A Busy Week

I thought I would do quite a random post with a few things we have been busy with over the last week... it has been quite a 'random' week in our house, with Winter colds and flu's starting to creep in to upset our peaceful routine :(

Last weekend we were getting very excited about the arrival of Hootabelle in ABC shops, so we had a great time creating some owls from paper squares and circles. My daughter has followed up this activity through week with some amazing drawings and her own cut-and-paste designs. I am 'so over' the view that art and craft with a specified end product is bad for children and learning. I have seen that it has done nothing but inspire my daughter and give her the confidence to do some amazing projects of her own design. But I won't get started on that debate...... Of course, I had to whip up a file for From the Pond that incorporated our fun - and the end-of-year themed writing craftivity "I had a hoot of a time" was born. You can see it here at TpT. Is there nothing I cannot weave the owl theme or word 'hoot' into? These are very practical for little hands, as the shapes are easy to cut!

I have started a LONG OVERDUE job and am so excited that I am almost done. I have had this bag of printed games and centre activities to laminate for 4 years. Yes you heard that right....4 years. I am ashamed. Its been on the to-do list for 4 that long! I have spent so many hours laminating for other people I have neglected my own collection. I have had the laminator on the kitchen bench all week, and in between everything else I do, I have managed to get through at least two thirds. I do make games and activities for my classroom....but these were clearly non-urgent ones!

Here is my champion laminator, she'll get a really workout next week as well, as I am going to get that bag empty! I plan to have everything laminated, organised, labelled and sequenced before I return to the classroom full time. It has been a plan for the last 12 years.... Over that time I have been adding to my collection and trying out all different sorts of systems for organisation. The one I settle don about 5 years ago, was to keep the instructions, game pieces and master copy of any associated worksheets together in a Marbig Clear Plastic Document Wallet. I love these wallets, as they are available at Woolworths, so I just throw a packet in the trolley with the weekly grocery shop. They do not have any buttons or zips (which always end up breaking anyway) so they lat flat for easy, compact storage. They are currently around $3 for a set of 4, but are worth the money. I should definitely have shares in that company!

I then group all my wallets into file boxes. They fit nicely without putting them in an actual hanging file (that the boxes can accommodate). What I like about these boxes is they are big enough to hold around 20 games, but not too big that they get too heavy. After a few years of using the big file boxes, I quickly learnt that I needed to be able to lift and carry them around the classroom easily. Here are my file boxes. I wonder how many I will have when I finish my next item on the to-do list, printing and laminating everything I have purchased from TpT - around 200 files and counting. Teachers really do have too many holidays and such an easy job don't they..... ;)

My daughter, niece and I made Olivia pictures! Just for fun - we watch Olivia every Friday and I thought this would be good for scissor practise. I got the idea and templates from TpT - you can find them HERE Speaking of Olivia, have you heard John Mayer's song Something About Olivia - am IN LOVE! Although I am sure he was not thinking about this cute little pink Olivia....

My daughter is getting vvvveeeeeerrrrrrryyyyyyyyyy ready for school! I thought I would indulge her interest in words and reading by starting her on some word recognition. She is getting a good handle on sounding-out phonetically regular words and a couple of sights words, is showing interest in learning to read, has conventions of print down pat....so I think widening her sight word vocab will help. Instead of plunging straight into some boring common sight words, I thought I would teach her some games first, using words of her choice.....then gradually mix in some sight words of my choice ;)

I could have predicted her choice - 'unicorn', 'dinosaur', 'octopus' and why didn't I think of it 'tree'..... because 'tree' really goes with the animal words ;)

I printed out some popcorn pictures, wrote each word on two cards, and laminated them. We keep them in a plastic popcorn bucket I purchased at Woolworths. Each night this week we have played a few games with the words:

A simple game of snap.

"Memory" - matching two cards with the same word

We then made the words with lego letters - this my daughter really enjoyed. I have had these lego letters packed away for a few years and just got them out for her to start using. For my Australian friends - keep your eyes open when you get the Aldi catalogue delivered. They have these letter bricks every year usually, and they are very reasonable priced.

I have sorted the letters into a 26 segment box - I LOVE these boxes and have quite a few of them. One with magnetic letters, one with letter cards and now these bricks.

I hope you have had a wonderful busy week too!