Saturday, 24 October 2015

Division for Little Learners!

This week we've been working on the concept of 'sharing equally' in maths.  As with all number concepts, there's lots of hands-on practise to be done to make sure each kidlet really understands how do divide objects into equal groups.  I wanted to share with you a very quick and easy idea that you might be able to use with your class! (There's a link to a freebie file towards the end of the post, too.)
To start off I read the story of 'The Three Little Pigs'.  We then gave each child a piece of paper with three little piggy images, as well as one of a wheelbarrow.  I explained that the three pigs would all be working together to help build a house of sticks.  We then used matchsticks to solve division problems! :)
I would choose the number of sticks for children to load into the wheelbarrow.  We used craft matchsticks.

We would count our sticks together to make sure everyone was starting with the correct number.  Then we'd share the sticks equally between three pigs.

We'd check to make sure each pig had the same number, and then one of my kidlets would give the answer in a sentence. E.g. Twelve sticks shared into three equal groups leaves four sticks in each group.

I even introduced the idea that not all shares can be equal. We tried to divide seven sticks between the three pigs and discovered that we would have one left over.

This activity is so easy to adapt depending on the resources you have in your classroom.  Last week we used little rubber ducks from the dollar store and divided them into two groups using blue paper for a pond, and next week we will use teddy counters and 'picnic rugs'.

If you'd like to do this with your class, I've uploaded the file to my TpT store as a freebie. :)

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Term Four - No Chore! Breeze through to Summer

Hello teacher friends!

Here in Australia we have just started our final term of school for the year. I've only got 8 more weeks until Summer break! It is fun term for us, filled with lots of exciting activities for our students to conclude their year of learning. 

It is however, often a term that can be stressful and busy. I have teamed up with some online Australian blogging friends to bring you some tried and tested teacher tips that you can implement now, or begin to plan for to make this term easy to manage. 

These tips are simple and relatively easy to implement - keeping things simple and practical is one effective strategy for easing classroom craziness. 

After you have read my tip, please visit the other blogs in the link up below to find more ways to cruise through Term 4. For continued ideas and time savers, don't forget to also follow us all on Facebook and Pinterest! 

My top tip to help you breeze through to Summer is simple - all you need to do is reflect and refine! :)

As you set about tidying up you classroom towards the end of the year, spend some time reflecting on what really worked well for you this year, and what might have needed some more 'tweaking'.  Were you happy with your furniture arrangement? Were your resources stored neatly and easily accessible? Did the routine you established work for you and the children?  Make a list of those things that you definitely want to repeat in 2016, and also one that shows those things you want to change.  When you've enjoyed some time in the sun over the Summer holidays and are ready to think about school again, you'll have a ready-made 'to do' list to get you back into the swing of things and make next year even better than this one!

As teachers we tend to keep anything that we think might come in handy one day.  Problem is... lots of those things just end up taking up valuable space in our classroom or house.  If you've got 'stuff' in storage that you haven't used all this year, have a really good think about whether you actually need to keep it.  Chances are that you will collect lots more over the holidays - especially with after Christmas and back to school sales - so take the opportunity to have a spring clean and free up some space.  Another great way to make your life easier when you come back to school next year is to check that all of your games and resources are in good working order.  As you pack them up for the last time this year check that all of the pieces are there and make a note of anything that might need reprinting and laminating.  Throw out anything too sad looking and make a shopping list of bits and pieces you might need to replace.  Well-loved games do tend to get dirty and my kidlets love to peel laminate off if they find a loose corner! :)

Enjoy the last few weeks of school, friends!

Friday, 19 June 2015

New Blog Design & Giveaway!

Isn't my new blog design just gorgeous!  The wonderful Gabby from Gabby's Classrooms redesigned it for me and I am sooooooo happy with how it turned out!  My Facebook page and TpT Store are also looking amazing with new banners and buttons.  

To celebrate the new look of my blog I'm teaming up with another 3 of Gabby's happy customers to give you a chance to win a custom blog design of your own! If you're a blogger or were thinking of starting, this is the perfect opportunity to have Gabby design something for you that reflects your personality.  Entering is easy peasy - simply use the Rafflecopter at the end of this post! Your custom design blog with include a header, background, navigation bar, sidebar photo/bio, post signature and much more!  You will also have the option to choose a Facebook cover and tab or a TpT custom banner and widget.  The giveaway will end this Sunday and one lucky winner will be chosen randomly.  You have 12 chances to enter and win, plus an additional 5 points will be given for sharing the image below on Instagram using the hashtag #teachersofinstagram!

