Saturday, March 29, 2014

Swap, Share, Give: A blog linky from Down Under!

Since being on TPT, I have made some connections with some AMAZING women and men...and the best part is that some of these people I have been fortunate to connect with are from my part of the world -Australia!

So one of these lovely ladies Lauren from Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep came up with a few of us having a bit of a product swap, I was in.

So I bring you
Mel Lloyd's photo.

I was paired up with Bec from Books Bugs and Boxes

The Teacher Wife

I picked her Squiggles and Wiggles pack and had a bit of fun at home with my kids testing it out!

Firstly we tried out the full page squiggle where you are provided with one or two elements to build your picture around. The kids enjoyed this one with the big cheesy smiles.

Next we tried out the mini-squiggle page, where there are 4 small boxes with 'squiggle starters'. We found this one a lot more challenging as it was pure imagination!

Last, I tried out the activity cards. You could chop these up and get students to select one or two, but we used it like a grid, and tried to choose something on each line horizontally. Definitely a challenge! But easy enough to change the difficulty by only including cards you think your kids could do.
For the two squiggles that rhyme, Miss M drew Mum. I asked what rhymed with Mum that she could draw. The answer was "Ive got it covered, I drew a bum!" Insert hysterical laughter here

It was a fun pack to use and would be great as a reward or early finisher activity, especially since it comes with a few writing pages to write about the squiggles.

Thanks Bec for sharing this with me!

More sharing! Just wanted to share with you a great freebie for practicing counting on your IWB. You can find it, and many others in my TPT store.

And for the giving part of my title - all the ladies who have participated in this swap are giving you the chance to win! All of the products showcased will be bundled into one big grand prize!!! Just use the Rafflecopter to enter and goodluck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Reflecting on the week in KB

I have been a bit of an inconsistent blogger. We have been doing so much great stuff in Kindergarten and the kids are a dream! (well most of the time lol) It is one of those groups of kids that for the rest of their school career people will just say WOW (you know, like the 100 year flood, once in a lifetime and you'll never forget it) is a look at some of the things we have been up to in the last couple of weeks.

Every week we look at a letter in focus and end the week with Friday Funday (also known as double bee Friday, where kids get double the reward - bees on their chart). Every Friday morning, we do craft to compliment the focus letter and 2 Fridays ago we made these fun igloos. We try to incorporate many different art/craft techniques to get students feeling confident in all aspects of art and craft. For this one, we used sponges to do the background with paint, then crayon to colour the small elements on the eskimo and penguins and finally the cutting and gluing onto the painted background. I evn made my kids mount their own artworks, as it gave me a little look at their spacial awareness (could they place it in the middle of the backing page). Then for some fun, I sprayed them all with glitter hairspray (which got me in a tonne of trouble from the cleaner!)

For maths this week, it more dice pattern and numeral ID stuff. The kids got really great at it and by the end of the week ( as we played this game 4 days in a row) I only had 3 kids out of 22 who subitizing was not automatic. And of those 3, 2 of them were only struggling with the number 4 for some reason. You can grab these freebie game mats in my post HERE.

I shared this one on Instagram and FB - we have a new reading corner! I had the shelving, benches and mat, but last weekend my boss bought me this tent at IKEA. All it took was a little rearranging of furniture and ta-da. The kids beg to be able to go and read when they are finished so it is definitely working. Do you have a fun reading corner?

Ahhhhhhh book club! It is one of the best presents! Eve if you have to give it to yourself. With both of my own children at school (in K and Yr1) books are definitely devoured in my house. The top spread is all the ones I bought for home while the bottom row is more to add to the classroom library. And for the second month in a row, my book club bill has been over $100....dont tell the husband please lol.
Thursday we celebrated the 40th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We read the story in class and I was surprised to see how many students were not familiar with the story. Then we made these cute headbands to make us look like caterpillars from the story - the kids and the parents loved them! 

