Sunday 17 March 2019

Flip the Switch on Classroom Interruptions!

We've all been there - you finally get your kidlets settled and started working on a whole class test when there's a knock at the door and a group of Year 6 kids arrive to talk about student council.  Or maybe you're a few pages into the text with your guided reading group and another student taps you on the shoulder to ask if they can get a drink.  Perhaps the worst of all - the precious ten minutes you have to do some one-on-one intervention work with a struggling student is lost when Susie from next door arrives to borrow some blue paint.  Today I'm sharing a super simple (and cheap!) trick to stop those annoying interruptions during important activities.

First of all you need to visit your local hardware store and grab a battery powered light.  Any will do  - the one I have is called a flip light and was $3.99 from Bunnings. 

The light acts as a signal to others that your students are working on a task that can't be disturbed - put it on the wall near your classroom door or your small group table.

Flip the light on whenever you need to - anyone tempted to knock and interrupt your teaching will see it and come back later!

I've popped together a few posters to display beside your light - click on any of the images below to download them for free.

Testing in Progress - perfect to put beside the door:

 We are working hard - put this one beside your small group table to let the rest of your class know that important work is happening:

Do not disturb - use this for parent teacher interviews etc. when you're having a meeting:

I hope you try this easy trick to stop those annoying interruptions while you're teaching!

Friday 15 March 2019

Let's Go Buggy!

Anyone who has read my blog before would know that my all-time favourite resources to use in any subject area are GAMES!  Joining in with an interactive game is so much more engaging for little learners than a worksheet (and even most other hands on activities) - and best of all they'll be happy to play over and over again, practising skills and concepts without even realising!

Just about the most popular game that I have introduced to any of my classes has been 'Let's Go Buggy'!  It's a counting game that focuses on numbers to 10.  To play, children take turns to roll the die.  Choose either numerals, pictures or number words depending on the needs of your kidlets.  Each time they roll, players add bugs to their jar - aiming to be the first to collect 10 bugs.  I use bug toys from the dollar store, but you could just use regular counters.  Adding an element of fun, the dice include a fly swat and bug spray pictures - if either of those are rolled the player must take away 1 or all of their bugs.

I usually use the pocket dice inserts, but this game also includes templates for you to make your own from card if you prefer!

I love this game because it's super easy to set up, works on number recognition as well as simple addition and subtraction concepts, and can be played pretty much all year.  I can't really remember a class who hasn't wanted to play this game right up until the last weeks of school. :)

Once your kidlets have finished playing the game, they can complete one of the 4 recording worksheets included in the resource!

Click on any of the images in this post to see 'Let's Go Buggy!' in my TpT store.

Tuesday 26 February 2019

St. Patrick's Day Number Fun! {FREEBIE included}

I'll be honest and say that I don't theme a lot of my maths and literacy activities to special days and holidays.  I like to be able to use resources whenever my students need them, not according to the time of the year.  I tend to do themed activities in subject areas like art and writing, where I don't have to prepare laminated resources and can display the work on a bulletin board to get maximum bang for my buck. :)

In saying that.... there's something about St. Patrick's Day that inspires a bit of fun!  Is it the leprechauns?  Maybe the rainbows?  Who knows - but I do have some cute activities up my sleeve that I love to use in March.

I love to use 'Roll and Cover' as a familiar activity with my kidlets because it's so easy to differentiate.  I start the with number recognition and move on to addition and subtraction as the year goes on.  All you need is a mat per child (I like have my kidlets play this game in partners during math center time) and some dice.  You can use counters or cubes to cover the numbers, or grab some gold coins from the party section of your local dollar store.
For 'Roll & Add' or 'Roll & Take', children roll 2 dice and use either addition or subtraction skills to figure out which number on their mat to cover.

By printing in blackline you have a different activity - choose 'Roll & Color' either to save ink or to use as a recording sheet for your kidlets to glue into their math workbooks.

Click on any of the images above to check out the resource that these pages come from! 

One of my all-time-fave games to use in math centers is 'Race to 20'! In my TpT store you can find 3 of these for free - one of which is St. Paddy's Day themed!  

This is a super simple game for children to play - they simply roll the die and add counters to the tens frame on their game board.  The first to collect 20 is the winner!  You can either use regular counters or gold coins.

If you're not in the mood to create laminated resources to have some St. Patrick's Day fun in your classroom, there's a few easy props you can use instead!  Use gold coins or rainbow pom poms instead of counters, print worksheets on green paper or pretend that a naughty leprechaun has 'hidden' things or turned them upside down when explaining activities, or allow your kidlets to use rainbow colors in their workbooks. :)

Beginning Sounds Clip Cards! An easy-peasy literacy center

I'm a big fan of using the "Same same, but different!" approach with activities in my classroom!  I like to teach my class how to complete a variety of tasks, and then use the same activity across different subjects and skills as the year goes on.  This is the perfect strategy to use with literacy centers because it will save you a lot of time explaining tasks - kidlets will see an activity that they know how to complete and get started right away! For this reason, I am a BIG fan of clip cards!  They are so quick and easy to prepare and are perfect to use as a center task, fast finisher option, or even as one-on-one support materials.  

