Saturday, 15 November 2014

Being Thankful Giveaway!

Hey!  I made it back for the second time today!  After my previous post, I was reminded to be thankful!  I have no milestones to share, I wanted to do a giveaway, 'just because'!


I am so thankful to everyone out there - all those who support my efforts, buy my products and interact with me!  The last couple of years have been so much fun and such a steep learning curve!
 All the while, my 'online' friends are a constant comfort and provide so much entertainment!!  I feel like you are part of my family and am so thankful that you have stuck by me in my prolonged hiatus!

Many of you know I recently started a design store - time will tell whether this was a good move or not, but I do feel I am gaining some traction.  Regarding my teaching resources store, although I have created nothing new for a long time, I do have resources in the pipeline!  I hope, that when the dust settles and I have gained some control over my crazy life, that I will be bringing you new, exciting and useful material soon! 
 
A couple of sweet friends have donated to help with the third prize - you can 'meet' them below!

FIRST PRIZE:  
A $50 TpT Gift Certificate!  Grab some resources from your favorite authors now or wait until the next big TpT sale and get even more for your money!

SECOND PRIZE:  
A $25 Gift Certificate to my store.  Spend it on teaching resources, or graphics or both - mix it up to suit your needs!

THIRD PRIZE:  
Holiday Teaching Resources.  Click on the pics to check out the resources in more detail.

'The First Christmas' from me!


'Christmas for 2nd and 3rd Grades' from Kathy and Susan 
at The Fun Factory.


'Let's Learn about Hanukkah' from Lesley 
at Practice Makes Perfect.


Thanks so much to these sweet ladies for helping me out!
Have fun!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Real life happenings!

Phew!  What can I say, but to offer up my apologies for being missing so long!  This is the longest break I have taken from my blog since I started writing it!

Please allow me one 'negative nelly' moment, by way of explanation, then it's out there and I can move on.

You all know that I use this blog often as a creative outlet for my feelings, it has never been a straight up education blog, mainly because a lot of what I might say about my daily teaching cannot resonate with other teachers out there across the pond,  as our curriculum, and all that entails, is just too different for me to write about anything that may be of use to you.  This is why my blog has morphed into a bit of everything and this is why I want to mention a bit about where my head had been at these last few months.

I am writing this down not because I want to be negative, but in the hope it will be cathartic and it might also be read by other teachers out there, who may be feeling the same right now.
So......I knew this year would be hard.  I was tackling a new grade, a new classroom with very little to go on from the previous teacher.  I wasn't worried about this and was ready for the challenge.  I was lucky to be looping up and knew my kids inside out already.  Somewhere, something changed.  Today, I feel burnt out, exhausted and tearful most days.  I am overwhelmed with work and the more hours I put in, the less I seem to really achieve.  My work day stretches from 7.30am to 6pm.  When I arrive home, I walk my gorgeous dog, who is always so excited and happy to see me, make dinner for hubs arriving home at 6.45/7pm, clear up and head to my office to grade or plan.  I have always enjoyed being busy, but somewhere in this, we have lost our work/life balance.  I have come to resent spending that much time of every day on work related things.  My hubs, my frail mother, social media and TpT have been sidelined.  Forget housework!  If I can keep on top of the laundry, then I have to be satisfied, but I certainly won't be inviting anyone into my home in a hurry!

If I could close my door and be with my kids, then teaching would be the best job in the world, but everyone out there knows that it is so much more.  Without going into detail, I am experiencing a lot of interference and extra demands that I really can't cope with any more.  I am very good at putting on a front and being the happy, funny person at work, but inside I am feeling totally different.  I have reached a point where I can no longer hide how I feel, so some hard decisions need to be made if I am to regain some enjoyment of my daily life.  This all sounds so dramatic, as I am writing it down - lol - but I have had a period of reflection and know I need to make changes for myself, the people I love, for my health and for a sensible work/life balance.  I live in fear that a flare up of my illness will be triggered by daily stress and I don't want to continue to function at less than 75% and be the absent employee.  I am lucky to have a husband who keeps me sane, shows me perspective and continually teaches me to prioritise.  Teaching is such an exciting job - it works when you are young and fit.  I am approaching my 52nd birthday and unless I make some major changes, I fear I will continue to lose my way.  I know many teachers who feel the same way......I just haven't found a solution yet, that works for me.  I would be interested to know if any readers have ever been in the same situation and what they did to make change happen, other than resigning.

