Saturday, December 29, 2012

Best Books for Boys

I am a HUGE advocate for reading. I don't care what your reading ability is, I don't care what you are interested in, I don't care if you don't read those crappy books that we call 'home readers' because they are as boring as anything - just pick up something that you like and READ.

When I saw this linky (yes I know, another linky) I thought it was important to participate, because boys and reading aren't necessarily the best of buddies. So here are my top 5 picks of books for boys to get them engaged in reading.

1. Zac Power. How can you go past a boy that is a spy? I like that there are 2 different types of Zac Power books, one with a larger text and one that is more complex and a lot smaller. It means that boys, no matter their reading ability can participate in reading these books with their friends.

2. The "Just" series by Andy Griffiths. If you have never read one of these books, please go and buy or borrow one. Your boys (and girls for that matter) will thank you! These stories are full of gross, embarrassing and funny tales of a boy named Andy, his friend Danny and his annoying older sister. 
the Just Series

3. Hot Wheels books - these are for your struggling, reluctant readers. The text is minimal, with awesome colourful pictures. I actually bought some for my son for home, then colour copied some for school with my student who was having a very hard time with reading. He loved having books JUST FOR HIM at his level.
Hot Wheels: Extreme Stunts

4. Choose your own adventure - These are great for your older readers. I still remember reading these when I was at school!

5. Superhero anything! - I have a range of magazines and books with superheros. Kids who can't read or struggle to read well can still read a story with the pictures.
Super Friends: Going Bananas (DC Super Friends)

Go and link up with Courtney at Swimming into Second and share you top picks!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

12 Things I Loved about Christmas

Mel at From the Pond is having a fun linky. Go and join and tell us what you *heart*-ed about Christmas.

1. My family :) Last year my relationship was really struggling and it has taken 12 months of perspective to really appreciate how far we have come :)
My wonderful hubs, son and daughter. This baby is not mine! It my niece born last Jan.

2. My kids and how much they loved the season.

3. My gorgeous pressie from my family.
It is from Koolaman designs - hand stamped silver and I *heart* it.

4. Trampoline Santa - he stood in the rain on Christmas eve putting that darn thing together so our kids could enjoy it on Christmas morn.

5. Food! - I love Christmas ham. I know, it is just ham, but at Christmas it tastes different for some reason :)

6. Presents - I love getting them but I love giving them more! My best present for someone was the pic that my kids and their cousin (aka ME) gave to the grandparents.

7. Warm weather - now in Sydney on Christmas it was POURING rain, but Christmas eve was a stinker and when my hubs got home from work, we had a family swim in the pool.

8. Christmas pudding swimming in custard!!!

9. Christmas shows on TV that I used to watch as a kid. Do you remember watching Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer and Frosty the snowman? I got to enjoy these with my kids this year.

10. Gift cards just begging to be spent!

11. Time with my family

12. No school for 5 weeks!!!!

I hope your time with family was enjoyable wherever you are in the world.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Oh Holy Night...

For all the sadness that has been felt this week, this song has reminded me of all the joy in the world. I hope you enjoy N*sync and Oh Holy Night.

Santa's Little Helper Blog Hop!

Hi there! I hope you have come from Shanyn's blog and received your first freebie and if not, click the button below to go back.

My fabulous freebie for you is a New Years focused activity. It gives you the opportunity to explore with your kiddos what they WILL do to celebrate or what they DID to celebrate making it a great activity for both before and after December 31 :) And I have included some cute Year number graphics that go up to 2015, so if you don't get around to using it this year, there is always next year and the year after lol.
Check out some of the pages.

Click on the title page to go and grab it {forever free}!!!

I hope you enjoy my little present for you. Now its time to hop along. Click the button to go to the next blog and grab some more goodies. 

And don't forget, when you click all the way through the blog hop, you can score an entry into our fab giveaway!

Thanks Mel @ Graphics from the Pond for these gorgeous graphics.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12 in 12 Linky Party

I like the idea of reflecting on the year that has just passed. It has been such an interesting year for me! Lets reflect with this linky - go link up yourself!

12. Favourite Movie you watched-
American Pie - The Reunion :) Need I say more?

11. Favourite TV series -
I *heart* HIMYM or for the uneducated How I Met Your Mother.

10. Favourite Restaurant -
With a 3 and 4 year old, restaurants really aren't our thing. Does MacDonalds count? I do love happy meals :)

9. Favourite new thing you tried -
Its got to be blogging and my TPT adventure. In the 6 months that I have been doing this, I have grown as an educator and looked more critically at my activities and practice than ever before! I love the support I have found :)

8. Favourite gift you got -
Does last Christmas count? My husband got me a cherry red KitchenAid mixer.
7. Favourite thing you pinned -
I am in the process of making these for my kids carers at daycare
great christmas gift idea

6. Favourite blog post - 
It was a more personal post, rather than being classroom focussed about my beautiful little girl Madison. Read it here.

5. Best accomplishment -
I have had a great start to TPT and have been in both the member sponsored and freebies section in the newsletter! Click the pic to go grab my freebie that was featured or check out my Dice and Card games that was also featured.

