I hope you have had a wonderful week so far, full of happy times with family and perhaps indulging in a few special things!
I have had another beautiful Christmas with my family. We do not do anything too spectacular, but just being with family and having time to relax is so special to me.
I have crammed a few things into this post, that I have been trying to blog about all week. So here goes!
New Year will be here before we know it. You can download a revised copy of the FREEBIE that Deanna and I offered last year. You can make some fun photo booth props with these printables. Perfect for school or home!
I got time to list a new resource yesterday. It was finished last week, but with all the pre-Christmas craziness, I just didn't get time to list it. It includes 5 'print and play' games that are SUPER easy to prepare. And when I say 'super easy' I mean you will have 5 number games/centers ready to go in a matter of minutes. There is no cutting or assembly required. I have also allowed for differentiation with most games having 2 versions of game boards - numbers to 10 and numbers to 20.
There is a 'mitten bump' game that will have your students adding 2 or 3 dice. A 'snowball fall' game - students have to order the falling snowballs by spinning numbers in backward counting sequence.
A 'play on the page' worksheet game will have your students identifying and counting up to 120 on a chart, and 'marshmallow match' will encourage your students to find the answer to simple addition problems.
The 'penguin wall' game is similar, but will focus on subtraction.
And speaking of penguins.. I have a gift for you! Your students will 'clip' the addition and subtraction problems that match each penguin.
You can find it in my TpT store for FREE all this week - thank you so much for your support and kindness through 2014 - I appreciate all of you so much!
If you need more resources for New Year, please head over to Blog Hoppin. Rachel has prepared a post full of links to useful resources and ideas!
I am linking up with Erica today to share a few of my favourite (favorite in the USA) things!
1. It is time to break open the Christmas tea and I could not be happier. I am a huge fan of tea ordinarily, but I love that at this time of year, I have a delicious special alternative to my regular cup. Some very beautiful friends spoilt me this year - I have Twinings Christmas tea and some loose leaf 'friendship' tea to try. After all the shopping and wrapping I have just completed, I think I might just have a cup of each.
2. Gift Giving. I adore giving gifts and this time of year gives me so many opportunities to do so. I love that you can find some gorgeous little boxes to store gift cards and certificates now. I have to say, I am rather partial to a gift card, as I like shopping in the post Christmas sales.
Did you know, that you can hop around some blogs at the moment for your chance to share in up to hundreds of dollars worth of TpT gift vouchers?! Check out my post HERE. I think my rafflecopter may have just finished (time differences always get me) - but there is a big list of links to other blogs that are participating and you may have a few hours left to enter!
3. Spending time with family. I love this time of year, because not only do I get my hubby home for three weeks, but I get to spend extra time with my children. We keep busy with projects around the house, enjoying our local beaches and parks and doing creative stuff! My daughter and I did some Christmas craft through the week, and we both enjoy the opportunity to relax.
4. Blog Hopping. This time of year is the perfect time to blog hop. I make myself a cup of tea, sit in a quiet corner of the house and visit and read teacher blogs. I love to find new ones and visit favourites that I have neglected over the last busy month of school. A great place to start is Blog Hoppin'. It has links to lots of other blogs and a huge variety of high quality and interesting content.
EXTRA FAVOURITE THING
I am crazy about fonts!
I made this one today and I would love to share it with you!
You can find it HERE to use in your classroom and commercial teaching products!
You can find more free font links on my sidebar over to the right of this post.
Thank you so much for visiting my blog today! I wish you luck in the gift card giveaways! Head over to the beautiful Erica's blog to find more 'Favorites' posts!
December is one of the few meaningful times we can do some cute snowman craft here in Australia. It is Summer BUT it makes total sense, because it is also the month we do 'Christmas' in the classroom (if appropriate at our school setting).
Total sense, I tell you.
I took the opportunity to discuss with my students why we have so many images of a 'winter' Christmas despite it being 40 degrees (over 100 F) outside. We talked about the history of our country and the traditions that were brought with many of the early settlers. We also acknowledged the original Australians, and the fact that Christmas was something that was not here when the first Australians inhabited our lands.
This is a really simple one, and it uses some key paper craft skills - cutting and folding.
