Friday, 26 April 2013

Five for Friday! 26/04/13

*Sorry my blog is a bit wonky looking... I fiddled with the template and design and ruined it!  Don't worry though... my Canadian boy is working on fixing it!*

Go on, link up with Doodle Bugs - you know you want to!

1. My Preppies' favourite activity this term has been 'Sound Box Hop' - otherwise known as Elkonin boxes made of electrical tape on the carpet!  We hop, step and jump our way through CVC words to streeeeetch them out and hear the individual sounds.  Sometimes we just jump into one box to show if a particular sound is at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of a word.  Lots of fun and awesome for those sweeties who can't sit still!

2.  This week we learnt about the letter 'l' and made cute ladybugs on leaves, using a few paper circles and a black marker.  I love how they turned out (but please ignore the gross powerpoint panel right in the middle of the pinboard!).

3.  Inspired by Reagan's 2D desserts, we made a simple version to revise 2D shape names. This was such a simple and effective idea - the kidlets had lots of fun building their ice creams!

4.  I arrived home on Tuesday afternoon to this box on my doorstep...

...and I opened it to find this gorgeous Cyclamen in a cute watering can pot.  Organised by my Canadian lovebird to go in my new 'garden' on the patio. <3

5. I went to see 'Iron Man 3' tonight... if you like movies where almost everything in them gets blown up, then you should go and see it too!

Happy weekend everyone! 


Thursday, 25 April 2013

Wonderful Writing!

This week my Preppies have been very busy making some awesome progress with their writing.  It's so wonderful to see them connecting the dots between the sounds they have been learning, letter shapes and print conventions and using this new found knowledge to put the stories in their minds on paper. :)

We do lots of oral storytelling using puppets, felt boards, play dough and acting.  This is such an important step for little ones before they begin to attempt writing their ideas down.  Just this week we have been studying days of the week in Maths, so to connect this with our Literacy work we read 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'.  In our group work time the kidlets used stick puppets to retell the little caterpillar's journey.  They had lots of great ideas of what he would be thinking and used this to add dialogue to their story.  I also heard some funny sound effects as the caterpillar wriggled along and chomped his way through the food.  I used a gorgeous felt story set from Keeping Life Creative - Brooke at Teachable Moments blogged about here. I LOVE this set and am so glad I bought it to use with my kidlets.  (There's also a 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear' and 'Polar Bear, Polar Bear' set that are equally divine.)  Go grab it from TpT!

Here's two examples of where my precious Preppies are with their writing this term:

Fox was creeping.

This little man wrote about his favourite part of our shared reading story.  You can see that he had a go at the word 'fox' with the letter 'f', and then used a magic line for the word 'was'.  Magic lines are used when there's a word, or sound, that the children aren't sure about.  It lets them represent each word in their sentence without getting stuck for ages figuring out which letters to write if they are finding it too tricky.  Didn't he do an awesome job sounding out 'creeping'?  So proud of him!

I like to jump in puddles.  I like to make mud pies.  I like to swim in wet puddles.

This week we learnt about the letter 'u'.  We made collage umbrellas and wrote about what we like to do when it is raining - a great topic for the short 'u' sound because words like 'mud', 'puddle' and 'jump' were common choices. :) This sweetie worked hard to write 3 sentences.  She has used the magic line as well, but for single sounds (like 'w' in 'swim') rather than a whole word. 

Another facet to out writing in Prep is the 'Writing Table'.  It can be used for free choice writing practise any time we have play time or for fast finishers.  

The pinboard shows pictures of the Casey Caterpillar handwriting program we use, as well as a 'What can I write?' display with ideas like my name, a story, a list, a letter or Casey shapes.  The basket contains special, pretty paper and the pencil tins hold coloured, sparkly pens, twist-up crayons and markers.  The most popular choice at the Writing Table is a letter... mainly so it can be placed in an envelope - so exciting! :)

We have a public holiday today for ANZAC Day - a chance to stop and remember the sacrifice men and women have made serving Australia in order to keep is safe and free.  I'm off to the beach to take full advantage of living in such a wonderful country!


Monday, 22 April 2013

Free Apps? Yes Please!

Happy Monday friends!  What gorgeous weather we enjoyed on the coast today: 27 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.  It's amazing how a little bit of sunshine can make Mondays feel so much nicer... perhaps the knowledge that we only have 4 days of school this week is contributing to that also. :)

I had a post all planned with photos of some writing my beautiful Preppies have been doing, but 2 of my emails from my iPad (that I leave at school) to myself with the photos attached have been lost in cyberspace somewhere. :(  So I decided to share something with you that you will probably like even more!

If you have an iPad or two that you use in your teaching - or even if you love to play games on your phone! - you will know just how expensive it can be to buy useful apps.  Apps Gone Free is an amazing little friend that gives you a daily list of apps that are free for a limited time.  The list is based on the popularity and quality of the app, not because it's developer has nominated it, so every app is worth owning!  Each app is free for a while, and then goes back to it's regular price.  There's puzzles, games (educational and otherwise), photo editing tools, lifestyle tips and tricks... the list goes on.  So far I've downloaded a heap of apps for school and home. :) Just this morning I nabbed 'Country Mouse and City Mouse' and 'The Little Red Hen' interactive readers.


