Thankful


I am linking up again with TTT for 'Monday Meet Up'. Today we are sharing 3 things that we are thankful for. Now, I think I could easily list a hundred or so, but I will narrow it down to just 3 for today. 

1. My Childhood
Being a mother now, I often reflect on how my childhood compares with that of my daughter. Seriously, at the time, I thought I had it tough in the 'good old days'. I remember putting groceries back on the shelf at the supermarket, because my mother's purse would not quite stretch enough. I remember having dry cereal and a glass of water for my afternoon snack, when the pantry was almost empty. I remember having to make deals with my parents to snag a piece of paper to draw on. I had enough books to fill maybe half a small shelf in my bedroom.

Life was not filled with 'stuff' or loads of money. But it was grand. I had two parents that showed me how to work hard. I had a father that showed me how to make everything from almost nothing - to look after what you did have and make it amazing. 
I had time. A lot of it. I got bored - frequently, and from that nurtured some creativity.
I worked my little tail off through high school and university with little more than a desk, notebook and a few pens. Proving to myself, that you don't need much more than determination and persistence to achieve.
I learnt that times of struggle can actually be your most treasured memories ever. 

2. Now  
As much as I often feel nostalgic for more simpler times, I have very thankful for the amazing world we currently like in. I love this crazy thing called the internet. I love that I can be sitting at home here in Australia and be chatting, connecting and collaborating with amazing friends and teachers all over the world. 
I recently did a 'roll call' on my Facebook page to find out the location of some of my followers. 
New York, to Columbia, to Australia, Japan, London, Hong Kong, Hawaii and everything in between and beyond. These places popped up within minutes of me posting. 
I am so thankful that I have met amazing friends online that continue to support and encourage me - even though it seems that they are a million miles away!

3. My Family
I was going to do a lighthearted one, and say tea. Or chocolate. My box set of Friends DVDs or maybe sunshine.... 
But I cannot overlook my husband and 2 amazing children. I love them and am so thankful that I get to be a part of their life. They support me, understand me and it is just so amazingly cool to have such a peaceful happy life with them.

Thank you so much for visiting today - see, another one, this 'thankful' business is contagious!

- please head over to TTT to find some more 'Meet Me' posts! 

Hopscotch!


Cyndie from Chalk One Up For the Teacher is running a series of games over summer. Some of them are on our blogs, others are on Facebook - all of them are fun!


Today, we have a game called 'Hopscotch' for you. The best part of this one is that you are ALL winners! Every jump along the hopscotch trail will deliver to you a fabulous FREEBIE! 

I am stop #1!

Today, I want to share with you a printable game for your students - Apple Pickin' Bingo

In its basic form, it will help them with numeral identification for numbers 10-20.

However, it is easily differentiated to cater for LOADS more!

Here, you can see that I like to prepare my number games and store them in clear plastic 'document wallets'. I use some called 'compact wallets' - I like them because they have no button or zip and are designed to be strong, yet compact. I have all my games and resources in filing cabinets or filing boxes, so being compact is a big help! The cover sheet helps you see at a glance, what is in the activity and the main teaching focus. 


Apple Pickin' Bingo is one file within my "Number Bingo Games for the Whole Year" bundle!

The bundle includes 3 different number bingo games for every month of the year (June/July combined)! So, a total of 33 games altogether. Each game comes with 3 standard game alternatives, so you essentially get 99 games! AND with further differentiation, you can triple that again! 


If your school has an issue with students playing 'bingo' - I urge you to simply change the name of the game when you present it to your students. The word 'bingo' is simply used on the cover page. This apple themed game, for example, could be presented to your class as "Apple Fun" or something similar. 

Each game comes with 3 sets of caller cards. The basic game is students identifying and matching numerals. So if an 18 is called, they locate an 18 on their card. 


There is a 'number word' set. Students have to match number words to numerals in this version of the game. This is a chance for you to extend the students that can already identify every number from 10-20.


A 'subitising' set is also provided. Students will work towards being able to recognise the number, in pattern arrangement (on a dice or ten frames) for each number. Again, this is a way you can cater for different needs within your classroom. 

You could also, create a special game version that has a mixture of the three caller-card types. 



