THAT Giveaway - lol!

Well ladies, I appreciate the support you have given me, I really do!  Original post here.

My apologies for the delay, I know Friday was the deadline, but I got lost in report writing -  ugh!

I'm pretty sure I don't need the number generator - lol!  I am totally happy that four ladies get to use my freebie!  Yaaay!

I'm so keen, I've even opened a TpT store, so please follow my little link and you can find the freebie there.  I managed to add a cover page for prettiness (!) and 2 extra pages at the end - these pages contain the 200 sight words we use in our schools.

Hope the freebie is of some use to you (and others now!)


Amazing Giveaway at Heather's Heart!

Wow - hop on over and take part in this faaaabulous giveaway - Pete the Cat - he rocks!
Six lovely ladies taking part with so many fantastic creative products to give away - you could be a lucky winner!  Just click on Heather's button below to take you there - have fun!

Heather's heart


Goodies to be won at Beg Borrow Steal!

Hop on over to this wonderful blog Beg Borrow Steal.  Kelly has reached 1000 followers and is having a fab giveaway - lots of goodies to be won!  Go know you want to......!


Help needed! Giveaway!

I know I said it would be my last post of the day.......but I've been finding things!

It's difficult for me to do giveaways as I don't charge anything anyway!!  I have sight words on wall bricks which look pretty warehousey!  They seemed popular when I had them on Pinterest, so I thought I would give them away to 10 wonderful bloggers!  Only 2 stipulations:

  1. I have hardly any followers :((( so you must follow my blog and leave me a comment
  2. Click the facebook bunting at the top of my page and hop over to my facebook page and 'like'
I'm sure some kind person will explain the number generator thingy and let me know how I can give you a link to download (email perhaps?)

I'm sure this won't work, but I have to give it a try, as I'm feeling a bit lonely over here - hehe!

Giveaway closes on Friday 22nd, so you have 5 days to make me really haaaappppyyyy! ☺

One hundred sight words/34 pages

aka 'Billy no mates'!!



A last post for today before I prep for school tomorrow.  (Have made some headway with the reports!!)

If you have read any previous posts, you will know that my last unit for this last bit of the year is all about minibeasts.  I was looking through some photos and came across a little project we had undertaken as a way to understand the life-cycle of a butterfly, but had forgotten to upload them!

I love this website: Insectlore although it is quite expensive!  Have a look at the cheesy video below and guess what I bought!

Indeed!  We had the company of caterpillars for a couple of weeks and then the pleasure of seeing them fly off to their new habitat.
The caterpillars arrive as tiny black dots, feast on the super-food on the bottom of the jar and within a few days change to these handsome babies - yikes!  The children checked them every day to watch their progress and were amazed at how quickly they grew.  The instructions indicate that when they crawl to the top of the jar, they are about to form a chrysalis, that is when they get transferred to the butterfly garden.  The end process provided us with 5 beautiful Painted Lady butterflies!



All smiles before we set off - that's me kneeling with Holly on the right behind the lady in the pink coat! 

Yes, it's that time of year again and I never change!  I'm supposed to be writing reports, but thought I'd procrastinate as usual and stop by with a little personal post.

Those who know me personally, will know that I suffered a playground accident about 6 weeks ago.  Unfortunately I got in the way of a 'rough' playground game and ended up at Accident and Emergency with an injured back, for which I am still taking medication.

As mentioned in an earlier post I had planned to take part in a sponsored walk to raise funds for a local charity which rescues unwanted dogs from being 'put to sleep'.  This is a wonderful charity which relies on public support, where volunteers give tirelessly of their time to help these neglected and often badly abused animals.  It is also here where I found my precious border collies - failed farm dogs - and am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to adopt them.

The rescue had organised a woodland walk, we had gathered sponsors etc, but I was unsure if my back would be up to the challenge!  I am glad to report that I actually managed the whole thing, which in reality was not that big a deal, but I was soooo happy, you'd think I'd run a marathon!  So, a personal thanks to friends, family and most of all my wonderful colleagues at school for supporting me.  The little group of walkers and their pets managed to raise approx. £2,500 between them, all of which will go towards the upkeep and running of this wonderful rescue.  I thought I'd include a couple of photos.....

Just a small part of the group before we set off.

