Thursday, 9 March 2017

4 easy ways to celebrate Harmony Day in the classroom

“Everyone belongs” is a great message of inclusivity in the classroom. It’s also the message for Harmony Day, a fantastic celebration for the whole community recognising diversity as a positive aspect of children’s lives. In fact, with the current state of the world, Harmony Day is a very powerful message to send to students young and old that all races, colours and beliefs can live in harmony. 

What is Harmony Day?
Harmony Day is a nationally recognised day for acknowledging the diversity in our society and celebrating it. 

When is Harmony Day held?
21st March each year.

What is the aim of Harmony Day?
To celebrate diversity and promote inclusion in society. Everyone belongs – is the message used to promote Harmony Day.

When did Harmony Day begin?
The very first Harmony Day began in 1999 and coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 

How is Harmony Day celebrated?
Schools often hold a whole school assembly with significant people from the community as representatives. Other community organisations hold morning teas or lunches to celebrate. The colour orange is used with Harmony Day to show support for the day through the wearing of orange t-shirts, ribbons or other decorations. 

How can I bring this celebration into my classroom?

1. The Harmony Day Activity Pack is full of colour posters, map activities, worksheets and display materials to help you discuss this special day in your classroom.

2. You might like to create some art work that shows the diversity within your classroom.

3. You could read a book about diversity.

4. Finally, it’s always fun to bring some lovely treats into the classroom (it is a celebration after all) – don’t forget the orange theme!

However you choose to celebrate – have a great Harmony Day!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

What is HASS? 7 Questions and Answers about the changes to the Australian Curriculum

What is HASS? 
I've heard people ask this question a lot lately, so I thought I would create a blog post about it.

In the Australian curriculum version 7.5 the subjects of History, Geography, Civics and Citizenship, Economics and Business were individual subjects. 

However, in the newly updated Australian curriculum version 8.3 these subjects have been combined into one learning area called Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS). 

1. What does this mean for teachers?
A significant reduction in the amount of content descriptors we need to wade through when trying to teaching these subjects.

2. Is the content different for History or Geography in Foundation - Year 3?
No. The concepts covered are the same but the level of detail the Australian Curriculum provides on these has been reduced to make it easy to combine these subjects into HASS.

3. What is humanities?
In the past, History was the study of past events and Geography was a the study of maps. However, this has changed over the last 10 years and History and Geography is more a humanities subject in primary school with an exploration of cultural, social and economic forces that shape people and areas. 

4. Is HASS still inquiry based?
Yes. Critical thinking is the bedrock of all subjects as is problem solving. Thinking and responding to inquiry questions helps students to explore key historic and geographic skills required when responding. 

5. What are some of the key ideas covered by HASS in Foundation to Year 6?
The subject sub-strands explore the knowledge and understanding students need to have when studying HASS. The key ideas are:

  • Who we are, who came before us, and traditions and values that have shaped societies. 
  • How societies and economies operate and how they are changing over time.
  • The ways people, places, ideas and events are perceived and connected.
  • How people exercise their responsibilities, participate in society and make informed decisions
To find out more click here to go to the Australian Curriculum website.

6. Will I have to teach Civics and Citizenship in early primary?
No. All years need to teach History and Geography. Civics does not start until Year 3 and Economics and Business does not begin until Year 5. However, these curricula are still being rolled out so if you have any doubts talk to your Head of Curriculum within your school.

7. Where can I find resources that are aligned to the Australian curriculum?
TechTeacherPto3 provides History and Geography resources that are aligned to the Australian curriculum and neatly address each of the Knowledge and Understanding required for Foundation to Year 3 (see image below). 

To view TechTeacherPto3's full range of Australian aligned History and Geography resources

Friday, 17 February 2017

5 easy ways to bring St Patrick's Day into your classroom

Having lived there for over 5 years, Ireland is particularly close to my heart and with Irish family and connections the national celebration of St Patrick's Day is a special day for my family. Over the years, St Patrick's Day has become bigger and bolder than ever with Irish and non-Irish alike celebrating all over the world. As a celebration of diversity and immigration, St Patrick's Day is more important than ever before and therefore an essential celebration for your classroom.
Listed below are 5 ways I have integrated the St Patrick's Day celebration into my classroom. If you can think of any more add them below in the comments section. 

1. Study Ireland's geography and history.

Any good geography unit incorporates aspects of cultural and geographic elements. In fact, geography is no longer just the study of maps but more an exploration of places, spaces and their use by the people who live there.

The All about Ireland Activity Pack has plenty of activities to help you explore this exciting country including spinners, maps, flags, posters, activity sheets and word searches.

