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

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!!

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! 

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSEHXXEbuOflfJmWq2uBUsDH_9w5sZXTbFsb6w5CsO0cUuIIFc7uQAlso, 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

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Change of Grade Level

I was told on Friday what grade I'll be teaching next year and boy and I am terrified! I woke up last night in the middle of the night just thinking of how **hard** it's going to be and whether or not I'll be any good for the kids. 

I was also thinking of the teeny, tiny classrooms the grade level is in and the weirdness of them! I guess you've never heard classrooms called 'weird' before but they really are! One wall is on a diagonal in all the rooms, there is a little 1m x 1.5m little hallway type thing at the front of the room (what to put in that????). There is only one small bulletin board and NO wall space! 2 walls are glass sliding doors and windows from almost the roof to floor, one has the interactive whiteboard/1 small whiteboard/and the little hallway and the last side has one of those opening/closing concertina doors (that doesn't close all the way mind you so I'll be able to hear the noise of the class next door and vice versa). There is an office for the teacher - but that is a box that comes into the classroom space  and you guessed it, has glass windows from the top to halfway to the floor for the teacher to see out. We do have a kitchen to share between the two classes and a storage room! Yippee, I'm very excited about that! I haven't had one since my first year teaching. 

I know some of my Aussie friends are probably thinking it doesn't sound too bad. I remember some of the older classrooms I was in during my uni pracs and none of them had kitchens or storerooms. I guess because our school is new (only about 6 or so years old now) I've been a little spoiled! But the thought of setting up this weird shaped classroom is daunting! It's also much smaller than my demountable (portable) so I'm not sure if my things will even fit in when desks take up pretty much all the space!

Oh, by the way, I'm going to First! Term 1 of Grade 2 is always soooo very hard for me but continues to get better as the year progresses and as the kids mature a bit. The thought of those kids being a year younger is making me have palpitations! We have a step-up day in a few weeks (so the preps/kinders) will come up to their Grade 1 teacher. I guess I'll see what I'm in for then!

I'm on the lookout for Grade 1 blogs and great TpT products so I can start to get ready over our Summer holidays. Any suggestions (your own or ones you have used)? 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cooking Up Gingerbread Fun!

Today I just have a quick post to let you know I have posted a new 140 page pack called Cooking Up Gingerbread Fun! It has 20 reading, writing, literacy and math activities and centers. 

The good thing about it is that it doesn't include 'Christmas-y' type things (trees, decorations, presents, Santa etc) so could be used if you are not allowed Christmas themed activities at your school.

The above pics are from the preview which you can check out on TpT . It's 20% off at the moment. Now I'm back to reports.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Well, I will leave you with one word - YUM!
 Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Math Centers for 2nd Grade PLUS Freebie

This week was a short week for us, Monday being a Student Free Day. We were lucky to have the afternoon to ourselves for planning and preparation which was great!

Because we lost a day and reports are coming up, instead of normal math centers, I decided to put out review activities so I could pull students for individual assessments. I chose 9 activities so we'll do 1 each day after our whole class lesson and activity this week and next week. I also put the kids in mixed ability groups of 2-3 students. Even though the content was review, the activities were new and from my Halloween and Fall math packs. 

I have to say the kids had a ball! I kept them working for about 25 mins and each time we stopped they asked if they could go onto the next activity! 
 Halloween Math Pack for 2nd-3rd grade centers

We changed up one of the activities from my Halloween Math Pack for 2nd-3rd grade. Instead of printing out the trick-or-treating bags and candy for my Candy Sharing center, my kids used jack-o-lantern buckets and fake spiders to act out the division sharing problems.

Halloween Math Pack for 2nd-3rd grade centersHalloween Math Pack for 2nd-3rd grade centers

You can grab the packs these activities are from at my TpT store. 

Halloween Math Pack for 2nd-3rd grade centersHalloween Math Pack for 2nd-3rd grade centers
Halloween Math Pack for 2nd-3rd grade centersHalloween Math Pack for 2nd-3rd grade centers

1st-2nd grade Fall Math centers

Another game we've been playing to master addition math facts the last two weeks is Witchy Brew. You can download it for FREE here in google drive. 

I'm also LOVIN my tubs of counters and a double dice. I have enough for every student in the class. Each holds 20 counters, a double dice and a paper clip to act as a spinner. We use them just about every day. For this game, they roll the double dice (or 2 dice), add them together and move the number of spaces. My students who are already pretty good with their facts use 1-10 dice instead. 

Do you have a favorite Fall or Halloween themed activity? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Halloween Math Center - Giving Directions 2nd Grade

Recently we've been focusing on giving and following directions in math. I must say, that the kids LOVE when we do direction.

We started with a little bit of review with following simple directions (left, right, up, down). With this worksheet, students had to follow the directions given for each trick-or-treater. Some students just used their fingers to follow the directions and mark where they ended up, others drew lines, dots or arrows to help them keep track. 
2nd-3rd grade Halloween math centers2nd-3rd grade Halloween math centers
2nd-3rd grade Halloween math centers Mostly however, we've been focusing on moving beyond these types of directions to using 1/4 and 1/2 turns to the left and right and moving forward. I've been asked at least 10 times a day to play a little game using these directions. You've probably played it before. Basically the whole class stands up and faces a certain wall and you call our directions one at a time (e.g. 1/4 turn to the right, 1/2 turn to the left etc). Everyone who doesn't face the correct direction each time sits down. It's fast paced and fun. So simple, but they just love it!

2nd-3rd grade Halloween math centers
We have used the Giving Directions sheet from my Halloween Math Pack a number of times. They used the worksheet as is, so they had to write directions for the trick-or-treater to pick up as much candy as she could. They used teddy counters to help with identifying the 1/4 and 1/2 turns.

The next day, I used the same worksheet but drew pictures on the board. Each student wrote directions in their math journals, paired up and used their teddy counters to follow each others directions (kiddo 1 read their directions while kiddo 2 followed them with the teddy counter, then swapped). This worked a treat because they were able to identify missing steps.
2nd-3rd grade Halloween math centers2nd-3rd grade Halloween math centers

Finally, I used the same sheet AGAIN, but this time they chose their own beginning and ending piece of candy, wrote directions for their partner, read them out and checked if their partner was able to finish in the same space. They also started with their teddy in the same space and shielded their grid from each other. They took it in turns to give directions (which they both followed, so student 1 might say 1/4 turn left and move forward 3 and they would both move their teddy. Student 2 would give a direction and they'd both follow etc) and checked after 5 directions each if they ended up in the same space.
2nd-3rd grade Halloween math centers

If you'd like any of these worksheets they are a part of my Halloween Math Pack.

2nd-3rd grade Halloween math centers2nd-3rd grade Halloween math centers
2nd-3rd grade Halloween math centers2nd-3rd grade Halloween math centers