Sunday, 28 September 2014

A sale - just because!

Font, border and cute kid from Graphics from the Pond!
Hello lovely friends! Just a very quick post today to let you know that I'm having a SALE in my TpT store.  I'm popping over to Waikiki for a week and wanted to celebrate by discounting all of my products by 20%.  That will bring pretty much everything down to about $2.40 - and considering most of my best sellers are games that you can use over and over again that's a bargain! :)

The sale is for 3 days only, starting on Sunday (28th September).  You've got until midnight on the 30th to snap up a great deal.  Visit my store if you're in need of a shopping fix.  :)

I'm hoping to share a holiday snap or two on my FB page while I'm gone.  See you all in a week!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Gone Fishin'! Hands on math FUN!

Hi all!  Long time no see.  Since the manic pace of the last week of term I've been enjoying a few days of 'nothingness' during my Spring break - which has basically involved lying on the couch watching TV.  But this morning I dragged myself into a vertical position and decided it was high time I updated this old blog of mine. :)

You know how I love hands-on activities for my kidlets - if you popped into my classroom most times of the day you would find that at least some of my little learners were working on a task that had them up and moving, using playdough/sensory materials/fine motor tools, or perhaps playing a game.  I truly find that this is the most effective way to engage 5 year olds, and it's also the best way to make sure that the learning 'sticks'.  Anytime we can link touch/movement/competition to a new (or old!) concept is a good thing.  (Sorry... I'll jump down from my soapbox now!!)

I needed a fun way to revise number recognition and number sense (particularly for a few of my kidlets who are still struggling with numbers to 10) so I whipped up Gone Fishin' - a pack designed to be made into a magnetic fishing game but also perfect for all sorts of matching and ordering tasks.  Numbers from 0 - 20 are represented on fish cards as numerals, words, ten frames and dot patterns (to 9) or tens blocks (10 - 20).  I've included 6 differentiated worksheets for kidlets to record their learning by cutting & pasting, matching or writing.

If you have a toy fishing rod from one of those commercially made fishing games all you'll need is some paperclips and you'll be good to go.  Otherwise, here's how I turned some random bits and pieces into a cute fishing game:

First up you'll need a dowel rod (or a stick from the garden would work just as well!).  Tape a length of string/wool/rope to one end.  Hot glue a magnet to the other - I used ugly fridge magnets and just pulled the magnet bit off the back of them to sandwich the string in between.

Once you've printed and laminated the fish cards you want to use, slip a metal paperclip on each one near the mouth.

Put the fish cards either on the ground or in a large container and let your kidlets fish away to their hearts content.  My plan is to use this activity in a container with some blue cellophane strips to add to the realistic fishing experience!  :)  I've provided bucket mats to sort on, or you could label buckets or cups to pop the fish in.  Depending on the group that's going fishing I will use numerals to order as a number line, number words to match with dots/blocks or numerals to match to ten frames etc.

Use any of the recording sheets you feel are relevant for your kidlets.

Cut & paste.



Have a lovely day, friends!  Another cup of coffee and hopefully some Real Housewives is my plan for the rest of the morning. :)

Friday, 12 September 2014

Five for Friday!

Hooray!  It's the weekend!  There's only one more week of school left before our Spring break - I can see those two weeks of glorious rest and relaxation on the horizon.  Before I get too excited about that, here's a glimpse into what's up with me this week. :)

We had lots of fun this week using one of Marsha's freebies - Dinosaur Bone Diggers!  My plan was to grab some sand from the sandpit and mix it with some pebbles we use as counters for the kidlets to dig in, but when I arrived at school on Monday it had been raining so we used our rainbow rice instead.  Kidlets took turns to dig up a card and read the word, deciding if it was a real or nonsense word.  

As with all of her resources, Marsha has allowed for this one to be differentiated - one of my groups worked on CVC words, while the others read CCVC/CVCC words.  I love this activity as a way for kidlets to practise their 'sounding out' skills.

When each group came to me for their Guided Reading time this week, I introduced a new reading fluency game!  We l-o-v-e these as a way to warm up to reading, or as a fast finisher when we're done. We had lots of fun reading 'Magic E' words with 'Hey Presto!'

As usual, the 'freebie' cards (in this game, a rabbit in the magician's hat) were highly prized, but we had lots of fun calling 'hey presto!' when the magician had made our word (and as a result, all of our cards!) disappear.  The top photo shows me winning - the kidlets love it when I join their game and especially when they beat me! :)

Speaking of 'sounding out' and reading practice...

...I saw this pic on FB and it made me giggle, just because I can relate so well!!

Twelve days into Spring and the weather here has certainly warmed up!  After school this afternoon the lovebird and I went on a long beach walk and then enjoyed a drink on the patio.

To get ready for my morning on the beach tomorrow as soon as I've finished this post I'm off to paint my nails Essie 'Plumberry'.

I love this colour for warm weather!

Thanks for sticking with me through a pretty random Five for Friday.  Happy weekend, friends! :)

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Phonics, Grammar and Writing Fun Inspired by the Green Sheep!