Start by getting your students to cut all the pieces out and provide for them a piece of bright paper, that is the same width as the snowman's body.
Ask your students to concertina fold the paper
and cut shapes out of the two folded edges.
This will create a nice 'snow' effect.
Ask your students to colour all the features of the snowman. They can then glue the pieces together. The head is slightly smaller than the body, so they may need to trim their middle section off at one end.
Another idea would be to use a paper circle for the middle of the snowman. My little ones needed lots of practise (practice for those of you in the USA) with folding, and I found a rectangle was easier for them to fold!
Click on the image below to find the template.
Thanks so much for stopping by my friends!
You can find more 'Fold and Create' crafts in my store!
I blogged in November about how teachers can help students to adopt a creative attitude at school. Today, I would love to extend that discussion with some thoughts and ideas on how we can provide for creative decisions.
As teachers, one of our end goals is to have students who are creative. That magical moment when they stop being directed on how to 'create' something, and start making their own choices and decisions. Based on my experience in the classroom, I don't think it has to be as decisive as that. I see students performing at various levels, and accessing both their own 'creativity' and 'teacher direction' simultaneously.
Providing opportunities for students to make decisions with their own work, and with things they 'make' will support their creative development and help them grow in confidence to eventually rely on their own abilities and ideas.
The key is the word 'opportunities'. It does not mean that your students get to choose the direction of every single experience in the classroom. It is not possible, nor practical. I would suggest glancing over your weekly plans and doing a quick stock take of how many opportunities are provided for your students to make a decision. In visual arts lessons for example, how many times are you doing a 'directed lesson' and how many times are there opportunities for your students to make some creative choices.
There is room, and need for both.
It can be scary, I know. Especially in the early years, when it is difficult enough to manage 20-30 'little people', let alone all their varying choices. Here are some tips that might help
1. Small is good! A decision like 'choosing a colour' may not seem like it is all that important to you, but allowing students to select their own colour to use in an artwork, for example, is a great place to start. It is a decision, regardless of how impactful you as an adult thinks it is. Your students will experience a decision and see what result it has. Perhaps when you next do a directed activity, give directions for everything except one factor, like colour. Your students will begin to consider the impact of creative decisions when one is highlighted for them so prominently.
2. Discuss decisions. Take a deep breath and allow your students to talk about their choices. It can get noisy, but the more you encourage and accept discussion in the classroom, the easier it is to handle. Tell your students that there are times when they need to complete work, as the teacher has directed, and that at other times, they need to show how they can complete something on their own. Talk to them about the difficulties and obstacles of both. Tell them that you are going to support them as they learn to make decisions for themselves.
Talk to your students at the end of the activity about the choices they made, and the impact this had. Would they make a different decision next time?
3. Be organized. You might think that the most creative teachers have a big old messy classroom filled with paper, paint and feathers. From what I have experienced and witnessed - organisation is the key. Having an organized classroom, cupboards and system for sorting your resources and supplies will often result in more creativity. Both from students and the teacher. I think this is largely because it frees up time. I've always said that 'time' is a key commodity for teachers and if you have 'time' you can achieve anything. With organisation comes time, and with time, you can carefully plan exciting and motivating classroom lessons. Having your resources and materials organized allows you to easily cater for choices and differentiation in your lessons. It could be as simple as offering oil pastels or water colors. Allowing your students the option to choose, can have a profound effect. If they are easy (ie. organized) for you to access, it doesn't become an obstacle in your preparations.
4. Be clear. Offer to your students, very clear goals in simple language. When they hear the word 'choose' or 'choice' your art lesson on 'Gingerbread Men' can quickly become a display of blood dripping vampires. How do I know this? Well.... let's just say that I speak from experience.
Help your students to be aware of the task and what you want them to achieve by the end of the lesson.
Our goal should be to have students that are confident to make decisions and choices in their own work when it is appropriate. They need assistance and practise in learning to do this.
By making decisions, students are actually 'being creative' and also developing a creative mind.
One downside to student choices, is that we will find some students who find it difficult to cope with "mistakes" - especially in practical activities. It take time for them to understand and deal with what they may see as a 'mistake'. Click on the image below to find a printable poster - display it in your classroom as a springboard for discussion!