Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Australia Day Linky Party & Resources

Happy New Year everyone!!!!!!!
We are still enjoying our Christmas/summer holidays here in Australia, but it's never too early to think about what you're going to do in those first few days back at work.

Those first 1-2 weeks  can be stressful, especially for new teachers, as they are about getting to know your kids, basic assessment and data collection, setting up the classroom, taking new enrolments and settling in new staff. So, whether you’ve got a class of baby-faced kindy’s, or a bunch of year 6 student’s eager to take on the role of playground kings and queens, you will be in need of some activities that are educational as well as engaging, and to some extent, independent.

This is why I wanted to create a Blog Link Party, so that my fellow Australian teachers, and those who teach abroad, could share their favourite resources for celebrating Australia Day - and surviving the first few days and weeks of school! So add your blog button below and join in the sharing of resources!

Australia Day activities:
January 26th is Australia’s official day – it’s a day we celebrate all that is great about being an Aussie! Officially, the day is about commemorating the landing of The First Fleet (in 1788) and the colonisation of Australia, but in today’s society it is about celebrating our diverse cultural society and mateship – BBQs are a familiar site on this day, and are shared with family and friends either in our backyards, by the beach, river or the local park.
Below is a list of some activities I like to do in my classes, including my own resources “Let's learn about Australia”, "Australian Activity Matrix" and “AustralianGold Rush”, which can be purchased over at my TpT store.
Aussie Clue Cracker – this would be best suited to your Stage 2 & 3 students
Australian Activity Matrix

Grab the button, re-post in your latest blog and share the love!!! Best of luck for the New Year everyone, I hope it is a great one!!! xo

Monday, 29 December 2014

Teacher Style #1

As teachers, we are part of a profession that is educating and shaping the adults of tomorrow – so it goes without saying that if we are a professional (and want to be considered as one by the wider community), then we should dress like one!

I have always been a lover of fashion. While at this point in my life and career I won’t spend a lot on my day-to-day work wear (which also doubles as day-to-day mummy wear), I do still like to look put together and fashionable.

Since having children it has been tricky to find clothes that fit my ever changing body shape - but this has also taught me to shop smartly and look at different styles - and as a primary teacher it is difficult to walk that fine line between looking professional and not caring whether you get paint, glitter, glue or bodily fluids on your outfit (a common hazard in my current workplace). High school teachers have the worry of dressing professionally without gaining unwanted attention and comments from their students – even as a sports teacher I need to be wary of what I wear to training.

So I have started looking to Pinterest and other Teacher Blogs for inspiration, and thankfully a lot of teachers love sharing what they’re wearing – and most importantly, where they got the gear!!! Some of my favourite teacher style blogs include:

All Things Katie Marie – probably my FAVOURITE teacher fashion blog to follow!
Teacher Look Book

Classy in the Classroom

Lilly Style

Stephanie Teaches

MK’s Outfit Posts – not necessarily a teacher specific blog, but the fashion is perfect!
J’s Everyday Fashion – again, not written specifically for teachers, but has great outfits that are perfect!

Recently the NSW Department of Education put out a ‘revised’ policy about acceptable work wear. By nature I am a very conservative, classic dresser but to read (and also witness) some teachers turning up to work in ripped jeans, thongs, singlets and boardies (not on swimming carnival day) I was a little shocked – I can’t believe that fully grown, educated adults need to be told what is acceptable work attire! You can find the actual policy here:

While some of the blogs and images I’ve linked to above have teachers wearing jeans to work (it is expected that we don’t wear jeans to work here in NSW and Australia), you can still use the rest of the outfit as inspiration – just change the pants. It’s also important to have the appropriate footwear – for example, in the school that I was working at in 2014, sandals, wedges, heels of any kind and open-toed shoes were a no-go. It’s just not practical when you might have to run after a child, jump fences – or worse, get a splash of bodily fluids when toileting.
Navy Blue Capped Sleeve Top - Tempt
Paisley Gypsy Pants - Portmans
Shoes - Payless Shoes
Bangle - gift
Navy Blue Capped Sleeve Top - Tempt
Light Chambray Linen Pants - Target
Shoes - Payless Shoes
Necklace - gift from a past student
White Sleeveless Top - Portmans
Cropped Jacket -
Pants - Supre
Shoes - Wanted
Necklace - Collette
Bangle - gift
DKNY Watch - gift
 I will hopefully start taking pictures and uploading them to show you what I wear – and most of my stuff can be worn when I’m being a stay-at-home mum or a classroom teacher – versatility is the key!!! Here are some of the things I wore towards the end of 2014… (I’ll even try to provide links of where to buy items). And check out my Pinterest page for more inspiration.

