Friday, 28 September 2012

Friday Freebies

Frog Spot Five Freebies

It's time for another edition of 5 Fab Friday Freebies!

Anne Weaver has produced a wonderful set of Autumn Photo Flashcards. Now that I have a Smartboard in my classroom, I am madly saving lots of resources like this one on my USB. I open up the file on the board and do a traditional 'picture talk' with my students. Use Anne's set as it is for your classroom learning activities or use it for both personal or commercial learning products you create. There are 30 photos of plants, animals, leaves, seeds and signs of autumn. There are six photo flashcards on a page. Each photo is labelled. LOVE!
Find it at TpT HERE

Primary Punch has listed a Fall Themed Synonym Match Up resource. It is a quick and easy ELA centre to practice 12 synonyms with a fall theme! A synonym poster is also included. I LOVE the graphics in this one. Find it HERE

The delightful Jennie from JD’s Rockin’ Readers has put together an adorable Pumpkin Sound Boxes resource. The sound boxes can be used to help students stretch out words in their writing. Just laminate and use a dry erase marker..... you know me, I love ANY activity that involves a dry erase marker! You can find this FAB resource right HERE

Incredible K Kids has put together a one page freebie that will help your students determine if their writing is 5 Star! I would open this file on the Smartboard also, and discuss each point with my students. I love that visual examples have been included on each step of the rubric, so students can understand what good writing LOOKS like! Find it HERE

Greg Smedley has a cool Halloween Ten Frame Freebie up for grabs. Oct 31 is a while off, but get this early and get these babies printed and laminated ready in time. Greg has put together a set of 5 different Halloween ten frames that are great for centers, small groups and number recognition! They make insant fun centers and would be great for meeting Common Core math standards. Find them HERE

As always, I had a wonderful time looking through and downloading lots of FREE and wonderful resources that fellow teachers are sharing with the world. In a week that has been filled with talk about teachers becoming millionaires selling their resources, it is also thrilling to see so many resources being shared freely. Without taking anything away from the awesome achievement of super sellers I get just as much joy from thinking about the millions of ideas being exchanged between teachers all over the world with fab freebies such as these.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, 27 September 2012

Graphics Giveaway!

Tammy, a clipart seller on TpT is having a special giveaway to celebrate achieving 100 followers on her blog!
Head over to check out the giveaway, it is so simple to enter and you can win some wonderful graphics, including $10 to spend in my graphics store.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

