Saturday, 28 June 2014

Five for Friday!

This is my first Five for Friday! Click on the picture to check out other blogs in the link up :)

Monday was my 26th Birthday! I feel old, haha. I know this is going to sound strange but I still think of myself at a 22 year old. I can't believe I am actually 26 now!

I did not get called in for work, I was kind of relieved. I mean, I would have gone in if I was called, but I was looking forward to going out for lunch with my boyfriend. I was treated to Nando's and Churros. All very delicious. This was the 3rd time in 2 weeks that I have been to Nando's. I think I may have a slight addiction, but when the food is this good, can you really blame me?

I worked 4 out of the 5 days this week. I am thrilled! I really didn't expect to pick up so much work straight away. I thought I would have to wait a while. Had a pretty good week. Year 5, Kindy support, Year 1 and then Kindy support. I also got to cover a year 3 class for a few hours and had a bunch of my kiddos from 2012. They're a lot bigger now and spent a lot of the time asking me "Do you remember that time we..." as well as if I can be their teacher again next year. Awwww!

My boyfriend and I have been in a fight with the real estate back in Manchester. We still have not received our deposit back! Their first excuse was that we had apparently stolen a glass table, two dining chairs, a bedside chest and a leather bed from the apartment. Let me just remind you that I live in Australia. For us to have 'stolen' anything, we would have had to have taken it on the plane. The silliest part of this was that some of the furniture in question could be seen in the check out report photos! The chairs and bed we were given were not the same as the ones listed in the inventory. So we had to point this out and they came back and apologised.

Problem solved, right? wrong!

Then they accused us of paying short on a rental payment as well as owing money for extending our contract for two days. So we fired back with receipts to prove that we had paid the required amounts on time. We also corrected them about the date that we had left. They refused to believe us and so we sent the same argument and proof again. Then they started to ignore us, so I wrote a rather firm email which basically sent the proof for a third time and wrote that we would be seeking LEGAL action if they could not resolve this. This time they replied instantly and all their issues with us had just magically disappeared!

Problem solved, right? WRONG!

Minutes after sending us the email confirming that we would get our full deposit back, they sent a new email claiming the landlord had just rang them and wanted us to pay for a blind that didn't close properly and a tiny dent on the back of the door.

By this point we were not really in the mood to play nice about it after being jerked around already. So we fired off an email pointing out that the blind doesn't close properly because of the skirting board and not because it was broken. We also pointed out that the dent was already there and probably caused by moving in furniture, which we did not do as the place was fully furnished. Also, as these two things would be considered 'natural wear and tear' we are not liable for it as wear and tear is not covered by tenants. They took ages to reply but claimed the landlord agreed with us (funny that) and that we just need to provide the banking details.

The problem? they sent it in the middle of the night and now the person dealing with it has conveniently gone away for a week, so we have to wait till they come back. Only I don't think we are settling for that and will be trying to find someone else to return the money asap. I don't think we are being too ridiculous here. They've done everything they can to delay returning the money and their excuses are not valid and inaccurate. Is it really that hard to maintain accurate records?!

Phew! I will be jumping for joy when the money is safely in my account and I never have to see or deal with this company again! I never imagined it would be this difficult.

This week I found out that I get to go and watch the taping of The Voice. I went to one back in Manchester, so it will be interesting to see how it's done over here. I find it interesting seeing how a TV show is filmed and produced.

I am on school holidays now for 2 weeks! It's kind of become a bit of a joke that I just came back from holidays to go back on holidays :P I think this is going to be one the busiest school holidays ever because we will probably still be fighting with the Manchester Real Estate as well as trying to find an apartment over here in Sydney. Busy, busy, busy!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Casual Teaching on Year 1: Rhyming Words, Summarising and 2D Shapes

Today I was on the same Year 1 class as last week. Once again I had a pretty great day with them :)

Here are some of the things we go up to...

Rhyming Words
We reviewed the concept. Students were able to tell me that they are words that sound the same AND have the same sound/letters at the end of the word.

We did a choral read of Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. This book just lead perfectly into it as it states the rhyming words before putting them into sentences.

After that I gave students a word and they had to brainstorm as many words as possible that rhymed with the word.

To end the lesson we played a whole class game; rhyming word dominoes. The dominoes joined by finding the pictures that rhymed.

I introduced the concept of summarising by explaining that we take the most important ideas and say them in our own words. I related this to giving news, how we don't give EVERY single detail.

The text I was was Giraffes Can't Dance.

After reading the text I introduced the 'Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then' strategy using my retelling pack, which you can find over here.

As a class we went through each step;

Somebody? Who was the main character? Gerald.
Wanted? What did he want? To dance.
But? What was the problem? He couldn't.
So? What did he do to fix the problem? He practised.
Then? What happened at the end? He was able to dance at the Jungle Dance.

Then students filled out this graphic organiser, which is from my Super 6 Activity Pack on TPT. You can check it out by clicking here.

Students could either draw or write in the boxes.