Please feel free to comment below and share some of your favourite outfits and blogs!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Christmas Matrix

Running out of ideas for what to do with your students? Do they seem to be getting rowdier each day? Are you finding it hard to come up with a range of activities that cater to all those individuals contained within the four walls of your room? Then I have the answer you've been searching for...
My "Christmas Matrix" is fast becoming one of the popular purchases over at my TpT store at the moment. A Blooms Taxonomy & Multiple Intelligence activity matrix that is used for Christmas time. Activities are aimed for students to complete them independently or in small groups, but some can be completed as a whole class.

So make sure you head on over to my store and pick up a copy for yourself! This will be a great tool to have when the end of the year rolls around!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Christmas gift ideas for teachers - written by a teacher

Christmas gifts for teachers:

After being asked by many of my friends, and seeing many more posts on social media, I thought I would do a post to answer the question “What present should I buy my child’s teacher?”

As teacher’s we don’t actually expect anything – so when we receive gifts, we are truly amazed and grateful. It shows that you’ve appreciated what we’ve done for your child across the year, and that you respect us. Whether it’s a Christmas present, a thank you note/card or just an end-of-year farewell gift, here are some of the gifts I’ve received in the past:
I love getting cute Christmas ornaments and they always have a special place in my house or on our Christmas tree (and the other bonus is they’re small aren’t dust collectors that get in the way). I’ve have even kept some in my classroom boxes and use them to decorate the classroom tree!

A beautiful Maxwell Williams Christmas
plate with some Choccies
A nice Christmas dish and some delectables are never scoffed at – I got this lovely Maxwell Williams plate and box of Lindt Choccies this week from one of the parents of a child I taught this year! It’s nice to feel appreciated.

I’ve also received some lovely gifts including perfume (and a good one at that), coffee mugs, photo frames, stationary, chocolates and glassware.

A very special gift I received at the end of my first teaching job was two beautiful Willow Tree ornaments – these were from a mother of a boy who had ASD. I worked very hard with him in the two terms I had him, and he made tremendous progress. Agan, it’s things like these that I keep and provide me with a reminder of the appreciation some have for the work I do.

So here are my top gift ideas for teachers:

1.    A hand written note/card – this reinforces that you appreciate what we have done throughout the year. It’s the simplest things that often make the biggest impact.

2.  Vouchers – movie, iTunes, coffee, local cafes & restaurants - and if you know your teacher well enough, a voucher to their favourite clothing, nail or hair salon or homewares/craft store is also a nice idea.

3.   Simple (and inexpensive) jewellery – now you do have to be careful here because what you may like, the teacher necessarily won’t, but if you know your teacher well enough go ahead!

4.   Nice pamper packs – now some sites say to stear clear of these, but if they’re a good quality brand I quite like receiving them as I often leave a hand cream in my bag, car, on my desk, near the kitchen sink, bedside table etc.

5.   Massage voucher – I don’t know of anyone who would turn down one of these! Especially at the end of the year! If there is a good place near where your teacher lives, go for it!
6.  Baked Goods - and don't just do them for your child's teacher. Make a big tin of yummy treats and send it in to the staffroom. Trust me, you'll be everyone's favourite parent!

Some things NOT to give to teachers may include:

·   Money – we cannot accept this (as much as we’d like to).

·   Coffee Mugs – I personally don’t drink coffee (yes, I know I’m strange), and these can add up pretty quickly over the years.

·   Anything ‘teacher theme’ – as cute as you may think anything with a ruler, apple, schoolhouse or chalkboard themed trinket may be, where exactly are we to keep all of these throughout our teaching years? Classrooms are small and have limited space as it is, and I don’t have a ‘ode-to-teaching’ decorated room at home.

·   A photo of your child – as much as I liked them, I don’t need an individual photo of them. Their class photo is enough to ensure I’ll remember them.

·   A gardening kit or a pot decorated with your child’s hand prints and some quip about “how my child bloomed this year” or thanking them for “planting the seeds of knowledge.”