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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Thank you for Tea


One of my favourite things to do is drink tea. More than just the actual drinking, I love to whole ritual of preparing and making my tea. 

I drink English Breakfast in the morning and Earl Grey in the afternoon. I cannot stand milk in tea, and have it hot, black and strong! 

I am linking up with my girls at Blog Hoppin with a week of 'thankful' posts! Today, we are sharing something we are thankful for that begins with "T".

I came late to the party with my affection for tea. I had a few random cups in years gone by, but what got me hooked was a chance encounter with a lady that had a huge impact on me. 

I was in hospital after delivering my baby girl. Those of you that are mothers will understand what I mean when I say I was a tad frazzled. In the hospital I was in, babies are not taken to a nursery. My new baby had been by my side from the second she was delivered. She was 3 days old, and I had maybe 4 hours sleep in total. It was a busy night, I needed some pain relief, and there were no nurses available as I pressed my buzzer. For quite a while. 

In came a lady I had not seen before, I am still not quite sure what her role at the hospital was, and I could tell she was still learning to speak English. I told her I was in pain. There may have been tears. There may have been slight frustration. There were perhaps a few more tears. She told me she could not bring pain relief, but she could get me a cup of tea. "I don't drink tea" I told her. "I get you some" she said. "No, no, thank you, but no thank you" I repeated. "I get you tea" she insisted and warmly gave my shoulders a pat and my (finally sleeping) baby a sweet smile. 

She returned with the tea. Well, trust me, after having a baby and learning so many new things in a few short days amid sleep deprivation, tears, hormones and worries - if someone brings you something and is kind to you - you think you are in the presence of an angel sent straight from heaven. And indeed I did. Her little visit to my room was exactly what I needed at that moment, for many reasons, and the tea... well it did help the pain and the worries. And I have been a devoted drinker ever since! 

I am also forever grateful that the kindness she showed me that night has stayed with me. I know that making a difference in someone's day can be as simple as 'putting the kettle on'. In a hospital filled with "important people" and trained "specialists", the act of one, special, kind person can make the greatest difference of all. 


Head over to Blog Hoppin to find more thankful posts! 


And just because I am super thankful for you visiting my blog - I have a special freebie for you - available for this week only - Teacup Stick Kids! Head over to my TpT clipart store to find them!



Thank YOU for stopping by today!




Monday, 24 November 2014

Christmas Card Ideas



I have some simple Christmas card ideas to share with you. A favourite 'end of school year' activity in Australian schools, is a Christmas card for the family. I made these two today using some brightly coloured card, paper and crayons. 

I found some awesome Quill Fluoro board at Officeworks. It is a nice and bright on one side and white on the other - perfect for cards! 

For one card, I simply printed one of my 'scrappy colouring pages' and shaded it in with fluoro crayons. If you follow me on Instagram you will know how excited I was to find them. I am not being  paid to tell you how much I love Micador, it is straight from the heart. All of their art materials are amazing quality and so lovely to use. 


For the other card, I simply tore a rectangle and triangle from green paper to create a tree. I then tore it into strips and glued them to the card in a 'stretched' arrangement to create a tree. Tiny pieces of torn white paper makes for the snow. Perfect fine motor activity!

You can download, for free, the template for the first card. Find it my clicking on the image below. 


Find another Christmas tree template card on a blog post from 2012, click below to find it! 



Thanks so much for visiting my blog today, if you need more Christmas teaching resources, pop by my TpT store to find some. 


Friday, 21 November 2014

Christmas Countdown

I am dreaming of snow. Seriously. It was 40 degrees today (that's 104 in Fahrenheit). 

Sunday is doing to be 45. Lovely. 

You can understand why I did some clipart designing today - Santa in the snow. Santa in a snow storm, surrounded by snow, and dreaming of snow, in the cold lovely snowy snow. 

I also drank more green liquid (still on the detox). 


Here is a fun little project for Christmas. Make each of your students a mini activity book, and they can count down the days until Christmas AND complete a little activity each day to help them remember the exciting lead up! 

Ask your students to add a sticker to each day on the first page also!


Each activity is different!


Students can also colour the date on the little circles at the bottom of the page, and count how many days are left until the big one!


It is on sale for a few days only, in my TpT store. Find it by clicking on the image below:



Thank you so much for stopping by today! 


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Book Chat: Grug


I want to share with you, Grug. He is one of my favourite book characters. 

Grug was created when the top fell off a Burrawang tree in Australia.


The author, Ted Prior has penned many Grug titles and each of them captures children's interest beautifully. I met Ted when he came to our school to talk to our students a few years ago. He talked to us about Grug, how he makes his stories and illustrations and he whipped up a Grug illustration to show us how he draws. He told us that he writes about topics and creates experiences for Grug, that he thinks are similar to the experiences of his readers.

Some of our favourites include Grug Learns to Read, Grug Goes to School and Grug and the Big Red Apple. 


