Back Into It

Most teacher sin my state of Australia go back into the classroom tomorrow after a 2 week Autumn break - we call our breaks from school 'holidays'.
I have made this proforma for planning a 'holiday recount'. Students can plan their ideas on it before they write.
I have provided a nice worksheet for writing the good copy!
You can grab both for FREE HERE - from google drive!
I plan writing lines, so that students write in the solid lines and use the dotted lines for top/tail guides. I have noticed that teachers around the globe do it differently - please share with me what you do! Is this common where you are from?
Thanks for stopping by!

Paper Crafts, Craftivities and Instagram

I just posted this picture on Instagram, as I have just found a great way to store all my paper craft and craftivity samples. In a big A3 display book! Well, it will surely be 'books' when I am done sorting.  I have kept a sample of most paper crafts I have made with Kindergarten over the last decade. They are all squashed neatly arranged in a plastic box.
Why did I not think of this before?
I like to have a sample to show my students before we start, and although it is always good to model and demonstrate a skill in front of the students, at times it is great to have one 'I prepared earlier' - even just to refresh your own memory.

In Australia, we call a 'Display Book' a plastic folder that you can slide sheets into. They differ from a regular ring binder in that the pages are usually fixed. The small versions of these folders are used for school portfolios etc.
This is an A3 folder. A3 is the paper we use that is exactly twice our standard office paper, called A4.
I also use these A3 ring binders to store lots of my medium sized posters and resources. Things that I have laminated, that are too large to put in pouches, boxes or my filing cabinet.  
Lots of art and design students use these for their portfolios.
What I love most about these binders is that you can add 'display booklets' to them. I think they are called 'Binder Mates'. Each has a round 20 pages, and you can group resources into sections and transfer them in and out very easily.
I have rhyme and song posters in one section...
Posters, anchor charts and large scale write-n-wipe for handwriting and letters.
And another for large laminated number games etc. I have plenty more (I'm not admitting publicly to just how many) - but you get the idea!
You can find me at Instagram by searching for 'fromthepond' on your phone or clicking here:
I am linking up with Rachelle over at 'What the Teacher Wants' as she has planned an amazing gathering of Teacher-gramers every Tuesday! Hop over to check it out!
Thanks for stopping by!

Muffins for Mothers and a Giveaway

If you have not secured a totally cute Mother's Day Craftivity for your students, I might have one for you to consider!
This is our 'Muffin for Mom" (and yes we have totally included 'Mum' spellings as well!).
After making a cute girl or boy craft, your students can write words to describe their mother on the pages of the muffin top! Moms and Mums will never look at muffin-tops the same way!
You can find it here at TpT
I have donated prizes for a few giveaways this week, here are a couple you  might want to enter!
Head to Primary Paradise, my friend Martha's blog. She is celebrating 200 followers!
And also Dana over at Fun in 1st Grade is having a grand celebration for her Blogiversary!
 Thanks for stopping by, enjoy your weekend!

Make a Spinny Game / Center

Got some old CDs and DVDs laying around? Some that are scratched or .....ahem... "not used" (like the postnatal fitness DVD that bit the dust today in my house).
Give them new life - help them to become nifty little games for learning numbers and other essential content.
I first blogged about our Spinny Centers in July of 2012 and I have been wanting to get back to them for a while ... a few things have kept me busy.
My dad and I worked out, after several days and a few test models that using sandpaper on the back of old DVDs will make them spin super fast in their cases. You need to make the back nice and scratchy.
Print a nice new cover for the disc and some game boards and you have yourself a 'Spinny Center'. My daughter LOVES these! Especially the 'spinning' part!
Here is our latest in the collection, to help with numbers to 20.
Apart from plastic counters/chips, everything for this game can be kept inside the DVD case, ready for use.
Players in this game, spin a number and check to see if it is located on their game board.
You can find our new Spinny Centers at TpT!
To find more great "Take and Make' ideas, head over to Cynthia's blog!

