Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas FREEBIES for your last minute Christmas planning!

I cannot believe how quickly December is rushing by. For me the days are getting warmer and warmer as true summer weather approaches (hot and humid in my neck of the woods!). South African schools closed last week and I thought that I would have my very excited 4-year old "waiting under the tree" this week, but the time has simply flown by, what with swimming lessons and mornings spent with her Nanna (my mom)!! I haven't completed my Christmas shopping yet and still want to get a baking day or two in, but I'm swamped with work that needs to be ready mid-January when the schools here start their new school year!! I'm trying to get it done before we go on our annual holiday to Hermanus, a small coastal town near Cape Town. I'm soooo looking forward to the break and spending some time with my family...and certainly don't want to be beholden to work!!

I know how hectic it can be at this time of year no matter where in the world you live...trying to juggle family, school, Christmas can all be a little overwhelming at times. To ease you into the last week before Christmas break I have a few FREEBIE Christmas themed math worksheets for you (each worksheet is available with US and Canadian/UK/Aussie spellings). Click on the images to download these from my Teachers Pay teachers store.

While you are there take a look at some of the other Christmas/winter goodies I have on offer.

(Centers for February)
(Although not your typical Christmassy Gingerbread Man unit this one has tons of terrific ideas to integrate this story into a multitude of lessons and activities!)

Happy holidays to you all!!
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Sunday, 4 November 2012

Teachers helping Teachers

Laurah at The ESOL Odyssey has reached out to try to help teachers affected by Hurricane can help too by pledging your assistance with the offer of a product (or two or three...or more)!

You can click on the image above to find out more about this wonderful outreach to teachers and to pledge your support. If you are a teacher in need of support you can leave your details by following the link from Laurah's site.

Supporting and helping others is what teachers do best!!
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Friday, 19 October 2012

Beginning the alphabet at Z...and a freebie!!

Hello friends! This post marks the first in my series of 26 posts 'counting down' the alphabet...and so to Z!

Z is for zebras, zig zags and zero!

I defy you to think of zebra first off when you think of the letter 'Z'. I think we all do! :) I love zebras...and living in South Africa I get many opportunities to spend time in Game Reserves where these fascinating creatures live in abundance. One of my favourite places to visit over a long weekend is Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock in the Eastern Cape. It is about a 3 and a half hour drive from my home and in the middle of the quiet openness of the semidesert Karoo. A peaceful, soul nourishing place where we get to spend time relaxing, recharging and taking game drives to see the animals. Zebras fascinate me...these Cape mountain zebras are quite different from Burchell's or plains zebra. Their stripes are narrower and darker and they do not have "shadow stripes" like the Burchell's. But what fascinates me the most is the uniqueness of each zebra's stripes. They are like a fingerprint to the zebra and baby zebra's recognise their parents by the pattern the stripes form on their belly.

Another 'Z' teachers rely on is 'zig zag'. From early writing patterns to practicing cutting skills...where would we be without the zig zag?! Today's freebie is a writing skills practice page for the letter 'Z'. It can be just as easily used with crayons or a Pokey Pin for some extra fine motor practice.

'Race to Zero' is a simple Math game that can be used as a filler or as a Math Center at any time and for any age or ability. It is one of those 'go to' activities that can be easily adapted to be as challenging, or as simple, as required. Each child needs a sheet of scrap paper, a pencil and a dice or two. A starting number must be decided on (this can be anything from 10 to 100 or more). The object of the game is to be the first to reach zero...counting down from the starting number. This can be done in a number of ways:
        * Young learners can use a die programmed with 1 and 2 or 1, 2 and 3. They roll the dice and subtract the number rolled from their total. The first player to reach 0 is the winner. (For the real littlies you can start them off with 10 counters or 10 circles drawn on a page form which they can deduct the number rolled each time.)
        * As the ability of the players increases you can choose to include a 1-6 die, later a 1-10 die or 2 dice where the numbers are first added together and then subtracted from the total.
        * For older students you could begin with a higher number, use 2 dice and first multiply the dice rolls and then subtract from the total.
        * In each game the player to reach zero first is the winner! 

If you have any 'Z' related activities to share please leave a comment below. Look forward to sharing some activities relating to 'Y' next! have a happy Friday and a well-deserved rest this weekend!

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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

World Dictionary Day...and an Alphabet FREEBIE!

