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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Short Vowels in the Mouse House


Practicing short vowels with your students - both articulating them clearly, and 'hearing' (identifying) them - will help them so much with their reading AND writing. I can't tell you how much. Well maybe I could but it would take a very long time, and I think you will just have to trust me, and I am sure you already know. 

I want to share with you today a little activity that I like to do with my students to help with listening for and identifying short vowel sounds in words. 

But there are no cute pictures to cut.

No glue or scissors. 

Just listening with ears. 

Fancy that! 

Well, if you are like me, and love a good visual, you can print the little reminder sheet/poster/any-excuse-to-make-a-printable, printable from Google Drive HERE


For this activity, tell your students they will be listening for the short vowel sound in each word that you say. 

If you are like me, and are really thinking about a hot cup of tea and a toilet break often mentally challenged when trying to randomly select a good variety of random and appropriate words for language activities - you may like this little file from my TpT store. It says Kindergarten, but it is also good for first and second grade. It contains good lists of words so you always have them at your ready!


So - read - or think of some words with a variety of short vowel sounds. Your students listen to the word, and show that they can identify the short vowel sound within the word by doing a hand signal to match.

If the word has an 'a' sound - for example, you may have called out the words 'cat'

 Your students each make a house with one hand, and put the other hand (the mouse) AT the side of the house.

For words with the 'e' sound - students put their mouse on the EDGE of the house.


For words with an 'i' sound, students put their mouse IN the mouse house door!


For words with a short 'o' sound, your students will put their mouse ON the house.

And under the house for words with a short u sound. 



Start this game by using simple short cvc words, and make it more challenging by adding longer harder words that contain blends, digraphs and tricky sounds!


If your students need MORE practice with short vowel sounds, you may like to use the pages within Bump Jump and Build, a file I made with Deanna Jump. These game worksheets really get students interacting and THINKING about sounds and words, rather than just lower level cutting and sorting pictures. Your students will LOVE them. Click on the images below to find Bump Jump and Build in Deanna's TpT store.






Thank you so much for stopping by today - have fun with short vowels! 


Sunday, 27 April 2014

Mother's Day - Reader and Card

I am trying to be upbeat. It's the end of a 2 week Autumn break for me. I have loved having extra time with my girl. We have all loved having a break from "The Morning Routine" and "The School Run".

And by "The Morning Routine" - I mean, me desperately rushing around in a sleep deprived fog to get two children fed, dressed, prepared and in good spirits of the day. While drinking tea. And eating toast on the run. And EVEN maybe combing my hair and putting some mascara on. You know, to look awake. I read in a magazine (remember those?), to always get your eyes made-up first, because most likely, you will not need any other product on your face. 

Yep, that is 100% the sole reason why I start and finish with mascara. Cause I don't need anything else. 

Until the sleep-deprived eyes unjust and I can actually see the mirror. 

Never mind. I am READY to start another term of school runs, daily routines and part-time teaching. THIS term, I am going too have it 'All Together". Here's to hoping! 

I can't complain though. I won't seriously complain. Friday was ANZAC day here in Australia - our day of remembrance, for soldiers, past and present that have served our country. 

It is always a hugely emotional day for me, and many others. Both sets of my grandparents, and consequently both my parents had lives deeply affected by war. One set of my grandparents fled a war torn Europe to settle in Australia. They sold everything they had to buy 5 tickets on a ship to sail to a better life, away for the horrors they had witnessed. With only a few words of English and a few boxes of personal items, they set up a new life in a rugged, relatively new county. They were of an age where they should have been starting to slow down and enjoy the merits of their hard work. Instead, they started working all over again. And I cannot begin to image how tough our country was on them initially.

My other grandparents were both enlisted. My grandfather left his home here in Australia to serve in a country on the other side of the world. He was an extraordinary fighter pilot and the stories of his life both make me proud, and also break my heart. He came home a broken man - his life was deeply affected by war for many many years to come, and the lives of those close to him. 

