Tuesday, 30 July 2013

YouTube Tuesday: Dance Breaks

Have you seen the short dance break videos all over YouTube at the moment? The purpose of these little videos is to get your students up and moving in between sit-down tasks. They often feature cute animations, and today's video is a great example.

The video lasts for 58 seconds and features some kooky slug-like creatures moving around to an adapted version of the 90s classic dance tune 'Gonna Make You Sweat'.

Yes, it is bizarre, but lots of fun! Please comment if you use dance breaks or movement breaks in your classroom, and especially if you know of any good YouTube videos we can all use!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Pins of the Week

Happy Monday everyone! Lots of Pinterest inspiration this week, so I'm excited to share some of the goodies I've found. All these and more can be found on my Pinterest boards.

Learn Haiku from the Master at Kid World Citizen

I have only just discovered the Kid World Citizen website, and what a treasure trove it is! This particular pin takes you to a page about Basho, the great 17th Century Japanese poet, and provides ideas for some rich learning about the man and his work. Great stuff!

The KWL Chart Re-imagined!

I've been a fan of the KWL Chart for a long time, but this free printable takes it to a whole new level. The link takes you to the Teachers Pay Teachers site of Rebekah Benson, where you can download and use this printable and more. Make sure you follow her store if you use her freebie - TPT manners people!

Emperor Penguin Life Cycle Poster... FOR FREE!

It doesn't get much better than this kids - a high quality free poster to print and use by Zina Diretsky at the National Science Foundation. Beautifully illustrated and full of great information!

Visual Timetable Reward System using a Pill Box!

What a neat idea this is! The link takes you to a blog post where the idea is explained in full and you get to read about the teenage helper who came up with the system to use with an autistic student in her care. The basic idea is that you use an oversize pill box to store small treats (a couple of jelly beans or non-edible treats could be used); put a visual timetable label on each lid; then, as each task is completed, the student gets to open the lid and have the treat. Genius!

Story Stones

What an imaginative way to provide a story prompt! The link takes you to the Crafting Connections website, where you can purchase a set of Story Stones, but you could also make your own if you are crafty.

Have you seen any great pins lately? Please share! And please share if you use any of the pins above in your own classroom!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Freebie Friday (sort of!) - Voting Sticks

Yes, yes. I know it isn't Friday anymore. No excuses - I just forgot to go online last night after work! Sorry!

Down to business then - your freebie this week is voting sticks from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

So, what are voting sticks? They are a great tool for allowing all students in your class to give a yes/no response, while avoiding any shouting out! All you need is the voting sticks freebie, a printer, paper, glue and some paddle pop sticks (craft sticks). They are super easy to make. Here is an example of what they look like made up:

And here are some ideas for how to use them in your classroom:

All these pages are part of your free download, so click here to pop over to my TPT store and download!

I'd love to hear how people use their voting sticks. I'd also like to hear about any strategies people use to manage sessions like these in their classroom.

Enjoy your freebie!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

YouTube Tuesday: The Traveller

Welcome to another 'YouTube Tuesday'!

This week, I am focusing on an award-winning short film by Australian artist, Anna Glynn. 'The Traveller' follows the journey of a flying rabbit as he travels through the skies, much to the confusion of the birds around him. The backdrop is a silhouetted winter scene, lit by a full moon, and the background music makes for an ethereal soundscape.

This film is excellent for classroom use because it can be accessed on so many levels. Younger students could use it as a prompt for their own imaginary tales, while older students can engage in deeper conversations about metaphors and symbols. I look forward to trying this video out with my students and would love to hear from anyone who gives it a go.


Monday, 22 July 2013

Pins of the Week

It may be late, but it is still Monday, so I still have time to share my pins of the week! All of these pins and more can be found on my Pinterest boards.

Early Finishers Chart

I will definitely be making a chart like this sometime soon to banish all the 'Miss, what can I do now?' questions forever!

Fractured Fairy Tales

This pin comes from a blog post about fractured fairy tales, and I can certainly vouch for several of these texts. Kids love a fractured fairy tale and they are a great example of appropriation. Kids can also have a go at fracturing a favourite tale.

Jelly Bean Maths

 Jelly beans and other colourful sweets make great motivators for maths activities... if you can stop your students from eating them all before you finish! This blog post has some good ideas for how to use sweets in maths.

