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Thursday 26 July 2012

Welcome Home

You may know that I am a military wife and that my husband has been serving in Afghanistan for the last 6 1/2 months.  I am happy to say he has been safe and sound at home for the last 8 1/2 hrs.  You may ask why am I blogging?
He is sound asleep, exhausted, the kids are asleep, the cat is asleep and both the dogs are asleep.  All is quiet, I feel happy and peaceful.  But I wanted to let you know that I may be out of touch for the next few days while my family spends time together.  (Although if tonight is any indication I will most likely check in when there is quiet time.)
 If I don't reply to a comment or leave a comment it is because I am off line as far as blogging goes.
All in all it has been a great day and I thank those who have left comments of support.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

I Love a Linky!

This is such a fun linky and suits me down to the ground as I love to talk about myself!

Ok here goes a little about me..

1. I love shoes!  I own 36 pairs of shoes and categorise them.  See this post for how excited I get about shoes!  The reason I love shoes is because when I wear them I am 5ft or over.  Without shoes I am 4 ft 11.  All my shoes have heels, I never wear flat shoes.

2.  I am the shortest in my family, but 2nd born out of 4 siblings.  

3. I tap dance! (Really its because I liked shoes that made noise, are you seeing an obsession here?)  Our school has a dance concert every year as part of their Arts curriculum.  This year I will be dancing with my students to help and support my Special Needs Student, see all about her here.  I am learning sign language this year as her teacher.

4. I love Bon Jovi, I rocked out to them as a teenager!  Was astonished the other day in the car with my 11yr old daughter (yes she is as tall as me and fits into my shoes) when she said, "Can we put on that Bon Jovi CD?"  We rocked it out as a team!

5. I love dressing up, we have Book Week coming up next week and I am busily getting my costume ready for it, it involves a crown this year and yes I will be posting pics.  Here is a pic of me last year as Puss in Boots.  You know the whole costume started with my boots.  I got up early and did my own face painting, there were quite a few stares as I drove to school and then had to stop to get petrol.

6. I love birthdays, yours, mine whoever!  I always take a cake in to class for my birthday and make sure that in my Parent info night I let parents know I welcome chocolate cake for birthdays.  My birthday is going to be on our Book Week day this year.  I get to play dress up for my birthday!  I will have 40 candles this year.

7.  I am super proud of my husband.  He is my rock and my hero.  He is on his way home from Afghanistan after serving  there for 7 months.  We missed him soooooooo much but we know that he was doing something really important and we have realised how good we have it in our country. 

This is us when we met up in Italy halfway through his deployment.  We spent 2 weeks together....started in Rome and flew out of Paris.  It was magical.  Yes I did buy shoes in Italy.

8.  I found my Great Grandfathers World War 1 grave in France when I was there this year.  As a military kid and now a wife and mother of military kids I found the experience really moving.  I remember my Great Grandmother and I was so proud to be the family member that found him so far away from home.

9. I met Mickey Mouse.  I know all you Northern Hemisphere people are saying.."Yeah, so have we!"  But as you may know, this is not a short trip from Australia and it was something I could cross off my bucket list.
  I love to travel!  We spent 10 days in Hawaii and 5 days in LA.  My family had a great time and we were able to pay our respects at Pearl Harbour.  

10.  We own a conservation property in Tasmania and will eventually move there.  It is 400 acres, 2 thirds of it is pure bush with limestone caves and lots of trees, some quite rare.  The other third is cleared and we will be building a home there.  I don't like the cold and I am really worried about how I am going to cope with snow, etc.  We aren't greenies per se but I feel like we are doing our bit in protecting this special part of the world.  On our property we have wallabies, wombats, echidnas, Tasmanian devils, peregrine falcons and apparently a platypus living in the dam, although I have never seen it.  We plan on turning it into a place where schools can visit and my husband can run Survival courses.  It has a 700 metre hill on it and we have all climbed it.  Here are a couple of pics.

     My son is patting one of the echidnas here.

Well that's me..... I could go on...and on...and on..
but now it is your turn to link up!

Late entry
11.  I have known my husband since we were 6 yrs old.  Both our Dads were in the RAAF and we ended up at the same bases a couple of times.  When we were 12 yrs old we "went together"  (I had braces very embarrasing)  We met up again when we were 19  but we were in other relationships.  Not to be at that time.  He called me one day, we were both single and 6 months later we were engaged, then 6 months after that we were married.  We have the word Fate engraved in our wedding rings.  We have been married for 15 years and have 2 kids.  That means I have known my husband for 34 years.... and still counting.


Thanks to Julie from The Hip Teacher for the Liebster Award!  Yeah I  think she's pretty cool (;
So what is a "Liebster?"....

