Sunday, 27 October 2013

What We're Loving Lately!

I must admit that when I finished off my post yesterday with 'I'll be back tomorrow...' it was kind of an idle threat.  I mean, Sunday nights are usually jam packed with planning and prepping and organising for the coming week.  But since I'm all done, sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and a movie on the TV there must be only one reason why: I've forgotten half the things I was supposed to have done. :) Either way, it gives me time to share with you a few things that my kidlets have been LOVING in the past week or so. 

First up is a game that is so simple, but super effective... and my kids are mad for it! In Flip Five/Flip Ten, children aim to find pairs of cards that equal 5 or 10.  At the beginning of the year, we played Flip Five - using only the cards from 0-5.  Now we are playing Flip Ten with all of the cards (0-10).  The rules are easy - turn over two cards.  If they add up to the total of 5 or 10 the kidlet gets to keep them.  Way back, we all used counters to check the total of our pairs (and some of my Preppies still do), but this game has been amazing for helping them remember facts to 5 and 10 (and everything in between, because they have to figure out the total regardless of whether they get to keep the pair or not!).  Grab this game from Growing Kinders on TpT.

Our second favourite Maths game is one that I came up with when we were just starting to learn about teen numbers.  I call it 'Chook Champs'. :)  Each child needs 2 ten frames made from egg cartons, and to play all you need is a die and some counters (we use unifix).  On their turn, children roll the die and add that many counters to their ten frames.  They tell the group how many they have altogether (without counting, just using their ten frame knowledge) before the next player rolls.  When a kidlet has 20 cubes, they swap them for a chook card (which is just a cute picture of a chicken).  Whoever has the most cards at the end of the game is the 'Chook Champ'!  My kids literally cheer every time I tell them they'll be playing this game - it is a great way for them to practise recognising teen numbers as a group of ten and some more and also develops addition concepts (although I'm not sure that's why they cheer!).

A precious few of my kidlets are still working on recognising number words to 10, so last week they used Mel From the Pond's Match Me!  There's 3 cards for each number: the numeral, number word and dot pattern.  Go and grab it immediately - it's a freebie! :)

We gave our new letter beads a try to spell out sight words - and they were more of a challenge for some little fingers than I thought they would be.  Lacing the letters on so that they were the right way around was also tricky.  At the end of this group, all of my kidlets were super proud of their little line of words. :)

We're at that lovely stage of the year where reading is becoming more natural.  My kidlets have blitzed their sight words and know just when to use their Eagle Eyes, Stretchy Snake, Lips the Fish or Chunky Monkey strategies.  They could happily while away as much time as I let them reading with a friend or a Reading Buddy.  

Well, that's one week all wrapped up.  Let's start all over again tomorrow! :)


Saturday, 26 October 2013

Five for Fraturday! 26/10/13

I think I've just about given up on posting my Friday Five on a Friday!  Here's my collection of random moments for this week... better late than never. :)


We have a lovely, big, walk through storeroom in between my classroom and the one next door.  On Monday (student free for us) our teacher aides spent the day cleaning it out because it was literally bursting at the seams and needed a really good re-organise.  Amongst all the treasures that have been saved and stored for the past 12 years was a big box of cassette tapes!  My classroom stereo has a tape player, so I gladly took the box and sorted through it.  I now have about 50 new stories on tape, some classic kids' music (Psalty the Singing Song Book, anyone?), and this baby:

My kidlets and I had great fun looking at the 'olden days' tapes and dancing along with Mickey and Minnie.


My new group work table arrived!  YAY! I love the colour combo of the gorgeous blue table and my turquoise and orange stools from Ikea.


This week we fed our Alphabet Monster with some words to revise the 'th', 'sh' and 'ch' sounds.  One of my little treasures wrote 'fum'.  I was just amazed that she could connect the word 'thumb' with the 'th' sound, and could even point to the letters 'th' written on the board, but still used an 'f' because that's how she pronounces the sound.  Anyone know how that works?!


Yesterday was World Teacher's Day, which is celebrated at our school as a general staff appreciation day.  The boss gave us all movie tickets, and my cheekiest kidlet gave me a beautiful bunch of lilies and roses.  Even more beautiful than the flowers was the really warm hug that his mum gave me along with a genuine thank you for teaching and loving her son.  Wouldn't our jobs be wonderful if we had a moment like that every week? :)


During Discovery Play time this week some of my girls wanted to make their own Alphabet Monsters to take home with them.  I had a million and one assessment tasks I needed to do during that time... but sitting with them at the Creation Station to help them was a much more appealing choice. :) Plenty of time for assessment next week.

