Review | Australian Curriculum “Health”

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The second book R.I.C. Publications sent me for review this month was their new Australian Curriculum “Health” resource book for Foundation. This resource is available for Foundation – Year 6 (each level with it’s own resource book) and aligns to the Personal, social and community health strand of Australian Curriculum Health and Physical Education.

As with all R.I.C. Publication’s books, it is designed to support teachers in implementing the curriculum.

This particular resource consists of 20 units that cover the three sub-strands:

  • Being healthy, safe and active
  • Communicating and interacting for health and wellbeing
  • Contributing to healthy and active communities

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Each unit with this book consists of a detailed lesson plan that includes an introductiondevelopment (including differentiation) and a concluding task. All Australian Curriculum outcomes are clearly outlined, as well as the provided resources, assessment options and ways of extending the content further.

The resources included are large and clear (which is very important in the Foundation years) and include a range of cut and paste and recording options, props for interactive lessons and stories for teaching concepts.

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Where available there are links to online resources of videos that are age-level and content appropriate.

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I am really pleased to see resources for feelings that very young children feel often but don’t often have the language or skills yet to deal with themselves. The units on Feeling Left Out and Taking Risks really struck me as being spot-on for targeting areas that are difficult for my young students. I love that the lessons are taught through simple stories that students can easily relate to.

The other unit that I think is highly important is Being kind, fair and respectful and it includes a great set of puppets for students to make and scenarios for them to explore what it means to be kind, fair and respectful which is so incredibly important for young learners.

As always, this resource has been designed with R.I.C. Publication’s trademark clean, simple styling. They don’t overpower any of the pages with unnecessary illustrations (unless they demonstrate a point) and the pages designed for students to use have simple phrases that students can read independently or with minimal support.

This is a wonderful resource for any teacher who teaches the Health curriculum but doesn’t know where to start (or those of us who love fresh, new ideas!). The lessons are simple and clear and easy to understand and implement.

If you would like additional information about the other books in this series, please check out the publisher’s website here. You’re able to preview all of the books in full.

Thank you to R.I.C. Publications for the opportunity to check out and review this title.

I received this title from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review | Australian Curriculum “Money”

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R.I.C. Publications contacted me this month and asked me if I would be interested in reviewing one of their new release Australian Curriculum resource books on “Money” and I said yes, because one thing I’ve had trouble sourcing a lot of great resources on for maths is money and it’s one of the topics we’re covering next term.

The Australian Curriculum “Money” resource book by Clare Way is available in three year level options:

Book 1 – Years 1 and 2

Book 2 – Years 3 and 4

Book 3 – Years 5 and 6

I was sent Book 1 for review and as always, it’s full of great resources and ideas for classroom teachers.

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This book is broken in to two sections – one for Year 1 appropriate content, and one for Year 2 content. Each section has clear, concise teacher notes for introducing students to money (notes and coins) as well as display ideas and teaching points. Where available there are links to online resources to supplement their suggested activities.

I especially like the sections on Warm-Up activities as these activities are all short and are great to include in a maths warm at the beginning on your lessons to get students started on thinking about money and currency.

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Both sections include teacher resources that can be reproduced for displays or hands on activities with students. These resources include picture representations of coins, the symbols on coins, international coins, blank coins, notes and price tags.

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Each Year Level section is clearly marked at the top of the page, and activity worksheets are very clear and uncluttered.

I love that the activities included have a very heavy focus (particularly at a Year 1 level) on knowing and recognising coins. There are activities for each individual coin in which students look at the features as well as practising making different values using known coins.

The activities become increasingly more complex as you move into the Year 2 section, as students begin to look at notes, as well as begin to add up and make collections and begin to write these values.

Each year level section has two assessment pages, as well as a checklist for the teacher and answers to all activities for quick and easy marking.

If you’re looking for an in-depth series of activities focusing on Australian money for your classroom than this is a really wonderful resource. It is a great supplement to hands-on activities using coins for young students.

If you’re interested in more information, check out R.I.C. Publication’s website here.

Thank you to R.I.C. Publications for sending this book to me for review.

I received a copy of this resource for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Top 5 | Mem Fox Books

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Hello teacher friends!