EASY Letter Formation Activity

Jeannie over at Kindergarten Lifestyle is having a 'Letter Linky' with many wonderful ideas for helping students with letter identification and letter formation being linked up.
So here is one of my ideas that I started this year for my daughter here at home, but will take back to the classroom when my leave runs out (only a few more weeks...eek!)
My daughter L-O-V-E-S books of all types, but especially the books we make together. I turn anything and everything into a book for her. I used to cut out pictures of babies faces from catalogues and glue them in a scrap book for her when she was just a baby - she loved looking at other babies faces, and would squeal with delight as we looked through the scrapbooks together. I have stapled her drawings together to make books, and I scribe a story to go along with the pictures. One of her favourites is looking through photo albums. I made many for her as a toddler, with photos of family members and names written on each page. It helped her learn all the family names and develop her language and speech.
Recently, I combined some cheap mini photo albums from the dollar shop with flashcards to create write-n-wipe books for her.
I love me some write-n-wipe activities!
For the uninitiated, write-n-wipe activities see your students using dry erase markers to trace or write on laminated or plastic covered cards. They can then be wiped clean and used again.
Despite being LOADS of fun, write-n-wipe cards are great for students that may be struggling to connect with writing in meaningful ways. I never used to allow 'markers' in my kindergarten classroom very much. I have to admit, I am a little 'old school' with many things and liked to see my students using crayons and chublets for term 1 and then move on to pencils to learn writing skills. A few years into my teaching career, and a very special and wonderful colleague, who is beyond brilliant, told me in no uncertain terms, to get over my silly rules and let the marker in to classroom! She explained that using markers was particularly important for struggling students, as little pressure had to be exerted to achieve a good line. Almost 100% of their attention could then be left to focus on the actual formation of the letter, the directionality, shape and slope of the lines. For these students, pencils and crayons can inhibit their learning potential.
Well let me just say, I have not looked back. Markers are now my friends! It is more expensive, but well worth the extra few dollars. I throw a set of whiteboard markers into my grocery trolley every couple of weeks to replenish my classroom supply. I love the sort that have a little felt eraser on the top of the lid - ready for the wiping.
I do only use markers for certain activities in the classroom, and we have 'pencil only' workbooks, as I have to say... markers in books.....not my thing ;)
So... the write-n-wipe books....
Start with a little photo album..
Then, get all those boxes of commercially produced flashcards that you have lying around and have NEVER used (I know you have them too!)
Then, slide a card into each album pouch..
This set that I used had great 'blackline' pictures on the back of each card... If you don't have this on your cards, the coloured side will be just fine... students can trace over the coloured letter or number just as well.
Now... your students can write-n-wipe each page.
Not only can you make use of all those flashcards (seriously I have 3 boxes full, and almost tossed them in the recycling bin last year) but by keeping the cards in an album, they will be all nice and tidy, easily transported and require very little set up and pack away effort!
We do offer a printable letter formation write-n-wipe cards set on TpT and at our website. These ones can be printed, cut and laminated.
Speaking of laminating... I have a massive but fun filled few days ahead of me.. I have started printed and making ALL the wonderful resources that have linked up to our Little Friendly Ghosts/Spooky linky. I ran out of toner in my printer, but hopefully I can have them finished by the weekend, so I can showcase a few of them here on my blog. It has been wonderful to see all the different resources, and as I go through and visit each store, I am following and learning more about my fellow sellers on TpT and their amazing creativity. Many of the resources are free, so don't miss out, and if you want to join in, please email me and I will send you the graphics!

Friday, 21 September 2012

5 Fab Frogspot Freebies #3

Frog Spot Five Freebies
It is my favourite time of the week... hopping over to TpT and having a browse through the A-MA-ZZZZING collection of new and free teaching resources available.

Without further ado
1. Ms Sara Bee has created this very helpful 'Clean Up Song' - you can download it free as an MP3 and play it to your students to get them packing away. It is Sara's first TpT product, so head over and show her some love!
2. Eatsleepteach has listed a  wonderful little teachers-helper for work on pirates in your classroom.
Do you students have an interest in pirates? Are you doing a project and need a list of books?
This downloadable list includes pirate themed books for K-5 students sorted into two lists based on reading levels.
I love to do 'International Talk Like a Pirate Day' in my classroom, so will be filing this little beauty away for next year.
"Arr Favourite Books About Pirates" - A List for Elementary Teachers & Students can be found HERE
3. Math Coach’s Corner has joined the growing collection of Spoooooookkkkyyyy products on TpT with GhostlyMake Ten
Adorable friendly ghosts adorn this workstation activity for practising combinations for ten. Too cute!
4. Nouns All Around by Shuna P has already be downloaded over 500 times, but I could not resist including it in this list. What a total sweetie she is, for sharing this wonderful packet with you. It includes noun posters and noun activities. Don't miss it!
5. Tessa Maguire has listed a free set of Christmas Digital Papers
If you are anything like me, you will also recite the mantra 'I CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY DIGI PAPERS' on a daily basis!
This set is bold colourful and will help you start to feel all festive (yes, you have around 3 months to get your shopping done!)
If you are creating Christmas themed items, these digital papers may be just what you need! Included in the download are 12 pages of coordinating Christmas colours. Everything is green, white, and red. There are polka dots, stripes, and chevrons with various patterns.

If those fantastic five are not enough to get your freebie fix for the day, head over to our graphics blog and get two all new FREE fonts!