This award is named for the German word "Liebster," which translates to "beloved" or "favorite," and it is given to "new, up and coming bloggers."  

The rules:
1.  Link back to the person who gave it to you.
2.  Post the award to your blog.
3.  Give the award to at least 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers.

Here they are.....

Judith @ Teaching with J     a fellow Aussie, we stick together you know (; 


4.  Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have been offered this award

Make sure you hop on over and check out these cute blogs!

Monday 23 July 2012

Monday Made It

I know, I know, 2 posts on one day!!!! I am going to claim time difference, yep that's it!

This is my 2nd attempt to link up and because I have been so busy I am showing something I made last week.
So here goes, I first saw this on Stephanie's blog 3rd Grade Thoughts and I knew I had to make one too.  I spend so much time trying to work out who has forgotten to put their name on work and I think this is a great way to increase responsibility with students.  Plus, hers was sooo cute!

Now having said that I was going to make this, I am the least craftiest person I know.... I can laminate up a storm but create something with paint and glue? Major undertaking for me.  Well this was the fruits of my labours!

I decided to keep the pegs their natural colour but will probably end up painting them blue.

Flowery recommendations

I just wanted to quickly update about my apple pin board.  As you know I have used the grab line "Bite into a Book" to entice my kids to read and write about their reading.  I have been so impressed with how my kids have jumped feet first into recommending books.  To begin I modeled how to write a recommendation and kept it pretty simple as many of my kids are reluctant writers and I didn't want to overwhelm them.  Here are a few pics to show how they look so far.

This is the one I modeled and the petals show the students who read the book from my recommendation. They write their name and put a tick if they liked the book and a x if they didn't.

This is a student written recommendation.  I love that she used the word "vibrant" to describe the book!

This is another student recommendation.  I modelled to the students reading a recommendation and then reading a book.  I explicitly said I was reading the book because she had said the illustrations were "bumpy".  The illustrations were done in water colour and did indeed look bumpy!

This is the pinboard so far and I am looking forward to seeing our garden grow throughout the rest of the term.  I have loved seeing my kids spontaneously writing after reading and really thinking about why the liked/disliked a book.  You can see the post I wrote when I was setting this board up here.


Saturday 21 July 2012

331 Giveaway

Stephanie at Falling into First is having a 331 Giveaway!!  

Check it out and you too could be the happy owner of a cool ThirtyOne Organising Utility Tote!

Friday 20 July 2012

New blogger blog hop!

I love these blog hops for new bloggers, it gives us a chance to get our blog out there to share!

Janis at Grade 3 is the Place for me is hosting a new blogger blog hop. So we have to share some information about ourselves

 1.  what state you are in

I am in New South Wales, Australia or Down Under as most people seem to know us.  It is Winter and really cold....

    2.  your current teaching position

I teach Grade 2/3 this year in a small rural school.  I have a great class this year

    3.  your teaching experience

I have been teaching for 13 years in the lower grade Kindergarten to Year 3.  Out of those 13 years I have only taught a straight grade twice, every other year I have taught a multi age or composite class.  One year I had Pre-school, 1, 2 and 3 in the same class.  I have also taught ESL for a short period of time.  The best part of my teaching career has been that I have taught in 3 different states and I am constantly amazed at how different school systems can be in the same country!! Crazy.

    4.  when you started blogging

I started blogging in June 2012, I'm so new to this I am still shiny!

    5.  share a blogging tip / blogging resource

One of the best things I did to get my name out there was to leave positive comments on other posts and always leave a link to your blog.  

I love the way I have been able to share in what other teachers are doing around the world and I am overwhelmed at the generosity of teachers as a profession.  I love making those connections, you know those moments when you go "Ohhh, that is such a cool idea"  I am going to steal use that idea in my room/with my kids.
What it really comes down to though is I am a people person and to be able to communicate with other teachers from around the world is awesome!  
So if you are a new blogger link up and join the hop!

