The Erin Condren Teacher Planner

It’s HERE!  After much anticipation the new ERIN CONDREN TEACHER PLANNER has been released!  I have had two years with my EC Teacher Planner and I LOVE IT!  Its practical, functional, colourful and so much more gorgeous to look at then your regular Teacher Planner.  It comes with pockets, a sheet protector, stickers and also a whole range of additional extras.  That is a whole other post!  But what I get asked about the most is…..it “looks” great but what are the “guts” of the planner like.  So I am now going to take you on a little tour!

THE COVER

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Ready To Ship Cover

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Personalised Cover

There are two kinds of cover for your planner

1. Ready To Ship (RTS)   If you in a hurry (which I doubt most Australians are as we still have 6 months left of the current school year) Ready To Ship means your cover will be standard (see pic above) with no personalisation but it will get to you super fast!

2. Personalised. For me one of the things I love most about everything Erin Condren is the personalisation.  If you choose this option your planner will take longer to ship but three are literally dozens of cover options!

ALL covers are

  • wire coil bound
  • interchangeable (they remove off the coil when you feel like changing them)
  • laminated
  • durable
  • colourful
  • double sided

THE INSIDE or THE “GUTS”

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On the first page of the planner you have the inside image of your cover on the left and on the right your contact information/cover page.  Here you can also see the tabs which are laminated and colourful.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION PAGE

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Motivational quote pages are scattered throughout the planner and the first one is on the next page followed by a handy page to record personal information, passwords etc

DATES TO REMEMBER

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Ok here is the first teeny issue with the planner for Australian teachers.  The important dates are printed according to the american school year.  This is an easy fix.  Using the blank stickers at the back of your planner you can simply re-label the headings, changing them into the calendar year order.

BIRTHDAY CHART

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A birthday chart.  Again it’s in the American year order, BUT I leave it as in Queensland students are enrolled according to their age in a July-June year.  So the oldest students will have their birthdays in July and the youngest in June.  I actually find this incredibly helpful.  Especially as I always teach in the younger grades I often look at test results, behaviour, social skills and adjust my expectations based on their age/development.

ATTENDANCE LOG (6 pages)

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I use this page a bit differently as our attendance is recorded electronically. I use these in two ways.

  1. To record who is absent for assessment pieces.  I write the assessment name in the name column, the date in the next and the students who miss the assessment in the reason column.  I then tick off in the note column when I have caught them up with the assessment.
  2. I also use a set of the pages to record when parents notify my in advance of upcoming time off school for holidays, surgery etc.

GRAPH/GRID PAGES (8 pages)

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I love to rearrange my classroom!  This makes it so easy! You could also use it to chart reading levels or results.

YEAR AT A GLANCE

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Again it’s in the American order. I LOVE the way this example tracks different curriculum in colour codes across the year!  I use it in the same way but using the curriculum codes I need to cover and asses in each term.  This year I think I will also use it to colour code with my job share partner who is covering what!

MONTHLY LAYOUT

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For us Australians you can request during the personalisation stage of purchase to have a January start so your months are in Calendar year order instead of financial year order.  The Monthly layouts are double page, Sunday start with a column for notes and a quick reference calendar.  The monthly layouts are UNDATED but the planner comes with colourful date dot stickers to label!

WEEKLY LAYOUT (40 double pages)

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THE WEEKLY LAYOUT

The planner comes with 40 WEEKS worth of weekly layouts.  It is a horizontal layout with days down the rows and periods or curriculum across the top.  I have seen am nay people that have reversed the layout!  They covered the days with periods or curriculum and used the boxes across the top for days.  I use it as intended but do not write the subjects in at the top.  I work in a P-12 school so we all use a 6 period day.  I write the Period and time across the top, but as my “subjects” change each day depending on my timetable, specialist lessons, assemblies etc.  I just use the lines in the rows to write the subject and a basic outline of what I am covering.

CHECKLISTS (7 double spreads)

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Oh this would have to be one of my favourite parts! look at those colours!  No more going cross eyed trying to read marks in gray boxes!  You can even add more checklist pages, for a small additional cost (a few dollars).

STICKERS!!!! (4 pages)

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Get sick of writing the same things over and over again?  You can use a pre printed sticker instead! There are two sheets of pre-printed stickers and two sheets of blank stickers for you to write on yourself.  Pre printed stickers include things like reminders, testing dates, report cards due, library time, emergency drills, assemblies and staff meetings.  If you need more you can order additional “event” stickers in the accessories section of the website!

