Monday, 14 November 2011

America...are you recycling??

Did you know that 15 November is "America Recycles Day"?
In my TpT store I have a 26 page Recycling Thematic Unit crammed full of teaching ideas, lesson plans, activities and games for using with students in Grades K-4.
And for the next 24 hours it will be ABSOLUTELY FREE!
Head over to my store to download your copy! (And please leave me some feedback if you have a chance!)

Keep recycling!

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Saturday, 12 November 2011

Christmas Cookie Problem Solving Math Center

My free Monster Problem Solving Math Center has proved SO popular (over 7000 downloads and counting!) that I decided to create a similar problem solving center to challenge your young mathematicians.

Christmas Cookie Problem Solving includes 48 problems to solve with either 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 cookies of three different shapes. A recording sheet is also included. This math center will be on sale for this weekend only so make sure you purchase your copy now!

Your students are sure to be kept busy with critical mathematical thinking while solving these fun problems!
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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Math/Science Linky Party

The Lesson Cloud is hosting a Math and Science lesson Linky Party during the month of November. Make sure you check back often to see all the new ideas that are posted! As I am a Math enthusiast I have already linked up a Math game for Grades K-2...and here is a Math Freebie specially for you!

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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Look for Circles Day!

As a Math enthusiast I was excited to discover that 2 November is "Look for Circles Day"! You could probably teach on this topic for a week or more! Here are some ideas (for all different age groups)....


    * Go on a Circle Hunt in your school grounds or classroom.
    * Tally/count all the wheels on cars in the teachers' carpark.
    * Use 4x tables to calculate the number of wheels on the cars in the teachers' carpark.
    * Draw concentric circles with a pair of compasses.
    * Practice fractions with a circle (a chocolate cake, pizza or pumpkin pie will certainly go down well!)
    * Circle facts and terminology e.g. arc, radius, diameter, segment, etc.
    * Compare the properties of a circle with other shapes.
    * Here is a FREE Math worksheet that focuses on shapes and doubling....


    * Create Mandala patterns in a circle.
    * Paint concentric circles alternating warm and cool colors - great for teaching colour mixing!
    * Cut a spiral from a circle.
    * How many round objects can you draw?
    * How many animals can you draw starting with a circle?
    * Crafts with paper plates e.g. create a pumpkin, turkey, scarecrow head, snowman, etc.
    * Collect round objects such as bottle tops, jar lids, paper/foil plates. Use these objects to create an interesting collage on a paper plate or cardboard circle.


    * Write a story or paragraph about "If everything was round..."
    * "The wheel was a great invention because..."
    * "Without circles we would/would not be able to...."

Social Studies/Science

    * Study the invention of the wheel
    * Study the Earth and planets
    * Life cycles e.g. moth/butterfly, frog, etc!

Happy "Look for Circles Day"... I hope you have an "all round" good day!!

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Sunday, 9 October 2011

Counting is of utmost importance!

My university Maths lecturer will be very proud of me for remembering how she stressed the importance of counting. She once told us how she counted her footsteps as she walked, counted the stairs she was climbing, counted in traffic, in the shower, counted, counted, counted....and I thought to myself at the time: "Hey, I do that too!" (And I still do!)

The more time I spend with children who battle with Maths concepts the more I realise how important this seemingly "simple" activity is. To have a concept of the order of numbers when counting forwards and backwards is vitally important to success in Maths.

Once very young children have come to grips with counting from 0-10 and can "hear" the pattern, it is easy for them to grasp counting on from 20, 30, 40, etc as the pattern stays the same. (The early "teen" numbers are, of course, a little trickier to learn as the auditory pattern is not quite the same, but from fourteen to nineteen is a little easier!)

Once children are at school it is not just hearing and saying numbers that is important...seeing them and being able to "read" what they see and order numbers from smallest to biggest and vice versa becomes important. To begin with counting numbers are ordered. As their understanding progresses children become able to order non-consecutive numbers and compare the values of these numbers. To do this they must have an understanding of the numerosity of numbers and be able to count on and back from any number! Counting, counting, counting!

