Monday, 30 September 2013

Pins of the Week: Literacy Edition

It is mid-way through the school holidays here in Sydney, and I am feeling energetic! Time for some mid-holiday Pinspiration! This week, a lot of great ideas to support the teaching of literacy skills have been jumping out at me, so I'm dedicating this week's round-up to literacy. 

Sidewalk Action Letters


Some of the best ideas are born out of necessity, and I'm not sure that there is a more desperate point of need than trying to entertain a young child! Allison McDonald, over at the No Time for Flash Cards blog came up with a great idea while her daughter was playing with sidewalk chalk outdoors. Simply write letters on the ground and come up with an action that starts with each letter. Children can then complete that action while standing on that letter. Simple. Genius! Thanks Allison!

Images for Inference


One of the important skills of visual literacy is inference. What can we infer from looking at the picture above? Even without a caption, we can infer that the man is not happy with the woman speaking on her phone. We can see she is in a cinema and we might guess that the man is an usher at the cinema, enforcing a well-known rule that you shouldn't be talking on your phone in the cinema! Students need to be given lots of opportunities to flex their inferencing muscles, and that's where Rachel Lynette's Inference Pinterest Board comes in. Here you will find a growing collection of great images you can use to help your students learn to inference. Thanks Rachel!



We all know how much kids love McDonalds. Those golden arches are probably one of the first symbols kids learn, as you probably know if you've ever driven past one with a child in your car! I'm definitely not suggesting that you encourage your students to eat junk food, but I can promise you, the second you whip out a couple of McDonalds french fries packets, your kids will be engaged! Miss Speechie at the Speech Time Fun blog uses her french fry packets to teach subjects and predicates. She writes a few of each on yellow paddle pop sticks (also known as pop sticks, popsicle sticks and craft sticks) and has students sort them into their correct containers. This fun activity leads to some great learning about this topic, and the engagement of her students is, no doubt, very high! The concept could be adapted to any literacy topic that requires sorting, or to any other subject matter. I plan to head down to my local Maccas (as we call it here in Australia) and ask the manager if they'd be prepared to donate a few packets to support children's literacy. How can they refuse? Thanks Miss Speechie!

Writing Prompt Heaven!


I'm a sucker for a great writing prompt. Anything that helps us be creative is a good thing, right? Well, I've hit the writing prompt jackpot! I have come across a Pinterest board that focuses on inspiring natural landscapes - I mean super-inspiring! I have started adding some of the awesome images I've found there as writing prompts in my English: Writing Prompts Pinterest board, with questions to help get kids thinking, and there will be more to come! The curator of the landscapes board, Tsahizn Tseh, has lots of other great boards too, so be sure to check them out. Thanks Tsahizn!

Paint Chip Poetry


Like the McDonalds french fry container I mentioned earlier in the post, paint chips are a free resource that can help inspire and enthuse your students. Paint chips are available for free at most hardware stores, and if you don't feel okay about just taking thirty of them, ask the manager. Most people are pretty happy to help a teacher! As with the french fry containers, paint chips have multiple uses, but the one I've chosen to highlight comes from Kelly Hall at the Fabulous in Fourth blog. She had her students come up with metaphors and similes relating to the colour of their paint chip, then write them on the paint chip in each section to publish. If you'd like to see how Kelly displayed the poems (which is awesome, by the way), click here. Thanks Kelly!

I hope these pins have given you lots of ideas to breathe new life into your literacy program. They have certainly inspired me! You can check out my Pinterest boards here if you'd like more ideas. I post lots of great pins every week, so be sure to follow the boards that will be most helpful to you.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Storybook Saturday: Sleepy Pendoodle

Today I am linking up with Paula Shaw at Paula's Place for Storybook Saturday.

The book I wanted to share with you all today is one of my favourite read-alouds, most suitable for infants classes: Sleepy Pendoodle by Malachy Doyle.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Beautiful illustrations by Julie Vivas, one of my favourite illustrators, enhance this sweet story of a girl who finds a puppy 'down the alley'. Unfortunately, the pup won't open his eyes, so our hero seeks the help of her Uncle Hughie. Uncle Hughie knows just what to do to get the little pup to open his eyes, but will our hero remember it all when she gets home?

When I was first starting out as a teacher ten years ago, I shared this story with a Year 1 class I was taking for a day. The kids were enthralled with the story, and delighted as the girl got muddled up with her magic words (my personal favourite muddle-up is when she calls her pup 'Sloppy Popwaddle'!) and got confused with what she had to do. When we got to the end of the story, the students were so happy that they applauded! Yep, that's right, they clapped their hands! It is one of my favourite teaching moments of all time. Their joy filled me with joy for one of the most important jobs we do as teachers - we introduce our students to great literature and inspire them to love books. This is why it is so important to use excellent texts with our students, so that their love of reading and books is nurtured.