4. Favourite picture
My two gorgeous babies

3. Favourite memory -
I have had a lot of great memories this year. School wise, it has to be the awesome time I have had with my class 2B. Personally, it has to be taking my daughter to school for kinder orientation.

2. Goal(s) for 2013 -
* Be a great mum and wife
* Be a great kindergarten teacher
* Go forward with my blog and TPT :)

1. One little word......

AMAZING! 2012 has brought me so much - can't wait to see what 2013 brings!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My TPT journey ...and tips!

I started on this journey not so long ago. I think my first item was listed at the end of May and I look back and think eeek! It is definitely on my holiday to do list - going back to fix them up to match the rest of my store.

But anyway, the reason I started or even found TPT was a friend of mine. She had a Facebook message about something called Pinterest (lol). **Side note if you do not know about Pinterest, I highly recommend staying safely in the dark. However, if you don't mind developing addictions, here is a good place to start.You could always follow me when you get there

I digress

I joined up to Pinterest and saw that someone had posted a thing called TPT. Intrigued, I clicked on the link and WOW! I was sold!

I just kind of lurked for a little while and downloaded some freebies. Like a lot of teachers, I have dabbled in making my own classroom resources for years (see this post on my old school maths games). I thought to myself, I could make some games to go on this site! 

As I investigated the site, and saw what was on offer, my mind was slowly blown! There are so many creative and awesome teachers out there that are willing to share their ideas, both for free and a small amount of money.

I started creating my first real item, just in time for the teacher appreciation jackpot - it was this one :)

After this I started developing a style and it has evolved over the past 6 months to where I feel comfortable with it now.

I wanted to share a few tips with you incase this is something that you are dabbling in or have thought about or maybe just would appreciate a few tips!

1. Use Powerpoint! It is mega easy to format and use and you can convert the file to a PDF, just by going to File>Save As>PDF.

2. Start off small. Take something you have already used in your classroom and "cute" it up! Buy some fun and engaging clip art and look for some free fonts to make it more eye catching - a great font site for freebies is

3. Make things that you would use! One of my most popular items stemmed from a need that I had for some hands on games for a particular topic. 

4. Make sure you give credit where credit is due. It is easier to make sure that you list all your sources as you go, rather than get stuck down the line and have to remember whose clip art or fonts you used in your product about ducks - you know?

5. Make sure you have a copyright statement on your product.

6. Make sure you are enjoying creating - I think that if it is becoming too much of a chore, it will probably be reflected in your work.

I'll share some more tips in the new year :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

HELP! Santa is stuck! and a giveaway!

Ho ho ho. This week in 2B is Christmas week! But wait, I hear you cry. It is only the 1st week of December - there is so  much time left to do this! Are you crazy?

Yes I am crazy.

But this is our last real week together in class because next week has Picnic Day, Presentation Day, Christmas Concert, Gold Reward day...the list goes on!

The last week of school is only 3 days with the kids and that week has Talent Quest as well! I think you see where I am heading!

So Christmas week kicked off with some writing letters to the big man AKA Santa. We were talking about the things we might like to get. I wish I had taken some pics of the writing - one boy wrote that he needed clothes because all he could find when he opened his drawers were pyjamas! It was pretty funny teeheehee. We will publish this later in the week.

Then we did Christmas literacy based groups. I had 4 activities - Cookie Editing, Alphabetical Hot Chocolate, Design a Cookie and Find-a-Cookie. These are all in my Christmas Cookies Literacy Pack. Keep reading for your chance to win one! The kids were enjoying themselves!

Then we did Maths groups - not Christmas based though. But I had more activities than normal and had mixed ability groups PLUS an Ipad station - the kids where in heaven.

But the craft was what won hearts today. We did our Santa is stuck craft (see pics below). Although we used crayons to colour because in the WHOLE school there was no red paper to copy onto. Wow!

Carefully cutting out the pieces!

Oops this little guy is pigeon toed
The finished product - with our crayon colouring in

So did you want to win either my Santa is Stuck or Christmas Cookie Pack? Comment below and tell me a fun activity you are going to do with your class in the lead up to Christmas. I will pick 2 random numbers on THURSDAY afternoon (my time! which is about midnight-ish or so on Wednesday for the US). Don't forget your email address if you want to win!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Oh's Currently December!!

Wow! Where has the year gone? I can hear you all saying "I know!" The second half of the year seems to scream past at an alarming pace. Which brings us to.....

My daughter is nearly finished preschool and off to Kindergarten next year! They have a special Christmas concert and graduation ceremony where they share things they have been practising. The other day she sang me "I can sing a Rainbow" - you know the one? (Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue..I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too). But to my absolute surprise, she know the sign language that goes with the song. Was I crying - ABSOLUTELY!

Here in Australia we are beginning summer! We started off with a sweltering day on Saturday - 41degrees Celcius which is about 105 but before you say...only 105!! Sydney is very humid. I lived in AZ for 2 years so have been in 120+ but it is very dry. We stayed cool in the pool :) I *heart* summer and Christmas in summer.