If you wish to practice counting in your classroom, I have just posted a Halloween themed Math Center Activity to both my TpT and TNB stores. "Spooky Cookie Counting" has activities and worksheets included to practice all the counting skills mentioned above.

Happy counting!

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Friday, 7 October 2011

World Smile Day - Pass it on!

Happy World Smile Day...I didn't even know such a day existed, but it does! why not pass on as many smiles as you can today - and encourage your students to do so too! (Read more about it by clicking on the smiley!)

To celebrate World Smile Day here is a cute idea for a Maths activity...Have your students (Grades K-3) work in pairs to measure each others smiles using a tape measure or piece of string and non-standard measures and count each others teeth - and gaps! Here is a worksheet they can complete.

Click on the image to download from Google Docs.
 Keep smiling!

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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Trash to Treasure Linky Party

Scipi, at the blog, Go Figure!, is hosting a terrific Linky Party! In these times of trying to SAVE - time, resources, money, energy, the environment...the list goes on! - how wonderful it is to know that the things we use and do in our classrooms support this endeavour and teach our students to do the same.

I have both an idea to share and a free product available for download that support the endeavour to use recyclables in the classroom. Maths is by far my favourite subject to teach and I just love having a multitude of interesting manipulatives for my students to use. BOTTLE TOPS of all sizes and colours are a tremendous resource for your classroom. Have the children bring different ones form home to add to your collection. They can be used for a multitude of sorting, graphing and tallying activities. Sort according to colour, size, plastic/metal, ribbed edge/smooth edge, etc.

MAGAZINES are a terrific resource for all subject areas. I have created a mini-unit entitled 'Magazine Madness' which explores a number of Literacy activities that you can add to your Literacy Centers or Writers' Workshop. You can download your free copy of Magazine Madness by clicking on the image to the left. 
Why not share your Trash to Treasure ideas by linking on Scipi's blog?!

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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Fall and Halloween Linky Party

Teacher Tam's Educational Adventures is holding a Fall and Halloween Linky Party. Visit her store to link to a number of stunning ideas for projects, lessons and activities...simply click on the picture or the link above.
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Sunday, 25 September 2011

Featured Teacher

I am thrilled to bits to be the Featured Teacher in the Teachers Pay Teachers newsletter this week! If you haven't visited my store recently please pop over to see the products I have available... Keep a look out for a new Gingerbread Man unit that will be posted shortly! If you don't yet subscribe to the TpT newsletter you can do so here (scroll down to the very bottom of the page).

Have a good week!
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Friday, 23 September 2011


Freebie Fridays

 It's never too early to start gathering together activities for special holidays. And with the rate at which time seems to speed by Halloween is just around the corner. My Freebie for you today is an Upper and Lowercase Alphabet Sort Literacy Center which includes suggestions for activities as well as 3 recording sheets. These activities are suitable for students in Grades K to 3. I hope you enjoy this activity! (Click on the image to download this Freebie!)

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Sunday, 18 September 2011

Facebook Linky Party

Blogging meets Facebook at Lesson Plan Diva's Linky Party! By liking Fan Pages on Facebook you can keep up with all the latest happenings on your favourite blogs. Pop over to Creative Classroom's Fan Page and click on LIKE to get all the latest news and views from Creative Classroom. Don't forget to pop over to Lesson Plan Diva's site to view all the other great blogs that are linking in!

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Pirates Ahoy!

Tomorrow be the day for Pirate Speak!
So join the fun and take a peek
Treasures you'll behold
At half the price are being sold!
So take a chance
And have a glance
At my Teachers Pay Teachers Store!

**Click on the images to be linked directly to these products!**

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Saturday, 17 September 2011

Voted a Top 10 Teaching Blog!

You won't believe my pleasure and surprise when a message in my Inbox told me I had been voted a  Top 10 Teaching Blog! My sincere thanks to Scipi from Go Figure! for her kindness and support - and to Teaching Blog Addict for initiating this wonderful award!

