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!

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Word Wall Alphabet

My goodness, it’s been a while. I hope all my Aussie teacher friends are enjoying their mid-year break, and that all my Northern Hemisphere friends are enjoying their Summer!

I had a few requests after my last post (the June Bright Ideas Linky) for me to share my Word Wall Alphabet letter tiles. As of this morning, I have finally been able to upload it to my TpT Store:

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It’s currently on sale for  $1.50 until tomorrow lunch time here in Melbourne. Grab it here.

For images of what it looks like in my classroom, don’t forget to revisit my last post.

Have a fabulous week, my friends!

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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#5

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!

Sig-Stef2015

 

 

Five for Friday

Oh, my! It’s been a while since I updated the blog – apologies! It’s the Silly Season, for sure!

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Oh. My. Goodness. It’s December. Last weekend I started decorating my planner for the festive season!

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Elfina made her grand return to Room 16 this week on the first of December, express from the North Pole (sorry, forgot to take a photo in all the excitement!). Since then she’s wrecked havoc with the school photocopiers, become mates with The Pigeon, spied on the Grade 3/4s across the hall and hung around the class Christmas tree during Maths Fun Day (after a suggestion from one of my Grade 1s that it might be a safe place for her with so many unfamiliar faces wandering in and out of the classroom all day!).

I have some wonderful teachers (and a wonderful prin) who have played along with the kids and made it extra special for them this year. It’s been a great first week with our Elf on the Shelf.

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I’m so lucky to come home and have cuddles with this cutie!

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I opened an Etsy Store a little while ago. It’s still in it’s infant-stages at the moment, but I plan to sell a whole lot of planner pages for Filofax/Kikki-K style planners. I’ve been busy working on different designs and they’ll go up some time in the new year. Plus, there’s some fun journaling card pages listed, too! I’d love for you to check out my store: The Noveltea Corner

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#5

I’ve added my first-ever set of graphics to my TeachersPayTeachers store this week – a set of unique backgrounds. All, save for one, have elements of transparency so they can be layered over other images/colours. There are 10 in all and I’m quite proud of them! Check them out here.

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Thanks for stopping by this week!

What have you been up to?

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Number Fluency Games

Hello again, my friends.

My sincerest apologies for posting twice in a  day, but I didn’t get a chance to post about my BRAND NEW math game over the weekend (even though I was able to upload it!).

I’m very excited about this pack, because I think it’s great number practise for all our early learners and it has a really fun food theme, too!

Introducing:

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(Click on any of the images to view this product on TpT!)

This activity is similar to SERVING UP NUMBERS with a fun coffee & donut theme that gives you the opportunity to practise the same skills but with a fresh face! (So to speak!)

Also, as someone who has students involved in Developmental Play/Investigations activities, this would be a really fun addition to that time, particularly if you have a Cafe or Bakery dramatic play area set-up because it would be very complimentary!

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In this pack you get colour cards for numbers 0-20 featuring words, numerals, tens-frames, tens blocks, popsticks and visual representations for each number.

Depending on the level or needs of your students you can add or remove different representations to practise the skills you are currently working on!

There are 6 ‘tables’ to place the donuts on (although they’re not necessary if you’re just working on matching different representations).

I’ve also included a numbers book where students record the different ways of representing each number.

It’s very easy to print sections of this pack as required (0-10, 11-20 or 0-20) and build the number booklet up as required!

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First, lay out the cards you want students to use.

Students select a coffee cup with a number name and find the matching visual representations and place them on the table.

(Alternative: have students roll a die to decide which number to start with!)

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Have students record their numbers on the matching page! (Turn into a booklet, or paste into Math Journals.)

I have quite a few students still struggling with number fluency and this pack is going to come in super-handy. (It also helps that they seem to be obsessed with donuts!)

If you’re interested, this pack will remain on SALE for another 24 hours only before going back to it’s full price!

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Have a lovely day, my friends!

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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!

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Planning for Valentine’s Day (Sale and Freebie)!

Okay, so I might be getting a bit ahead of myself, getting all excited for Valentine’s Day when we haven’t even started school for the year yet – but what can I say? I love any opportunity to celebrate the importance of recognising those people in our lives who are special, especially with the kiddos in my class.

So, I’ve been stalking Pinterest (come on, tell me you haven’t been doing the same thing!) for some easy, fun crafts to do with the kids in the upcoming weeks. Considering my Prep/1s are going to only have been at school for 3 weeks, they need to be simple, easy to implement, and with lots of opportunities to explore their fine motor development. This pin, in particular, caught my eye and I’m seriously considering it as one of my options:

Pinterest-HeartPencilsClick on the picture, or here, to view the original pin on Pinterest. Don’t forget to follow my Valentine’s Day board, too, for more ideas!

I’ve also dusted off my Valentine’s Day activities in my TpT Store and I thought I’d pop them up in case people are looking for a few fun centers to use with their own classes. Click on any of the images to view them in my store.

If you’re looking for an easy, print-and-go craft activity for your K-1 students, this fun, heart-shaped flower activity will satisfy your needs. This task has been designed so that you can differentiate it to meet the needs of your kiddos – with elements containing writing prompts, or blank prompts to fill in as needed.