As much as I often lightheartedly complain about the daily 'trials' of my life, I only have to think about the sacrifices they, and many other soldiers made, for me to be here. I treasure the journey my grandparents made through their lives. They remind me of how blessed we are, to live such a wonderful, peaceful life. I am reminded through the horror they experienced, to never, ever waste a second of it. 

Lest. We. Forget. 


Two amazing mothers, facing far greater challenges that I will ever have to face. 

And speaking about mothers.... I found the Mother's Day catalogues in my mailbox today, and quickly circled everything that I liked it reminded me that I need to get even more organised for my "Got It All Together" term and buy something super special for MY mum. It also reminded me that I need to start thing about how to celebrate Mother's Day in the classroom.

This little printable reader will help you in lessons about mothers AND farm babies! 



You can download a FREE copy, by clicking on the image below!


If you like this reader, you might like to check out my Readers Ultimate Pack, at TpT. Click on the image below to find it!


I created a new Mother's Day card for this year. It is VERY simple for little people to handle. Just a few cuts, some writing and some gluing and it's done. 


Your students will just need to get all their 'bits' cut out....


write some words to describe their mother...


and glue some petals over - finishing with a 'my mom is" (or "my mum is") flower center (or flower centre) - notice how 'global' I can be with multiple spellings ;)

And voila, a pretty Flip the Flap Flower Card! 



Thank you so much for stopping by today - have fun planning your Mother's Day things!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Teresa

I am still not quite sure what words to write. 

I have been staring at this big white empty space on and off for 2 days and still I just feel a bit empty.

Those of you that blog, network with 'online friends' on social media may understand.

When you know somebody. But you don't know them. 

When you have become online friends. Over oceans and thousands and thousands of miles.

But you have never got the chance to hug or look at each others face when you chat.

You have a special friendship. A friendship that is on the computer screen. 


I have a wonderful bunch of online friends. We came together through our support of a fellow TpT seller, Teresa, when she was not well - about 18 months ago. So I am told. It feels like 5 years ago. And I am hopeless with dates and numbers. And time. 

I feel like I have known these friends my whole life.  A week 'online' is a year of normal time.

Teresa, our dear and special friend, passed away this week.

We are deeply sad. We are a bit lost. And our group will not be the same.  

2nd Grade Pig Pen

Teresa, I may not have been able to give you a hug or get to know you as well as I would if I lived up the street, but you have been a special part of my life over the last 2 years. I loved your kind, happy spirit and will miss being able to chat with you in our group. 

I didn't get to 'meet' you, or drop by your house for a cup of tea. But I am going to keep, bookmarked on my computer, your last blog post. Looking at the picture you posted of the beautiful little white church, just across from your house - surrounded by snow, will remind me of you. I get such a sense of peace and beauty when I look at it, and I can almost imagine I am with you at your house. 

Rest in peace friend. 


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Bunny Kids Art - Tuesday Art Linky


Hi friends! It is time for my Tuesday Art Linky

Please feel free to link up a blog post {in the comments below} you have that is about K-6 Classroom Art or Craft projects. 

Your post could share a brand new idea, a photo from your classroom or  an idea that you have seen somewhere else on the internet - as long as it is 'art inspired' and it is appropriate for the classroom - I am happy! Please include today's button (green one above, just right click and SAVE AS) and link it back to this post!

Today I want to share an 'Easter Bunny' artwork that my daughter completed today. She is on Autumn school break and it is raining! Great - (insert happy happy joy joy smile here)!

Start by cutting a basic bunny shape out. We just freehand drew this one. I showed my daughter how to draw it up from the bottom edge of the paper, so we achieved a nice flat line on the base.


Cut it out and place it down on your artwork page. And then splatter paint all over. We used a dot painter - you could also use finger prints or a cotton ball to get the dabbed effect. We did blue and green for the sky and grass. 


