Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Descriptive Rainbow Name-bows!

Evening all!  What's with terrible TV tonight?  I'm watching Big Bang repeats but think I might have to give up and go to bed!  Before I do, I wanted to share with you an adaptation of an activity originally Reagan's.

As soon as I saw the beautiful 'Rainbow Name-bows' that Reagan had made with her class I knew I wanted to make some with my kidlets, too. Hers were made after the children had written an acrostic poem about themselves which I thought might have been a little bit tricky, so my Preppies wrote words to describe themselves instead.  

We worked in our small groups to make a list of words - funny, pretty, fast, brother, smart, tall, etc. I then helped with the correct spelling, and the words were copied onto the coloured strips with black texta.  Some kidlets traced over the words after I'd written them in pencil on the strips, and some only had 2 or 3 words on their list to begin with.  Learning to write is tricky! :)

These colourful guys have been hanging in my room since early in Term 2, and I was so sad to take them down today to make room for something new.  The kidlets, however, were super excited to take them home and hand them in their bedrooms!

I may have used a little creative license when writing my Name-bow! :)

I just love seeing ideas that I know will inspire my Preppies to write, especially ones that turn out to be so cute!


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Frankie Says... Relax!

I can't believe that it's been almost a week since I posted on my poor, neglected blog. I do have a reason, I promise!  Turns out that I let a few things happening in my life pile up on me and I ended up at the doctor with a horrible pain in my tummy that turned out to be stress related.  What the?  It turns out that a few school and general life events (I'd be more specific about what they are, but I'm sure it's all very boring!) had been worrying me more than I thought . I had Friday off to have some tests done just in case, but after a rest and some good news from my family I'm feeling much better.  

With all that in mind, I'm heading into the coming week with a goal.  I'm going to focus only on the things that I can control - my kids, my planning, my classroom - and let the chips fall as they may with everything else.  Those other things might affect me, but worrying about what will happen serves no purpose. This morning my aim is to get my house sorted - all the laundry done, the floors washed etc. - and have a fridge full of healthy food to get me through the school week.  That means this girl has to get off the couch asap!  

I went through my Pinterest boards to find a quote to motivate me (and maybe you, too!) to relax and stress less this week, and although I have lot of beautiful images with meaningful words it was this one that I thought was the best: 

Apparently it's a Polish proverb! Let me know if you have any sure-fire relaxation methods - I'm up for some new ideas. :)

Here's to a great week with our little monkeys! :)


Monday, 22 July 2013

10 Things I've Learned from Teaching

I love a good linky party, and Miss Kindergarten is hosting one that I just had to join in with - link up and share 10 things you've learned from teaching!  Another great way to get to know other bloggers and share the things we have in common. :)

1. Every year the kids in your class will find their way into your heart, and no matter how tricky they were to work with you will cry as you watch them leave on the last day of school. :)

2. You can never have enough clothes pegs, ziplock bags, Pringles cans, duct tape, glitter, cardboard boxes... 

3. There is no such thing as a 2 day weekend when you have school on Monday.

4. It's so important to be prepared for ALL of your lessons before the week starts, because free time in the school week is never guaranteed.  There's always meetings called, things to grade and file, parents to speak to and activities to tidy up so you can't be sure that there will be time to prepare lessons in the week that you need to teach them.

5. If you change your perfume, the kidlets will notice!

6.  The one time you go to the grocery store and only buy chocolate and wine, at least 3 school families will see you and report back the next day. :)

7.  There's always something new to read about, different ideas to try and ways to shake up your teaching to make sure that your kidlets are engaged and learning.  If something isn't working, change it.

8. Don't compete with other teachers - they have a different teaching style, a different class, a different personality and different amounts of time available to them for planning and making resources.  Just do what you know is best for your class - you can't do everything!

9.  The teachers you meet at school will most likely become your best friends.

10. Get your roots done - the gorgeous kidlet picking up a black pencil to draw 'the top bit' of your hair will not make you feel pretty! :)

This girl better get to gettin' on.  Dinner to cook so I can have an 8pm bed time!  Looking forward to reading the 10 things you have learned in your time as a teacher.


Sunday, 21 July 2013

A New Product - Rainbow Border Number Posters!