I hope you find this little recommendation handy!


Saturday, 20 April 2013

Five for Friday! 19/04/13

Guys, guess what?  It's FRIDAY!  You know what that means...

Link up with Kasey at Doodle Bugs to share five random things from your week... and then spend hours reading everyone else's posts like I do! :)

1.  This was my desk on the last day of term...

...and this is what it looked like at the end of the first day back to school this week.  Sigh.  As hard as I try I cannot keep my desk tidy!!  I think it's because I get frustrated with piles of 'stuff' in the classroom, so I move it all into my office to get it out of the way.  Perhaps I need a more streamlined filing/storage system. Or perhaps I should just close the office door and forget about it! :)

2. Since I'm in the mood for revealing my shameful cleaning habits... here's what my lounge room floor looks like after a few nights of prepping games for the kidlets.  My weekend plans involve lots of tidying up!

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3.  Google Reader is closing it's doors in just a little while, so I am changing over to bloglovin'.  You can follow me there if you like. :)

4.  Nothing like a healthy lunch!  Yesterday this Fairy Floss Force Field Zooper Dooper (that's a Cotton Candy popsicle for those of you playing from the US!) was all I got to eat.  Luckily it was yummy! :)

5.  Someone posted the other day about a gorgeous retell set of 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'  that they bought from Teachers Pay Teachers... and now I can't find the blog post or the item on TpT.  Can anyone help??

Happy weekend friends!


Thursday, 18 April 2013

Games in the Classroom

My Preppies absolutely LOVE playing games.  I use them in our Literacy and Maths rotations, and then move them to be a 'free choice' option for a bit of learning disguised as play!  Here's a few of our favourites (that I'm sure you've seen online before!):

1.  I call this one 'Power Tower'.  The kidlets take turns to choose a cup from the pile.  If they can read the sight word written on it, they are able to add it to the Power Tower.  For low-ability groups I help and we figure the tricky words out together.  The motivation of missing out on adding a cup to the tower is enough to make the other groups think long and hard about the tricky words, and we rarely have to pass on a word.

2.  My 'Splat!' mats were the best thing I made this year for my classroom.  I'd been using 'Splat!' as a way to practise sight word recognition, but I was forever losing my laminated flies and bugs - of which I had hundreds in order to cover all of the words in our sight word program.  These mats make it so easy to play - grab the mats that cover the lists you want to revise, grab the fly swats and off you go!

3.  I'd say that 'Gone Buggy' is the favourite of all the Maths games we play in my classroom.  I use a pocket dice, some dollar store bugs and laminated jars.  The kidlets love to add bugs to their jar when they roll a number, but are always disappointed when they roll the bug spray or a fly swat!  First to 10 bugs wins. :)  I originally saw this idea over at Kindergarten... Kindergarten.

4.  Oh iPads... is there anything you can't do? I have 10 iPads in my room and I use them for independent skill practise, listening stations, as a reward and for those kidlets who respond well to the visual/auditory/kinaesthetic combo (uh... that may be all of them!).

Do your kids love games as much as mine? :)


Wednesday, 17 April 2013


After a truly wonderful 2 weeks of holidays I went back to school on Monday.  It was so great to see my gorgeous Preppies and hear all of their stories about the fun things they did on their break, but I must admit that every day so far this week I have woken up wishing for a few more hours sleep. Isn't it too early in the term to be so exhausted?  I'm calling it first-week-of-term-itis... just like Monday-itis but much worse! :)

Why is it that Some e-Cards can always express exactly what I'm feeling? :)
Luckily for me, my kidlets have been super well behaved and are excited to be learning and spending time with their Prep friends.  They are particularly fond of the new word I taught them this week - onomatopoeia! Their writing has been filled with awesome words like splash!  wham! boom! and pitter-patter!  They are so proud of themselves for making good word choices. 

I promise I will be back with photos soon... but right now I am off to have a glass of wine prepare for tomorrow and eat dinner.  Btw - if you ever want a simple way to make an everyday meal fab-u-lous, just add some cubes of diced Butternut pumpkin to a creamy curry (like Butter Chicken).  Let it simmer until it's nice and soft - it adds a delicious sweet flavour. :)


Saturday, 13 April 2013

Five for Friday! 12/04/13

Friday already? Oh man! 

Five for Friday is one of my favourite ways to get to know everyone in bloggy land. Link up with Kasey over at Doodle Bugs to share your 5 randoms from this week. 

1. My patio was in desperate need of something to brighten it up a bit, so yesterday we went to Bunnings (an Aussie store kind of like Home Depot) to grab some plants.  I got a Bird of Paradise, a pink Camellia and some sweet flowers.  The white stand is a herb garden that was on clearance - it's basically a little ladder with pots on the steps.  I still need to transfer the plants into bigger/prettier pots but just having them like this on the patio has made a huge difference already.  I wonder how long I can keep them alive for?! 

