Saturday, 7 March 2015

Five for Friday

It's been a while since I have linked up with Five for Friday, but I made myself the goal to do it this week. Not being at school everyday, I have struggled to think of things to post (it was always easy when you did so many exciting things in your classroom), but the truth is, I have done much more than 5 things this week so it should be easy!

R arrived home one day this week with a beautiful bunch of flowers for me! Very special to get impromptu presents! I love this florist, she uses lots of native Australian plants in her arrangement. You can follow Emily Bloom on Facebook here and see how creative she is!

Finally we are getting some strawberries on our bushes. They didn't seem to like the heat of December and January and decided February/March was right for them this year. There is nothing like the sweetness of a fresh strawberry!

R has been playing around with some photos in the vineyard. I love this shot! The grapes are looking fantastic this year and have now all been harvested and are sitting fermenting away. 

Baby clothes have been washed and dried ready for the arrival! We also had our carpets cleaned and I have most cleaning jobs ticked off my list for before the baby arrives. I even got around to packing my hospital bag!

I haven't got a photo for this one, but I am super excited for it! While lying there one night this week I came up with a great idea for a new Maths Resource for Grade 3 and 4 teachers. Hopefully I can get a fair bit down this weekend and share it with you soon! 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Check out the link below to see more Five for Fridays!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

March Currently!

March Currently! Wow! When did that happen! March is a special month - it's the month when my least favourite season is over (not a fan of hot Summers) and my favourite, autumn is about to start (when it doesn't get confused with all the hot weather). But this year it is especially special because it's the month we get to meet our baby boy or girl! Not long to go now!

Listening - I am enjoying the quiet time, I don't even have to have the fans or air conditioner on and the dog is outside so it is nice and peaceful!

Loving - as above! Exciting times.

Thinking - since I am not a fan of hot weather, I am loving that the last few days have been cooler. Now if it could only rain to settle the dust!

Wanting - I WANT a big comfy chair - I do NOT NEED one nor do I have the space for one - but how amazing would it be to sit in one of these?

Needing - I probably should get my hospital bag packed, although I live so close to the hospital that it wouldn't really matter either way... but I guess I should be organised!

Spring Break Plans - well obviously it is Autumn in Australia and I am on maternity leave anyway, so my main goal everyday at the moment is to get something else cleaned out and then spend the day relaxing (which has meant watching Ace of Cakes from Season 1 right through!).

Head on over to Farley's blog for more Currently's!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Teachers Pay Teachers Sale Time!

It's Sale Time again on Teachers Pay Teachers! It's a ONE DAY ONLY sale so you need to set aside Wednesday now (US EST) so you can pick yourself up a bargain! For those teachers in Australia, it will start our Wednesday afternoon at 4pm and go through to Thursday (officially 4pm but usually they keep it going until it is midnight in Hawaii). The code this time is HEROES and don't be like me and do all this shopping and forget to put the code in! Oops!

One of the biggest ways you can save at sale time is to buy in bundles. They are already discounted anyway, then you can get a further 28% discount off! Here are a few of mine you might be interested in, click on the picture to be taken to the file...

Australian Foundation Teachers, this is the perfect pack for you if you are needing some more ideas for teaching One to One Correspondence. All activities are perfect for Maths Centres.

Grade 2 to 4 teachers might be interested in this Place Value pack full of games, activities and worksheets for teaching Place Value. This product is my best seller!

My cart is full of clipart (since I don't have a class at the moment) and ready to go. Here are some I can't wait to get...

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Fly on the Math Teacher's Wall Blog Hop

I'm joining in with some great math teachers in the Fly on the Math Teacher's Wall blog hop! We are going to squash the mathematical misconceptions some teachers and students have on the topic of FRACTIONS! I know Fractions is a huge topic right now, I am being asked questions about fractions on my blog, my fractions products are being purchased on Teachers Pay Teachers and ideas are being pinned on Pinterest. So this is perfect timing. There are 18 blogs to hop through, so enjoy and I hope all your questions are answered!

Having just taught Foundation (Kindergarten), we investigated fractions on a basic level, what is a whole, what is a half, what is a quarter and what does this mean? We wanted the children to understand that half meant "break into 2" and quarter meant "break into 4". Because the children really couldn't go wrong here, I am reflecting back on the 2013 school year when I taught 3rd and 4th Grade.

There were two misconceptions the children had.

The big number always goes on the bottom.


The bigger the bottom number, the bigger the fraction. 

Perhaps you are sitting there reading this and thinking, my class had that same problem! Well lucky for you I am going to talk to through some activities I have found help children understand both these concepts.

The big number always goes on the bottom. 

You may have questioned before whether you really need to teach the concept of "numerator" and "denominator" to children. I always do, as I believe it helps the children understand what a fraction is. And with a mother who was a High School Maths teacher, she always said to me Primary/Elementary Teachers should be teaching the "proper" names for Maths concepts. I always teach the denominator as being the number "Down Under".

The important thing is that we teach children that the bottom number is the total number of equal parts that make up the whole in the fraction and is not always the bigger of the two numbers even if they can't remember the proper name for it.

To make connections to this concept, we had a brainstorm to do with 1/2 constantly reflecting on the parts and total number of parts in the whole.

I constantly have the children draw the fraction as well as write the fraction. If they do this, they will record the denominator being how many equal parts there are in the whole shape and the numerator as being how many parts are shaded, or taken away etc. Pictorial representations can show so much! 