2D Shapes
To start this lesson off, students brainstormed a list of all the 2D shapes they could think of. I was pretty impressed that they already knew of nonagons and decagons. We then played a game where students had to find things in the classroom that were a given shape.

After that, students made a shape pizza. In the morning I had cut out a whole heap of shapes from coloured paper. Students had to grab a handful of shapes from the bag, arrange them on their pizza and then count how many of each shape to complete statements about their pizza.

Tomorrow is the last day of term 2 and then we have a 2 week holiday. My goal for the holiday is to go through all my teaching resources and sort them out a bit better. At the moment I have bits and pieces all over the place.

Enjoy the rest of your week! :)

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Casual Teaching on Year 5; Point of View and Persuasive Writing

Today I had a year 5 class. It's been a long, long, long time since I've taught one of the older grades. I spent 2011 and 2012 on Year 1 and in 2013 I did support on Kindy and Year 1.

I had a great day. I had planned my own work but the teacher had left me work. In the end I'm glad I had my own plans as there was a slight technical glitch and I had to fall back on my own work for part of the day until things were fixed. I'm just going to blog about the lesson I had planned which took up the whole morning session.

I got to use my latest resource which I specifically created for today; a Persuasive Writing Activity Pack. Click on the picture to check it out on TPT :)

We started off this morning with the story Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters From Obedience School.

This was a great find a couple of year ago. I only paid $2 for it at a book store liquidation sale. For those not familiar with the story, it's about a dog called Ike who is sent to obedience school and writes letters to his owner. His letters are full of exaggeration and pleas for her to take him home. The illustrations are done in a clever way. There are two parts; b&w showing the exaggeration and the coloured ones showing how it really is.

The two types of illustrations provide a great discussion point about why the illustrator would do this and how it helps tell the story. From there, the discussion can easily lead into the topic; Point of View.

We completed a table comparing the point of view of Ike and what the pictures show.

After that students were given the task to write Mrs. LaRue a letter persuading her to come and take the dog home. Students could either be Ike or themselves.

Before sending them off to write, we talked about what a persuasive text was. Then we talked about the structure and what to include in each paragraph. We looked at an example text and looked at the features. Then students were giving a planning sheet to jot down their ideas before writing the letters.

Here are some of the pages that we used from the persuasive writing pack;

Reading their letters was entertaining. I was very impressed with their reasons for collecting Ike. They combined reasons from the story as well as their own ideas.

I would say that this lesson was a success. Students were able to talk about the different points of view presented and were able to write a decent persuasive letter.

The rest of the day was good. Did some place value and got to experiment with circuit boards and light bulbs. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Casual Teaching on Year 1: Visualising, Mass, Rhyming and Craft!

Today was my first day teaching in 13 months!

I was excited to come back. As much as I loved travelling, I still missed being in the classroom.

I was given a Year 1 class, which I was happy about. I prefer teaching K-3 and feel more comfortable with that grade range as that's where I've had the most experience.

Seeing everyone again was nice. Lots of hugs and 'Welcome Back' moments :)

So what did we do today?

After the morning routine was taken care of, we did a lesson on one of the Super Six Comprehension Strategies; Visualising.

I started if off with a revision of the concept and read a passage from The Gruffalo's Child.

The passage described the Big Bad Mouse character. Students then drew and coloured their visualisations. Students were encouraged to label their drawing e.g. "long, strong tail" and "fiery eyes".

Students then shared their drawings with the class and I showed them what the mouse looked like in the story. If you're not familiar with the text, the Big Bad Mouse looks like a normal mouse. This was a great discussion point - Why was the mouse described as being big and scary when he was just a regular mouse?

At that point we had to pack up and go to the library, so I left them with that question and we would go back to it later.

Library was fun, I got to read a story to the two classes.

I had duty first half of lunch. They added a new duty area and I had no idea where it was. Awkward! I had a whole heap of students follow me around asking me where I had been and if it was really me, haha. I never thought that so many students would have noticed I wasn't around.

After lunch, I read The Gruffalo's Child. The students picked up that the Gruffalo couldn't remember exactly what the mouse looked like so he made it up.

We then moved onto maths. I brought in my own equal arm balance. A great purchase for only $5 a few years ago. We talked about what it is used for and how to read it. Then we had some fun by estimating how many 10's rods would be needed to equalise the balance with various classroom objects. Very important to make sure the students were counting each rod as they placed it in rather than just counting randomly.

There was only about half an hour till recess so we had a mini lesson on rhyming words. After discussing what rhyming words are, I read There's a Wocket in my Pocket by Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss books are great for rhyming words. The students loved the story as well as picking out the rhyming words on each page.

After the story, we played a game. I picked a base word and then called out words that rhymed with the word. As long as the words rhymed with my base word, the students could move around the room. When I called out a word that did not rhyme, students had to freeze. Great way to get the wiggles out!

After recess, we did a craft activity. Students could make either a lion or a butterfly.