We dont just craft in Kinder, but these are the only other pics I took last week. We had a focus on R and made this gorgeous rainbow. The techiniques we use were chipping and gluing and it incorporated a lot of talking about colours as well as the size of the segments of the rainbow. The finished product, with cotton wool cloud, looks so fabulous hung in my room :)

Wow, what a week (and a bit). I will try hard to take photos of some other learning that is going on. AND I am almost ready for a classroom tour now my room is looking so colourful and inviting.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Numeral Identification in Kindergarten

We have been working a lot on identifying dot patterns on dice in the last 2 weeks. We have been rolling and drawing the dot patterns over and over and over! The kids have been getting faster and faster at identifying the patterns and this week we needed to take it somewhere different - and connect it back to numbers.

Some of my kids are quite confident with their numbers to 10 but others are not. With these activities, it gives support and independence to those who can identify numbers but are unsure how to form them by themselves.

So how to play?

Each student needs a dice, sheet and whiteboard marker. Roll the dice, say the number and record the number. Continue with the game until one number "wins".

There are 2 variations for you 1-6 with dot patterns to compliment the numbers or 1-10 with just numerals.

Click either pic to go grab the file from Google docs.

(Sorry for the side alignment here)

It is a zip file which contains the pdf version of the recording sheet as well as a jpeg version which you can use on your Smartboard and turn it into a whole class demonstration or game.

I would love some feedback on what you think :)

And while you're here, have you bought this awesome Educents bundle yet?
Click to go and have a look at the fabulous goodies you can grab! 

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Just wanted to show you something new I added to my TPT store tonight. This pack was born because YOU asked for it after seeing a pic of mine on Instagram. If you feel like following I am brookeb80.

I made an 'i' headband for my Kinders last week to practice their letter formation as well as looking at initial sounds and working on our fine motor skills of tracing, cutting and colouring. We made our headbands during our morning group time and it was fully assembled and ready to wear in 15 minutes! And no, it wasnt a fluke as I managed to get through this activity with 3 different groups of kids.

So the whole set has been created - from A - Z. (x is treated as a final sound rather than an X for Xray).

Have a look!

How cute is my model? That is my son Cameron who is in Kindergarten this year (and no, not at my school). The pictures above take you through step by step just how easy it is for little people to create an alpha-band.

You can go and download the 'i' version from TPT as the preview of the whole file.

Click on any pic to take you to TPT.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Five for Friday!! A look at my week

Hi all. I have been wanting to blog all week but I just never can find the energy at the moment. But here I am, sharing a snap shot and linking up

1. How sweet is this clip art? I bought a BUNCH of stuff from Kari Bolt during the last sale and made this fun little subtraction pack for little learners. An addition pack will be coming soon too! Click HERE to visit her Facebook page and HERE to find this pack on TPT

2. It was 'i' week this week so we made these headbands in our fine motor/oral language groups. It only took them about 15 minutes to cut, colour and assemble so it was a great activity! I will be posting the full set of these basic alphabet bands in my TPT store over the weekend. Make sure you like my FB page so you will know when they are listed (I might even be keen to give one or two away!)

3. Another activity from our groups this week was shaving cream writing. It was our first time trying this and we will definitely do it again (just not sure how much 'writing' went on as we were too busy giggling about how the shaving cream felt)
4. One last activity from groups - GEOBOARDS. I bought a geo board pack quite a long time ago and thought this was a great time to use it. The shapes were quite challenging for my Kinders but they had lots of fun. Pack from First Grade Blue Skies

5. This one is from last Friday (I can still include it can't I?) We have been trying to use different craft/art techniques each week on Friday Funday - yes it is a thing in our class. These cute "crocodiles" came from the ever talented Mel From the Pond. We painted the bodies the day before, then cut the next day, did our paper accordian folding (which is a lot harder than it looks for a 5 year old lol) and did the teeth. I actually glued the template onto foil so the teeth would look shiny :) Funny story though, when I took the paper home to glue on, I discovered I only had purple foil. Add a googly eye and it was done! Click HERE to go and look at it in Mel's TPT store. And HERE is a blog post from Mel showcasing some of the awesome things you can make from this pack.