It’s been a while since I last posted on the blog and I’ve been super-busy with a lot of things, but I had an idea (after discovering the magic of BookTube) and thought it might be fun to film a video sharing my Top 5 picture books by different authors or on different topics.

If you’re anything like me, you may have difficulty picking just five books in any category. It’s virtually impossible for me to narrow down any book category, and my first theme – books by Mem Fox – was no exception, but I did it for the sake of the video.

Mem Fox is an iconic Australian author who has written numerous books for children and they’re all wonderful. Not only beautiful stories, but wonderful characters and language that is so much fun to read aloud with kids.

So, without further ado, here are my Top 5 Mem Fox books… although I’d talk about ALL of them if given half the chance!

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(The links below are affiliate links.)

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The Magic Hat

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Shoes from Grandpa

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Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge

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Possum Magic

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Where is the Green Sheep?

What are your favourite Mem Fox books? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to know which ones are nostalgic favourites or class favourites. If you’re interested in some activities or crafts based on these books, be sure to let me know.

Also, if you’re interested in this Top 5 Books becoming a regular feature, what authors or book themes would you be interested in seeing?

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week and I’ll see you soon!

Finding Your Tribe | Melbourne Instagram Meetup

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Hello, teacher friends!

Have you found your tribe? (Or tribes, even, because there can be more than one for everyone?)

I have, and it’s amazing.

Tribes are those likeminded individuals that you find you share a lot in common with. The kind of people who you can chat to and know that they really understand and that they don’t judge you. Good days, bad days. It doesn’t matter, because your Tribe will always have your back.

I wear a lot of (metaphorical) hats, so I have a Tribes to meet those hats, and I had the amazing opportunity to visit with one of those Tribes yesterday at the Melbourne Winter Teachers Instagram Meet-Up.

You may remember a few months ago when I posted about the first Instagram Meet-Up. It was one of those moments that (as Sarah-Jane reminded me yesterday) you really tell your kids and friends not to do: go and meet random strangers whom you met online in a strange place. So many things could go wrong.

I’m happy to say, they didn’t then, and they didn’t yesterday.

The meet up was organised by Laura (from @littleapplelearning), Sarah Jane (from @thepolkadotapple) and Tess (from @misstessclassroom) and held at BangPop, a Thai restaurant in the city. It was spectacular.

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Okay, so the weather wasn’t so spectacular. Melbourne sure knows how to throw a rain party right when I want to walk around the city. But it’s all good.

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I met up with these lovely ladies: Jem (from Jem’s Bright Buttons) and Paula (from Paula’s Place). I’ve known them for years through Facebook and TPT and I love catching up with them.

We then went down to South Wharf for the meet-up.

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Yes, that is a Duplo bar. Could you think of a more perfect place for teachers to meet? Imagine all the things you could in your classroom with a Duplo wall. I’m already thinking of ways to petition for one.

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All the tables were beautifully set-up by the lovely organisers who added beautiful little details to EVERYTHING, including a wonderful swag bag of goodies that made the event seem almost like a conference. With better food, drinks and a lot more off-topic conversation.

We’re teachers, right? We know how to talk!

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The Photo Booth set-up was super fun and next time I think I just need to drag more people up to it. Of course, that involves being less shy and intimidated by all the amazing people there, but I think I’m getting better.

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The ladies did an amazing job organising sponsors to donate items for the swag bags and prizes (I didn’t win anything but it was super-fun getting a peek at what other people got!). As a way of showcasing and thanking the sponsors, I’ve recording an ‘unbagging’ of the swag bag which is below, so if you want to check it out, go for it. I apologise in advance, apparently I can ramble on!

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It was such a wonderful experience. I loved catching up with Jem and Paula and the other girls I met at the first meet-up. It was also amazing to meet so many new Instagram friends across all parts of Victoria, and even a few from NSW. Teachers are amazing at banding together – stick a group of teachers in a room and you’ll have plenty to talk about!

There’s such a great feeling of collaboration, respect and understanding that came with yesterday and I had an absolute ball.

I can’t wait to see what everyone gets up to in the upcoming term; I’ll be hanging out on your Instagram accounts for sure!

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Font Bundle Update!

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Hello, teacher friends!

It feels like ages since I last posted, but in truth, the end of Term 2 was huge for me (and for many teachers I know, too). An 11 week term? Report-writing? Oh, boy!