Children with a beginning knowledge of fractions will always automatically put the bigger of the two numbers on the bottom. This is true when children are dealing with Grade 3 and 4 Maths, but what happens when they are then introduced to improper fractions? 

We all know using food is a great way to demonstrate fractions. Bring in two of something; cakes, oranges, apples, pizza, chocolate blocks etc. something that you can cut up. Work with the children to  cut each cake into 4 parts. Then collect 6 of the parts - put the line and the denominator in (4), then ask them what number should go on top? This concept will challenge many children, so let them discuss and teach you what they understand. 

The bigger the bottom number, the bigger the fraction.

The other misconception I have found many children to have is that they just assume that the bigger the number on the bottom is, the bigger the fraction. So for example:

3/8 would be bigger than 1/2 (because the 8 is larger than the 2, right?) WRONG!

The easiest way I have found to teach this concept is to create a number line in the classroom. Place a big 0 at one end of the classroom and place a 1 at the other end of the classroom. Give children a card each with different fractions. Ask them to position themselves in the correct location on the number line. This activity can easily take 20 minutes (even if you only have 10 children putting themselves on the number line) due to the discussion you can have with the children and what they can teach you about their understanding. For example when a child with 1/8 stands up, have the discussion about how many parts does the number line have to be separated into? 8. Then at how many parts does the child need to stand at? 1. Repeat this with multiple fractions.

If children understand the basic concept behind the number line, you might make things more complicated by giving children equivalent fractions. This activity is all about discussion!

After the class discussion, children can then draw a number line in their book and place different fractions on the number line. Ask the children to write about what they learnt today as a reflection. 

The next blog for you to hop to is Mr Elementary Math. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Have you considered Morning Maths?

Are you starting a new school year and wondering how you want to teach Maths? Or are you part way through a school year and have noticed that your class are struggling with so many little everyday Maths concepts? Perhaps you might want to consider adding Morning Maths to your morning routine.

My day always begins with children independently reading and changing their home readers for the night. This encourages parents to stay and be involved, helping me get around to hear as many children read as possible. After we have read and changed our home readers, we sit in front of our Morning Maths board ready.

Morning Maths is as it suggests done every morning. The routine and order is the same everyday ensuring the children are practising the fundamental maths skills they need in order to get through everyday life!
This includes:
Calendar discussion
Skip Counting
Ordinal Number
Problem Solving stories
Odds and Evens
Clock Times

I’m passionate about Morning Maths and have seen the changes it can make to the confidence children approach maths lessons with. I strongly suggest you try it yourself! I will admit, it takes perseverance and patience, but it is worth it in the end!

Here is a video of Morning Maths in my classroom (Grade 1).

Unfortunately, due to children's privacy I am not allowed to share my Foundation/Kindergarten video with you, however, if you download the outline below it will help you implement it into your classroom. 

Please ask any questions! I know it works and I know you will love the daily routine!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Ice-Cream Shapes with a Freebie or Two!

Another week has arrived! In Australia it is a hot, muggy Monday morning and teachers are preparing for a new week. It may be the third month of Summer, but it feels like only now Summer has arrived! AND Summer means Ice-Cream!

My class made this cute Ice-Cream Shapes.

Firstly, we coloured in the shapes, then cut out the shapes and shape names and stuck the correct name on the shape. Then we put together our Ice-Creams on the table and stuck them onto a piece of paper. It made such a cute display!

Here is a FREE copy of the outlines I used in my classroom if you want to make some Ice-Cream Shapes in your classroom too!

And for teachers of older children, have you downloaded my newly revised Place Value Boards FREEBIE? I have a class set of these printed and laminated and use them constantly when modelling Place Value, Addition and Subtraction (especially trading). 

Click here to download.

Enjoy your week!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Measuring For Beginners

Aren't there always some topics of Maths that children just love getting in there and doing it? They love the hands-on activities, the trial and error, the discussion and are then left wondering at the end of the day "When did we do Maths today?". That's how my class were with Measurement activities. This is one we loved!

At the start of the lesson, each child found something in the room to bring down to the floor. I didn't tell them whether I wanted it to be big or small but generally all selected something that was small and in easy reach.

I introduced the words "heavy and light" and children used heaving to check which was heavier out of two objects.

Then we used balance scales to compare items to see what happens when something is heavier/lighter than something else.

Then we made some balance scales and compared items to ourselves. In our book we did one page with "lighter" and one page with "heavier". The children had a wonderful time thinking of things that were heavier and lighter than them - elephants, parents, house and aeroplanes were just a few!

You can download everything to create these great balance scales in my pack "A Measuring Activity For Beginners". Also included are some worksheets if you don't have time to do some cutting and pasting to make balance scales.

We had a great time using this pack and I am sure you will too!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Valentine's Day Freebie

I've been busy creating, printing, laminating, making and trying out new products recently. I have plenty of new and exciting activities to share with you to try in your classroom!

I know some celebrate Valentine's Day, others not, but I created this quick freebie for you today in case you do want to celebrate with some fun, but purposeful maths on Friday. 

Simply use a paper clip and pencil as a spinner!

I also included this cute poster to display on your Smartboard or print out in your classroom. I have debated with teachers in the past about the position of zero, is it odd or even? I believe neither, but I always put it on the even board so children know that 10 is even, 20 is even, 100 is even etc. What do you think?

Click on the image below to download your free copy!


Have you got an area of Maths you aren't really sure how to teach? Email me ( today and I will email back some engaging and purposeful ideas!