Saturday, 9 December 2017

Christmas Free Download

Christmas concerts, decorations, gift making and read alouds to share.  It's that time of year.  Excitement is in the air.  Keep those early finishers busy with this writing choice board:

Friday, 1 December 2017

It Takes a Village

Over 25 years in and I've noticed something: people matter!  Yes children matter but people matter too!  I am talking about those people who make a school run smoothly.  These are the unsung heroes:  custodians, secretaries, educational assistants, librarians, early childhood education workers,volunteers and parents.  We often think of favourite teachers, favourite principals and vice-principals. I've learned to stop to thank the people who build that village from the ground up.

Today, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my calendar had been turned to the new month.  Then I thought, that has happened every month since I started my new position.  The evening custodian does this.  I thanked him.  He was over the moon because I figured out who the calendar fairy was.

Then there's the secretary.  She or he often have the answers that the principal doesn't.  They know how to make injuries less hurtful, answer phones respectfully, take in mail, distribute it accordingly, rarely have time for a break and manage to carry on a smile throughout the day.

Support staff for students amaze me.  Some are assigned to small numbers of children throughout the day.  They accompany them on recess breaks, support their social and emotional needs, help them thrive when things are rough and advocate wholeheartedly for children in their care.

It doesn't stop there.  The librarian is a wealth of knowledge.  Knowing where every resource is, how to use it and who to recommend it to is no easy feat.  Then, there's the read aloud.  Have you ever heard a more beautiful rendition of a story?  There is one librarian I know who gets into full character portrayals and even brings in props.  Imagine typewriters, telescopes and musical instruments.  The books come alive!

Lastly, parents and volunteers are the icing on the cake.  They bring that village to life with countless hours, costume making, prop building, reading, homework helping and community building.  It does take a village.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Thanksgiving Resource Round-Up

With American Thanksgiving around the corner, it's time to find some fun engaging activities for students to use at centers or as a whole class theme.  Below are some of my activities plus a free download at the end:

Students will be prompted to tell or write story with a Thanksgiving theme. This unit includes a story prompt sheet, graphic organizers, word lists (Thanksgiving & transition words), rubric and specialty writing paper with full and half lined pages.       


Celebrate Thanksgiving with your class by writing about it. Included in this bundle are five activities. You will find 5 quick task writing cards and 5 writing templates for an Acrostic Poem, A Text Message Template, An Invitation, a Friendly Letter and a Word & Sentence Generator activity, word list and specialty writing paper. These tasks are perfect for a bulletin board display or even a big class book. 

Silly Sentences have always been a fun way to engage readers in developing grammatical knowledge and reading skills. Fluent readers appreciate creating silly sentences using challenging words. This unit contains subject, verb and complement cards with a Thanksgiving theme. Students will be able to create their own silly sentences while exploring verbs that are not used frequently. Increasing familiarity with these verbs will in turn add some zest to students’ writing skills. These verb cards will make a wonderful addition to a “wow” word wall.

This product is made up of a fun turkey glyph, a turkey trots to 12:00 math game and a turkey three in a row multiplication game. The turkey glyph comes in two variations: the first one is based on American spelling of the word "color" and "favorite"; the second one is based on Canadian spelling of the word "colour" and "favourite". Turkey Trots to 12:00 encourages students to follow directions based on telling time to 5-minute intervals. The first person to land on 12:00 is the winner. Triple turkey looks at products generated from multiplying numbers 1 through 10. The first person to cover up three products is the winner.

This package includes Thanksgiving letter writing paper and lined paper for emergent and established writers. Art work created includes turkey, leaf, acorn, pumpkin and cornucopia images. 

Part-part-whole cards are designed to assist students in computation of number sums. This unit of 25 part-part-whole cards will allow students to practice sums from 2 to 10. The unit includes 2 variations for the numbers 2 and 3 and 3 variations for the numbers 4 to 10. With numbers hidden with flaps, Students can then justify what the missing part is and lift the flap to verify their answers. Cards may be used during a number talks, during guided math groups or for individual assessments. 