If you can get your hands on a copy of Sleepy Pendoodle, or if your school library has it, please read it with your students. I have no hesitation in giving it the Little Green guarantee - they will love it!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Freebie Friday: 5 Great Resources from TPT!

Who doesn't love a good freebie on Teachers Pay Teachers?


With that in mind, on this Freebie Friday, I thought I'd share some of the 100% free gems I've found on my travels around TPT. If you do decide to download any of these great resources, be sure to say thank you by leaving an A+ rating and a positive comment. It only takes a moment, and it gives sellers a little happy boost to keep on creating great stuff!

Developing Number Sense

Get it here!

Your first freebie comes from fellow Aussie blogger, Alison Hislop, who goes by AliMath on TPT. Alison has created versatile worksheet that you can use with your students to have them working daily with numbers. Also included in the download are several variations on the worksheet, so you are sure to find one that suits your cohort. You can download your copy here. If you'd like to read Alison's blog, you will find it here.

Cookie Counters

Get it here!

Mmm... cookies! This freebie comes from another Aussie blogger named Shanyn, who blogs over at Coffee, Kids and Compulsive Lists. She has created these great little clip art cookies that could be used for so many different things, for example: counting, subitising, ordering, and addition. Included in your download are black and white 'line art' versions, so you can add them to worksheets without wasting all the colour ink! Now, I know not everyone is into clip art as much as I am, but these little cookies are so versatile, I'm sure you are dreaming up a thousand uses for them, even as you read this! Get your free cookie download here.

Lesson Planner Template

Get it here!

This freebie comes from Michelle Brosseau, who blogs over at Mrs. Brosseau's Binder. Michelle has created a beautiful lesson planner template, that she has graciously shared for free. It is editable too, so if some of her categories don't apply to your situation, you can change it up to suit you. You can print and hand-write on your lesson planner, or you could type your lesson plans up. I just love the bright colours - anything that makes planning more cheerful gets a big thumbs up from me! Get your free template here.

Making 10 Game... with Monsters!

Get it here!

This freebie comes from Regan Tunstall, who blogs over at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits. Regan has made this cute little game using adorable monster clip art, and the rules are simple enough for little ones to follow, so everyone should be able to join in the fun. The game works like 'Concentration' - the cards are face down and two cards are turned over in a turn. If the two numbers add together to make ten, the player takes the cards. This game would be great to play in a Maths rotation or with a partner. Get your free download here.

Editable Name Plates

Get it here!

The final freebie for today comes from another Aussie - The Teacher Gene. These little name plates are both cute and practical, and, best of all, they feature owls! Owls are my favourite! One of the great features of the download is that there are excellent, step-by-step instructions included for editing, so that when you have a long name to write in, you don't need to panic when it won't fit! Get your free name plates here.

I hope you get good use out of at least one of these great products, if not all of them! Don't forget to say thank you to the sellers when you download, and be sure to check out their stores to look at their paid resources as well. Don't forget also that there are HEAPS of freebies in the Little Green store for you to download and use. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

YouTube Tuesday: Scientific Variables

Hello, and welcome to another YouTube Tuesday!

This week I have an awesome little video for you on scientific variables. In my opinion, this video explains the idea of variables so well, that we (the teachers) don't need to! It would be a great video to use in a flipped classroom lesson (i.e. get the students to watch it at home the night before your lesson) so that you can spend more time in class completing your scientific investigation. Watch out for the holiday montage in the middle - love it!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Pins of the Week: number boards, fraction strips, book nooks, research skills and storage solutions!

Welcome to another Monday! Here in Sydney, we are on holidays, so no school for two weeks! That doesn't mean Little Green HQ is coming to a standstill, of course, because we teachers don't ever stop looking for inspiration and ideas, even on our break! To that end, Little Green presents this week's Pins of the Week!

All About Number Board


This great board was devised by the talented Tiffany at the Mrs Ouwinga's Class blog. Fittingly, her inspiration was a Pinterest picture of an anchor chart! She, however, wanted to make hers interchangeable so that she didn't have to create a new poster for each number. I think her concept makes this chart even better! Thanks Tiffany!