At the end of October, we had a mid-term break and hubs and I flew off to Malta - this is the first 'proper' holiday we had taken in a number of years because of our oldest dog.  For those who don't know where Malta is:  it is a little sub-tropical island, south of Italy and north of Africa.


Just as we were about to depart, we got a call that my Mum had fallen and broken her hip.  She was shipped off to a second hospital to have a hip replacement, then to a third for rehabilitation.  Her earliest release date will be Christmas.  My Mum has had heart failure since having a heart attack in 2005.  During the operation, something went wrong and her heart and breathing have suffered as a result.  Whilst we were away, we had time to take stock.  My hubs will be 60 in a few months - his working day is 5.45am to 6.45 pm - this includes a long commute.  Basically we are done!!  We need something to change to regain a balance in our lives.  I will be talking to my Principal on Monday to see if we can find a solution.  Without breaking any confidences, a lot of 'stuff' has been going on that should not really be part of the teaching day.  Please pray for us all through these tough times.  I am fully aware that I have a lot to be thankful for, I am just struggling to remember it right now.  I know this will change and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for their continual and unconditional support.

As an aside, I have always kept my blog relatively anonymous, as I have been connecting with virtual teachers and never really wanted it to be read by teachers I actually know!  Certainly I have never shared my blog with friends - it was always intended as a creative outlet outside of my real life.  However, in recent months, I have been 'outed', so to speak, so I thought it was about time I gave you a face to the name!!

This is me and my darling hubs!  Please excuse the silly smile - I have no idea why I was doing that!  You can tell we still have some way to go with perfecting selfies - haha - spot the eye direction fail!!


Watch out for a second post today!  I will be having a giveaway just to say thanks!  I know I have a lot to be thankful for.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Bill's New Frock - Novel Study

Hey everyone!
Well, I survived my first week at school, although I do feel like I have been hit my a small train!!  The week whizzed by and I felt slightly overwhelmed by my ever growing 'to-do' lists!
I still don't have my room completely finished or my curriculum completely decided upon for the year.  It has taken much longer that I expected to clear out my new room of 40 years worth of unusable 'educational resources' - I am sure I could find a better word here, but I think it would be unprintable!!
I am still getting used to the decor after spending 11 years in a bright yellow room!!  As this is now 2nd grade, I have no theme, but have used coordinating colors: lime green, pink and purple!!  What a mix!  If I ever get finished I will upload some pictures!
The kiddos arrived on Friday and in the first few minutes I could be found under a heap of small bodies being hugged to death - what a welcome!!  It was so lovely to see all their sweet faces again.  If you follow me, you will know I am looping up - first time I have ever done this, but it has huge benefits!  The students know all the systems in class, therefore don't have to be trained.  I also know where they are academically without excessive testing and time wasting - I can just continue where I left off!  So far, I am happy!
We also welcomed 3 new teachers - they are a breath of fresh air - enthusiastic, friendly, motivated and lots of fun - just the lift the school needed after a very difficult last year.
One blot on the horizon was that my Mum was once again in Coronary Care - this is her third visit this summer.  This time she collapsed in the hair salon and an ambulance was called.  She is just so frail.  She was discharged from hospital yesterday and will be staying with us for a while. 
 
Anyhow - on to the point of this post!!  Our school teaches mostly through cross-curricular themes.  My theme for this first half-term is 'Mighty Me'.  We will be exploring personal hygiene, teeth and our senses.  Our famous person study will be Helen Keller.  I am so excited about this topic as it has numerous possibilities!  I can't wait to get started on our Novel Study - 'Bill's New Frock' - this is a fabulously funny book which address gender inequality.  I have sourced excellent activities for our study, but would hope, when time permits, to eventually create my own.  Are there any teachers out there who would be interested in such a pack?  Hmmmmm.

SUMMARY:

Bill’s New Frock was written in 1989 by Anne Fine and revised in 2002. The hero of the story, Bill Simpson, wakes one morning and finds he has suddenly and inexplicably become a girl. The story is written with a lot of humour and vivid description about Bill’s predicament, embarrassment and horror in seven chapters. It raises the issue of how girls are sometimes treated differently to boys, and what is fair and unfair about people’s assumptions about boys’ and girls’ behaviour and abilities.

