Finding Your Tribe | Melbourne Instagram Meetup

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Hello, teacher friends!

Have you found your tribe? (Or tribes, even, because there can be more than one for everyone?)

I have, and it’s amazing.

Tribes are those likeminded individuals that you find you share a lot in common with. The kind of people who you can chat to and know that they really understand and that they don’t judge you. Good days, bad days. It doesn’t matter, because your Tribe will always have your back.

I wear a lot of (metaphorical) hats, so I have a Tribes to meet those hats, and I had the amazing opportunity to visit with one of those Tribes yesterday at the Melbourne Winter Teachers Instagram Meet-Up.

You may remember a few months ago when I posted about the first Instagram Meet-Up. It was one of those moments that (as Sarah-Jane reminded me yesterday) you really tell your kids and friends not to do: go and meet random strangers whom you met online in a strange place. So many things could go wrong.

I’m happy to say, they didn’t then, and they didn’t yesterday.

The meet up was organised by Laura (from @littleapplelearning), Sarah Jane (from @thepolkadotapple) and Tess (from @misstessclassroom) and held at BangPop, a Thai restaurant in the city. It was spectacular.

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Okay, so the weather wasn’t so spectacular. Melbourne sure knows how to throw a rain party right when I want to walk around the city. But it’s all good.

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I met up with these lovely ladies: Jem (from Jem’s Bright Buttons) and Paula (from Paula’s Place). I’ve known them for years through Facebook and TPT and I love catching up with them.

We then went down to South Wharf for the meet-up.

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Yes, that is a Duplo bar. Could you think of a more perfect place for teachers to meet? Imagine all the things you could in your classroom with a Duplo wall. I’m already thinking of ways to petition for one.

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All the tables were beautifully set-up by the lovely organisers who added beautiful little details to EVERYTHING, including a wonderful swag bag of goodies that made the event seem almost like a conference. With better food, drinks and a lot more off-topic conversation.

We’re teachers, right? We know how to talk!

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The Photo Booth set-up was super fun and next time I think I just need to drag more people up to it. Of course, that involves being less shy and intimidated by all the amazing people there, but I think I’m getting better.

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The ladies did an amazing job organising sponsors to donate items for the swag bags and prizes (I didn’t win anything but it was super-fun getting a peek at what other people got!). As a way of showcasing and thanking the sponsors, I’ve recording an ‘unbagging’ of the swag bag which is below, so if you want to check it out, go for it. I apologise in advance, apparently I can ramble on!

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It was such a wonderful experience. I loved catching up with Jem and Paula and the other girls I met at the first meet-up. It was also amazing to meet so many new Instagram friends across all parts of Victoria, and even a few from NSW. Teachers are amazing at banding together – stick a group of teachers in a room and you’ll have plenty to talk about!

There’s such a great feeling of collaboration, respect and understanding that came with yesterday and I had an absolute ball.

I can’t wait to see what everyone gets up to in the upcoming term; I’ll be hanging out on your Instagram accounts for sure!

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Font Bundle Update!

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Hello, teacher friends!

It feels like ages since I last posted, but in truth, the end of Term 2 was huge for me (and for many teachers I know, too). An 11 week term? Report-writing? Oh, boy!

It’s the holidays now, and I’m on break for two weeks. I have a few posts planned for the upcoming weeks, and the first one is an update on my font bundle on TpT! I actually have a few more updates planned for this bundle, which is discounted for the next 48 hours before I add even more fonts to my collection!

Creating fonts is quite therapeutic!

If you’re unfamiliar with my bundle, you can click on the image above, or this link here to check it out. There are currently 75 fonts exclusive to this pack, as well as 18 of my free fonts, all in one handy free download. That’s a total of 93 fonts. Early in July there will be over 100 fonts so if you purchase it before the discount ends, you get all future updates as they’re uploaded!

All of my fonts are available for commercial use with credit back to my store

You can check out this month’s updates below. Some of my favourites are MGL Rush, MGL Rushing and MGL Sunday Night!

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Don’t forget to stop by and check out the Miss Galvin Learns Exclusive Font Bundle before it goes back up to full price on Thursday!