Fraction Strips Freebie


We've all seen fraction strips like these before, but the best part about these particular fraction strips is that they are free! Teacher Nyla at Nyla's Crafty Teaching has created a black and white fraction strip page for your students to colour, cut and use and has been kind enough to share her hard work. Thanks Teacher Nyla!

Book Nooks and Nature Books


Cathy James at Nurture Store has put together a great post on outdoor book nooks (that look amazing, by the way!) and has listed 50 terrific books that celebrate nature. The book list is extensive and covers both our old favourites and some newer books. Be sure to pop by and check it out. Thanks Cathy!

Research Skills


This excellent resource comes from the State Library of Victoria and consists of step-by-step instructions and tips to help students research and, thereby, submit better assignments. This would be a great starting point to direct your students to next time you set an assignment, or could form the basis of lessons on research skills. Thanks State Library of Victoria!

Storage Solutions


Carisa over at the 1+1+1=1 blog has devised a great system for storing her theme printable packs using those cheap-as-chips nylon storage boxes, plastic folders (the button-style ones) and a label-maker. Although Carisa is in a homeschooling environment, this storage solution would work just as well in a classroom and with other packs of stuff that need organising! Simple, efficient, genius! Thanks Carisa!

All these pins and more can be found on the Little Green Pinterest boards, so be sure to follow Little Green on Pinterest for more great ideas. Have a great week!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Freebie Friday: Last One Out!

Thank goodness it is Friday! Even better, it is end-of-term Friday, so here in Sydney, we have two glorious weeks of holidays ahead! If school is still in session where you are, I apologise for rubbing it in your face, I'm just so glad to be taking a break from the daily grind so that I can focus on a few projects I have been trying to get finished. Expect to see more resources going up in my Teachers Pay Teachers store as I finish all the bits and pieces I've been working on.

Down to business. Here is your freebie for this week:

Doesn't it bug you when you return to your room only to find all the lights and fans on and the door wide open? Perhaps it is just me being easily irked! In any case, I made this little poster using cute kid graphics from KPM Doodles, a gorgeous background from Prettiful Designs and fonts from Jen Jones, and wanted to share it with you all, just in case it bothers you as much as it does me!

You can get your free poster here or by clicking on the images above.

Well, enjoy your weekend everyone, and for those of you heading into holidays like I am, enjoy your break!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

YouTube Tuesday: Situational Irony: the opposite of what you think

Have you checked out the YouTube Tuesday link-up yet?

There are already some great videos there, and there are sure to be more to come! So, on to my video for the week!

Alanis Morrisette, I'm very sorry to inform you that your definition of the word 'ironic' is all wrong! Boy that song used to irk me, not because of the music, but because nearly everything she mentions is not actually ironic at all! Well, it might be too late for Alanis, but at least our students can discover the true meaning of irony by watching this great little video. Enjoy!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Pins of the Week: being a great classmate, differentiation, tackling poverty, retelling ribbons, mental maths and a fun freebie!

Welcome to another week! It is our last week of term, here in Sydney, so energy is a little low. Never fear, inspiration is here once again from Pinterest! Here we go!

Great Classmate Anchor Chart


This terrific 'beginning of the year' anchor chart is a great way to get your students thinking about how they can be a better classmate. It would also be a great discussion point mid-way through they year, when they are forgetting some of these basic manners and skills!

Differentiation Poster

Get your free download here!

This handy little poster, which is free to download, will have you differentiating your lessons like a pro in no time! It is a fantastic reminder of the different strengths our students bring to the classroom, and a great prompt for ways in which to tap into these strengths. In the same blog post, there are some other great differentiation resources and ideas to get you inspired, so be sure to stop by!

How Poverty Affects Classroom Engagement

Read the article here.

Poverty. It is something we don't like to talk about in relation to our classrooms, but research shows that students from low socioeconomic backgrounds consistently under-perform at school. Is there anything to be done? This excellent article gives some sound and practical advice about how classroom teachers and schools can begin to tackle the issues surrounding students from low socioeconomic backgrounds in our schools. Seriously inspiring!

Retelling Ribbon

Read about the retelling ribbon here!

Looking for a way to help your students structure their retelling of stories? Look no further! Andrea from 'Pencils, Glue and Tying Shoes' has devised a fabulous system to help her students that is both tactile and visual. Don't let the creepy blurring-out of the student's face in the photo put you off! Check out the post to read all about how Andrea implemented her retelling ribbons.

Mental Maths

Learn more about the benefits of teaching mental maths here.

I've long been a Mental Maths fan, but if you're not sure about what all the fuss is about, you must read this post on the Teaching In The Early Years blog. When kids have a number of strategies at their disposal, their skills across all strands of Maths skyrocket! Be sure to check out the post for more information.