The big bundle has 3 games for each month. Each game featuring a different number range. You can use the cards from a different game to challenge your higher-ability students. 



For example, use the cards from the 0-10 pack, with the 10-20 game boards. Ask students to draw 2 cards and add them together. This can be done with the numerals or the subitising cards, or perhaps even one of each (to encourage counting-on). In the example below, you will see that a student might select the 8 and 9 card, and then cover 17 on their game board. 



You can download Apple Pickin' Bingo from Google Drive, by clicking on the image below! 



And if you are interested in the 'big bundle' - it is on sale in my TpT store! Click on the image below to find it!



Thank you so much for joining in our game of Hopscotch! 



Worksheet Wednesday - Summer Number Freebie


I am linking up with TTT for Worksheet Wednesday. 

Today I want to share with you a free sample from my 'Reach for the Beach' Summer Printables  Pack!

This worksheet will help your students with addition with numbers up to 30. It has a fun colouring component when they have finished their addition, which will also help with numeral identification. 


Download it by clicking on the worksheet below:



And find more printables in my TpT store, by clicking on the image below:


Thank you so much for stopping by!
Head over to TTT to find more free worksheets!

Gotcha!


I am linking up with Deanna for her book chat Tuesday linky. I know, its Wednesday, and dangerously close to Thursday here in Australia, but it has been one of those weeks for me.

I wanted to share with you an Australian picture book that is one of my favourites. It's called 'Gotcha'! 

What drew me to it initially was the beautiful expressive illustrations. The illustrator is Kerry Argent. You may be familiar with her work in One Wooly Wombat and Sebastian Lives in a Hat.

Gotcha is written by Gail Jorgenson, and tells a fun story of Bertha Bear and one black, beastly fly!

What makes it perfect for the early years, is its repeating language patterns and predictable text. There are surprises waiting on each page for the reader -  my students are ALWAYS captivated with this story! Bertha makes her way through the pages trying to grab that fly, and on each page, a new animal joins in with her. It is one of those stories that builds up a trail of animals for a fun and captivating finish. 


It features some beautiful rich language that makes for great story telling. I love the page that says 

"On and on they went... over tufts of grass and lumpy mounds. Swat! Gotcha!" 
That page is especially good for when I am introducing consonant blends! That small section includes -nt, -ft, gr, -mp, nd, sw and tch!

Love. It. 


You can download a free worksheet that you may like to incorporate into your teaching and learning with this book. Students will trace their numbers from 1 to 12 in counting order to help Bertha catch that fly! Download it from Google Drive by clicking on the image below:

Be sure to head over to Deanna's blog to find more great book chats!


Have a great day!

How Do You Do It All?

How do you do it all?

I get asked this question so often, particularly in the last few weeks, so I thought I would do a blog post about it!

Here are the answers. 

1. I stare at it right in the face. I don't hide from it. My day.


I do not have any help. I do not hire assistants. For anything. 

The above Day Planner (download by clicking on the image) is not something I use each day. I use it when I feel myself unravelling. I did use it every day when I was a full time classroom teacher. 

For the first few years, I used a template given to me by a supervisor, with 3 blank spaces - 'morning', 'middle' and 'end' session.

Like every teacher, I soon began to tear my hair out and wonder how on earth anyone was supposed to get the curriculum taught at all. I felt exasperated. I probably cried. Chewed a few pencils. Waved my hands around in the air a bit. Whinged to people that would listen. And then, true to form, I told myself to get over it and looked at the facts.

I stared at my day plan. I suddenly realised that the three 'boxes' that I planned my day in, were not reflective of the true time allocation. In reality, my morning was twice as long as my afternoon, but I had hastily wrote a ton of things in the boxes every day, because there was room on the paper for them.

That is when I decided to face the truth. I planned in '15 minute' intervals. The paper had to match the clock.

I wanted to see exactly what I had to work with. I wanted the reality in front of me. 

Start by highlighting out the sections of your day that are tied up. The things you cannot change, no matter what - the times you are in the car, the mandatory obligations. 


Then, write in all your fixed routines and sessions for the day. For a long time, I wanted to pretend that our school assembly (children lining up in classes when the bell went), didn't exist. I would join in the teacher-chatter about what a waste of time it was, and how it always dragged on too long. 

