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! 

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!

Apple Ideas for the Classroom!

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.

Apple craft

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

or, of you have the collection - it is waiting ready for you! New to our store is also a collection of easy-prep printable alphabet letter puzzles. Just print, laminate and add to your learning centers for a wonderful self-directed activity for your students. 

Alphabet Puzzles

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. 

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


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!


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

I love family

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!

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! 

I love teaching

I adore it actually. All of it, but especially the classroom and my little learners. 

I love drawing

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

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.  We have a simple life, but a very very happy life. 
  8. I love walking 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 have a love-hate thing going on with jewellery. Love wearing it but 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 have great intuition. I know things. I think a lot of perceptive people are drawn to people and teaching. 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. 

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

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!

Let's Learn the Alphabet - More Bright Ideas!

Hi there friends!

Today, I want to share with you 22 worksheet-free ways to practice letters of the alphabet. 

Letter identification and formation are essential basic skills in the early years. We need our students to have repeated exposure and practice in creating the shape of each letter - in upper and lower case. All of these techniques can be applied to any letter in the alphabet. 

Are they just for pre-school? No way! SO many students come to formal schooling with fine motor and handwriting needs. These activities are PERFECT! 

They combine essential fine motor conditioning with letter awareness. Students can use their whole hand and wrist to experience the shape of the letter, without getting bogged down and frustrated by having to write tiny little letters neatly with a pencil on lined paper. 

I have used many of these activities with very clever students that already know their letters. Upon initial assessment, I have found that they can recognise the letters. Some of these clever students, particularly boys I have found, struggle with the fine motor strength to write them easily.  

For each of these activities, write a large letter on a piece of paper with a Sharpie, if you think your students need a guide to make the letter.

1. Play Dough - students roll, shape and form the dough to make the letter.

2. Rainbow Writing - place a fun sticker on the point where you want students to write. They use bright colours to trace the letter over and over again, forming a rainbow effect. 

3. Pipe Cleaners - give students time and encouragement to twist pipe cleaners to make letter shapes!

4. Sticker Dots - students peel and stick dots to form the letter.

5. Dot Dabber - students use a dot dabber or bingo marker to write the letter!

6. Pom Poms and Tweezers - students use plastic tweezers (I collected a stack of these when they were free with a McDonalds meal) to pick up pom-poms and place them along the lines of the letter. They may or may not be glued into position.

7. Popsicle Sticks - students make a letter from popsicle sticks. You could use large or small sticks and as the students to glue the pieces together with white glue.

8. Glitter Glue - students can trace the letter with glitter glue, building skills tracking and directionality. Once it is dry, students can run their finger over the line and have a tactile experience of the letter also!

9. Finger Paint - forget the mess, you will not find a better tactile experience. The learning that takes place as students use their finger to draw and write in finger paint will have amazing effects on their writing further down the track, and is hard to replicate with many other materials. Get in there!

10. Paint with Water on the fence (or ground) - this is an important one for students with poor writing skills.  The 'whole arm' writing will help them so much to 'feel' how to write the letter!

11. Sidewalk Chalk - who doesn't like writing on the group with chalk!? Students could also use chalk on small slates in the classroom.

12. Lego / Blocks - use whatever manipluatioves you have in the classroom to let students build!

13. Counters (chips) - students can place counters along the line of the letter 0 then count up how many they have used!

14. Push Pins - put the paper over a cork board or mat, and have the students push pins in to create the letter

15. Tracing Book - I made 'tracing books' for my students at the beginning of Kinder. I take an old birthday card, layers of kitchen paper (about 20, cut down to size) and staple them to form a book. Then I create index cards with letters on them. Students' slide a card under a page in their book, and trace. They LOVE them! They are also good for learning how to write your name too!

16. Mosaic - use any sort of mosaic toy/game that you have, and let students be creative. This one is a magnetic foam mosaic set.

17. Magnetic Letters - students sort through a tub of letters to find appropriate letters to make this one! They will have lots of letter discrimination practice as they search for their focus letter.

18. Paper Teaching - teach your students to tear paper, and have them tear their favourite letter. Get them to use their thumb and pointer finger of both hands, and teach closely between them.

19. Paper Chipping - paper chipping is where students cut small 'chips' of paper from a long thin rectangular strip of paper. It is an excellent early scissor control activity. Once they have  

20. Glue Dots and Eyes - students can practice putting dots of glue along the letter, and then put a goggly eye on each dot!

21. Special Markers - get the 'good stuff' out. You will get lots of oooo's and aaaaa's from the students! Think smelly markers, glitter pens, fat pens and pastels. They can rainbow write again, but this time with something that is 'special'.

22. Tracing Tray - make trays of grain or salt for students to trace in. This makes a great tactile experience. Make it extra special by adding some glitter!

Thank you so much for stopping by - please consider following me on Pinterest and Facebook to get regular new ideas and resources!