Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Teacher Tip Thursday

I can't believe it is Thursday again! I am feeling swamped with school (without even having a day with the kids besides their assessment interviews) but I have to tell you that I have found Best Start Assessments fascinating!!

My tip for this week is organisation - and this is my goal for this year! I got this tip from Mel @ From the Pond - see her original post here.

Get an accordion file and label the tabs. In mine (no pics at the moment sorry) it has communication meetings, ALERT (out literacy program), TEN (maths program) and sport labels. 

After you have a staff meeting where you collect paper get given important notes, file them in the appropriate file space. This eliminates your desk/office/handbag becoming a breeding ground for paper. And if it doesn't have a space, either make one or BIN IT!!

My biggest goal is be an organised teacher this year and I hope this will help me (and you too!!)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Back to School Eve

Well I can't believe it but here I am about the go back for a new school year. I always think that 5 weeks off is a long time, but this year I had at least one child with me for the whole thing so it did go quite fast (and slow, if you understand that).

But here I sit thinking about tomorrow and what that means!

This is my week this week -

Tuesday - Whole day Professional Development

Wednesday and Thursday - Best Start Assessment for the new Kinders. Best Start is like a pre-assessment so we can see what they are coming to school with. It is mandatory across the state and you have the first 5 weeks of school to complete it. Many schools like mine, do it as an individual assessment before they 'start' and others start Kinder straight away and do the assessment during school time. Would love to hear your opinions on that!

Friday - my one day off for the week but this is my daughter's Best Start Assessment day so I will take her to her new 'big' school.

This year is such a big one for me with many changes personally and professionally.

This post is a bit of a ramble and I will be back to normal next time (here's hoping!) but I leave you with - 
Happy Back to School!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Teacher Tip Thursday

I thought I would try and do a bit of a 'tips' series of things I have found useful in the classroom, in organisation and even with the blogging/resource creating side of things.

So I bring you....

My tip for you this week is about pencils. When I made the switch from teaching the older kids in Grade 5 and 6, down to Year 2, pencils were a whole new deal for me. We supplied them, needed to sharpen them and keep them on the tables at all times. What? I tried a few different things until I caught onto this one.

Cups - plastic drinking cups from the cheap shop (to be exact Go-Lo/Crazy Clarks for my Aussie friends). The reason that I think these are great is because they are a bit on the heavy side and it is a little harder to know them over. They come in a set of $4 for 3 cups and believe me, they have been worth it! I bought some 2 years ago for my class and decided they needed replacing. So little Miss Maddie and I went into school today with the new pencil cups and.....

 Taaaadaaaa - the end result! My baskets for the tables, ready to go.

One more job to tick off the list!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Go away spammers!!!

I just need to vent...

I have been having a spam problem.

Not SPAM in a can (although I have a problem with that as well) but spammers on my blog.

No, I don't want to join your online casino.

No, I don't want you to invest my money.

No, I don't want to play blackjack.

No, I STILL don't want to join your casino.

Now I know this spam is probably all computer generated and that this rant is just that - a rant. 

But I wish they would just go away and stop spamming on my blog.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Books books books

Just a quick one from me tonight. I am typing on the iPad and my son (3) is insisting on playing angry birds while sitting on my shoulders!

But anyway, as I head back to school next week I am interested in your beginning of school books that you like to read to the kids. We haven't moved to the national curriculum yet but as I understand it, there is a literacy/ reading part ( please correct me if I am wrong!)

I am keen for a bit of shopping on book depository (and if you have never shopped there, please google it! You will never go back I promise) but I need some recommendations.

In my cart already are Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and The Kissing Hand but have you got some other favourites? My plan is to gather a range of books, make some activities to go with them and BAM! - literacy time is ready to go!

So tell me, what are your faves?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs

It is my first time linking up with 

So my week...
1. My little boy went back to preschool on Monday but now he is in the big boy classroom. It was kind of emotional walking him in there, knowing that this is his last year and this time next year we will be getting ready for Kinder. I *heart* that little guy.

2. I spent a bit of time creating some new stuff for my class. My favourite of the week was the sign for my door which read - Welcome to KB (K for kinder)

3. I made this chair. Click here to see my blog post about it.

4. My husband and I decided that this year we are going to knock our house down and build a BRAND NEW ONE! It is a little scary with the debt we will take on but the lure of a brand new place which we design is too great. 

5. I quit the gym - you know that episode in Friends where Chandler tries to quit the gym, then Ross joins the gym too and then they both try to quit the bank? LOL I love Friends. But anyway, I have been spending money and not going and with the changes in our life, I know this money will be better spent elsewhere.