My students, and my daughter have loved learning to read with Grug. I like the books because they help give students confidence in reading. They are set out with similarities to an instructional reader - but they are more like a regular story book. Students therefore find them a great little bridge between school readers and reading 'proper books'. 


I was excited to find out there is a brand new addition to the Grug collection - Grug The Suerhero
It will definitely be in a Christmas stocking in our house!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Creativity in the Classroom


Creativity in the classroom. What does that mean to you? Do you feel nervous when you have to 'be creative' or is it something that comes so naturally to you that in a way, you don't really know what it entails because you have never had to think about it?

For you in your classroom, does 'creativity' mean art, craft and drama, or is it more than that - a way of thinking.

I have had the discussion of 'creativity in the classroom' so many times this year, and for some reason it is a topic that just keeps coming up. When I thought about doing a blog post on nurturing creativity, I was first excited, then a bit worried, a few days of confusion, and then little moments of anxiety began to creep in. Until I realised that there is just too much to cover in one post. So I intend to do a series of posts on 'creativity in the classroom'. It will nicely encompass a few little projects I am working on and give me the opportunity to discuss something that I love. 

The irony is that as teachers, we have been regularly told, in recent years, that our goal should be to have 'creative' students who are prepared to work in jobs that may not have yet been invented, or in jobs they will need to invent themselves. How that is achieved exactly,  may be interpreted in many - shall I say - creative ways. It sounds like such a huge feat. It sounds daunting. There is no correct answer. There is no syllabus outlining the steps we need to take. 

But. 

I feel excited about it. Not worried. Take a look around the teacher-blogging community. WE are all doing jobs that were not invented when we were at school. We are using equipment and techniques that are new. Many of us are 'inventing' new career paths as we go along. Somehow or other, we managed to gain the skills needed to be creative in the workforce, and I have confidence that our current students will be the same.

What is creativity to you? For me, it is deeply complex. If I had to simplify it, it would be the process of 'doing' or 'making' and it would involve inventiveness or the emergence of an idea.


In saying that, it is also for me, something that is intrinsically relaxed. I don't believe 'creativity' and 'stress' go together. Having strict rules and rigid opinions on creativity is going to get you absolutely nowhere. I think the beauty of nurturing creativity in your classroom is that, if you foster consistent messages and activities with your students, 'creativity' will naturally happen. 

As someone deeply invested in the early years of education I also see 'creativity' as involving the learning of practical skills. For the most part, it is when the colourful paper and crayons emerge out of the cupboard or when we 'dramatise' a story with role play.  This is because in the early years, creativity largely has to be 'seen' by my students, they are moving and transitioning from a time of real and concrete to the beginnings of abstract thought. Their world experience is vastly different from ours, and they learn most effectively with hands-on activities and play. 

 I have resisted for many years, listening to people that suggest that doing certain activities will 'ruin students' creativity'. I have so much more faith in the children I teach. Children have such brilliant little minds, and in my personal experience, they can certainly understand the difference between a purely 'creative' experience that is open ended or 'free choice' and a more structured activity that aims to build and develop skills. There is room for both in the early-years classroom, and I think they are both essential. 

The first suggestion I have for nurturing creativity in your early-years classroom, is to foster a creative attitude in your students. Here are just a few ideas.



1. Be encouraging in your comments to students when they demonstrate creativity or a differing opinion

2. Be specific with comments about creativity - tell students exactly what part of their work you think is creative. This will help them begin to understand that creativity is something unique and different in each child. 

3. Allow students opportunities to discuss their feelings and opinions openly. Be careful with your responses and how you facilitate your discussions, so students know that different ideas are valuable. 

4. Use mind maps and other visuals when you 'brainstorm' - showing students that lots of ideas exist and are appreciated

5. Model the acceptance of two differing opinions. We want students to believe that alternative opinions make for interesting discussions and that they can coexist in the same well-functioning classroom. 

6. Take a look at your classroom practise. Do you have times where your students are allowed to make choices and take a project in a direction of their own liking. The whole week cannot be like this, but even one experience each week, is enough to help students grow in creative confidence and attitude. 


Click on the image below to download a FREE poster to display in your classroom. Positive messages about difference will help foster a 'creative' attitude!



I would love to know your ideas for fostering a creative attitude in the classroom. Please leave some comments below and let me know how you encourage it in the classroom. There is more 'classroom creativity' coming soon. 

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Gingerbread Word Sort

Hi there friends.

 Thanks so much for visiting today. I have been one busy girl this last few weeks. I am doing additional work in the classroom for a few weeks. I knew I would enjoy it, but I was not prepared for just how much I would LOVE it! It has not been all that long since I did a 4 day a week position, but a couple of years can seem like a lifetime when you are sharing them with a 2 year old. 

I have had the 'best bits' of the job for a few weeks - mainly just teaching - no hard core assessment or programming - so I understand the odd looks I get when I tell people I am having a wonderful time. I understand how challenging teaching can be at times and that we don't always 'feel the love'.  