Organizing Games and Resources

I got more organised today! Well I 'prettied up' my games cupboard! And that will help me stay more organised!
I had a goal to have all my printable games and resources for teaching printed, laminated and sorted before the end of my maternity leave. I have readjusted that goal, and made it 'by the end of my PART TIME maternity leave. That should give me a few years! I was shocked to find  6219 files on my computer. Granted, many are old and need to be deleted. But ... what. a. job.!
This is just one cupboard. I have 3 so far. Here is how it looked before...
And here she is now. So pretty! Ok, the colours will bug me a little until I make them consistent, but this is a work-in-progress. I have only done Mathematics so far, and am headed to my English resources later this week or next.
I love these boxes, as after years of trying many different methods, this has been the easiest. Often I just leave the lids off, so I can quickly access the contents. I like that the boxes are large enough to hold quite a few laminated resource packets, but small enough that I do not struggle to lift and manoeuvre them - to the classroom and around the classroom. They are very portable, with a carry handle on the top. These babies stay at home with me, the boxes and contents are 100% paid by me, and lets face it, I would never have this much storage in my classroom.
Inside each box, I have my resources, activities and games ready in individual pouches. Sometimes, my resources will cover 2 categories. I make a judgement call on which box to keep it in, and stick a post-it on the inside of the other box to remind myself that I have another resource ready in another location.
If you would like to make some box labels like these, you can download the ones I made HERE for free! They are for your personal use only and may not be re-distributed. If you know someone else that would like them, please send them here to my blog.
If you need different words/categories on your labels, shoot me a message, I will try to find some time to add more to the collection.
I will post again after I do my English and Classroom Management boxes!
Thanks for stopping by!

Flower Fun

I have spent many hours outside in the sunshine over the last week with my little ones and new puppy. Many hours. Quite a few of my recent projects are reflecting the 'garden' setting of my days.

My daughter and I took shelter from the sun after lunch and took part in some paper craft. We created this garden picture with coloured papers, glue , patty cases (cupcake liners), tissue paper and crepe paper.

As well as the standard paper craft techniques of folding, cutting and pasting - we did some fringing for the grass and twisting for the butterflies.

My daughter enjoyed writing labels for the different features in the garden after counting each item.

We found and read some garden themed books from our bookshelves. This one is a favourite - Amelia Ellicott's Garden.  We talked about how great it is to enjoy our backyards and gardens with our friends.

We played a little flower game. We started with stems and had to make a "Ten Petal" flower with plastic counters.

We rolled 2 dice, added the numbers and placed the same number of counters as petals, on the flower. The idea being to keep building sets of ten and then counting them up all together at the end of the game. We reached 40 petals and talked about how 4 flowers of 10 petals made 40!

And because we were talking about tens, we took the opportunity to do some fast  ten frame work! This was my daughter's favourite. She loved it!

I quickly flashed a ten frame at her, holding it for around 5 seconds. I asked her to try to memorise the pattern and replicate it in her little booklet.

I gave her a few tips to get her started - reminding her that there is five squares on top and five on the bottom. Look for a filled line and know that it is five - add any extras onto the five. If the frame is quite full, look for the empty spaces.  After a few cards, she was zipping through them.

I plan to do this activity with her a few times this week, to really cement those images in her mind!

The cards and book came from my new product "Fast Ten Frames", which is at TpT HERE

If you would like to play our "Make a Ten Petal Flower" game, click on the image below to find the Print & Play game boards in google drive for FREE!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

A Bloggy Meet Up

I travelled down the highway today to meet up with Brooke from Teachable Moments in Tuggerah - which is about a half way point between our two towns.
Teachable Moments
It was the first time we have met! We have been chatting away through our blogs and TpT during the last year.
We met at Max Brenner (a chocolate FILLED café) and shared this yummy chocolate fondue plate. SO yummy!
I seriously yacked poor Brooke's head off, and have sent her a message since telling her we need to have catch up #2 so she can have a turn to talk!
We have so much in common, we both
- teach in NSW public schools
- have daughters in Kindergarten this year
- have seriously delicious 2nd born sons that we spoil
- have major clipart addictions
- love chocolate
- rock a blue cardy (cardigan for all you non-Australians)
And here we are! Brooke is the fantastic looking brunette on the right!
Thank you to everyone that has helped promote and support the 'Super Pack for Bundy'. Jody told me today that we are almost at $900! I am beyond thrilled. I know that the students at Bundaberg East will get some lovely new resources with those funds. We would love to get to $1000, so if you could help us promote this packet for this last week, we would be so grateful.
Read my original post HERE
Find the packet on TpT HERE
Thanks for stopping by!