Happy Weekend :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Poppin' for Numbers

I have been a busy bee in the holidays making some new things and having Kinder for the first time ever is stretching my brain. What do I need? What should I make? Luckily I have my own little girl going into Kinder this year to 'test' my new stuff on.

Check this one out...
It is chock full of game ideas and number cards and it is fun! Just ask Madison lol

We played one of the easy games - Numeral Identification, but with a little twist.
This is what I started with - how cute is the popcorn box? It is from Woolworths in the party section. Check out your Woolies or $2 store (was in a pack of 6).

Pop the cards inside (pop - get it?)
 We were pulling a card out and said the number. Then we made the number on the cute ten frame (also in the pack).
We did this one together!. We were talking about adding and how it means making a bigger number by adding more. She was getting it a little but what can I expect? She is on holidays after all hehe.

Even my son (3) had a turn at pulling numbers out and putting counters on the ten frame. We had to help him with what the number was but he was good at the counting. 

 It is on sale until tomorrow for only $3 instead of $4 at my TPT store.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Teachers are crafty!

Yesterday I went into work to do some tidying up for the new school year. We start back on the 29th January and it seems to be creeping creeping up!

I also had to cover my boards in fabric - I have just gone for bright colours as a theme (pics will come when it is all finished) but I did get some pics of my little crafty effort which was LONG overdue!

This is the chair I sit on every day. Goodness knows how old this sucker is! But the kids pick it, an pull stuffing out looks a  bit sad. Enter fabric and a staple gun!

 At the same time I took on the stools that were left in the classroom for me. Not in as bad a shape but still butt-ugly!

I don't have any process pics but this is the result!

 What a difference? I don't know how clean it will stay...but it is definitely better than the alternative. I might scotchguard it. Any thoughts?

 The stool for the kiddies :)
 My little reading corner - I have a mat to go down but I am still waiting for the cleaner to vacuum - still hasn't been done since the last day of school 3 WEEKS AGO!

The ensemble! In no way am I going to take up upholstery as a side job, but I found it easy enough :)

So what do you think?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Our class calendar

Firstly, I'll be honest. I have never had to do a class calendar before. I have taught Year 5 and 6, and for the last 2 years, I have been on Year 2. But this year I am teaching Kinder and these guys will need (and hopefully enjoy) doing daily calendar time (PLUS!)

I bring you.....

So what is inside? Check out these pics of my daughter and I testing it out.

 This is what you get (the main pages) and there are also Days, Months, Number cards and Weather cards included to complete your calendar activities not shown here

My little model completing the days activity (with some help from Mum)
 See Mum!
Blank monthly calendar chart. Change the month, write your own dates in and then add the weather icons to the day.
 Record and graph the weather over the month. If you live somewhere that is always sunny and you know you would run out of boxes, I would be happy to modify it for you. I have included 2 graphing version, one with snow and one without. (The one without is shown above).
 This one I had to fake because I am not at school at the moment.

I cut around the edges of all the main pages and then mounted onto plain coloured paper before I laminated it. I was so happy with how it turned out. I can't wait to stick it up in my classroom for my new Kinders.

Go and grab it yourself at my TPT store

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ken Robinson

Have you seen a video on TED with Sir Ken Robinson speaking about the shift in education. If you haven't you will find a powerful piece of viewing. It talks about technology and its impact on education. He says that we are educating our children out of creativity instead of teaching it to them. Here is the original video link.

But on our last day of school for 2012, our new principal showed us this talk, but done very differently by RSA. It is one of those animated drawings and puts visuals to the words.

Please go and check it out and share with your teacher friends. It is a long clip but definitely worth it.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The things children give you...

Now I know we all get those notes and pictures from our lovely little students. Some of them dash one off during free play, other go home and write us stories. I warms my heart but I just don't have the ability to display them all (nor do I want to).

You have probably seen this idea floating around pinterest and blogs - Love notes. 

Instead of sticking these little offerings from your kiddies EVERYWHERE, put them in a folder with some plastic sleeves and share them with the class!

I have made you a few that you can edit - add your own name to the front :) The file is a powerpoint file.

Click on the pic above to go and grab the file from Google Docs and show your kiddies that you really do appreciate their notes :) 

And I would appreciate some love if you like it :)

I have linked this post up with Teach it with Class

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My new find!

Husband requested some double sided tape the other day so off to the store I trotted. No double sided tape to be seen....but I saw these....