It’s the holidays now, and I’m on break for two weeks. I have a few posts planned for the upcoming weeks, and the first one is an update on my font bundle on TpT! I actually have a few more updates planned for this bundle, which is discounted for the next 48 hours before I add even more fonts to my collection!

Creating fonts is quite therapeutic!

If you’re unfamiliar with my bundle, you can click on the image above, or this link here to check it out. There are currently 75 fonts exclusive to this pack, as well as 18 of my free fonts, all in one handy free download. That’s a total of 93 fonts. Early in July there will be over 100 fonts so if you purchase it before the discount ends, you get all future updates as they’re uploaded!

All of my fonts are available for commercial use with credit back to my store

You can check out this month’s updates below. Some of my favourites are MGL Rush, MGL Rushing and MGL Sunday Night!

MGL_BubbleBath MGL_ClassicWriter MGL_FullofStars MGL_FunFun MGL_GetItDone MGL_Rush MGL_Rushed MGL_Rushing MGL_Sparkles MGL_SundayNight MGL_TallManBubbles MGL_Words

Don’t forget to stop by and check out the Miss Galvin Learns Exclusive Font Bundle before it goes back up to full price on Thursday!

Have a wonderful day, teacher friends!

Using an Interesting Words Journal

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No matter what year or grade level you teach, helping your students to develop a wide vocabulary is one of our most important (and fun!) jobs. Words are everywhere, and we want to our students to be curious about words and to know how they work and what they mean.

One way I like to address this with my Foundation students is with an Interesting Words Journal.

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It’s pretty much what it sounds like: a journal for interesting words.

Whenever we do a read aloud, or when we’re listening to conversations or watching a visual or video text, I encourage my students to stop and ask, “Hey, what does that word mean?” when they come across a word that’s unfamiliar or unknown to theme.

This usually prompts a lot of discussion.

And it’s wonderful.

Typically, I try and encourage the other students to explain what a word means – often they get pretty close to the meaning of a word on their own. Between them, my class – just like all of yours – brings a lot of prior knowledge. They may not know all the answers on their own, but collectively? They know a lot and they do a great job or working together to pool their knowledge to the betterment of all.

Once we’ve identified the word and explained the word we can add it to our Interesting Words Journal.

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This journal is simply a scrapbook with a front cover and a page for each letter of the alphabet. We add the words under the correct letter. It’s often a great opportunity to review the previous interesting words as you add new ones.

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We use these words a lot in oral language – we think of sentences to use them in (often the wackier the better!) and share them with our Turn and Talk Buddies. We write them down on the board. I also encourage students to use these new words in their own writing, too.

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There’s a true power in committing these new words to paper in one place. My students truly remember them.

Earlier in the week, we read a story with a lot of ‘h’ words as part of our sound focus for the week. One of the words that came up was heartbroken. We had a discussion around what it meant (the most wonderful description being “heartbroken means you’re super sad!”) and we put it in our book.

At the end of the week we were exploring emotions and looking at photos of people displaying a range of different emotions. One card was a little girl who looked very sad and one of my students put her hand up and said, “She looks heartbroken,” and then went on to explain why she thought that.

It was a wonderful moment and a true testament to the power of building vocabulary with students.

If you’ve gotten this far, thank you. I’d love to hear your stories of the power of building vocabulary with students.

You can find a purchasable version on my TeachersPayTeachers store with lined and unlined options.

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Until next time, happy teaching!

The Maths Box

A little while back I was contacted by RIC Publishing who asked me if I would be interesting in reviewing one of their new Maths Boxes. Last year I received a free sample of the Level 1 box and was eager to see more of this new series of resources that they’re releasing. As with all my reviews, my thoughts and opinions are my own. I’ve also tried to include a few ways that I plan on using this resource in my classroom.

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The Maths Box Series is an Australian Curriculum-aligned resource for Years 1-6. The boxes themselves retail for $275 per box and include two copies of 75 task cards (for a total of 150 cards), two copies of 75 answers cards and a teachers guide.