In the opening chapter, the light-hearted tone of the story is established by Bill’s parents’ lack of reaction to the discovery. They don’t notice anything strange, in fact, his mother insists he wears a pink frock to school and his father calls him ‘poppet’ and tells him he looks sweet.  On the way to school, Mean Malcolm whistles at him instead of kicking him, which Bill finds even worse!  During the day, Bill is expected to be neat and gets into trouble for messy handwriting. In the playground, he discovers boys dominate it with their football game, leaving no room for the girls. As the day progresses, Bill finds dresses impractical as his begins to get very dirty. When Bill is left with only girls’ comics to read during a wet lunchtime he gets angry and fights a boy. However, at this point Bill realises that there is an advantage to wearing a frock when the boy is blamed for the fight.  After break, the rain stops so the class go outside for races. Three girls hatch a plan to let Paul, who is disabled, win the final race. Bill is included in the plan but finds he wants to win.  The girls are furious with Bill, but Paul is so thrilled at coming second they forgive Bill. Both Kirsty and Mrs Collins tell Bill he doesn’t look quite right today. Then, on the way home Bill sees Mean Malcolm who whistles at him again. Bill stands up for himself and teaches Malcolm a lesson about respect. At home, his mother is horrified by the state of his dress, sending him to get changed and declaring never again to send him to school in a dress. Bill gets changed, looks in the mirror and is relieved and delighted to discover he is a boy again.

ANNE FINE

Anne Fine mostly writes humorous books and, particularly for younger readers, books that raise fairly serious social issues.  Her books are also very suitable for reluctant readers - she is one of my favorite authors and I hope she will soon be one of yours too!


If you have any suggestions for other books addressing these issues, I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Have great week everyone!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

New Store Opening!! Come and celebrate with me! Sooo excited!!

Hey everyone! I am still recovering from the shock of finding out that I had to start school much earlier than I had expected! Thursday last week saw me full of dread, worrying about the fact that I did not have my new room set up and feeling overwhelmed with all the things I had to do! I had two VERY long days and slept for 12 hours on Friday night AND I am still tired – oh dear – haha! 

Monday is a public holiday, then back in for PD and the kiddies arrive on Friday! 

Fast forward to Saturday and I am pleased to say my house is sparkling and I have done everything I possibly can, at this stage, for school. My room is almost ready and the panic has subsided somewhat! 

So what does one do, when one has sometime free time? Why, open a second TpT store of course!! 

I am sooooo excited to announce that I finally took the plunge and opened a design store, although I am super nervous about it! 

I wasn’t happy with my current set up and worried that buyers mightn’t find what they were looking for. I mulled over options and alternatives for a LONG time, and in the end decided to keep it simple so my current buyers would know it was me! 


So welcome to Teacher’s Toolkit Design! 


Click button to check it out!

To celebrate the opening of my new store, I will be running a giveaway for the whole week! Here’s what in store (pardon the pun!): all my products will be 50% off! 

I will be running a rafflecopter for the week too! The prizes are listed below: 

First Prize: $50 TpT Gift Certificate to spend how you please;  $25 Teacher's Toolkit Design Gift Certificate; Huge Seller Starter Pack

Second Prize: $25 Teacher’s Toolkit Design Gift Certificate to spend at my new store. 

Third Prize: My Seller Starter Pack with over 200 images! 

All you have to do is follow my new store – what could be easier! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


I also want to take this opportunity to thank all my faithful buyers for their continued support – I know you will help make my new venture a success!


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Back-To-School Curriculum Blowout Sale! 48 hours only!


I am so excited to announce that Educents.com is bringing back their HUGE back-to-school blowout sale and I am going to be featured in one of the curriculum bundles! From August 13 - 15, they are bringing back all of their favorite and most popular bundles for INSTANT download at up to 77% OFF! There is something for everyone and it is their BIGGEST sale of the year!

Take a peek into what is on sale! Tell your friends, because there is something for everyone who teaches children in PreK-8th grade!

