Saturday, 31 May 2014

Five for Friday! Sunshine, Costco, Dinos and a GIVEAWAY!

As I sat down to gather my thoughts for today's Five for Friday I almost couldn't remember anything I'd done at school this week! We're getting set to write report cards, so I can only blame my scarce collection of photos and scatty memory on a super busy week. :)  My five random moments are just that - quite random!

Summer break?  Nope, just an almost-Winter's day in Queensland!

It's the perfect time of year to enjoy long walks in the sun!

This week I decided it was time to get organised!  I transferred all of my TpT ideas to one notebook, instead of random bits of paper and notes on my phone and laptop.  I've got two 'to-do' lists on the go as well, one for home and one for my blog etc.

It's helping so far!

I introduced one of my favourite Maths games to my kidlets this week!  I call it Dino Dash.

The idea is simple.  Kidlets roll two pocket dice, with dot patterns for 0 - 3.  Each child has a card with a rock path on it and we use a container of plastic dinosaurs.  After the dice are rolled kidlets move their dinosaur along the path after counting the total number of dots.  This works on counting, subitising, number bonds and introduces addition in a relaxed way.  Later in the year I'll change one of the dice to show numerals - perfect to work on counting-on skills.  Once the dinosaur reaches the end of the path they have a rest under the tree, and a new dino starts his journey!  The kidlet with the most dinosaurs under their tree at the end of the playing time is the winner. :)

You could adapt this game to play with any manipulatives that you have - frogs on lilypads, insects on flowers etc.  My kidlets go mad for this game!

Big excitement 'round these parts recently...

...Costco opened!  It's the first in Queensland so the hype around opening day was HUGE!  I'd shopped at Costco when I was living in Canada so I wasn't quite as excited as some of the other people I saw there. Everyone was loading their carts up with huge smiles on their faces and one of the employees I spoke to said they turned over more than $1 million on their first day.  Crazy! Although my photo only shows about 5 people there it was actually super duper busy, so I just had a quick look and only bought a few cleaning products and a 10kg bag of rice to make rainbow rice for the sensory bin at school. :)

Time for the GIVEAWAY!  It's a miracle - I finally added a new product to my TpT store!

Not sure about you, but I find Show & Tell in the classroom tedious (I know... I'm a terrible teacher)!  It seems to veer between kidlets whose parents have made a larger than life poster that the child has had absolutely no part in and those that have literally grabbed something out of the car on their way into school.  I wanted a way to make Show & Tell times effective for developing oral language skills by providing guidelines as to the type and amount of information children should present.  The templates also help me to assist those little ones who've forgotten what they wanted to say, and because everyone has had the same poster to complete they all feel proud of theirs when it goes on display.

(I've included two sets of templates - one with Aussie spelling and the second is US friendly!)

There's 10 different topics in the pack.

Check it out here or 'Pin it to Win it'!  Leave me a comment with a link to the board you pinned to and I'll give away three copies at the end of the weekend. :)

Happy weekend friends!  I hope wherever you are you're enjoying some rest and relaxation - you deserve it!


Friday, 23 May 2014

Five for Friday: Crafty business, fun in the sun and Mr. Chicken!

Another week bites the dust!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs to share some random moments with Five for Friday.

1. We got our craft on this week!

We made these colourful cupcake wrapper fish (for letter f).

And some cute birdies in a paper plate nest (for letter n).

We also experimented with printing by rolling paint onto leaves of different shapes and sizes.

2. The gorgeous Autumn sunshine was too nice to stay inside!

We practised letter formation with chalk on the concrete paths...

...and played Sight Word Hopscotch!

3. Every year this book makes me giggle:

Mr. Chicken Goes to Paris, written by Leigh Hobbs, is perfect for reading without showing the pictures first.  I always ask the kidlets to visualise Mr. Chicken travelling around Paris enjoying the sights.

They always laugh when they see just what Mr. Chicken looks like!  

4. You might have read my post about our Frozen themed fine motor activity this week.  Meet our little family of Olafs! :)

5. I've decided that being a Prep/Kindergarten teacher is just code for 'hoarder'

I spent an hour this afternoon before I left school sorting out these 2 shelves... Let's just not talk about the rest of my storeroom space or my office!

