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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