Holly who will be 17 soon!

Blue who has just turned two - no guesses how I came by his name!

Sunbathing beauties in our back garden last summer.

Long tongue - hehe!

Hope you enjoy the photos!


Time off work and 'The Planets'!

I am currently enjoying a week off work!  Our schools finish at the end of June and the new school year begins in September, therefore we would not normally have this time.  As for all teachers there is so much to do at the end of the school year, I would rather just get on with it!  That said, who wouldn't enjoy some extra time off!
Our children begin standardised testing in my year group - P3, so it takes about a week to complete these.  The children also do end of year tests on class work - another week required.  I like to get these completed so I have results to hand when I am writing reports.  With the extra time off, it's been a bit of a squeeze to get it all done!  Throw into the mix Jubilee parties, Sports day etc etc - well you get the idea!
The reason for the extra time was of course 2 Bank Holidays for the Queens' Diamond Jubilee.  We had time owing from other parts of the year, so our Principal decided on a week off - I'm sure our parents were very happy!
So far, I've had a wonderful time!  The weather has been glorious!  On the last day before the holidays, we had one whole day to celebrate the Jubilee with lots of fun events and special food organised.  The children were allowed a day off from uniform and got to dress as Kings and Queens - they had a ball!
The Olympic torch passed through out small town at the weekend, so lots of exciting events and a special concert.  I've even been able to garden, as it hasn't been raining - lol!  Got to visit friends, ride the motorbike and enjoy pampering sessions at the local salon - I've been so fortunate.

A torch bearer at The Giant's Causeway, close by where I live.

Today I decided I should really stop procrastinating on reports and make a start, so I came to the computer and found myself creating .........Planet Posters!!  Why?  I really have no idea!  Did I get any reports written?  No! So please download if you find them useful.  (They will be free for a short time only). I promise to do some 'proper' work tomorrow!  On Saturday, my hubby and I will be participating in a sponsored walk for the local dog rescue kennels.  It will take place in an ancient forest which is not normally open to the public - so fingers crossed the lovely weather holds!  If you'd like to see my rescued 'fur babies', just have a wee look at my 'About Me' page - they are so precious!

The clipart is from ScrappinDoodles
Update:  The planets posters can now be found in my TpT store here.


Behaviour Management

I currently teach 26 6/7 year olds and am very blessed that my school has approx. 180 pupils.  It is quite a rural area, with a diversity of families.  Some years I have quite difficult classes, but mostly they are a dream, with very few behaviour issues.
I have read about and seen pictures of quite a few behaviour management ideas and love the 'Behaviour Clip Chart' with clothes pegs etc, but don't really feel my children (this year) require it, but know it will come in very useful some day!  I have also noticed that many teachers appear to have teacher aides or parental help.  Our younger infant classes have 'classroom assistants', but this stops when they come to P3 - my age group.  So the entire day is managed on my own.
I thought I would give you a little idea of how I manage my children and any behaviour issues that may arise.
I have coloured tables in my classroom - blue, red, green, yellow etc.  I group all the same coloured tables together and seat, at each table, between 4 and 6 children, depending on class numbers and dynamics!  I have the same colours on A4 card stock, laminated and stuck to the bottom of my whiteboard and basically manage the children with table points - these are large card gold stars that are cut from A4 card stock.  The table points are earned for many things from being kind, helping someone, tidying up quickly/well to outstanding work.  With my young children this system works really well - an element of competition and peer group pressure.  All I have to say is - there's a table point for.......and away they go!  Occasionally I also remove table points for wrong choices, but try not to do this too often.  On Fridays, during 'Golden Time', the table points are counted and the table which has the most gets a trophy (which I bought on ebay!) and had engraved with 'Best Table Award'.  The children also get a special certificate and a 'freddo' bar.  This is very much a special time of the week and the children really enjoy it.  I then take a photograph of the group of children holding the trophy aloft and stick this to my classroom door for other classes and teachers to see, so they also get affirmation from others.  Sneakily, I do try to arrange it that the tables 'win' on a rotational basis, so no-one is ever left out.
'Golden Time' on Friday afternoons before home time, is a time for children to have free choice of what they do, relax and spend some time with the teacher.  I also make pertinent observations during this time or have 'teacher conferences'.  The children must earn this time however.  I have a 'Golden Time' chart with 3 spaces for 3 strikes.  If any child has been warned about behaviour and it persists, then they earn a strike.  By the end of the week, if they have 3 strikes, they must sit at the table and reflect on their behaviour and offer a solution or complete a written task.  Most children never lose their 'Golden Time'!  During this time, I also award 2 x Pupil of the Week Certificates.  Again, the children are given a treat, a special badge to wear and are 'published' on the door.  They also earn special privileges for the following week.  I also issue a 'Brilliant Manners' Award.