I'm off to get my weekend started - with apple pie and custard!  Happy Friday friends. :)


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman? Frozen themed fine motor fun!

It's official... we're all about 'Frozen' in my classroom at the moment!  And why not?  Such a gorgeous story with beautiful music - plus I just love the fact that it's not a man who saves the princess! It just so happens that we're also working on a 'Seasons' unit in science, too - so all things wintery are very welcome.  Each morning my kidlets complete a different fine motor activity for about 15 minutes and the favourite (by far) this year has been this cutie-cute snowman!

I adapted this little guy from a few ideas I had seen around the big 'ole internet, so please don't think I'm the clever one who thought of it!  All you need is an empty plastic bottle, cotton balls and some tweezers or tongs.  I decorated 1 bottle per group - just because the bottles I had were large (1.25L sized).  You could easily have a small bottle for each child.  I loved the fact that the groups of kidlets were working together though - lots of helping each other, turn taking and encouragement.  I decorated the bottles with Sharpie and some coloured paper, but felt would have been more effective for the scarf. (That's is what happens when you decide late Sunday night to do something first thing the next morning!)  

Building the snowman is easy-peasy - kidlets just take turns to grab a cotton ball with their tweezers and pop it in the top of the bottle.  

For extra fun, play the 'Frozen' soundtrack in the background so that only the group building their snowman can hear it... makes this activity super special and each group will be so excited when it's their turn.  I'm planning on finishing these snowmen (all called 'Olaf' so far, surprise surprise!) by taping a hat to the top and giving them away as prizes for wonderful behaviour at the end of the week.  This is called bribery extrinsic motivation. :)

Well friends, that's all from me tonight.  I have had a rough week so far with my sweeties, so I'm in need of some serious Pinterest and TV time.  Luckily a new TV dating show started tonight - it's called 'When Love Came to Town' - so I'm be all set!


Saturday, 17 May 2014

Classroom Photos - a very quick tour!

Warning: my classroom doesn't have a cute 'theme'.  I've kind of stumbled into a monsters/rainbow/polka dot/Crayola factory explosion type of look, but I'm fairly happy to display anything colourful and cheery!  I took a few photos of my room before Open Day today and since everything was tidy I thought they'd be good ones to share! I have done a classroom tour before, so you might have seen some of these spaces already. :)

Our Reading Corner... there's another couple of storage tubs of books that we use to swap into book boxes, but they're not pretty.  :)  I really need to get some shelving so I can get it set up like a real library.  Our Reading Buddies live here, and the floral curtain covers some ugly louvers that look out to the Prep entrance.

My small group teaching area.  (The Alphabet Monster and puppet theatre are on display for Open Day.) The board behind the table holds our reading strategy and Sound Waves (phonics) posters.  The number posters are from my store, the ones I have up are the Queensland print version.

This one shows most of my room.

Another view, except this time you can see the big glass panel that is part of my office.  On that shelf I keep everything that I need to have on hand... Self Control Bubbles and Quiet Spray, CD player, bell, Quiet Critters, tacs and paper clips etc.

Main carpet teaching space (where is my chair I wonder??).  The board above the whiteboard has our birthday cupcakes, the above/below the line behaviour monsters, calendar and classroom rules with sight words and Sound Waves cards on the wall.  You can see my SitSpots and 'Share Chair' (stool) too.

Our Writing Corner.

Kidlets' work lockers and book boxes, with workbook storage underneath.

The (very messy!) home corner - it goes around the edge towards the glass door too - and Creation Station (free choice art table).

A table group and our word wall - the words are crooked because they are on velcro so the kidlets can take them to their desks.  This only drives me slightly nuts! :)

Last one - this is the entrance to my room.  We have a little foyer shared between two classrooms and on my board I display copies of notes we have sent home, the newsletter, requests for help etc.  The white baskets collect readers, sight word books and communication books each morning.

There you have it! A certainly not perfect classroom - but one that is useable and easy to take care of. :)


Friday, 16 May 2014

Five for Friday at the end of a wonderful week!

Two amazing things: I actually took photos worthy of a Five for Friday this week, and I'm posting on Friday! The world has turned on it's head.  Link up with Doodle Bugs to share five random moments from your week... but check out mine first! :)

1. I spent far too long this week matching up clipart kidlets with my classroom kidlets to make new book box labels!

Mel over at Graphics from the Pond has a collection of 100 Scrappy Kids and I found one that perfectly  captured the personality of each of my sweeties.  They loved  their little cartoon image and today's 'Read to Self' was especially exciting because we got to use the boxes with the new labels for the first time!