2. I love sipping a nice, hot coffee in the mornings and since it's holidays I sometimes have more than one.  No need to go back for seconds with this baby - a 'bowl' of flat white that I ordered from a cafe in Sydney.  It was amazing!

3. This little fella is going to join us at school and spend a few nights with each kidlet at home.  He will have a journal with him so each one can write about his time at their house and we'll read about his adventures when he comes back to school.  My kids love writing (the Writing Table chairs are always in high demand during free choice time!) so I'm hoping that this will be another exciting way for them to practise.

4. My Canadian boy flies home to Alberta tomorrow. :( He has been here for 2 weeks.  I know I'll see him again soon but the time apart is going to be difficult.  

5.  School goes back on Monday, and this quote sums up where my headspace is about that!  I need to take some time tomorrow to think about work and get rid of my relaxed, fuzzy holiday brain! :)

Happy weekend friends!


Thursday, 11 April 2013


The last time I logged on to Blogger to catch up with things I was lying on Bondi Beach (using their free beach wifi - great idea!) enjoying the sunshine and feeling super relaxed. My Canadian lovebird and I spent a few days in Sydney - if you have never been there and ever get the chance make sure that you go to this beautiful city!  I love Queensland and the Sunshine Coast, but if I ever had to live anywhere else in Australia it would be Sydney.  It truly is a gorgeous city.  Here's a few pictures from our time there.
The Sydney Opera House.

Us in front of the Opera House.

View of the Harbour Bridge from the ferry to Manly.

Bondi Beach.

Now that I've had 2 wonderful weeks of relaxation and absolutely no work, I guess it must be time to start thinking about school again.  We go back for Term 2 on Monday.  I'm excited to see my kidlets, but sad that the alarm will be set for 5am once again!

When we arrived home this afternoon we went to the shops and grabbed a few bits and pieces so I can start getting organised again!

Nothing says 'back to work' like a new laminator and paper cutter!
My old laminator was only A4 size so I definitely needed an upgrade.

This photo does terrible justice to a cute bag I bought to carry my laptop etc. back and forth  from school to home.  It was a bargain - on sale from $40 to $8! 

Ummm... these have nothing to do with school (we wear a uniform - boo!) but I NEEDED them. :)
Better get back to eating Freckles and watching Law and Order - what better way to enjoy the last few days of holidays? 


Friday, 5 April 2013

Five for Friday! 05/04/13

Can you believe that it's Friday already?? Time sure does fly when you're having fun.  I'm halfway through my Easter holidays and have had an amazing week with my Canadian lovebird visiting.  Even though I can't see this week's post on Doodle Bug's page I'm posting now anyway. (Is it just me who can't find this week's linky?)

1. How wonderful it is to have my boy nearby instead of on the other side of the Pacific!

2. On Tuesday we spent the day at Australia Zoo.  It's so great that the spirit of Steve Irwin really does live on through the passion and enthusiasm that the zoo staff have for the animals and the environment.  If you're nearby (or planning to visit Australia!) then Australia Zoo is a 'must see'.  This sleepy koala was super cute. :)

3. This week has certainly been an indulgent one... this stack of honeycomb pancakes was to die for but not at all healthy. :)

4. If you haven't experienced a San Churro Spanish hot chocolate you should go and get one right now!  As the lovebird said 'Is that chocolate custard you're drinking?!?' It's AMAZING!

5. The Land Before Time was on sale at Woollies tonight for $8 - reckon I can convince Chris to turn off the footy so we can watch it? :)

Happy Friday everyone! 


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

April 'Currently'!

April already? Surely not! I'm linking up with Farley for her April 'Currently' to share what's happening here at the beach!

Listening - Things sure do get busy around here at holiday time!  There's a whole heap of families on holidays in the complexes nearby and right now a heap of them are walking past my place to the restaurants by the water. It's such a nice spot to sit, chat and have a glass of wine with your meal. 

Loving - My Canadian lovebird Chris arrived on Good Friday and is here with me for just over 2 weeks. :) Today we went to Australia Zoo, tomorrow we're heading to Noosa and we're off to Sydney next week. It is the most wonderful thing in the world to have him here.

Thinking - We're off to see Oz tonight and I am super excited!!

Wanting - If you live near the Sunshine Coast you NEED to get yourself to San Churro for a Spanish hot chocolate.  It's pretty much melted chocolate and is to-die-for! One of them with a churro dipped in Dulche de Leche (thick caramel) sauce is absolute heaven.

Needing - Wouldn't it be great if the number of days spent on holidays outnumbered those spent at work?  Wishful thinking, I know!

Advice - Life is so busy. Spend some time doing the things you love and being with the people who make your life wonderful.  (I cheated a bit - I don't sell or create to sell and am so new to blogging that I thought a bit of general life advice would be better. :)

Hope all of my Aussie friends are enjoying your holidays, and that those in other places had a great Easter break that refreshed you for a terrific week at school!