According to, today is World Dictionary Day:
'A day for lexicographers everywhere, Dictionary Day was founded to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Noah Webster – the father of the modern dictionary. Why not take the opportunity to learn some new words?'

In honour of World Dictionary Day
My next 26 posts will cover the alphabet from Z to A!
Each post will be about 'teacherly things'
And freebies and giveaways your way will bring.

Invite your friends for oodles of fun 
Until the entire alphabet is done!
For today here is an alphabet FREEBIE!
The next post will begin at Z...
With exciting things for you to read and see!

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Saturday, 13 October 2012

Friday FREEBIE...on a Saturday!

Hello friends! I had many late nights working this past week and just couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to write this post last your Friday Freebie is coming to you on a Saturday! I mentioned in my last post that Halloween is not very big here in South Africa...but that certainly doesn't stop me from creating cute Halloween themed activities! The clipart available for this time of the year is so cute it just begs to be used!

I have a little munchkin that I take for math lessons one-on-one who is struggling with place value over a 100, so I created this activity using base 10 blocks, expanded notation and a 100-200 grid especially for her...and now I am sharing it with you! Hope you can use it!

Happy weekend all! I'll be back with a new series of posts (and plenty of freebies!) next week so be sure to visit again soon!
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Friday, 5 October 2012

Friday Freebie: Spider Web Counting

Here in South Africa, Halloween is not really celebrated. In my neighbourhood, and amongst some of my friends, we get the kids dressed up and go trick-or-treating to the homes of neighbours who are willing participants and at the ready with candy! Despite the low key nature of the event here, my 4 year old daughter remembers it with high anticipation each year and has already planned this year's outfit - a fairy, the same as last year...and the year before!!! No surprises there! :)

It also amuses me that some of our supermarkets get in on the "low key" action and try to turn some trade by filling the check out aisles with Halloween themed candy!! With Halloween drawing nigh, and many teachers already planning their Halloween activities, it seems appropriate to offer up a little 'Spider-themed' freebie.

The first worksheet in this file has numbers entered into the webs for your students to find the patterns and continue counting. The second is blank so that you can programme it with your own numbers, thus making this worksheet adaptable for any age and ability of student! 

Wishing you lots of spidery fun!!
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Friday, 10 August 2012

Back to School SALE and FREEBIE!

Sitting here in South Africa in the midst of a rather chilly winter and just a few weeks into a new school term it is hard to believe that Summer is at an end for those of you in warmer climes....and the end of Summer, of course, means that it is time to go BACK TO SCHOOL!! Oh no, you might cry, in astonishment (at time flying by so quickly) or bewilderment (at the thought of all the work yet to be done)!

Never fear TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS is coming to your rescue. We are going to help save you a little time for more summer fun and lessen your B2S workload. How will we achieve this wondrous feat??? With the Back to School SALE, of course!

Many of your favorite sellers on TPT will have sales running on 12 and 13 August....on top of the savings from these teachers TPT is offering an extra 10% off your total purchase. A total saving of up to 28%! To make the most of this wonderful offer use the promotion code BTS12 when you check out.

Please remember to pop over to my store and fill your cart to the brim...I am offering 20% off everything in my store for not just 2 days, but 4! Visit any time from 11-14 August to save yourself time, effort and money!!

...and just to whet your appetite, here a a B2S freebie just for you! Have your students practice their graphing skills using their own names!

Here's to a wonderful 2012/13 school year to all my terrific followers!

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Saturday, 28 July 2012

Lesson Cloud Dollar Days SALE!!

Here is a fantastic first from The Lesson Cloud authors....for two days only a number of teachers are selling products for just $1 and $2 on Teachers Pay Teachers. Visit The Lesson Cloud on Sunday, 29 July to see if your favorite teacher-authors are linked up to the Dollar Days Sale! You could also stand a chance of winning a $75 gift certificate to Really Good Stuff! 

Pop along to my Teachers Pay Teachers store and you can grab any of the products in my $3-5 category for just $1 or $2! That's 50% or more saving on each of these products!! Happy shopping!
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Monday, 9 July 2012

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Okay, so I have once again been a little scarce for the longest time!
I hope all my Northern Hemisphere followers are having a wonderful summer vacation.
We are a little chilly here in South Africa, but nothing that a snuggly blanket and a roaring fire can't sort out!

I was so excited to discover Bloglovin' and am already following some of my favorite blogs with it...I hope you will choose to follow me through Bloglovin' and keep spreading the "blog love" around!

