Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Tried it Tuesday: Laminated Envelopes!

Well folks, here in sunny Queensland it is HOT!  We are smack bang in the middle of a Spring heatwave - it's supposed to be 32 degrees today, and up to 34 tomorrow.  Luckily the humidity hasn't kicked in for the year yet, so it's not as bad as it could be.  As soon as I'm done with this post I'm off to the beach for a swim. :)

I'm linking up with Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried it Tuesday to share something I'd been wanting to try for a while.

After endless trips to dollar stores to buy clear plastic envelopes and folders to store my games and activities I wanted to find a storage system that was a) cheaper and b) fulfilled my need for everything to match!  I decided to try laminated envelopes as a way to get rid of this mess:

First step is to grab some heavy duty envelopes.  I bought both A4 and A5 sizes.  If you're in Australia, this is the brand I bought from Office Works.

Either print the cover pages for products you've made or bought or make one for others so you know what's in each envelope.  Glue them to the front.

Now this is the only tricky bit. When you put the envelope in the laminating pouch, put the bottom edge at the sealed end of the pouch. Make sure you leave at least a 1cm border of film around the envelope so that it seals really well - you don't want it peeling when you pop your games in and the envelope gets fatter. :)  I had to use A3 pouches for my A4 sized envelopes.  Make sure the flap of the envelope is open, and take the paper off the glue strip.  Carefully smooth the top of the film down and it will stick to the glue.  You can see what I mean in this photo:

When it's been through the laminator, all you have to do is trim around the edges (remember to leave a border of laminate!) and run a sharp knife along the opening of the envelope.  Magically, you will have a little pocket! I have a paper slicer that scores as well, so I ran that along the fold so I could easily close each envelope.

There you have it!  Sturdy, matching storage! :) The most time consuming part of this is sorting out a cover for each envelope and if you were so inclined you could probably just write on the front to save time.  I know this was not the most thrilling of posts, but I had to google to find out the tips and tricks to make this work, so hopefully this tutorial will help someone else.

I'd love to know if you're going to give this a try!

Beach time for me!  Have a wonderful day. :)


Saturday, 21 September 2013

Five for Friday! 21/09/13

Five for Friday time!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs to share some randomness from my week. :)

1. OK, some school stuff first.  This week we made this cute owl craft after reading a book called 'Oola, The Owl Who Lost Her Hoot'.  The illustrations in the book were collage, and each little owl was made from patterned paper and fabric. I threw together a much simpler version for my kidlets because they thought Oola was so cute.  We used scrapbooking paper and coloured card. I'm going to display them on the bulletin board in our reading corner on a collage-inspired tree!

2. Earlier in the term I put out a request to my class parents asking for donations of 'Reading Buddies' - cuddly toys that can keep us company and listen to our stories during independent reading time.  Within 2 days I had 25 toys - most of them brand new!!  Since then my kidlets have been more eager than ever to read.  Gotta love that!  This is my favourite Reading Buddy, a gorgeous puppy with big, sad eyes.

I have permission from this cutie's Mum to publish his photo.

3. There's nothing quite like waking up on the first day of holidays and knowing that you have 2 glorious weeks to relax and unwind!  Unfortunately, I woke up early this morning, realised it was holidays and then was too excited to go back to sleep! :)  I'll have to have a sleep in tomorrow.  My early morning job was throwing the cushion covers and Gavin (our class writing pet) in the washing machine to get rid of a term of germs.

4. Holiday job number two: get my hair done.  I went for a blunt fringe this time, just because I felt like a change!

5. All the way across the Pacific my lovebird is having his birthday. Happy Birthday to my one and only. :)

Chris came to visit Australia in April and this was our favourite place.  The Opera Bar in Sydney.
I hope wherever you are, you are having a wonderful weekend.  And for Aussie teachers - enjoy your holidays!  I know I will. :)


Thursday, 19 September 2013

Word Workin' It!

