Classroom Inspiration

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!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Five for Friday (cough cough Sunday)

It's been a fair few weeks since I've linked up for Doodle Bugs Five for Friday, but I found the time this weekend so here it is :)
What better way to celebrate Spring (you wouldn't know it from the weather) than to make our own flowers! My little wonders had a great time painting, bending and scrunching to make their gorgeous little flowers. 

 How cute are they! They turned out great and brighten up our shared area. 
Huge shout out to Jennifer over at First Grade Blue Skies for her amazingly cute 'Pout Pout Fish Freebie'. I had never heard of the books until I read her blog post, and it is now one of my favourite picture books! I didn't have the book (it's now on it's was to me thanks to Booktopia) so we watched a read aloud on YouTube. I then played them Gordon True's song that matches the Pout Pout Fish story we read. He has a song for each book on his YouTube channel. I highly recommend you check it out! 

 Jennifer has created gorgeous packs to match a number of favourite picture books. Click here to check out her TPT store. 
As a fun little activity to start off the new term, we had a snowball fight! I hear you saying "but wait Zoe, it doesn't snow in Portland" and you'd be right. I had each child write their favourite holiday experience on a piece of scrap paper and scrunch it up into a ball. Before we had our snowball fight I laid down the law. No throwing at people above the shoulder and no 'piffing' it as hard as you can. They were happy with these rules. They spread themselves out around the room and on the count of three the snowball fight began. Seeing them run around frantically to grab a snowball made me laugh. For such a simple activity they LOVED it. 
When I said freeze they had to grab a snowball and sit on the floor in a circle. They then read out the writing from their paper and had two guesses as to who wrote it. I must say they did quite a good job of matching their classmates with the experiences. I'm going to do this activity at the start of the new school year with a fact about themselves. 
For sooo long I've read blogs that talk about 'Scentos' markers, and for sooo long I've been hunting for them. I was in Kmart during the holidays and came across them for $2 each! I also found an 8 pack of smaller ones for $6 from Target. I was super excited to try them out. I've used them heaps this week, it cracks me up to see the kids smelling their work hehe. I was checking the internet to see if I could find more markers (for cheap) and I found something that made me squeal a little...CHRISTMAS SCENTOS!!!! 
If anyone knows where I can get these online for less that $16 each (sooo expensive Fishpond!) please let me know.
This week we began filming our video for our Canadian Pen Pals. At the start of the week we watched the video they sent us and my kids were so excited! They had a climbing wall, woods and a cafeteria. Needless to say they would very interested in what kind of sweets were served in the cafeteria. Now to edit the video. I've never done it before so wish me luck!

Hope everyone has a great week :)

Thursday, 2 October 2014

October - Currently I am...

Another month done and dusted! Can you believe September is over already??
Well October is here, so I say bring on the pumpkins, costumes and candy! Living in Australia, Halloween isn't as big of a deal as it is in America and other countries. But I still like to teach my little ones about the history of the holiday, so I'm looking forward to that :)

A new month equals a new currently! I'm linking up with Farley from 'Oh Boy 4th Grade' to share what I'm upto, so here it is!

Listening - My parents are off to the Gold Coast tomorrow for ten days and have only been allocated 20kg of luggage between then. Cue the awkward struggle to condense two adults luggage into one suitcase with a weight of under 20kg. It won't happen....I predict a call will be made to the airline to increase the luggage allowance. 

Loving - School holidays are essential! It's a much needed break for teacher and students from each other. We all love our kids, and are extremely lucky to be able to spend so much time with them, watching them grow and sharing in their stories and experiences. But toward the end of the term, it is clear that both parties are ready for a break. 
If you're anything like me a chunk of your holidays are spent making all those little improvements to your classroom that you don't get time for during the term. It's also spent thinking up new lessons, better ways to run your day, and trolling teaching blogs for new ideas. This doesn't feel like work to me though, so it's still relaxing and enjoyable :)

Thinking - Uuuuugh term 4....reports. Enough said. I know we all feel the same about this time of the year. Yay for Christmas, Boo for reports. 

Wanting - My friend just posted on Facebook about her recent laser eye surgery. She has worn contacts and glasses her whole life, and now has better than 20:20 vision. Definitely something I want to do. Just need to save for a house first, unless I win the lotto, then I'll be booked in the next day! I don't personally mind the look of glasses, or mind wearing school. But when I want to go shopping or spend the day/night with friends, having rubbish vision is a bit of a bugger. I can still see by all means, but it's definitely not great. 

Needing - I think I've mentioned before that this year (and next) I am studying to gain my Catholic Accreditation. This course is by far the WORST I have EVER undergone. It has zero relevance to actual teaching and is sooo full of theological jargon that it confuses me just to read the assignment titles. I am so lucky that I have other teachers doing it as well or I would be well and truly doomed. 

Trick or Treat - Treat!! I have just uploaded my 'Holiday Themed Writing Templates' and they are currently in my shop for....FREEEEEE! (for a week!) Head on over and grab them now. 

Head over to 'Oh Boy 4th Grade' for more blogger insights :)