Sunday, September 30, 2012


This is not a teacher related post but much more personal. I hope you enjoy my little story.

My daughter Madison is 4 1/2. Next year she will be going to big school and starting Kindergarten. She is a sweet little girl who often just comes over to me to tell me she loves me *heart melts every time*

I took her and my son to a birthday party at a play centre yesterday. We have been to this centre for parties before and she knew that at the end of the party, they would both get a balloon and lolly bag. Maddie asked me if she could have a pink balloon (of course all little girls want that colour). I said she would have to wait and see which one she was given. She was happy with that.

When the balloons came out, all the kids went to pick one. Maddie went over to get a pink one for herself and a blue one for her brother. There was only 1 pink one and she got it and came back to where I was sitting so I could mind the balloons.

But then one of her little friends started crying. She had wanted a pink balloon too. Maddie didnt think twice but came back over to me and took her pink balloon over to her friend. Then she went and picked another one and brought it back to me.

"Maddie" I said. "I am so proud that you did that."

"I know" she said. "Amelia was sad and I wanted to make her happy."

*insert more heart melting here*

Thats my daughter and I am so proud of her.

Hopefully I am doing something right :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Spring has Sprung Sale!

The other weekend I saw a lot of fall themed sales. But here in Australia, it is definitely one of the best times of the year SPRING!
You don't have to rug up, going to the park is awesome, the air smells great and everyone starts to feel a bit happier. It is great and I love it!
So to celebrate Spring, I am having 15% off in my store until Sunday midnight. Go and snap up something! Click on any of the pictures to take you to my TPT store.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Themed teaching and a FREEBIE

Hi all
Thanks for your support about my shame cupboard. I appreciate that I am not the only disorganised teacher and am very thankful for my cupboard! I have not been into school yet - next week, but promise to show you some updated pics when I get more organised!

One huge difference that I notice  about my American blogger friends and my own classroom is that you all seem to teach to themes. There is Halloween, Valentines, Presidents Day..... the list goes on. At my school, we acknowledge days that come up but don't do much specific teaching about those days - with the exception of Australian specific special days like ANZAC day, Remembrance Day, NAIDOC week (Aboriginal). We have topics for the year that must be covered that fit into either HSIE (Human Society and Its Environment, kind of like social studies) and Science. This year my stage (Year 1 and 2) have covered Built and Natural Environments, Transport, What's Alive and our last topic will be Celebrations. We basically integrate our HSIE/Science topic into our Literacy, Creative Arts and Technology.

I feel a little jealous because what you guys do looks like fun!!! Better than studying transport for a whole 10 week term hehe.

I know a lot of you are celebrating apples and Johnny Appleseed. So for you I have made some cute apple themed writing paper with From the Pond Premium Club graphics. Mel is so awesome :) Click here to go and see her cute graphics.

You can download your apple paper by clicking on the pic. It is in my TPT store. Please leave me some love if you like it :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Welcome to Latoya from Flying into First Grade

Happy Johnny Appleseed Week!!!!

I am guest blogging for Brooke today and I cannot wait to share with you some of the things we are going to be doing to celebrate Johnny Appleseed and Apples.  First let me tell you more about myself.  I am Latoya Reed and I just became a blogger in July.  I also started my TPT store in July as well.  It has been such an amazing experience so far and I love the ideas and resources that are shared.  I was a Kindergarten teacher for 4 years and now I am in my 2nd year of first grade.  I teach in Tennessee where I live with my hubby.

Since Johnny Appleseed's birthday is on September 26, we are doing a unit on apples and Johnny Appleseed.  I get excited to teach this unit every year.  I know the students enjoy it as well.  I would like to start by sharing some of my favorite apple themed books I like to read to my class.

My favorite Apple Activities
1.  Graphing apples by colors- I get parents to send in apples in red, yellow, and green. The students get to pick their favorite apples color and then we graph them.  Complete the data information below. 
2. Apple Tasting- I cut the apples up and have students try each color.  We fill out our Apple tasting chart.
3. Apple Word Search- You can find this freebie in my TPT store.
4.  Make an Apple Pie- I love to make an apple pie with the kids and let them eat some of it.  This is when I read The Apple Pie Tree.