To see the other beautiful designs, pop over to visit Neat, Sweet and Hard to BeatKindergarten Squared and A Traveled Teacher.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Mother's Day Art!

This year my kidlets completed some super cute art work as Mother's Day gifts for their mums.  I was inspired by this pin and ran with the theme "I love you bunches!" for the card we made to go with their picture.

They were so simple to make! We took kidlets two at a time to complete the painting - they were given the instructions, chose their own paint colours and then painted their flowers.  When they were dry they glued on the hand that I had traced and cut for them.  You could easily have the kidlets cut their own hands out, but I didn't leave enough time for that. :) They were able to choose where they wanted to glue the 'Happy Mother's Day' label.  We laminated them before they went home so they can hopefully be kept forever!  I love they way they turned out. :)

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Photo Catch Up! (Five for Friday)

It's seems like it's been such a long time since I stopped by to share photos of what we've been up to in our classroom! This week I did a much better job of snapping pics, so this post will be a hodgepodge catch up of all the fun we've had in the past week or so.  I'm linking up with Five for Friday, too! :)

Term 2 means getting serious about handwriting. We've been focusing on the correct formation of letters - but that doesn't mean that we're stuck at our desks with pencils and paper!

Chalk on the concrete in the sunshine was a very happy way to spend one of our lessons...

...and shaving cream handwriting is always a favourite.  

We got up and moving with beach ball sight words - kidlets simply throw the ball to each other and then read a word on the panel they can see when they catch it.  I just have 4 beach balls with each term's words written on in marker and choose the set of words most needed for each group.

The sight word stars I made for our library have been a hit.  Kidlets choose a star and use it to search for that word as they are reading.

Phonics review this week was hide & seek sorting!  I hid picture cards around the room for kidlets to find.  We met back at the carpet and took turns to sort our cards into the appropriate beginning sound hoop.

I saw this pin a few weeks ago and adapted the idea a little to use with this igloo tent I've got.  When our phonics focus was /i/ we played "What's inside the igloo?".

I collected a box of things from around the room and gave this rhyme as a clue:
"What's inside the igloo? What could be in it for me? It starts with ___ and rhymes with ___. Oh what do you think it could be?"
This game was a HUGE hit! We played it all week and kidlets were always excited to make a guess and check inside the igloo to see if they were correct.

The igloo also became a coveted 'book nook' during reading time. :)

Number line work has been all about caterpillars! We played Counting Caterpillars on the interactive whiteboard and used Mel's Caterpillar Number cut & paste worksheets to order numbers.  Both the game and worksheets can be easily differentiated - perfect for group work!

Our science work has been all about 'The Seasons' and for the past few weeks we've been thinking about Summer! (I know, I know... the igloo doesn't fit with that. Have I ever told you I'm not good with themes?)

We used this poem as our shared reading text - you can see the marker and stickers that we used on various days to highlight capital letters and the /s/ and /m/ sounds.  This was also added to our poetry journals.

Stef's For All Seasons Bunting came in handy for this topic, too.  We've done the Summer flag so far and they turned out beautifully.

This was mine! :)

I love these colourful paper plate suns - they were so easy to make.  We sponge painted the plates with yellow and orange paint, and then glued paper strips in a loop to the outside when they were dry.

During outside time we turned the sandpit into a beach with an umbrella and beach chairs.  We also had the buckets and spades for sandcastle making, the fishing boat and music playing.

The playdough ice-cream cafe was open again this year.  We had four flavours, cones, cups and sprinkles! Kidlets took turns to be customers, waiters, ice-cream makers or register operators.  So much fun!!

That's all from me tonight, friends.  Jerry Maguire is on TV so I'm all set for a night of pinning and veging out.  Be sure to stop by Doodle Bugs to read the other Five for Friday posts!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Currently May!

A new month means that it's time to link up for Farley's Currently!

It's Saturday night here and I am on the couch after a busy day.  It's so nice to be able to get cozy with  a blanket and a cup of tea now that the weather is finally cooling off! I've been on the search for a throw rug to snuggle under - I've got my heart set on a really expensive one that I'm waiting to go on sale.  Until then I'll keep the search for the perfect (cheaper) one going.  Recently I've been looking into buying a house (well... a beachside apartment really) so anytime I buy something it's got to be a necessity - I know when I buy my own place I'll want to redecorate! :)

Here in Australia we don't have vacation time for another 2 months, and then it will be the middle of winter.  I'll pretend it's almost summer break so I can play along with the final Currently question! Luckily for me I live close enough to the beach that I can walk down any time I want, so when school's out that's what I do often.  I'm hoping that this year I'll get to visit my friend who is living in New York, not sure whether that will be in September or closer to Christmas.  My dream is to go back to Europe - I'd love to see Italy and Austria again, and have always wanted to go to Spain and Greece.  