Have a wonderful day, teacher friends!

Using an Interesting Words Journal

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No matter what year or grade level you teach, helping your students to develop a wide vocabulary is one of our most important (and fun!) jobs. Words are everywhere, and we want to our students to be curious about words and to know how they work and what they mean.

One way I like to address this with my Foundation students is with an Interesting Words Journal.

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It’s pretty much what it sounds like: a journal for interesting words.

Whenever we do a read aloud, or when we’re listening to conversations or watching a visual or video text, I encourage my students to stop and ask, “Hey, what does that word mean?” when they come across a word that’s unfamiliar or unknown to theme.

This usually prompts a lot of discussion.

And it’s wonderful.

Typically, I try and encourage the other students to explain what a word means – often they get pretty close to the meaning of a word on their own. Between them, my class – just like all of yours – brings a lot of prior knowledge. They may not know all the answers on their own, but collectively? They know a lot and they do a great job or working together to pool their knowledge to the betterment of all.

Once we’ve identified the word and explained the word we can add it to our Interesting Words Journal.

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This journal is simply a scrapbook with a front cover and a page for each letter of the alphabet. We add the words under the correct letter. It’s often a great opportunity to review the previous interesting words as you add new ones.

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We use these words a lot in oral language – we think of sentences to use them in (often the wackier the better!) and share them with our Turn and Talk Buddies. We write them down on the board. I also encourage students to use these new words in their own writing, too.

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There’s a true power in committing these new words to paper in one place. My students truly remember them.

Earlier in the week, we read a story with a lot of ‘h’ words as part of our sound focus for the week. One of the words that came up was heartbroken. We had a discussion around what it meant (the most wonderful description being “heartbroken means you’re super sad!”) and we put it in our book.

At the end of the week we were exploring emotions and looking at photos of people displaying a range of different emotions. One card was a little girl who looked very sad and one of my students put her hand up and said, “She looks heartbroken,” and then went on to explain why she thought that.

It was a wonderful moment and a true testament to the power of building vocabulary with students.

If you’ve gotten this far, thank you. I’d love to hear your stories of the power of building vocabulary with students.

You can find a purchasable version on my TeachersPayTeachers store with lined and unlined options.

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Until next time, happy teaching!

Why I Said Goodbye to Post-It Notes

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If you’ve followed my blog for the last twelve months or so, you’ll know that I’ve been on a bit of a journey of learning how to be organised and how to manage my paper overflow. I’ve spent a lot of time teaching myself how to plan for my personal life in an actual planner, and while I’m pretty comfortable with how I lesson plan, I’ve found that some of the skills I’ve picked up from my personal planner has had am impact on how I manage my to-do list for school.

I want to preface this blog post with this: I know lots people love post-it notes and can use them really effectively. I can’t. They end up everywhere and it drives me crazy, so this post is really for those of you who are looking for an alternative to using post-it notes for keeping yourself on track!

My Journey

At my school at the beginning of the year we get a pack of post-it notes in our teacher stationery set. They’d sit on my desk and I’d write down random to-dos and things to remember on them and if I remembered, I’d stick them into my planner or onto my laptop so I wouldn’t forget them.

Invariably, I either often forgot to stick them where I would see them. Or they fell off.

Either way, I often forgot the notes that I had made which meant the entire process was ineffective and a waste of time.

Then I heard about two ideas, one which was completely new to me, and one that seemed completely obvious when I heard it: Bullet Journalling and the Master To-Do List. If you want to know more about Bullet Journalling – which is method like daily planning in a single notebook – you can check it out in more detail here. What I liked about this process was the idea of having everything in one book/place. 

The second idea was the Master To-Do List.

The Master To-Do List

The Master To-Do List is a system by which you have one single to-do list that contains everything you need to do. As you think of things, you add them to the list. As you complete them, you cross them off.

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You can have your list in a planner or notebook. You could even have it on paper and put it in a binder or on a clipboard (which makes it easier to throw it out/recycle the paper when you’re finished with everything on your list). It’s a fluid document that is a way for you to find a way to be more productive.

