Swap, Share, Give: A blog linky from Down Under!

When Lauren from Love Laughter and Learning in Prep asked me to join with her and some other wonderful Aussie teacher-bloggers in a 'Swap, Share and Give' blog linky, I HAD to say yes! So much fun! Giving and sharing are two of my most favourite things to do.


Lauren and I swapped a resource from our teaching collections. 

Lauren sent me her new Caterpillar Sight Word Game that reviews 220 Dolch words. Perfect timing as we are working hard at the moment on Sight Words in my First Grade class! 

Lauren has colour coded the different sets of words, which makes game set-up a breeze! I like that she has put the word on the left of the card and the picture on the right. We teach children left-to-right progression in reading, and this card design will assist in reinforcing that concept!

The game includes fun 'caterpillar' and 'butterfly' cards which adds an element of fun to the activity! Your students will LOVE them! They read sight words and try not to have their cards gobble dup by that hungry caterpillar as they go!

You can find this fabulous resource by clicking on any of the images above!

Visit Lauren's TpT Store HERE

And her adorable blog by clicking on the button below:


I want to share an idea and printable with you today. 

As I have just printed Lauren's card game, I will be adding it to my resource boxes. Over the years,  I have tried many many different 'organisational systems' for my classroom resources. I settled on this one a few years back. I have a 'file box' for basic areas of the curriculum (mainly the ones I cover in small-groups). I also have a box for some themed areas of learning. 

I once had all these resources in a traditional 4 drawer filing cabinet, but when I made the shift to part time teaching, I found these boxes perfect for my travels to and from school. I also like that I can grab a box that will be used for the week, and have it out ready, while the rest are packed away out of sight. 

Here are some of my mathematics boxes.

In them, I place each different activity (game, center, word cards etc), in its own plastic document wallet. I do not worry about files, as these just add weight and bulk to the box.

These are the wallets I use. They are 'compact' and do not have a button or zip. They sit flat and you can get lots of them in the box!

In each pouch/wallet, I try to put a cover that, in a glance, tells me a bit about the activity. After a decade or so, of gathering resources, I do forget what-is-what sometimes. 

I also put an 'instruction' sheet in the pouch. It is helpful for when you have parent helpers in the classroom,, working with groups. I have also found, when I am brain-fried, I just need to read out what students have to do. You know how it gets by 1pm on Friday, when it's time for groups.... I cannot string three words of thoughts together, let alone explain the rules to a game!

Today, I want to share with you a pro-forma that I just prettied up for you. I have in the past, just scrawled notes on a scrap of paper or on post-its. This page can be added to the pouch/wallet of each activity you have. It helps you remember quickly, how to differentiate your activities. 

This makes your planning easier, saves you in prep time, and helps you suck every last inch of educational benefit out of a resource. Why make 5 resources when you can just use 1!?

When I plan for 'small groups' (maths groups, reading groups, guided reading, play groups etc), I usually have 5 or 6 groups of children, and they are grouped according to their ability or achievement on our continuum of learning. In the past, I planned 5 different activities, depending on what level of learning they were up to. And sometimes, that is still appropriate. BUT.... if you have one of these pages in your activity wallets, you can quickly differentiate one set of resources for ALL of your groups!

As you see in the example below, a basic sight word game "Carrot Crunch" can be played in 5 different ways, by changing or adding to the original instructions/outline. 

I am planning to add this sheet to all of my pouches, and the next time I get them out to use, I will just jot some ideas down. It is not meant to be a planner or program, just a way to record ideas. I put the heading at the top and the teaching area. Then I listed 5 activity variations ranging from basic at #1 to more advanced at #5. 

You can download this differentiation planning sheet from google drive, by clicking on the image below!


We are giving you the chance to win a copy of ALL of the resource featured on ALL of the blogs in this linky! Just follow each of the TpT stores, and add your details to the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And I am giving you the opportunity to win a $10 TpT gift Voucher to spend in my store, Lauren's store or ANY where on TpT. Just leave a comment here and enter the rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Head over to Lauren's Blog to find more links to Swap, Share Give posts! 

5 For Sa-Friday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs with 5 random things from the week!

1. Lamination 

Really, I could post a picture like this every week. Teacher. Laminator. Word Cards. Wine. 

2. Reading

Another one Mummy? We read books. Lots of them. Well, by 'read' I mean 'ma, ma, boo, ni, ta, car, car, car'. He is just so utterly delicious at the moment and I thank the sweet Lord everyday for letting me be his mother!

3. Spring Laminating.

See #1 for more information! 

We do 'Spring' in Australia in Autumn. Just cause it's Easter. And Easter means Spring. And Australia  is upside down sometimes. 

4.  Thermomix

Thermomix is another name for 'space age contraption that is going to save my sanity at 5pm". Honestly, if you get invited to a demo - GO. For nothing else but the 5 delicious courses of REAL yummy food whipped up in seconds. 

I have fallen in love with food ALL. OVER. AGAIN. 

5. Scrappy

Scrappy drawings are a huge part of my life. I only joked with a friend of mine recently that it is ironic and certainly a true reflection of my life that I spent a few years trying to perfect the art of turning my sketches into 'perfect' digitised art, when all along, it was my original sketches raw and imperfect, that would resonate with so many of you. Thank you for embracing me and encouraging me. Here is a 'scrappy' Easter colouring page for your students to complete. We are in our last 2 weeks of school here in Australia before Term 1 break, so Easter will be on the program now!

Just clink on Little Bun below to grab from Google Drive!

And by 'clink' I mean 'click'. Did I mention it was 5pm ;)

Thanks so much as always, for stopping by! Have a great weekend!

Time for a Spring Clean!

29-31 March (US Time).