Freebie for Facebook Fans

If you would like to download these little cuties for free, please hop over to Facebook and 'Like' our page, you will then gain access to our 'Fans Only' section and be rewarded with regular flash freebies like these!

This set includes a scrappy gumball machine, gum sticks, wrapped gum, gumballs and bubbles.

So much fun!

Find us at

Ten Frames in the Core Drawers

Are you tired of being a hot mess at work? Have the core of what you need ready and waiting at your fingertips, and I promise, everything about this job will get a whole lot more rewarding!

Today we want to tell you more about the Core Drawers. If you do not know about them yet, read our first post HERE

Ten Frame Activities For Math

classroom organization with drawers

4th Drawer 

I want to tell you about the 4th drawer. It is where I advise you keep some basic cards and equipment for numeracy and mathematics.

  • a printed hundreds chart, 
  • 120 chart, 
  • 2 sets of 'tens frames', 
  • number lines, 
  • numeral cards (at least numbers 0-30) and 
  • a counters box

Use it for

All this equipment is perfect for 
  • demonstrating activities that your students will then do at their desks, 
  • engaging in whole class activities, or 
  • to use in demonstrations and explanations of content. 
Having it all ready at your fingertips will mean that you can focus 100% on your teaching and the students.

Counters Box

The counters box includes around 20 plastic counters/chips and 4 standard six sided dice. I recommend you prepare, in addition, one of these boxes for each student in your class, and keep them close to the students' desks.

Number Games

With the one in your 'Core Drawers' you will able to easily demonstrate and play quick number games with the class directly from your teacher chair. Students can then go back to their tables or groups to play independently with their own counters box and have identical equipment ready.

Ten Frames

With the ten frames ready in your drawer, you can engage students in essential number work, in 5 and 10 minute blocks of spare time that you have between lessons and at the end of each session. Make those moments count!
  • Take two ten frames from your collection at a time, briefly show them to your students and ask then to quickly add them. Easy, simple - an essential skill!

  • Show your students one ten frame for a few seconds, ask them to call out the number shown. Ask them to call out the number that is one more or one less. Ask them to call out the number that will add with this one to make ten.

Fast Ten Frame Activities

We have bundled up 20 VERY SIMPLE and FAST activities like these couple, in a little packet called "Fast Ten Frame Activities". This packet has now been added to the 'Core Drawer' resource and is also available separately.

It includes a set of 20 cards with ideas for activities to do in a flash - when you have those little spare few minutes of time between lessons, and you can squeeze a min activity in. They make great brain breaks too!

You can punch a hole in the cards and put them on a ring, so you have them at your fingertips.

A favourite of mine has always been 'Monster Stomp' where students stand and stomp out the number they see on the ten frame I flash. It gets them moving, counting, visualising and engages both sides of their brain! And let's face it, if it is fun, they remember it!

As well as 20 simple ideas it includes

a little printable mini-book, to be used in one of the activities. Students will memorize the number shown and replicate it in their book and also think of an additional pattern for the same number.

The packet also includes a set of teacher flashcards, should you not want to buy the complete 'Core Drawers' resource. The flashcards in this set have a fun 'fuzzy' effect to make them different from others you may have and will help motivate your students! A plain standard set is included also.
The file also includes a few worksheet activities and a set of classroom ten frame posters!

Can you tell I just love ten frames!?

Find my other posts about our Core Drawers, HERE and HERE

We hope you find these ideas useful for incorporating into your pedagogy. I will keep saving some more fun ideas for ten frames over on our Pinterest board - do follow so you can keep up with them.