Decorate your resources with these clip art images that include 10 color and 8 black and white images of things related to Thanksgiving. Each image is 300 dpi and in a png format. Below is a listing of what you will find in this pack: apple, brown leaf, cornucopia, orange leaf, pie, pumpkin, pumpkins, turkey character 1, turkey character 2, yellow leaf. 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Make Your Own Poppy Wreath

This Remembrance Day, have your students create a Poppy Wreath.  Each student can create their own poppy which can be attached to a hanger to create a class poppy wreath.  Directions are listed below: 

Poppy Wreath Instructions
You will need:
- Several sheet of red paper (8 - 1/2  X 11”)
- Sheets of black paper
- Scissors
- Glue
- Something to trace (e.g., small cup)
- Wire hanger
- Heavy duty tape
1.     Bend wire hanger into a circle shape.
2.     Make several copies of the heart template using red paper.
3.    Cut 6 hearts for each poppy.  Crinkle each heart and then glue them together.
4.     Use a small cup to trace a black circle.  Cut the circle and then cut small fringes into the edges.  Glue the black circle into the middle of your poppy.
5.    Attached each poppy to the hanger.  Use heavy duty tape.
6.    To create a full effect, add at least 10 to 12 poppies to the hanger.

Full directions and photos are free at the following link: 


Sunday, 22 October 2017

Halloween Resource Round-Up

That time of year is fast approaching.  Here are some fun activities to use in your classrooms.

Halloween math stations are a fun way to consolidate learning for students in Grades 3 to 6. This package of activities includes a patterning poster project, word cards, poster templates and a rubric to use after working through terms such as increasing patterns, decreasing patterns and repeating patterns. Two criteria checklists have been developed. One uses the slide, flip and turn vocabulary while the other uses translations, reflections and rotations. A sample poster planner is part of this package as well as images to use in the creative part of the poster. Individual patterning practice activities are included, an addition game, multiplication game and a place value game using numbers between 0 and 99.

Halloween is always a fun time of year to introduce literacy activities to your classroom. This bundle contains four Halloween units found in my store. The Halloween Writing Unit contains three forms: descriptive writing, procedural writing and informational writing.  The descriptive writing component is introduced through an Onomatopoeia Poem. With the creation of words that produce natural sounds, students can come up with a creative way to explore the world of poetry. It is recommended that a Halloween CD be used for this activity. If a CD is not available, you may access the internet for Halloween sounds or have students come up with their own.  When writing a procedure, students can come up with a Halloween Recipe that will send shivers down the reader’s spine. A step by step “how to” activity is included to assist in the procedural writing process.  Finally, the informational piece is always a fun one that allows students to publish their work on specialty writing paper. Students will explore fascinating facts about bats and explain why bats exhibit certain characteristics, habits or features. This writing kit includes a writing guide to assist your students, writing forms, display ideas and book covers (if you choose to turn these into class books), specialty writing paper and a rubric. 

A working with words activity will have students in grades 3 through 6 use subject, verb and complement cards to build and simplify silly sentences. Challenging verb cards are included with this unit as well as nouns associated with the Halloween theme, a blank sentence building template, display and label cards and a synonym chart. This is a perfect activity to use in your Word Work Stations or as an extra project for early finishers.

If you would like to start a great home-school connection or addition to your literacy writing station, the Halloween Costumes Write About book is the place to start. A helpful planning sheet is included for your struggling writers. This writing activity will encourage writing at any grade level.

Finally, a package filled with Halloween letter writing paper and lined paper for emergent and established writers is included in this bundle. Art work created includes kids in costumes, jack-o-lanterns, spiders and bats. 

Halloween images are presented in an organized arrangement by number. Students will learn to recognize the number of objects without counting them. This is called “subitizing”. Incorporating these images into daily number chats provides opportunities for students to work on counting, seeing numbers in multiple ways and learning combinations. 

Each page contains 4 of the same image but in different combinations for number chats. You may use one set of 4 images per day. The students can apply the strategies from each picture presented in whole or small group math chats.. 

Make writing fun with this Halloween shaped paper pack. You will find four themes to choose from:  a pumpkin, a witch's hat, a haunted house and a cat. Paper is created for emergent and established writers plus blank form.

