have never happened. Like so many other teachers traversing this online edu-blogosphere I let things get to me at times. 

Feel 'out-of-the-loop'. 
And I have even been on the verge of giving it all away. Several times. 

Which brings me to #1 of my 5 fun facts. 

1. I never give up. 

I've had this passage pinned on my noticeboard for the best part of a decade. Do I think of myself a winner? No, not really. But I want to be. 

I keep working hard. I try to imagine the road ahead of me and I try to stick to it. 

If I get sidetracked, I take a little detour and get right back to it. My road has been a long and hard one at times but I keep moving and I keep making progress.  

I promise you, if you want something it will eventually be yours if you just keep doing your thing. 

Make your pathway easier by being yourself - don't let things people say or the attitudes of others change your vision. 

2. Birds

I just read Sheri's post and found out that she is terrified of birds. Girl, I am right there with you. 

These are two ceramic birds that my dad has glued to his veranda (not going to get into that one right now, that will take a whole other post to cover). This is about as close as I want to get. And these ones don't even move.

To make it even more interesting, I am OK with white birds, yellow birds, blue birds and most native Australian birds. 

I can hardly type the word chicken. Or pigeon. 

3. I love to draw

You may know that already. Here are my sketch books since 2012. 

I used to sit and watch my dad draw and ask him to draw all sorts of things for me. It used to both fascinate and frustrate me that he never needed to sketch, he would just start drawing and get it perfect right away. Here is a page from my first grade homework. I had to draw things that started with 'p' - we worked on it together and he did the parrot and pelican for me. 

4. Lake Life

I live near the biggest saltwater lake in the southern hemisphere. I spent a lot of time on the lake as a child, as my dad loved boats of all sorts. So much so, that if I never go boating ever again, I think I would be just fine. How did I learn to sit and concentrate for hours at a time? Try spending a whole weekend on a 6 meter sailboat with only a small bag of quiet toys for entertainment!

They were wonderful days full of laughter, sunshine and saltwater. I would not trade them for the world. This photo if of the two men in my life - my husband and beautiful boy Sam. 

5. I Teach in Australia

I am so fortunate to be able to teach in a part-time capacity. Our school department has a policy for teacher mothers to take part time leave from their permanent teaching position to care for their  children, until the youngest is at school. 

Our status, career development and permanency is to remain intact, we just take a number of days 'leave' away from it and another teacher is employed to cover the days you are at home. This is my yard (playground we call it) duty. The beach is nearby, so a gentle sea breeze carries across the yard most of the day. The playground is very peaceful and the children have an amazing amount of space to run and enjoy the sunshine. I felt at home immediately after arriving at this school and I treasure it. 

Well there you have it, five fun facts about me. Please head over to Blog Hoppin to find more posts from teacher bloggers around the world. We would love you to share and link up as well. If you don't have a blog, you can share in Instagram, Facebook or Periscope and use the hashtag 


Sunday, 30 August 2015

September 1st is Wattle Day

Not only is September 1st the first day of Spring in Australia, but it is also Wattle Day

If you are an Aussie, and you have not heard about Wattle Day, I suggest you find out. It is kind of a big deal. 

Well, I made that bit up. 

It has come to my attention, that despite being a 'day' for the last 100 years or so, it's all new to some folk.

It was a big deal when I was at school. Not 100 years ago - but almost. My teachers were "old school" and we did oodles and bazoogles of Australian history. Just ask me to recite My Country and I will have you weeping. 

I may or may not have also had a hand crafted wattle necklace made of Fimo polymer clay.


I blogged about it and shared a few printables last year. Find that post HERE

This year I have created an easy-to-prep addition game to help encourage you to at least mention it to your students. 

They can play in pairs using a paperclip and pencil to spin and by also rolling a standard six sided die. They need to find the total of the two numbers and write them in a wattle flower to claim a space on the worksheet-gameboard. 

Download it from Google Drive by clicking on the image below:

There are more ideas for Wattle Day on a dedicated website HERE

Have a great end to the weekend friends! I'm off to find my sprig of wattle. 

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Five for Friday - 28th August

Five for Friday fun time!

1. Friday arvo

As much as we love to be in the classroom, is there any better feeling that packing the teacher bag up to head home on a Friday afternoon?

2. Clip It Kids

My new bundles each include 5 math activities to help supplement your existing mathematics program. 

These bundles truly represent how I got started on this journey to begin with. I was always looking for high quality, motivating small-group activities to work alongside my program in the classroom. 

Having taught the lower grades for 15 years now, I have used many different 'big picture' programs. All of them in essence, have a very similar structure of skill development. I want my bundles to be of good value to teachers - hopefully fitting in with any program you use now or in the future. 

They will be sequenced and structured to give you a good basis for your learning plans, but flexible enough to fit with your changing classroom program. 

These bundles include 5 printable activities that all work towards a similar learning target. 

I have called them 'activities'. Again, over time I have heard this style of learning instruction called so many different names. My aim is to develop these printables in a way so that they can be easily adapted and used in any slight variation of this learning situation.  

Essentially, it is a small group of children sitting down together and working with a concentrated, specific identified learning focus. 

Call them centers, small groups, guided math or rotations. The similarity is that students are being active with the learning, they are 'doing' and they are working alongside or with other students. The goal is for students to be working on an identified skill that will bridge their learning to the next level. 

My 'clip it kids' are in the second bundle of the series and work towards students having an understanding of numbers 0-6. 

3. Monkeys

This fun game is in the first bundle HERE

4. Jelly Beans

I spent more time this week, prepping and laminating. Is there ever a week where we don't? I combined my love of sweets and number games with the super-cute packet from Alison at Teaching Maths with Meaning. 

5. Teacher Week

The Blog Hoppin' girls have organized a fun-filled TEACHER WEEK! Here is a snapshot of what is happening, so you can get prepared for a week of blog link-ups! 

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today, have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

"Draw More" Cards

Hi was very excited to add some more fun "write'n'wipe" activity cards to my TpT store today. 

My students have always loved dry erase marker activities - besides the novelty of using a marker, they appeal to a child's need for immediacy. From a pedagogy point of view, I like them as a bridge between concrete and abstract.

If 'write and wipe' is not your style, you could always use such cards as 'task cards' and simply have your students use them as a visual prompt for writing their answer on a recording sheet. 

If you have been to my store, you will know about my love for them! 

I bundled my four new editions, which all focus on students 'adding more' to a set to make a particular quantity. 

They will draw new pieces of each picture to complete it....

- more spots.... 

- more hair.... 

- more flowers....... 

and more rain. 

Essentially, your students are working on early addition skills through counting and adding more. The focus I would have in mind however, is early counting and number skills.

As each card is completed, you will notice students counting and re-counting several times to check their work and understanding. This continued and repetitive counting all helps to develop a strong beginning in number. 

For more formal addition lessons, I have also listed "Caterpillar Count On Cards" that will assist in using a number line to solve addition. 

Here is a free download for you to help support this learning in your classroom. Students can draw more apples on each tree to complete the total. Find it in Google Drive HERE

Thanks so much for stopping my friends, have a terrific Tuesday!