Before this school term ends (last day tomorrow!) I wanted to share a few word work ideas that my kidlets have been LOVING lately. :)

These CVC car tracks fit nicely with our Science unit (you can read about that here) and the boys especially jumped at any opportunity to choose them in free time.  All that's needed is to grab a toy car and practise s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g out the words by driving the slowly at first, and then more quickly along the road beneath the letters.  It was great easy revision for those kidlets who are marvellous at decoding the initial and final sound of their words, but often forget the medial sound!  These are from the CVC Word Mega Pack from Jessica of Littlest Scholars.

Our new favourite sight word game is one that I call 'Spotlight' (once you see the photo you will realise what a creative genius I am with that name!).  I just printed words onto yellow star shapes, cut them out and stuck them all around the classroom.  If I had a ceiling that I could reach that would have been perfect, but I had to settle for high up on the walls and pegged to the net above my carpet area.  We then used torches (flashlights for my North American friends!) to find each word (I either said the word or gave a clue), read it and spell it.  My cuties couldn't wait to have their turn, and they've begged me to play this game every day for almost 2 weeks. :)  I'm sure this isn't an original idea - if I've inadvertently stolen this from you let me know! 

Have I told you how much I love Marsha McGuire's Word Work Galore bundles?  Well, I do.  This week we revised word families and practised spelling words from the families we've studied with the Say, Make Write cards from Marsha's packs.   I popped 2 or 3 from each family with this group.  The cards are pegged closed so that only the picture is visible.  The kidlets said the word, made it with magnetic letters, checked their spelling by un-pegging the card, and then wrote it again with a marker on their whiteboards.  They used our Word Family Word Wall if they needed to.

This lovely cut'n'paste came from Casey and was a freebie! :)  A nice rhyming revision activity.

I must admit that I have really enjoyed the past week, with the kidlets doing lots of revision which means familiar activities and games.  That's meant that I have spent lots of time playing with them and chatting been able to get lots of assessment done.  Just one more day and then we all get a well deserved two week break! :)


Monday, 16 September 2013

We Like to Move It, Move It!

Happy Tuesday Eve, bloggy friends!  Four more days of school til Spring break - yay!  And look at me, posting something that's not a linky. :)

In our Science work this term we've been thinking about how things move - objects, animals and people. Here's a peek at some of the activities we worked on!

Aren't lessons more fun when they are outside?  We took our Science scrapbooks and pencils to the undercover play area (no reason, just for a change of scenery!), along with a box of objects - things like a toy car, a block of wood, a ball, a teddy bear and a barrel shaped container.  We then put them to the test -  could they be moved by pushing, pulling, hitting or blowing?  My kidlets had lots of fun with this activity, they made predictions and were surprised by some of the results.  We recorded our findings, took turns and discussed what was happening each time.  Success!

Sorry Teddy, she's just so pushy!

No surprises when this huge block didn't move with breath power!

This toy didn't move after one kidlet blew on it, but everyone was convinced that it would move if a team combined their breath!  I didn't think it would, but let them try.  I had to eat my words when this group tipped it over! :)
We used hoops and toy animals to sort groups that moved in the same way - walk, fly or swim.  Later that week, everyone got a page of animal pictures to sort and glue into their scrapbooks.  I was expecting a replica of the sorting we had done together and to be honest had my mind on other things as they were busily cutting and arranging their animals.  Was I ever impressed when I scribed their group names and saw the amazing job they had done!

Run, walk, climb, slide, swim, fly, waddle, jump.

Cutest thing ever - the 'wiggle' group. :)

This clever cat figured out that a bluebottle didn't really fit into the 'swim' group, and wanted to know if it could be by itself in a group called 'float'.  You got it, buddy!
Objects, animals... next on our list was people.  We provided a heap of move-able equipment during outside Discovery Play time.  The favourite was scooter boards, closely followed by the 'caterpillars'.  Some of the boys spent ages creating a complex marble maze, getting their angles just right to create optimal marble rolling speed!

Caterpillar-ing along.

Scooting down the hill.

One of the Amazing Marble Mazes!

Well folks, that's all she wrote!  I hope this might have given you a few ideas if you've got this topic on your Science radar.  Have a wonderful week. :)


Sunday, 15 September 2013

ABC Playdough Mats!