Next time I post it's gotta be classroom photos - I feel like I'm doing a terrible job of remembering to snap them during the week.  

Better get back to the channel surfing... Have a happy weekend whatever you're up to! Don't forget to check out the linky for more Currently posts.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Swap, Share, Give!

It's time for another 'Swap, Share, Give' linky! A bunch of us get together a few times during the year to swap and review a product made by another blogger, share a freebie of our own and hold a huge giveaway.  It's lots of fun and a great opportunity to discover new resources.  Let's get started!


I was very lucky to have been paired up with the lovely Stef from Miss Galvin Learns.

As I was printing and laminating the cards from her Serving Up Donut Numbers pack I knew my kidlets would love it! 

In Prep we do so much work on number fluency, recognising different number representations, comparing and ordering - it's part of our daily maths work all year.  It can be really tricky to find resources that get kidlets excited about doing almost the same task that they've done before, but this cute donut theme had everyone itching to get started!

Placemats are provided in the pack for kidlets to 'set the table' with their donuts (showing pictures, ten frames, tallies and numerals) and cup (number words), but I grabbed some plastic plates I had in the storeroom and used the cards during Maths groups.

All I had them do the first time was gather the cards showing the same number and put them on their plate.  They had lots of fun giving each donut a different flavour and choosing their favourite hot drink for their cup.  This was a fun revision of numbers to 10.

We've also used the cards to sort even and odd, decide more or less and to order as a number line.  Because the pack includes numbers to 20 it's super easy to choose the cards you need for each skill level.  The cards have also made a few trips to the home corner where they were used to play 'Donut Cafe'.  "Are you enjoying your number 7 donut?" :) Stef also includes worksheets that I'll be copying to add to my 'Fast Finisher' drawers.

This is a great resource - perfect for early years classrooms!


The theme for the freebies each blogger will be sharing is 'Seasons'.  Here in Australia we're heading towards winter, but of course all of our northern hemisphere friends are getting excited for summer!  We decided that our freebies would cover all four seasons, so they could be used by everyone at different times of the year.  

I made a set of cute number lines for you to use in your whole class counting activities or during small groups.  There's one for each of the seasons.  





Click on any of the images to grab them!


We're giving away all of the products swapped to one lucky winner! To enter, simply complete the Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, if you're anything like me you'll be off to visit the other posts to grab some more freebies!  Thanks to the lovely Tania from Mrs Poultney's Ponderings for hosting our Swap, Share, Give linky this time around. :)

Friday, 24 April 2015

Five for Friday!

Boy oh boy, it sure has been a while since I've linked up with Five for Friday! This week was back to school for us after Easter break and that means back to regular blogging. :)

Our first craft of the term (linked to our phonics focus) were these gorgeous handprint monsters.  If you've read my blog before you might know that I love anything monster themed, and these cuties were no exception!

We simply painted each kidlets' hand - they got to choose which fingers were painted - and printed them onto paper.  When they were dry the googly eyes were glued on and a mouth drawn with marker.  Each little monster has it's own personality!

We also made these cute apples from paper plates.

Just paint, cut, staple and you're done! These turned out so well, but seriously - I need to invest in a paper plate factory  I go through hundreds of them every year!

To go along with our /m/ focus we wrote about our monsters, choosing an adjective to finish the 'My monster' sentence starter.

We also worked on a letter m Alphabet Puzzle.

These were perfect for an independent group work activity.

Don't you love it when kidlets return after holidays and haven't forgotten everything they've learnt during the year?  During during Guided Reading this week we revised rhyming words with 'To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme' made by the very clever Brooke!

My Preppies blitzed this activity!  They said each picture names and then quickly decided which mat the card belonged to.  One happy teacher. :)

Tomorrow is ANZAC Day, a time when we remember fallen Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women.  Today our school held a very moving service to honour those who have died  fighting to protect the truly wonderful country we live in.  When we got back to our classroom, my kidlets wrote the word 'Remember' and drew pictures to represent ANZAC Day.

This picture shows a poppy, a sprig of rosemary, a wreath of flowers, and a soldier standing tall and proud.  

That's all from me today, friends.  Be sure to come back on Sunday to check out my post for the 'Swap, Share, Give' linky that a bunch of us Aussie bloggers have planned!