You made it to the end! Great! I am going to give away one of my Subtraction Task Cards for Little Learners (seen above). Just leave a comment with something you did in class this week (dont forget your email address). I will pick a random winner on Sunday (Syd time)


The generous Mel of From the Pond has kindly offered to give away one of her Craft Projects - 26 Fold and Create Paper crafts. Go and show her some love on her BLOG or TPT store
Frog Spot Blog
Love this girl!

So that is 2 lucky winners! Leave your comment to be entered!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop - Using Websites in the classroom

Thanks for hopping by!

If you are anything like me, you have come to rely on techonology in the classroom! I love how great it can be to use up those precious left over minutes with something fun, like a video of Just Dance on YouTube or something educational, like a quick game or song. I wanted to share a few websites that are a staple in my classroom and totally suitable from K-2.

This one has some great games for Literacy, Maths and Science. Very easy to find things and easy for students to navigate.

This is another great one! Divided into Early Years, KS1, KS2, KS3 and KS4, you can search by year level or topic. The game above, Ladybird Spots is always a great one to play for number. There are some really great games for Grade 1 and 2 as well that are pretty engaging.

One of my favourites and also a fave of my students. As you can see from the pic, you pic your grade level and you are good to go. It also has a great 'games' section where you can do things like build a car or a pizza or a robot! The learning games are great, I particularly like the Maths section.

In NSW, we have a new English syllabus this year and there is a huge push towards visual literacy and multi-modal texts. Storyline online is a firm favourite in my classroom becuase the children can enjoy stories through technology. I often put a story on during eating time at lunch.

YouTube is one of those great resources that hopefully you still have access to at school (if you dont, a great alternative is to google 'save youtube video' and there are many sites which can save the file). These are 2 of my go to youtube favourites
Cliff Hanger will never get off the cliff! It has a bit of a phonics focus and the kids like the humour.

I have written about Dream English before HERE. There is something about Matt that my kids just eat up! From weather songs, to phonics, days and months and even left and right, Matt has songs for anything. Disclaimer: The songs may get stuck in your head and you will find yourself singing "What's the weather?" for two straight days lol.

I hope you have found some websites that might be useful in your class. Have you got anything you could add to the list?

Hop over to Mel from From the Pond to read all about her bright ideas about teaching money!

Frog Spot Blog

Friday, March 7, 2014

Teaching Grammar....and a great deal from Educents!

Grammar is often a tricky thing to teach as it requires lots of practice. Here are some of the resources I have found that you can use in your classroom.

Adjectives! This is a really sweet way to work on adjectives AND increase students' self-image and confidence!


But if you really want good resources than you are going to love this amazing deal over at Educents!  I have teamed up with 5 other amazing sellers to load your classrooms with 10 resources to help kids work on grammar!  

My product included will surely be loved by your students!  

For a limited time it is $10.99 from Educents which is about 70% off!  It also includes these other great products so there is sure to things you love!  

And if you have never purchased from Educents before.. they always have a great deal for your first purchase.  Click HERE if you are a first time purchaser to take advantage of a  special offer just for you!   

You can also take peek at some of the other products included in the bundle at any of the links below!
Have fun teaching grammar everyone!

Monday, March 3, 2014

DIY whisper phones

I have seen these at lot on Pinterest and other clever bloggers pages. I really wanted my own so I thought I would have a go. All I used was 2 things and I was surprised how easy it was!

I bought 2 small PVC elbow from the plumbing section at the hardware store and grabbed some fun patterned duct tape. The elbows DID NOT fit into each other at all!

I lined up the seams on the PVC so that the corners turned like a 'phone' shape. Then I wrapped it with duct ape until it felt very firm.

And there it was - a neat little whisper phone.

Could it be built a little better? Sure if I was willing to spend more money on special glue or another piece of pipe to join it together. But for my purpose (and for the awesome cost of $2.72 per whisper phone) I have something that is functional and easy for me to make.

Why not try it yourself?

Do you use whisper phones in your classroom?