Oh That Elf Is Up to Shenanigan's Again!

First day of our Summer break and I wake up at 5am, typical! It has been a crazy week packing up the classroom and moving everything home and keeping the kids nice and settled with the impending arrival of Santa but we made it through! Since the dog and I are up I thought I would sit down and catch up on a few things online...

Are you using an Elf on the Shelf in your classroom this year? I was so excited when I purchased the book and Elf back in October and I am so glad I am organised to use it this year! The children LOVE it, are engaged, come to school early everyday and, let's admit, I have been having a bit of fun with in the classroom too!

Here my elf pictures for the week!

Isaac started off the week playing a game with pigeon and bear. 

On Tuesday it was our party day and Issac had punched himself up high in the class, but then feel down! Luckily he flew back up when we were at the park!

Wednesday he photocopied himself. 

On Wednesday we had completed an activity and we wanted Santa's feedback. Luckily Isaac came back with some feedback as well as some letters from Santa on Thursday.

On Friday, Isaac took an "elpie" of himself hiding in the room and put it up on the Smartboard. He wished us a Merry Christmas and said he would pop into our houses to see we were doing the right thing over the next week!


Christmas Time is Coming! Are You Organised?

9 days until Christmas! Wow! Time is flying by fast this December! 5 more days of school for me, I am really looking forward to the break! Lots of things to do of course, so whatever I can do to make my teaching easier at the moment I am all for!

We have been working on this pack the whole of December from Mel at From the Pond. It has been a great way to fill in 10 minutes each day after lunch.

Do you have your week planned yet? If not, here are some great activities you could easily put into your program over a couple of days. This week we are doing some activities from my new "Christmas Roll and Color" pack! Don't worry all Australian/British/Canadian teachers, I have included the spelling "Colour" for each worksheet too! Here are a couple of activities we are doing.

If you love the idea of these activities, you can download this booklet here!

I passed my other new pack along to some Grade 3 teachers and they are going to have a go at some symmetry and pattern activities this week. Here is a sneak peak.

Click here to download your own copy of these worksheets!

Are you still after a parent gift for the children to give and are running out of time? Why not try my Christmas Coupon pack!

Lastly, here is a freebie I made up last year, click on the picture to download!

I hope some of these suggestions make the week before Christmas a little easier on you in the classroom! Have a great week!


Winter Art Idea!

It is hot, hot, hot here in Australia at the moment, but I am wishing it was winter! I love winter, but alas, it's not time for us right now! I have seen some footage of the wild weather that has hit the US. My poor friends and family in California! Hopefully there is some relief soon... It is crazy that we can be so desperate for rain and other parts of the world just want it to stop...

Today I am sharing a winter art project we did earlier in the year (when it was winter for us!).

First we sang "It's raining it's pouring..." then we went outside and had a look at the clouds...

Then we used a cotton ball in paint to paint on the clouds and the puddles.
Then we painted our gumboots. When everything was dry we cut the gumboots and stuck them on!

I love how creative the kids got sticking their gumboots on - some straight on, some walking! They look great hanging up in our classroom too!


Five for Friday!

I haven't blogged in ages! Where has the last few months gone? Today I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday with the goal of being a better blogger this week! It will be our last week of school for the School Year - 5 more days of teaching Foundation (Prep/Kindergarten), then 6 weeks holidays! I am a little excited!

Our elf Isaac has been causing trouble this week! 

That pigeon just cannot stay out of trouble! The children LOVE the Elf on the Shelf!

I found this cute FREEBIE on Mel's blog Frog Spot. I had some older children for transition during the week and we did it. They loved the idea of giving Santa something. They were so creative! One wrote about giving Santa a rocket called "Santa 3000" to get him around that little bit quicker! Click here to download your own copy! 

As I won't be having a class next year, I looked after the children who were moving to a new school in 2015. I had Kindergarten through to 5th Graders up until lunchtime. I needed to find activities that I could use with all! Luckily I had a trusty collection on my computer!  Here is my newest pack - Christmas Symmetry and Patterns. They were so excited to try this one out! Some 1st Graders had a try as well as 3rd Graders. 

We also did a science activity from my 15 Great Science Experiments for the Elementary Classroom. This one is called Coin Challenge. Kindergarten children through to 3rd Grade had a go at this one! 

I have been spoilt this week with gifts from the children. This is my collection of presents from one family. They remembered me saying how much I love things that start with "ch" - so I got cherries (yummy), chocolates, hot chocolate mix (in place of the champagne) as well as a very cute Christmas decoration. Families are so thoughtful!

Thursday marked my 26 week mark. The baby is definitely sitting towards the back. I am definitely ready for the holidays this year! Exhausted!

Check out the link below to see more Five for Fridays!