But then one day, I just accepted it, and scheduled it in as an item on my day plan. Most importantly, I was realistic about how much time it was going to take. Should it take 5 minutes? Probably! Does it ever? No. So, I faced reality and wrote it in. I accepted its place in my day, it forced me to be realistic with the things around it.

Similarly with having a nice settled morning chat with my students and making them feel relaxed and valued. It is very important. I wrote that in, and gave it appropriate time.


Once you start doing this, you can see what time you have left. For you, for your students, for your family. 



Now, I am not advocating that you have to spend the rest of your life doing this, filling out boxes and scheduling your plans. 

I can say with certainty though, that if you do it for a few weeks, you will become much better at managing your time. You begin to appreciate how much time you have and how long things take. You will begin to naturally start to schedule and organise things in a more considered way. 


Using this in the classroom made me a much better teacher. At first I was shocked and a little panicked at the reality - "I only have THAT amount to time to get ALL this done!!!" 

But I found that I was much better at valuing each and every 15 minute 'section' of my day. I learnt that you can teach a WHOLE lot in 15 minutes. I learnt that children can achieve a LOT in 15 minutes. 

The biggest lesson was learning to value each 15 minutes session of the day, and not waste it, thinking that nothing could be achieved cause it was 'just 15 minutes'

In the end, I was much calmer, and my students were too. Although it looks hyper-organised and stressful, it creates calm, purpose and valuable learning times for your students. 

Now that I am part time teaching and working on my online ventures, I use a very similar process. Consider using this sort of approach to your online activities. A great place to start, is to not schedule out what you WANT to do, but to write out what you actually DO. Then look back and reflect on it - what it chewing up your 15 minute sections?

2. How do you spend your time? And carrots.

I also consider the things I don't do as adding value and time to my day. I am quite a simple person and over time have realised that it has contributed to me having more time to devote to things like my TpT store and blog. They have not been conscious decisions, it is just who I am.

I have never had a manicure or massage for example. I don't spend hours at the shop looking for more 'stuff' to buy. I am not a hermit either, I like to get out and about, visit people and share happy times with my children. But I do look at things more purposefully now - is it the best way to spend my time? And yes, sometimes being a big lazy sloth on the sofa watching a movie is what you might need - but being more conscious of your decisions will contribute. 

Being a kindergarten teacher for so many years also helped me develop some clever thinking and practise about time. As you can see from the planner above, when you day starts to fill up, you naturally start to value your minutes more. I started to think about actions that I was repeating over and over - and considered the time it used up.

For example, this is a very small example, but you will see how the lesson can be applied to your day, and you will gain extra time. My daughter takes carrot sticks to school for recess. I go to the fridge, get the carrots out, find the peeler, peel, wash, chop, pack, clean up the mess.

Then often, she will ask for carrots of afternoon tea. And then I cook them to go with our dinner a few hours later.

Three times I am looking for that peeler. Three times I am walking to the bin to put the scraps in the bin. Three times I am cleaning up.

So I started doing it once. I got three carrots out in the mooring, and did all of them at once to last the whole day. All prepared, ready for the entire day.

When you are in the classroom, and doing something, ask yourself, 'while I am here, can I get this prepared for tomorrow too?'

When you are making your teaching resources, ask yourself 'can I save another version of that file now, while I am sitting here, and come back and edit it later'. 

Are there things that you are repeating over and over again, that you can do in bulk and give yourself some time back?

3. Clutter and Stuff

It does not sound like much, but I am not into clutter. I am naturally wired to be a hoarder and to be kind-of-messy, so it's something that I have to continually work at. 

I have found that the less 'stuff' I have in my life, the more focused and productive I am. When I go to buy something, I truly consider how its going to impact my life and if I really need it. It sounds weird, but with every purchase or item I bring into my life, I get weighed down a little more. It's a mother thing I guess. It is another thing to look after, another thing to find space for, another item to value and take care of. I try to be as minimal as possible. I have 4 towels for my bathroom for example. When 2 are being used, the other 2 are washed and going in the cupboard. I get 2 new ones every Christmas, and the old ones get moved on. Strange example, but again, when you apply the principle to other aspects of your life, you will find that you are making room for the things that you want to be a priority. 

