Friday, June 29, 2012

Need a plant unit

Hi Guys
Super busy. Its Batman's birthday party tomorrow so I have been colouring fondant, cutting out batmans and generally crossing my fingers trying to make the cake look good for my little man. What do you think?

But anyway...

Next term our unit is What's Alive? and we will look at plants and animals. So what I am after is a recommendation for a good unit.Have you got one that you like? Do you want to promote your own?

Give me your suggestions please. I'm all ears :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Guest Blogging over at Teachery Tidbits

It's my first guest blog over at 

Teachery Tidbits

so go and check it out!

 Its full of tips about how I get my class to write interesting narratives and you can even download a free graphic organiser :)

Thanks Natalie for letting me crash your blog.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Website Wednesday

This week we are going back to basics - maths basics with a site called Count Us In Games

 This is the home page. The site itself has 15 games and if you look in the sidebar (not shown in this screen shot) you can actually download these games as applications for your computer.
 Game 1 - Sharing. Pretty self explanatory, kid practice sharing into the two paddocks. Gets them understanding the concept of equal groups
 Game 4 - Ordinal Numbers. There isnt too many ways to make ordinal numbers fun is there? But this seems to do the trick
 Game 5 - Number Identification. Students match the number to a number of objects
Game 8 - Subtraction. This uses the concept of bowling to knock down/take away pins.

Although my Year 2 student find most of these games relatively easy, they still do enjoy playing them and because they are successful in completing these activities correctly, they have a great sense of achievement too.

I hope you have enjoyed this weeks website :) Click on the home page to go and try it yourself

Also Shanyn over at Coffee, kids and Compulsive Lists (don't you just love that name?) is having a 100 follower giveaway...and I'm donating a prize :) Go and follow her for a chance to win some super stuff.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Thank you all for entering my 100 follower giveaway.

The lucky ducky winner is....

Lori from Teaching with Love and Laughter!

Have fun shopping Lori

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Parent/Teacher Interviews

Hi All. Tomorrow is my parent/teacher interview afternoon. We send home reports in the 2nd last week of term and then hold interviews in the last week.

So far I have 16 out of 24 students whose parents want to come and talk to me. And probably 90% of those 16 students are the kids that always do the right thing, progressing fine academically etc etc. Its that small percentage of kids that don't return their notes for interview who have the parents you really want to see. Agree?

I'd love to know what you do for interviews. Usually I just have a book and each child has a page where I write a few notes about them. I usually open with asking the parents to lead the discussion, any problems, questions about the report etc. And then I throw to my comments. My hardest thing is the follow up, because truthfully, after talking and talking and talking to all those parents about all those kids with all those questions and all those is a little exhausting. So my new addition to the page with the comments is going to be a follow up box, where I can take notes to follow up with that particular student. Sounds simple hey? Why didnt I think of that a long time ago? At least it has been thought of now :)

I have had a few emotional interviews where parents genuinely are struggling to understand their child and how to help them and then I have also had those interviews where the parent refuses to believe that their child is anything other than golden (haven't we all been there".

The best interviews I have had is where a parent tells me how much their child enjoys coming to school, for reasons obvious. Nothing like that kind of recommendation.

So tell me about your horror interview story to pump me up for tomorrow. 1pm til 7pm is a long long long time. Makes me wish I liked drinking wine hehe

One week left!

Just a quick one tonight. Had a huge day with my kiddies riding Thomas the tank engine trains (do you have Thomas in the USA?)

I am pleased to announce there is one week left of the school term before I have a 2 week break.

But then minus the fact that I do not work Mondays :) = 4 days left.

Then add that on Tuesday it is parent teacher interviews which start at 1pm = 3.5 days left.

Then subtract Wednesday due to a statewide teachers strike = 2.5 days left

Then you could also take away Thursday because we are having a planning day = 1.5 days left.

Which leaves Friday when my class goes to the computer lab, gymnastics lesson and the day will be rounded off with a fundraising activity tabloid for Red Nose Day = 1 day left

Would you look at that? It's shaping up to be a great week.

PS Don't forget to enter my 100 follower giveaway. Hope your week is as productive (lol) as mine

Thursday, June 21, 2012

100 Follower Giveaway :)

At the beginning, I thought this would never happen. I had a blog, I was keen to share...what was I doing wrong?

But it finally started moving along, people started reading my ramblings and here we are. Thank you for stopping by.

I honour of the 100, I am having a giveaway. The prizes for one lucky ducky are:

***A $10 voucher to spend at MareeTrueLove Etsy shop. She has wonderful clip art. Check her out here.

She has also been generous to offer some great freebies for you.

AND a 10% discount code so you can try out her awesome stuff. Type edu10 at the checkout at Etsy. She is currently working on digital stamps (black outlined images) later in the year, just for us teacher folk :) So stay tuned.

