Saturday, 29 June 2013

Classroom Theme



Have you a room theme in your classroom? Last year I created a 'Bus Bee and Butterfly Classroom Labels' pack that will help you create a fun, cohesive but INEXPENSIVE room theme. These pieces are all fully editable - you get the MS Word file (changes sizes and add text) and they only require blackline printing. Just add colour paper to make a statement. I printed some out in three main colours, but you could print each part in a different colour to incorporate a rainbow theme as well. 


Each section (Bee, Bug or Butterfly) contains a huge range of sizes and styles to choose from! You could use all three main styles, or just choose one!


Find it at TpT here! It is on sale for this weekend.


Find more room theme ideas at Cyndie's linky party by clicking below!

reat 

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Keeping My Little Butterfly Busy



While all my US friends are enjoying an extended 'Summer Break' from school, here in Australia, we are about to mark our half-way point through the school year with a two week Winter term break. It is chilly, raining and some of us have that half-way-through-the-year depletion of mojo and motivation. 

My daughter's school has a three week break. What joy! Apparently, at the final assembly for the term, she was the  only child in the school to be on the verge of depression at the impending 'holidays'. We love school you see. So being a good mother, I promised her that I would play schools with her. And it was the ONLY way I could get her to stop crying when leaving school on Friday. 

True to form, 8.15am Monday morning, she reminded me. Out came the easel. We dusted her off (she has been packed away for two years after I packed up my real classroom - sniff sniff)... Dear daughter was insistent that we have 'real' school stuff.

A little bit of handwriting got this tired mother off and into the swing of our 'play'. The letter 'c' was decided on. Hey, this is pretend school, we can make the curriculum as we go. The 'c' page featured a very pretty Cinderella - that was reason enough for us. It also led us to read a caterpillar beginning-reader. 


See - I told you - 8.15 am - still in PJs!


'Teacher" was quickly back into her groove and decided we needed to consult some 'fact' books and find out about these caterpillars. These books helped and we also talked about features of non-fiction texts. 


We then drew some pictures to represent the life cycle of the caterpillar we had read about. 


And after consulting the ever-wonderful Pinterest, made a paper plate life cycle.


I devised a quick caterpillar game (hey, I had only had one cup of tea). With two dice, We rolled, added and drew! 


Keeping track of which numbers we had already played (only needing to draw them once). 


It was a very busy morning, and with no classroom management to deal with, I have to say, we got a LOT covered. Although I have to hand it to the home-school mothers out there - you deserve a medal. I am much more 'at home' teaching a tribe! 

And just in case you would like to work on a caterpillar theme one day - download this FREE 'Trace, Shade & Graph' worksheet. I whipped it up ready for our lessons tomorrow! 


Thanks so much for stopping by!









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Saturday, 22 June 2013

Owl Frames Revised!



Last year we listed some cute Owl Frames in a brown, pink and lime green theme. The set included 6 images perfect for making classroom theme sets. 

I just revised the set - it now includes 36 images and also includes a pretty blue!

I have kept the bold black line and 'stitched' detail in the frames. 

If you purchased this set last year from TpT, please just re-download your updates for free! If you have never seen this set of ours, head to TpT to check it out! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Easy to prepare Number Game and a FUN Freebie Hop!


Need an easy-to-prepare number game? This is an oldie, much played game in my classroom, but a goodie!

Print and copy some hundreds charts. Laminate them if possible. Cut them into strips - either vertical or horizontal. Ask your students to place them back into order, after being shuffled. 

Have a few copies - each on a different shade of paper. This activity will help familiarise your students with a hundreds chart and number order.

Make the activity harder by 'whiting out' some of the numbers (especially at the beginning and end of rows) before you copy and laminate them. You can also cut them into non-standard strips, so students have a more difficult task of ordering the pieces. 


I just made these fun desk plates for my resource collection




When I make anything for my classroom, I always try to pack it with value, and by that I mean, if I am going to go to the time and $$ expense to make something, I want to get the biggest educational punch possible from it! When I make desk plates, I want more from them than to just label the desks. If its till looks cute - great.

