Currently | January 2016


I am linking up with Farley again for this month’s Currently post! Happy New Year, friends!


listening // I love Kelly Clarkson and this is one my favourite songs of her Piece by Piece album.

loving // Lazy mornings. It’s nice to be able to lay around in bed, curled up with the puppy and not have to run out of bed at 6am like a crazy person.

thinking // There are things on my Summer break to-do list that need to be done before the new school year starts. I’m trying to spread them out though so it doesn’t feel like work.

wanting // I’ll struggle with being more active for the rest of my life. I don’t enjoy it and have to be in the right mood. I’ll keep working at it.

needing // I have 28 books sitting in two piles that I need to read. Plus the other books on my bookshelf that have also been added to the list. (Hey, I got through 5 books in two weeks in the first part of the holidays… I can make a dent in this new list, right?!)

one little word // This year, my word is courage. I’ve blogged a bit about it here if you’re curious about my reasons for the word. I’ve got a bit year up ahead, so I need to remember this one!

Term 4, No Chore! | Greet Your New Class

11233799_410623752469019_7156324090602102368_oHere in Australia we’ve just started our last term of the year.

That means, soon we’ll be saying good bye to the beautiful students we’ve been teaching all year long.

It also means that we’ll be meeting and greeting our new grades for 2016, too, which is always a very exciting time, too. But it does involve a bit of organising!

I teach Foundation – the entry year to school, sometimes called Prep or Kinder – and next week we start our Transition Program for 2016. That means students enrolled for next year come for five 1-2 hour sessions where they become familiar with our school and surroundings, they meet the current Foundation teachers, and their buddies (a Grade 5 or 6 student who will help look after them) for the following year.

It’s a really wonderful program that I’ve had the privilege of participating in for the last 5 (soon to be 6) years.

At the culmination of this program, the fifth session is where incoming students get to meet their teacher for the very first time.

It’s only a short time, but it’s special. Students get a special show bag with simple, fun activities for the holidays and walk away knowing who’s going to be teaching them and what their classroom looks like.

But, do I leave it there? No way!

My special treat for meet the teacher is to give each student a special little badge to let them know that they’re part of my class. (Because, we’re going to be an awesome, class, right?!)

All it takes is some colour, a fun graphic and a bit of text:

Slide1These are my badges for the last two years. I just print them off, laminate them, cut them out, punch a hole and attach a safety pin. Every child gets one, and the whole class walks out knowing their part of my class. It’s a lovely way to foster community even before students ‘officially’ start school!

(Also, this is handy for new families to spot students who are in their child’s class so they can approach other parents and network. Bonus!)

I’m in the process of designing my badge for this year, but if you’re interested, I’ll share it with you later!

Don’t forget to check out the link-up and all the other fab ideas, tips and tricks for term 4! Follow me on Facebook and Instagram, too, for more ideas!

I’d also love for you to share YOUR tips and tricks in the comments, too!

Until next time friends, happy teaching!




Swap, Share, Give Linky!



So, we’re back at it again, this time we’re celebrating the change in the seasons – in both hemispheres! Here in Australia the weather is starting to cool as we start our journey from Autumn to Winter, while I know many of my Northern Hemisphere friends are cheering the warmer weather in!

For those of you who’ve not experienced the Swap, Share, Give linky, a few of my good teacher friends from around Australia have gotten together to swap a product for review, provide YOU with a fun freebie and offer a piece of advice based on our teaching experiences.

So, without further ado, let’s get on with the show!


I was so lucky to have the opportunity to swap a product with the lovely Lauren, from Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep. If you haven’t been to her blog, stop what you’re doing and RUN over there, especially if you’re a Prep/Kinder teacher. She always has such fabulous ideas and I’m constantly stealing borrowing them!

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I was very fortunate enough to review her fun new pack that combines word work AND fine motor skills!

Now, Lauren has an amazing collection of Fine Motor activities in her store, and I’ve actually used some of them before, but this one looked amazing for my class at the start of this term, because I have some great little readers this year who are learning about word families at the moment.

