Five for Friday (April 10)

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Hi all, I’m joining in another week of Five for Friday, hosted by the lovely Doodlebugs Teaching!

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Well, it’s the end of the last week of the holidays for me, but I’ve been fortunate enough to spend some quality time with this little cutie! Benny has had quite the busy last two weeks, making new friends (or, at least, learning how to), lots of travelling over Easter, and lots of cuddles. And yes, that black shadow of a thing lying against one of my best friends is Benny. He’s awfully difficult to take photos of sometimes, but it was kind of cute he had his teddy with him!

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I’ve started a new online course on Hand Lettering over at Studio Calico, and so far I’m loving it. These were a few practise samples I did the other night!

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I finally found (a tiny amount) of creative energy for my TpT store, and came up with this simple little activity to practise common nouns with early years students. Check it out in my store (both images link to the product).

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How cute is that polka dot desk mat?! I’ve been eying it off for a few weeks and finally bit the bullet and bought it the other day. It’s so bright and colourful and it makes me happy!

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I’ve had a few craft ideas on my to-do list these holidays and I’ve been slowly ticking them off, but this is one that I had a go at today (inspired by the Marbled Clay Ring Dish DIY from A Beautiful Mess). I really love how my little dish came out. Also, being one to loathe wasting scraps of FIMO clay, I use the excess trim from the bowl to make a matching bead necklace! I love that EVERY bead is completely different, despite being made from exactly the same materials!

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Happy Friday, my friends! I hope you have an excellent weekend!

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Sunday Showcase 15/02

Oh my goodness – I’m so sorry I’m finding it difficult to stick to my posting schedule!

I’m not sure what it is at the moment, because for the first time in 3 years I’ve actually got some time up my sleeves on the weekend because I’m not having to do the second-half of all my planning. Maybe it’s because I’m just so relaxed and chilled out?

Okay, so today is probably more a combination of my Five for Friday and Sunday Showcase posting ideas, but it’s definitely Sunday (not Friday) and I thought I’d just show you a sneak peek of some of the things I’ve been up to in the last few weeks, both teaching and non-teaching related!

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I’ll start off with some personal stuff that’s happened:

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On Saturday two very good friends of mine were married at the very beautiful Marybrooke Manor. Despite some early rain (a good sign!) it was a truly lovely day. Beautiful service, fabulous picnic-style buffet lunch. Lots of friends and fun! (Also, a fun opportunity to dress-up, too!)

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I tidied my little workspace. It may not seem like much, but trust me, it is!

Moving on to some school-stuff…

Slide3For the first 5 Wednesdays this term, I’m running the Early Years Literacy and Numeracy interviews. I’ve run the EXACT SAME interviews every year for 6 years now. It’s very informative about what my students know at the start of school, but I can quote BOTH interviews, word for word, without looking at the script now. 😉

Slide5During the first week of school we had a chat as a class about our school values (Care, Respect, Cooperation and Integrity). I think the kiddos did a wonderful job identifying what it means to show respect to others!

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I bought these cute hearts on strings when I was in Toronto from Dollarama. So glad I did – they were a big hit with the kiddos on Friday for our ‘Love Day’. We made Love Bugs (which are not 100% finished just yet, but will be soon) and read There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose and Love, Splat and had a magnificent day.

And now on to some of my crafty/planner-related stuff…

Slide6My Valentine’s themed planner pages for last week. It was a lot of fun to work with blues and pinks. The little laminated card was made from a print that you can download from Studio Calico.

Slide7I am determined – DETERMINED, I say! – to get into the swing of Project Life this year. I think I’ve found the perfect way, by combining a self-paced photography challenge I’m doing from A Beautiful Mess with PL to document my life.

Slide8I attempted to make my very first card using stamps and watercolours. It’s not perfect, but everyone’s gotta start somewhere, right?

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And my most recent obsession has been making bead necklaces. I just want to keep making more and more (but honestly, I’ve got about 10 hanging on my wall the moment – what am I going to do with them all?!!).

So that’s a bit of what I’ve been up to. I’d love to know what you’ve been doing. Leave a comment and let me know so I can catch up with all my wonderful online friends!

Until next week, have a lovely weekend! ❤

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7 Art & Craft Projects

First off, congrats to Nicole S for winning the $10 TpT voucher. Please check your email for your prize!

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Today’s Sunday Showcase is actually a suggestion/request from one my Facebook followers, Rosie. She wanted to know if I taught art in my Prep/Foundation classroom, and if I had any lesson suggestions.

I have a confession: last year I didn’t take as many photos as I would have liked of our art/craft activities, but I have gone through my photos from the last few years and pulled out a few examples.

Art at my school:
At my school we’re very fortunate to have Art as a specialist subject, so once a week my students have a 50 minute session with one of the art teachers. (This year we happen to have 3 teachers teaching art part time, with one – very awesome teacher! – who is in charge of Foundation art.)

Any art and craft that I do within the classroom is extra and fun because I love art and craft and I think it’s important for students to have extra exposure. Plus, it also encourages fine motor development, as well as consolidating the basic art skills students are learning in art.

