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Friday, 28 April 2017

Pineapple Wall Week Planner


Happy #friyay friends!

I have a new wall weekly plan up near my desk and just knew that you would love a copy too!




Click HERE to find it in Google Drive.

Head over to my Instagram to find out how you can win a swag of awesome teacher-creator goodies!

Have a blast on this most-fabulous day of the week, won't you!

- Mel x
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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Teacher Desk Essentials


A fabulous time-saving and classroom management strategy is to set up some 'teacher organizers' or 'caddies' in your classroom.

I recommend at least two - one near your desk and one near your main teaching area. 

Or, one at the back and one at the front of your room - whatever works best for you.

The benefits to you as a teacher are:
1. you save precious teaching and learning time (not stopping to look for things)
2. your lessons flow more smoothly
3. you have a clearer mindset because you are not becoming frustrated looking for things

The usability and effectiveness of these 'hubs' rests with three important little details:

1. Do not try to put everything you use in here - it will become overcrowded and become a 'dumping ground' for clutter. Just the absolute essentials that you find yourself reaching for the most. 

2. Regularly clean it out, test the markers and top it up (I, or fabulous little classroom helpers, liked to do mine on a Friday) and keep the sections consistent (i.e. don't go changing the place things are kept)

3. Teachers only. No student is allowed to touch. This way, things will always be available for you, and your lessons. 


The contents will vary depending on what you use the most. Close your eyes - imagine your most common lesson framework, and walk yourself through the steps. What are you using? What do you regularly have to stop and find or retrieve from another position in your classroom?

Here are mine: 



1. 
Pens - one blue, one red, one multi-coloured
one or two lead pencils
scissors
glue stick

2.
sharpies or other chart markers

3. 
sticky notes and/or flags

4. 
blank index cards / flashcards

5. 
class camera (old phone or iPod)
dictionary 

6. 
stapler 
sticky tape or wash tape

7. 
stamps
stickers

8.
dry erase markers

9.
highlighters
(5 colours, one for each day)

10.
attention-getting bell

11.
erasers/s

Keep other teaching equipment and excess quantities in your storeroom or away from the main learning space. Keep that as clutter-free as possible. 


I used a bathroom multi-section organiser from Kmart for this one. In the past I have used other baskets, trays or shelves. When teaching the lower grades I also used a drawer system in my main teacher area and would have something like this in the top drawer.


The key is to have the equipment easy to access and consistently available. 

You might also like to read about the 'Core Drawers' system I created HERE

Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope you have a terrific week!

- Mel x


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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Robot 120 Chart Worksheets


If you need an activity for students to review number order to 120 in a fun and independent way, make them a 'Number Robot Book'!

Simply print the pages you want to include - there are 20 and each gets harder than the previous, by having more numbers to write.


Staple them into a work booklet, with the cute cover!


When your students have a few minutes to spare, they can fill in some missing numbers. 

It is a valuable activity to constantly revise number order, numeral formation and the 120 chart - and requiring your students to write them independently is a way to make sure they are truly attending to their learning.


Fast finishers can color the robots too!


An alternative is to laminate them or place them in a clear plastic pocket to use with a dry-erase marker.


Find this new packet in my TpT store:


If you are looking for more teaching ideas for 100 and 120 charts, check out these older blog posts:







Thanks so much for stopping by!

- Mel x

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

New Desk / Wall Week Planner



I have a new week planner up on my desk wall, ready for next week. If you would like it for your working space, classroom or planner find it in Google Drive HERE

If you are not a kid-at-heart, you might like to share it with your little sweeties. 

True story. I'll keep it short because the day is too nice and I need to get outside for some sun. 

At cafe at shops a few weeks ago. Overheard conversation at nearby table. Two ladies discussing a work colleague - here is tidbit of overheard conversation:

"....and she signs her email with Happy Friyay....{giggle...giggle...giggle}....what sort of 40 year old says Friiiiiiiiiiiiiiiyay......{snort, chortle, snort}"

I slid down, deep into my seat. And had a bit of a giggle myself. 

I did want to say 'just a few million'.

But then again, I'm not 40 yet. So there is still time for me to grow up and learn to chortle. 

Until then, happy hump day!

- Mel x

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Learning the Letter Sound o!


If you have been following my Instagram stories and blog posts you will know that I am teaching my son Sam some very basic early alphabet and sound awareness using the resources in my Let's Learn the Alphabet series. 

If you have just stumbled upon this post, you may like to hop back through the previous post I have done over the last few weeks HERE

In the classroom, this would not be my 'literacy program' - it would be the short, structured, focused mini lesson for 'phonics'.

Today we read some 'o' stories to contextualise our learning. 


We looked at some 'o' words using the word cards from my resource packet, and also talked about 'o' words as we found them in the books. 


We learnt a little song to remember our letter sound and practiced writing it with correct formation. 


We briefly looked at all the previous sounds we have learnt and revised them.