Throw rubbish at me if you like, but I enjoy the challenging parts too. At the end of the day (eek, I don't like that phrase, but you know what I mean), all the crazy, nutty, frustrating parts are often what make teaching such a rewarding profession. I get frustrated with things as easily as any other teacher, but I have learned to look at some of the negatives as just a different texture on the rich tapestry of life we call 'school'. 

For me, there is nothing better than getting to the end of a difficult time or challenge and realising how much stronger I am for getting through it. How much I have learned about myself and other people. I will always firmly believe that there is no more rich and beautiful job than teaching. Who else gets to sit with 22 unique and inspirational little souls each day and help them learn the world. I have lost count of the number of times this week I have observed a child either at learning or play, and been absolutely amazed at how different we all are. All these wonderful unique personalities gradually learning about themselves and about each other. There are ups. There are downs. But we get there. Together. It is so special, that as teachers we have boundless opportunities to be constructive. To create. To lift up. To facilitate growth. To encourage. To be positive. I feel blessed to be in a 'job' that to me delivers so many opportunities. 

Imagine being a doctor and looking at the face of misery for the most part. Imagine being a lawyer and sorting through words and conflict, and staring at a computer. 

I will be forever grateful that I ignored the people that told me not to teach, and went with my heart. My last few weeks have reminded me of that. 

I hope your week has been rewarding too, that you have people around you to support you and encourage you as a teacher. That you know that you are valued and that what you do matters. 


And honestly, what other career gives you as many opportunities to indulge in cute things. Necessary? Probably not! But let's face it, it's one of the fun things about teaching. 


I made a cute  little game for sorting 'er' words. Students will sort words that feature the 'ir', 'ur' and 'er' words, by putting gingerbread men and ladies into the right oven! Stick each oven onto a different envelope and students can slide them in as they sort. 



You can find it over in my TpT store. Just click on the image below to find it! 


Have a great day and thanks again for stopping by! 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Kindness Day Craft Freebie


November 13th is World Kindness Day!

Talk to your students about kindness and have a discussion about what 'kindness' looks like and how it feels. Brainstorm lots of ways students can show they are kind.

Tell your students that kindness is just one way that we can care for people. 


Here is a fun 'King of Kindness' craft that you can do with your students. They make a 'king of the jungle' lion paper craft and write on each piece of his mane, a different way that they can be kind.


Thank you so much for stopping my my blog today! I have also blogged over at Blog Hoppin' today, so be sure to take a hop over there too!

Blog Hoppin


Have a great day, friends!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Let's Write - Stimulus for Writing

Hi friends! Do you need to motivate your early writers? Do you struggle to get some of them to think of ideas, words and inspiration to write?

My 'Let's Write' packets will help! 

The foundation idea is that you show the students a stimulus poster, based on a theme and have a talk about it. Your students can talk about the pictures on the poster and share their personal experiences.

This works perfectly with a small group of students.

After a little discussion, brainstorm some words that were uncovered in both the chat and by looking at the poster. Write these on a portable whiteboard or chart paper. Include some key sight words your students may find useful in their writing.

Students can then write a few sentences or a short story, about the topic.



I included additional variations on the poster, to help you modify your lesson for different student levels. Your choice may also depend on your personal philosophy to teaching writing.


In each packet, is also three worksheet styles. Use can use these, or simply ask students to write in their 'writing book'. 


I plan to make lots of these packets, on a whole range of topics and themes. I have listed a 'bundle' on TpT and I will upload new additions to the bundle regularly. 

Find the bundle HERE




You can try a 'school' version for FREE this week - just click on the image below to download from google drive!



Thank you so much for stopping by! Have a great day!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Double Dice - Dice in Dice Games


I LOVE 'dice in dice' and got this tub a few years ago to make my number groups, a little more exciting. With just one throw, your students can find two numbers - one on the larger die and one on the teeny tiny little dice that is nestled inside.

I have a new packet of games that have been designed for use with these fun little cubes! 


I made the games 'easy prep' - no cutting required! All you need is the page-sized game boards, some double dice and counters - and your math tubs are good to go!


The game included are:

1. Double Dice Cover Up - students roll and add before covering a number on the game board.


2. Double Dice Take Away - students will subtract the smaller number from the other, and cover a space on the board. 


3. Double Double Make a Row - students will try to make a row of three counters, by covering totals of 2 double dice!


4. Frog Rescue - students will try to be the first to have a frog rescue the princess on their game board path! They will need to add the two numbers and find the 'biggest' number to win a space!


You can find the bundle on sale in my TpT store for the next few days - HERE 


While you are in my store, grab this dice-game-worksheet FREEBIE! I listed it on TpT quite a while ago, but you may not have it yet! Find it HERE




Thank you so much for stopping by my store today, I hope you have a great day!