Things I tend to focus on: lines/patterns, colour and colour-mixing, using a variety of media, how to use tools like pencils/crayons/markers to get different effects, cutting/scrunching/tearing/punching paper, etc.

Obviously, with our youngest students, we’re not talking Amazing Artwork (although, let’s face it – it is ALL amazing artwork) – but we are talking developing little artists who are confident in producing a piece of work. To that end, a lot of encouragement is really important.

I don’t consider myself an expert, by any means. I just love finding ideas for my classroom that are easy to implement and that can be tied in to a Reading or Maths focus, because let’s face it: finding time in the classroom is hard. The better you can integrated your lessons, the more successful they usually are.

Some of my class art and craft activities:

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One craft activity we do regularly in our reading sessions is a ‘sound craft’ (we have a phonological awareness program we follow, so we do have a sound focus each week). I love using Pinterest to find ideas for these letter crafts and then usually use PowerPoint to create some templates for students to cut out and piece together.

This encourages scissor-skill development, and a bit of puzzle piecing, too as they work out where all the pieces.

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Using coloured pasta is a great way to create artwork with different mediums. I’ve used it to create the rainbows (below) – which are great for any work on colour or for a sound focus on ‘r’ or anything else you can think of. I’ve also used them for creating patterns in maths, as well as picture frames. They have a unique texture and look about them (including being three-dimensional) and it takes a step back from the usual ‘noodle necklaces’ (which I do love!) to create a different kind of piece. An alternative to dying the pasta would be to either paint or spray paint them.

Using pasta also teachers students to think about how much glue they need – how much is too much and what is not enough.

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This particular piece was used for International Dot Day (based on The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds). He has fantastic books for stimulating discussion on art with students, because the characters in his books are all very self-conscious of their art and work through that feeling to develop confidence.

For this task all students were given 6 blank circles to decorate using a variety of lines, patterns and colours that we discussed as a class. This time I chose the medium – crayons – but in the past I have used water colours, regular paints, glitter, markers, etc. Students had to cut out their circles (fine motor), cut them in half (maths) and then trade one half of each circle with a different person in the class to create 6 new and different ‘dots’. We used black backing paper to make the colours pop!

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This art piece was done after reading The Lorax with students, and focused on colour, paper tearing and scrunching. Students were given a blue backing page and a selection of coloured paper on their table to share and had to tear a foreground and background colour for their hills. (They did need a bit of help tearing all the way across the page, but they determined which colour was required wear and some did have a good go at tearing their own paper.)

We used popsticks decorated to look like Truffula Trees and students then tore and scrunched tissue paper to create the Truffula Tufts.

I have used similar techniques for art projects (ala the paper tearing) for book responses to Isabella’s Garden and For All Creatures by Glenda Millard, as well as for a maths activity response to Perfect Square by Michael Hall.

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Eric Carle is perhaps my favourite author to use as inspiration for artwork because, quite frankly, the ideas are endless. This particular piece was inspired by Mr. Seahorse.

Students painted their own backgrounds using sponge rollers and blue and green paint. They also painted a page using brighter-coloured water coloured paint, which they then used to cut out their seahorse shapes. (There were some seahorse templates, but most chose to attempt their own!) Finally we added cellophane ‘seaweed’ over the top, and students had the choice to glue it flat, or twist it, or scrunch it, etc.

Obviously, you could use similar techniques for ALL of Eric Carle’s books. I also like using this technique to create student-painted papers for ‘Spring’ pictures early in Term 3, too.

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Every Remembrance Day I do some form of Poppy craft with my class. I believe it’s very important to teach them about both Remembrance Day and ANZAC Day and why it’s so important to remember those who have gone to war to keep our country safe. These make really wonderful displays.

We have painted coffee filters, torn and scrunched tissue paper and finger-painted poppies over the years.

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My final example for today is a piece of artwork we did using newspaper to create a different feel, inspired by the book Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon. (This is a truly beautiful book – definitely have a read if you haven’t!) It was a Shortlisted book a few years ago so we did this for Book Week.

Students were asked to consider their background – light blue on dark blue background, as well as what they might see in the night sky. They used metallic pastels to create the stars and moon. They had to consider the heights of their buildings – what would it look like if they were all the same? What would it look like if you had some tall and some short buildings? They also had to consider the position of the Herman and Rosie figures. Finally they had to add detail to their buildings and you can see how each student did something a little bit different!

Thanks for reading this super long post! I hope you got something useful from it. If you’re interested in seeing more artwork from my classroom, let me know in the comments, and feel free to ask any questions. This year I aim to be a bit more on top of photo-taking with my class!

If there are any other topics you’d like me to address on my blog, please leave them in the comments – I love suggestions. I’m definitely more than happy to take them!

Enjoy your weekend!

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Sunday (Life) Style – June 29

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So, I had the best intentions of uploading a video for all of you today doing a bit of a show-and-tell of my recent Priceline purchase because I got the most AMAZING goodie bag for free for spending $65 on skincare products. I’m holding out hope that tomorrow YouTube doesn’t throw a hissy fit when I try to upload the video.