5.  Read about Johnny Appleseed- We have the PE teacher to dress as Johnny Appleseed and read a story to the students.  We alo watch the Johnny Appleseed video on Brain Pop Jr.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed my post on my favorite Apple activties and books.  You can go to my TPT store to find more freebies and check out my blog anytime.

My TPT Store

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My classroom cupboard shame...

I am lucky enough at school to have a HUGE storage cupboard. Now we all know what teachers are like - classic hoarders. We keep lots of 'stuff', thinking that we will find a use for it. I definitely do this.

But occasionally, my stuff gets me down a bit. Every time I open the cupboard, I want to shut it again very very quickly. So I thought to myself, it was time to get it a bit more organised and put my 'stuff' to better use.

My school holidays project (we have the next 2 weeks off) is to reorganise and CULL!! Thats right - chuck stuff out. Here are some pictures of my shame...
At one point I did try to organise my stuff, hence the black and white boxes that contain my maths groups stuff by strand. But the rest as you can see, is just horrible!

It is so messy that I can't even find a spot for my MAB stuff and it is taking a big chunk of floor space. It doesn't help that I have all my Year 5/6 stuff in here too, even though I teach Year 2!

My floor :( I know you are probably wondering about the thing of apples. We have a fruit break in our class every morning and rather than forget, I just leave fruit at school :)

So stay tuned for a hopefully, more tidy, organised storeroom in the near future!
And hopefully I am not the only one with a secret storeroom shame lol.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Massive, huge, ginormous!

Just a fast one from me. Last day of school for the term yesterday and boy did I feel sick! Struggled through it went home, in bed at 7.30 slept til 6.30am, feeling slightly more human today. What horrible timing!

But anyway....
Olivia at Liv to Teach is celebrating 500 followers and is having a super sized giveaway. There are items on offer from 39 fellow bloggers including me!

There are heaps of ways to enter so go and try to win (I know I will be!).

Be back with a more entertaining post when I am feeling better.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Learning through Games

Do your kids ever hit you up for games like Heads Down Thumbs Up or Murder Wink? And how often do you say no? Get a little more game time into your learning day with games that you will let them play during class time which reinforce learning. 

 The first and close to favourite in my classroom is Buzz Off Hairy Legs. This spelling game is great for practising sight words, word families, theme words...the possibilties are endless. If you have never played BOHL (for short lol) here is the must know. Get students to make a circle (or stand behind their tables). The teacher chooses a spelling word (or sight word/theme words/random choice) and one by one the students spell it out letter by letter. When the spelling of the letter is complete, the next four students say in turn Buzz - Off - Hairy - Legs and the person that comes after this sits down. I usually make a rule that the first complete time around the classroom noone is out because I feel sorry for the kids who don't even get a turn. I also sometimes have a time limit for answering.

Have you played Heads and Tails? Its a great fun easy game and all you need is a coin (fake or real). It is a great game for exploring probability. Standing up, students chose heads (hands on heads) or tails (hands on hips or butt). Teacher flips the coin and calls out whatever it lands on. These are the people who stay in and the other students sit down. It is very interesting to watch kids thought process in this game.

I'm sure everyone has played some kind of 'guess a number' game. But why not give a maths specific focus spin? You can play so that students are only allowed to ask greater than or less than questions or why not do it with ordinal numbers and have students ask about the position of the number eg is it before 8th?

Those are some of our favourites in 2B. I hope you can use them in your own class next time your students beg you for a game :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Welcome Liz from The Happy Teacher

Hey everyone!  I'm Brooke's guest blogger this week, and I'm so excited to write and share my ideas on Brooke's AWESOME blog!  My name is Liz a.k.a. TheHappyTeacher, and today I'm going to share my ideas on classroom management and reward systems.

Classroom management revolves around routines, procedures, rules, rewards, and consequences.  The most FUN part of classroom management to discuss is the REWARDS!  Now, as a first grade teacher, I think I've tried EVERY kind of reward system out there, including token economy, sticker charts, treasure box, point systems, etc.!  I've tried individual rewards and small group incentives, but the most effective reward system I've tried is a whole group reward system!