What's a girl to do when she's home on a Saturday night and there's nothing on TV?  Make classroom decor, of course!  

On the holidays I printed and laminated the Rainbow Border Word Wall Headers I'd made and they are on display looking gorgeous in my room.  Unfortunately, they made the number posters that I've had for years look old and boring in comparison.  So last night I put together a set of posters with the numeral, ten frame and number word for the numbers 0-20.  They have the same rainbow border and the ones I'm going to use have bright coloured dots in the ten frames.  There's also a set with black dots for those who need to conserve their coloured ink. :)

I can't wait to get these on display tomorrow! 

I hope you are enjoying a lovely, relaxing weekend and haven't ruined your Sunday afternoon by leaving all your lesson planning 'til the last minute like I have... Will I ever learn?


Saturday, 20 July 2013

Favourite Pins Friday!

Friday linkys are a great way to remind you that another week has just flown by at warp speed!  This week my kidlets spent most of their time inside due to rainy weather, so by Friday afternoon they were cranky with cabin fever.  After a busy week with barely a break this tired teacher was asleep at 8pm last night!  That's ok though, it just means that I'm up nice and early this morning (it's Saturday already here!) to put together my Favourite Pins Friday post so I can link up with Cara from The First Grade Parade!

This week I found 2 quotes that are so perfectly relevant to some days at school!  I think I might print and frame them for my office. :)

This term I'm trying to shake up my writing instruction to really engage the kidlets.  At this stage, the mechanics of writing are so consuming for them that they sometimes view writing tasks as a marathon to overcome.  I think these story bags will really get them excited to write!  All you need to do is fill them with objects to inspire a story.  I'm going to do this as an oral language activity before it moves to a Writing Workshop task. 

I'm looking forward to completing some of these art project with my kidlets.  Simple ideas with really effective results!  There's 5 lessons in the original post.

Wardrobe inspiration for the week!  Love this bright yellow combined with denim and neutral accessories.

I am obsessed with this bedroom... but it does look expensive! :)

Ok, time for me to make a confession... my secret pinning obsession is cute puppies!  I just die every time I see one, and have probably pinned way more than a girl of my age should have!


Follow me on Pinterest if you'd like.  

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you have a lovely, relaxing weekend. :)


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Non-Standard Measurement Mayhem!

Phew! I am one tired teacher!  Our first week of Term 3 is almost over and my kidlets have worked super hard learning new concepts and practising skills.  In Maths we've been looking at non-standard measurement, and in our Maths Time (group rotations) we have revised length, looked at weight as a new concept, and explored capacity before we formally learn about it next week.  

Here's a photo round-up of what we did!

First was the review of length, after we had worked on it last term.

I took this activity idea directly from Kylie, The Down Under Teacher from her wonderful post earlier this week.  She has some amazing ideas!  This activity involved 'racing' a car down a ramp.  It looks like I created a starting line and lanes, but this is a handwriting chalkboard. :)  Once the cars have travelled down the ramp, the kidlets used paddlepop sticks, matchsticks and cubes to measure how far their car went.  We made sure that they practised laying their materials end to end.

I had put the balance scales out for Discovery Play late last term, but this week we really got stuck into thinking about the weight of different items.  We used the balance scales in our group work and learnt to use the words 'heavier' and 'lighter' to compare things from our every day lives.  We also completed a quick craft, an idea I borrowed from Casey over at Lifelong Learners in Prep.

A horse is heavier than me.

A house is heavier than me.

An elephant is heavier than me.
Finally, before we start working on the concept of capacity next week I gave the kidlets the chance to play in water with containers of various sizes to explore the idea of capacity in a really informal way.  Some of them even began testing out how many smaller containers of water it took to fill a larger container etc.  This was possibly the favourite activity of the week.  Luckily here in Queensland our Winter temperatures are warm enough for water play!

I hope you've had a great week so far!  I'm hanging out for a lazy Saturday morning catching up on my blog stalking... only one more day! :)


Monday, 15 July 2013

Just K.I.S.S it!