Then lift your bunny template away and you have a white space left that will be the Easter Bunny. Wait for it to dry, and then draw in the details with a black and pink marker. Too. Easy. 


Now for some other projects to fill in the next 13.75 days! 

Thanks for stopping by to see this artwork! Find more over on my Pinterest board.



Sunday, 13 April 2014

A Bright Idea




I am linking up for another wonderful Bright Ideas Link Up! If you have not seen these link-ups before, let me tell you, they are great! Every single post includes an idea that you can use in your classroom. Best yet ALL the ideas are things you can do right away that do not include any kind of purchase or download. Just simply bright teachers sharing bright ideas!

Why are teachers 'ideas people'? Because we are engineering our environment to achieve optimal learning for a group of people! That requires LOTS of knowledge, skill and craftsmanship. And we are constantly modifying what we do to get better results! Ideas pop into our head all through the day.

Some are very simple, but make our life - So. Much. Easier!

The idea I want to share with you is one that I use in Kindergarten, particularly in the first half of the year. 

It will help your students to:
- recognise their name
- learn to write their name properly

and it will help YOU to manage the classroom. All your worksheets will be accounted for, and you will not need to plan any additional 'name writing lessons'.

This came about because here in Australia, our students must learn to write in a very particular handwriting style - it is part of our curriculum. Our students come to us from preschool or home and have often just learnt to write their name, in their personal 'signature' kind of way. We need to work on getting them to change it to a neat 'handwriting' style. Some students may not even know how to write their name at all and need to get the basics of letter formation. 

It also came about because I was quickly getting tired of always reminding my class at the time to "write your name on the back of the sheet". "Turn over, and write your name on the back of the sheet". Turn it over. You, at the back, yes you. Turn it over. On the back. Your name. Write your name. YOUR name. The one on your desk. You can just copy it. Here. There. Look, that is your name. Write it. Here, on your sheet. It goes there. Yes you can. Just try. Ok. Just write the first letter. On the back......Pick up your pencil.....arggghhhhhhhh"

OK, so you get the picture. Now - repeat that ten times.

I decided to make a class set of traceable name sheets. I just opened an MS Word document and typed my students names out in a tracing font. One name per page. I typed each name so it was on the top right hand corner of the page. Then I printed them out. 


I kept the 'class set' of traceable name sheets in my teacher-bag in my teacher-bible organiser type folder book that I use every day.

Whenever I made a copy of ANYTHING for my students - worksheets, notes, homework etc. I would first photocopy the set, then put the whole set back through the copier and photocopy their names onto the BACK of the sheets.

So, a worksheet would have their work on one side, and their name to trace on the back.



When it came time to hand out the sheets, I could hold them up and get each child to recognise their own name. They first trace their name on the back, before doing their work. 

Much easier! My sanity was saved! The children were learning the correct formation and handwriting style EVERY time we did a sheet of they got a note to take home.

A bonus was that any student that was away also had their work labelled already, to catch up later in the week. 

Simple. Easy. But this will make a HUGE difference to your week and your students' learning!

Thanks for stopping by my blog today, I would love to have you here as a regular follower.

If you would like to stay in contact with me for more great teaching ideas, please consider following me on Pinterest and Facebook!


For more great ideas - check out some of these amazing blogs!



Friday, 11 April 2014

Five For Friday Friends and Freebies!


It's 5 for Friday time! I LOVE this link-up. 5 random things from my week... 

I have had 'one of those weeks'. You understand? 'One of those weeks' my friends. Honestly, by 9 am each day, I just knew I should be back in bed. And it kept getting worse. 

It all turned around this evening, when I connected with some Fabulous Friends! My week is turning around - just in time for term break. 2 weeks to sleep in and spend EXTRA time with my Little Miss 7 and Cute Man 2!