Give me another few weeks to get up to date with some of my work and I promise I will be back to blogging a little more regularly!

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Monday, 28 May 2012

Math on the Run

If you are not yet on Summer break, you are no doubt counting the days until the end of the year...and wondering what to do with your kiddos each day to keep them busy in a meaningful, but fun way... If this sounds like you, read on! A very dear friend, and long time colleague of mine, came up with a brilliant Math game a good few years back. This game requires virtually no preparation, can be done on the spur of the moment, keeps kids actively busy and thinking and is the perfect activity for those days when you you're feeling in a slump. We named it "Running Math" and here's how it works...

You will need a set of flashcards/equation cards for whatever concept you want to consolidate (e.g. number facts, tables, addition of 10's, doubling, etc), paper and pencil or dry erase board and pen and a calculator for each student. Lay all the flashcards out on the floor in a central place in your classroom. Give each child a paper and pencil or dry erase board and pen. Here's the part the kids really like....have them remove their shoes and socks! Now explain the rules:
  • NO running (I know, I know...why is it called running maths then?!!?!)
  • NO pushing
  • NO talking
The object is for each student to collect, write down and complete as many sums as they can within the time you allocate. The children walk (quickly) to the flashcards take one, return to their table, write the sum and the answer, return to the pile of flashcards to swop the card...and repeat....until you say stop. You can time them for however long you feel that they can manage...2mins...5mins...its up to you! When you call 'STOP!' they put their pens down and swop papers/dry erase boards with a friend.

Now it's time to check the answers. I always liked my students to become au fait with the mechanics of a calculator from early on - not to do calculations but as a skill in and of itself. (I know this is a "hot topic" so if you don't like to use calculators then you can check the work yourself.) I had the children use their calculators to check their friends answers. They then counted how many correct answers they had, wrote the total at the top of the page and returned the pages to the owner.

I always liked to "reward" the "Running Math" champ with a round of applause or a few house points. To find out the champ I had all the students stand and then had them sit down if they did not fit the number I called. E.g. 'Keep standing if you got more than 10 correct',  'Remain standing if you got more than 20 correct', etc. (You can go up in whatever interval you feel is appropriate for your students achievements.) Keep going until you have only the champion standing. All the students can give the child a clap (or you could award a small prize).

Once you have played this once you will have your students begging to play it again and again! It became a good old standby activity in my classroom...and the kids LOVED it!

If you are looking for other "active" Math activities you are sure to like my 'STOMP' games (Stomp subtraction facts and Stomp addition facts) available in my TpT store.

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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A boost of positive energy for your classroom for the end of year!

It's almost Summer and the countdown for the end of the year has begun! Are you thinking about the last few days with a little bit of a sense of trepidation....How to keep the kids busy without them getting too excitable? How to maintain a happy air in the classroom when everyone is getting a little tired and all to ready for a holiday?!

You could end your year with a burst of positive energy, joyfulness and gratitude. 'Sunflower Journal' pages are a great way for your students to record their happy memories of the year gone by, to express gratitude for special people and moments during the year and share their happy thoughts and wishes for the upcoming vacation. By focusing their "Summer's coming!" energy towards finding "gratitude moments" you will reap the rewards of a happy, peaceful, positive end of the year. Visit my TpT store to download this freebie!

Wishing you an end of year and Summer filled with your own "gratitude moments" and happy memories!

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Friday, 11 May 2012

Sunflower Journals: Finding Gratitude Moments, Joyfulness and Positivity Everyday!

It was many years ago, after hearing about Gratitude Journals on Oprah, that I introduced this idea to my second grade students. The idea was an instant hit in my classroom and my students were eager to write as often as possible (especially as no editing was ever required in these journals!). I provided them with writing prompts 2-3 times a week to keep them thinking positively about different things and I was amazed at how soon they began to find "gratitude moments" in everyday occurrences and situations. Occasionally students even asked to take their journals home so that they could add a little more writing or jazz up their entry with a cute illustration.

I soon discovered that the positive energy from these journals was overflowing into my classroom. Sure, the kids still rankled each other - kids will be kids, you know! But they were beginning to focus more on the positive. Little things, like saying nice things about each other and noticing when someone said or did something nice to or for them. And they were happy. And you know what they say "Happy kids = Happy teacher"!