We added 'o' to our growing sound book.


We spent just a few (but very precious) minutes seeing if we could combine the letters we have learnt to make words. 


Today I even showed Sam the 'ot' word family chunk and showed him how to combine it with a consonant to make a word. It took 2 minutes. This is very valuable learning. I did not labour the skill or drag on the activity for too long. 

What I have found in my years of teaching early reading is that if you do these word building activities very early and within the context of learning new sounds progressively, you can save a lot of time down the track. I have only had to formally teach 'word families' once - all my other classes could read and write all word family based words confidently {for example, ot, og, ip, et, an) without having to do a single worksheet!


The trick is to introduce it within the boundaries of your regular daily single-sound phonics lesson and to make it consistent, regular (every time you introduce a new letter sound), fun, hands-on and pressure-free! 



Find a FREE 'o' worksheet in google drive, to add to your collection, by clicking on the image below:



Have a wonderful day! 

- Mel x



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Flowers for Fun!


We made some pretty paper flowers just for fun, in our freshly-tidied craft corner!


We used paper cupcake liners and pipe cleaners. 


We cut paper circles out to make flower centres. 


And wash tape made it easy for little fingers to rip-and-stick!



We combined them with a free 'flower patch' spinner {click on image to find old blog post} to model some equal groups. 


Find some other flower based learning activities on my blog, by clicking on the images below:

Ten Frame multiplication:


Making groups of ten:


And more 'equal groupings' for multiplication:



Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope your week is off to a blooming good start!

- Mel x




Monday, 17 April 2017

Happy Easter


A smidge-belated, but very happy Easter to you friends!

I read a snippet of a post somewhere this week about the sad passing of the oldest lady in the world. 

117!

She ate 3 eggs a day. Apparently. 

Sounds pretty good to me. 


- Mel x

Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Secret of the Yes Day


Feeling a bit bothered?

Not your normal super-pumped-amazing-lets-do-awesome-learning-today self?

Contemplating not going to work?

Stop.

Just have a 'Yes Day'. 

'Yes Day' was passed to me very early on in my career - handed down from a very experienced teacher who trusted me with the sacred knowledge. 

Not only have I used this technique in my teaching life. I've used it here at home. Even mothers have 'Yes Days'. 

Now. Imagine you didn't go to work today, and a substitute teacher took your class. Things would go somewhat as planned, but things would be different, right? But....the kids would still be alive and the sun would still set even though you were not there doing-you-normal-thing - am I right?!

Well, so will it be on 'Yes Day'.

But there will be no substitute teacher. Or mother.

It will be you, but with a fresh new walk-in-and-walk-away attitude.

For one day. 

Just to get you through. 

It will be a day where you just say 'yes'. To yourself. Nobody else will know it is 'Yes Day'. 

The absolute key is not to use this technique too readily. 

It is for those very rare days, when you #justcan't

So. On 'Yes Day' things relax a little. You say 'yes' A LOT! 

Mostly to yourself, but even more than you normally do with the sweeties. 

Can I go to the bathroom for the fifth time? Yes
Can I read a book? Yes
Can I draw fangs on mine? Yes.
Will I have ANOTHER coffee? Yes
Will I ignore the nonsense comments? Yes
Can she have the attention she is so desperately jumping up and down for? Yes
Can they just draw a picture because I have not had time to laminate the 45,000 cards I need to play that incredibly engaging rigorous literacy game? Yes


Well, that is exaggerating just a smidge... but you get the picture. It is also the metaphorical 'yes' too. Just letting go a little and letting things slide that would not ordinarily be allowed to. 

Give yourself a 'Yes Day' - you deserve it! And the best part is, that you will probably notice things going a lot better than you thought they would! 

- Mel x

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Flowers through the Hours


For some reason my default drawing subject tends to be flowers. 

My sweeties are on a break from school and preschool so we are 'fixing up' our little craft space. 

And drawing. A few flowers here, a few flowers there.

And lots of almost-nothing, really. 

So lovely after a busy term. 

Here is a project we did a few years back, in our craft corner that you might like to download and try - a nice simple happy flower directed drawing. 


If you are on a term break, I hope you are enjoying doing all the lovely things that make you happy!

Have a wonderful day. 

- Mel x

P.S. Why pick just one? Have a bit of everything!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Butterfly Addition


Butterfly Addition is a fun way to incorporate fine motor into a math center. 


You can also have your students use dry erase markers or tokens as an alternative to dough.


Students will find the total of the two wings and record the answer with a card or marker.



It is listed in my TpT store HERE



Saturday, 8 April 2017

Butterfly Worksheets



I've added four new worksheets to my Wonder Worksheet pack, all with a butterfly theme.
If you have this value-packed growing bundle, find the new additions when you re-download!






Find more resources for teaching with butterflies HERE

Thanks so much for stopping by today, see you very soon!

- Mel x