Make Handwriting Easy and Fun

Do you teach handwriting? Learning letter formation and style is a specific component of our literacy curriculum here in Australia and students will have several formal lessons per week or receive instruction integrated with other content areas.

Handwriting serves writing. It is the goal to have students writing fluently with minimal conscious effort. We teach the handwriting movements as well as the letter shapes. 

In my experience:

  • most students thoroughly enjoy their handwriting lessons. Learning to carefully create letters in a specific way gives them a similar level of enjoyment as to when they are doing artistic and creative activities
  • handwriting will contribute to some very special writing experiences and projects for children- the mixture of a personal handwriting style and a particular and personal message to convey
  • handwriting leads to better writing overall. By slowing down the writing process - students are able to form insights and carefully construct and reconstruct their written message
  • handwriting is a skill students can take anywhere and have available at any time - all they need is a pencil or pen

Your students will love beginning to learn about letter formation with these fun write'n'wipe cards!

Simply print and laminate the cards and provide them to your students with a dry erase marker. Letter formation takes lots of practice - particularly stroke order. By making them dry erase - students can write each level several times to develop fluency.  

The sky/grass/dirt and flower (flower/stem/roots) visual will assist your students learn about letter shape, size and proportions. 

These cards will integrate perfectly with my "Let's Learn the Alphabet Super Set"!

Find this easy to prep FREE handwriting activity in my TpT store HERE

Have a great day friends, and thanks so much for stopping by!

- Mel 

Celebrating Birthdays in the Classroom

It took me a few years of teaching to realise the significance of birthdays in the classroom. As adults we can quickly forget the importance of this special day to a child. 

Birthdays can be a simple or fancy affair in your classroom - whatever feels right for you - what matters the most is that they are acknowledged. Some important things to remember are: 

1. make it special 
Remember, 'special' to a child can be as simple as the class singing 'happy birthday'.
I ask the child to come to the front of the class if they are comfortable, I say something like this:
'I hear it is a special day for you today, can you tell us why..... how old are you now..........did anything special happen to you this morning before school.... do you have anything planned to celebrate, or will it be a surprise..... are you having a cake?...' and so on. I banter back and forth for a little while, and this little 'moment in the spotlight' for each child is very special to them. I keep my questioning fairly consistent for each birthday and the kids like the routine of it. We of course then sing happy birthday together as a class and finish with birthday claps. A secret stash of 'birthday only' stickers works a treat too. 

2. don't ever miss a child
Most children are forgiving when you forget things, but try if possible to always remember the birthdays in your class. Keep a class chart or list of birthdays and encourage the students to remind you when a birthday is coming - they love that sort of responsibility and it will encourage them to keep an eye on the calendar - which won't hurt their mathematical development. Write all their birthdays down in your planner or day book at the beginning of the year.

3. acknowledge summer and school-break birthdays 
Hop back to this post to see a little idea for making sure the kids who have birthdays while school is out have a special treat too. 

4. establish guidelines
The beginning of the school year is a great time to remind parents about birthday guidelines at your school. Pop these reminders in a note or at your class meeting. Some parents like to send cakes to school to help celebrate. You will need to keep them informed about rules at your school regarding the sharing of food, cakes, candles and food prep. A nicely worded reminder at the beginning of the school year about birthday party invite lists can greatly contribute to your class community. 

Something like this:
'I would love to help you through the year distributing any birthday invitations for your child. Please pass the envelopes to me and I will ensure they are packed into school bags at an ideal time'. If you are speaking with a group of parents it may also be appropriate to verbally remind them how devastating it can be for the one child who always seems to get left off the initiation list and that you want to minimise the impact of this for them by handing them out discretely and without the fanfare that children normally innocently add. 

5. decorate
You can make a birthday memorable in the classroom by having just one or a couple of special additions to the room for the day - that only come out on a birthday. A birthday chair. A birthday pencil. A birthday sign on the door. Pop a balloon on the child's chair. Similarly you could also have 'special things' that the child gets to do if it is their birthday - be your helper, collect the lunches, choose the reading book etc.

Here are a few birthday printables I have in my store:

The printable pages of this packet will help you make a bright and fun birthday themed classroom banner! 

There is a cupcake for each month, where student names can be recorded and also a variety of birthday themed decorative pennants.

Simply choose the pennant banners you would like to include on your unique display, print, cut and clip to a line or string! Use them all, or print multiples of just a few to create your design!

The various designs also come in a 'backline' version - ask your students to shade or paint these before creating your classroom banner!

I have included an MS Powerpoint version of the cupcakes so that you are able to type the names of your students if you prefer

These candle posters will make for a lovely birthday display in your classroom that is fast and easy to prep!