Each task card is colour-coded and numbered:

  • (Blue) Number and Algebra – Number and Place Value (26 cards)
  • (Red) Number and Algebra – Fractions and Decimals (8 cards)
  • (Green) Number and Algebra – Money and Financial Mathematics (4 cards)
  • (Purple) Number and Algebra – Patterns and Algebra (6 cards)
  • (Orange) Measurement and Geometry – Using Units of Measurement (15 cards)
  • (Dark Blue) Measurement and Geometry – Shape (3 cards)
  • (Yellow) Measurement and Geometry  – Location and Transformation (5 cards)
  • (Black) Statistics and Probability – Chance (4 cards)
  • (Brown) Statistics and Probability – Data Representation and Interpretation (4 cards)

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The front side of each card provides a stimulus material while the back of each card has questions pertaining to the stimulus material.  The cards are very graphic and colourful and include a range of illustrations and photos depending on the subject. They’re a thick, laminated card for durability.

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The Teacher’s Guide includes specific links to Australian Curriculum outcomes as well as Proficiency Strands (understanding, fluency, problem solving and reasoning) for each task card. There are explanations on how to use the cards, possible tasks, student and teacher tracking sheets, and materials required for individual tasks. There are full-colour mini posters for different topics, such as counting on, coins, shapes, etc. There are additional BLM resource sheets that can be copied to be used in conjunction with the task cards, too. There’s also a collected list of answers and a glossary for teacher use, too.

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There’s a lot to like about these task cards – they’re easy to use, easy to pull out, easy to implement. They’re bright, colourful and appealing to young students. Some of those things can also be a negative – sometimes too much colour or too many graphics can be distracting for young learners, however, these are not really tasks I would leave my students to use on their own.

That said, here’s how I plan to use them:

Idea #1: These would make great early finisher’s tasks for students who are confident readers and don’t need lots of teacher assistance – the visuals and the answer cards mean they can use them independently and check their answers.  Alternatively, you could pair students up to work on these (with a highly capable child with someone who needs a bit more assistance).

Idea #2: Assessment check-up. Depending on the skills you’re covering in the classroom, you might pull out a task that covers those areas and use those questions to check your students’ understanding during individual conferencing. With two copies of each task card, the student can have one in front of them and the teacher can have one for the questions.

Idea #3: A variation on the second idea, have a parent helper (or an older buddy) work with individual students to practise different maths skills. Again, use the two copies of each card.

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As a Foundation teacher with students who are already achieving end of Foundation benchmarks in maths, a box like this is great for extension, too, and I know some of my students will enjoy these activities.

Overall I think this is another quality resource that teachers can definitely add to their maths arsenal, and I do look forward to using it with my students in the future.

If you’re interested in checking out this resource, or any of the other great resources available, stop by the R.I.C. website!

Did You Take the ‘B’ From My _ook?

Stop, press!

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If you haven’t seen this book, RUN (don’t walk) and grab yourself a copy because it’s run of the most enjoyable books I have read with my class so far this year.

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you may be aware that I love children’s literature. I love books that make kids think and feel and laugh. Did You Take the B from My _ook? by Beck and Matt Stanton definitely makes them think and laugh.

They also argue back with you, which is the most fun a teacher (or parent) can have when sharing a read aloud story, and this is one of those books that must be read aloud. Trust me on this!

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For those of you who are familiar with the book This Is a Ball (also by Beck and Matt Stanton), this is a book where the adult reader is given instructions by the author prior to reading. In the case of Did You Take the B from My _ook? you love the letter ‘b’ and you’re going to sneeze and all the ‘b’s’ will be blown away.

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Then begins the really fun ‘conversation’ that you have with your child or class of students as you read all the words on the page without saying the sound ‘b’ in any words that begin with ‘b’. It is both hilarious and tricky and a fantastic jumping off point for conversation with children who argue you back at you and tell you that _all should be ball and _utterfly should be butterfly and so on.

When I first read this to my class (a group of twenty-three 4-6 year olds) I had two parent helpers in the classroom. They were in stitches, too, mostly because my class were desperately trying to convince me that I was saying all the words wrong all the time. By the time I finished reading it I had a little chorus of “Read it again, Miss Galvin!” going on (which I would have if it hadn’t been recess time!).