KEEP IT TOGETHER POCKET

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A double sided, durable, laminated finish pocket to hold all those pieces of paper in.  This has undergone a few changes each year since I have had one!

SHEET PROTECTOR and ZIPPER POUCH

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Each planner comes with ONE plastic sheet protector but you can add more (for $1.50 each) when you personalise it through the check out process.  Right at the back there is also a small zippered clear pouch great for all those little extra bits and pieces.

and then the back cover!  As colourful and laminated as the front cover!

You can add a pen holder to the back cover but this is an additional extra.

A huge bonus to this planner is the massive range of accessories that you can buy to go with it, but that is a whole other post!

Now the COST!

It is usually $59USD but is currently 25% off.  You can also get a further $10 off by using this link ;
https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/larissacarter

International Shipping is $19.95 which is a lot cheaper than it used to be.  Don’t forget many employers will reimburse you for some of the cost of a planner and it’s also a tax deduction!

Erin Condren have a great loyalty program and the more you buy, the more you save.  I am up to my fifth purchase which then gives me a $25 voucher.

 

*This is not a sponsored post and I am not paid by Erin Condren (I just love the stuff!) but I do get a $10 credit every time someone uses my referral link!

 

 

The Home First Aid Kit

First Aid Kits

These school holidays have been chaotic to say the least.  We have had two kids down with stomach bugs, multiple head clashes and a few cuts, scrapes and ant bites to round it out.

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When googling first aid kits I actually came across this old pic of our first aid Drawer!

We have a first aid “drawer” in house stocked full of bandaids, creams, dettol etc but with 3 kids in the house that have progressed past the baby years and onto more serious injuries it needs some serious updating.

  • I want everything in one place.
  • Labelled for easy reference.
  • In a place accessible enough for the two older kids to grab (aged 8 and 5) in an emergency but out of reach of the baby.
  • Portable – so we can take it on holidays with us.

OPTION 1 – A FIRST AID BAG

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This one is from Masters and retails for $83 which considering how expensive first aid supplies are , I thought was a reasonable price.  I love that you can also buy the small container to mount onto the wall.  Absolute favourite thing about this kit is that each section is labelled! This kit was fairly basic but they had a few more extensive ones (intended for the workplace) at the $100 mark. The zippered bag would make it compact enough to take away with us. BUT….Where does the dettol go? Calamine lotion? Fisiocreme? Burn Cream?  and all the other bits and pieces we already have and use.  This option is great for emergencies but doesn’t cover our everyday first aid use.

OPTION 2.  A FIRST AID TOOL BOX

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This one is from the awesome bowl full of lemons and Lori is a Nurse so she knows her first aid! I loved that everything is stored together yet separate in labelled containers.  This would be great as you can create it yourself using a tackle box and personalise it for your family.  BUT, What about the larger bottles and creams?  How do they fit in here?

OPTION 3. STORAGE CONTAINERS

From Our Fall Walls And A Roof

From Our Fall Walls And A Roof

These containers are readily available, labelled and are tall enough that there is room for medicine and other large bottles.  This way I could use what I already have and everything would still have a designated space.

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Oh how I love me an organised space full of containers.  The negative here is this system is not portable AND it takes up quite a lot of space.  BUT I do have a kind of spare cupboard (it is full but I really could declutter it and get rid of half of it!)

OPTION 4.  THE COMBO

This would be combining Option 1 (the kit in a bag) and Option 3 (the containers).  OPtion 1 is more your “Incident and Emergency Supplies”  To be honest these are the things we rarely use but must have on hand, like a first aid “insurance policy”.  Option 3 is for all the things we use on a regular basis, medicines, thermometer, band aids.

So what would you recommend?  How do you organise your First Aid Supplies? 

 

 

Winter Health Tips for Mums and Bubs

This morning we woke to temperatures of 1 degree! This cold weather fills me with fear, as it signals not only the start of winter, but of “flu season.”  With three little kids and two parents that need to go to work, we are desperate to stay as well as possible this winter.  Over the years of coping with a million germs brought to me lovingly by a class full of children, I have learnt a few tips and tricks to survive winter.