In my classroom you'll find clip cards that cover lots of different skills and concepts - number recognition, counting, punctuation, money, and of course phonics!

These beginning sounds clip cards encourage little learners to apply their phonics skills. They look at each picture, determine the beginning sound, and clip a peg onto the two that match the letter in the middle.  Clipping the pegs on adds an interactive fine motor element to this task - bonus! I usually use regular clothes pegs, but you can find all sorts of novelty pegs and clips if you'd like to use something different!

Make them self-correcting by placing a small dot on the back of the correct answers, using either a sticker or marker.  Children will clip their choices and flip the card over to see if they match!  You can use these cards as skill practise, as an informal assessment tool, or even as intervention work later in the year for those kidlets who need a little help to consolidate their beginning sounds knowledge.

Click on either of the images in this post to check this resource out in my TpT store!

Thursday 9 August 2018

CVC Find-a-Word Puzzles!

Hello friends!  I'm stopping by really quickly tonight to share one of my favourite activities to use when kidlets have started to read CVC words - Find-a-Word puzzles!  Typically I'm not a worksheet kinda gal, but I love these because they're super engaging and they're easily differentiated. :)

The puzzles are organised by medial vowel, and each page has 6 words hidden in the puzzle.  Kidlets simply decode the word using the picture clue and then circle it in the grid below! I use these puzzles across all of my ability groups - those who still need support to decode words complete the activity as a group with teacher help (you could enlarge the page for this purpose if you like), those reading confidently work independently, and those who require a challenge move onto the 'Spell & Find' puzzles.  In these, students must write the beginning sound before finding the word.  

These puzzles are perfect as a small group word work activity (that's where I use them!), but they can also be copied into a 'Fast Finisher' booklet, or used as a homework task.  Each pack also includes colour options - simply laminate these and use a whiteboard marker to complete. :)

Each pack has 12 puzzles - two for each short vowel, and another two that have a mixture of medial vowel sounds.  Answer keys are also provided if you would like to have students correct their own work.  

Click on any of the images in this post to see these in my TpT store!


Monday 6 August 2018

Teaching Adjectives with Monsters!

If you're looking for a fun way to help your kidlets practise using interesting adjectives, you might like to try this easy painting and writing activity.  Bonus: it makes a gorgeous classroom display!

As with most painting activities, it's best to do this part of the activity in small groups.  We all know how messy kids can get with paint when they're not closely supervised! :) To start, give each child a large piece of paper and have them fold it in half.  Near the crease on one side of the paper, place some blobs of paint.  I like using bright, neon colours but whatever you have is fine.  Have kidlets fold their paper again and use their hand to gently smooth and spread the paint as far as they can towards the edges.  Unfold and let dry!

Now for the best bit!  When their paintings are dry, give each child 2 eyes (I used paper circles, but you could use googly eyes if you have them on hand, or they could be drawn on with marker).  They should glue the eyes onto the page in a way that makes their picture look like a monster!  I cut around the edges of the paint to define them a bit more, but that's totally optional.

Spend some time talking about what each monster might be like.  Discuss their colours and features (do they have horns, polka dots or sharp teeth?) as well as what their personalities might be like.  From this discussion, each kidlet writes a sentence and uses an adjective to describe their monster.  Of course, you could extend this task and have them write a few sentences or a paragraph if that's more appropriate for your grade level.  You might also like to use this as an opportunity to work on the concept of symmetry, too.

I love this activity because it has everyone using their imagination and applying their knowledge of adjectives in a really engaging way.  If you put the monsters on display it's a talking point for anyone who comes into the room! I hope this is an idea that you can use with your learners soon!

Sunday 29 April 2018

Punctuation Clip Cards!

I'm not sure about you, but I find that teaching punctuation can sometimes be at bit, well... boring.  Particularly when you're working with little learners who prefer hands on activities.  It was this problem that led me to creating these punctuation clip cards!

The idea is easy peasy - read the sentence and clip the most appropriate ending punctuation!  Choices include a full stop (period), exclamation point or question mark.  The cards are perfect to use as a small group activity once you've done some whole class teaching around punctuation.  Make them self correcting by placing a sticker or marker dot behind the correct answer - children can clip their choice and flip the card to see if they are right!

This resource is designed for beginning readers - lots of high frequency words and others that can be read using simple phonics.  To save on ink, print two to a page to create smaller cards - that's what I did for the cards featured in these photos.

Click on any of the images to see this pack in my store!