Sunday, October 19, 2014

Happy Snaps Sunday ~ October 19th

Hello friends!

How was everybody's week?

Did you remember to take your happy snaps?

If you didn't, never mind! You can enjoy mine!

If you have NO idea what I'm talking about, visit last week's post.



Holy mac! I can eat an entire punnet in one go. I am completely obsessed with fresh fruit at the moment.
Unknown source
 I saw this on Instagram this week and it made me smile! We need to find more time for US, teaching friends! Everyone deserves some 'me' time.

Hey, I warned you last week that my puppies would be making regular appearances in Happy Snaps Sunday. They just make me so darn happy.

This is Buddy. He is a Moodle cross and gets ridiculously fluffy. He got a hair cut yesterday and is looking mighty handsome now.

What made you smile this week? I loved seeing everyone's happy snaps last week.

Join up below to make us smile!!!

Storing Laminated Posters and Resources

Hi friends!

If you're anything like me, you're a printing and laminating addict!

I have SO many resources that I can't possibly use them all at once or my classroom walls would look like a collage of posters!

 So, what do you do with all of your unused posters and resources?

How do you store them?

I have several forms of storage but here are two of my favourites:

1. File folders!

In my first year of teaching I printed and laminated a bunch of resources. I had nowhere to store them! I found some file folders which ended up being perfect! The folders are alphabetised which means you are able to pop smaller resources under sections that fit certain learning areas. For example, I can store old maths resources under 'M'...

 ...and literacy resources under 'L'!
(sorry for the upside down label!)

File folders make it very easy to move old resources around and very easy to find when you want them again. However, they don't fit larger laminated resources, which brings me to...

2. Large display folders

I have many A3 sized (almost double letter size paper) posters that I've enlarged from a smaller size print. I moved from first to second grade a few years ago and found I no longer needed some of those posters.

These large display folders fit laminated A3 size posters perfectly!
 I'd love to hear how you store your laminated posters and resources!

If you liked this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook, Pinterest an Instagram for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from a variety of other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you.
Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Happy Snaps Sunday!!! New Weekly Series

Hi friends!
How are we this fine Sunday?

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week and my school got on board by doing something small each day to recognise it.

We had a 'Wear bright colours' day, 'tell someone how much they mean to you' day and there were also little activities to do with our classes, if we wanted.
We were also each buddied up with someone across the college (Yep, I'm at a K-12 college. That's around 300 staff!) to do something for. It didn't have to be huge. Just something to make them smile.

My buddy gave me some delicious Lindt chocolates and a coffee voucher, which I will be using first thing Monday morning to make me smile! The chocolates made me smile on Friday :)

I decided to take a different route and put together a bunch of links to things that I hope would make my buddy smile. One of which was this video compilation of adorable babies laughing.
It brought tears of laughter to my eyes so I even showed it to my class. They were in tears too!

Anyway, yesterday I got to thinking about how important it is to make sure we smile at least once every day - big or small. Now, nothing makes me smile more than seeing others smile or even knowing what has made them smile!

This is how Happy Snaps Sunday was born!
HUGE thank you to Graphics from the Pond and KG Fonts
 I'm starting a weekly linky each Sunday for my wonderful blogging friends to link up and share some 'happy snaps' from their week. It doesn't just have to be a picture of you smiling! It can be anything that made you smile that week.

Here are my happys snaps from this week:
My adorably gorgeous fur babies - Buddy (left) and Millie (right).
I'll be honest.
These two fluffy pups will probably be here every week.
They make me smile EVERY day. If I've ever had a yucky day, I can always rely on them to make me feel better!
 This one's a cheat!
No, I didn't get married this week BUT I was looking back over some photos and memories of this day (3 months ago now) make me smile.
My beautiful blogging friends make me smile, too!
These are just some of the people I've met through blogging and they seriously crack me up.

Your turn!
Make me smile and show me your Happy Snaps! Make sure you link up your post below so I can visit and check out your pictures!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies

I love teaching reading comprehension strategies!

At our college, we teach 12 comprehension strategies across P (K) to 12.

Each week I focus on a different one. I blow up examples of texts to an A3 size and laminate them. I introduce the focus strategy and then model reading the text.

After, I go back to what the strategy is that we are learning and model answering some questions about the text that focus on using that strategy.

The points I reinforce EVERY time I teach comprehension are:

1) Always go back to the text, if you need to.
2) Highlight/underline/circle any key words from the question that you find in the text.
3) Reread the question as many times as you need.
4) If it is a multiple choice question, read EVERY answer before choosing one.

I teach that multiple choice questions often have 'silly' answers. The children enjoy reading through the answers and deciding which are the silly answers. We have a good chuckle at them and discuss how they don't make sense and aren't a good choice.