“The Flu Shot:” A few years ago both of our workplaces introduced on site flu shots. I was pregnant with Little Miss A at the time and was a little hesitant to get it.  After consulting my GP I was pleasantly surprised to not only find was it completely safe for pregnant women but recommended! A perfect way to not only protect myself but my little ones.  Many workplaces now offer the flu shot with a visiting nurse or you can ask your GP.

Healthy Hands: As a family, we spend a lot of our time out and about at playgrounds, shopping centres and theme parks.  I always keep some hand sanitiser handy to help keep those germs away.  We keep a pump pack in the house for the kids to use after they have blown their noses and I encourage the kids to wash their hands with soap and water after they cough and sneeze.  This is to help stop spreading the germs to the baby and I always keep a small hand sanitizer in my bag.

Tissues and wipes: Speaking of runny noses…….you can never have too many tissues!  I keep a little pack in the kid’s bags, a few in the car, a few in my handbag and a whole heap of boxes in the house.  But when little noses have been blown too many times and are red raw I find a baby wipe is a little harsh whilst still doing the job.

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You are what you eat! During winter in particular I keep a close eye on what we are eating.  I try to boost veggies and fruits wherever I can by adding them to smoothies, making up a big veggie mash, sneaking them into lasagna or bolognese sauce, and even into the chocolate muffins (zucchini is a great match!)

H20 to go: I am a horrible water drinker!  Especially in winter when I am sweating less, I often get to the end of the day and realise I have not had any water at all!  I keep a drink bottle with me and try to refill it, at least once, but eight glasses a day will keep you in tip top shape for winter

Sunny Days: This cold weather has me seeking some warmth in the sun and I find I spend more time outdoors as I can actually enjoy the weather (and not sweat off half my body weight!)  We love to get out a picnic rug, enjoy lunch outside in the sun and fill up on some Vitamin D, which is great for boosting immunity. (But don’t forget to still slip, slop, slap)

Exercise: When I am feeling lousy there is nothing like a walk in the fresh air to get me out of a slump.  I throw the baby in the pram and we head down to the lake to run around the playground.  Keeping active in small everyday ways is hopefully burning off some of those winter hot chocolates and keeping your body in fighting condition if any winter nasties come your way.

 

I find the easiest way to keep up with these habits is to stay organised and create a little “Winter station” on the kitchen bench with tissues, water, hand sanitizer and some fresh fruit and veggie snacks, ready for the kids when they are hungry.

By implementing these simple but effective habits our household feels prepared to face our healthiest winter yet.

The NSW Health website also offers great flu prevention advice HERE

Brought to you by Nuffnang and NSW Government

Meal Plan Monday

Meal planning is my saviour.  Lately I have completely fallen of the bandwagon.  Not sure why or how but it has to stop!  I have started spending way too much money on little every second day shops.  So here it is this weeks Meal Plan.

Monday

Roast Lamb with CousCous and Roast Mediterranean Veg.

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This is a family fave.  Lamb is a protein that EVERYONE including my pickiest Little Miss A will eat.  Our Roast Veg. are Eggplant, Zucchini, Capsicum, Pumpkin and Potato. Even better the left overs make a great salad for me to take to work the next day.

Tuesday

Beef Stroganoff

Work day for me so slow cooker it is!  Unlike some though I don’t like to have it in there all day as I love when the meat is chunky!  Served With rice and steamed Brocollini.

Wednesday

Pumpkin and Fetta Agnolotti with Basil Pesto sauce.

Another work day for me and this is the EASIEST, QUICKEST dinner and takes literally 5 minutes.  Woolworths recently had a 1/2 price special on these ready made pastas so I grabbed a few and threw them in the Freezer.  For the sauce?  Graba container of Basil pesto dip and stir through while the pasta is hot!  Master O and the baby love it, and Little Miss A will have the pasta plain.

Thursday

Lemon Crumbed Chicken with Caesar Salad

This is on weekly rotation in our house!  Either using drumsticks (cheap as chips) or Chicken Thighs marinate in  lemon and Olive oil, crumb, roast in the oven and serve!  SIMPLE!