I was recently reminded of these journals by a thread on Facebook and mentioned to some fellow bloggers that I had once used them in my classroom and would they be something other teachers could use. Fellow blogger, Laura Candler, quickly responded to my mention and told me about her 'Happy Thoughts Journals' (read her blog post by clicking on this text). Thanks to her encouragement and support I dug out my old hand drawn worksheets and quickly got to tackling a digital unit for my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

I discovered a cute image of a sunflower I had used for these journals so long ago amongst these papers and I immediately knew that the seed had been planted for something great! 'Sunflower Journals' were germinated and grew...and grew... The sunflower is a symbol of such positivity, joyfulness, warmth and energy, exactly what we want our young students to be and become. By creating their own Sunflower Journal covers (craft included in the unit) students will be engaged from the start with this yearlong activity. The pack includes over 120 writing prompts (which can be used in Literacy Centers or as independent work) to keep directing your students thoughts to happy, positive places, times, memories and ideas. All the time learning to show gratitude for the everyday, small things in life. The unit would not have been complete without an activity to germinate sunflower seeds so that each student has their own sunflower plant to remind them of the idea of looking for "gratitude moments".

With the end of the school year drawing near and students looking back at the time that has passed and forward to a fun-filled Summer vacation, I thought it would be great to have a few journal pages that focus on the "gratitude moments" of the year gone by and of thoughts for the vacation ahead. I have compiled these journal pages into a FREEBIE for you to use right away in your classroom. Visit my TpT store to download a copy...  My little way of showing gratitude for and appreciation of YOU!

And now, why not spend a few moments jotting down some things you are grateful for in YOUR life... You will be amazed at how uplifting the positive energy is!
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Thursday, 3 May 2012

Happy birthday to me...and a treat for you!

Today is my birthday and as a little treat for you everything in my TeachersPayTeachers store is less 41% for today only. Please stop by to make the most of this special offer!

Please remember I am in South Africa (GMT +2) and this special sale will run from 0h00 on the 3rd of May to 0h00 on the 4th of May. Happy shopping!
*(Graphic from PrintCandee)
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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Teacher Appreciation Jackpot!

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the Teacher Appreciation Jackpot yesterday! I hope you were able to stock up on some terrific freebies! - I know I did! An ENORMOUS thank you must be extended to Laura Candler, April McNair and Adrianne Meldrum for all their hard work in putting this together! You ladies are FANTASTIC in my book and greatly appreciated! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Don't forget that the TpT sale continues until 8 May so keep stocking up your cart and "shop 'til you drop!"

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week and to ensure you feel TRULY appreciated a number of TeachersPayTeachers sellers and bloggers have arranged the first ever TEACHER APPRECIATION JACKPOT, an amazing "blog hop" event involving more than 130 bloggers!

We wanted to show our appreciation for you in a BIG way, so we've all agreed to give away one of our TeachersPayTeachers products for free on that day! Each free gift will be valued at between $3 and $8, so the total jackpot amount is estimated to be over $500!

Because so many bloggers are participating, this event will be divided into three grade level groups. Each of those smaller events is being coordinated by one blogger as shown below:

  • PK - Grade 2 - April McNair on A Modern Teacher
  • Grades 3 - 6 - Laura Candler on Corkboard Connections
  • Grades 7 - 12 - Adrianne Meldrum on The Tutor House

  • All the excitement unfolds on Sunday, 6 May! Not only will there be masses of items available for you to download for FREE in the Teachers Appreciation Jackpot, but there will also be a massive sale at TpT in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. Please take a look through my TeachersPayTeachers store and feel free to load up your shopping cart! No need to worry that an item you add to your cart now might be the one that becomes free; if a product in your cart becomes free later you will not pay anything for it at checkout.

    Below you will find links to all the PreK-2 blogs that are participating in the Teacher Appreciation Jackpot. Each of these wonderful teachers will have a FREE gift available for you to download on Sunday! This is our way to show our appreciation of all that you do each day in the lives of your students and families.

    And now, here is the gift I have available for you in my TpT store:
    I know that you will definitely want to add this to your word wall activities and Literacy Centers next year!

    Thank you for following my blog and store...I hope you are made to feel truly appreciated next week!
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    Tuesday, 1 May 2012

    Global Teacher Connect Giveaway!

    At Global Teacher Connect May is the month to celebrate teachers...and to show our appreciation a number of us have agreed to post new freebies each day for you to download and use in your classroom. Today I added a little gift from South Africa in the form of a 'Safari Park Data' worksheet. To download a copy click on the link below to be redirected to GTC.

    Happy Teacher Appreciation Week next week!
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