Sunday, 31 August 2014

Wattle Day

I am dropping in on this drab rainy Sunday to wish my Aussie friends a happy Wattle Day for tomorrow! 

Wattle is a native Australian plant, with the most beautiful bright yellow flowers. They are the cutest little round pom-pom like flowers!

Here is some wattle I found on my walk today.



It is also the first day of Spring tomorrow! Can I get a collective 'yay' for the end of the longest winter EVER! 

We celebrate Wattle Day in Australia on the 1st day of September. It is a little sad to say that we celebrate most things in Australia by forgetting about them, and a week later, saying something like 'oh yeah, it was Wattle Day last week, we forgot, no worries, we will do it next year'.

I had the BEST teachers back when I was in primary school, and Australian history and content was paramount. We went for regular bush walks to observe native flora and fauna. We recited Australian bush poetry, sang folk songs like 'Along the Road to Gundagai', we were encouraged to be proud Australians..... sign... good memories. 

I had a teacher that used to rock a hand knitted 'wattle' jumper - I think she also had some darling wattle droopy earrings. Oh, if only I had a photo. 

If you need some information about Wattle Day, head over to the Wattle Say Association website HERE


Here are a couple of activities that you can do in a K-2 classroom. If you are super keen, find a wattle tree and grab a sprig to wear to school. The kids will love it!


Make a wattle artwork. I have provided templates for you to do a 'paper craft' but you could easily modify this and use paint and a variety of mediums to make a more detailed artwork. 


And a simple comprehension. You can read the passage with your class, and then your students can answer the simple questions!

I like to copy the reading and response sheet on different coloured papers. It is easier for students that are just learning to do this sort of activity, to keep track of what they are doing.





Download these pages and templates from Google Drive HERE


Thank you for stopping by today! Have a great Sunday! I will be back later with some Small Group Number plans! 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Five for Friday


It is 5 for Friday, my friends. Prepare for the delicious randomness of it!

1. 100 Journal. I just purchased a new '100 Journal'. I am still deciding - another 100 scrappy kids, or 100 cupcake recipes. Oh the dilemmas. 


2. Flat Mel arrived Down Under. 2 Super Teachers made a 'flat Mel' to take to Vegas for the TpT conference in July. An exciting looking package arrived on my doorstep this week, and I was thrilled to find 'Flat Mel' and a few other surprises. Seriously, could these ladies BE any sweeter? 

Thank you for thinking of me and including me in your trip girls - I cannot wait to meet you one day and give you a great big ol' hug! 


Here is a little frog friend that the girls sent me, that will sit by my computer from now on!


3. Another super-amazing friend, Stef, from Miss Galvin Learns, sent these gorgeous froggy sticky memos to my daughter this week, for her blossoming 'journaling' hobby. 

They were VERY well received, with Little Miss 7 jumping around the house in excitement. 


4. Not sure how, but a few of them MAY have ended up in MY notebook. Not sure how, not sure why, not at all, but you know, I am just going to go with it, because everyone knows you CANNOT say 'no' to cute frogs, they are just going to do what they want to do. That is the rule. 


5. I had to say goodbye to someone this week. Someone great. I have thought all week about the reason for this person's 'greatness' and it is impossible to define or describe with words. 

He is great, because of what he does for others. The value he places on people. His greatness has very little to do with himself, and all about what he does for other people.

What I can say easily and unreservedly is that great people have a huge impact on the lives of other people. When you have a school full of children being influenced by someone great, well, it is magic. 

Irreplaceably magic.





Thank you so much for stopping by! Head over to Doodle Bugs to find more '5 for Friday' randomness!






Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Apple Ideas for the Classroom!


I just started an 'Apple Ideas for the Classroom' pinterest board! You can find it HERE 

Follow along to find fresh, fun apple inspired classroom ideas!

Today, I added an apple creativity to my Paper Craft Collection bundle.

This craft will get your students thinking about adjectives - AND apples of course. 



You can find it in my TpT store as a single download,



or, of you have the collection - it is waiting ready for you!


I blogged over at Blog Hoppin today, click on the image below to find my post!


Have a great day friends!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Subitizing for Peek at A Week!


I hear a lot of people say this when they come across the word 'subitizing'!

Subitizing is such an important skill for your little learners. They need to be able to instantly identify a number arrangement. It can be dots (like on a dice) or in a ten frame - tally marks - you name it, as long as its a visual representation of the number, other than a numeral. 

To link up with Deedee's 'Peek at My Week', I want to share with you a set of 'small group' plans for number groups, that focus on this skill.


Now, the progression, in the skill 'subitizing' that I have shown in my differentiated plans, is just a progression that I have found works for me. There may be more 'scientifically proved' progressions, but this one is based on experience! 

I start out with the standard 1-6 patterns shown on a dice. Most children come to school knowing a few of these at least, and its a great place to start. Then I move on to ten frames, and also standard patterns from 7-10 (not included in these plans - covered later in the year). 

I move from standard ten frames (filled from left to right, top to bottom with no gaps) to more 'randomly filled' ten frames. 