Here's the scoop on the BEST and EASIEST classroom reward system out there! :)  
First, you will need a large poster, such as a smiley face.  Cut it into fourths.
Add a small magnet to the back of each piece. 

The reason this reward system works so well is because students are working TOGETHER to earn pieces of the smiley face!  At the beginning of the day, the students have not earned any pieces of the smiley face.  However, the class can earn pieces of the smiley face by following directions, cooperating, and working hard!  Every time the class earns a piece, a child puts it up on the board in a visible spot.  This reward system helps build a sense of community, and students really take ownership for their behavior because it affects the entire class!  Throughout the day, the class works to earn all four pieces of the smiley face!
When the class finally earns all four pieces of the smiley face, everyone earns a reward!  Some of my kiddos' favorite rewards are chewing gum, taking their shoes off, extra recess, a dance party, or a quick game of Heads Up-7Up!
For more reward ideas, check out these Reward Coupons!
You can use another poster, but make sure it's symmetrical so it's easy to create equal parts. :)  

I hope you've enjoyed reading my guest blog entry today!  I'd love it if you'd swing by my blog and TPT store.  I'm having a great GIVEAWAY for a $25 Target Gift card on my blog right now.  For a chance to win, enter here!  Have a great weekend!  -Liz

Thanks Liz for stopping by! Don't forget to enter my flash giveaway!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Flash giveaway!

As I clicked on to blogger today, there it was looking at me. 250 followers! So in honour of this momentous occasion (dramatic I know) a flash giveaway!

You could win 5 items of your choice from my store! Just use the easy rafflecopter entries to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My favourite freebie Linky

Excuse the spelling in the title. I know that is not how most of you spell it and my spell checker is telling me it is wrong, but here in OZ-trayl-ya (that is Australia hehe), we spell it with a 'u'.

I was thinking I would like to find a linky and this one sounded great!

My favourite freebie so far is my Friends of Ten

It is my fave because
This was my first serious freebie and has been so warmly received by lots of users. It is a fun way to let kids experiment with making 10. 

The story behind it:
I was making a larger unit and thought this would be a nice way to thank my followers and buyers for supporting me. I thought it would also be a good way to showcase the quality of my work.

How to use it:
Its pretty simple! Give the students a ten frame and ask them to use the little jellies to make ten by adding to the jellies that are there already. There is even a recording sheet to help with assessment.

Make sure you click on the picture to go and grab your own copy! It was a featured freebie in the TPT newsletter a couple of weeks ago and many people are enjoying it. 

Come back tomorrow as I am having a flash giveaway!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Guest Blogger Ann

While I am sunning myself on the beautiful Gold Coast in Queensland, Ann will be blogging for me today. Although she doesn't have a blog, she has a TPT store which you should stop by and visit!

Hello,  I am Brooke’s guest blogger for today.  She is on vacation.  I live in Florida in the US. Gosh, I cannot believe vacation is over for me.  Well, it is back to reality. 

As teachers, this is the time that we set up our class community and have such hope for our students’ success.  My principal started off the year reading, Running Shoes by Frederick Lipp and there was not a dry eye in the room.  We know why we are here.  If you have heard of this book, you know what I am talking about.  If you haven’t read it, it’s about a young girl who lives in a poor village in Cambodia .  She desires to go to school.  One man makes that difference in her life by giving her a pair of running shoes so she can get to school.  This one act changes her life forever. 

I know we as teachers, are all determined to make that difference.  Many students around the world live in poverty like the girl from the story. They can have a lack of good positive experiences and depending on their experiences, their vocabulary can be lower which can make their academics harder.  Since vocabulary is so important,  I have been learning new techniques  as well as using my old techniques such as using bingo games.  Students love bingo games.  I use cereal as markers so that every student gets some type of reward.  The winners receive a wild coupon from me to purchase things in my class store.  Playing a simple bingo game can be such a great review for your students.  Bringing in things like this word has a short vowel as one of my clues during science or another subject is a great way to cross the curriculum.  Sometimes, our students get answers wrong in math and science because they could not read the academic language of math and science.