We used this activity as a warm up for our reading, and students worked in pairs to complete the different word family groups.



This pack contains the four short ‘a’ word families -ag, -an, -ap and -at.



Each word family has a main card with four holes punched in it, plus 4 word cards belonging to that word family in one of three options – pictures (shown above), pictures and words, and just words, which is perfect for providing differentiation for your students!

Students find the cards that belong to the depicted word family and use ‘links’ (those ones that EVERYONE has stashed away in their classrooms!) to connect them together, utilising not only their word family knowledge, but also the ability to manipulate and connect small objects together.

My kiddos LOVED this activity and have asked to do it a few times since we last had a go. Next time we’ll be using the picture and word cards to extend students and get them focusing on what the words look like now that they’re starting to blend words!

Thanks so much to Lauren for swapping with me – click on any of the images below to check out her store! Also, don’t forget to stop by blog to check out her review of one of my products!





Celebrate the seasons with your class and create a fabulous seasonal bunting that showcases what students know about each season in this fun freebie for you! Simply click the image above to download, and don’t forget to drop me a comment with your thoughts!

This task works fabulous as an individual task, or buddy kids up to create a joint masterpiece that can be strung up in the classroom for an extra pop to your displays!

Note: There is an Autumn page and a Fall page, to cater for language difference! 🙂


Finally, the fun part! A giveaway from my friends and I to you! Simply fill in your details in the rafflecopter and you’re good to go!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don’t forget to stop by and visit all of my friends, see their fabulous swaps and collect all your freebie goodies by following the links below!

// Happy weekend, Sig_NewBlog2014//

GoNoodle Sanity Savers Linky

I’m linking up with Elizabeth from Kickin’ It In Kindergarten for her GoNoodle Sanity Savers linky!

You all know how much I love GoNoodle, right?!!


Fav GoNoodle Brain Break… is definitely I Like to Move It. Mostly because this was the dance that my class did to be involved in GoNoodle and Zumba Kids’ collaboration video last year and they were SOOOOO excited to see themselves dancing alongside many other schools in an online video.

My happy place… is anywhere where I can sit and read a book without interruption, or where I can sit and write. Both de-stress me pretty quick.

My guilty pleasure… is buying waaaay more craft supplies than I need. I like to bounce around different crafts so I’ve got bits and pieces everywhere. But just like I need time to read and write (see above), I also need time to craft!

Keep calm and… think happy thoughts. Being positive is key. (I’m trying to remember that!)

Don’t forget to head over and see all the other posts in the linky and join in, too!

Happy weekend!


A Christmas Conversation LINKY

The Silly Season is here and I’m running around like a crazy person. (Well, not right this second… trying to find the will to get up on this lazy Sunday morning!) There is so much to be done and so very little time to do it.

In one week (this Friday) I will say goodbye to my current class – the end of the year is nigh for those of us in Australia – and at the moment it’s a bit of a struggle to get there. But all will be good!

I’m linking up with The Inspired Apple for her Christmas Conversation Linky!

CC Linky Button


Happy holiday season! Don’t forget to link up with your own responses!


Swap, Share, Give Linky!


Hey everyone!

My lovely, fellow-Australian teacher friends and I have joined forces again for another Swap, Share, Give blog linky this weekend! We had so much fun the last time around we’re back at it, sharing some of the fantastic resources you might have missed!


I was paired with the very lovely Jemima from Luck’s Little Learners. Jemima is a fellow Victorian teacher (woohoo!) and if you’re not following her already, you definitely need to stop by and visit her blog, check out her Facebook page, or visit her on Instagram.

*~ SWAP ~*

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I was super fortunate enough to be able to review Jemima’s 100th Day of School Party Pack! Here in Australia we’ve hit the middle of our school year and 2 weeks ago (July 31st), my class celebrated their 100th Day of School! (Strange, I know, for my northern hemisphere friends who are only starting to head back to school now!)