Keep your fingers crossed?

So, instead, I wanted to share with you a project I worked on tonight.

Some of you might know (particularly if you follow me on Instagram), that I’m in to planner decorating.

I use an assortment of crafting supplies to assist with this – washi tape (I may have a small problem with buying this with abandon!), stamps, stickers and journalling cards.

Now, I don’t know about you, but journalling cards are SOOOOO expensive. Honestly, for little bits of card stock you’d think people would have worked out an economical way of printing and mass producing.

Anyway, I have a collection of Project Life cards and Me and My Big Idea (MAMBI) cards that I like to use, but while getting lost on youtube today (instead of doing any sort of planning for next term), I stumbled onto a video that showed someone designing their own journalling cards.

Why had I not thought of this? (Maybe it’s because I hate my drawings?!!!)

But, in the throws of woe about the price of crafting supplies, I gave it a shot, and I’m pretty thrilled with the results.

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These are my original pages, drawn on plain computer paper with pencil, Sharpie pen. I photocopied the black and white images and then coloured in (using regular markers) on the photocopied page. I’m going to invest in some card stock to copy the coloured images on and then slice/cut them up as desired.

So, that’s my Sunday Style activity for you.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to upload the video for you tomorrow on my skincare goodies, but we’ll see how I go!

What did you do with your Sunday?

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Tuesday Art Linky – Ladybird Drawing Craft

Linky-TuesdayArtGoal #1 – Join Mel (From the Pond)’s awesome art linky!

Slooowly getting back into the blogging thing! So, without further ado, here is a fun little craft I did last week with my class when we needed a chance to refocus, relax and practise our listening skills.

I combined two ideas in this craft.

First of all, I was totally inspired by Mel’s fabulous Ladybug Art post last week. I really loved the effect of the blue and green background, but was lacking in red kinder circles (and kinder circles in general). I didn’t really want to photocopy circles on red paper, either.

Then I remembered I had a fun directed drawing pack by Doodle Bugs Teaching (Spring Directed Drawing Activities) and instantly I had an excellent listening task, that each student could complete in their own style and still look fabulous!

Slide2My example. I didn’t get to colour in my ladybird. So sad! Still, it’s waiting for me to colour in and be stored in my examples folder for the next time I need a quick and easy craft.

And now for some student examples:

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Slide3I think they look so adorable. They’re currently up on display on our entrance door and look fabulous together with the very vibrant dark blue and green backgrounds!

Don’t forget to head over to From the Pond to link up your ideas or check out some other great ideas!

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Five for Fri… Saturday and Currently!

Yeah, so this is getting to be a habit, posting on a Saturday. Apologies!

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So, I’ve been getting the urge to be all kinds of crafty recently. From gift tag giveaways, washi-decorated candles and decorating my planner pages each week, I’m washi crazy! 😀

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Did you hear what I said about washi crazy? The newest additions to my collection. Plus, some stickers for my planner.

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Sunrises. Two this week while I was waiting for the bus to work. (And yes, I’m up that early.)

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I’m attempting 2 Photo a Day challenges this month – one is Filofax Photo-a-Day May (#filofaxphotoadaymay on instagram) and the Teacher Photo-a-Day Challenge (#padteacherchallenge). The photos above are from the first 3 days of the Filofax Photo-a-Day (and yes, I’m cheating, because my planner is not technically a Filofax… shush!)

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Slide5Tell me you’re picking up the trend here…!

I’ve just finished stamping my own masking tape – which was a trial tonight to see how it turned out. I need to invest in some new inks and stamps for it to work better (and I might try tissue paper and double-sided tape, too, at some point), but this was quick and easy. It’s still drying in the kitchen!

(Can’t buy anything until June though… I’m doing a No-Spend May. Which means no spending on things I don’t really need. Like stickers. And washi tape. And stamps. And ink… You get the idea!)

And finally, I’m linking up with Farley for this month’s Currently!

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Listening to The Mummy… well, it’s just finished, but it was on when I was typing this up! I love this movie. I can quote it and I still laugh at all the jokes. It’s just one of those movies for me!

Loving my Kikki-K planner. You guys are probably sick of hearing about it, but it’s totally keeping me organised and on task and has for the whole month. This is unheard of for me. Combined with my Erin Condren Teacher Planner, I’m becoming super organised. Sometimes! ❤

Thinking that I don’t want to start thinking about writing reports. My school’s timeline kicks in from next week. Which is depressing.

Wanting to buy new ink and stamps so I can make more washi tape! But I can’t, because I’m on a No Spend May. And I’m going to stick to it. Just to prove that I can have self-control (when I normally have ZERO self control… wish me luck!).

Needing to save money. See above. But I want to try and buy an apartment in the next 18 months and I desperately want to visit my best friend and her family in Canada in December. Save, save, save!

Surprise! Most of you may know Alison from Teaching Maths with Meaning, but if you don’t, she’s totally wonderful. She is my maths guru – seriously, she has some fabulous resources and ideas on her blog and she teachers Prep to boot!

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And that’s all from me, tonight! Have a WONDERFUL weekend, folks!

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