Top 10 TBA

This poor blog of mine has been sorely neglected (despite being in it's infancy!), but now that my energy and enthusiasm have been given such a boost I am already thinking of ideas for my next few posts. I will definitely be continuing the Maths thread!!! So make sure you visit again soon. I will also be scouring the web for some new blogs that I can add to my own list of Top 10 blogs!

Look forward to "chatting" again soon!

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Friday, 26 August 2011

TGIF: Free for All Friday!

It's Friday!!! Yay!! For some of you this has been your first week back at school - how are your tired feet, aching jaws, sore throats??? I know I was always shocked at just how much talking I did everyday during the first week of school...holidays were always a wonderful respite!

Well, as it's Friday Blog Hoppin' is having a Free for All! Head on over to download a host of marvellous ideas! I have a little activity you can do with your young students within the first few weeks of term. It is an All about ME! Cube. The students fill in their information/drawings/pictures on the sides of a cube which can then be assembled and hung in the classroom as decoration! Fun and functional!!

This is Me! Cube TpT

Hope you enjoy using this!
I'll be back with more articles in my Maths thread this weekend so make sure you pop by!

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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday

Today is Teacher Talk Tuesday over at Blog Hoppin' and teachers everywhere will be offering up advice to new (and "old") teachers.

My motto is: "Prepare, prepare, prepare...and be prepared to have your preparation fly out of the window!"

No matter how well you organise and prepare, when you are teaching little (and big) kids you can always expect a drama or two to rock the boat at some time or another. Try to stay calm...and remember tomorrow is another day!

Have a great Tuesday!
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Monday, 22 August 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday

Hi everybody, I'm participating in the Meet the Teacher link up at Blog Hoppin'.

Tell us a little something about you...
My name is Michelle Walker and I live in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I was born in beautiful Cape Town and moved to PE when I was 12 years old. I attended High School at Alexander Road High and completed a Bachelors of Primary Education degree at the University of Port Elizabeth (now known as Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University or NMMU!). I am married to a kind, gentle man and have 2 stepsons (Bradley, 23 and Dane, 15) and a gorgeous, intelligent 3 year old daughter, Keira, who makes us all laugh! I love every minute we spend together and am learning so many new things about myself through the time I spend with her.

How long have you been teaching?
My gorgeous Keira!
Well, my first teaching post was a combined Grade 1 and 2 class in a small town, Jeffreys Bay, about an hour from Port Elizabeth. I only taught there for a year as I missed my family and friends dreadfully! I was then offered a Grade 2 position at a private school in Port Elizabeth. I taught Grade 2 and Art at Theodor Herzl for almost 16 years before my daughter was born. I am a teach-a-holic and despite the odd wobbly (let's face it...we all have these!) I LOVED my years in the classroom and was so worried about leaving my classroom in the care of someone else while on maternity leave! Well, suffice it to say, I soooo fell in love with my new baby that I never returned to my beloved classroom. (And I don't regret it for a minute!) I now teach extra (intervention) Maths to a handful of sweet children from Grades 2-7 from my home in the afternoons. I also help 2 children with their homework everyday....and try to run my small business Creative Classroom in the mornings and evenings between making snacks, meals, running to potties, reading stories, playing tea parties, shopping, laundry, play dates...and everything else that comes with being a wife and mommy!

You might not know...
Pretty much everything, I guess, as I am so new to the blogging world! So to begin with a few tidbits! When I arrived home from school after my first day in Grade 1, I announced that I was going to become a teacher...and that thought never changed (except for when I thought I might like to be a brain surgeon!...despite not being able to stand the sight of blood!) I think I was born with teacher genes! Everywhere I go, everything I see is a potential lesson, or sparks an idea for one! 
I am a keen traveller, although I haven't had much chance for it since I married and became a mom. I have been to the USA twice (California, Las Vegas and Washington DC), Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, Europe, the UK and well as extensive travels around South Africa as a child on family holidays and as a student. As a student I also travelled to Mozambique, Swaziland and Namibia. 
My two favourite places on earth are Jubilee Creek in the Knysna Forest, South Africa, and Venice! I have to get back to Venice one day!