Bringing science to life is so much fun.   I remember when I was in school, we just learned science from the textbook.  So, I learned that blubber was this fat and that it kept some animals in the Arctic warm.  As a teacher, I know that students need to experience it.  So, getting out Crisco and a glove to try out is essential. 
I wish everyone a great year and many “teachable moments”. If you have time to stop by my Teachers Pay Teachers store, I have put up two bingo games.  One is for math vocabulary with the teen words(like nineteen)and the big tens(like fifty), and one is a science bingo, word search, and word scramble  on science tools.  I also have a science game (that crosses math and science) on rocks.  One of the common core standards is to know odd/even numbers.  The  Odd/Even Boo Game is great practice and it is free!  My store is at .

Thanks for stopping by my Hippity Hop store.  Special thanks to Brooke for having me guest blog today! 


Thanks Ann for 'hopping' by lol. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Multicultural Day

Today at school we celebrated Multicultural Day. My school is quite diverse with many Islanders (Tonga, Samoa) Indian and Asian students to name a few of our bigger cultural background groups. Its a day where we can celebrate each other differences and similarities.

The day is quite a mega event - our biggest community event of the year. But it also a lot of fun for both parents, students and teachers alike. 

Each teacher chose a country and an activity that the kids would do related to that country. I chose Mexico - why? Because I thought it would be fun :) No Mexican background here. At first I thought I would make Nachos - but who wants to eat nachos at 9am? Not me! So after looking at the net, I found some great ideas and decided to make a paper bag pinata!
Welcome to Mexico (in Sydney Australia)

All I needed was a paper bag for each kid, some newspaper to stuff it, a handful of lollies and a string to hang it up! I let the kids decorate their bag and promised me not to hit the pinata at school. My activity was definitely a hit :) We also did a very 'interesting' version of a Mexican hat dance (without the hat I might add) and learned how to say hello - Hola! Each class went to two other classes to do that activity so this took up our morning session.

The starting items for the paper bag pinata
One of the finished pinatas
Lunch time was what everyone was interested in. Families bring up food to taste test. Imagine plates heaped with unusual but awesome smelling food! It is soooooo awesome, my stomach is still hurting thinking about how much I ate today. From the traditional Australian vegemite sandwich and TimTams to Indian curry puffs to Sticky Rice rolls on palm leaves it is definitely a sight to behold!I made some scones to celebrate my "English" background. Hmmm yum.

 That is my half filled plate at the bottom of the screen (and I filled it more and then went back for seconds).

After the food, there was an assembly/performance by students from our school and the local highschool. We had a Year 5 girl doing an awesome belly dance, our school dance group performing, the high school Islander boys doing some Maori dancing, the high school girls doing some Islander dancing and 6 little cuties from our school doing a Polish dance. Soooo cute.

The final thing we had running all day was a digital art show in our school hall where we had all taken photos of some art in our classrooms and it was displayed on some laptops for parents and community to look at.

Wow, congrats to you if you read my whole post. I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I enjoyed eating being there.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


I am getting in early this month and linking up with Farley's Currently.

The holiday.....I am sooooo excited! I have not been on a holiday (or vacation) since my honeymoon 8 1/2 years ago! We are going to the Gold Coast just for 4 days but it is the first plane ride for the kids and we are going to Movie World and Dream World. Soooooo excited! (Can you tell I am excited?)

It is starting to warm up here but for some reason there is a chilly wind that is ruining the whole thing. I cant wait for the real spring weather to come and then hot hot summertime!

And as for the things I love right now, I am feeling quite a peace with my life. I had some bad patches at the end of last year but I feel like right now, everything is how it is meant to be. 

Go link up!

Newsletter Awesomeness!

Just a quick one this morning. I usually check my emails before checking on TPT because I like the little thrill that a product sold email gives me :) - you know what I am talking about!. Anyway, I noticed there was an unusual number of feedback left emails and thought it was a little strange. But I headed over to TPT to reply to the feedback.
Imagine my surprise that the first one I read said - Congrats on being featured in the newsletter!! I was so excited and happy and pleased and lots of other excitable verbs lol.
Thanks TPT for helping me realise some dreams that I never knew I had. And thanks to you who reads my blog and follows my store. My dreams would not be anything without the support of others.

Make sure you go and grab my Sweet Shop Friends of Ten Freebie.