I also *heart* online shopping and we do a lot of our Christmas shopping online. I need to get busy as some places have long delivery periods :)

My house is clean - but for how long?

We have a great garbage man so project Christmas cookies is underway.

Go link up with Farley and share your Currently
Oh' boy fourth grade

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Old school maths groups

You may have seen my clean out the storeroom shame post (slick the link if you want to feel better about how clean your storeroom really is). The other day I was looking for something in there and I found this old box.
This is my maths groups activities from 2009, when I first began to dabble in grouping kids and differentiating activities in maths.
It all was because of my teaching partner. We both had Grade 5/6 and did a lot of team teaching with the doors open. Our maths groups consisted of 4 groups (approx 60 kids in these 4 groups) and the activities were - IWB/computer based activities (we both had 2 class computers and a IWB, so 6 technology stations), 2 different teacher guided activities where we would both be teaching a different concept aimed at the particular groups level and then one hands on game activity. Oh my, how my maths groups have changed!!
Here is one of my old school games. It actually hurts my eyes! Where are the cute fonts? Where is the clip art? My fancy storage folders? Did my school not buy any other coloured paper than yellow!!!! 

Oh my gosh - another yellow game. I wonder what all that yellow did to those poor children?

Since stumbling on these games, I have brought a few of them home to redo and make more interesting and appealing and a lot less yellow!

Do you have anything like this hiding in your storeroom?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Steals and Deals - Cyber Monday Shopping!

Where to begin???

Oh wow! I am so excited to have bought some items from my ever growing wishlist!
Christmas Mystery Math Pictures Worksheets
Shape Monster Craftivity
Snap Cubes {Graphics for Commercial Use}
cvc Words Write'n'Wipe Cards - Print, Laminate, Write & Learn!
Chocolate Bar Fractions Clipart — Over 20 Graphics!

And this isn't even half of what I bought! I am currently looking to make another purchase too (This is why I keep some money in my Paypal account - then I don't have to explain!!!!!)

What did you buy? 

I am linking up with Tales from Room 112
Go and share your bargains too!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Friends

Although we don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia, I am thankful for my family, friends, class and the wonderful community I have found.
Enjoy the day with your family.

Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale

Well you would have to live under a rock to not know about this little beauty of a sale. After you have eaten too much food (Thanksgiving), run out to the shops and spent too much money (Black Friday) why not relax on your computer and buy some great teaching resources in the TPT Cyber Monday and bonus Tuesday sale?

I'll be taking 20% off everything in my store and if you enter CMT12 at the check out, TPT will give you an extra 10% - equalling about 28% off.

So what could you get? Here is some of my newest creations you might like :)

I wonder if your wishlist is as full as mine? Enjoy your time with your family :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Our week in pics

Sorry bloggy friends. This week is one that needed to end. I am getting a bit tired and haven't felt very well but rather than the end of the year being a time where I feel I could take a day off to rest and recover, it feels more jam packed than ever! I am also having a little attack of the guilts for my own class - since being informed that I am teaching Kinder next year, I have been involved in the transition sessions. For those of you who don't know what I am talking about, the Kinders of the next year come to the school for a morning a few weeks in a row to check out the school, meet their new friends, have their parents become introduced to the community and staff etc. My daughter (who is also starting Kinder next year at our local school) had 3 sessions from 9-10.45am (once a week). My teaching school has 6 sessions from 9-10.30am (once a week). But this means my poor little 2B class is getting a bit neglected. Along with this, I am going to be attending some professional development to go along with becoming a K teacher and this is 2 Tuesdays in a row, followed by one more Thursday! My god, my class is going to be feral!

But our week this week was packed with some good stuff and some new activities that the kiddies really enjoy. I get a kick out of seeing them using my packs and  enjoying them. So without further ado...what did 2B do this week?

 We played Roll a Sentence in our Reading Groups time - the kids had not played before and by the end, were asking me can we play this every week.! We played 2 versions Every day and Winter. Click the links to go see them in my TPT shop. I also have a Christmas one too.
 Here is some of their Roll a Sentence results. They thought they were super funny :)
 This boy couldn't stop laughing about "The bear ate the scarf".
 In Maths, we were revising some concepts. We practiced our rounding to ten..
 Played Roll and Round...
 Rounding to nearest hundred.... All these from my Rounding Games
 Revising of patterns and skip counting... They actually tell me this is one of their favourite math activities! Find it here - Skip Counting Pack
 Used the MAB to create numbers...
 This one a work in progress - from Place Value Race.
 And enjoying some of our new school Ipads. Even though they had to share, they were so quiet and engaged - go technology!

And one more sentence - something about a hot shark made him giggle.

I hope you have had a great week in the classroom.

I have been super busy creating stuff too - here is a peek.
 Oh Christmas Tree - Addition and Subtraction games
Santa Stuck in the Chimney Craft and Writing.

Leave me a comment and tell me which Christmas item above you would like and why and I will pick someone to win. Don't forget your email!