I'll be back hopefully tomorrow to share some of the activities my kidlets loved working on this week, but for now I'm off to have a glass of wine and get some serious pinning done.  That's what all the cool kids do on a Saturday night, right??

Happy weekend bloggy friends!


Friday, 25 October 2013

Kids Say the Funniest Things!

Stopping past for a quick post to join in with Crystal from Kreative in Kinder's linky.  I often post a 'Quote of the Day' as my Facebook status, so I was excited to see that the topic of her party is 'Kids Say the Funniest Things'.  Today's quote just goes to show how busy kidlets these days are, and I've even included a bonus photo. :)

How lucky we are to spend our days with our funny kids. :)


Saturday, 19 October 2013

Five for Friday! 19/10/13

Another Friday, another five random moments to share!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs - you should too! :)

1. We've been learning about living and non-living things in our Science lessons. This week we had some great opportunities to interact with different living things to learn about their needs.  First up was a gorgeous mother hen and her chicks that our Kitchen Garden teacher brought from her farm.  The kidlets were very interested to learn about how the hen teaches her chicks to scratch and peck for food, and loved seeing the tiniest chick hide under her mum to stay safe from little hands. :)

2. On Wednesday we had a day out at an aquarium here on the coast.  We learnt about lots of different creatures that live under the sea and in fresh water. We got to meet some sea stars and sea cucumbers in the Touch Tank and saw 2 seal shows.  My favourite part of the day was when each group had some free time right before we went home (the rest of the day had been a guided tour). One of the parent helpers took her group of boys back to the tunnel tank and they spent the whole time chatting to each other about the different animals that they could see, asking each other questions and sharing facts they knew about the fish, sharks, stingrays and turtles.  When I wandered past them all 4 were standing with their hands on the glass, staring at a reef shark hiding near some coral.  Such precious kidlets! 

3. A parcel arrived yesterday - full of treasures that I bought online!  I've now got some Alphabet Sand Moulds, Letter Stampers and Alphabet Beads to use in word work activities, and some of those coloured plastic link things that I've had my eye on for ages.  I've seen ideas from other blogs that use these to sequence number cards and spell sight words using letter cards, but I'd love some other ideas if you've got them! :)

4. I love working with kids, they say the funniest things.  I posted this story on Instagram last night from a conversation I had with a little cutie in the playground.  Now, I know I'm not a medical expert but for a while I was seriously confused!

5. No photo for this one!  Next week is a short one with kidlets for me.  We have a student free day on Monday, and then I'm off 'networking' (doesn't that sound official?) at another school on Tuesday.  Does anyone else struggle to let another teachers take control of their class... even for just a day? 

OK, it's time for another coffee in an attempt to motivate myself to get the housework done.  I MUST resist the urge to spend hours blog hopping!!  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Thursday, 17 October 2013

All in a Twist for Sight Words!

I had to stop by to quickly share an activity that I have been wanting to play with my kidlets for ages and finally got around to planning for this week.  Sight Word Twister is our new favourite game!  

Now, there's a heap of pins and posts for this idea on the vast expanse of the internet, so it's definitely not my original idea - I guess it might be one of those things that teachers have been doing forever! Well maybe not forever... just since Twister hit toy store shelves.

I wrote the words I wanted my class to practise on index cards and taped them to the mat.  (I'd love to have a few old mats that I could just write on with permanent marker to keep for when I needed them!) I wrote 20 different words, but closer to the beginning of the year I would write a few words numerous times. The rules are easy: Spin the spinner in the same way you do for regular Twister, to get a 'left foot blue' type instruction.  Kidlets can put their hand or foot on any circle they like, as long as they can read the word on it first. When they fall down, they're out!

We had LOTS of fun playing this game - all I could hear was giggles and cheers as each group got their turn to play.  It will definitely be making it into my high-rotation list of sight word games.  Have you tried Twister in your classroom, or do you have another favourite sight word game to play? I'd love to hear some more great ideas. :)

One more 5am alarm before the weekend... where do the weeks go?! 


Sunday, 13 October 2013

TpT Flash Sale!

TpT is celebrating 100,000 likes on Facebook by having a 10% off sale this weekend.  I'm jumping on the bandwagon by hosting one in my store too, with an additional 10% off.  Make sure to use the code FB100K when you check out to get the full 20% discount! :)


Saturday, 12 October 2013

Five for Friday! 11/10/13

I'm so late to the linky this week that my post is really a Five for Fraturday... but hey, better late than never! :) And please excuse my terrible photography skills this week - I was having a shocker!

1. In Maths groups this week we revised addition concepts with our pool noodle beads.  We practised representing number stories with the beads to find the total, counting on and my sweethearts even practised telling their own addition number stories.  One kidlet exclaimed 'This is the funnest Maths group ever!'... The simple things in life are often the best, I guess! :)

I have permission to publish photos of these two cuties.