Monday 16 July 2012

Back to School Panic

Why is it that no matter how much work you put in on the holidays I never seem to feel organised the day before the students come back to school?  We have such a busy term 3 at school and I already feel overwhelmed!  Dancing, swimming, gymnastics, excursions (2 of!), Education Week, Book Week oh and we also have to fit in all our other learning as well.
I sometimes feel like we have such a crowded curriculum and although we often see the media headlines that scream about low literacy and numeracy levels across our country and that schools should be going "back to basics", this sometimes seems so difficult to navigate.
I like many other educators know that literacy is the foundation of all other subject areas and I try to spend as much time on this as I can during each school day.  I know that it is important for children to get a well rounded education but it seems we are taking on so much more that eats away into our time teaching fundamental skills.  I often feel like I am having to be very creative with my timetable to fit in all that we have to cover and then something new gets thrown in like a visit from the Little Athletics or Auskick or the Rugby League (all Aussie football) and that is going to take up an ENTIRE morning when I would prefer my students to be reading, writing and getting "back to basics."
Over the last thirteen years I have been teaching I have seen a huge increase in the amount of "programs" that have been introduced to classrooms including sex education, cyber safety, dog safety, pet responsibility among others.  Some of these are more in the realm of family responsibility in my opinion.  Am I being too critical?  I often feel I am required more and more to be a parent rather than being a teacher.  At the end of the day I want to be able to say that I gave each of my students the ability to read, write, problem solve and to use numbers in a practical way as a minimum, but I am more often feeling that this is being compromised.
Does anyone else feel this way?
Well my goodness that was a rant wasn't it!  But I do feel a little calmer if not organised and ready.

Friday 13 July 2012

Apple pin board display

I finally got into school today and spent most of the day setting up my board and I am happy to share the photo of how it looks so far.....

Oh no, just realised my cloud is saggy.

My flowers are empty stalks at the moment because the kids are going to be turning these into flowery book recommendations.
These are the proformas they will fill out and they will become the centre of the flower.  This will be a booklet that will be folded to make one circle.  When another child reads the book based on the recommendation they will write their name on a petal and add it to the flower, so we will see which books are the most popular in our classroom.
This will be the front cover

This is the inside and will be folded in half.

I put cellophane over the blue poster paper for the sky to cover the joins.  I made the apples from coloured paper rather than print them to save on ink and then laminated them.  The green part of the tree is made from netting material and I stuck a rough velcro dot on the wall and the net material sticks to it, I stuck the apple on in the same way.  The only thing I didn't get done today is to put up my sign that says "Bite into a Book",
this will relate to my book display in the library corner.   The tree actually looks more textured in teal life because I folded and scrunched the material to give it a 3D design.  So the only thing left for me to do is to put up the rest of my apples!

Thursday 12 July 2012


I can't tell you how excited I was to find out I was a winner in Mrs Stanford's 500 follower Giveaway.

 I wanted to share with you my prize from Natalie at Teachery Tidbits.....

So CUTE! I will definitely be using these, I think I can even work them in with my apple theme!
Thanks Natalie.

I have just got back from spending a couple of days in Canberra with my kids and we had a great time visiting with friends, the zoo and the Science centre Questacon.  Just wanted to share a couple of pics with you

We had a great time even though it was a bit chilly.  Will be going into school tomorrow to set up for the term so hope to get alot done and have some photos to post.

Tuesday 10 July 2012


500 Follower Giveaway copy

Lacey at Wild About Teaching is having a Give Away hop over and check it out!

Journals and Storyboards

Just wanted to show my Whole Class Journals I made and a big Thank You to Emily at I Love My Classroom for sharing this idea, I found it on Pinterest and I love it.  I have done whole class journals before but in a more structured way. I love the idea of giving students more choice and freedom in their writing and I think it is a great way to develop creativity especially when we are using Daily 5 in our class.  So here are my journals ready for school next week.

The other resource I wanted to share with you is Math Storyboards, I use these ALOT in my classroom and have for many years.  I think it is a great way to get kids thinking about the many different ways numbers and operations can be represented.  This storyboard is available in my Multiplication Mega Pack
at my TpT store.

Do you use these storyboards?  I use it in different ways for different ability levels.  I will sometimes put a number in the center and ask Kinder or Yr 1 students to represent that number, or put an operation in the center such as 5 x 2 and students will represent that.  I find that using this when you are introducing a new symbol is a great way to capture students with different learning styles.

So let me know what you do with storyboards.....
By the way I feel there will be another post today, cold, rainy and windy outside and another project to finish.  Great day to blog in pyjamas (;

Monday 9 July 2012


I know I already posted today but I wanted to share what I found while I was shopping  procuring educational items.
Here are some alphabet stickers I am going to be putting in my Word Work box.  Each of these sticker books have 450 stickers and were only $2!  So that should keep them going for quite some time with spelling and new vocab words.  Plus they are cute.

The other thing I found were these scribble slates.  Who remembers these from their childhood?  I remember them as having a black slate underneath and then a grey piece of plastic over the top, not nearly as bright as these!  After you have written on them you lift the first layer and the writing disappears.  My own kids are currently playing with them and think they are cool..Once again only $2 so I got 4 of them to put in my Word Work box.

Well I did get many more things and will be putting a few things together for future posts.
For all those Aussie bloggy friends who went back to school today take a deep breath only 9 weeks and 4 days to go (: