Abcprimaryteachingresources's Blog

~~~ for those little extras!

New blog

I have finally made the decision to change my blog – sorry wordpress!  I really needed a theme that reflected my passions!  I’m a teacher first and foremost, with a passion for educational resources – my small business.  Added to that is my growing interest in creating resources for others to use.  I felt I needed to have a theme to reflect that and just cannot afford the costs associated with custom designs.  I was able to find a free design with blogger and therefore am switching my loyalties!

My new blog can be found here and I have started it with some of my more recent posts from this blog – just so it didn’t look too blank – lol!

I’m still getting the hang of it and must admit I prefer WordPress’s functionality, but hey ho, we can’t have it all!  I do intend, however, to keep this blog in case it all goes pear-shaped!

Thank you kindly to my few followers for their support – I hope you continue to follow my blog on the other side!

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Our new magnetic resources!

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Powerpoint Presentations

Although I use my Smartboard on a daily basis, I would not often use a Powerpoint Presentation.  I am nearly ashamed to admit that I have only ever created one which was used for a school fair!  They seem to have become quite popular again, as I have seen them used quite frequently by young student teachers coming through – I really thought they’d had their hey day, but that could be because I have never shown much interest in them. Recently I came across a lovely little site called Topic Resources.  The majority of their downloads are Powerpoint Presentations and I really appreciate the hard work and thought that has obviously gone into the production of them.  I wanted to share this site with you as the resources are very inexpensive and my pupils have enjoyed the addition to my teaching.  I have reached the point now where I would like to produce some of my own, but currently lack the time required – maybe in the summer holidays?!

I hope you enjoy the site as much as I do! ☺

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New stock

Just a wee quick note to say we have loads of new stock just arrived and over the next week will be adding it to our website inventory, so keep a look out!  It includes lots of magnetic resources, stickers, posters and flashcards!

I will also be adding links to some of the blogs I mentioned before just in case anyone’s interested! ☺

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Free Downloads

I continue to create new materials, mostly display, which are downloadable from my website, free of charge.

As I have stated in previous posts, although my website is run as a small business for tax purposes etc, it really grew from a passion for teaching and display resources, so I suppose I view it as more of a hobby.  Requisition money never stretches far enough and there are so many wonderful, fun resources for activities in the classroom.  Over the years I have bought so many myself and continue to do so, but in my search for all things different and interesting, I found many resources that have been made by other teachers and can often be downloaded free of charge or for a small sum of money.  Manufactured educational resources, although wonderful, can often be prohibitively expensive!  My dear old laptop will soon need upgrading as I reach the memory capacity, as I am always downloading files for printing and laminating!

As I’m up for a challenge (most of the time!), I decided I could learn something new and put this to good use, therefore I set about using many programs on my PC that have never really seen the light of day!  I wanted to try and create resources too!  It has been a challenge as I’m of the older generation and don’t always understand technical jargon, but what I don’t know and understand, I ‘google’.  I have had so much fun learning how to produce resources and make them available to others.  Yes, my business sells resources, but I wanted to add a service that others might find useful and could be free.  Sadly I don’t have access to amazing graphics software and only have limited knowledge and creativity, but I can see from the number of downloads that people are finding the resources useful and that’s as I’d hoped – brilliant!

The resources range from certificates through to display, literacy and numeracy resources.  I have added some pictures with links to give you an idea.  As I complete the resources I tend to publish them on Pinterest as I have some followers there.  This link will also take you to the free section of my website.  I hope the resources you find there may be of some use to you!

 

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Miss Rumphius, the lupine lady – Part 2!

Yay!  I found the link! Another blogger – lol!  The original idea stems from the blog  kids-finelines and explains the process clearly, with a later update - you need to scroll down.

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Miss Rumphius, the lupine lady!

Preparing for the start of the new term, I have recently moved around our furniture, to create more marked learning areas within the classroom.  After a long winter, I needed a change!

I have been trying to decide what to do with my display boards, particularly the one currently dedicated to winter.  Once again, Pinterest has come to my rescue!  Unfortunately, I didn’t ‘pin’ the idea and don’t know who to credit!  I will continue the search and update this post with my thanks to the author.

Spring has sprung (!) and I need to change my display board from winter to spring, but wanted a new idea, instead of the same old, same old!  Browsing Pinterest I came across this book:  Miss Rumphius and was able to buy it from an english company on the internet.

In the story Miss Rumphius became known to the village children as “The Lupine Lady” because she always carried lupine seeds in her pockets and scattered them everywhere.  The idea was that everyone should do their bit to make the world a more beautiful place.  ‘Miss Rumphius’ has won the American Book Award and is really the most delightful story.  Accompanying the original post on Pinterest was an art idea which would be ideal for my Spring board.  Basically the children would be creating lupins from thumbprints using the colours blue, purple and rose with white on top.  I have spent some time photographing lupin leaves (!) in my garden, saving images from the internet and researching the history of the name.  I intend to collate my research into a Powerpoint Presentation, along with the story, to create interest and motivate.  I really can’t wait to see how these turn out – I am sure they will look amazing!

Hopefully many wonderful photos to follow! ☺

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American elementary teachers and their blogs!

From my last post, you can see I am very taken with blogs at the moment and love all the interesting ideas that help me keep my classroom environment and teaching skills fresh and engaging for the children.

One favourite is the Clutterfree Classroom blog.  I have spent many happy hours on this blog, gaining inspiration and motivation.  In the wee small hours, sleep often doesn’t come easily and this is my favourite way of passing the time!

From this blog, I have implemented two ideas in my classroom, which I love and the children appear to appreciate.