2. Sight Word Slam - new favourite game! The rules are easy - be the first to bounce a ball on the word called and you get a point. 

3. I couldn't resist sharing this photo of one of my sweet kidlets reading a story to one of our Reading Buddies.  

4. Conversations this week almost always started with this exchange:
Person A: Pretty hot today!
Person B: Yeah - stinking!
Which is the Queensland way of discussing the warm weather! We had temperatures in the low 30s and sunny skies all week.  Yesterday I opened my (air-conditioned) classroom door and it honestly felt like I had opened an oven, the air outside was so hot.  The kidlets enjoyed running through the sprinklers at lunch time to cool down. :)

5. I'm excited to turn this gorgeous fabric from Ikea into some cushions for my couch!  And by that, I mean that a lovely friend is going to sew them for me. :) I'm planning another Ikea trip to buy some more fabric in a different pattern - there's heaps of designs and most are about $9.99 per metre. (That sounds like an ad - I promise it's not!  I'm hot and cold with Ikea, but love this fabric.)

Happy weekend everyone!  I'm off to Doodle Bugs to link up and check out the other Friday Fives.


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A Whole Lotta Tuesday Random!

After successfully navigating my way through the first day of term today, I thought it was high time that I shared a vaguely school-related post!  Here's a speedy picture tour of a few holiday jobs I got done, and and quick snapshot of our day today.

Spring holidays here in Queensland were two weeks of absolutely gorgeous weather!  For a few of my kidlet-free days I managed to drag myself into my classroom to get a few bits and pieces organised.  I'm  VERY happy that my small group games and activities now look nice and neat, rather than the huge mess that they were at the end of last term:

The 'Share Chair' got some gold polka dots as part of it's makeover:

And our collage owls turned our reading corner bulletin board into a cute scrapbook tree:

As hard as it was to miss some beach time, I was super happy to get to school this morning knowing that a few of the jobs on my to-do list were already crossed off. 

Today we were busy with revising addition - we used our pool noodle beads to represent number stories:

I had a lot of fun introducing our new Science unit, based on living and non-living things, with my pet, Rocky.  After telling the kidlets that I had brought my pet in, and telling them what he eats, what he plays with and where he sleeps they were jumping out of their skin once they met him to tell me that Rocky couldn't possibly do all of those things, because he wasn't a living thing.  We made an awesome anchor chart listing what we knew about living and non-living things, and it was a terrific way for me to assess what they already know about this topic.

And after a busy day, our peg chart ended the day looking like this: 

Told you it would be a speedy post!  Happy Tuesday everyone. :)


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Currently October!

When I saw the October Currentlies popping up on my Bloglovin' feed, I honestly thought there had been some sort of mistake.  October, already?  This year has whizzed past so quickly - it will be Christmas before we know it!  Link up with Farley to share what's Currently on your mind. :)

I'm on holidays and feeling lazy, so I'll let my Currently choices speak for themselves. :)  My treat to share is a link to my all time favourite dessert!  There's a few ingredients to gather, but once you've got them it's super simple to whip these babies up.  Do yourself a favour and make some Turtle S'more Cheesecake Minis.  I mean, how can you go wrong with a treat that combines marshmallow fluff, caramel and chocolate?

All this talk of dessert has made me hungry.  I'm off to scrounge in the fridge for something yummy!


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

It's an Instagram Party! #ABCsofteaching

Are you joining in with the Insty party hosted by Miss Kindergarten and Mrs Stanford?  I sure am!  All you have to do is post on any or all the days of October using the following ABC topics as a guide:

Tag your posts with #ABCsofteaching or search the same tag to check out what other teachers are sharing.  Follow @MrsStanford724, @MissKindergarten and me (if you'd like) @lozzybeck.  I've already shared for today! #littlemisseager

See you at the party!


I Think It's Tuesday Typography (and a product update)!

Oh, the glorious joy of waking up (and not to the 5am alarm!) and not even knowing what day it is.  I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays as much as I am. :) I'm definitely not envious of all the US/Canadian bloggers who have been sharing the busy-ness of the beginning of the school year in their posts... but at the rate the year is flying past, that will be us Aussie teachers before we know it!

A quick product update - after a request I added starting dots and direction arrows to my Queensland print Alphabet Playdough Mats  so they can be used more effectively for handwriting practise as well.  I also have a set in a generic print (with no arrows), and mats for numbers 1-10 with simple directions and picture clues to use playdough for counting practise. :)

Before I head off to snooze on the couch while watching Dr. Phil, here's some gorgeous typography as a little Tuesday inspiration!