*** Spend up to the value of $20 in my TPT store. Have a look here

Have a look below for the ways you can enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and once again, thanks for the support

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Website Wednesday

Im taking a detour today. Away from the 'academic type' websites and towards a more engaging, interactive fun one that the kids will love (but still has a place in your literacy time).

The website that my last year 2nd graders had heaps of fun with was Kerpoof.

 The home page is your key to unlocking the fun. If you want your kids to save any of their work, you might like to look into signing up. There is a fee though. I never needed to save my kids work last year so this didnt bother me.
This screen shot is from the activity Spell a Picture. Students have to use the letters to spell the word which corresponds with any picture shown. When the word is spelt correctly, students chose the picture and it is added to their background to make a bigger picture.

This one is from Make a Card. Students choose a theme and then add whatever they like to make their own card

This shot is from Make a Picture. After choosing a background, students add embellishments to create a scene. All pics that you can can be resized, flipped etc.

This was my class' favourite activity. It is called Make a Movie. After choosing a theme, students add characters and props. They can move their characters around the scene, use perspective, add sound effects - the possibilities are endless! Its like movie making 101 and totally kid friendly.

This would be great for literacy. It is called Tell a Story. After choosing a theme, students illustrate their pages by using the pictures provided and then write text to match. Pretty awesome hey? I love this one.

Another great page is the Lesson Plans page. There are some great goodies for teachers, some lesson plans and then advice on how to use Kerpoof to address the topics in the plans. And they are linked to standards too!

Click on the first picture to go and check out the great fun at Kerpoof!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Teaching Patterns

Patterns is one of those maths topic areas which isn't very well resourced in my opinion. I have already created a skip counting/identify the pattern activity pack which you can find in my TPT store here, but I wanted to share another activity which my kids love doing. And the best thing is that you can differentiate it for many different grade levels and ability groups within your class too.

Magic pot is the name of the game. The pot acts as a number machine which changes a number to fit a certain 'rule' that the child picks.

This is one activity that when we had free choice maths groups last year, my kids asked for every time. They enjoy it because it is totally driven by them and gives them complete ownership over the activity.
Click on either pic to go grab it for FREE at my TPT store. I would love if you left me some feedback.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Batman

Not the real Batman - MY Batman. 

My son Cameron turns 3 tomorrow (the 19th here in Australia). I can't believe it has gone so fast!

In honour of his birthday, I'll give you a present :)

Just make sure you are a follower and leave a comment (with your email) and I will send you a present (a surprise gift from my TPT store). I will honour this until Tuesday midnight.


Happy Birthday to the most awesome little boy I know. You make my life better and make me a better person. I love you very very much.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Porthole Craft Activity and oh so close!

I have finally got some pictures of the cute porthole craft I did with the kiddos last week (the week of the spray paint incident). I found the idea somewhere on Pinterest - if you know where it is from, let me know and Ill give credit. 

 First of all, take a paper plate. You could paint it or colour it blue, but I found some blue paper circles so we glued these on. 

 I then gave the kids lots of different coloured paper, some green felt and some tinfoil and let them go nuts! They were cutting out fish, sharks, jellyfish, treasure chests and making treasure with the foil. It was great to see their creativity. 
  We then took another plate and cut out the middle so only the bumpy bit around the edge was left. This is what was going to frame the underwater scene. 
Then I spray painted it CAREFULLY (see here for information on how NOT to open a spray can hehehe)
 A bit glue on the back of the cut out plate and stick it on top of the sea scene and VIOLA! Port hole window craft

Hope you enjoyed it. My kiddos had a blast.

And as for the "oh so close" comment, I am at 96 followers! I honestly can't believe it and thank you all for following me and having the courage to read my ranting :) When I hit 100, I'm planning something special. Once again, thank you for the support

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Website Wednesday

I was wondering what I was going to post about for this week. But then, during a rather boring riveting professional development session this morning at school, I was introduced to this little beauty.

 Thinking blocks uses manipulatives to model how to solve word problems for all operations
 It gives you lots of choices about the type of question and the size of the number, making it adaptable for K-2 and primary students. The following are screen shots from an example addition question I ran through.
 Place the labels and 'blocks' in the correct place
 Add the numbers to the correct label - this enables you to find the missing number (or part of the word problem you need to solve)
 Use the calculator to help you solve and input the answer

I have only just begun playing with this but it looks like a fantastic tool for helping to dissect word problems and gives your visual learners those cues as well.
Click on the first slide to go try it for yourself :)

Now keep on blog hopping!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Super Hero Word Wall FREEBIE

Do you love Etsy? I am a total addict at the moment. I love searching for new and cute things that I can drool over pin on Pinterest. But as I was looking for clip art, I stumbled on a very cute shop.