4. Invest

Invest in things to make your work easier. I recently upgraded to Mac - I can work SO much faster now! And easier. It is just all round, the best decision I have made in relation to my digital work. It is also the biggest contributor to me getting so much done. I can't believe I ever worked on a teeny tiny laptop.

I paid extra for a big screen, additional memory and power in my computer. Buy the best quality software you can. Spend time making sure all your updates get done. Time spent sitting around waiting for the computer is wasted. It took me ten years to save enough money to do so, but I wish I had found a way earlier. 

I have a little collection of things I can do, if I AM waiting for the computer, which is very rare now. To be efficient, you need the best possible support you can afford. 


I hope that helps and answers some of your questions, I am not perfect at all, and struggle on a daily basis too. It is not easy, and there is no special magic to make things happen. You need to create time and space to get things done. Then, be decisive and just do them! 



Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Easy Write n Wipe Activities


I adore Write n Wipe activities in the classroom. My students love them. They are a great way to target specific skills and differentiate learning in your classroom.

A very easy way to create a fresh new spin on your write'n'wipe activities, is to make little flippable books. 

You just take inexpensive mini photo books, slide in some flashcards and you are set.

I have dozens of boxes of commercially produced flashcards in my teaching cupboard, and I quite often pick them up on sale for a couple of dollars.

The best part of this idea is that there is no laminating. Also, the photo pages can be easier to clean than some lamination film. When the pages get overused, just refresh the album - the cards should be in perfect condition!

Thanks so much for visiting - have a great day!

Worksheet Wednesday # 3


Hi there! I am linking up with TTT for Worksheet Wednesday. Seriously, can next Wednesday be cocktail Wednesday please. Or maybe 'take a nap Wednesday'?

I want to share with you a page from my new cvc Word Family worksheet file!



Each of the 13 worksheets has room for 3 featured words that students will build, blend, read and make!

They cut the corresponding strip of letter/picture pieces and manipulate them in different ways to create a word. Tell them to sound-out as they go and listen as they blend the sounds together. 


When they have created a word, the picture will be visible!



Student keep working until all their words are made.


You can try the 'at' page for free by downloading it from Google Drive HERE


When I released other Word Family resources, I have featured 'at' things for FREE! You can download them along with the worksheet and have a few resources that will work alongside one another. Here is one of them:


Two For Tuesday


I am linking up with The Teaching tribune for Two for Tuesday! 

I have picked two of my resources to be set to 50% for today only!

You can find Ten Frame Busy Work in my TpT store today, for just $1.75



And my recently revised, Letter Detective for $1.95!




Head over to TTT for more great resources at 50% off!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Tuesday Art Linky


Welcome to another Tuesday Art Link Up! 

I want to share with you an idea for incorporating your students' names into their art making. 

Here is one I did to show you, with the same Sam. These would be great for the first week back at school 


Tell your students to draw a large spiral, using black sharpie on their paper. This could also be done for them, if you think it may be too much of a challenge. Then, starting from the middle, they write their name around the spiral, making sure their letters goes from edge to edge. Capital letters work very well. 


Then, it is just a matter of shading each section of their design. Talk about the use of colours in a repeating pattern. It will create balance and a sense of calm in their artwork. I used a pattern of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple in this one. Other feelings can be created by the use of other colour patterns - perhaps just using two colours. 


Here is the 'real' Sam and the artwork he made while I was doing mine. He LOVES to run to me and show me his drawings. Without fail, he tells me about the 'colours' - pointing to each and telling me. 


If you want to start doing art discussions in your classroom, this is a great first step. Show the students an artwork, give them some looking time, and then just ask one of them up at a time to point to something in the artwork and describe it. Size, shape, colour, features, texture etc. This is a great first step to help children learn to appreciate art. It is very straight forward for us, but your little ones may not have the ability yet, to see things and appreciate them without a structured talk.

I LOVE collecting awesome art ideas on my Pinterest board and would love you as a follower - head over to Pinterest to join the fun!


Do you have an art idea to share? Please link up in the comments, your K-6 classroom art ideas!