It is time for a Spring Clean! Even if its Autumn here in Australia! 

I have to sadly admit that I like cleaning. Nothing like getting rid of the grime that can clutter your mind and spirit! I always feel so much more creative when I have clean and sparkly surrounds. I just need to find a few more hours in the day to get the cleaning done. Maybe if I cut down on my cups of tea...

I am joining a bunch of fabulous and dear blogging friends, in throwing a Spring Sale! Time to clean up and de-clutter your TpT wish list!

This week, I have had a spurt of motivation to 'Spring Clean' up some of the freebies I listed earlier in my TpT journey. They were looking a little tired. Click on the following images to find a Farm Babies Write (Cut and Paste) the Room and a little freebie for Easter! 

You may like to take advantage of the sale to grab a few of my most recent listings. The 'Spring Games Super Pack' is one of my new favourites. It has 20 literacy and math activities!

Here are a few photos to show you what is included:

Letter Substitution in cvc words....

Making equal groups to model multiplication....

Adding and Subtracting 5 in Flower Power ... 

Matching cvc, ccvc and cvcc words with pictures....

Sorting ee and ea words....

Identifying short and long vowel sounds.....

Reading 100 sight words...

Finding missing numbers in sequences....

And loads more!

I have also listed some new clipart sets to my Graphics Store, so head over to take a look at these!

I can't wait to empty my wish list and add some more to my cart from some of the amazing sellers on TpT. You can find a stack of them on the Linky that is over at Georgia Grown Kinders blog! Click on the image below to find the link-up!

Georgia Grown Kiddo's

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Earth Day Freebie

Hi friends, how is your week unfolding?

I have to be honest, I have been sluggish for the last few weeks. I REALLY do not want to say 'can you believe it is almost April (I actually just typed March) ' ... but I just have to. Can you believe a quarter of the year is almost up?

I am still writing 2012 when I date things. Seriously. And in 2012, I wrote 2007 - All. Year. I have a 2011 calendar on the inside of my pantry door. 

I tell people that I just had a baby. My baby is now 2. That's OK I suppose, as he will always be my baby. 


Anyhoo - it does seem to me, like I just made this Earth Day freebie, but alas, it was 12 months ago. 

 I shared last year (or maybe it was 2002, who knows?), and I cannot find it! It quite possible could have been a Facebook fan freebie. So HERE is the link to the file in google drive in case you would like it too!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Tulip Card

Today, I want to show you how easy it is to make a cute Tulip Card - perfect for Easter and Spring. You could modify this lesson with your class to make an artwork also. 

All you need for each student is a piece of thin card, coloured paper, scissors, pencil and a glue stick.

Have your students fold a piece of card, landscape. 

Students then freehand draw 6 or 7 tulip shapes. Discuss with your students the shape of a tulip and show them how to draw one. Describe it to them - 'like a circle with three sharp claws" - this visual language will help them to understand how to draw it. You could also provide some tracers for your students if you think they are needed.

Ask them to draw, on the back of the green paper, a rectangle and divide it into 7 stem-shaped sections.

Ask your students to cut all the piece out.

Your students should glue the stems across the bottom of the front of the card. The bottom of each stem should overhang the edge slightly.

Students them trim the stems to made the edge clean.

To finish, a tulip is attached to each stem.

Tuesday Art Linky

Link up on a Tuesday with a Kids or Classroom ART idea! I am posting early this week to give you time to prepare.

 I teach art on a Wednesday and I am constantly looking for fabulous ideas on the internet to inspire and motivate my students. 

Your link up post needs only to be at least a picture of a finished artwork project for any primary school aged classroom. Your post can be as detailed or as short as you like! You can post your original ideas or perhaps share an idea you have found. 

I have a very broad appreciation of art - so you can choose a 'craft', 'directed drawing', 'structured art', 'creative expression lesson' - whatever you consider art to be - as long as its appropriate for children and classrooms.

If you link up, use the pink button from the top of this post, and use it anywhere in your own post. You also MUST link back to my post here in your post.

So, let's get started! 

Today, I am doing a detailed post for you on an artwork I have just prepared, but fear not, if you link up, your post does not need to be this long. 

This art project for kids is called Violets in a Vase (I know, creative)! It involves incorporating a range of skills and 2 mediums - paint and crayon. You could modify to make it more complex for your particular group of students. 

I started with a template of the violets and vase. I used the templates that are in my new 'Let's Learn V" phonics packet. You can grab the templates for free at the end of this post. Older students could freehand draw these easy shapes. Ask your students to shade these pieces. I used orange for the pot. as it contrasts very well with purple. This would be an ideal time to discuss colours and the colour wheel with your students if you have time. 

I chose portrait orientation for the background, and used a paint dabber to create a sky and ground with the dabs. Paint dabbers give excellent coverage, are quick and clean AND best yet, dry super quick. Talk to your students about famous artists whose artworks are a series of paint dabs rather than lines. Talk about how these dabs create a feeling in the artwork, and how it would be different if lines or solid colour were used. Even kindergarten children enjoy these discussions about art.

Ask students to cut out their pieces and talk to them about placement on the page. Give them some time to experiment with placement. Your little ones will need lots of practice with placement and spacial awareness on the page, so this is a good time to let them be creative. 

Once they have decided on the position of the flowers, they can draw the stems with a thick rich green crayon.

Then, their pieces can be glued down. 

Grab the violet template pieces from my paper craft document HERE 

This paper craft is part of my new 'v' resource pack which will give you a whole week of activities and resources for your phonics lessons. 

You can also find it in a mini mega pack, bundled up with 8 other letters of the alphabet. It is currently hugely discounted at 50% off. Click on the image below to check it out at TpT!

Thank you so much for stopping by, and I WOULD LOVE you to link up!