Students will be prompted to tell or write a story with a Halloween theme.  This unit includes a story prompt sheet, graphic organizers, word lists (Halloween & transition words), rubric and speciality writing paper with full and half lined pages.

Here's a fun way to assist students in computation of number sums either in math stations, with a buddy or for independent practice. This unit of 25 part-part-whole cards will allow students to practice sums from 2 to 10 with a Halloween theme. The unit includes 2 variations for the numbers 2 and 3 and 3 variations for the numbers 4 to 10. With numbers hidden with flaps, Students can then justify what the missing part is and lift the flap to verify their answers. Cards may be used during a number talks, during guided math groups or for individual assessments. 

Here's a free product your trick or treaters will love: Halloween Loot Bag Tags. Just add a loot bag and goodies before placing this tag on the treat bag.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

TpT Gift Card Giveaway

It's time for TpT gift card giveaway.  
The giveaway has been organized by Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher), with the following 
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 10/13/17 and is open worldwide.
Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers! 

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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Twenty-Five Years In and What I've Learned

Last fall, I received my 15th year pin from my current workplace.  Before that, I worked in educational contracts, taught continuing education to English language learners, supply taught, taught art classes, ran a small business selling painted furniture and name plaques while raising my children.  I wasn't the teacher who landed a job right away.  Some were luckier.  Timing was on their side and so was who they knew. I didn't let that stop me.  I went looking for work. It didn't come to me.

I decided to leave contractual teaching for two years to start a small business.  I sold hand painted furniture,wall plaques and taught people how to paint.  The work was hard but I loved every minute of it.  Why?  I had a group of ladies who would come out to paint, drink tea, eat muffins and gabble just like the our grandmothers did before us.  I knew that this balance was best for my young family.  It freed up time for play time at the local community centre, playdates with friends from school and appointments.

Then, opportunity happened.  I was at my children's school and they needed a teacher.  I started working part-time and eventually moved to full-time.  Being a teacher has had its ups and downs.  But I have learned something from being in education for 25 years.

1) Be good to yourself.  It's easy to burnout.  I can honestly say I did once.  It was one of the lowest points of my career.  I took on too much and I didn't know how to get out of it.  I was taking care of an ill parent, dealing with a volatile student, running way too many clubs and staying in at recess to help students who were struggling. I've learned to do things that I love and to build them into my day.  It could be as simple as a walk at lunch, going to the staffroom to eat a lunch, reading a book, getting pampered or making time for a quiet dinner.

2) Remove toxic people from your life.  If you're a generally trusting person, then they will come to you.  I promise you they will.  I'm not saying not to trust but to be cautious.  Recognize the signs.  These people are often surrounded by drama, always need to be right, play the victim, hold grudges and are negative about anything and everything.  I've learned to acknowledge how they feel but I won't get wrapped up in their negative energy.  I did that one too many times and learned the hard way that it isn't worth it.

3) Stay current.  Keep yourself informed.  There are wonderful professional development opportunities out there and some are free.  Look for like-minded colleagues who want to explore current pedagogical practices.  Often, they're right in your building.  Some districts have virtual learning series that are free.  Ask about them.  As well, read.  Ask your administrator or librarian if he or she has come across any good resource manuals for current educational practices.

4) Think of Parents as Partners.  If you start to see parents as a negative force in your life, then you've set yourself up for a very difficult year.  You may not agree with every parent but they are responsible for their child and so are you. Learn to listen.  I often call parents the first week of school to welcome them and to ask how their son or daughter's week went.  Believe me, I have been met with gratitude.  Why?  It shows you care if you reach out.  We are after all working to educate and nurture little humans.

5)  Expect the Unexpected.  Have you ever been excited about a lesson only to find out it flopped?  It happens.  The fire drill goes off, someone barfs right in the middle of the classroom, the phone rings, there's someone outside your classroom causing a raucous, the internet isn't working.....  It happens.  So expect the unexpected and roll with it.  Don't fret.  There's always tomorrow.  Plus, if you're teaching through Inquiry then nothing is expected.  The students steer the boat and their learning might just surprise you.

These are a few things I've learned.  I'm still learning.  Are you?