Do you read Mem Fox's 'Where is the Green Sheep?' with your class?  I love it!  Not only are the illustrations just gorgeous, but it provides perfect teaching opportunities for a number of concepts.  This week we enjoyed this story as part of our phonics work (learning about the digraph /sh/), to work on grammar (learning what an antonym is) and as a prompt for some very cute writing.  Today I've stopped by to share a few photos of our Green Sheep inspired fun!

We started by reading the story together.  I always love how enthralled kidlets are with a good book, even when they've heard it a million times before! :) I then explained that to discover our sound of the day they needed to search around the room to find the Green Sheep that I had hidden.  Don't forget that the Green Sheep will be sleeping - we crept silently around the room so as not to wake them.

After each kidlet had found a Green Sheep card, they brought them back to the carpet and read the word printed on their card to me.  This is when we discovered that our phonics focus for the day was /sh/ - although I'm not sure it was much of a state secret!! :)  We added the words to a poster and finished off with our Sound Waves workbook page.

Later in the day we revisited our favourite woolly friend with some work on antonyms. Coming up with engaging ideas to teach grammar to 5 year olds is sometimes tricky, so I gave myself a little pat on the back when I thought of using this book to help! We revised what an antonym was, and found some in the pages of the book.  

Then we made a list of our own.  Warning: If you like to make sure all posters and anchor charts in your room are pretty and cute you might like to skip over the next photo.  I don't want to upset you!

Then it was time to put our writer's hats on and get to work creating pages for a class book!  I explained that each kidlet would write two pages, one for each of their sheep.  The idea was that they would stick to antonym pairs, but I wasn't too fussy with this.  I absolutely love how these pages turned out!! I still have to pop them in a display folder with a cover so I can add our cute sheep to the class library.

Our last bit of Green Sheep fun was with games in reading groups.  Kidlets had been playing Fox in the Hen House to practise reading /sh/, /ch/ and /th/ words during their guided reading time with me, and I added an old favourite as a fast finisher for those who got their sight word rotation done quickly. This game is my best seller - it's in Queensland font with our high frequency words, but a Dolch version is coming soon!

In the past I've also done a directed drawing art activity using markers and watercolours, but we ran out of time for that this week.  Here's a pic of last year's creations:

I hope you were able to grab an idea or two to use in your classroom with 'Where is the Green Sheep?' - I'd love to hear from you if any work for you. :)

Monday, 8 September 2014

Five for What?

Can you believe it's Monday already?! Where oh where did the weekend go? Lucky for me the lovely Kacey keeps the Five for Friday linky open for Johnny-Come-Latelys like me. :)

Last week part of our phonics focus was the letter 's' saying the /z/ sound, like in the word 'laser' or in plural words.  In a very tenuous connection we made this cute little thumbprint art work with five bees (see, it fits!) and a hive.

We glued our current favourite finger play in the corner:
Here is the beehive, where are the bees?
Hiding away where nobody sees.
Watch them come creeping out of the hive,
One, two, three, four, five!

I drew the hive and copied it on to yellow paper for the kidlets to cut out, and they used their thumbs to print the bee bodies with paint. When the paint was dry we added eyes, stripes and wings with black and blue markers.

I'm loving guided reading groups at the moment! We are at the stage where the other groups work completely independently, leaving me to read without interruption with a small group of kidlets (about time!).  We've loved playing a letter or reading fluency card game either as a warm up or cool down after our reading.  Depending on the needs of the group we either practice letter recognition, CVC words, digraphs, 'Magic E' or sight word sentences.

 One of the absolute favourites last week was 'Fox in the Hen House'. :)

I have the world's cutest nephew and recently he's been brushing up on his soccer skills!

He had a tough game with my brother and Chris over the weekend. :)

If you're in Australia you might happen to love watching 'The Block' just as much as I do.  During one of the shows Chris and I tweeted a comment, and it made it onto the live show!

That's our tweet on the screen, even though you can't read anything it says.  (You'll just have to trust me!)

The way that this year is flying past it will soon be Christmas time!  Which is just fine by me - it is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year. :)  I'm seriously considering making these TMNT baubles for my tree.  How cute are they?

Thanks for stopping by, even though I was so slow off the mark with my Friday Five this week.   Make sure to visit the linky and read what everyone else has been up to!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

It's Currently September!

Woah baby, talk about late to the party!  Luckily the lovely Farley keeps the Currently linky open all month. :)  Here's what September has in hold for me:

Listening:  Chris is here and he cooked steak for dinner.  :)

Loving: Although this term has flown by, I am counting down to holidays.  Two weeks of sunshine and daytime TV.... bliss!

Thinking: A nice glass of wine, a walk on the beach, a funny story from a kidlet... sometimes it's those simple moments that make you realise that life is great.

Wanting: Study? Who knows... but I'm in the mood for a fresh challenge. :)

Needing: On the weekend we had gorgeous, hot weather - perfect for a drive to the Gold Coast and lunch in the sun. Could I find anything to wear? Nope.  After sifting through a million cardigans and scarves I figured that it's time to hit the shops for some sleeveless styles!

3 Trips: Oh, this was tricky!!! I have the travel bug and would jump on a plane to anywhere in a heartbeat!  I chose Canada - because it's my second home, Spain because it's always appealed to me and The Great Ocean Road because that's next on the list. :)

That's it from me tonight.  The Block is about to start and I have a couch to be horizontal on.  Have a wonderful week, whatever it has in store for you!