From a teaching perspective, it’s a really fantastic opportunity to talk about the importance of remembering initial sounds in words. There’s a lot of great activities that you could do following a reading of this book:

  • Make a list of words from your Sound of the Week and take that sound away from the beginning of words and read them aloud as a class.
  • Take away the first sound in students names and read them aloud.
  • Create an alliterative sentence using a particular sound (or your Sound of the Week), take away that sound and read it aloud.
  • For much older students, you could have them create their own version of the story with their favourite sounds and then have them share them with younger students.

So, thank you to Beck and Matt Stanton for (again) producing a highly entertaining book with wonderful learning concepts embedded within it. This was such fun to read and I can’t wait to read it again with my students in the future!

If you have any favourite read aloud books, be sure to share them with me in the comments below. I’d love to know what they are!

Until next time, happy teaching, friends!

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(This book was sent to me for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Why I Said Goodbye to Post-It Notes

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If you’ve followed my blog for the last twelve months or so, you’ll know that I’ve been on a bit of a journey of learning how to be organised and how to manage my paper overflow. I’ve spent a lot of time teaching myself how to plan for my personal life in an actual planner, and while I’m pretty comfortable with how I lesson plan, I’ve found that some of the skills I’ve picked up from my personal planner has had am impact on how I manage my to-do list for school.

I want to preface this blog post with this: I know lots people love post-it notes and can use them really effectively. I can’t. They end up everywhere and it drives me crazy, so this post is really for those of you who are looking for an alternative to using post-it notes for keeping yourself on track!

My Journey

At my school at the beginning of the year we get a pack of post-it notes in our teacher stationery set. They’d sit on my desk and I’d write down random to-dos and things to remember on them and if I remembered, I’d stick them into my planner or onto my laptop so I wouldn’t forget them.

Invariably, I either often forgot to stick them where I would see them. Or they fell off.

Either way, I often forgot the notes that I had made which meant the entire process was ineffective and a waste of time.

Then I heard about two ideas, one which was completely new to me, and one that seemed completely obvious when I heard it: Bullet Journalling and the Master To-Do List. If you want to know more about Bullet Journalling – which is method like daily planning in a single notebook – you can check it out in more detail here. What I liked about this process was the idea of having everything in one book/place. 

The second idea was the Master To-Do List.

The Master To-Do List

The Master To-Do List is a system by which you have one single to-do list that contains everything you need to do. As you think of things, you add them to the list. As you complete them, you cross them off.

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You can have your list in a planner or notebook. You could even have it on paper and put it in a binder or on a clipboard (which makes it easier to throw it out/recycle the paper when you’re finished with everything on your list). It’s a fluid document that is a way for you to find a way to be more productive.

Daily Productivity

Having a Master To-Do List is great, but it looks overwhelming, right? A whole page filled with things to do?

As teachers we have to-do lists a mile long, but what I have learnt to do is to start prioritising things a lot better. If you don’t learn to prioritise you run the risk of being overwhelmed by all the things you need to accomplish.

So here’s my tip.

Pick your top three to-dos each day and write them down.

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Just three. Write them somewhere that will be clearly visible to you so that you can see them.

These are your priority for that day. They are the most important tasks you need to accomplish for the day.

Three tasks are an accomplishable goal and what you’ll find is that once you cross of those three tasks, you might even have time to go back to your master list and pick something else off of it. (But even if you don’t, you’ve accomplished something great.)

I know what you’re thinking: I need to do more than three things a day.

That’s true, but we’re talking big tasks that you need to tick off, not the little things we do each and every day.

They could even be the things you put off doing in favour of ‘other more important’ jobs.

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The other key is keeping these top 3 goals/jobs highly visible where you know you’ll see them. I’ve got my master to-do list on a clipboard on my desk and my daily Top 3 in my planner ready to tick them off. I check my planner every morning and night.

I honestly believe in this system and it works for me. I find I accomplish a lot more in a shorter period of time when I have attainable daily goals. (It also stops me from slumping to a Netflix hole even when I really want to!)

My challenge to use is to pick your Top 3 goals/jobs for tomorrow and put them somewhere more permanent and visible than a post-it note. 

If you’re looking for templates to get you started I have a basic pack listed in my TPT store for teachers. It’s 50% for the first 48 hours and if you’re looking for the opportunity to trial this system, it could be what you need:

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Regardless, I wish you well with your organisation journey!

If you like this post and would like future organisation posts, please let me know in the comments below.

I’d love to hear your organisation tips, too!