Preschool - Kinder Full-Year Curriculum Bundle - 72% OFF

Preschool

Kindergarten Full-Year Curriculum Bundle - 75% OFF

Kindergarten

K-2 The Write Stuff ELA Bundle - 68% OFF

GradesK-2(writestuff)

First Grade Literacy Bundle - 74% OFF

1stGrade

School Year Curriculum Bundle (Grades 2-3) - 74% OFF

Grades2-3

Poetry Curriculum & Activities Bundle (Grades 2-6) - 75% OFF

Peotry

Tricky Math Curriculum Bundle (Grades 3-5) - 69% OFF

Grades3-5(trickymath)

Complete Full-Year Curriculum Bundle (Grades 6-8) - 77% OFF

6-8

Management, Decor & Organization Bundle - 76% OFF

Management(allgrades)

Don't Miss It!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Two For Tuesday!

Hey everyone!  It seems like it has taken me most of the summer to relax, but I feel like I'm finally getting there and achieving small things as I go along!  Sometimes, as teachers, I get the impression that we beat ourselves up if we are not constantly in a whirlwind, juggling ten things at once!  I think I have spent the summer reprimanding myself for not doing this or that and got in a bit of a funk for a while, but now, just when I feel I'm starting to get it together, school looms large - haha - can't win!

What I really want to say is - I need another month off!  I am ready to see people and do things, but should be getting ready for school starting!  My car is jam packed full of 'stuff' for my room makeover, but I can't get into school - I am refusing steadfastly to take everything out again!!  I have shopped in the TpT sale and have my first week's plans done already.  Do I have a clue what I'm doing with this new grade? - not really, but I'll learn as I go - I hope!  Luckily I am looping up with last year's students, so at least I know where they finished and where they need to move on to.  I'm kinda half sorted - I want to get back and get stuck in, but don't want to wish my last couple of weeks away!

I know many of you have already started back and mostly have your shopping done for back to school.  I hope everyone is having a successful start and settling in to their new year and getting to know their new kiddos!  Most people out there probably have a week under their belts and are feeling pretty exhausted.  So I am bringing you something to put a smile on those tired faces!!  I am going to continue with The Teaching Tribune's Two For Tuesday linky!


Today I want to offer you two products that I feel most proud of - I hope you are planning ahead - lol!  Both are currently at half price until tomorrow.  I hope you take advantage of this great deal!

Product #1

Click on the pic to find this product at 50% off in my store!


'What's The Weather?' is a complete integrated unit for all those working with weather in the classroom. My aim was to make this unit as wide-ranging as possible - I am sure you will find something to suit all needs.

This is a 116 page PDF and includes the following:

P1: Cover

P2-3: Contents

P4-36: Weather & Climate Presentation
Posters/Definitions
Display/Vocabulary 
Weather Tools

P37-42: “I’m a Weather Presenter!” Activity

P43-48: Thinking Maps

P49-54: Weather Phenomenon Research Sheets

P55-59: Weather Experiments & Lab Reports

P60-62: Weather Recording Sheets

P63-83: Literacy Centers:
Compound Word Match 
Weather Word Syllable Sort
Parts of Speech Sort

P84-86: Math Activities:
Greater than/Less than Rainbows; 
Weather Patterns

P87-97: Matching Games

P98–113: Simple Fun Activities & Puzzles Discussion Weather Wheel:

These activities would be suitable for students who may need less challenging activities. They may also be used for early finishers or as a simple fun activity

Scrambled Weather Words; 
Match Word to Picture;
Missing Letter in Weather Words;
Draw Seasonal Weather;
Alphabetical Order;
Easy Weather Wordsearch & Key;
Hard Weather Wordsearch & Key;
Weather Words Shape Boxes;
Simple Weather Word Opposites;
My Favorite Weather.

P114: Suggestions for reading and craft websites

P115-116: Terms of Use and Credits

This unit can be used to study the topic of Weather in its entirety - I hope you and your students enjoy it!

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Product #2

Click on the pic to find this product at 50% off in my store!




The Nativity story retold!

This pack finished up being a lot larger than anticipated! Comprised of Common Core aligned tasks, your students will learn about that first Christmas, answer questions, retell the story with the help of graphic organizers and have fun completing some related ELA activities and puzzles. 

Teacher notes are included where relevant.

