January 20, 2016

Book fairs - Dates for your diary!

Book fairs are one of my favourite things in the world! I love finding hidden treasures, grabbing a bargain and adding to my ever-growing book collection. I always feel so excited after getting my hands on good quality literature and always become inspired to try new lessons and artworks based on the books. I've been keeping my eye out for upcoming fairs and found quite a few coming up around NSW/ACT/VIC. I can't wait to post pictures of my bargain buys!

Hover over the image to pin it to one of your pintrest boards or save the image to make sure you don't miss any book fairs this year! 

Happy hunting,

January 15, 2016

3 things you HAVE to do on the first day back!

With a block lined up for the first few weeks of Term 1, I'm in a similar position to many other teachers and it's had me thinking, what do I do on the first day back? It's a daunting thought "going back", as you want to make the most of the first day, make a good impression and start the year off on a positive note. 

It's a general rule of thumb that the first day back should be relaxed but well structured to allow students to feel comfortable in their new learning environment but also get a sense of your learning and behavioural expectations. I've had many first days, being a relief teacher it sometimes feels as though every day is the first day! Armed with years of these experiences I have decided on my top 3 things to do on the first day back:

Although the students sitting in front of you may have met you before, or seen you around the school, these interactions are not always true to who you are as a classroom teacher. That's why it's important to start fresh and introduce yourself properly at the very beginning. When I introduce myself I always talk about my family, show a picture of my gorgeous puppy and talk about my favourite books. Students are often surprised to have a teacher talk so openly about their personal life, but this is so important in building rapport and mutual respect.

At this time I also introduce the classroom, giving a brief tour  of the the room and explaining daily procedures. The classroom tour provides a great lead in to discussing classroom expectations, as these are always displayed in the room. From the very start, students need to know the rules and consequences of good and bad behaviour, so including this explanation in your classroom tour allows a non-treatening introduction to your expectations during the 'honeymoon' period of the year. As the term progresses, you'll be glad you established your expectations early on as you can easily refer back to your rules and students have clear boundaries.

Once students are familiar with you and the room it's time to allow students to get to know each other. The reality of our education system and classroom set up is that students spend a lot more time learning with and from their peers than with you, meaning positive student relationships are paramount. In light of this, it's important to provide students with an opportunity to get to know each other in a positive and well-structured environment, as we can't just expect students to get along from the beginning.

Looking for a relationship-building activity? Check out this board game:

Throughout the day, make learning all of your students' names a priority. Also endeavour to have a one-on-one conversation with all of your kids. Building positive relationships must begin on day one, as students will only be responsive to your teaching if they respect you and feel respected by you. My top tip would be to move around the classroom as students are playing their get to know you game and listen to their answers and even join in!

Well there you have it, my top 3 things you have to do on the first day of school. They may seem obvious, but in the chaos  of being back at school you can be tempted to rush through these introductory basics. Now that I've thought these steps through I feel a lot better about getting started and the first day back is just that little bit less daunting!

Now to start printing and laminating these resources for the 'before  I go back to school rush!' Remember, if you see anything you like, head to my store!

All the best,

January 07, 2016

First week back? Bring it on!

As the holidays draw to an end, I can't help but get the jitters thinking about the new students and the new classrooms I'll be visiting this year! To begin the year I have a 2 week block - YAY - on a year 5/6 class, so being as organised as I always am, I've already begun prepping! 

With the school term beginning only a few days after Australia Day, I feel like there is no better time to teach deep and meaningful lessons about Australian history. With this in mind, I've created an interactive WebQuest about Australia Day.

It has taken quite a long time to make this resource, as I created the webpage, sourced all of the information and then created an accompanying question booklet and answer key, BUT it has all been worth it, I'm so excited to get back into the classroom to teach it! 

How it works:

To complete their quest for knowledge, students navigate through the past, present and future, learning about the European and Aboriginal history behind Australia Day, exploring modern day traditions and considering the future of Australia Day.

As students progress through their quest, they will view videos and maps, explore early European artwork and navigate websites to answer a range of short and long answer questions, create a historical timeline and complete written tasks.

*Tasks are aligned to Year 6 & 7 History and English ACARA outcomes*

Purchasing this product provides you with exclusive access to the WebQuest website and accompanying WebQuest question booklet and answer key.

For the first week this product will be only $4 - down from $4.50 - so grab it ASAP!

I hope you find this product helpful! Let's bring on the first week back!

Happy Teaching,