Sometimes I drive myself crazy with the amount of 'stuff' that is piled up in my classroom and office.  The problem with planning hands-on and interactive activities for the kidlets is that the amount of counters, baskets, games, puppets, clipboards, stamps, playdough (you get the picture!) is just phenomenal!  Add to this the fact that I am a group work fan. :) I've pieced together all of the best bits of different programs with the time and resources I have available to schedule activities that I know my Preppies will benefit from. In my classroom we do 4 sets of groups a week - one activity per day for Reading Rotations, Writing Workshop, Maths Time and Brain Building.  Of course, these all happen at different times of the day and all require 4 sets of materials.  Keeping a handle on where the treasure boxes for the pirate booty counting game were put, or where the googly eye pointers got stashed usually ends up with my group work table looking like this at the end of the day:

"Pop it on the table" results in bits and pieces from all of the groups loitering here until I get a chance at the end of the day to put them away.  Luckily, my classroom was built in the good old days when Prep was purely play - so I have storage that looks like this:

Although there is definitely more user-friendly shelving around (this is about half of the shelves I have that were built to store square toy boxes) these little cubbies were just right for turning into group work hidey-holes that after a bit of cleaning and laminating this afternoon now look like this:

Yay!  Such a simple solution!  Now everything that I need for my groups is all in the one spot, and the kidlets will know exactly where to pop their materials when it's time to pack up. (Pencil graphics from Ashley Hughes.)  There's even space for the materials that are on high-rotation to be stored when they aren't needed for a group that week:

I think there's a few more things in my classroom that I need to kiss.  Keep it simple, silly!


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Favourite Pins Friday!

Guys, this is my third post in three days.  I know, crazy right?  Be alert but not alarmed.  

Cara over at The First Grade Parade is hosting a super fun linky for us all to share our favourite pins, so even though I have a heap of things to get done today I just can't pass up the opportunity to join in.  I've put a load of laundry in the washer though, so technically I'm multitasking! :)  

Link up and share your favourites too.  Such a clever way for us to get to know other bloggers - Pinterest is the window to the soul! (Follow my boards here if you like!)

My favourite school pin this week is this cute 'Share Chair'.  What a great idea!  My kidlets love to share their work, and a special place like this would make it even more exciting.

Original image from Middle School Frenzy.
I also love this 'Desk Monster' idea.  I'm thinking of modifying it a little - maybe once a day asking the kidlets to leave their finished work on their desk as they leave for lunch or a specialist lesson for the 'Great Work Monster' to come and visit.  The special note and treat would be left for the child whose work is super impressive!

Original image from Lessons with Laughter.
My favourite pin for the home this week is this gorgeous colour combo - turquoise, coral and grey!

Original image from Afternoon Artist.
Long before Pinterest, I had a folder of quotes saved on my laptop.  They are still one of my favourite things to collect!  This week I found two great ones from very intelligent men!

Image from Mobile 9.
Image from Pic Monkey.
Finally, what would a week of pinning be without a little style inspiration?  I'm mad for navy and always love a little sparkle, so these two ideas jumped out at me as soon as I saw them!

Original image from Polyvore.
Image from Tumblr.

Oh dear, I can hear the washer beeping to let me know the laundry is finished... better get back to it!  


Friday, 12 July 2013

Slide Night! a.k.a. Holiday Photos

Before school goes back on Monday and my blog posts return to being a little more classroom themed, I thought I'd share a few of my holiday photos. :)

As I probably mentioned a few million times, I spent my two week winter break in Canada with my lovebird.  We mostly stayed in Calgary because Chris had to work for the first week I was there, but when he was off we went on a road trip!  We drove from Calgary through the mountains and the Okanagan Valley to visit my cousins in Summerland. 

Of course, I took a heap of photos - but these are my favourites.  Hope you like them! :)

Lake Louise.  I've been here a few times, but this view never gets old!

One of our all-time favourite places to visit, especially for a long lunch, is Banff.

On the road in BC.

During the few days we had in Kelowna, we visited a few wineries - Quail's Gate and Mission Hill.  This view is from Mission Hill.

Tasting different wines was our favourite part of the tours! :)

Chris said this cap looked fine... I'm not so sure!  But since it was the middle of a heatwave while we were there, I needed it to avoid sunburn. 

Nothing better than time in the sun with the one you love!

Everywhere you look in the Okanagan is a gorgeous view!

After all that relaxing it's now time to get back into school mode. Sigh.  Maybe I'll just enjoy a Saturday sleep in first!