Don’t forget to check out the 3-page preview to see everything that’s included!

This PDF contains 104 pages in total.

CONTENTS:

P1: Cover
P2: Contents
P3: Common Core Standards
P4-20: Posters, including a less ink-intensive set
P21-25: Story text for quick reference
P26-35: Teacher ‘Readaloud’
P36-52: Discussion questions for comprehension
P53-64: Student readers – 3 levels
P65-70: Sequencing activities – differentiated
P71-76: Graphic Organizers
P77-90: A range of writing papers for all abilities, includes transition words.
P91-P92: Word Mat for spelling help
P93-103: Related activities and puzzles, includes answer keys
P104: Credits/TOU

I have designed this pack with my first graders in mind. However there is a range of differentiation included and would be entirely suitable for 2nd, possibly 3rd grade depending on literacy ability.

Hope you enjoy this pack as much as I've enjoyed creating it!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I hope you like my 50% off choices and can find some use for them!

Have a great week!


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Back To School Blog Hop, Freebies and Prizes!!


The Teaching Tribune bloggers have teamed up to bring you amazing freebies and the chance to win one of 2 $50 TPT gift certificate as well as a custom door hanger (for a US winner). We will select one US winner and one international winner for the gift certificates!




As you play Hide and Go Seek, you will hop to 20 blogs where you will collect freebies. Hidden in each freebie is a school supply with a price tag. You will need to collect all 20 supplies and add up the price tags. Once you have the sum, then you will enter to win a $50 TPT gift certificate as well as a custom door hanger at the final stop, The Teaching Tribune.

If you are looking for school supplies to fill your backpack,  then you are at the right place! Start by downloading the recording form >>>>>


Teacher's Toolkit is the 9th stop as you play Hide and Go Seek!



Are you ready? Well, what are you waiting for...get seeking!

Now all you need to do is download my freebie sample and find the school supply! Then you will complete a circle with the other bloggers to collect their freebies and school supplies.

Click the 'Find my freebie' button below.


Click on the pic to find the complete product in my store!

This product was created primarily as a ‘talking and listening’ pack’ to provide opportunities for discussion and to encourage your students to practice both skills.

I designed these fun discussion wheels as an ‘add on’ to a wide range of topics which you may be teaching in your classroom. They can be used in circle time, as a ‘lead in’ to a new topic, as an assessment of knowledge, as a talking and listening center – the possibilities are endless!

I have added some sample questions which might be useful. Again the possibilities for questions are endless and the type of question you ask will obviously be dependent on the picture chosen. Specific questions may also lead to general discussions e.g. animals habitats, terms such as ‘domestic’, ‘tame’ animals in captivity, hunting etc

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You can complete the loop by starting at the first blog or continue on by visiting the next stop. Either way, you will make a complete loop to all the blogs, freebies, supplies, and final prize!
Don't forget to become a follower of our blogs as you continue on. You never know what we will be doing next! 

Just click either picture below to continue Hide and Go Seek!


Or you can choose to start at the beginning by clicking below…


Make sure you make it to the final stop at The Teaching Tribune to enter to win! 



Graphics Credits:  

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Goodbye July and Aloha August Deals and Giveaways Galore!

Can it be possible???  July is nearly over???
I have teamed up with 40 fabulous stores for...
This is a FABULOUS 4 day event that is full of sweet deals, savings and 4 amazing giveaways!
Here's a peek at what you are being treated to...


Each day a new 'deal' will be posted by the 40 participating stores! 
Be sure to visit their Facebook, Instagram and/or Pinterest accounts to find the daily deals and codes you will use in the TPT search engine to find the sweet deals!
(you can also find the codes on the pictures at the bottom of this post)

In addition, you can find the links to all the participating stores below...as well as 4 rafflecopters!
YES!
That is right...4 rafflecopters!

Each rafflecopter is for a $50 TPT gift certificate!

Think of all the wonderful resources you could score with that...and just in time for Back To School!

Please visit each rafflecopter and enter! 
Each one will generate a winner- and yes- you can win more than 1!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here is a clickable list of all the participating stores!

Be sure to come by and visit our social media sites each day for these reminder posts:





Enjoy the deals, samples and good luck on the giveaway!

And most importantly, we all send our best wishes for a successful school year!

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