Thank you so much for stopping by to read our blog. Have a wonderful Friday!


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Free Froggy Font

Just jump on over to TeacherspayTeachers to collect for yourself this very cute new font and have fun with it making some teaching and classroom resources.
I hope you are having a wonderful week. I have been touched by three different family tragedies in the last few weeks, and it has knocked the wind out of my sales a little. All of them involve mothers and their babies or young children. If you have children, give them extra cuddles tonight as they are a true and pure, honest blessing. And before you start to complain about anything in this world, think of people that may have lost something that can never be replaced or purchased or fixed.
This will put everything into perspective for you.
Celebrate what you have rather than looking for deficiencies. Be kind. Be thankful.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Learning 4 Keeps Giveaway

Leah, at Learning-4-Keeps has an awesome giveaway at the moment - head over to her blog to read all about it!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Five Fab Freebies #2

Frog Spot Five Freebies

Another Friday has rolled around... is it just me or do you feel like it was last Friday just yesterday.. I have had another busy week, and once again am in awe of the wonderful new teacher sellers joining TpT and sharing their fabulous freebies with the world!

Here are five fab freebies I found today by wonderful TpT'ers

1. Shelley Lovett has listed some cool pre writing trace cards. I am in love with Write'n'Wipe cards at the moment. My daughter loves doing them here at home, and I also use them extensively in my classroom when I am teaching. These ones will be great for my niece, who is just starting to take an interest in writing. She starts school next year (January 2013).

2. Teacher Tam has listed some awesome borders to use on your next Halloween themed teaching resource. She has amazingly simple terms of use and Tam has included heaps of variety in this free set to help you create beautiful resources.

3. Tangled Up In Teaching has a Bully Bucket resource for free and it looks wonderful! Bullying is an issue very close to my heart. I despise bullies and all forms of bullying. I think it is wonderful that children are now able to learn about bullying and how to talk about it and hopefully deal with it. This free tool helps to promote a safe sharing environment in the classroom. Students can feel empowered to share their concerns about bullies at anytime.

4. The Happy Teacher has a very impressive free collection of skip counting posters for you to download. You can print these chevron themed posters on white card stock, or you can simply project them on your screen for quick skip counting/multiples practise!

I get SO much extra use our of all the 'pdf printables' that I purchase from TpT by opening them up on my Smartboard. It is amazing how you can transform something like a pdf flashcards file into an interactive activity by using the Smartboard pens and class discussion. Where would we be without our boards?

5. MrsKsClass has this very simple, but totally awesome printable for your nut free classroom. I can only presume that US schools are similar to our Australian schools - mostly nut free. We have so many students with nut allergies, it is safer to keep peanut products our of school. This poster will help your students remember to follow your policy.

I do hope you love these freebies as much as I did, and leave some lovely feedback for the sellers to show how much you appreciate them sharing with you :) Have you found any wonderful freebies lately? Leave me a comment to show me.

I have just posted two new free fonts on my graphics blog, head over there if you would like to check them out!


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Oodles of Spooky Boo!

Ok, so enough of the oo words already!
If you have not seen our Spooky Link Up, you need to head over to our graphics blog and check out the wonderful collection of resources, that is growing and growing! Lots are free, and some are priced, but they are all SPOOK-TACULAR! I have people emailing me every day to join in so expect lots more to add to your spooky ghost collection. I have a craftivity in development as well.
To help you get even more in a spooky mood... oh there is another oo... (I promise no more.. he he)
Download this too-cute fon HERE with TERMS for commercial use HERE

Cupcakes Font - Yum!

Do you just love this new font as much as I do!
You can download it for FREE HERE or from the sidebar on my graphics blog:
Keep an eye on this sidebar list.... it will grow!
And, as you can see, I am creating a wonderful week of free fonts for you!
Take a look at Wednesday!
If you would like to use our fonts commercially, please read the terms and conditions.... and I would LOVE you to follow my blog!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Grab our new button!