Daily Productivity

Having a Master To-Do List is great, but it looks overwhelming, right? A whole page filled with things to do?

As teachers we have to-do lists a mile long, but what I have learnt to do is to start prioritising things a lot better. If you don’t learn to prioritise you run the risk of being overwhelmed by all the things you need to accomplish.

So here’s my tip.

Pick your top three to-dos each day and write them down.

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Just three. Write them somewhere that will be clearly visible to you so that you can see them.

These are your priority for that day. They are the most important tasks you need to accomplish for the day.

Three tasks are an accomplishable goal and what you’ll find is that once you cross of those three tasks, you might even have time to go back to your master list and pick something else off of it. (But even if you don’t, you’ve accomplished something great.)

I know what you’re thinking: I need to do more than three things a day.

That’s true, but we’re talking big tasks that you need to tick off, not the little things we do each and every day.

They could even be the things you put off doing in favour of ‘other more important’ jobs.

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The other key is keeping these top 3 goals/jobs highly visible where you know you’ll see them. I’ve got my master to-do list on a clipboard on my desk and my daily Top 3 in my planner ready to tick them off. I check my planner every morning and night.

I honestly believe in this system and it works for me. I find I accomplish a lot more in a shorter period of time when I have attainable daily goals. (It also stops me from slumping to a Netflix hole even when I really want to!)

My challenge to use is to pick your Top 3 goals/jobs for tomorrow and put them somewhere more permanent and visible than a post-it note. 

If you’re looking for templates to get you started I have a basic pack listed in my TPT store for teachers. It’s 50% for the first 48 hours and if you’re looking for the opportunity to trial this system, it could be what you need:

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Regardless, I wish you well with your organisation journey!

If you like this post and would like future organisation posts, please let me know in the comments below.

I’d love to hear your organisation tips, too!

Be Inspired with TPT’s Sitewide Sale!

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It’s back to school time here in the Southern Hemisphere, and TPT’s helping everyone celebrate the new year with a site wide sale. This is a great time to pick up those things that have been sitting in your wish list for a while. Don’t forget to use the code START16 at checkout to make sure you get the full 28% off!

In case you need some inspiration, I’ve put together some resources that might help you out in the next few months!

Back to School Resources

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Vic Handwriting Placemats | Word Wall Alphabet Display | Start Write Away Class Books | School Makes Me Cool

Alphabet Resources

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Alphabet Posters | My Little Alphabet Books | I Have Who Has Alphabet Edition | Alphabet Superbundle

Maths Resources

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Put Your Ducks in Order (Ordinal Numbers) | Serving Up Numbers (0-20) | Peas on a Plate (Subitizing) | Serving Up Donut Numbers (0-20)

Seasonal Resources

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Love in a Box | Ten Little Hearts | Valentine’s Day Sentence SortsSlide5

Mother’s Day Activities | You Make My Heart Bloom | Love Bird Alphabet MatchSlide4

Bunnies Love Jellybeans | Sight Word Crash | Letter and Word Sort

Happy shopping!

Don’t forget to share what’s on your wish list in the comments, too! I’d love to get ideas from your guys on what’s your MUST HAVE items!

Celebrating Birthdays in the Classroom

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I’m so excited to finally be able to share this with you – this has been in the works for a very long time. It was my ‘when I get a chance’ project,  and now it’s complete and uploaded and ready for use! My Birthday pack.

I don’t know about you, but I love celebrating student birthdays in the classroom. For a lot of kids these days, it’s difficult for their families to throw big birthday parties or gatherings for their classmates. Oftentimes, it’s just a few friends who can go as families try to save money. By celebrating in the classroom, everyone joins in, everyone gets to participate and the birthday child feels like the center of their friends’ worlds for the day.

My birthday pack features a whole lot of decorative elements for your classroom as well as simple printables that can be completed by the birthday child and their peers as memorable keepsakes for their special day! All of these are activities or elements that I have used in my classroom over the last six years of teaching Foundation and Foundation/Grade 1 classes. (Tried and tested, if you will!)