Our children have nightly homeworks - reading preparation, spellings, tables and written numeracy or literacy.  Homeworks are usually completed, but this is not always the case!  Spellings and tables are particularly important as the children do a short daily test on both, culminating on a Friday test of the full week's work.  To ensure motivation and completion of the work, the children receive a sticker for perfect work.  They have a 'reward card' and the stickers are placed in there on a daily basis.  I have differentiated spellings and tables groups so that weaker children can also earn a sticker.  Roughly once per month the children can go 'shopping' with their stickers.  Every time I see a bargain, I shop!  These items are usually from the local wholesalers or pound stores and include gel pens, felt pens, pencils, bookmarks, finger puppets, flashing yoyos, wooden snakes, toy cars, keyrings, cute notebooks - the list is endless!  Each item has a particular 'value' and the children can save up their stickers for the most 'expensive' ones or buy several 'cheaper' ones at the same time.  The children absolutely adore this and work very hard for their stickers!
As the year wears on and the children grow used to 'group work', they can get rather noisy!  They are engaged in their tasks, but just get louder and louder!  I have also found this with my older children in the afternoons, as more formal work tends to be completed in the mornings.  Perhaps it is an age thing, but my vocal chords are no longer able to rise above the noise to quieten the children down.  I then happened upon my secret weapon on ebay!  One tinkle on this and I never need to use my voice!  It has a great novelty factor and the children just freeze - it's really quite funny!
My apologies for the length of this post, 'brief' and 'summary' seem to have flown out the window!

Hotel Service Bell


School Times and Timetables

Most of the teacher blogs I read seem to be mostly American teachers with a few Australians dotted here and there.  I always enjoy reading the blogs, not just for the ideas and resources, but also to see the differences in the education system.  I don't know if it varies from state to state in the USA, but American schools seem to start quite early!  I am sooo not a morning person and am happy that our children don't start until 9am.  Ours also finish rather early at 2pm, although this is only whilst they are infants - up to 7 years of age.  From 7-11 years of age they finish at 3pm - this still seems to be quite early!
We all seem to more or less teach the same curriculum, although I think, because the day is longer, American teachers actually have a set time to do guided reading workshops - up to 90mins!  I am very envious of this, as this is one huge issue I have with our daily timetable.  We have no allotted time to do reading activities and therefore guided reading is fitted in 'on a wing and a prayer' whilst the children are working on other activities.  I always find this really stressful, as I feel I should be working with individuals when they are trying to complete written tasks in literacy and numeracy etc, not trying to 'fit in' reading.  As a consequence the small group reading work is very short and not at all adequate.  I fret every day that I am not giving enough time to one or the other.  I often wonder how this works for other teachers and am constantly trying to find a way that works better.  However, with all the curriculum areas to timetable, I find it an impossible task.  I would love to be able to do 'the daily five', but there is no part of the day left to do this!
My Primary 3 children (First Grade, I think.  Our children start formal schooling at 4 years of age) go home at 2pm and I then teach the older children a variety of curriculum subjects, most days, until 3pm.  We must stay in school until at least 4pm, 5.30pm for the weekly staff meeting, but can go earlier on Fridays.  I am usually still in school until 5.30pm to  finish marking, preparation and display boards. I arrive home at 6pm ish and usually find something more to do for school!
It seems very hard to find a proper work/life balance as school seems to take up so much of my time.  I am so grateful that my husband is not a teacher, as life would be totally chaotic!
The point of this post is that although I love my job dearly, it often takes up most of my time and I would love to know how other teachers manage and then also have time for family, hobbies and the creation of so many wonderful teaching resources?  I would love it if you could comment on your day!

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