A Fun Freebie

Get your freebie here!

I'm a big fan of owls, and these cute little owls will appeal to your kids too! One of my favourite TPT sellers, Michael Friermood, has put together four charming little bookmarks and, best of all, they are absolutely free! As Michael says, "Get 'em while they're hoot"!

I hope you are feeling inspired and ready to tackle the rest of your week. Be sure to pop back tomorrow for YouTube Tuesday!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Guest Appearance!

You might remember from my last post that I am going to be a guest blogger over at the One, Two, Three, Math Time! blog. Well, today is the day that my first post goes live on the blog! Very exciting!

If you'd like to check out my first post, click here.

Don't forget also that my TPT store is on sale THIS WEEKEND ONLY! So pop over and pick yourself up a bargain!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Freebie Friday: Lighting Fires

Welcome to another Freebie Friday! This week, your freebie is an inspirational poster featuring a quote from William Butler Yeats.

Thanks to Blixa 6 Studios for the background, PrettyGrafik for the fire and Jen Jones for the font!

When I reflect upon the reason why I became a teacher, this quote pretty much sums up what I have always wanted to achieve in my career: the lighting of fires within my students. I want to inspire them to love learning and to thirst for more.

This poster is for displaying anywhere you need a reminder of what it is we do as teachers.

Have a great weekend, and don't forget to pop by my Teachers Pay Teachers store to pick up a bargain! 20% off, this Saturday and Sunday only.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Little Green Update

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Hello everyone, I just thought I'd update you on a few things that have been happening here at Little Green HQ.

Firstly, are you on Bloglovin'? I am and I LOVE it! I follow lots and lots of blogs and am able to keep track of them all at my leisure now, without having to physically go to each blog to see what's happening. If you aren't on Bloglovin', I encourage you to give it a try. If you do, be sure to add Little Green to your list of blogs you want to follow. If you are already on Bloglovin', you can add Little Green by following the link above or the link in my sidebar.

Thanks to My Cute Graphics for this little guy!

Secondly, if you are on Pinterest, and you haven't yet checked out my boards, click here to have a sticky beak! Follow just the boards you are interested in or follow them all!

Thirdly, I'm very excited to announce that I will be a guest blogger over at One, Two, Three: Math Time! this Sunday.

I'll be blogging there once a month and will be sharing some great K-2 Maths tips and resources. Be sure to pop over on Sunday to check it out.

Oh, before I wrap up, don't forget about the 20% off sale I am having at my TPT store this weekend!

Only one more day until Freebie Friday! Woo hoo! See you there!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Sale at the Little Green Store!

Happy Wednesday everyone! I just wanted to let you know about the sale that is happening this weekend at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

It is my husband's birthday (AKA Mr Little Green) on the weekend, so I am celebrating by throwing a 20% off sale! Absolutely everything will be on sale, including my newest product: Place Value Mats for 5, 6 and 7 digit numbers.

This matches my popular Place Value Mat freebie, and will be just 80 cents during the sale! You can't even get a cup of coffee for that price where I'm from!

Also on sale will be the additional licences for all of my resources, so if you've bought a Little Green product before and want to share it with your colleagues, you can get as many additional licences as you need at 20% off the already reduced price. Bargain!

Remember, TPT operates on USA time, so if you are in Australia, you'll have to wait until later in the day on Saturday to access the sale.

See you there!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

YouTube Tuesday: Sons of Poetry

I'm hosting my first linky party all about YouTube videos for the classroom! If you're a blogger and you'd like to join in the fun, click here or on the image below to go to the YouTube Tuesday Linky page. All the instructions are there, as well as the button to download and add to your own YouTube Tuesday blog post.

Thanks to Grepic for the great background and My Cute Graphics for the popcorn-loving movie-goer graphic!

Now, onto the good stuff - the video!

Sesame Street can be a bit hit and miss for me, but gosh they do a good parody! I'm sharing with you a recently-discovered gem - Sons of Poetry. Trust me, you'll love it! Enjoy!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Pins of the Week: bath mats, mini clip charts, taking care of books, roots and a subtraction game!

The merry-go-round has turned once more, and here we are at the beginning of another week. In New South Wales, we are two weeks away from the school holiday break, and I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to it! So, as we head to the end of another busy school term, we definitely need some inspiration to keep things fresh. Thank goodness for Pinterest!

Circular Bath Mats

The link for this one was broken, but you get the idea!

