Friday, December 28, 2012

Best Books for Boys

I'm linking up with Courtney over at Swimming into Second and her Best Books for Boys linky.

Here are my favs for boys: 
1. Zac Power
Zac Power is a 12 year old who works at G.I.B (Government Investigation Bureau). 
I have to say my boys love these books! Do they interest me? Not at all, but the boys go through them like there's no tomorrow! I love that they come at different levels - the Test Drive and Spy Camp series have larger print, lower word-count and simpler stories, there is the regular series and then Mega Missions and Extreme Missions that have a story spanning multiple books. There's something for all levels of readers in my class (and the lower readers feel good that they can read the same books (in their minds) as the higher readers. 

2. Boy vs Beast

These books have large print and simple sentences. Reluctant readers will love the labelled diagrams throughout and the video game feel. Great first chapter books for boys. You can read the first few pages of one of the books here.

3. Beast Quest
This series is great for the higher readers in my class. I think there's over 60 books in the series, broken down into sets (e.g. The Dark Realm set is books 13-18).  You can read the first chapter of the books on the Beast Quest website.,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg4. Super Hero books

What boy doesn't love superheroes? I've been ordering these books from the Scholastic catalogues this year and they are a hit! The boys LOVE the comic book feel. They are also very popular with the girls.

6. Anything Non-Fiction

I'm sure your boys are just like mine - their little minds just absorb facts about animals, space, plants, pretty much anything 'science-y'. The trouble is finding non-fiction titles that are at a suitable reading level for all the readers in my class. I've collected a lot of the readers available through Scholastic (e.g. Magic Tree House, Space, Human Body etc), National Geographic and Time for Kids. I also have bought a lot of book sets on different topics (like the one below) but I think many of them will be too hard for my firsties next year, particularly at the start.,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

Head on over to Swimming into Second to check out other great books for boys.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! I hope your day is filled with love, joy and laughter!
Stay safe.

Font: Hello Fonts by Jen Jones

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Santa's Little Helper Blog Hop

Can you believe Christmas is next Tuesday?! Where has the year gone? I've just wasted many hours on YouTube looking at the funniest moments, bloopers and fails of 2012. Hilarious!

Anyway onto the blog hop: 

Some bloggy friends and I have teamed up to offer you 10 freebies!

Since I'm heading down to grade 1 next year, my freebie is something I can use then. Click on the pic to take you to TpT to download for free.
Snowmen Graphics: Mel at From the Pond

Click on the pic to take you to your next stop over at Top Notch Teaching for another awesome freebie: 
Click on the first button below if you have only just joined us and want to start at the beginning so you don't miss out on any of the freebies. If you make it to the end, there might be a little giveaway for you so be sure to follow it all the way through!  
Thank you so so much to Mel at From the Pond for the cutie patootie graphics and Shanyn for organising!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Ooops, I forgot parent gifts!

I've been busy the past week packing up my room to move to a new building for next year. I've just about finished all the end-of-year documentation and student folios. I have student gifts organised and ready for Thursday. I've planned what we'll be doing during our last five days together. I realised today however, that I forgot about parent gifts! Ooops!

In the back of my head for a little while, I've been thinking I'd decorate glass jars with star stickers and have the kiddies write little notes to their parents saying what they love about them, curl them and slot them inside. Problem: these jars from Ikea are perfect, but at $4 each that idea turns out to be a little too expensive for 26 kids. I couldn't find any others I could get quickly in bulk.

So I started searching blogs and Pinterest for ideas. I thought it would be awesome to get some of those clear bauble ornaments, copy a photo of kids with Christmas hats, reindeer ears etc onto transparencies to put inside. I googled and phoned around to Lincraft (none), Spotlight (none) and finally Riot craft store (some but not enough) but alas, that plan did not work out either. 

While I was on the Riot craft store website, I saw they had those big calendars with a space to draw/add a photo. Ok I thought, I can print a photo, stick it in the middle, the kids can illustrate and laminate and hey presto, gift done. So I got dressed (this was about 2.30pm, but I know you won't judge!) and headed there. Guess what, they had no 2013 calendars. Boo!

