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Sunday 30 September 2012

A trip to the Big City Sydney and a Giveaway

Well I feel like I have had a busy first week of school holidays!  I am hoping my next week will be a bit more laid back and that I will be able to get a few items ready for my store (insert fingers crossed here).  I just spent a couple of days in Sydney with my family, we had a great time.  This was the first time my kids had been to Sydney and they were suitably impressed with the size and scope of the city, unfortunately I did not do my homework properly when I booked our accommodation and we spent much of our walk down Oxford Street distracting our children from the interesting sights and signs of the, lets call them not for children shops.  Well, live and learn, they came out unscathed and we had lots of practice in answering questions about the "interesting" people watching that we did.

The main reason we went to Sydney (a 5hr drive from our town) was to see the show Ovo from Cirque du Soleil and I have to say it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  I would highly recommend you go if you get a chance.  I haven't got any pics of the show because they do not allow you to take photos when you are inside and my camera battery died before I could get a pic of us outside the show.  So I have a few photos to share with you of us at Centrepoint Tower and at the Aquarium at Darling Harbour.

Iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge

My 2 stopping for a rest in Hyde Park

The top of Centrepoint Tower, Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background

She's such a clown(fish) haha

And for all you Nemo fans out there

"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...."

"Nemo never go to the drop-off1"

"My name's Bruce, fish are friends, not food."

So now we are back home and I have caught up on some blogs, I will get on to those items I want to create and I am about to make a mass purchase from some of my favourite sellers at TpT.

Not to forget Dana at Fun in First Grade is having a massive 500 follower Giveaway.  She has some awesome prizes so make sure you jump over and check it out!

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Clip Art Freebie

Well I have been very productive on these holidays.....just not in the school sense.  I have been out in my vege garden and I am happy to say we will be getting some lovely crops of tomatoes and lettuce among other things.  I have cleaned out the garage with a little help from the other half and I have spent time with my actual kids.  I have spent hours blogstalking and catching up on what everyone is up to I even updated my blog button so now everything is matchy.

One thing I have been playing around with is some clipart.  Now I do not put my self in the same bracket as Mel From The Pond, but I am happy to share with you my creations and hope that you can use them.  I have noticed lots of Fall items going up on TpT and on blogs and that got me thinking about the weather and seasons and how happy I am to be welcoming Spring.  So I started creating some Spring images that I will be using in my packets that I will be making in the next week.  Here are some of them...

I have also made a few different cliparts for the other seasons as well and you can get them all for free here

I would love to know if you use these and if you feel like crediting me, that would be nice as well.  Hope you enjoy!
Please let me know if the link does not work.  Just checked and link is not working....will update and let you know when it is this space...thanks for watching, you have to download each image individually as dropbox only doesn't download folders.  If you really want these and the download doesn't work, leave your email and I will send them to you.  Oh my Lord, the end of this post is just rambling...sorry

Friday 21 September 2012

Multiplication I have, who has

I have put my multiplication I have, who has...? cards on TpT.

This is from the x2 tables

This is for the x3 tables

This is from the x10 tables

It is a zipped file and has all the tables from x2 through to the x12 tables.  I actually call them loop cards but I have noticed that others call them I have, who has. I have used these in my classroom for years for so many topics!  I have phonics, sight words, adjectives, addition, subtraction, really is endless.  I will be looking at updating some of my files now that I am on holidays so keep an eye out as these will be available in the next couple of weeks.  If you would like a set of "I have, who has?" cards visit my store here, or click on one of the above pics.  They are on sale for the next week at 20% off normal price.
I will give a free set to the first person who leaves a comment because I am happy, happy, happy to be on holidays!  Remember to leave your email address.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

200 follower Giveaway

I am very lucky to be contributing my Multiplication Mega Pack to Tracey's 200 follower giveaway at Third Grade All Stars.  Head on over and check it out there are many other fabulous prizes to win!

Tuesday 18 September 2012

What are YOU Lovin'

I am linking up with Megan from I Teach. What's your Superpower? for this fab linky to tell you all about what I am lovin'

Here goes...