First up, let me tell you: this pack is designed for the busy teacher. If you (like me) find yourself coming up on 100 days a little time poor, these activities are all PRINT AND GO and are so easy and fun to implement.

A peek at some of the things included in Jemima’s pack:

SSG2014_1Great, detail activity ideas and instructions!

SSG2014_2100s charts – a whole variety so that you can differentiate for your kids (or skills) as required. Also included (but not in the photo) is a hundreds chart with random numbers missing.

I used these as early finishers tasks on the day and they worked a treat!


Ways of Making 10 pages.


Tracing/writing 100 letters.

This was another early finisher’s task that I had for the kiddos – and can I just say, they were SO amazed that they could write ‘100 letters’ (Preps AND Grade 1s!). It was really adorable and they really, really loved this task.


100th Day Writing prompts!

We ended up using the 4 prompt option in the centre and I’ve got a couple of photos of my kiddos work to show you:


This was some writing by two of my Grade 1 students – I was just blown away by one of my boys who declared (very proudly) that if he had $100 he would give it to a charity. *heart-warming moment*


And some from my Preps!

(No matter how many times I tell them ‘Don’t colour over your writing…’ <- I sound like a broken record!)


Some great ‘100’ visualising mats and a 100 Days of school poem! My preps used the blank mat to stick down 10 groups of 10 objects that they all bought from home. We all read the 100 days of school poem and it was decorated and pasted into the back of their Literacy journals with the other poems we’ve read this year!


Some of our groups of 100!


Crowns and placemats and a fantastic colouring page!


One of my kiddos modelling her 100 Days of School crown!

All-in-all, I was blown away by Jemima’s pack – it was fun, easy to print and implement and provided a lot of options, which (for someone teaching a composite class) is just awesome!

I know for a lot of your 100 Days of School is still a long way off, but I would seriously urge you to add Jemima’s 100 Days of School Party Pack to your carts right now to have it ready for your 100 days of school!

*~ SHARE ~*

As part of our linky I’m going to share TWO freebies with you – one of mine, and one from Jemima!

First up, in keeping with our 100 Days of School theme, I’m sharing with you the photo sign I used for the day (modified slightly – mine had the name of the school and the specific date for our 100 days of school):

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Click the image above (or here) to download this freebie! If you’re looking for my other freebies, simply click here.

If you’re looking for a great freebie from Jemima, look no further than her Digraph ‘ng’ as ‘ing’ pack! (Or check out all her freebies here!)

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*~ GIVE ~*

The last component of our linky is probably my favourite: the giving part.

If you head over to Bec’s blog (Books, Bugs and Boxes) you have the opportunity to enter a giveaway to win ALL of the packs that were reviewed as part of the linky party.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

However, if you want an extra chance (or two) to win a copy of Jemima’s 100 Days of School Party Pack and my Hens Love Tens activity, just enter the Rafflecopter below:


a Rafflecopter giveaway//

And don’t forget to head on over to Luck’s Little Learners to see Jemima’s review of my activity Hens Love Tens: A Skip-Counting Game.



Free Font Friday (Flying Free)

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How sad! It is the last Free Font Friday from the Summer blogging series with The Teaching Tribune! 😦

So here is one more font for you today!


Simply click the image above to download from TeachersPayTeachers.

There should also be an update to my Exclusive Font Pack before the end of the weekend, too, so keep an eye out for that! (If you’ve purchased it, it now also includes ALL my free fonts, too, so there’s no need to download them all!)


Monday Meet Me

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This has been a super fun link-up series, and definitely a way to ensure that I’m posting during the week!

Click on the banner above to visit The Teaching Tribune and join in the linky fun!



Throwback Thursday – Handwriting Bags

Originally posted March 16, 2013.

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Last week in my Five for Friday post I shared a picture of my student’s new handwriting bags. I thought I’d share a bit about how we’ve been using them.

In the P-2 early years area at my school, we try to include a specific handwriting session each week to focus on letter formation, thus, I’ve been modifying how I’ve previously taught handwriting (very paper-based!) to make it a little less damaging on the environment!

