Classroom Inspiration

Friday, 28 November 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

...in my classroom anyway! 
Oh how I wish we had a white Christmas in Australia.
We have been SUPER busy at school list term. With swimming, reports, school athletics carnival and testing, it has been full on! As of last week Christmas officially hit my classroom, and I absolutely love it! We've been doing Christmas writing, Christmas maths, Christmas art, Christmas cooking and Christmas reading. 
I've got heaps to show you, so I'm linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday. Enjoy!
At the start of the week we received a super special delivery all the way from the North Pole! 20 eager faces watched as we unwrapped our parcel and found that it was our elf on the shelf! Needless to say my little wonders we all very excited! Inside the parcel we found our elf, a letter from Santa, a DVD and a candy cane for everyone. He spent the day watching us from his box, making sure everyone was working hard. This year he has been named Mr. Bauble (let's be thankful it wasn't Trevor or Simon as some of them suggested).
The next day we found him on top of our smart board, looking very cheeky indeed!
This has to be one of my ABSOLUTE favourite Christmas keepsakes I've made with any class, and will be one I do every year from now on. The little wonders coloured in and cut out five characters from the Christmas story (courtesy of Kari Bolt). They laminated them and put them onto a clear mobile that I purchased from Zart Art (an art supply company in Australia). I cannot say how happy I am with how they turned out.
I received a beautiful message from the mother of one of my kids, saying how special it was.
How flippin' cute are these guys!! 
These are our 'Snowmen Catching Snowflakes'. My little ones cut out all the parts of the snowman, including his arms, nose and scarf. They then stuck some gorgeous snowflake sequins above his head and drew on a perfect dotted mouth. We did catching snowflake self portraits last year with oil pastel, and I think this is a great version of it. 

There were a few different versions of this art work that I found on Pinterest, but my main inspiration came from We Heart Art.

Can you believe we ran out of snowflakes on the last one! One of my little wonders had to use silver stars instead, he didn't mind :)
One of our writing activities this week was to imagine Santa was stuck in our chimney. I played the song for them on YouTube and then we brainstormed ways we could get him out. 
I found a pin for this writing activity about 2 years ago. I found the brick pattern and Santa's boots on google images and made up the writing temple myself. 
I use to hate glitter! I would absolutely dread getting it out. Now I don't know what's changed but  I seem to be more and more game to get the glitter out. My little wonders used guided drawing to create these super cute reindeer. They painted them with brown paint and used stippling to create texture in their fur. After they dried they outlined them with black markers, added cheeks, eyes, a mouth and a nose, and put red or gold glitter on their nose depending on wether they had a red or brown nose. As you can see, red was a much more popular choice. 
Mind you we did realise afterward that we'd forgotten the ears! Oh well. 
I hope you've enjoyed my Christmas themed Five for Friday! 
Happy Blogging.

Friday, 7 November 2014

What a Whirlwind!

There is no way we're half way through term 4 already....where has the year gone?!
I've been a very slack blogger lately, with uni assignments, reports and a job interview, I've struggled to find a second! But I've collected quite a few photos over the last month or so of things I want to share with you all, so I thought I'd sit down on this 30°c day and finally do it. 
So let's get stuck in!

For the first 4 weeks of this term we focused on persuasive writing. I started looking last holidays and found so many AMAZING resources on Pinterest. My team also purchased some super cute picture books that help teach persuasive language and techniques. 
We got: 
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
I Wanna New Room by Karen Kaufman Orloff
and Hey, Little Ant by Phillip Hoose

My little wonders loved reading the stories and did a great job of identifying the different ways people persuade and the reasons behind it. Some of my favourite activities we did was for the book 'Hey, Little Ant' came from a pack by Casey Hallett at Mrs Hallett's Happenings called Opinion Writing and Graphic Organisers - Hey Little Ant. If you're teaching persuasive writing to grade 1 or 2, I highly recommend you check this pack out!