Can you see me panicking by now?! I had to have something, anything, because I knew if I didn't get something today (Sunday) to start tomorrow then I 'd be hard pressed to get something completed with all the goings on at school this week.

So I settled on these Christmas colour-in gift boxes that I found at Riot. Each pack was $2 and it came with 6 boxes (2 Santas, reindeer and angels). Inside I'll add these ornament frames that come in elf, reindeer and tree. They were $6.99 and comes with 20 inside. I bought 2 packs, at least every kid should then get the ornament they want. I'll take a photo to put inside the frame and pop in the box. 

It's simple enough to get done this week before Thursday (as some kids won't come on clean-up day Friday) with all we have to do this week.

While I was at Riot, I saw these Christmas character cut-outs. It comes with 4 reindeer, Santa, elf and Mrs Claus cut-outs per pack. I thought if we get time, the kids can get together in small groups and write a little puppet play using these characters.  They can stick a craft stick behind their character and perform to the rest of the class. That should keep them busy while I pack!

Here's another last minute purchase I've just made to get me through the last week. Even though I don't have the same kids next year, I think it's important for them to reflect on their year and set some goals. Click the pick to check out Shanyn's cute craftivity.

If you're still with me - thanks! What a long post!!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

2nd Grade Giveaway

  Woohoo, have we got a giveaway for you! I have joined up with  Lory Evans from Lory's Page and other amazing 2nd grade bloggers in a Christmas giveaway!
Starting December 1st, 12 of us bloggers will wish 12 very lucky teachers a very Merry Christmas! We have each chosen a unit to giveaway, not once.... but 12 times for 12 days to 12 teachers as a want to thank our wonderful followers.
That's right... you could win 12 wonderful units created by the awesome ladies below to use in your classroom during the 2013 school year!

Entries are being accepted now for December 1st... the winner will be announced tonight (U.S time). We'll start over December 2nd and continue through the 12th of December.  All you'll need to do is leave a bit of cheer with your comment each day on Lory's Page.

Be sure to stop by and follow these amazing blogs... they are always sharing great ideas and freebies!

                      Lory                                        Amy                                           Monica

              Hope                                           Denise                                      Ms B.
                                              Kate                                              Courtney
                                               Yvonne                               Anna 
Don't forget, I'm also looking for some fun Christmas party ideas. You can link up here!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Party Games and Activities

Don't you just LOVE class parties? I do and there's a couple of games that I love to play each year and you only need a few simple materials: 
  • balloons
  • table tennis balls
  • straws
  • plastic plate, knife and fork
  • dice
  • bar of chocolate
  • prizes for the winners!
All of these games I learned from another teacher so you may have seen them before. I play these games during our end-of-year party so the desks are moved to the side the room leaving a nice big (safe) playing space.

The first game is an oldie but a goodie and you only need balloons. Throw one up in the air and the kids have to try and stop it touching the floor. For an added challenge, throw in more ballons or they can only touch the balloon with a certain body part (e.g. elbows). Split the class in groups and see how long each group can keep it up for and the winning group receives a prize (Freddo frogs or other small chocolates/lollies are always favourites at the end of the year). This game can easily go for a few rounds!

Another game I tried out last year was table tennis ball races! I split the class into groups and stuck down masking tape for the start and end lines. Each group took their turn to line up (most on their hands and knees!) with a straw and a table tennis ball. On go, they have to blow through the straw to push the  ball past the finish line. They found this a real challenge, it's not as easy as it sounds! You could also use balloons from the previous activity instead of the table tennis balls. Of course, the winner of each race has to receive a little prize! We played a few rounds of this - they got better at blowing through the straws each time!