 

Friday

Salmon and Vegie Mash

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Ok so Salmon is a bit pricey BUT I recently found 4 packs at Aldi for under $13!!!!  I have everything crossed it wasn’t a special item and becomes a regular line in their store as we all LOVE salmon.  Vegie mash is a fave with my boys and I am literally able to throw every veg imaginable in it and they will eat it.  Little Miss A on the other hand will not eat either Salmon or Vegie Mash so she will be having steamed potato, broccoli and Sausages (keeping it real peeps)

All images taste.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quiet Critters

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 6.59.59 AMAlthough I have been a teacher for many years now, this year my skills have been truly tested.  As a relief teacher I have had to get used to the rules and routines of so many different schools, grades and classes.  One thing they all have in common, is a need for some AWESOME behaviour management strategies.  There are many a child out there who use having a new teacher as a  chance to test the boundaries!

I have used the tried and true, stickers and prizes but for the Early Years (Ages 4-7) I was needing a new creative strategy.  I make no excuses for my strict classroom style but I also love to play tricks, joke and make up stories for the kids.  Thats where the Quiet Critters come in.

THE STORY GOES….

My Quiet Critters have been very lonely at my house as my kids go to school all day and the baby just wants to put them in his mouth!  So they asked me if they could come to school with me to find some new friends!

They are looking for a very particular kind of friend to show them how school works.

  • An attentive listener (because they have very quiet voices)
  • A hard worker who always tries their best (so they can learn new things)
  • Responsible (So they wont get lost)
  • Kind and Caring (So they can make new friends) 
  • Keeps their hands and feet to themselves. (so they wont get hurt)

When they see a friend like this they will want to sit with them! They will sit quietly on your desk or at your feet and watch and learn with you!  

BUT if you suddenly are not doing the right thing they will ask to find a new friend or even worse just go back home into their container! 

HOW TO MAKE QUIET CRITTERS

The Quiet Critters

The Quiet Critters

You could make them out of anything!  I have seen pet rocks, pom poms with eyes glued on, teddy bears or in my case party favours!  These cute little soft and spiky guys were in a pack of 6 in a discount store in the party aisle!  Then for a bit of variety I found a pack of 4  little of “Moshi Monsters” (in The Reject Shop) for $3.  I placed them in a round plastic container (plastic so its light and unbreakable in my bag) added some sticker letters and a bow for the lid!

THE VERDICT

Yesterday I tried them out in a Prep class (5 year olds).  ABSOLUTE WINNER!!!  They were all desperate for a quiet critter and were trying so hard to get one!  No one got silly or attempted to hide or throw them (which I had thought could happen)  I was glad I had quite a few and at times they would sit in the middle of the hardest working group.

This is definitely a fun technique I will be using in my classroom in the future!

 

 

 

Kids Bedroom Planning and Inspiration

 

We seem to be a family of bedroom swappers. Without a doubt every year we reassess the kids current bedroom situations and do a swap and reorganize. From shared rooms, to creating a nursery, to sharing a guest room, to everyone having their own room, the swapping never ends in a growing family!

A few years ago we made the decision for Master O and Little Miss A to share a room.  Although some thought this was a sure clue that baby #3 was coming along it was simply because they were begging us to share!  It was one of the best decisions we ever made and resulted in an amazing nights sleep for everyone!  Little Miss A would now wake up her big brother if she was scared instead of us.  It also meant they would wake each other up in the morning and sneak down to watch tv instead of coming into us to declare that they were awake!

But earlier this year Master O expressed a desire for his own space and we made the move to separate them.  We had one problem. This would mean that we would “lose” our guest bedroom.

We NEED a guest bedroom. Both of our families live far away so when they come to visit (which is often) they stay for an extended period of time and we need to have a dedicated room for them. So beds, beds, beds!  How would we make this work?  We decided to

  1. move Master O into the “Guest Bedroom”
  2. leave the Queen size bed in there and
  3. when guests come, he can move out into the lounge room on the sofa bed.

Simple. Except that’s as far as we got. We literally just moved his clothes into the cupboard and only in the last month got him a new queen size quilt.  With all our bedrooms now full, thanks to baby number 3, we really need a more permanent solution, so I am  looking at affordable furniture options that will be both suitable for the needs of a growing boy and for guests.

 

Bed Size and Style

 

Ordinarily in a kids room, especially when short on space I would look at a loft bed or trundle bed. I love that this maximizes floor space and creates little niches for desks, play areas or just extra storage.

 

LOFT BED

Manhattan Loft Bed

Manhattan Loft Bed

 

 

TRUBDLE BED OPTIONS

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Barn Bedroom Suite

 

Unfortunately for me, I don’t think the grandparents would be quite as excited climbing up a ladder in to bed as Master O would be. BUT, it is the absolutely perfect option for Little Miss A’s room!!!!  It wont take up too much room and when guests arrive her brother can camp out on the trundle!!! and just to add, the styling of this room is perfection.  This is EXACTLY the look I would love to achieve.  Masculine but not too dark or boyish.  PERFECTION.