The following activity came from  The First Grade Parade. After we read the book I asked the children what they thought the kid should do. I was actually surprised to find that they unanimously agreed that he should NOT squish the ant. As a class we wrote the kid a letter outlining the reasons why he should not kill the ant. They then used these ideas, and some other ones they came up with, to write their own response. They accompanied it with this SUPER CUTE little ant and shoe (click here for the template). I was very impressed with the effort my little ones put into their presentation, they look fantastic! 
This next one is one of my favourite library activities that we've done. Whenever I hear or say the word 'craftivity' I immediately think of Jennifer at First Grade Blue Skies. She has THE BEST craftivity packs in my opinion! We used her Little Red Hen Book Companion pack to create these adorable Little Red Hens. The children had to write why they couldn't help the Little Red Hen, needless to say their reasons were very creative. They were making their own bread, having a sleepover, going on a holiday and practicing their dancing. 
Sooooo I went a little Halloween clipart crazy this year. I went from having nothing, to about 5 sets of clipart, all of which are from...you guessed it...Krista Wallden :) I cut out and laminated some to use as inspiration for our spoooooky halloween stories. Mind you, I had to tell the kids what candy corn was.
During the week leading up to Halloween we read 'Froggy's Halloween'. Having read 'Froggy's First Kiss' on Valentine's Day this year the kids were excited to read about Froggy's next adventure. I got the template for this activity from Rhonda at Classroom Fun. It's no longer available in her TPT store but if you contact her (like I did) she might be able to send it to you!
I got the idea for this next activity from Lindsay at 'For the Love of First Grade'. My little wonders had to write clues about who was hiding under their ghost sheet. We showed them at our assembly and had the crowd guess what who or what was underneath. I was glad to see some of them using the information they had learnt about bats to write some clues. 
Here's a photo of the bat tree chart we made to write our information report about bats(inspiration from Kristin at A Day in First Grade). We then used a template from Jodi's Nonfiction in October pack for our writing. 
Keeping in the spirit of Halloween we created these bright spider web drawings using chalk pastels. We use pastels a lot in our class so the little wonders know how to use them well, aka don't lean your arm on the page, use sparingly and smudge, blend complimentary colours, keep one hand clean for holding the page, and blend with your fingertips. I showed them how to draw the spider webs (this took a few demonstrations) and spiders. They did such a good job, all of their webs turned out great!
I hope you enjoyed having a peek at what we've been upto. We've certainly been enjoying ourselves. Happy blogging everyone :)

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

November..really? c'mon!

I cannot believe that it is November...where did the year go?? crazy!
I have been so busy the last few weeks that I've struggled to find time to blog. I have lots of things I want to share though, so will hopefully get them up this weekend sometime.
For now I'm linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her November currently.


Listening - Who doesn't love Seinfeld?! The humour was largely lost on me as a child and I never found it overly funny. Things have changed. I love the dry humour and sarcasm, cracks me up!

Loving - My new kikki-k time planner. It's so super cute!! I have been watching video after video of decorating and using the planner. The best thing is that you can buy or print refills for each year. 

Thinking - I interviewed today for an ongoing position at my school and found out tonight that I got it!! I cannot explain how excited and over the moon I am. I love my school and the staff. I couldn't be happier right now. 

Wanting - I have a problem that involves Christmas jumpers and Christmas themed clothing. There is a slight problem though....Christmas is hot in Australia. This sucks for me. Who wants to be walking around in a knitted jumper in 28 degree heat. Not me. 

Needing - I've said it before and I'll say it again. I-NEED-TO-STOP-SPENDING!! But I can not help it. Truly. 

Reading - Reading? Huh? Whats that? I wish I had the time to read. Thats what holidays are for. 

Head over to Farley's blog to check out what everyone else is up to :)

Monday, 20 October 2014

Liebster Award Nomination

I'm extremely excited to be nominated for the Liebster Award! This award is for blogs who have less than 200 followers but who have great content and potential.
I was nominated by two bloggers - Christina at Christina's Kinder Blossoms and Katelyn George at Living the First Grade Dream.


As part of being nominated I have to answer the following 11 questions and then nominate 11 blogs with less than 200 followers.

1.  Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
I began my blog in March this year. I followed a lot of teaching blogs and loved seeing what they were doing in their classrooms, how they set up their rooms, and getting hints and tips that I can proudly say have improved me as a teacher. I must say that my main inspiration to start blogging was Maria Manore at Kinder Craze. I adore everything about her and her enthusiasm for teaching and sharing motivated me to do the same.

2.  What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
Honest – It’s something I strive to be on my blog, and is one thing that I relate to most with all the blogs I read. I think that a lot of the time, unless you’re a teacher, you can’t really understand what it’s like. So much to do, so little time. I feel that within the blogging community there is so much support and an insane amount of great advice from people who are passionate about what they do.

3.  Is there something you learned late in your blog journey you wished you knew before?  
Keep your camera close by! There have been so many times when I’ve though ‘Uuugh I should have taken photos!’

4.  What is your favorite past time other than blogging?    
Shopping…having said this my blogging addiction does not come free of shopping. Every time I see something I like (must have) on one of the blogs I read, I am straight to TPT or eBay or Google to find one and buy it!

5.  How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?
Not enough! I usually do about 4-5 and it’s usually on a Friday night. That’s when I edit my photos and post about my week. I have so many ideas of things I want to write about, but during the week is hectic and I struggle to find the time. Definitely something to work on.

6.  What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most? 
I love classroom d├ęcor and writing posts. I could watch tutorials on how to decorate your classroom all day. I also love posts about craftivities and theme packs. Anything related to Christmas or a holiday, I get excited!

