Saturday, October 27, 2012

Crazy Colours!!!

I saw this on a post, but can't seem to find it again - how crazy does that make me??? If anyone knows the original version of this, give me a gentle memory-reminder, please.

Anyway, I tried it with my kids this week and it worked brilliantly. Each child had a piece of A3 paper, already divided up into 2.5cm squares. 
On the top row they wrote their name using capital letters...
The second row was for their favourite 'thing'...
Third row was for their favourite colour...
Best ever friend was for the fourth row...
And the last row was for something they just loved...
Now a little trick that I have discovered over the years with painting, and black markers, is to use laundry markers for the black writing. For some reason unexplainable, a black laundry marker doesn't run AT ALL when painted over with water paints. A laundry marker is always on our booklist each year, so each child has their own at art time. Just makes life so much easier...

So everyone's piece of art is now mounted on black card, to make the colours pop, and on display in the room. I have had 4 new students over the last 3 weeks, and this was a great activity to get to know them a little further, and to also quickly have a piece of their work up on display at this late stage of the year - only 7 more teaching weeks with this little class. How quickly the year has flown...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sshhhh! It's Secret Student time...

Don't you just love it when a linky party takes off, and all the super teacher ideas from around the globe are at your fingertips!!! 
...initiated a Behavior Linky Party, the ideas that have been posted are incredible...and you can cruise through the ideas at any time you are in need of a little extra help with that one child in your class.

I am not a teacher who has time to reinvent the wheel, so when I see something fantastic I like to run with it.
And that is exactly what happened when I was reading Stephany's post, 
Positive Behavior Rewards at ...
Pop straight over to her blog and read up on how she incorporates this simple reward system into her class daily....
Now that you are back, I will continue. Stephany posted that she was offering a copy of her Secret Student Cards for free.
But sadly, us Aussie teachers spell several words differently to our teaching  counterparts over 'The Pond', and the word behavior is one of those (I even have trouble typing it your way). Behavior to us is spelt Behaviour. Could I be so bold to ask Stephany to change the spelling???? You bet! And she did! What a  super teacher to do that.
So a big thanks to Stephany! I now have my her Secret Student system all ready to go, starting after the holidays - yes, I am on two weeks mid semester holidays at the moment. 
To make this 'really' work for my class (and me!!!) I have it all up and ready to go, with minimal effort required each day.  
Things need to be organised for me, so I have a document folder (labelled) and all of the little certificates printed off, cut out and named ready to be stored in the folder.
Inside the folder I have a checklist of names so that I know everyone has a turn...all I have to do each morning is pop a little certificate in the container. How easy is that??? A solid little addition to my already working behaviour program...
And I even found the exact same container that Stephany used - at IKEA! Wonder who will be my first Secret Student????
Just remember, if you are ever in need of fresh behaviour ideas, click-on over to ...
...and see who can help you...last check there was a generous 84 teachers offering up their tried and proven BehavioUr Management ideas...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Counting Counts!!!

The title of Year 1 Unit 6 Mathematics assessment for this week. Sounds catchy, and exciting... 

The first 3 weeks of Unit 6 in the Australian Curriculum has seen Year 1 focusing on Number Sense. And after 3 straight weeks most, if not all of my class has a very solid understanding of counting, skip counting by 1's, 2's, 5's, 10's to 100 and place value (imagine here my leap of joy at such success!!!) 
The Curriculum so far this year hasn't delved into one area in such depth, usually only allotting 3 or so days to a topic. This Unit has been far the best learning experience for the kids...

The assessment piece was a fun, hands on activity conducted during weekly maths rotates - how easy was this to be??? 

The Australian Curriculum provides everything needed for the assessment piece from the hands-on pieces ...
... which I changed to make larger, child-usable and laminated...
... to the 'cheat-sheet' of prearranged questions to ask each student...

And the kids loved doing the tasks, 4 in all, and didn't realise they were being assessed...

So, another assessment ticked off for this term in Mathematics! Next week (Week 8) has my class moving onto 3 lessons of time (o'clock and half-past) followed by 2 lessons on capacity. 
Off now to hunt out some suitable resources (read: prowl blogs, Pinterest and TpT!!!)

Monday, August 20, 2012

i give a gonski...

Last Friday, after school, an email came through to all staff advising that we were now all on 'photocopying rations' due to the school budget! And we are only 3/4's of the way through the school term. It is going to be one long 11 week term now. 
I guess that the Gonski review for funding needs to be implemented quickly, as my school is in desperate need of extra funding for the basics. Considering we are only allowed 5 sheets per student per week it isn't really hard to cut back, so now is the time for me to whip up some work centres that don't require any sheets. Most of my literacy stations have an accompanying activity sheet, so I need to think quickly.