Making Pom Poms on a Fork

Well, who would have thought you could make a pom pom on a fork? Saves messing around with those silly cardboard circles! This pin comes from a 'how-to' tutorial. Not sure if I'll use these in the classroom, but let me know if you can think of a way to use them!

Silent Signals

This pin leads to an interesting video on using silent signals with kids. Lots to think about here! Do you use silent signals with your class? I'd love to hear of any other signals you use successfully.

Well, that's about it for a Monday night. Time to hit the hay and recharge for a busy day tomorrow!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Freebie Friday - T-Chart Graphic Organiser

Happy Friday everyone! To celebrate, here is your Friday Freebie - a T-chart graphic organiser!
T-Chart Graphic Organiser by Little Green

This fabulous freebie is the first in a series of graphic organisers that I am working on. They will all be freebies and will be available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store

The pack comes with a black and white photocopiable blank chart...

T-Chart Graphic Organiser

...and a page of ideas for using the T-Chart.

T-Chart Graphic Organiser - ideas page

It also contains a 'filled-in' sample for anyone who is unfamiliar with the format.

T-Chart Graphic Organiser - sample page

So, that's it folks. I'd love to hear what you think. Click here for your freebie!

Enjoy your freebie and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

YouTube Tuesday - Video of the Week

My YouTube video of the week is called 'Edith's Lyrebird'. It is the true story of a lyrebird who befriended a Victorian lady named Edith many years ago. The story is masterfully told by Jackie Kerin and is accompanied by an animated video collage of historic photos, videos, newspaper clippings and images. It runs for just over 7 minutes and is sure to keep K-4 students enthralled!

In our new syllabus in NSW, we are required to teach using multimedia and video texts, and this is certainly a great video to use for that purpose. It would work brilliantly in a storytelling unit or linked in with a science unit on Australian birds.

Enjoy the video, and please let me know how you go if you use it in your classroom!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Pins of the Week

Happy Monday everyone! It was back to school for me today after two weeks off (not that I ever stop thinking about my job!) but it went pretty smoothly and I got a lot done!

To start off your week with a bit of inspiration, I am going to share with you some of my favourite pins of the week. You can find all these pins and more on my Pinterest boards.

Word Jars

The idea here is to keep a jar full of interesting words, cut out from magazines and written yourself. One pinner suggested drawing 10 words out of the jar and writing a story using all 10, but there are many, many ways you could use your word jar. It might be fun for each student to keep their own word jar, or you could use it as a literacy centre. Such a great idea!

Chalkboard Signs
No link - but you get the idea!
These speech bubble chalkboards would make a fun display and could be used in a number of ways in the classroom. Cut (or ask a handy friend to cut) the shapes you want, paint them with chalkboard paint, hang and enjoy! When I clicked on the pin, it took me somewhere random, but the picture is pretty self-explanatory!

Comics in the iClassroom
This pin leads to a blog post from the bloggers at Tech Chef 4 U where they weigh up the usability of various free apps to make comics, among other things. I had a play around with Comic Touch on my husband's iPhone (I'm hanging out until I can afford an iPad!), and it was easy to use and produced great results. There are plenty of things you could do with this app (and the others of course!), some of which are shown in the image. One idea I thought of was making displays using photos of my students. Watch this space!

Forecasting the Weather
This chart has some great info on different ways we can predict the weather using observation. It would be great to use with a weather unit or just for fun.

Keep on Pinning everyone!

Sunday, 14 July 2013


Well, here we go! The beginning of a new blog that will share what I have learnt as a teacher with other teachers (hopefully... fingers crossed).

So, a little about me. I have been teaching primary students for ten years in Sydney, Australia. Over that time, I have learnt a lot about what it is we do as teachers and have spent a lot of time reflecting on who I want to be as a teacher. Although, having said that, I plan to never reach teacher-nirvana and stay there, looking down on all the poor teachers who don't have it all together. No way! We change year to year, month to month, day to day. We change or we become irrelevant and uninspiring... and isn't that the complete opposite of what we want to be?!

On this blog, you will find ideas - not just my ideas, but ideas I will curate from all four corners of the web, through Pinterest (if you aren't already following me on Pinterest, click here) and through my blogging colleagues around the world. You will find my musings on what we do as teachers. You will find links to inspiring books I have been reading. And you will find freebies. Oh so many freebies!

In fact, here is your first freebie from my Teachers Pay Teachers store: fabulous rainbow stationery labels... absolutely free! Tell your friends!

I am very much looking forward to sharing more freebies and great ideas that, I hope, will inspire you in what you do.