Dreamer in Dreamland is run by Ashley and she has super cute  stuff! I actually wanted to buy some cute super hero clip art to make my son a birthday party invitation. I ended up with the whole set (oops!) and thought I would make some new stuff for my classroom. So stay tuned for the rest of the set.

Now I emailed Ashley to ask whether I could use her art in some teacher stuff and she said yes! And she said she loves teachers so she is offering a teacher discount code for everyone for 15% off at her Etsy store. Enter forteacheronly at the checkout.

So here is your freebie - super hero word wall letters, or letters for whatever your heart fancies :) And if you like them be sure to keep your eyes out for my classroom labels.

EDITED TO ADD - I have just fixed the access to the document. Apologies to those people who tried to download and it didnt work!

Friday, June 8, 2012

So I exploded a can of spray paint....

Oh wow. I had to share my disaster of a Friday morning with you.

We have been studying transport this term. This week we were talking about water transport and wrote a story about travelling on a submarine. So I thought I would do this super cool 'submarine porthole' craft I found on the net (and yes I know that not many subs would have a porthole haha). There will be pics to follow next week because they turned out super cute

But anyways...

The final step was the spray the 'frame' of the porthole gold or silver to give it that window-type effect. So I went and bought my spray paint (one gold and one silver) last night and intended to spray the craft this morning so it would dry before we put them together.

So there I was in my classroom. Have you ever tried to get a lid off a spray can? Its really much harder than it looks. My can said to pry the lid off with a screw driver. Well I didnt have one handy but I thought I could achieve the job with a pair of scissors. It was just jimmying the top off right?

Next thing I knew there was gold exploding EVERYWHERE! Spraying all over my kids desks, the carpet, their homework, my clothes. It even got on the blinds! But worst of all, it got on my brand new, less than a week old smartboard I blogged about last week.All I can say is thank god I hadnt got the lid off yet.

My heart sank.

Quick call to the other half to find out how to remove paint. Turpentine he says. OMG!!!

Quick trip to find some turps and there I was, sucking in fumes of spray paint and turps, vigorously scrubbing down my classroom before the bell rang and my kids came in.

The smell - WOO! I think we were all a little bit high this morning.

But the good news was I got the paint off my furniture and smart board. Now to work on my clothes.

And yes, I did spray the windows, just silver :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Website Wednesday (on Thursday)

Apologies for the slight delay on this post. Its been miserable weather here in Sydney and when I went to write this the other night, our power went out and didnt return til the next day. Better late than never hey?

Just one website this week that my kids will be using tomorrow in computer time. I saw some people were posting about it last week so I decided to try it out.

 General screen shot of the home page to the website. The following pics are from the Grade 2 part of the site.
All about Number activities

More number

Other cool stuff including shapes, geometry, patterns, art and much more.
This site is well worth a look. I certainly enjoyed cruising it and I have only just scratched the surface.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Interactive Whiteboard fever! and a FREEBIE

Now I am not new to the world of IWB. There has only been one year (my first) of my teaching career that I have not had one of these babies in my classroom and I know how lucky that sounds.

At my current school, I had one installed in the first 6 months I was there and it has changed my teaching totally (as Im sure you will agree). If the technology is not rocking though....dont bother knocking - cause I am probably muttering curses under my breath at everything from the projector to the pen to the whole system.

In my current classroom though, the board has been anything less than satisfactory. The projector has been so bad that for my kids to see what is on the board, we have to turn all the lights off and close all the blinds on the windows. But then you have the problem of kids straining eyes to see what they are writing etc etc.

So you can imagine how pumped I was when on Thursday afternoon, I was pulled aside and was asked if I minded moving out of the classroom for a bit on Friday. Why? I asked. Your new board is going in tomorrow was the reply. I happily replied I would work on the oval all day if necessary.

So in it went. It is a cool new Panaboard with the facility to have 3 people touching it at once! Pretty cool. I know my kiddos are going to love it :) And maybe I can stop cursing at the pen.

So to celebrate my new board, I am happy to share with you one of my Notebook lessons for multiplication - Making Arrays. It is in Smart Notebook format and you can grab it from TPT for FREE

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sick, sick, sick...and reports

Just a quick one for today. I feel like I am slowly coming back to earth. I have been cursed with the flu - I have not been this sick in years :( And sadly it coincided with reports being due....and my birthday.

I barely celebrated. It was very sad.

But there was no time to lament on missed celebrations. Reports are due.

Which is what I should be doing RIGHT NOW hehe.

The bright side is that once reports are finished, I can get back to doing things I like, such as blog cruising, clip art cruising etc etc.

As a side note, I missed work Tuesday and Wednesday and on Wednesday (which was my birthday) one of my cuties brought me in some cake his mum had made for my birthday. This is how it ended up.