Print these cute birthday candle posters to make a display of your students' birthdays.

You will need to write their names and dates of the month on each candle.

OR you can open the Powerpoint file including in this packet, type your students names and then print them out. 

There are 2 candles to each page and a heading that says "Our Birthdays'. 

I have included 2 different options - one with and one without a bright colored background. 

This one was born in 2006 and had about 3 revisions! 

Print these posters to make a record of the birthdays in your classroom!

A birthday display makes a bright and happy way to celebrate the special days of the students in your class. Involve your students in making the display and they will treasure it and use its information to make meaningful connections to their classroom environment.

This pdf file contains :

- cupcake posters
- cupcake shaped posters (cut them out)
- all months on one page poster
- door poster
- display header ('Our Birthdays')
- printable birthday card 

I have also included a text-editable MS Powerpoint file, so you can edit the text, add text boxes to type in your students' names, change the font etc. A full version of backline pages are also included (have you students color them in!)

Because memories, the past and the journey are all very special to me - here is a peek at how it used to look {eek!}

Thank you so much for popping over to my blog - sign up to the newsletter so we can stay in contact! 

Have a terrific day friends. 

- Mel x

Home Office Pretties

Friends, I would love for you to have some little pretties from my desk this week. 

I loved the Busy Pencil screen wallpaper I made last week, so just tweaked it a little to make a new bright yellow pencil version for this week!

I've also had several requests for the printable banner that is in my office too - and am very happy to share it with you.

Find the files in google drive, all for your personal and classroom use only:

Computer Screen Wallpaper HERE

Phone Screen Wallpaper HERE

My Banner HERE

Have a wonderful day friends, thank you so much for stopping by!

- Mel x

Fun Screen Wallpapers

Friends, I've noticed some teachers on Instagram sharing ways to use my screen wallpapers at home and in the classroom! Each Wednesday recently, I've shared a new file that you can download and save to your device or computer to use as your background wallpaper. If you've missed them - find them all HERE

If you have a post on social media, be sure to tag me #fromthepond so I can see.
Here are some I have seen recently:

Jess has added one to her school computer so it gives the Smartboard some flair!

Miss J Love turning on my mac everyday to see this bright and fun wallpaper.

Miss Worters is reading up on the daily 5 and has the fruit wallpaper on her laptop!

Cath has the cactus wallpaper on her iPad!

Tess has the same cactus wallpaper on her home office Mac. 

I will be making a new one for Wednesday, so if you have a request, be sure to leave me a note!

Thanks so much for stopping by - head over to Insta and check out these amazing teacher feeds!

- Mel x

FAST Ten Frame Activities

I have bundled up 20 fun and fast activities to help your students become familiar with ten frames. 

Ten Frames help students visualize numbers and move from concrete to abstract.

The activities are short and designed to integrate into your transitions and to use as time fillers. I have put each activity onto a card (4 to a page). Print these cards and bundle them together with a ring, to make a handy 'go-to' stash of fast activities to have at your fingertips! 

The activities are all perfect for those 5 minute breaks you have in between lessons or at the end of the session. They can all be done with the whole class or a small group. The more exposure to the ten frames our students receive, the better they will remember them!

I have included a mini-printable-book to use with one of the activities. Students draw the dots they see on a ten frame as it is flashed to them, inside their record book. Students can keep this book in their desk.

I have included 4 sets of ten frame flash cards for you to use as the teacher. 2 styles are included - left to right filled, and top to bottom filled. It is important for your students to know both. Each of these sets is included in 'fancy' and 'plain'. The fancy flashcards have a fun colorful "fuzzy" effect to make them motivating and special to your students!

Included is a bright and fun poster set to display in your classroom to encourage learning of the standard ten frame arrangements.

Great for learning centres, includes cards, worksheet, and cover page for organization.
I have included a blackline set of learning mats. Use these for 'write'n'wipe' cards, play-doh mats, manipulative mats or as a 'write-the-room activity!

 6 worksheets for FAST and FUN review of ten frames will be great to follow up learning and assess understanding!

This packet is also included in my unique "Core Drawers" packet for early-years teachers.

Have fun with ten frames!

Thanks for stopping by my blog - see you over on Facebook too!

- Mel x

Printable Bookmarks

Happy weekend friends! Yesterday I sent an email out to my subscribers that included a free printable bookmark download.

If you are not signed up, I extend a very big welcome to you. Simply pop your details into the sign-up  over on my blog sidebar!

Have a fabulous day friends!

- Mel x

Busy Pencil Wallpaper Screen

Wednesday Thursday Wallpaper is fast becoming my favourite way to reinvigorate my desk focus. This week on my screens I have a little 'busy pencil' design happening and if you'd like to join me - download them right here!