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Quebec Bedroom Suite

For Master O’s Room we will eventually need to update his bed  (which is from before we were married 11 years ago!) or at the very least a new mattress.  A Queen Size bed that is of a classic style will fit in with the decor of his room, suit both kids and adults and be the perfect size for his average sized room.

 

Bed Side Tables

With two kids in one room there was previously no room for bedside tables. Add to this that anything with a flat surface, was used by curious toddlers to climb on to, they just didn’t suit the kids bedroom. However, times have changed and Master O has been using a little stool next to his bed for a lamp and his books. For guests a table either side of the bed is a must, with room for glasses, phones and a glass of water.

Quebec Bedside Table

Quebec Bedside Table

Desks.

This has been a tricky one for us. To desk or not to desk. We have decided to add a desk to his room not as a place to study but more as a place to escape to draw, build and read away form the hurricane baby and curious little sister. It will also serve as a place to store treasures away from little hands and above it we can place a noticeboard to display his memorabilia and certificates.

 

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Ollie Storage Unit

Storage.

We are lucky enough to have a designated playroom in our house but some toys are just not designed for babies! I would like to incorporate some kind of toy storage and display just for special/dangerous toys like the one million lego creations and remote control cars.  At last our oldest child will be able to put some of his things away just for him to play with.

 

These storage boxes will be perfect and even better they will fit inside his wardrobe, making the most of limited floor space and hiding them away form guests.

So that is where we are at.  Planning, dreaming, measuring, window shopping and weghing up all the options.  So what say you?  Desk or no desk?  Fan of a trundle bed? How gorgeous is that bedroom!

All images and stock can be found at Super Amart.

This is a sponsored post in conjunction with Super Amart.

Kids ANZAC Day Activities

ANZAC Day is such a special day for all Australians and this household is no exception.  We have had four generations serve in the Australian military including my own Father, Husband and most recently my Borther serving in Afghanistan.   My husbands great uncle died in WW2 and is buried in El Alamein.  My two sons proudly bear his name as their middle names.
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In the lead up to Anzac Day and on the day itself there are lots of easy ways to get your child involved.

BAKE ANZAC BISCUITS TOGETHER

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ANZAC Day is an important part of our Australian Calendar. In our homes and in our classrooms, children learn about ANZAC day through stories, craft and real life experiences.

READ A STORY

Sometimes a story can explain a complex topic in a more age appropriate way then we can. It is often difficult to find the write words to covey such an important message, in a way that children can understand. Stories do just that. Ask your child’s teacher, librarian or even local RSL for some recommendations. Be sure to pre read the story yourself to make a judgment on whether it is appropriate for your family. Some of our favourites are;
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CREATE AND CRAFT
Young children learn through hands on activities. There are many ANZAC day themed art and craft ideas that are both simple and cheap.

Pinterest is your best friend here!
Poppies: Make poppies with paper plates, cupcake papers and pipe cleaners or even with red paint and a potato stamp!

Wreaths: Paper Plates make a great wreath template. Simply cut out the middle of the plate and paint the remaining wreath green. For texture stick on small squares of crepe paper or leaves from the garden.

Flags: Colour in some Australian or New Zealand flag templates and attach them to straw or paddlepop sticks.

EXPERIENCE

Their really is no better way for your child to learn about Anzac Day, then to visit or participate in an ANZAC Day March or Ceremony. Contact your local council or RSL for your areas events. A march will help show your child the range of people that have served their country, men, women, old and young in their varied positions. The colours, the sounds and the amazing memorabilia, will keep them interested for longer than you imagine. Bake some Anzac Biscuits to take along with you, wave your flag proudly and applaud the soldiers as they march by.

Through stories, craft creations and experiencing all that is ANZAC Day, our children will have a new understanding and appreciation of this special day.

The Mummy & Son Date – Cirque du Soleil ~ TOTEM

Their is no doubt that adding a new baby to the family is life changing.  At 7 and 4 “My pigeon Pair” had well established their “place” in the family and created strong bonds with each other and us as their parents.  They have welcomed the Chunk Hunky baby so joyously and love his crazy ways but I can’t help feeling that our time with the older two is now stretched a little thin.

Now that our newborn days are over, we vowed that this year, as parents, we would make it a priority to spend some one on one special “date” time with each child.  As the dates for the Cirque du Soleil premiere of Totem in Brisbane conincided with school holidays I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to take Master O (now aged 8) on a special date night.

When he was in Prep we went together to see Cirque Du Soleil’s Ovo and its an experience he still taks about!  They look up You Tube clips of “Ovo” together, re read the program and he recounts to his sister his favourite breath holding moments!

I decided to surprise Master O with our date experience.  He knew we were going out together but presumed it was for coffee and dinner.  That day we drove the last of our Easter visitors to the Airport and he spotted the “Grand Chapiteau” over the bridge (The Grand Chapiteau is the ginormous yellow and Blue tent the circus is located in)! I thought my surprise was ruined for sure!  He spotted it, got excited, asked me when it was opening and begged to go.  I told him I thought it had actually been and gone and that it must have closed just before the holidays.  Cue dissapointment but at least I was home free!

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All ready to go

That night,  as we drove to the city, he still had no idea.  Maybe that had something to do with all the chatting we were doing about future careers, friends, favourite super heroes etc.  He seemed oblivious to the direction we were travelling.

 

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and then he spots this.  Well I didnt take this photo as I was driving but this is what the Grand Chapiteu looks like.

Master O: “It’s still here Mum”  

Me: “What do you think?  Should we go?”

Master O: “Wouldnt that be great!”

Me: “Well thats where we are going!”

Master O: “Oh my Gosh, Oh my gosh, NO WAY!!!”

Even as we got out of the car he literally said “I am shiviering with excitement I cant believe we are here!!!  BEST. SURPRISE. EVER!!!

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It is really hard to find words to describe the Cirque Du Soleil expereince.

Its quite a small “arena” which gives it a real intimte feel and regardless of seats you feel so close to the action.

The music is played live and the stage set takes upon a life of its own constantly tranforming before your eyes.

But the performers!  Oh the performers!  Its heart stopping, jaw dropping, death defying, simply AMAZING.  

Our favourites…

MASTER O

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The “Clown” who used those pans and bounced a hard “egg” to play a song! And that duck is a plastic bag!

 

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The Mad Scientist who bounced glowing balls around this giant funnel!

and Me…..

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They are on roller skates. On that tiny round box. She is spinning in the air. and they are only attached by their necks!!!!! SERIOUSLY!

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On their unicylce they used their FEET to kick small bowls onto each others heads, WHILST cycling!!! And I trip over my own feet!

 So my tips:

  • Cirque Du Soleil really is a family friendly experience.  There are discount tickets for families for certain performances
  • Master O first went to Cirque Du Soleil when he was 5.  I would recommend that as the youngest age at which children would enjoy the experience.  Younger than that it might be a bit long and some effects, noises etc a bit scary.
  • Grab a booster Seat.  The ushers have booster seats available to help little ones see the performance better.
  • With little kids, choose a daytime show.  The evening show starts at 8pm and it was at least 10.30pm when it finished and I noticed many a parent carrying a sleeping child out!
  • Parking (In Brisbane) is superb with attendants to help you find a park and to assist traffic when exiting.
  • Make a day of it.  Eat Street Markets and Portside are close by and we had plans to go to Max Brenner after the show! Both however are a little too far away to walk with children so plan accordingly.
  • Food and Drinks are a little pricey (they always are at performances) so eat prior.
  • Photos and Videos are not allowed once inside so make the most of the photo opportunities outside!
  • Buy the Program!  It’s a great way to reminisce on your experience and a wonderful souvenir, my kids love reading about all of the performers.

 

and lastly, JUST GO!!!  It’s not the cheapest experience but equivalent to the Ballet or a Stage Show.  YOU WILL NOT REGRET THE MONEY.  The first time I went I cried.  I know sappy but true.  I couldn’t believe it had taken me 30 years to go to Cirque Du Soleil.  It is a bucket list experience. To now have shared this experience with my son is just incredible.  Thats what childhood is all about.  Time sharing experiences with the ones you love.  Soaking up all those moments of magic and wonder.  At the end of the night, we dreamed and made plans.  In our lifetime we will see every Cirque show together.  Here’s hoping son. 

 
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Hands On Sight Word Activities

Sight Words

After years of teaching Preps, and one not so enthusiastic son going through Prep, I have found some fun activities to motivate kids to learn sight words! 

The key to motivating kids to learn anything is to make it hands on and FUN! 

SAND

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Mrs Ricca’s Kindergarten – Down By The Sea Sight Words!

Use Sand, Seeds, or rice to fill a small shallow container.  Use a finger to trace words in the sand.  This helps form letter and word order, memory and develop writing and fine motor skills.  Get those fingers moving! 

FINGER TRACING

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Tactile Cards. From Lakeshore Learning

These cards are fantastic and great for tactile learners.  Each letter is grooved out of the card, ready for little fingers to trace over them.  There are three packs that vary in difficulty.

PLAY DOH

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Play Doh Sight Words – Make Take Teach

Playdough!!!!!  Easy, cheap and often at home already!  Exercise those hands, fingers and wrists to form letters then words.

MAGNETS

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Cookie Sheet Sight Words – Make, Take , Teach

Magnetic letters are easy to find in toy shops, discount stores and large department stores.  Use on a cheap baking tray and you have a word building magnetic activity.

PARKING LOT

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Using a large piece of cardboard draw up a sight words parking lot.  Call out the word and let your child drive their car (a small matchbox car will do) to the correct parking spot

MAGIC WRITING

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Magic Sight Words – Simply Centers

A craft activity teachers have been calling upon for ever, MAGIC WRITING!  Also known as Wax resist, use a crayon or candle to write the word “invisibly”  Ten paint over with watered dwon paint and your word “magically” reappears!

 BUBBLE WRAP

Bubble Wrap Sight Words

Teach Beside Me – Learning With Bubble Wrap

Using a piece of bubble wrap (with the large bubbles works best) write a sight word on each bubble.  As you call out a sight word, your child pops the bubble with their fingers! 

SHAVING CREAM

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This activity can even be done in the bath tub or shower!  Spray out some shaving cream and use your fingers to wipe out the words.  When you are done use your hand to mix the shaving cream to start again!

MAGNETIC FISHING

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Magnetic Fishing Words – From Playdough to Plato

 Cut out some cardboard fish, attach a paperclip (this will act as your magnet end) use a piece of dowel (or even a pencil do) with a piece of string and a small magnet on the end as your fishing rod. You can buy magnetic tape to attach to your rod or even hot glue on some cut up old fridge magnets.

 FLY SWAT

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 Always a class favourite, the fly swat game.  Simply put out your words (on a wall or on the floor) call out a word and SWAT IT!  This works great in pairs as a racing game!  Who can swat the word first!

 

Sight words are an integral pert of the early writing and reading process.  The more exposure your child has to learn these words the quicker they will grasp them.  By making the learning opportunities hands on and super fun they will begging you to practice!  

 

 

Amazing Australia Day Activities For Kids

 Australia Day

The Beach, Vegemite, Pavlova, Koalas…… Australia Day is HERE!  A perfect time to celebrate and create everything that is AUSTRALIAN!  In Australia it is also back to school time so these are great to get those hands moving, fill those lunchboxes and work out those fine motor skills before school goes back! 

 

Like These From The Organised Housewife

Like These From The Organised Housewife

Make and Bake some Cheesy Might scrolls!  Perfect straight from the oven on Australia day or ready for lunch boxes!

Australia Day Freebies From Busy Little Bugs

Ready for some Tot School Fun?  Perfect for those Kindy and Prep teachers on the first day back are these free Printables from one of my FAVOURITE FAVOURITE sites Busy Little Bugs.   Cut along the lines (awesome fine motor!) and then reassemble in order!  Spatial awareness, number, sequencing, this has it all! 

Sequencing and colouring and MORE! From Busy Little Bugs AGAIN!!!

Sequencing and colouring and MORE! From Busy Little Bugs AGAIN!!!

There are enough FREE activities on this one amazing Website to have you covered for a whole week. Laminate them to use again next year, use them in busy bags or some small group rotations in your classroom!

Make a Pap

Make a Paper Plate Sydney Opera House

This activity is great for older children. Better yet lots of these things you would have laying around the house.

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Cut and Paste Flag Activity from Lessons Learnt Journal

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Explore Aboriginal culture by looking at and creating stories using these indigenous symbols.

There you have it some quick, easy, cheap Australia Day Activities to help celebrate our wonderful country! Have any others you would like to share?