Frog Spot Blog From the Pond

If you have our button on your blog roll, feel free to update it with this new one! Get the code on our sidebar :)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Fancy Font and Paper Circles

Here is a fancy, loopy font I had fun making today, download it HERE to use in your next classroom and teaching files.
Today, my daughter and I had a great time making some simple paper crafts from my new resource file, A-Z with Paper Circles.
I made this resource for those moments in the classroom when you really want to quickly engage your students in something meaningful, practical and fun... but  you have not had quite the time to do a lot of planning or preparation.
For these crafts, you really just need to spend a short amount of time at the beginning of the school year, teaching your students how to fold a paper circle equally.
ALL of the crafts in this resource are made entirely from the segments that you cut from a paper circle. We call them Brennex Circles here in Australia, and EVERY K-2 classroom has a supply of them usually!
So, all you need for a basic paper craft is paper circle like these ones here. Of course, you can add any other craft materials to make your projects more detailed... but  it is a great idea to have the basic on hand for when you just want something quick, easy and simple.
For each letter of the alphabet, I have included a page that shows the finished picture, a page that details the pieces needed and one that can be photocopied if needed. You may want to do this if you do not have access to coloured paper circles. These pages would be great for displaying  on the Smartboard or Interactive Whiteboard, so students, sitting at their desks, can clearly see the pieces they need to cut from the circle that you have provided them with.
You can also turn the craft into a phonics activity by using the included worksheets. Teach your students to sing the words and they will have no problems remembering their letter sounds.

Here are some that we did today to decorate our toy room!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Five Fab Freebies

Frog Spot Five Freebies
During 2010-2011 I 'met' a fellow seller in the TpT seller forums, Pam. She had a blog called The Vintage Teacher. I helped Pam with quite a few things for her teaching resources and it gave me great joy to know that I was helping someone on the other side of the world and that in a small way I was helping her to achieve some dreams. We sent emails back and forth for a while, and while she never shared too much detail, I got a sense that Pam was not in a great way. Sadly, Pam passed away last year, but her blog and TpT store remain so we can all still celebrate the wonderful things she did. Every Friday she would help promote fellow TpT sellers with her 'Five Friday Freebies', and I was lucky to get a spot on her blog a few times.
I never got the chance to say goodbye to Pam, or ever really 'meet' her, but I do think about her often.
Today, I am going to blog about FIVE fabulous freebies, rather than just one in honour of Pam. I see that Pam got 22 weeks of five freebies, I can only say I hope to get that far :)
1. Apple Happy Gift Back to School Gift by Cindy at Kinder Kay - Read the description of this totally cute product over at TpT and you will get a glimpse of the absolutely super sweet Cindy! I want to meet this lady one day! I love her products as much as her kind happy approach to everything. Cindy has put together a lovely set of resources to create a gift for your students to welcome them back to school. Cindy has an apple theme in her classroom this year!
2. Owl Book Tubs by Jessica Tobin - this 18 page FAB freebie has already been downloaded over 1000 times, so chances are you may have seen it already, but I could not resist putting it in. Jessica is another super sweetie from Teachers Pay Teachers. This file has everything you need to get your book tubs organised and labelled and Jessica has included blank labels so you can add your own topics too!
3. Back to School Writing Paper by Merinda Powell - these funky writing pages will excite your students and help them present wonderful writing pieces in the back-to-school weeks and throughout the year. Another fabulous seller with a fabulous FREEBIE!
4. Odd and Even Boo by Ann at Hippity Hop Teacher Spot - the delightful Ann has put togther a colourful and cute packet that includes a game for helping students revise odd and even numbers! You can also find other fabulous resources to link up with this one at my Spooky Linky Party Ann - you know I think you are wonderful and always enjoy reading your funny emails!
5. How to Make an Alligator Puppet for Greater/Less Than by Martha Moore - Martha is another seriously sweet and happy TpT seller who is always sharing her positive attitude! I simple CANNOT wait to make one of these guys! Martha - you are so clever! This alligator will help your students to understand numbers that are greater/less than, and make it FUN!
I hope you love these 5 FAB Friday Frog Spot Freebies as much as I do! Some seriously hard work has been put into creating these, so if you download them, pay the kindness forward by leaving a sweet comment and feedback score.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Clearing the Clutter and An Apple a Day

At times,  I get asked how I manage to find time to do everything. I won't lie to you... its tricky.