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Liebster Award Love

Wow!  I took a blogging hiatus and came back to find that 3 lovely bloggers have nominated me for the Liebster Award for up and coming bloggers!  Thanks for the love Paula @ Paula's Place, Kylie @ Miss Smartie Pants and Bec @ Books, Bugs and Boxes. :)  

To accept the nomination I must:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me.
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted for me by my nominator. (Because Paula was first I'll answer hers.)
4. Share 11 random facts about myself.
5. Create 11 questions for my nominees.
6. Contact my nominees and let them know I nominated them.

Here's my nominations:

Casey @ Lifelong Learners in Prep
Stef @ Miss Galvin Learns
Allison @ Little Leaps of Learning
Becky @ Musings from the Foreign Teacher
Elyse @ Sweethearts and Mr. Moos
Miss Wilson @ Twenty-something Teacher Tales

Please check these girls out, their blogs are super cute. :)

Here's my answers to Paula's nomination questions:

1. What are you reading at the moment?
My favourite Australian author is Liane Moriarty, and her book Three Wishes is amazing.  I'm re-reading it (for about the millionth time!) at the moment.  Do yourself a favour, buy it from Amazon and read it!

2. What is your fav sport to watch?
It would have to be rugby league I guess.   I'm not a super keen sports fan, but if the footy is on I'm happy to watch it.  I do know all the rules (my Mum is a fan!), so I can make intelligent comments on the game! 

3. How long have you been teaching?
This is my tenth year - I can't believe it! :)

4. Who do you aspire to be?
I aspire to be the teacher my school kidlets look back on as someone who inspired them to be creative, inquisitive and unique.  

5. The place that relaxes you?
I always feel totally relaxed when I am with Chris.  I just came home from 2 weeks in Canada with him, and it's amazing how re-energized I feel after being with him.  When we're apart, I love to walk to the beach and spend some time in the sun, watching the waves.

6. A piece of clothing you cannot do without is ....
I live in jeans.  The Sophia cut from Guess are my go-to pair.

7. Your fav place to shop?
I do love to shop, so this is a tricky one. I love Forever New for special, sparkly things, Target for basics and Lovisa for accessories.

8. Something that you wish you had in your classroom?
More space!!! I'd love to have learning areas that allowed the kidlets to spread out and learn in the way that is most comfortable for them, but my oddly shaped classroom means that a desk area and carpet space are as good as it gets.

9. A beauty product you cannot live without?
Mentha lip gloss - minty, shiny and comes in a heap of different colours!

10. What music are you listening to in your car?
I constantly change between radio stations - I get bored halfway through most songs so I change to something I can sing along with. 

11. Blogging makes me feel.......
Like I'm part of a supportive and creative community that stretches all over the world. :)

11 Random Facts About Me:
1. I'm a lefty.
2. I love trashy reality TV.
3. I am a master procrastinator.
4. When I hang washing on the line, the pegs have to match.
5. My guilty dinner option is a Quarter Pounder with extra pickles from Maccas.
6. I don't eat food that I have decided is weird... there's no rhyme or reason to what I decide I won't eat!
7. I have an awesome DVD collection.
8. I would consider myself an introvert - I get my energy from time to myself.
9. Blog-hopping on a Saturday morning is my favourite part of the week.
10. I have a nephew called Mack, he's almost 4.
11. If I wasn't a teacher, I would love to be a midwife.

Questions for the bloggers I nominated:
1. Why did you decide to become a teacher?
2. What is your favourite thing about blogging?
3. What is your favourite food?
4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Pepsi or Coke?
7. How do you relax after a tough day at school?
8. Can you do a handstand?
9. What would your perfect day at school involve?
10. Which website do you have to check daily?
11. What is your middle name?

Thanks again to the lovely bloggers who nominated me for the Liebster.  I hope you enjoyed a learning a little but more about me.  :)


Friday, 5 July 2013

Facebook at last!

Hi everyone!  I decided to create a Facebook page for my little old blog... mainly because of the awesome freebie hop that's going on at the moment! :) Click to go to The Kindergarten Lifestyle's fb page to start your freebie hop. 

I would absolutely love it if you could 'like' my facebook page too... not much on there at the moment, but hopefully some fun links and quick insights into my classroom when school goes back!