After that I might move to random dot patterns or 20 frames. 

I have based my plans on 4 ability groups. Once you do your testing, you might find you have no students at one of these levels. Simply delete it, and add in a duplicate grouping of the students at the appropriate level. 



To determine the students in each grouping, undertake a quick assessment by flashing some dot patterns and ten frames at your students. Just use the cards that are provided in the resources outlined in the plans. You need to flash the card quickly. Students need to recognise these numbers  instantly - no time for counting! 




Thank you so much for stopping by to have a peek, you can download my plans HERE

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Organization!

Blog Hoppin' wants to know teachers' best tips for staying organized and why it works - for Why Wednesday!

I did a post in 2012 about 'cleaning the clutter' to share some things that work for me - you can read about it HERE

My 'Core Drawers' is also the system that has the biggest impact on my teaching.



For me, a 'system' is essential. It doesn't really matter how you choose to stay organized, and what methods you use, the key is to make it systematic. Think of a 'way' that suits you, and stick to it. If you have a personal rule or procedure about how to deal with things in the classroom, and you repeatedly follow and reinforce it, you will be 'organized'! Sounds easy enough, doesn't it!?

Another key tip I have, is to be mindful of lists. I DO love lists, and planners, diaries and so forth, but they may not work for you unless you do a little pre-organzing. 

What?! I hear you say?! Well, for me, these written types of organisation work best if I spend at least a week or two, with a blank, clear slate. 

I start the day on a whim, and I write down everything that I DO. Rather than what I want to do, or need to do, or aspire  to achieve. I just start, and keep track.

By the end of a week or two, you will naturally start to identify patterns and priorities, and it makes planning a WHOLE lot easier. With good plans, you can be organised. 

A sheet like this is a good way of keeping track of your 'do's' - or even just a timetable grid or diary style recording sheet. YOU can click on the image below to download this from google drive.

On each section, you can write a different aspect of your day/routine/job that you are trying to get organized. Keep it on  your desk and keep note of everything you actually do, and maybe even how long you spend doing it. Keep this going for a week or two.

A good side effect of this 'pre organisation' is that you will get a realistic picture of what is chewing up your time, what effect it has on your productivity, and how realistic you can be when you make your organisational list for the week. 

When you are ready you can also use it  to write a list of things that you would actually like to do in the week, and check them off as you do them! 



For more organisation tips, head over to Blog Hoppin!


Thanks so much for stopping by!



Monday, 18 August 2014

Who


I am linking up with Blog Hoppin for 'Teacher Week' and today, it's all about ME. Aren't you lucky!?

Some things about me, that quite possibly, you already know

1. I love my family. I have a beautiful husband, daughter (7) and son (2). I love drawing and reading with my daughter and my delicious 'bubba boy' (as he calls himself) is the happiest, sweetest, most content person you will ever meet. I am wondering how long it will last, but I would love him to pieces no matter what!

2. I love tea. I love making it. I love smelling it. I love drinking it. I can drink a tea-bag-tea, or a loose-leaf-tea (from a pot), but it HAS to be in a china teacup or mug. 

No milk. Hot, strong and black!


3. I love teaching. I adore it actually. I miss it terribly, but don't say that too much, in fear of being called a bad mother. I am on part time maternity leave at the moment, and will be till Bubba Boy goes to school. I get choked up when I think of the days of having my own classroom and class. I am certainly enjoying time with my family, but teaching is in my bones. 

4. I love drawing. What more can I say? I am so thankful that this From the Pond journey got me drawing more regularly again. 


5. I love my jeans. Combined with a simple T Shirt or sweater, it is my 'uniform' for the time being. There was a time, dare I say 'before children' when I loved keeping up with the latest pretty fashion, but its just not me at the moment. More than anything else, I like to be comfortable. As soon as I get home from anywhere, you will find me in the bedroom, changing into my uniform. 


I had to think hard, but here are 10 things you may NOT know about me! 


1. I love red shoes. Love, love, love. I just hate the way I cannot wear my 3000 green sweaters with them, because I feel too 'Christmassy'. 

2. I often return to the mother ship. And by 'mother ship' I mean Officeworks. Aisles and aisles of paper, pens, sticky tape, clips, laminating pouches, paper cutters and printer toner. When I need to de-stress, I walk through shelves of stationery. Yum. If Officeworks is closed, I go to Kikki.K. It's like Officeworks... but fancy.

3. Double Salted Licorice is the BEST! The end.

4. I spent lots of time outdoors growing up. Beach, lake, parks, boating, camping - you name it, we were there. I didn't have a stack of toys as a child, but my dad was a meticulous gardener and created and maintained a beautiful backyard for my sister and I to play in. We lived in that yard - creating games, running around and enjoying the fresh air and nature. Although being out in the sunshine still feels like home to me, I am very content with this more 'indoor' dominated short period of my life. 

5. I want to live by the beach. Being able to leave the front door and have my feet touch sand, would be awesome. It will probably be annoying at time, in the way only gritty sand can get, but awesome nonetheless. 