1. Technically this should be what my hubby is lovin' as it was his Fathers Day pressie, but.... I am lovin' his Nespresso U pod machine with the most awesome milk frother.  Two of these babies straight up in the morning gets me going!

2. I am loving that holidays are only 3 school days left and we will be taking the kids to Sydney to see Cirque de Soleil Ovo

3.  I am loving that my vege garden is waking up for Spring and we are having fresh silverbeet, snow peas, herbs, carrots and I just planted my first tomatoes of the season, lettuce nearly ready to use as well.

These strawberries are from last year, it hasn't been warm enough yet for those babies to come out yet!

Apart from that I am just waiting for some destress holiday time.
Now it is your turn to link up and tell us what you are lovin'

I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

Hooty Giveaway and more of the Write Stuff Giveaway

You need to check out this cutey, hooty giveaway from one of my fave bloggers Kylie from Down Under Teacher!  She always makes beautiful products and I know my kiddos love using them!
check it out!

Also Kelly (also a fave blogger) at the Teacher Idea Factory is having a HUGE Writing Giveaway...head on over and check it out!

Monday 17 September 2012

Frog Craftivity Freebie

I wanted to share my Frog Craftivity with all my followers and I wanted to try out Drobpbox. the moment my Frog Craftivity is on sale at my TpT store but anyone who reads my blog can download it here for FREE (if I worked out how to use Dropbox correctly, let me know if it doesn't work.)  But be quick I am only leaving it on Dropbox for 2 days after that it will still be available at TpT.

Sunday 16 September 2012

To Project or not to Project....

Do you send projects for students to complete at home?  I have to say this is something I have really had to look hard at over the last couple of years of my teaching.  In previous years at schools I have taught at there has not been a huge emphasis on it and I was fine with that.  The school I am currently at has had a culture of send home projects related to Science units, Health units, or Studies of Society and History.  As I was a new staff member I felt that I had to "follow" along with what the other teachers were doing, particularly as there were siblings in the same year level but a different class.  I have to say the majority of students enjoyed it and returned projects that were MOSTLY their own work.  My problems came when there was an obvious disparity between a students ability and the project they produced or the inequality of time and assistance that students had to complete their projects.  Asking students to complete projects at home when they are lucky to have a parent make their dinner or breakfast is providing an opportunity to fail.
The other issue I have with this is the time and availability of resources that is required to produce something the kiddos can be proud of.  Expecting a student to produce a poster when they can't get any paper or have markers or pencils at home is not fair.  Expecting a single, working parent to have the time required to help their child no matter how much they want to is unfair.
As I am posting this I am "helping" my daughter complete a very extensive project on the Australian goldfields.  While this is an interesting topic it has taken our entire weekend to complete it and I am concerned at the research skills required that don't seem to have been taught at school.  I am hoping that when her report is done that this project is not taken into account as this has not been reflective of work that she has done independently.

So here is what I did this year to feel like I was offering a project that was equitable and that I could be sure the students were completing their own work.  We did ALL of our projects at school, I timetabled my technology to research topics and rearranged my lesson plans to include projects in class time.  I was able to see where the strengths and weaknesses were for my students and I felt I was not putting pressure on parents who both work and have many after school activities or commitments.
This is something I will be following for the future as I believe that providing ALL students with success at their ability is soooo important to their self confidence and learning.

A bit of a heavy post I know but I just had to get it out!

What are your thoughts on send home projects?

Friday 14 September 2012


Brooke at Teachable Moments is having a 250 follower giveaway!  You could win 5 fabulous items from her TpT store!  Hop on over and check it out!

Teachable Moments

Thursday 13 September 2012

Frog Facts

Well as many of you know we are going hopping mad in my classroom at the moment.  Hopping mad over frogs!  Today we finally finished our Frog Facts to join onto our frog glyphs.  I think they look frogtabulous and the kiddos have really enjoyed it.  Only one more week to go at school and then we are on September holidays, I am hoping I will be able to get going on developing some packets for my TpT store as it has been almost impossible near the end of this term.  Anyway this is just a short post to share some more pics of how our frogs turned out.

Here is one of my girls and a close up of the first of her frog facts
2 frogs hanging around with the boys!

Here they are hanging up in our room

Hope your week has ended well!