Hi all!  Just a super quick note to let you know about a new product I just posted to my TpT store.  I couldn't find a set of alphabet playdough mats to use with my class that I liked (mainly because I wanted the font to be the one we use in our handwriting work), so I made a set!  I'll be printing the coloured mats in Queensland font for my kidlets - I'll be using them for fine motor skill development with playdough/pipe cleaners etc. and also for handwriting practise using whiteboard markers.  There's a pack in a cute print (not the Queensland font) as well, and both have the colour and black and white slides in the pack.

It might seem like an odd time of our school year to be making resources like this, but I'm trying to make things for January as I think of them... which is really just procrastination from all the work I should be doing for the coming week! :)

Happy last week of school to all Queensland teachers - can we make it 5 more days?!


Saturday, 14 September 2013

Five for Friday! 13/09/13

Hooray for the weekend!  Time to link up with Doodlebugs for Five for Friday!

1.  As I type this, there is a big, dark raincloud slowly moving overhead.  My fingers are crossed for a rainy day!  After having weeks of gorgeous, sunny weather (read about our day in the sunshine!) we need the rain - and I am so exhausted that an excuse to stay home and lounge around is exactly what I need!  One more week and then it's Spring break for us... I can't wait!

2. Our internet was down at school on and off this week - so on Monday morning my plans to quickly whip up some templates for our fine motor groups had to change because my laptop prints wirelessly.  Instead of something made with Powerpoint and printed, I drew with a Sharpie on some card.  My kidlets were a bit confused, asking me why I hadn't done a 'proper' job! :) I had to laugh - these are truly children of the technological age! I wonder if they were amazed when they were able to use them just as effectively?  They used tongs to balance pom-poms on top of each asterisk that I had drawn.

3. OK... time for a confession.  At the moment, this is what my lounge room floor looks like.  This stuff is sitting there waiting for me to give it some attention - I have plans to reorganise my activity/card/game storage.  It was a great plan when I lugged everything home from school, and then not such a great plan when I realised how much effort it would take!  If I ever get it done I'll post about the idea I have to tidy it all up. :)

4.  Loved seeing these gorgeous roses brightening up my house this week!

5. I put in a furniture order for my classroom this week.  Hoping for one of the items to be approved, I was over the moon when I discovered that my boss had approved all three!  Pretty soon I will be the proud 'owner' of a new Writer's Corner table, a colourful mobile learning station, and one of these 'intensive teaching tables' (in a nice blue colour, instead of this green).  Very thankful to my school for spending the money to create some updated learning spaces in my room.  So hoping they arrive in the holidays so I can get everything set up for Term 4!

Well, writing this post took long enough that the lovely cloud has moved on - now I feel lIke I need to get off the couch and get some laundry and cleaning done!  I hope you are having a fabulous Friday, or super Saturday (depending where in the world you are). :)


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

A Day at the 'Beach' and Tuesday Typography!

Hi all!  I hope you had a terrific Tuesday - I know I sure did!  Today my kidlets and I spent the morning at the 'beach', building sandcastles for a Maths investigation that we have been working on. :)

The aim of our investigation was to design and build a sandcastle to hide a crab in ('Where's Wally' style) for a class photo book.  We had done lots of talking about measurement (capacity, tall/short, wide/narrow) and 3D shape, as well as using lots of positional language.  We'd made posters detailing all we knew about sandcastles (it turns out that beach kids know A LOT!), we poured over 'Where's Wally' and 'I Spy' books to make lots of diagrams showing how we could hide our crab in the sandcastle and, finally, we worked with a partner to design an awesome sandcastle and list the tools we would need to make it.  

Today was the day we got to celebrate our work and build our sandcastles... with lots of smiles and laughter... and perhaps even an ice-block as well! :)

Our beach for the day.  I have a WONDERFUL teacher aide who set all of this up for me.  Along with the sandpit tools that the kids would need to build with, she (and the other aides that work with me) also collected all of the castle decorations and created atmosphere with huge sea creatures displayed, two row boats, fishing nets and a CD player with 'Oh I do like to live beside the seaside' on repeat.  The kids love her, and so do I.

Busily working on our castle designs.