7.  Where does your blog inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from my kids. Their uniqueness and hard work makes me want to share it with everyone. I love setting a creative activity and seeing the twenty different ways it turns out. It’s impossible to be sad or down when you have a room full of children who want to make you smile. 

8.  Which post that you've written are you most proud of?
I think it has to be my post ‘New Life, New Ideas, New Love’. It was one of the very first posts I wrote on my blog and Maria from Kinder Craze commented on it and shared it on her Facebook page. It was a very surreal moment after following her blog for over a year. Needless to say I was smiling a lot that day.

9.  Is there any post you've been planning to do but have been postponing it for awhile now?
I have recently organised my entire office and theme resources into thematic unit folders and am very excited to share it…stay tuned!

10.  What is your favourite aspect of blogging?
I love the camaraderie, the inspiration, the support…I love it all. I have spoken to bloggers from the other side of the world and some from the same state as me. Being a part of the blogging world makes me excited about the work I do. I feel very lucky to be able to share my experience with those who read my blog. 

11. Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself? 
Since I was nominated by two fantastic bloggers, here are the two ideas from their blogs that I would like to try:

from Living the First Grade Dream - I am definitely going to do her pumpkin writing activity with the paper plate pumpkin craft. They are suuuper cute and my kids would love them!

from Christina's Kinder Blossom - I looove the naughty and nice list using book characters. One to add to the list for when we start Christmas activities. 

Now it's time for the nominations!
1. Jemima from Luck's Little Learners
2. Stefanie from Miss Galvin Learns 
4. Kelley and Angela from Glyph Girls 
5. Stacia from Stacia's Scoop
6. Kristin from Teaching in a Nutshell
7. Bonnie from The Cutesy Teacher
8. Kim from DomiKiddos
9. Martina from The Hungry Teacher
10. Laura from Luv My Kinders
11. Marine from Tales from a Very Busy Teacher

I hope this nomination brings you more followers and readings (and I hope I only nominated blogs that qualify!) I love reading your blogs and connecting with you all!
Now that you've been nominated, here are the official "rules" for accepting:

1. In your post link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out".
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).
3. Nominate 11 blogs that have less than 200 followers each.  Provide them with 11 questions or have them answer the questions above.
4. Let your nominees know they've been nominated and provide them with a link back to your post so that they can accept.
5. Send your nominator a link to your post so s/he can learn more about you as well (you can just put your link in the comments below)

Friday, 17 October 2014

TGIF - big time!

Thank the lord that it's Friday!
This week has been a loooong and tiring one. We've stuffed so much learning into the last 5 days that I'm left feeling exhausted! Today was one of those days when something (usually a misbehaving munchkin) makes your mood change from cheery to grumpy. I left work today feeling a little low. But looking back on my photos from the week, I'm glad to be reminded of all the fantastic things my little wonders have done this week. 

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Here goes!
(Be sure to click on the picture below to check out the other fantastic bloggers who have linked up)
This week we were learning all about probability. We used a great pack from Secondgradealicious that contained this activity. My little wonders worked in small groups to sort the events into the categories - certain, likely, unlikely and impossible. As I walked around I heard some great discussions about why or why not an event belonged in a category. They especially loved the one that said 'Your teacher will turn into an ant'. 
 Staying on the topic of maths, we also looked at the probability of selecting a certain object out of a group. I found a super cute pack by Jane Feener which uses gumball machines to pose questions about probability. One of the activities involved putting 12 cards around the room, and the children walked around and answered the questions. They had fun trying to find all the cards and it was a good way to see which children still needed a bit of support. 
This month is Mission Month in the Catholic calendar and as something a little special, I decided I would give my little wonders a secret mission. I thought up 20 acts of kindness that could be done at home or at school, and put one in an envelope for each of my kids. I also included a 'Secret Agent' badge and a letter explaining their secret mission. The children were very excited to receive their own envelope and badge, and were eager to get started. The Secret Mission pack is available on my TPT store. It isn't linked directly to Mission Month, so it can be used by anyone who would like to promote random acts of kindness within their class. 
For art this week we made some beautifully colourful parrots. They look fantastic and brighten up the otherwise dull (and ugly) area above my sink. I had some early finishers so they made some chain link vines to add to the 'tropical-ness' of the display. 
I found the idea and template for the parrots at Squish Preschool Ideas.
Does anyone else do Cosmic Kids Yoga?
My kids loooove it! The videos have a story line that the kids can follow, and are very engaging. Today we did 'Babs the Beaver'. It's a great way to help children relax and calm down, and also gets their wriggles out at the same time. 
Thanks for taking a peek at my busy, hectic, exhausting, fun, jam packed week!