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Next up, I have a whole host of Literacy centers with a Valentine’s Theme:

Such Sweet Language has 7 literacy centers perfect for K-2, revising the alphabet, abc ordering, nouns, contractions, compound words, sentence building and a very cute Comma Pie craft activity!

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Valentine’s Silly Sentences help your kiddos build reading fluency and support sentence structure by having them read, rebuild and write out sentences with a Valentine’s theme!

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Label Valentine’s Day provides kiddos with practise labelling pictures – a really fun and easy center activity. This pack includes colour boards, black and white and as cut-and-paste options.

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Finally, Pocket Chart Poetry (Ten Little Hearts) is an opportunity to explore poetry and song with a Valentine’s twist. It’s my newest activity, and you can read all about it here.

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Plus, a fun little freebie for everyone, because it’s always great to have extra activities, right?

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And, as a thank you for getting to the end of my very long post, I’m putting all five of these activities on sale for the next 24 hours! Get 20% off each one!

I’d love to hear your favourite activities – or even new ones you want to try out – for Valentine’s Day, so don’t forget to leave a comment!

I hope you all have a beautiful day!

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Peas on a Plate – Counting to 10

I confess to being quite behind in blog posts, but I blame reports, a week-long head cold and inability to sleep to my lethargic approach to my online presence.

But I’m here to share something fun that I’ve made and uploaded on TpT (and soon TN).

It’s a resource that I actually made in 2010 when I first started teaching and have remade into something a little prettier. It does involve some laminating and printing, but it works beautifully!

Purchase on TeachersPayTeachers

Purchase on TeachersNotebook

Peas on a Plate is a fun little resource to practise number recognition from 0 to 10. (Yay, subitising!)

I’ve used this little activity for the last 4 years with my kiddos to build and reinforce instant number recognition and I’m so happy to be able to share it with all of you!

Here’s what my cards used to look like… (Ok… shhh! I still have them and use them because the kids enjoy them, so we mix it up!):

Now I have a set that look like this:

All cards come in a full-page format, I simply print multiple pages per sheet (2 per page), laminate and cut them out.

Each number (except for 0) has four pea combinations in different patterns, from dice patterns to less common groupings.

Ideas for use:

– whole class/small group focus: display cards for a few seconds and ask students to identify the number displayed,

– whole class game: divide the class into 2 and line them up so that there are 2 teams, flash a Peas on a Plate card and have the two leaders compete for points, and,

– small group games: play Memory or Snap with students matching different representations of the same number.

Hope that some of you may find it useful!

Purchase on TeachersPayTeachers

Purchase on TeachersNotebook

Product Updates

Today’s my last official day of term holidays. 😦

But, back to school next week to see the kiddos! Spent a whole day setting up and rearranging the classroom yesterday so it’s all ready for Monday.

It’s been a little while since I updated my TpT and TN stores, but I’ve recently added 2 items that I’m really proud of, so I’m going to share them with you today.

View of TeachersPayTeachers // View on TeachersNotebook

Help your students begin to build words using onset and rime, using the really cute clipart by Graphics from the Pond.

This center is available in full colour or black and white for saving on ink.

Build words using cute chicks and word family fences. Record on the I Know My Word Families page.

Build real and nonsense words and record.

Cute, easy to implement and differentiate!

And my second product:

View on TeachersPayTeachers // View on TeachersNotebook

This pack of number centers is designed to support your students’ developing number fluency, using super-cute peas-in-a-pod clipart.

Pea Pod Number Match (Numbers 0-50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 and blank cards)

Students match peas to the number cards. The peas come as individuals, or in groups of ten for supporting students working with base 10.

Counting Peas (Numbers 0-20)

Students count the peas and place a peg over the matching numeral.

Ordering Peas (0-50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100)

Individually numbered pea cards for use during whole class focuses or individual centers. Can be supported by the use of the missing number grids provided.

Recording Sheets

Missing Number Sheets – 0-20, 0-30, and 0-50

Peas in a Pod – students select a  number pea, record the number and illustrate that number.

And, because I’m really pleased with how these packs turned out, I’m going to give away a copy of each pack (there’ll be 2 winners, 1 per pack).

 

 

Leave a comment telling me which pack you would like to win and why. I’ll be drawing the winners in 24 hours.

 

 

The winners have been selected!

Casey has won Chicks Build Words!

Wendy has won Peas in a Pod!

Congratulations. 🙂

Brand new MGL fonts – for FREE!

Now that I’ve recovered from my sickness (instigated by students throwing up in my classroom all week – ew!) and I feel somewhat alive again, I’ve got things for you!

It’s been a while, but I’ve got some new (and free) fonts for you all to use. As with all my other fonts you may use them for commercial use, but I do require credit (preferably with a link to my blog or TpT store).

So, without further delay, please meet:

Click on the images to download from TpT!

Have you used my free fonts before? I’d love to see how you’ve used them – please drop me a link (or two or three!). I’m planning on creating pages on this blog for each individual font with links to products they’ve been used in – think of it as a referral service, for free!

Also… experiencing a bit of TpT-block… (I know, sad, right?)

What kind of products would you like to see in the future?

I know my sight word games have always been popular, but I’d love it if you threw some ideas at me. (Must be start of year-itis!)