First off is a Silly Sentence activity that Monica has at her TpT store, and I adapted it to fit in with what my class is learning at the moment,  pulling in a lot of our sight words, and changed the American words to Australian (Mom to Mum).
Each Silly Sentence is based around the Who, What, Where, When model, and colour coded to match. Using the spinner each student has to collect 1 piece of the sentence from each colour, before creating their sentence. Now normally I would have the kids then record their sentence on the accompanying sheet and illustrate, but for now it will have to be completed in their literacy books. Guess it will now be extra handwriting practice between the red and blue lines!
The spinner is an easy one that works every time. The child uses a pen and a paperclip and simply flicks the paperclip. It spins soooo easily. Covers a little of fine motor for the day!

The next one I pulled together over the weekend is based around the School's Multilit words. 
There are 300 words in lists of 10 (nothing new there!) and each list is coloured in the same colours across the school. I laminated up the first 100 words to display in my room this week.

I am also planning on taking deeper look at how ...
... has organising her sight words. She has put together a brilliant expanding folder to organise the different levels.

So I can see lots of rainbow writing, playdough words etc happening in group time, all without the dreaded photocopied piece of paper. 

Now I am on the asking side, I am after any and all of your best and fun ideas for literacy centres that don't involve photocopying. Activities that you rely on or find that the class just love....

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Helping Hand...

Well today I am extending out a hand to a fellow Aussie teacher, who is super-into Maths. If you ever need a creative idea in the area of maths, then Alison from ...

should be your first port of call. 

Teaching Maths with Meaning has excellent Free Resources, and who of us doesn't love a Freebee!!! From Posters to Place Value Cards, this site has it all. 

And if you like the look of these, head over to her TpT store, were you will find a massive amount of products, already to be used in the classroom. 
So, time to share some bloggy love, and head over to 
and see what Alison has on offer today! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Messy Maths Boxes...

What a fun week I have coming up in maths! Following the C2C Australian Curriculum for Year 1 (Unit 5), this coming week has its focus on Length, or more exactly, comparing lengths with informal units. Don't you just love working with kids using informal units??? They always have a ball, and don't realise they are learning. 
Informal length chart

The first thing I am 'required' to do is put together a Messy Maths Box. C2C gives the following outline...

Find and prepare
Messy Maths Box (two or three large tubs to share  between groups) containing a range of the following:
straws, counters of different types, 3D shapes, 1 cm cubes, match sticks, cotton reels, paddle pop sticks, MAB blocks, 2 cm cubes, milk bottle tops, bread tags, 
dice, Cuisenaire rods, linking cubes, plastic coins, 
lengths of string or wool, lengths of paper tape

So from this...

Messy Maths equipment

To this...

One empty Messy Box
To this...

Organisation is the key to all classroom lessons, expecially those involving the word 'mess'.
I have also sourced a few brilliant activities for maths rotations this week, inkeeping with the theme. Thursday is a 1:1 assessment lesson on the topic, so several independent activities are needed.

Maria at Kinder-Craze has a super little Hands-On Measurement Freebie -

Jessica at TpT has a fun bat measurement activity -
Jessi at Fantastic, Fabulous, Firsties! has a Monster Measurement Mansion Game to help reinforce non-standard measurement.

And my last piece of informal measuring for the week is an idea that I saw(???) where you tape the units together so the groups actually have a tape measure made out of paperclips, paddlepop sticks, breadtags etc. This helps to reinforce the idea of butting the measuring pieces up for accuracy.
So it looks like I am all set for the week in maths. Is there anyone else out there following C2C for Year 1, or who uses a Maths Messy Box??? Also, jump in with any other measurement activities that you use...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Peggy about Behaviour...

Just how brilliant are all the peg clip chart behaviour systems being used in classrooms around the globe!!!
From Sunny Days in Second Grade
From Miss Kindergarten 
From The Inspired Apple
Where this idea originate from I do not know. But a huge 'Thank-You' to the clever person who did indeed invent this concept. 
Here is my little chart, that hangs proudly out the front of my room...
Close up (and a much clearer picture!!!) - 
My pegs have been dyed in various colours, and are stored in one of my drawers...
And when my little lovelies reach the Outstanding, and remain there for the entire day (what a challenge I do set!!!) then they receive a little jewel...
Five jewels and the peg goes home, choose a new colour peg, and the cycle continues. Now, just how easy is that??? 
After seeing the stunning guitar chart above, and the many other creative charts out there, I would love to make a few more up to match my theme each  school term. 
So many ideas, and so little time...