It was a great first day back and the day just flew by. Looking forward to more days :) I would love to post photos of the work, but to keep it simple and avoid any sort of legal drama, I'm refraining from posting. It's just not worth the potential trouble.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Technology You Should Try : BooksApp

Want an easy way to keep track of all your books? Need a way to keep a portable list that doesn't involve tons of paper and time to create/maintain? Then I have the App for you!

Today I bring you this wonderful App called BooksApp. Click here to get it from the App Store. It's free for the basic version :)

When you first open the App it looks like this;
From here you can view your books as one big list or in more organised lists; series, collections, author, publisher or by subject. You can even track books you have loaned to your friends.

To get started click on the Books menu, it will take you to this screen.

Click on the plus to add a book to your library. You can choose a few different ways, the easiest is to use the Barcode Scanner. Though if the ISBN is not listed with the barcode it will not work and you will have to manually enter the ISBN.

As you can see, once the barcode is recognised, the title will appear. Click on done and the book will be added to your library.

If you click on a title, you can see detailed information about the book.

Once your books are added you can start adding them to series, collections and categories. Click on the pencil icon and this is what you should see...

Add in the categories you want and your collection will be a whole lot more organised!

This app does require an internet connection to add your books so I would recommend you use it with wi-fi and not a cellular connection as it can chew up your data.

If you like the app you can upgrade to be able to export your list to Google Drive. 

I Love this app, makes keeping track of things so much easier. Give it a go, you won't be disappointed!

New Layout & My First Feature!

I've only been back in Australia for a few days but it's definitely been busy! I'm not one to suffer from JetLag so I've had plenty of time to unpack, get in contact with friends and work, come up with lesson ideas, find some resources and go out. I've also had time to make a new layout for this blog. I've only had this for a few months, but I wanted something a bit brighter :)

I'm also happy as one of my TPT products has been featured on a blog called Teachers Love Freebies!
Click here to check it out. I love this blog as it features a variety of different TPT authors with some great products that are all FREE! Stop by and check it out, you might find something you like :)

I'm hoping to have some time this week to try out a new app and share it on here. If it works like it's supposed to, it will be very useful for organising your book collection. If you're like me, you have hundreds of books and sometimes it can be hard to remember exactly what you have. 

Hope you all have a great week ahead :)

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Coming Home

In just a few days I will be back home in Sydney, after spending 13 months overseas. It's a sad but exciting time for me. Sad that I will be giving up this traveller lifestyle but excited to return home and see my family, friends and home comforts again. Returning home also means that I will be going back to work and returning to teaching as a casual (sub/supply).

I'm looking forward to returning to teaching, though I'd be lying if I said I wasn't somewhat nervous about it. 13 months is a long time to be away and all sorts of silly thoughts are going through my head;

What if no one calls me for work? 

What if I have no idea what to teach that day? What if I have forgotten everything?

What if the lessons I plan are boring and the students run wild?

What if the teacher doesn't like the lessons I've done and then confronts me about it?

Of course this is all nonsense. I've had 5 years of experience, I know what I'm doing. I've kept up to date with things, gotten some great ideas off pinterest/blogs and have been making resources to use. I've also got a whole granny flat full of resources, I could probably open up my own store! So I can stop worrying about the not knowing what to do thing! I've got that covered :) 

I don't think the no one calling me thing is valid either. I was called in to work on the first day of school in January, unfortunately I had to turn that down as I was in Manchester. So chances are that if I got called for the very first day of school, I'll get called once I'm back in the country. I have a few schools that I used to work at on a frequent basis before having my own class, so I have backups if my main school has nothing for me. 

I'll have a weekend to spare once I return. I plan on using my weekend to recover from any jetlag, get my hair cut (I'm starting to resemble Rapunzel now) and gather a few resources to use for the first few days of work. I also need to organise something for my 26th Birthday as that's happening the week after.

Lots of things to look forward to, but for now I'm going to enjoy my last days as a traveller with my adventures in Bulgaria and The Netherlands!

I'm also giving the Twitter thing a go, you can find me with the username @talesfrommissd :)

Sunday, 1 June 2014

May: My First Month on TPT + a Celebration FREEBIE!

May was my first month selling on TPT. I would say it has been a success based on units sold and my earnings :) It was a slow start but once I made my first sale things took off and I was making a couple of sales a week.

I was surprised, not because I didn't have confidence in my products, but because I thought it would take longer to get noticed. I'd been participating in pinning parties and collaborative boards but my repins were nothing compared to the other products that had been around for ages. When I first started my store, I had no expectations. I was just giving it a go to see what would happen. I'm always making resources and refining them and it seemed silly not to put them out there for others to use too.

To celebrate my first month and my success, I am posting a FREEBIE! This bunting is bright and colourful, the perfect addition to any classroom! Click on the picture to get your copy on TPT :)

If you like the bunting, there are also a-z/number bunting packs in my store in the 'Classroom Displays' section.

That's about it from me for now. I have to get back to emptying and cleaning the apartment. Only 10 days until I am back home in Sydney! Eeek!

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the rest of your weekend :)