What are you looking forward to most this year? 
Here in South Africa we are already at the midpoint of our year...but I am looking forward to getting my blog "out there" to South African teachers and those internationally. The edublogging concept has not yet caught on in SA and I hope to be starting a trend here as I can see what a terrific community support it can be and I have learnt so much from the blog hopping I have done to date!

What do you need to improve?
My 'getting down to serious work routine'! I have become a blog and FB addict and have to learn to put aside those things and get down to the work that brings in the income!

What teaching supply can you not live without? 
Sharp HB (No.2) pencils and a soft white eraser! I am one of those exceedingly anal people that will only write in my diary/notebooks with a pencil!! I think if we could get 'Sharpies' in SA I would probably love those too!  And my trusted Apple Mac...I don't know what I ever did before my husband introduced me to all things Apple!

Well that's it from me for now! Keep following...and hop on over to Blog Hoppin' to tell us more about you! 

Have a great Monday!


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Confidence is the key!

Math/s has to be my favourite subject to teach! As a student myself I discovered I was really good at Maths in Grades 8 and 9, yet I didn't achieve spectacularly well in Maths further on. Why, you may ask? Well, I lacked confidence in my own ability. As an educator I have taught both classroom Maths to Grades 1 and 2 and extra/intervention Maths to children from Grades 1 to 7 and I have discovered that with most children who have a problem with Maths, confidence is the key!

Children need the confidence provided by a solid foundation in simple Maths skills, "bonds" or number facts, skip counting, tables, number sense... and need to meet with success when completing early Maths tasks to develop the confidence to try - and sometimes make a mistake! In the early years practise, practise, practise is essential to building confidence. Using manipulatives or physical materials/things is of utmost importance - even into the higher grades. It is my belief that unless a child can understand what is being learnt by seeing, touching, manipulating, hearing and doing they will never fully grasp a new concept.

What does this mean for teachers? Well, from my viewpoint - have masses and masses of concrete apparatus available. Money (plastic/paper coins and notes are fine), clocks that can be manipulated (both analogue and digital), stop watches, unifix cubes, 10's, 100's and 1000's manipulatives, counters, fraction strips and fraction circles, tape measures, rulers, metre sticks, non-standard measures, different size containers for measuring capacity, balance scales, scales, objects for measuring mass, 3 dimensional shapes, etc, etc, etc.

And practise, practise, practise...never forget about the basics. Even as children become older and more able. Knowing that 3 and 7 makes 10, helps the understanding of 30 and 70 is 100, 300 and 700 is 100, 0,3 and 0,7 is 1 and so on.

Someone once told me..."Maths is a language. You have to "speak" it everyday to become good at it." Parents play a vital role here. By introducing young children to the world of numbers early on through games, chores, counting, etc the stage is set for later learning and CONFIDENCE! Over the next few days I will share some simple ideas relating to teaching Maths and to developing early Maths skills in young children. I will also post some make sure to visit often!


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Inspired by the blogging world!

I have spent days thinking about what I should write in my first blog and kept hitting a road block! I have just been so inspired by video clips I viewed on 2 blogs I have been following for some time now...and am so envious of the teachers in the US who have Cara Carroll and Abby Mullins to arrange what will most certainly be a fantastic blogging/teaching conference! (If you live in the US and don't yet know about the event they are planning head over to one of their blogs to find out more!- just click on their names above...)

Even though I am no longer in a classroom full time I still...and will always...consider myself a teacher! Right now my most important student is my 3 year old daughter (...and the handful of kids I help with homework and extra Maths lessons). I also spend many hours a day nurturing my business, Creative Classroom, a subscription based website supplying resources to teachers in South Africa. If you teach in SA and haven't yet subscribed to Creative Classroom please visit the website or leave me a comment and I will send you more information.

It is my hope that through this blog I will be able to promote the products I add to my TpT store and those that are posted to my website. I will also have freebies available and tips and ideas from my years of experience in a classroom. Please follow me and share a link to my blog with your teacher friends and other bloggers!

I look forward to becoming a member of this exciting teacher-blogging world!
Happy teaching!