What’s included:

  • A name-tracing card in our State font (Victorian Modern Cursive, for those not from Australia), laminated
  • Lowercase and Uppercase alphabet and numbers in our State Font (this is from one of our handwriting books), laminated
  • Dotted-thirds writing paper (actually on the back of the alphabet page!), laminated
  • Mini whiteboard
  • Whiteboard marker (I got them in packs of 5 for $2.80 from Daiso)
  • 1/4 Chux Magic Eraser

And everything is kept in a large-size snaplock bag (I use Hercules bags) in their tubs.

Our handwriting program:

Currently our handwriting session is on a Thursday morning after our Literacy/Guided Reading session.

Students collect their bags, put them on their tables and join me on the floor for a focus session on our letter for the week. We use a program called Track, Trace and Copy to observe and practise forming letters correctly using our Interactive Whiteboard (IWB). Depending on the letter (and it’s relative complexity) I might have students bring their mini-whiteboards to the floor and we’ll practise forming letters together, or we might form them in the air. I also have students come out and model correct letter formation.

At the end of the mini-lesson students go back to their tables and use their writing packets. We’re developing a formula (slowly) so that students stay on task:

  1. Students start by tracing their name (at least once). For my Preps it’s good practise revising how to write their name correctly, and it’s just as good for my Grade 1s who, even though they can write their names independently, struggle with letter formation, capital letters and letter size.
  2. Students trace the lowercase and uppercase letters on their laminated tracing sheet.

Then, the handwriting task is differentiated for my Preps and my Grade 1s.

The Preps:

  • practise writing the letter focus on their mini-whiteboard 10 (or more times) and circle their best go,
  • use our weekly brainstorm of words to practise their handwriting, and,
  • practise writing out sight words (we use the Magic 100 Words program).

The Grade 1s:

  • use their personal dictionaries to practise writing words using our letter of the week on the dotted-thirds laminated sheet,
  • use our weekly brainstorm of words to practise their writing on dotted thirds, and,
  • write a sentence and illustrated it on their mini whiteboards.

All the students are responsible for cleaning their laminated sheets and whiteboards and for ensuring that their whiteboard pens have their lids on them and that everything goes into their bags at the end of a session.

While students are working independently I pull students out in small groups (or independently) to work on a specific hand-writing skill – using a variety of whiteboard activities, IWB activities or sheet-based activities (although I’m moving away from having handwriting sheets, unless I can reuse them!).

I also usually have a fantastic parent-helper during this session who is really good with the kids. (I taught her middle child in his first year of school in my first year of teaching, and now I’m teaching her youngest in his first year of school!) She knows all the tricks, and helps correct pencil-grip, letter formation and knows how to encourage even the most reluctant writer. I’m super-lucky to have her helping me out!

Now – this isn’t a perfect program, but already it’s starting helping me to really target the students that need specific instruction in letter formation (which is really tricky in Australia, because our State handwriting fonts are SO different to what students see everyday – sometimes I wonder why we don’t teach print handwriting, but that’s another story!).

I’m also hoping to include a few little fine-motor skill activities into handwriting as well, because some of my kiddos really need that extra support.

Do you teach handwriting? What do your handwriting sessions look like?

Edit 29/5/2015 – After popular demand, I’ve listed a handwriting placemat for Victorian teachers here:



Two for Tuesday 50% Off!

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Linking up once more with The Teaching Tribune for their wonderful Summer Bloggin’ series.

(Seriously, it’s helping with the Winter chill here in Melbourne!)

These two products are perfect for those preparing for a new school year!

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One of my first (and favourite) products! Now just $3.00 in my TpT Store

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 8.05.32 pmIn need of some interactive decodable books for your beginning readers? Look no further than these simple, easy to put together readers with a focus on initial letters. Over 200 pages for $3.50 in my TpT Store.

Don’t forget to visit the link-up by clicking on the banner above and checking out the other amazing deals today!