Find the Computer Screen Wallpaper HERE

and Phone Screen Wallpaper HERE

Have a great day friends!

- Mel x

School Bus One Page Paper Craft Freebie

Do you love incorporating simple paper craft into your classroom program - particularly with writing - but find the prep a little too much to bear?!

Do you need a fast but effective activity to get your classroom looking gOR-gee-OUS! 

Look no further than my new 'one page craft' packs! The first bundle is now complete (it was a growing bundle).

For each craft I have included a coordinating writing paper (3 line versions to choose from). 

TO see what all the fuss is about, try a craft bus for free today! Perfect for back-to-school!

Simply click HERE to find it in google drive!

I will be back soon with a new wallpaper for you and some Christmas in July news!

Have a lovely day

- Mel x

Ladybug Subtraction Game {Monday Memory}

I've headed back down memory lane to a 2011 post featuring a free subtraction ladybug game idea for your math centers and activities.

Simply print these big eye ladybugs and combine with dry erase markers, play dough or math manipulatives!

This activity is suitable for when you are first introducing the idea of subtraction to your students. They may not be familiar with the take-away (-) sign yet.
Print a ladybug for each of your students. To save ink, use your printing settings to select “2 to a page”, and print pages 2-3 on 1 page. 
Laminate them. 

Give each student a ladybug board and a dry-erase marker or crayon.
Tell the students to draw 5 spots on their ladybug. Tell a little story (e.g. the ladybug went out in the rain and lost 3 spots), and have the students take the corresponding number of spots away. Ask the students to describe what they have done, and what has happened to the ladybug.
Tell many more stories, and have the students draw the dots, and take them away to match your story.

When introducing subtraction, the language of take-away should be rich and extensive and relate to real life and to many children’s stories. Encourage this natural use of mathematical language – go away, fly away, take away, walk away, buzz away, break, lose, cover up, subtract etc.
You may choose to ask students to record the stories, or just enjoy the activity as a hands-on experience before you begin formal recordings.

Find the download on my 2011 post HERE and more ladybug math ideas in my TpT store HERE

Have a wonderful day friends!

- Mel x

Books, books and more books

We've spent a bit of time this weekend reorganising books in our playroom. Yikes, we have a few!

I will try to post some pictures here on my blog soon, but you can follow the saga delights on my instagram stories if you are keen. 

I just added a new clipart set - book inspired - to my graphics store. Find them HERE

Thanks so much for stopping by - enjoy your day!

- Mel x

Unicorn Screen Wallpaper Freebie

How about some unicorn rainbow fun for your screens this week!?

It is Wallpaper Wednesday here on my blog and you can download these wallpapers for your personal and classroom use for free.

Find them in google drive below:

{Computer Screen Wallpaper} HERE

{Phone Screen Wallpaper} HERE

Have a beautiful day friends!

- Mel x

Unicorn A Rainbow Coloring Page

For Takeaway Tuesday this week, I have made a rainbow unicorn colouring page that you may like to download. 

I drew a unicorn in one of my Instagram stories last week and I received a few requests to turn it into a colouring page. So here it is!

I am not unicorn obsessed like my daughter and have a slight aversion to drawing horses - I can never get the shape quite the way I want it - so this was a challenge I set myself.  

Thank you for all your support and sweet messages - you inspire me to do better every day!

Oops, almost forgot - find the free unicorn colouring page in  Google Drive HERE

- Mel x

Subitizing Game Freebie {Monday Memory}

 Friends, back in 2011 I shared a printable activity for subitizing {perfect for kindergarten} with you!

I took a trip down Memory Lane to find it and freshen it up for you! 

Your little ones can match the dogs and dog houses as they learn to subitize.

Subitizing is the ability to identify dot arrangements in different patterns. Starting with the standard dot pattern arrangements (on dice) and moving to random arrangements.  It is expected that quantities up to ten will be known and named without the routine of counting. Students should be able to instantly recognize them. Subitizing will help children with the counting-on strategy and when learning combinations of numbers (seeing a pattern of two known smaller patterns). Subitizing is a fundamental skill in the development of number sense. It will support the development of conservation, compensation, unitizing, counting-on, composing and decomposing of numbers.

Play lots of fun games to reinforce subitizing - even in 3rd grade!
I added some 'dog' cards as well as the dog houses. 

The best part about this free game is that it is all in backline so you can simply print on color paper and have an engaging activity that is low prep.

Ive added a worksheet and cover page for your organisational pouches and folders too.

Download it from Google Drive HERE

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today - if you love Math centers, activities and games as much as me, you may want to see my newly listed Math Pack - its on sale for today only! It will help your emergent-learners with comparing quantities and collections.

- Mel x