Any easy way to stay on track with your geography study, whilst still exploring a traditional celebration within your own community.

2. Learn who St Patrick was.

Who was St Patrick? Why is he the Patron Saint of Ireland and why do we celebrate his death? The St Patrick's Day Activity Pack will help your students answer these questions and more. In addition, they can explore the history concepts of a timeline of St Patrick's Day, writing activities, vocabulary (word wall), research sheets and fun activities such as the craft and word search activities. This little pack is bursting with goodies and aligns to the Australian curriculum for History and Geography (HASS) for Foundation - Year 3.

3. Introduce themed St Patrick's Day activities into literacy centers and math rotations.

 The St Patrick's Day Literacy Pack and the St Patrick's Day Maths Pack are jam packed with fun activities for your literacy or math rotations. Each pack contains 10 worksheets with activities such as ordinal numbers, roll and colour, make a sentence and many more activities suitable for Kindy/Foundation and Year 1 students. Themed packs help to keep your centers fun and fresh with something new for everybody. (Available in both UK and US spelling variations)

4. Play some themed games and do some St Patrick's Day craft.

A celebration is supposed to be fun and it is possible to learn while having fun isn't it? I've used these little St Patrick's Day Bingo cards to bring some exploration of cultural symbols for St Patrick's Day into the classroom. Bingo is also a great way to practice some vocabulary and listening work. At only $1 this pack is a great find!

These St Patrick's Day Colouring Pages are a fun activity that are fantastic for fast finishers with lots of cultural symbols to select from for only $1!

Everybody loves a freebie and these super cute St Patrick's Day Printable Hats are so easy to make. I made these for my students and they wouldn't take them off! They come colour and black and white so you students can print and craft their own hats for your very own St Patrick's Day celebration in the classroom!

You'll also find some great St Patrick's Day craft ideas on the TechTeacherPto3 Pinterest page.

5. Read a St Patrick's Day story.

There are so many St Patrick's Day themed picture books to select from I simply couldn't select one so listed below you will find my favourites. Click each picture to see more details of where they are available.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Win a Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card!

How would you like to win a $25 gift card from Teachers Pay Teachers? Just think of all the fantastic resources and clip art you could buy with your gift voucher! All you have to do is click the link at the bottom of this blog post and you're in the running. Competition ends 20th February 2017.


 Prize: $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher), 

 Co-hosts: An Apple for the Teacher, Tech Teacher Pto3, Sarah Griffin, The Reading Clubhouse, Digging Deep to Soar Beyond the Text, Trending Technology in Tennessee, Calling All Ducklings, Special Inspirations , and Kathryn Watts. 

 Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter. 

Giveaway ends 2/20/17 and is open worldwide. 

 Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media? Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers! 

Sunday, 22 January 2017

7 Aussie Teachers You Should Follow On Instagram

Instagram is chock full of exciting teachers doing wonderful things with their classrooms. I know we all love to have a peek inside other teacher's classrooms and see how they set their rooms up, what decor they are using and what resources their students love.

In particular, Australian teachers are starting to make their presence felt on Instagram with some wonderful looks at #teacherlife. You can find Aussie teachers by using the #aussieteacher but I've compiled some of my favourite up and coming Aussie teachers taking off on Instagram.

Click each link below to follow them or leave them a comment to let them know you came over from #techteacherpto3

A Queensland early years teacher, TechTeacherPto3 shares ideas and products from not only her own store but also useful teaching items she finds around the place. One thing that sets TechTeacherPto3 apart from other Teachers Pay Teachers sellers is that all of her products are aligned to the Australian curriculum so the hard work has been done for you.

Rainbow Sky Creations is run by two Aussie teachers that met teaching in the middle east and who share a love of colour and creativity in education. On their Instagram account they share learning ideas, resources and inspiration for the classroom and at home.

A passionate mother, teacher and creator from W.A, this Aussie teacher loves to design and create bright and engaging classroom resources for teachers around the world.

At Little Library Learners Instagram you will find library ideas, inspiration and general teacher life. This Aussie Instagrammer is a teacher from Qld who has taught in both Australian and American schools and is passionate about encouraging students to love reading and to feel motivated to visit the library.

Lauren from Love Laughter Learning is a former Prep teacher from Queensland who now spends time at home with her 7 and 4 year old girls. Pop on over to her Instagram page and you'll find a colourful collection of classroom ideas, crafty projects and teacher humour. Lauren loves to share and create hands-on resources for little learners - games, sorting activities, playdough mats and fine motor tasks and is a huge advocate for FUN in the classroom! Follow her for lots of inspiration and a laugh or two.