And eat chocolate. 
Drink Tea. 
Sketch. 
Try to locate Kate, William and George (can I call them KWi'G) as they tour 'down under'. 
And print. 
I really need to print more stuff. 
Cause if I can't go on an indulgent holiday, buy gorgeous new shoes or retire forever - I am happy as a pig in mud printing cute stuff out. 

I picked 5 of my Fab Friends Freebies to share with you for 5 for Friday! Click on the product images to find them and download them! 

1. Brooke from Teachable Moments has this FREEBIE in her TpT store for 'Subtraction from Ten'.
My little sweeties always need additional practice in subtraction, more so than addition. I have this printed ready for my Term 2 Week 1 maths tubs. 
Thanks for sharing this Brooke-star! You are awesome!




2. 'Coin Toss Bunny Hop" is such a cute and fun game! Tania from Mrs Poultneys Ponderings has provided this free in her TpT store. It incorporates chance and number knowledge and can be used for Easter, or all year round! Love this, and I know my students will too!

I love that your ideas are always so unique Tania, your experience and confidence shines through everything you share!


3. Emma from Clever Classroom has this gorgeous Easter Egg Hunt printable worksheet for FREE in her store. My daughter whipped this off the printer before I got a chance to take a photo of it, and she is right-this-very-minute at her desk colouring it in like a crazed eager-for-Easter princess. I promise I will take a photo and show you once she has completed it! Thanks so much Emma!



4. The delightful Shanyn form Coffee Kids and Compulsive Lists has this fabulous AND free 'Fish'n'Fun' multiplication game in her store! I have to say, I am a huge fan of games that have fish bowls and fish for sorting, the kids love them!

Thank you so much for sharing this Shanyn, I adore everything you do! 



5. Please stop by the TpT store of the very sweet Stef from Miss Galvin Learns. She has some amazing and 100% FREE Fonts that you can use for personal AND commercial projects! 

This one is a carrot themed font and is SUPER cute for Easter! Thank you so much Stef, your kindness is infectious!




So there is my 5 for Friday! Thanks for stopping by today! Get ready for some fabulous new BRIGHT IDEAS very soon!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

1,2,3 eyes to me!



I currently teach one day a week in a First Grade classroom full of delightful, wonderful, clever, funny and interesting children. I do earn my money for the day though! It is taking me a while to build a solid relationship with my class and establish a classroom culture. It will happen though! I have to focus a lot more on classroom management and behaviour, simply because the children do not know me as well as they would if I was there 5 days a week. 

I use LOTS of little snappy ways to get their attention and focus, without having to 'use a big voice'. It can get boring using the same techniques all the time, so I am constantly looking for new ideas. I like to have a 'visual' to go with my strategies, and am currently compiling a little pack of them. Here is a simple one. Just say "123, eyes to me", and the kids can chant back "eyes to you, that's what we do"! 

You can print this visual and display it in the classroom, or near your main teaching area, to help you remember. Just click on one of these images to download from Google Drive!

Thanks for stopping by friends!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Show Me the Alphabet!

Hi friends! I just listed my 600th resource on TpT and its FREE! Don't even begin to ask me how the '600' happened... as I don't quite know myself. 

This freebie is part of a larger packet called "Show Me the Alphabet".

You can download the freebie and get a feel for the resource. It will help you introduce letters of the alphabet to your students and it takes a similar format to many of my other booklets, where students can complete a page per day for the week. 


On the first page, students finger trace and colour the letter and pictures.



On the next day, students can trace the lower case letter on two lines and colour the pictures. There is a new 'letter a' picture on each page. 


On the next page, students track then trace letter a in lower and upper case, before cutting and pasting the letter tiles into position. 



Students draw a picture of something starting with a on the 'draw' page!


And finish by writing an a on each apple on the final page. 

Grab this FREE 'Show Me a" file at TpT, by clicking on the image below.

If you would like the whole set of Alphabet books, the growing file is on SALE for the next 24 hours - find it by clicking on the image below!




Thanks so much for stopping by and helping me to celebrate 600!