6. If we go shopping together one day, and we get separated, I will be in a children's book shop. Carrying bundles of books. If the stack of books is too high, and you can't see my glistening happy eyes, just look for the red shoes.

7. I am happy. I don't know about you, but in my 'real' life I get a few people constantly suggesting I take more vacations. Or go camping. Get away more. Or whatever. I don't mind so much, there are always going to be a few people around that want to suggest you be different in some way. But it does get me thinking. Most of all, it makes me appreciate the life I have and the people I spend it with. I don't feel a strong need to run away from my life or 'get away' - we are just so beautifully happy in the life we have created. A simple life, but a very very happy life.

8.Cough cough before I had children. I used to walk for at least an hour and a half a day. Every. Single. Day. I often wonder how many kilometres I have walked over the years. Then my brain starts to hurt and I start to draw instead. Walking was always part of 'me'. I will find that part of me again soon. I *think* it could be lost somewhere between the children's book shop and the liquorice.

9. I love jewellery, don't get me wrong. I drop lots of hints for a big fat pink diamond ring. 'One day', says my hubby. Lucky for him, I am content with my simple life. I have a tiny habit of removing all the jewellery I have on, and leaving it in random places over the house. I have no recollection of taking it off, and am forever looking for my watch and earrings. 

10. I know things. Can't explain it much better than that. Have always had it. Not everything, but some things, I just 'know'. It has taken a long time for me to trust and understand it. Nothing spooky, just very good intuition. But sadly, not where my jewellery is hiding. 


A huge thank you to the sweet Amy Lemons, for the '10 things' button! head over to her blog to grab one if you would like to use it!

So there you have it! I would LOVE to know more about you! Leave me a comment, or link up with Blog Hoppin'!


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Peek at My Week 2 - Counting Activities

I am back for another week of 'peek at my week' with the amazing Mrs Wills!

Last week, I told you that I would be sharing my plans for my 'Number Groups'. We work for 10-15 minutes, 2-3 times a week on targeted skills in the 'number' strand of our mathematics syllabus. If time permits, I would throw in a extra couple of rotations through the week - the more practice, the better! 

This week, I have also included a long range plan of topics. This is VERY flexible. You may choose to repeat a particular skill through to the next week, if you feel a second week of practice would be or more benefit to a particular group. Please note however, that the different skill areas (e.g. 'numeral identification' - are repeated twice a term at least, and throughout the year, to continually revisit and repeat activities and skills. 


For week 2, I would focus on 'Counting'. Students will be at various stage of development in counting. 

To find out where they are, you will need to dedicate a special time for a quick assessment. It should not take longer than 20 minutes to get through a class of 20 students, if you have everything out ready, and have the rest of the students working on some independent work. 

Have a pile of counters/chips on your desk. Ask students to come to see you individually. Present them with 7 counters from your pile (don't count them out). This is the important part! Watch what they do. You may get a range of responses. You want to watch and see if they can count out a set of objects and know that the number they finish on is the total number of the group. Are they touching one counter and saying one number word? Or are they rushing and skipping over a few numbers as they touch, out of time, with their words? 

You are looking for 1:1 correspondence. 

If a student cannot do this, they are in Group 1. Don't ask them to do any more counting. Give them a sticker and tell them they are wonderful!

If students can do this, you can then ask them to get 14 counters for you, from the big pile. Here, you are seeing how they cope with larger numbers. Try again with 26. Are they confident? Could they be better? This is teacher judgement, and comes with experience. Remember it is only week 2, so your students are learning valuable skills from just being in a group and participating in an activity. Don't get too bogged down in the assessment at this stage. Part of your job is to also observe students as they work with their activities. If you find you have made an error in your groupings, don't be too hard on yourself, it happens! Just make a note of it, ready for the next time you cover this skill area. 

The students you put in groups 2 and 3 will have 1:1 correspondence, but they need more practice with counting out a larger set accurately. You should also put students in these groups that may need extra practice with numeral identification with numbers to 20 (based on your assessment from last week).

Put very confident students, and those demonstrating early advanced strategies (counting multiple chips to get the total), into Group 4.


I have listed 2 activities for each group. Groups 2 and 3 are at the same level this week, as that is where most of the students will be. These plans can be easily adapted to suit other groupings if you find you need to.


You can access links to all the resources used, in my Powerpoint file. Just access the file in 'slideshow' mode to make the links active. 


One of the activities is a new freebie in my TpT store. You can find it here:


Throughout the week, I would also be doing mini lessons for the whole class, on correct counting of objects. You need to specifically demonstrate to a lot of little-learners, how to touch and slide objects as they count, to maintain a correct total. Show them how easy it is to double-count an object, if they don't move it away from the group as they count.

Thanks so much for visiting and having a 'peek' in to a sample week of mine! I hope it has helped you a little!


Please head over to Mrs Wills blog to find more teacher plans for the week!





Download my plans in MS Powerpoint format, from Google Drive HERE