Why, Thank-you...

Drum roll, please..........for my first teaching blog award!!!!
A huge Aussie thanks to a talented teacher, 
Tania, from Mrs Poultney's Ponderings 
for passing this onto me. She has been kind enough to acknowledge my little blog. Go and meet Tania, and say hello...
And also, would you believe it!!! A second nomination from Vicky who lives at -

The award is the Liebster Award, which has been blog-hopping around the globe for some time now.

But the award comes with rules, that I must adhere to (now I know how my little kids feel in class). 
The rules:
1.  Link back to the person who gave it to you. 
2.  Post the award to your blog. √  

3.  Give the award to other bloggers with less than 200 followers. √ (This was easy with the Newbie Blog Hop happening)

The 5 Newbie Bloggers that I am passing this award onto are...

- Ms Feuerstack from over at Fun and Learning in First    
- Liz at Polka Dot Firsties   

If you have already received this award, think of it as a double bonus at the end of a long week. 
Catch up with you all again soon.....J

Monday, July 23, 2012

Reinventing Sight Words...

Lots of very creative teachers around the globe use the Dolch word system,  Fry words, or the Magic 100 and have made up many, many brilliant games to help kids practice and learn these words. And they have published these games on their blogs, or Pinterest, to share with others.
There are bingo games, flashcards, posters, songs  and 100's of games made, all ready for use in our classrooms, and all created with a fun element. So, why am I reinventing the wheel???
MULTILIT game lists 1 - 10
Well, my school is using a system called MULTILIT - Making Up Lost Time In Literacy! It helps struggling students pick up the basics. There are 200 words in the sight word component, presented in 30 groups of 10 words. But when I went to the usual spots to get some inspiration (yes, I'm talking Pinterest!) there is nothing. Not a single solitary flashcard  or sheet to be had!!! But, worst still, no fun games for rotational groups!!! 

Result is - time to make my own...

First game is just a basic roll the dice, move and say the word game. The above photo covers games for the first 10 groups of words. The school has 'modified' the way we display the words. Instead of working from list 1 to 30 we cover a 5 colour system (very confusing, I must say). Lists 1 and 2 are blue, 3 and 4 are pink the kids progress through the colours as their sight word knowledge increases. So you can see why I need to reinvent this poor old system, quickly!!!
Game for Lists 1 and 2 (blue)
This is the first 'blue' level, lists 1 and 2,  which basically covers all the initial words. For each level I glued the game onto backing cardboard that matches the level, and made the picture and arrows on the game in the same colour as well.
Game for Lists 9 and 10 (orange)
These are the words for the first 'orange' level, covering lists 9 and 10. You can see that the progression of words is increasing in difficulty. I made up 5 copies of each level so that the class can play in pairs, at their level during group time.
Recording sheet
And a quick little recording sheet for the kids to write down the words they land on!

So my plan of attack is to create one or two new games each week using the MULTILT words. Fingers crossed that I stay motivated enough to stick to this goal...

By the way, has anyone else ever used this MULTILIT system at all??? Would love to hear how you made it work successfully...

Friday, July 20, 2012

'r' influenced vowels...

This teaching year 'Down Under' saw the introduction of our new National Curriculum. Strangely, not all the States and Territories are following it. Queensland is, so that means I'm in the thick of it!!!
My year level is on-track to the day, which means we are up to Unit 5 Week 2 Lesson 1 in spelling...'r' influenced vowels 'ar', 'er', and 'ir'. I have noticed that they are also called 'r' controlled vowels overseas. Same thing, different name.

We are 'given' the spelling words for the week ...

And we are allocated 4 x 15 minute sessions in the week for spelling! Whilst we are provided with an overview for the week, I am going to hunt out a few exciting games and such to use.

First port of call was TeachersPayTeachers ...
I take my teachers-hat off to each and every talented teacher who puts their resources out-there. You are all a credit to the profession!

Kerrie from Look Whoo's in First  has a great free-download game called Captains Crew R Controlled Vowels 
Captains Crew R Controlled Vowels

A Year of Many Firsts has included a poster for free, with some really adorable characters
Meet the Super-Three UR ER IR
Then, of course, I just HAD to check out what is showing up on Pinterest - and there goes the rest of my day!!!
Kathy at First Grade a la Carte  has a super game for kids to practice their r-controlled words. 
Rainforest Treasures
And Classroom Freebies has a quick little cut and paste activity 

Something for everyone! I am off now to whip up a few of these great activities ready for next week. 

Does anyone have any other super ideas for introducing and teaching 'r' influenced vowels to little Year 1'ers???

Enjoy your weekend...