This was my favourite design.  It's a bit tricky to see in this photo, but these boys added a sun deck that they built just like a real deck!  You can just see their blue crab in the tunnel (the deck is north-west of there).

The lovely mummy of these twins has given me permission to publish photos of them, and she actually took all of these photos for me too! :)

Cooling off under the hose... not technically maths, but lots of fun!  Luckily I didn't plan to do this activity tomorrow, the forecast is for 32 degrees.  

Sometimes I think my biggest responsibility as a Prep teacher is to instill in my kidlets a real love of learning and love of school... today was a day that I hope helps with both of these goals. :)

Last of all, I wanted to share some gorgeous typography, just because it's Tuesday!

Anne Shirley. Smartest woman ever. 
Pinned from here.

Have a wonderful week everyone!  


Saturday, 7 September 2013

Five for Friday! 06/09/13

Guys, it's election day.  You know what that means... Yep, nothing on TV!  Luckily I haven't posted my Five for Friday yet, so that and a glass of wine will keep me happily occupied for a little while on this Saturday night. :) As always, thanks to Doodlebugs for hosting everyone's favourite linky!

1. This week I have been particularly thankful for the opportunity I have to work with my kidlets every day.  My Preppies this year are so affectionate and caring, I just love them to bits. We have Outside Time (directed learning play, in the sunshine!) each week and usually the kids go mad for all of the activities that we have set up for them.  Yesterday, this little sweetheart chose to spend lots of her time sitting and chatting with me - a little bit of time in a busy week to treasure!

She was wearing a Snow White dress up, and my hat!

2.  I FINALLY got around to buying more furniture for my house.  This dining set arrived flat packed and was assembled by yours truly!  I'm so happy to have one less empty room. :)

3. I changed the way I organise my writing instruction this term, and I'm sooooo glad that I did!  The improvement that I have seen in my kidlet's writing has been amazing.  This week, we read the Jez Alborough story "Where's My Teddy?" and in the Writing Project time of our writing rotations my cuties wrote stories about a lost teddy.  We were focusing on having a beginning, middle and end to our story.  This was written by a kidlet who earlier in the term really struggled to get her ideas down on paper.  My heart swelled with pride when I read it!

I went to McDonalds with my teddy. My tiny teddy fell into the chips and my Mum and I noticed that I didn't have my teddy.  My teddy ran away and I found him in the bottom of my nuggets.

4. I posted this pic a few days ago on Instagram:

I love watching trashy TV - a really guilty pleasure!!  I was just about to give in and research prices and contracts for getting cable at my place, and then I saw the ad for The Aussie Bachelor! Yay - a bit of trash on a Sunday night that will save me a few pennies. :)

5. Can't let an opportunity go past to talk about the gorgeous weather we've been having! This was my view today... hoping for more of the same tomorrow. 

Happy weekend everyone!  Back to election TV and blog stalking for me. :)


P.S.  Apparently I was a 'no reply' blogger... what?! I feel like there's been a party going on and I was missing out.  I think I've fixed it now, I hope!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Currently September!

September!  For lots of you that means back to school, but for us here in Queensland it means that Spring holidays will arrive very soon!!  I'm linking up with Farley for her Currently. :)

How awesome is Katy Perry's new song?!  I'm listening to it on my way to school in the mornings and belting it out as loud as I can.  It's a great energizer. :)

I've got a very affectionate group of kidlets this year and I am loving all of the cuddles I've been getting from them lately.  How lucky we are to spend our days with children.

Two and a half more weeks of school and then HOLIDAYS! Can't stop thinking of all the relaxing I'll be doing. :)

After spending last year far from the beach in Canada, my supply of cute togs is seriously dwindling!  I'm wanting a new pair or two - in navy/red and maybe a polkadot print.

At the end of a busy, busy term I am needing a day at the beach.  Not just a walk or a swim - a whole day reading, snoozing and eating ice-cream.  Luckily I live close enough that I'll get lots of those days during the holidays.

The three things that I would like to accomplish this month are pretty straightforward.  It's so easy to let school life take over and push other things to the side.  I always feel more relaxed and in control when I have time to myself and an organised house, so that's what my September goals are. :)