2. If you read my post yesterday (two posts in two days!) you would have seen the cute beach themed cupcakes we made earlier in the week. We continued the Summery vibe today with a playdough ice-cream stand in Outside Time!

We made a few batches of playdough and coloured them to make chocolate, strawberry, mint, vanilla and banana ice-cream.  There were tables and chairs, a cash register, spoons, bowls and real sprinkles! So much fun... and lots of language development as the kidlets took orders, gave their menu choice and chatted with their friends at the tables. :)

We painted ice-creams as well, using matchsticks on the cone part to get the waffle pattern.  The sandpit was set up as a beach, with boogie boards, umbrellas, towels and Beach Boys music playing... but I was so preoccupied ordering my ice-cream that I didn't get a photo!

3. I was at school until about 7pm tonight getting my classroom clean and tidy for our Open Day tomorrow.  Working on a Saturday isn't my number one favourite thing to do, but I do like the opportunity to give my room a bit of a spring clean.

The Alphabet Monster is all set up ready to meet prospective students and the families of current kidlets.

The sign says: Would you like to feed the Alphabet Monster?  Today he is eating words that start with t and s.

We also made these super colourful countdown rockets earlier in the week to brighten up a bare wall. I usually make this craft each year but had forgotten this year until I was reminded by my friend Jemima at Luck's Little Learners when she shared about a similar one she had made with her class.

We cut a mixed up number line into pieces and glued it down to count from 10 - 0, then added paper shapes and torn paper to make the rocket.  Before I displayed them I added a photo of each child as the window.

4. I finally got a chance to put down all of my Sit Spots!  I'd put down a few to test them but wanted the floor to be super clean before I set up the whole class.  I loved my old colourful rug... but I must admit I love my new polka dot floor space more!

And yes... as soon as I posted this photo I can see that I need to move the back row one spot over. I won't be able to sleep tonight thinking about them being off-centre! 

5. Our current favourite Brain Break on GoNoodle is 'Let it Go' from (where else!) 'Frozen'.  My kidlets are absolutely desperate for me to let them watch the movie at school... as if we regularly watch random movies!  Yesterday, I got this Quote of the Day:

Me (trying to play a YouTube clip): Oh, it's frozen.
All Other Kids: YAAAAAAAAY!
Me: No, not Frozen the movie... the computer's frozen.
Other Kid: This is the worst moment of my life.

It was honestly the quickest mood swing I had ever seen! (I sometimes post my funny Quotes of the Day on Instagram... follow me @lozzybeck and I'll follow you back!)

Well friends, I have about a million printed photos to turn into some sort of a display for Open Day tomorrow so I'd better get to it.  I'd love for you to leave me a comment and let me know how your week went!


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Summer Time Cupcakes: Fun with Procedural Texts!

Any time that cupcakes can be legitimately integrated into the curriculum = happy kidlets (and happy teacher!).  We had lots of fun yesterday decorating these gorgeous 'Bears on the Beach' treats, working on procedural texts and verbs with a Summer theme that links with our 'Seasons' Science unit!

We started together on the carpet, reading through the procedure that I had written on some chart paper.       We discussed how this text looked a lot different from the books that we usually read.  The kidlets pointed out the numbers and the fact that the sentences were short and to the point.  We practised saying the word 'procedure' and talked about where we might see this type of text and what it would be used for.  Mum's recipe book and 'how to' craft books were hot topics. :)

The kidlets then matched up the photos I'd taken the night before with the step that described them.  We found the verb in each step (you can see that I've put a light blue star around them). 

After that, it was time to get to the fun part!  At lunch time we had set out everything needed to decorate the cupcakes on the desks.  We followed the procedure by dipping the cupcakes in cookie crumbs (sand), laying out the towel (a piece of fruit roll up) with the bear (Tiny Teddy cookie) relaxing under an umbrella!

They really were cute when they were all decorated, and the kidlets were super excited to make them.  I know that as we continue to work on procedures this lesson will be a great reference - who doesn't remember a lesson that involves cupcakes! :)