These are double sided tape dots! I love a new stationery item (think stationery nerd).

They are tape dots! If you stick things on the walls of your classroom and are sick of struggling with tape, this might be something you could try!

For my Australian friends, I actually picked these up at Franklins/IGA. For my American friends, these are something comparable that I found on Amazon (i *heart* amazon...but that is a conversation for another day)

What is your favourite new stationery find?

Monday, January 7, 2013

{Scorcher in Sydney}

Now I know most of you are freezing your little butt off and going back to school but today here in Sydney we are gearing up for one of the hottest days on record! Luckily we aren't at school at the moment - on summer holidays so I can try and keep cool, but with the extreme heat brings lots of fires and catastrophic weather. It has been so dry lately that fires are bound to occur and I hope that all my Australian friends stay safe! Luckily, we aren't very close to bush at all but my in-laws are, so I will be hoping my phone doesn't ring today with bad news.

As I am on break and a bit relaxed, I have been trying not to think too much about work - YET! I am working on some new products but am still a bit unsure what I will need for Kinder. I am still working to pretty up some things I used with my Year 2's last year as well because I know they worked and the kids enjoyed them.

**Click on any of the pictures to go and have a closer look at the product in my TPT store**

I'm also interested in what YOU want. Is there something you can't find? I am happy to open myself to something custom if you like. Just contact me at and I am happy to work with you.

I am super looking forward to buying a new computer in the next couple of weeks and getting my new Adobe suite of products so I can do a bit of dabbling in more advanced editing and possibly some frames or clipart? (the jury is still out on this one lol).

But I will leave you with stay cool (or warm) and look after your family. Ill be back later in the week with a more 'teaching focused' post.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year, New Ideas, New Possibilities

Stephany, Stephanie and Kathi have organised this great initiative for the new year.

Inline image 1

I am happy to be participating in a huge sharing of ideas and blogs from all over the world!
I am over at Teacher Mom of 3

But I am happy to introduce Angie from Rulin' the Roost

Hi everyone!  My name is Angie from Rulin’ the Roost!  I’m so happy to be guest blogging for Brooke today!!!  I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday break, however long it may have been.

For the past few years, our district has been taking the initiative of having more engaging, student centered activities, as well as starting a word study program, Words Their Way.  One thing that I have started this year which could be done at any grade with any word list is having a Tic-Tac-Toe choice board.  These are activities that students can choose to do to work on their words.  Students feel empowered because they are choosing what they want to do.  YOU choose the activities that you want them to do!  It’s a win-win situation that has kids “doing” more than listening.

When I create my activities, I keep in mind the paperwork and preparation involved.  I try to keep it simple, yet meaningful.  Here is a freebie example of a generic Tic-Tac-Toe word work choice board.  You can click on the picture below to grab yourself a copy.

Now, since starting this, I have taken a little spin on it as well!  At Christmas time, I decided to create themed activities that we used each week before Christmas.  The kids had a blast and they learned their words quickly, in a fun, meaningful way!   I JUST finished one that we’ll be using for the next month or so, throughout winter. I bundled up all the materials that would be needed and have it in a packet in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!  You can click on the picture to check it out!

Thanks Angie for coming to visit me today :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Currently 2013!

Hi all
I cannot believe (well I can but you know) that here we are in a brand new year! I *heart* Currently so here we go. Make sure you go and visit Farley too.

listening - maybe we watch too much TV, I always seem to be listening to it. And always kids shows. has anyone else lost control of their own TV?

Loving - it is summer time! The weather is great, swimming weather and the kiddies and I are enjoying our time at home and have been swimming in the pool at least once a day. Its great to see their confidence in the water growing by the day!

Thinking - I know that Kindergarten will be tough at first but I am stressing a bit about it. I need to just take a breath and remind myself that I will be fine (breathe Brooke breathe)

Wanting - TPT seems to be calling my name because there is no lesson planning/report writing/ school junk on my mind at the moment. But so far, swimming seems to be winning over the computer.

Needing - the kids and I am off up the coast tomorrow for a few days to visit my dad, who lives right by the beach. And I am actually leaving my daughter for a few extra days by herself (first time EVER). Looking forward to getting away from the house.

OLW - Smarter. No, not get smarter but BE smarter. My goal for this year is to work smarter not harder. That goes for work and home. I need to work out a system in my house that lets me clean it bit by bit and not let it overwhelm me. Same goes for organising dinner. Lesson planning. Resource making etc etc.