Tuesday 11 September 2012

More Froggy Fun

I promised some more pics of the Froggy Fun we are having in our here goes.  Let's begin with a Life Cycle I have had sitting in my study for at least a couple of years.  I was pretty excited to finally get it out, only I didn't realise how big it was.  When I saw the size I immediately knew I wanted to use it as a whole class puzzle on the white board.  Problem was it wasn't a magnetic puzzle, so time to start gluing!  I try not to buy magnets, I tend to recycle the magnets that you might get in the mail from businesses or old fridge calendars.  I usually end up collecting lots of business fridge magnets, then we end up moving and I don't have a use for them anymore, so they get recycled!  These magnets were actually from a magnetic board set I had picked up for the bargain price of $0.56 cents.  I am using it as an oral language prompt for my student with special needs and all the magnets were push out, pre cut.  Anyway I ended up with lots of left over magnetic strips.  So I cut them up and glued them onto the back of the puzzle!

Step 1.  You can see all the left over magnetic sheets near the front

Step 2 Cut and glue

Step 3 Put it together on the whiteboard!

We have been researching frog facts by using the 3, 2, 1 fact sheet from Teaching with Love and Laughter .  I found these just in time to support our quick on the run, mini frog unit.  (See my post here as to why I am doing a min unit 2 weeks before school finishes)  The children are still in the process of reading and recording their facts.....but we did make some frogs that we will be attaching our frog facts to.  Here is what they look like.
These are the pieces the students had (theirs were not cut out.)

This is my example or as I like to say....Here's one I prepared earlier.  He is glued onto our Frog book box.

Here are some of the students frogs, I particularly like the spotty one.

I should have some pics of our Frog Facts by the end of the week.  Next up we will be Comparing and Contrasting Frogs and Toads.  There will be pics for that as well!   
Tomorrow we are having our culminating whole school Mini Paralympics.  Should be fun!

Saturday 8 September 2012

Whiteboard crayons!! WoW

I wanted to share these amazing new( new to me!) whiteboard crayons that I found at Officeworks.  I don't know if anyone else out there has found these but I was like "Wow!  That is a fantastic idea!"  I use individual whiteboards almost daily in my classroom as well as laminated games and activities that may require students to write on them.  It is a constant battle to keep lids on markers and when you rub off whiteboard markers from the laminate it always leaves a mark or smear. I have used whiteboard spray, insect repellent, tea-tree oil and a mountain of other things to keep the laminate clean.  I go through packets and packets of whiteboard markers and I usually end up buying the cheapest ones I can find.
So you can imagine how excited I was!  I wouldn't say they are cheap, this packet of 8 cost roughly $8.00 (Australian) but since then I have found some a bit cheaper on  line.  I can imagine they will last a lot longer than whiteboard markers though.

Well when I got to school I immediately tried them out!  Here is how they look on a whiteboard.

They come with a wipe off mitt and a built in sharpener in the back of the box.  I found the colours to be bright and they were easily wiped off leaving no residue however, I think the sharpener is a bit inconvenient as I doubt I will keep the box just for the sharpener.

So after I tried the small whiteboard, I tried them on the large board but I wouldn't recommend using them on a larger board.  A whiteboard marker has a wider point and these crayons have a finer point making it difficult to see them from a distance.  Then I tried them on a plastic sleeve, no problems!  Then I tried them on a plastic cup that I use for our multiplication Tower of Power, ( I can't remember where I saw that idea...maybe Pinterest, however if it was you please let me know so I can credit you.)  no problems.  I like to be able to change the cups so I was using whiteboard markers instead of permanent markers- but every time the students re-stacked the cups the answer on the inside would wipe off.  The crayons did not!  Here's how they look on the cups.

This is one of my kiddos practicing her 11 x tables before doing the Tower of Power.

I am sure that they would even write well on the plastic plate whiteboards that Clutter Free Classroom posted about.  You can see that post here.

I would love to hear from anyone else who has used these in the classroom and what your thoughts are  about them.  I am loving the fact that I won't have to chase kiddos up for leaving the lid off the marker.  My only worry is that they will snap like normal crayons, but so far so good.