Here is how you might be able to get some added value from MY 'Stick Kid Cuties' desk plates, and others you may find out there!

1. Colour - give each student a different colour (I have included 6 colours). Now you have instant student groupings. You can say "all the green students, you can walk out first" etc. Give each student a new colour each term. Make sure you add a variety of colours to your groups of student desks. Then you have two layers of groupings, you have colour groups AND you have table groups. 

2. Blank Name Space - laminate your plates, but leave the name space blank. Make it part of your students morning routine to write their own name on their name plate, with a dry erase marker. Presto - now your students have something to do when they walk in the room, but you have also got them to practice their name writing. In the early days of Kindergarten, provide two cards - one with the name written and one without. Part of the packing-up routine at the end of the day can be to wipe their card clean. And no, not on the carpet thank you, as one little fellow of mine did a couple of years ago. Wondered what all the black smudges were for a while.... kinder... boys.... !!!

3. USE the letters and numbers! Lots of desk plates have a display of letters, sounds etc on them. I am always amazed at how many students will sit in their seat and ponder how a number 5 is written, when it is right there in front of them. They need to be reminded. The BEST way to train your students to use their desk plate as a source of useful information, is to play games and activities that require them to find information on it. That way, when they are working independently, they are more likely to use it. Simply provide a whiteboard marker to each of your students. Ask them to circle 5 sounds or numbers on their desk plate. Now, call some randomly. As each is called, students wipe out their circles. The fist student to get them wiped out can call out 'Bingo'.  This is such an easy way to implement a quick activity and best yet, it uses something you have already set up for your students. That my friends, equals more educational punch from your efforts! 


And a big Happy Father's Day to all my friends in the USA! We celebrate in September. My dad is quite honestly my hero. I could write five blog posts about him. It took me many many years to accept that he is literally (almost) always right! I have never seen him fail at anything. Super clever, an ideas man and fiercely loyal to his family.

Here is one of the few photos I have of him playing with me, so it is a favourite.  More than anything, he is and always has been an incredibly hard worker. I have very few memories of my dad sitting down or resting.


Love you Dad!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Fairy Princess Freebie!




You can grab my recently re-worked 'Fairy Princess Bingo" FREE for today from our Facebook page! Click on the image above!

Here is a walk down Fairy-Princess-Memory-Lane....

2006..... (note hand drawn and coloured fairies!)


2009 - on the improve!


Have you re-worked something lately? Please link up and show me if you have. Thanks for stopping by!







Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Games in a FLASH - On Chart Paper

I am working (in the classroom) one day a week this year. I am making huge leaps in my professional ability to be flexible and adaptive! Job sharing is quite different to having your own class 5 days a week. Indeed, working one day a week is very different than doing 2 or 3 days. No amount of preparation and communication can make a job share free of hiccups, but if both teachers are flexible and adaptive, it works brilliantly! 

I have to be able to think on my feet quickly and have activity ideas up my sleeve. It is harder than you think, when you are kind-of in someone else's room! 

I purchased an easel pad over the weekend - you may also call this 'chart paper' or something similar. Basically it is just a HUGE sized notepad. I want this to be able to create some small group games (you might call them 'centres', 'centers' or 'groups'). Our students work in small ability-based groups at various times through the day - mainly for reading and number.

I am going to have this pad on hand to whip up some games in a flash! If you know me well, you will notice that I do like carefully prepared, laminated, cute and colourful activities. I am not naive or a super-human however, and sometimes, you just have to make things easy. You also have to be able to respond very quickly to needs and interests in the classroom. Being able to respond to needs in the classroom quickly, means you can have more fluid groupings of students that change daily or weekly. At times, we need to change planned or programmed activities. Enter Mr. Big Notepad. 



I got a Crayola one - $10 at K Mart. My faithful Micador Giant Megacolors work great on this paper.



For this quick game, I drew up a rough table, and chose three letters of the alphabet. Students have to find flashcards that match each letter and place them in the row. Great way to utilise the old flashcards packets you  might have lying around. I have quite a few. 


You could easily do a few pages to make a couple of games. Change the rules and ask students to find the next three letters that come AFTER these in the alphabet. Once they have sorted the cards, you could also ask them to write the sounds or words that contain these sounds, on the chart paper itself. Finish by displaying their work on the board for the rest of the day.


On a side note - I used to store all my games and flashcards in old VHS boxes. I just printed a cover for each box. These keep your games and resources very neat and well protected. I have to admit, I was influenced by the fact that I got 200 for 20c on sale one day!! I now store as much as possible in plastic documents wallets- as they are less cumbersome and can be filed! 


Another game that is easy to prepare is to make a game board from a grid of sounds - in this one, I put initial consonant blends. 

Students take turns to toss a counter (or bottle top) onto the board. All students in the group then  have to write a word into their Busy Book (or on a piece of paper) that contains this sound. 


As I get busier and my own children are creating their own busy lives, I am looking for ideas that make me work smarter in the classroom, not harder. Hopefully I can share some more with you as time goes on, and I would love to hear and see yours as well!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Fuzzy Bump Borders are Ba-aa-aaack!


I am always excited to see my 'Fuzzy Bumps Borders' being used so much by teachers all around the world. I am one of those people, that occasionally stops to reflect on just how far technology has taken us very quickly... It feels like not-so-long-ago that I caught the bus to my local shopping mall, lined up at the bank, filled out a form, got cash, lined up at the pharmacy with my roll of film, and got photos developed the old-fashioned way. And yes - that was for a University assignment to get my teaching degree! And look at us now. Taking photos with our phones, getting all digital with our teaching resources. I don't want to ever forget how far we have come. Sometimes I truly wonder what my daughter will be doing in 30 years time.  

Arggh - I feel like one of those 'in my day...' people!! I had to actually find real books and journal articles on the shelves at uni to do my assignments too - those were the days... bwahahahah ... Anyhow, back to the post. Fuzzy Bumps. Yes, that's it. It is somewhat surreal to see the work you have drawn with your own hand, on the pages and classroom walls on the other side of the world. But a wonderful feeling as well. When I saw some worksheets on Pinterest the other day, using my original borders, I got to thinking that perhaps a 'thin' set would be great for worksheets. The lighter colour will not distract from your important teaching content, and using less ink is always a good thing! So this thin set was born - and they are all yours for FREE! Thanks for being wonderful supporters and followers. Grab them from TpT by clicking on the image above.


For the scrappy fans out there, you may like to check out my new Scrappy Rainbow Snail set.

And for the more 'tidy' clipart devotee - some sour and sassy Lemon Heads!

This weekend, I also put the finishing touches on some 'Classroom Cuties' resources. These will help you create a cute and colourful room theme and I have more 'cute' co-ordinating files coming. These feature the adorable graphics of Thistlegirl Designs. When you are looking for cuteness, you cannot go too far past Thistlegirl!









Here is a sneak peek at the colour posters - now decorating my daughter's play room!  



I have contributed prizes to two giveaways currently taking place - head over to find out all about them - click on the images below! 


Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great day!


Friday, 7 June 2013

Summer Fun and Play'n'Paste!


My daughter and I had fun road-testing a paper craft newly added to our growing collection. We have a four day weekend here to celebrate the Queen's Birthday weekend. It is cold. My little man is sick. What is there to do but paper craft!?

I have created paper crafts for From the Pond for a long time, but have only recently combined them into a collection. This one is for summer and your students can record their ideas about the season on their bright summer-drink!

We got to pop open a brand new tub of one of my favourite supplies too - good old Clag Paste - perfect for Cut and Paste - it even says so on the tub! 


You can find the Summer Fun craft in our collection at TpT, or on its own.


We also had great fun with another new product - a 'Print, Play and Paste' resource. Combining two of my all time favourites - games and cut/paste!

Print the worksheets. Gather paste, scissors and a die.


Cut out the 'game pieces'


Each game in the set has different instructions - this one is roll and add 2. Once rolled, fill out the key to record learning....


And paste a game piece into position.



Once all pieces are played, a picture will be revealed!


There are 12 printable games in this packet! They are super simple to set up and your students will LOVE them!

Hop over to my graphics blog to snag a chance at winning my new clipart set called 'Plate it Up'!



Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you have a great weekend!