The first is a ‘focus wall’.  I have dedicated a large display board at the back of my classroom for this focus wall and can answer most children’s questions by directing them there.  I am currently on Spring Term break and have not yet taken any photos of the wall, but upon my return this will be remedied and the post updated!

One side of the board is dedicated to learning intentions.  Here you will find the children’s input as well.  Although I don’t display planners on the board, any parent or teaching colleague will immediately have an idea of what I am currently teaching.  I display the children’s ‘what I know’ and ‘what I would like to know’ for our current topic, along with our focus for Numeracy, Literacy and Phonics. The rest of the board is dedicated to the current month’s birthdays, the ‘word of the week’, our current newsletter, task self-evaluation, a ‘boggle’ board and a ‘must do’, ‘may do’ board.  I have attached small whiteboards/lapboards to the display board, so I can easily wipe off what I don’t need and add what I do.  The whiteboards are very light and were easy to attach with blu tac (I had visions of hot glue guns and mess!).  The ‘boggle’ board is made up of an attached magnetic board, using strips to create a a grid to contain the magnetic letters.  This board is updated on a weekly basis.  The ‘must do’, ‘may do’ board has been created using two lightweight, but very large whiteboards that I managed to find on the internet for next to nothing!  The boards have their titles, similar to the pic below.  I have laminated labels for every eventuality (!) and the children know what needs to be completed for the day.  If work remains unfinished within a particular teaching session, they know it must be finished at some stage in the day, before they can spend any free time on the ‘may do’ side of the board.  The ‘may do’ side is made up of a variety of fun activities/challenges that the children can complete should they be an early finisher.  This board also directs children towards a task board for their colour of table, which is changed on a daily basis.  If the children do not wish to complete a task from their task board, they can move on to other activities on the ‘may do’ board.  The list of activities is handwritten, so it can be changed regularly.  The activities can be random or related to a current teaching focus.  When I have photos I think the set up will become clearer.  Although it might sound like a lot of preparation, I was able to set up the focus wall in a day and it is very easy to maintain, if kept simple.  The biggest advantage is that the children can have most of their questions answered by just looking at this board, which is especially useful if I am currently engaged with a guided reading group.  I have recently attended a number of courses, therefore leaving the class in the hands of a substitute teacher and believe that this set up makes life much easier for anyone entering the classroom, as the children are much more independent and autonomous within the classroom setting.

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Pinterest

Finally getting a chance to update the blog – I just don’t know where the time goes!

In between Parent Interviews, teaching students and the end of term madness, I have managed to keep busy with ‘free stuff’ (explanations later!), and American bloggers!

Let me explain……

After the worldwide phenomenon of facebook and twitter, now we have Pinterest!  I love it!  It’s a really simple concept, but brilliant!

After 25 years as an educator, it is easy to become complacent and set in your ways.  I find that browsing the internet continually throws up new and interesting ideas for me personally and professionally.  I want to keep motivated and bring fresh ideas to the classroom, but where to find something different?  Often I come across ideas when I am not specifically looking for something, mean to bookmark it for later, but forget. This is where Pinterest comes in.  Not only is it a great way to keep all your ideas together for when you need them, but it also offers endless possibilities on finding a wide range of ideas – I often find myself just reading for hours about all the interesting lives people lead! For me, fifteen years ago, none of this would have been possible and I am constantly amazed that I can make online friendships with people I will never be able to meet, but can talk to for hours and share common goals.  Living where I do, opportunities are limited – modern technology never fails to astound me!

Anyway, I digress!  Pinterest is basically a collection of (memo) boards, where you can pin ideas, just like you would pin notes.  On my bookmark bar I have a little icon with the words ‘pin it’.  As I am browsing the internet and find something I want to come back to later, I just click my icon on the bookmark bar and pin – this takes me to my Pinterest account where I can decide which board I want to pin it to.  I currently have 21 boards with a variety of pins.  All of my boards relate to teaching, e.g. numeracy, literacy, display ideas, classroom organisation and so on.  However Pinterest is for everybody!  Some people have boards just for recipes, crafting and lifestyle.

So now I know that all the things that interest me are kept in one place to return to when I need them.  Fortunately the pins also include a link to take you directly to the website where you first encountered the idea!  Also when you are browsing Pinterest, it is possible to browse other boards and repin if you find something interesting there.

This leads me nicely to American bloggers – wow!  This ‘trend’ seems to be a few years old.  American elementary teachers just love to blog!  I have found such a variety of blogs on Pinterest.  They have amazing ideas on classroom organisation and management that are so interesting and motivating – a completely different world!  The bloggers seem to be so committed to everything they do and have an enormous appetite for life, coupled with such a positive attitude towards their chosen career.  They appear to be supermums, incredibly dedicated to family life, as well as working full-time and blogging about what they do and achieve – just where do they find the time?!! Not only do they write, but they share their ideas, mostly for free, with great detail and superb photography.  Most of them also appear to run ‘shops’ where they also sell teaching resources.  Their blogs are beautifully put together, with superb graphics and can keep you engaged for hours – I have the utmost respect for these ladies and wish I had those levels of energy and enthusiasm!  I have already pinned lots of ideas from these bloggers and have begun to implement some of them in my classroom, which the children love.  In my next post, I will share a couple of things and include links!

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Posters and Wall Charts

We continue to expand the range of posters and wall charts on offer at abc.  Informative and colourful, these posters are a fantastic teaching as well as display resource.  Good quality and cheap to buy, what more could you want for your classroom environment!

We have just added three more to the range – well done to the designer of these!  So eye-catching, I wish I had that kind of talent!

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Click here for Posters and Wallcharts

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