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Classroom Decorative Elements

Balloon Pencil/Straw Toppers (BLM and colour)
Birthday Display Bunting (BLM and colour)
Birthday (Month) Display Balloons (BLM and colour
Printable Stickers/Badges (Colour only)
Pencil/Straw Flags (Colour only)

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Birthday Keepsakes

Birthday Bracelets (BLM only)**
Birthday Hats, 2 Designs (BLM only)**
Birthday Lanyards (BLM and colour)
Birthday Books, Half-Page (BLM and colour)
Birthday Books, Full-Page (BLM and colour)

** each design contains a generic birthday greeting, as well as ages from 4-8 years.

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I love preparing birthday books for all the students in my class, ready for each student to fill in a page for the birthday child. I find that the books make a beautiful keepsake for the child and their family. A memory of the time spent with their class in their first year of schooling.

I hope that you have the opportunity to take a look at my Birthday Pack. It’s 50% off for the first 24 hours, so if you’re looking for some birthday activities for the classroom, grab it while it’s on sale!

Freebie | Label the Superheroes

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Way back when I created a whole series of Label the Superhero sets to use with my class. For obvious copyright reasons they’re not something I can sell, but rather than let them go to waste, I thought I would share them with my lovely readers, in case they’re something your students mind enjoy.

I only ask that if you do download these, that you leave me a comment below to let me know!

These match my other labelling sets, which can be found in my TeachersPayTeachers store.

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Word Wall Alphabet

My goodness, it’s been a while. I hope all my Aussie teacher friends are enjoying their mid-year break, and that all my Northern Hemisphere friends are enjoying their Summer!

I had a few requests after my last post (the June Bright Ideas Linky) for me to share my Word Wall Alphabet letter tiles. As of this morning, I have finally been able to upload it to my TpT Store:

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It’s currently on sale for  $1.50 until tomorrow lunch time here in Melbourne. Grab it here.

For images of what it looks like in my classroom, don’t forget to revisit my last post.

Have a fabulous week, my friends!

Handwriting Placemats

MGL-HandwritingPlacematsDue to popular demand, I’ve got a copy of my Handwriting Placemats in Vic Modern Cursive available in my TPT store.

If you read my Bright Ideas Blog Hop post back in February you would have seen my updated handwriting bags, featuring this placemat.

Featuring dotted thirds and Vic Modern Cursive, this is perfect for Victorian teachers, but I hope to have a more generic handwriting placemat available soon for others to use. Keep your eyes peeled!

This .pdf placemat does not student names on the page – simply write them in for students to trace, or leave the line blank so students can practise writing their name independently or practise writing sight words/etc.

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Happy Saturday, all!

 

 

Five for Friday (April 10)

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Hi all, I’m joining in another week of Five for Friday, hosted by the lovely Doodlebugs Teaching!

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Well, it’s the end of the last week of the holidays for me, but I’ve been fortunate enough to spend some quality time with this little cutie! Benny has had quite the busy last two weeks, making new friends (or, at least, learning how to), lots of travelling over Easter, and lots of cuddles. And yes, that black shadow of a thing lying against one of my best friends is Benny. He’s awfully difficult to take photos of sometimes, but it was kind of cute he had his teddy with him!

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I’ve started a new online course on Hand Lettering over at Studio Calico, and so far I’m loving it. These were a few practise samples I did the other night!

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I finally found (a tiny amount) of creative energy for my TpT store, and came up with this simple little activity to practise common nouns with early years students. Check it out in my store (both images link to the product).

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How cute is that polka dot desk mat?! I’ve been eying it off for a few weeks and finally bit the bullet and bought it the other day. It’s so bright and colourful and it makes me happy!

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I’ve had a few craft ideas on my to-do list these holidays and I’ve been slowly ticking them off, but this is one that I had a go at today (inspired by the Marbled Clay Ring Dish DIY from A Beautiful Mess). I really love how my little dish came out. Also, being one to loathe wasting scraps of FIMO clay, I use the excess trim from the bowl to make a matching bead necklace! I love that EVERY bead is completely different, despite being made from exactly the same materials!

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Happy Friday, my friends! I hope you have an excellent weekend!

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