When answering the questions, I always model and 'think aloud' the strategies and skills that I am using. For example:

1) I read the question (and answers if it is multiple choice).
2) I model and talk about going back to the text to highlight any key words that are linked to the question.
3) Once I've highlighted key words, I read the sentence and sometimes paragraph that those key words are in.
4) I go back to the question and then decide what is the best answer.

I've found that, for some reason, children think that they are not allowed to go back to the text to find answers. I think some teachers think this is the case and it is simply not true!

Comprehension is NOT about 'remembering' information. It's about knowing and using strategies to FIND information.

I use MANY resources, when teaching reading comprehension strategies. Some I create myself but a lot are from comprehension books that I've found. I was contacted by Blake Education a while back and they sent me out their Achievement Standards Assessments for Comprehension.
It's packed with texts on an array of subjects. Each text has a range of questions that cover different reading comprehension strategies. I love that each text has questions that cover a range of strategies, not just one. My only wish is that they were in different structures and had more diagrams and pictures but I still love them!

The book also comes with a CD-ROM and interactive PDFs so you can complete them as a class, if you'd like. They provide pages for you to track student progress, too.

Here are some pictures of some of the pages in action, using strategies I've taught in class.
What tips and tricks do you have for teaching reading comprehension strategies?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Five for Fr....aturday!

I have not been a very good blogger, yet again.

However, I am making it my goal to be a better blogger - starting this month! What better way to start then by joining up with Doodle Bugs Teaching?!
I'm going to have to start off by apologising if you have already visited Mrs Poultney's Ponderings, Teachable Moments and From the Pond but I just have to share my fave five moments from our little mini Aussie blog meet up, too!
I have been super lucky to have connected with some amazing Australian bloggers over the past 2 years and last weekend I FINALLY got to meet up with some of them. I travelled all the way from Brisbane to Sydney to meet with six of my oldest bloggy friends.
We went for a stroll along Darling Harbour in Sydney looking for a place to eat, only to be greeted by a beautiful fireworks display. We can only assume it was for us to celebrate our meet up! although there may have also been some coincidental cultural festivities occurring at the same time...
I took this the next day but this is where we had dinner. I had THE BEST spinach and ricotta ravioli I have EVER had in my life. It was so fresh and delicious. If you are ever in Darling Harbour, Sydney you MUST go here!
I felt super spoilt by the girls!
Brooke from Teachable Moments made us all cute lanyards using gifts from GoNoodle, Mel at From the Pond wrapped up chocolate for us using her adorable graphics and Tania from Mrs Poultney's Ponderings prepared a super fun game for us all to play!
I got to see some great Sydney icons! The Sydney Opera House, The Sydney Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour and Luna Park!!!

It was such a great trip! I can't wait until the next one where I can hopefully meet up with even more of my Aussie blogger friends!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Getting Kids Active: Cosmic Kids Yoga

I'm SO excited to be linking up for my very first Bright Ideas Blog Hop!

I wanted to share with you all an amazing series of video clips that you may or may not heard of:

Cosmic Kids Yoga

I am always looking for different ways to give my class 'brain breaks' and anything that involves physical activity is ALWAYS a winner in my books!

I came across these set of video clips via a wonderful teacher that I follow on Instagram. Our class were looking at dance and movements to create a fitness routine and I thought of these clips straight away!

Here's why I love them and why the KIDS love them:

1. The lady is SO energetic and engaging with her enthusiasm.
2. The movements are SUPER easy to follow.
3. It fits all learners: kinaesthetic, visual and auditory.
4. Each episode is a story that involves different yoga movements. The kids follow the story and match her movements - they are doing yoga and they don't even know it!
5. Each episode only goes for about 15 minutes - the PERFECT amount of time!
6. They are perfect for the little kids. My class are 7 and 8 years old and they beg me to do it each day!

  Make sure you check them out on YouTube here.

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from more than 100 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Back to School Chatterboxes / Cootie Catchers!

Hello friends!

Do you sometimes have a concept that you need to teach that you just think to yourself, "How ELSE can I teach this to make it fun for the students AND me?"

I had this moment a few weeks ago. I had to revise months and seasons and I was bored with all of my usual lessons.

I knew I wanted it to be fun for the kids and tried to think of what I found fun as a kid (and what they might still be interested in).

Then it hit me.


At least that's what I've always called them. I think they are also known as cootie catcher or Chinese fortune tellers.

This is the one I whipped up for the class as a model.

The kids all made their own versions using some square paper that I had, buddied up and then had to use their chatterboxes with each other.

It was such a hit revision lesson and was completely made up that morning!

It got me wondering in what other ways I could use them and realised they could very easily be used in an array of ways to revise concepts.

I put together some other printable ones in a packet that could be used for grades K-3 to revise different concepts. Here are some sneak peeks:



 The concepts I've included revise seasons, colours, 2D and 3D shapes, common sight words, numbers and the alphabet! I've also made sure I've included spelling for both my US and Australian friends.

If you click on the cover page picture above, it will take you to it in my store. Download the preview to get this colour chatterbox for FREE!
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