I have also been told that I am a very organised person. But you see... most 'organised' people don't actually think they are very organised at all, and that things could always be a little more... well... organised, or prepared. Have you heard of the analogy of the calm swan gliding along the pond, with the flippers under water flapping wildly.

 That is kind of how an 'organised' person feels at times. For everything to glide along smoothly, there is lots of effort underneath the glossy exterior.
I am lucky, for some reason, some things in my life just seem to come together in the end. I don't know if it is good intuition, or just lots and lots of practise at planning ahead. Maybe 12 years of trying to manage 5 year olds has helped...
Anyhow, my very top, all time, number one tip for being organised and having it 'all together' is very simple - and I try to live by this rule at home... but I ALWAYS live by it at school work. 

It is

 to handle things ONCE

 Mostly paper. But it also applies to other things.
And that really boils down to having a spot for everything - or as I tell my kinders - a home for everything. How many time have you picked up things time and time again to try to sort them out... this is wasted time.

TIME is precious to teachers. I believe it is the MOST precious thing we can utilise as teachers. Time is like gold to a teacher, and a learner. The better you can organise your time, the better your teaching and the learning within your room will become. Money and resources do not make great schools. Time and the wise use of time is what will make a great classroom and a great school.

Back to handling paper ONCE.
In my classroom, I have 3 filing cabinets, a series of 5 'working folders' and a 'teacher tray'.
When I get a piece of paper (and let me tell you newbie teachers reading this post... you will receive, hundreds and hundreds of pieces of paper in a year that have the potential to literally flood your desk), I have trained myself to handle it once. It goes in one of five places.
I read it straight away if I can and decide if I can file it. It might go:
1. In my 'resource' or 'content' filing cabinet (files in here are things like 'Phonics', 'Frogs', 'The Seasons'... you get the drift - worksheets, units of work etc)
2. In my 'boring' 'theory' filing cabinet - here, I file things like policies and  curriculum notes
3. In my 'day to day' filing cabinet - near my desk - here I put all current school newsletters, staff memos, spare notes, proformas, class lists. In the top draw of this cabinet, I also have a file market 1 through to 10 (we have around 10 weeks in a school term). If I get a piece of paper that pertains to a particular week, for example, a seating arrangement for a school performance in week 6, I will file it in file #6. I always go through my week files on a Friday afternoon ready for the week ahead.
4. In one of my 5 working folders. My folders are always either in my 'school bag; to take home, or in a magazine holder on my desk. They include my 1. Day Planner, 2. Program 3. Assessment Folder 4. Payments and Permission Folder and 5. My Teacher Bible.
I cannot take all the credit for my Teacher Bible. A fabulous teacher that I taught with for a few years introduced me to the idea, and I LOVE it. It is nothing fancy, I want it to be as light as possible to carry around and simple. No time for fancy pants covers and pretty title pages with this one. You just get a plain but functional display book and your label maker. Label each plastic sleeve pocket in your display book in the top right hand corner. This is where I store all those bits of paper that are essential for the every day running of my room and program, but are not 'officially' part of the formal program documentation.
I put these basic labels in my teacher bible:
1. Class Timetable (I copy at least 5, so if anyone asks, I can give them one)
2. My Class Lists - I am not sure if you have these at your school, but we have official class roll lists and I copy 20 blank ones and have them handy for anytime I need to create a checklist of roll. Ours have a list of names and around 15 columns, in a grid like formation
3. Rest of School Class Lists - I get a class list of every class in my school, and have 2 copies of each. This is particularly good for the Kindergarten teacher! You need to be able to track down siblings, buddies and helpers and what classroom they are  in. It is also helpful if you are coordinating a school wide function or activity.
4. My Filled Out Class Lists - Here I keep all the checklists I have made for my class for things that are current, e.g which students have permission to use the Internet, groups, sport houses, etc
5. School Timetables - copy of any school timetable going around! Halls, fields, RFF, Library etc
6. Notes Home - I keep a master copy of the notes sent home in the last 5 weeks. After 5 weeks, they are filed in the filing cabinet
6. Things to Photocopy - Here I put anything I need to take with me to the office to get copied or filed in the school office
I add other labels as they are needed. The teacher bible gets regularly cleared out to keep it as functional as possible.
If I cannot decide where to file it, or don't have time to think about it (yes, sometime my mind is actually on the twenty or so 5 years olds in front of me), I will put it in my 'teacher tray' or for a better name, my 'clutter bucket'. It saves my desk from getting cluttered and I have a rule that I do NOT go home until I have worked through the teacher tray and emptied as much as I can, filing it properly.
I have 'clutter buckets' of one sort or another in just about every room at home. It helps me feel organised and tidy, which is sometimes difficult with little children in the house. They help to get the house under control, and maintian my 'lets handle it once' philosophy when sometimes, there is no time to get it sorted straight away. Clutter buckets are like holding bays....
I ask my daughter to tidy her toys every afternoon after a day's play. Most things have a place, as we have quite an organised play space. I do have clutter buckets for her, where she can just put little bits and pieces that otherwise do not have a place to live, until we can either find its proper home, or file it in the recycling bin ;)