The final game is my fav by far! Chocolate eating competition! All you need is a yummy bar of chocolate, a plastic plate/knife/fork and 2 dice (forgot to take a photo of them!). Everyone sits in a circle with the chocolate on the plate with the knife and fork in the middle. Your kiddies take turns rolling the dice and if they roll a double they get to scoot into the middle and use the knife and fork to start cutting out a square of chocolate. Once they cut one out, they put down the knife and fork and pick up the square with their hands and eat it! Once they finish eating, they can start cutting again and eat as much chocolate as they can before someone else rolls a double. Once someone else rolls a double, they have to put down the knife and fork immediately and go back to their spot so the next person can start.

The kids LOVED this game last year! They didn't even get annoyed when they started to go in the middle and someone rolled a double straight away or if they *just* finished cutting out a piece and before they could pick it up someone rolled a double! It was all just so much fun they didn't mind at all!, these bubble wands are WONDERFUL!! I give them to the kids for their Christmas/end-of-year gift and take them out in the morning before it gets too hot. Seriously, they can play outside for an hour and complain when it's time to come inside!

Our Christmas party is also our end-of-year party because we are finishing up our school year here in Australia for our Summer holidays (10 days to go!).  I'd love to add some more games, activities, crafts, gifts, recipes or other ideas to my repertoire so please comment about your favourite!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Count Down!

Each year, my school has a transition afternoon where all the kids go and spend the afternoon in the class of next their next year teacher. 
Last year, my kids came up and I had balloons hanging from the ceiling. They asked me what they were for. I explained my class was counting down the 12 days to the Summer holidays by popping a balloon each day. Inside each balloon was a slip of paper that told the kids a special treat they were having the next day (boy, were those kids excited to come to school those last 2 weeks!). Anyway, those balloons have been mentioned a number of times this year, most recently today! I had totally forgotten that I was going to do it again! Just in a nick of time too, because tomorrow is the 12th day to our holidays!
Here's the freebie I posted last year in case you are wanting to use it. Just click on the pic.
NOTE: 3 days to go. The 'special surprise' is a big, long bubble wand that I get from Big W for $1 each. Day 3 is also our 'party day' when I give out presents to the kids (since most don't come to school during the last 2 days of school for clean up) so the bubble wand forms part of their present. I also give them a new book or two each, pencils, bookmarks and a 2012 calendar that has a poem and pictures of our year together on it (printed and laminated).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Another quickie post today. Here's a freebie from my Cooking Up Gingerbread Fun pack. Click the pic to grab it from google drive.

I didn't get many pics of my kids doing these activities last week but here's a few I managed between running records: 
It's funny how adding some baking trays to the above adjective/adverb sort activity instantly made it the favourite for the week!

I hope to be back soon to show you some awesome buys I made during the TpT sales!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Freebie Reindeer Fact Families

A little while ago, I mentioned that I buy a lot of my books from Scholastic Warehouse Sales. Well, the last one for the year is on this week or next week depending on where you live. You can find the brochure detailing where the events are being held here.

I've also got another freebie for you. This one is Reindeer Fact Families. 
TpT and TN
Freebie Fridays

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Freebie - Number Sequence Elves

I'm gearing up for the last 15, YES 15, days left of the school year! Where has the year gone?? I don't know about you, but the first half really dragged on for me but the second half has just shot by!

I want to keep my kidlets working hard though... I find this keeps their behaviour under check. So I'm making up some math activities to review some things we've learned this year. We actually did my Gingerbread Man Activities last week, but I didn't really take any photos because while they were quietly (and they sure were!) working, I was pulling kids to do some final running records (arrghh, the bane of my existence!). 

Anyway, since I love you all I'll give you a new math centre each day this week. 
 TpT and TN

And don't forget the sales going on at Teachers Notebook and TpT, both my stores are 20% off at the moment. Teachers Notebook will automatically deduct another 10% from your order total - that sale is on NOW! The TpT sale starts Monday (U.S. time) and you can use the code CMT12 at checkout to also get an additional 10% off the reduce price of all items.

I sure do love comments so please leave one if you're feeling the love!

(and yes, for those who've asked me before, I did spell 'behavior' with a /u/ and 'center' with an /re/ but that's how we spell it here in Australia!).
Freebie Fridays