What An Opportunity!

Happy weekend everyone! I hope you aren't all busy with report writing, school work, planning and organising (although I know a lot of you are!). 

Recently, I was contacted by RIC Publications with the fantastic offer to review some of their books. I have been a HUGE fan of RIC books for quite some time so I jumped at the chance! 

I responded with a YES, YES, PLEASE, PLEASE and within a few days I received this great pack of books! 

The first book I looked at was the Maths Handbook For Teachers and Parents. I was immediately drawn to this book because one of the author's is Paul Swan. I can honestly say, that Paul Swan's Maths Games books are some of the most used teacher resources I have. I was introduced to them at the MAV conference when I first started teaching and even went to the US and back again with me! 

This book focuses on the Australian Maths Curriculum in Grades 3 to 9. It is the perfect addition to any teachers or parents library. It covers all areas of maths with simple explanation, some background information on the topic and ideas to help you teach the children the concept. One of the best things is that it includes the correct wording! Teaching children the correct wording right from the start is of great benefit to their Maths career! There is a detailed index meaning you can find your answer quickly. Overall this text is a comprehensive, easy, reference that is very teacher friendly! I LOVE that you find you answers quickly and easily, without having to read to a whole chapter! Would I use it? Yes! At only $24.95 it is definitely the cheapest I have seen. 

The second lot of books I looked at was this series called Starting Point Mathematics. These bright and colourful booklets are designed to be used at the start of the school year to give teachers a head start on their understanding of where individuals in their class are at with basic maths concepts. 

They could be used all in one go, or completed in 10/15 minute lots. As you can see the pages are very appealing to students. They are a total 10 pages, including a Student Assessment page, Teacher Comments and Parents/Guardian Comments. Theses areas are covered:
- Addition
- Subtraction
- Worded Questions
- Multiplication 
- Division
- Number (Place Value)
- Number Patterns
- Financial Literacy
- Measurement
- Geometry
- Statistics and Probability
 Do I like the idea of these booklets - yes, definitely! At $32.50 for 10 copies, they booklets would be needed to be organised ahead of time and allocated as a priority from the Numeracy team so the budget can cover the cost accordingly.

I was very excited to explore the third book I picked up. I love playing maths games and am always looking for new and great ideas. Engaging children through playing maths games is a great way to teach concepts. This book covers Year 1 and Year 2 which is great for those schools operating as multi-age classrooms. 

Firstly, each game has direct links to content descriptors in the Australian Curriculum, making it quick and simple to link into your planning. 

All games require limited resources. Number cards, number lines and tens frames. I have many of these resources already made up and laminated so I could play the games without extra preparation. However, for others who don't have these resources already made up, there are BLM's at the back of the book. Each game has background information (including what the children are learning from the game), warm up games, explaining of the game (and playing) as well as differentiation and deepening  the understanding. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I love differentiation, especially when it is a simple change to the game. 
Would I recommend this book - definitely! Would I use this book - definitely! So many great ideas! 

The final set of books I was set were the New Wave Mental Maths books. I love it when I get to review something that I have used and loved in the past! These books are $11.95 each and when I taught Grade 3, we built these into the price of our booklist. Each child arrived to school on the first day of the year with a brand new book waiting for them as well as their usual grid book and exercise books. 

My Grade 3 team were a huge advocate of daily mental maths practise. Short sharp daily practise of basic skills such as fractions, time, money, shape and number meant these books were so easy to introduce into the classroom. I will admit, because we used these books as the first activity children did when they came in after recess, our Maths lessons were usually 80 minutes, by the time we did our mental maths, corrected it, discussed any confusions and then headed into our lesson. Not that there is anything wrong with that though!

These books are aligned to the Australian Curriculum and contain the same wording and types of questions as are found in our Naplan testing. They were also great for reporting. Each week is a double page making it easy for children to look back across the week if they are unsure about a question. Many times, children remembered when we had discussed the type of problem yesterday and were able to figure it out!

At the end of the book are some great resources that children had earmarked (such as shapes, timetables tables and conversion charts) as well as answers. I never had problems with children flipping to the back to copy answers. In fact, we only used the answers if there were differences in answers between students and teacher. 

Would I use it? Yes, I already have! Did I love it? Yes! Was it of great benefit to my classroom? Yes, definitely - children need daily practice! 

RIC have continued not to disappoint with creating high quality resources. In the day of digital teaching resources, it is tempting to get all your answers online, but nothing beats a great book! Especially ones that don't require any preparation or photocopying by the teacher!
Thank you for this opportunity RIC! 
]Click on the photo of the front cover to be taken directly to the RIC website so you can see about ordering you own copy! 

Enjoy the rest of the weekend readers! 

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