It is a stand, that has lots of little baskets that rest on the shelves. Here, my daughter can place any little toy that seems lost of that does not have a 'proper' home. It is a great way to organise the 'un-organisable' and is also, in itself a wonderful place where she can go (along with her cousins and friends that visit) to 'dig for treasure'. Because there are so many little odds and ends, she enjoys having a poke around to see what can be discovered.
Today, on her 1001st 'mum, what can I do nooooooowwwwwww?' I asked her to sort them all by colour. She had a blast! We got all 12 baskets, emptied them out onto the floor in one big clutter pile, and then we just sorted it all by colour. So she put all the red toys in one basket, orange in another and so on...
Which started us thinking about colours... and then we read these books....
And found this great idea for an apple tree in the colours book.... ( I love Play School!)
Then, we just HAD to make these cute apple trees... just a green circle of paper in a cardboard cylinder with red sticky dots....
Cut a slit in the cylinder and slide the green circle in....

Which led us to read these books.... and I told her that she should appreciate the 30 Grug books she has, because when I was a little girl, I had JUST ONE! It was a very well read book.
If you have not seen Grug books... you need to! Grug is awesome! Ted, the author visited our school a few years back and showed the children how he writes and draws for his books. Grug is a little Australian character that started his life as the top of a Burrawang tree. Grug books are PERFECT for beginning readers and my daughter is now discovering the delights of reading Grug as I did almost 30 years ago! And Dick Bruna.... L-O-V-E..
Then we made an apple tree on the door of the play room....and I couldn't help but turn  it into a reading activity. We wrote some words on the apples.....

She pulled off the apples that she was able to read.....
And put them in the 'Good Apples' basket....

I put all the apples in a row, and pretended I needed some help making story...

It took a few tries, but she made a 'story' with the words....
 We talked about how you could change one of the words to make a new story....

We also made a cute little adding apples book... she loved cutting the shapes out of coloured paper and also using red sticky dots to make some patterns for the numbers
If you would like to make some 'apple' themed resources, you may like these free graphics at my TpT store. They are very basic, I made them when I just started learning the graphic design software. If you download them, perhaps you could leave feedback higher than a 1 for me! Ha! Some people are hard to please :)
How do you keep organised in your classroom? Do you use 'clutter buckets'?