At Miss Smartie Pants you will find fun and bright ideas for your classroom. As a Year 1-2 teacher from NSW, Miss Smartie Pants shares fun DIY projects as well as amazing teacher hacks. This Aussie teacher creates cute teaching printables - you'll love her bright ideas!

Aussie Star Resources is a teacher from SA and she's all about Upper Primary - believing that the big kids are fun too! She created Aussie Star to provide resources that make life easier and save time for Upper Primary Teachers because she knows what it's like to try and juggle life and teach. If she can make life easier for teachers by providing high quality resources then she's achieved her number one goal.

Never miss a blog post from Foundation into First by subscribing here and you'll also be sent a free teaching planning document upon subscription!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Celebrating Chinese New Year in the Classroom

Chinese New Year is the perfect opportunity to bring a cultural celebration from another country into the classroom.  

There is so much you can unpack with this celebration and I'd like to take you through the Chinese New Year Activity Pack to give you some ideas and demonstrate how you can align this celebration with some of the outcomes in the Australian curriculum.

Maps and Flags

Exploring other country's maps and flags forms part of both the Geography and History curriculum (now called HASS) for all year levels. Inside this pack you will find some cute wall decorations students can put together and explore the Chinese flag and national dress.

The image below shows the wall display printed in colour but a black and white version ready for students to cut and paste together then colour in included inside.

Symbols and Traditions

From Foundation Year (exploring celebrations) through to Year 6 (exploration of Asia) all year levels require students to examine how celebrations take place both within Australia and the rest of the world, then draw comparisons. 

Creating hands-on resources always engages students and cements learning which is why these easy to make paper lanterns are such a big hit with students. Instruction and the template is included in this pack and allows students to consider the symbolism involved with this tradition.

The Red Pack is also another fun craft activity where students can make the envelope up with the template and decorate it then insert the paper coins and give to their friends.

Cultural Significance of Symbols

Included in this pack are several reading comprehension sheets on Chinese New Year, with each one exploring the symbolism of a traditional element that is an essential part of the celebration.

There are also mapping worksheets and maths activities so you can bring the Chinese New Year focus to all subject areas.

To view this pack in more detail click here.

Why not download the free Chinese New Year Poster for 2017
Don't forget to leave feedback if you enjoyed this freebie!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Setting up your classroom - 8 quick ideas you can pin today.

Setting up your classroom, even if you're an experienced teacher, can be fun but overwhelming. Pinning on Pinterest is a great way to pass the time and procrastinate about setting up your room, however, there are some wonderful pins out there to give you ideas - and I've placed a few pins below, 8 to be exact, that cover some of the basics of classroom organisation. 

All of these pins can be found on my Pinterest board Classroom Organisation where you can go to re-pin these ideas or you can click the image to go directly to that pin and re-pin from there.

1. Bulletin Boards

Crafty Morning has some great suggestions for creating bulletin board borders with scraps you might have easy access to at home.

2. Word Walls

Also an essential component of any classroom is a fantastic word wall and Buzzfeed has some exciting photos from classrooms to inspire you.

3. Displaying Student Work

Putting student work on display is essential to create a sense of ownership within the classroom. It's important to give student work some dedicated space to keep your room organised. I love the bright use of colours here by Live Laugh and Learn in Second Grade.

If you're stuck for space try this clever window idea by KB Konnected.

4. Classroom Library

You're going to have to give a small space over to your classroom library. It might contain your own books, a selection of books from the school library or a combination of the two. Either way, an organised classroom is one where everything has a home and Blossoming in First Grade has some great examples on her Instagram account.

5. Desk Arrangements

There are so many different classroom desk arrangements but which one is the most effective? 
Top Notch Teaching has the ideal classroom layout for you.

The Classroom Key has some great little visuals about how to set up your students' desks - always a difficult dilemma at the start of the year...

or perhaps you need your students sitting on the floor - we can organise that as well thanks to Blooming in First!

6. Equipment Storage

In lower school there is a constant issue with the 'right sort of container' for pencils and pens on a shared table (yes Early Years teachers spend time thinking of such things). Controlling My Chaos has some nifty ideas for pen and pencil caddies in shared spaces.

7. Classroom Rules Posters

I've always found it useful to place rules posters in key places around the classroom, at eye level, just to serve as reminder but I really love using this Classroom Rules Pack because with every poster comes with a worksheet so you can explicitly teach each rule with students.

8. Setting up Classroom Jobs

Another way to help students claim ownership of their classroom is to give them Classroom Jobs to do. I usually change the jobs once a week with lower school students and with upper school students I select new monitors once a term. It saves me a lot of stress and helps me keep the classroom organised as well!