Cheap, cheerful, circular bath mats are a great way to keep kids sitting in one spot during group time. Best of all, if they get dirty, they can be thrown in the washing machine, dried on the line and will be ready to report back for duty the next day! Great idea!

Mini Clip Chart

See this pin in its natural habitat here.

I love the idea of a clip chart, but I don't love the public nature of it. This personal mini clip chart will keep your kids accountable, but in a more private way. Thanks to Sarah at Miss A's Kindergarten for this bright idea.

Looking After Books

Get your copy here.

Looking for a way to get your little ones to understand how to look after the books in your classroom library? Kathryn at Kindergarten Kindergarten has you covered! She has created a fantastic book that shows all the terrible things that can happen when we don't look after books to remind kids of what not to do! The forest friends are very sad because of the scribbles, crumples, tears and muck, but in the end they are happy because they know that the reader will take good care of the book and all the other books in the library. Adorable graphics and a cute little story - what's not to love?! Oh, and did I mention that it is a free download? Thank you Kathryn!

Greek and Latin Roots

Click here to go to the download page.

Understanding the Greek and Latin roots of many of the words in the English language can be so helpful when learning to spell. Teacher Galaxy has put together a great little pack that has some great ideas for teaching the different roots. The best part about it, in my humble opinion, is the terrific list of roots, each with examples. And, once again, it is a freebie! If you do download this pack, be sure to say thank you by leaving feedback and a positive rating. Thanks Teacher Galaxy!

Subtraction Game

Click here to go to the download page.

Games are a fantastic way to get your students into Maths. This simple game from Amy Padgett will have your kids practising their subtraction without even knowing it! Who doesn't love a dice game? Especially a free dice game! So many freebies this week! If you do download Amy's game, be sure to say thank you by leaving feedback and a positive rating. Thank you Amy!

I hope you are feeling as inspired as I am! Have a great week and be sure to leave a comment below if you use any of these ideas in your classroom.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Freebie Friday: Mixed-Up Months

After a long week, I'm so glad it is finally Friday! Here is your freebie for this week - Mixed-Up Months!

Click here for your free download!

The freebie contains a rainbow poster with each month listed in order and colour-coded by season.

There are also two worksheets included in your download. The first looks at ordering the months...

...and the second allows students to sort the months into their relevant seasons.

The USA version is shown here, but there is also a southern-hemisphere version included in the download, where 'Fall' is replaced with 'Autumn' and the example links December with Summer.

Enjoy your freebie and the weekend! I plan to spend most of my weekend outside doing gardening and playing with my pooch, enjoying the beautiful Spring weather here in Sydney!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

YouTube Tuesday: Harry the Dirty Dog

Who doesn't love Betty White? She is an American national treasure! And the book 'Harry the Dirty Dog' is a classic picture book that has been loved by so many kids for so many years. So, Betty White + Harry the Dirty Dog = awesome! Your kids will love hearing Betty read this great book and the animations will keep them enthralled. Well done Storyline Online!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Pins of the Week: work on reading, mistakes, reward balls, hungry caterpillars and a treat for Mum!

Another week, another handful of inspired ideas. Here we go!

Work on Reading

Visit Mrs Clancy's blog here.

Do you have kids constantly at you during reading? Help them reflect on how they can do it on their own with Mrs Clancy's terrific chart! I love the use of post-it notes for the kids to choose their favourite technique!

Hooray for Mistakes!

Read the article here.

Yep, you read it right - hooray for mistakes! Our kids need to know that mistakes are the key to learning - a tough idea to sell in our culture of high-stakes testing. This article is seriously excellent!

Reward Balls

Visit the original blog post here.

Kids love to be rewarded, but it can be expensive and, let's face it, counterproductive to constantly reward them with bought goods. Enter this simple and effective reward system, which started its life as a home job allocation system over at the NieNie Dialogues blog and was somehow transformed by the magic of Pinterest! Write simple rewards on the balls and have your star students choose a ball. Too easy!

Fun with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Visit the Nurture Store blog here.

Who doesn't love The Very Hungry Caterpillar? This great blog entry has some excellent ideas to accompany a unit of work on this excellent book, starting with that terrific salad, of course!

A Treat for Mum

See some examples of the photos here.

We've just had Father's Day here in Australia, and although I know Mother's Day is some time away, I just had to include this great idea for a gift. Over at the Soaring Through 2nd blog, this great backdrop was used for a beautiful photo to send home as a gift. Students posed in front of the backdrop with a small chalkboard in their hands telling why they love their mums. Melts your heart, doesn't it?!

I hope you've been as inspired by these pins as I was. Have a great week!