Friday, 28 June 2013

Creative writing and...hurricanes?

So today I learned that (apparently) when the Poinciana trees bloom heavily it means we'll have a bad hurricane season!!!! I did not know this - and sort of wish I didn't now!

The trees are just GORGEOUS this year. Look at this one - it's just down the road from us.

(Have to say the pictures aren't that great because a) it was from the car and b) I was eating a snowball while I was taking it :) )


The whole island is covered with the trees and every single one is in full, magnificent bloom.

I'm going to make sure our shutters are properly fixed and buy some battery lamps this year. :)

And the creative writing part...

Every year I save samples of my kiddies' work and at the end of the year they make a construction paper booklet and glue all their samples into it. They love to re-read all their compositions (which they've completely forgotten about by June) and are very critical of their efforts at the beginning of the year. It's a great way for them to see how much their writing has progressed - and they love to pass the booklets around the room for their friends to read. I also find it reminds them of a lot of our activities throughout the year so I hear plenty of "Oh yeah! I remember that!" and "Oh, I'd forgotten we did that!"

This year we included a descriptive writing piece, 2 poems (a rhyming couplet and a diamante), a diary entry, a Christmas story, a compound sentence practice piece, a re-telling of a story and their favourite blog post from the class blog.

They were great. :)

Cute cover

Halloween poem and Roman diary entry

Christmas story and diamante poem

Enjoy the weekend everyone :)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Last Week of School!!

Actually tomorrow is the last day with the kiddies and we finish formally on Friday at 2.00. :)

Can't wait for the summer holidays!!

This last week has been a whirlwind of activities with Open Days and field trips and Math Pizza lunches and science activities... but we seem to have got most of it done.

We took the whole year group on a trip to the Aquarium - it rained practically the whole time but the girls still had a blast. I loved these photos of them trying to touch the fish in our North Rock exhibit tank!!

Love the puffer fish saying "hello"

 We also did our activities to demonstrate the forces of air pressure and gravity (helicopter experiment) and friction and gravity (lizards on a string)

The kids loved running up and down the stairs to drop their helicopters over the edge and watch them twirl down :)

Couldn't get a picture of them flying but here they are
ready for take-off!

And here are some of our lizards :) Pretty, aren't they?

So, I"m looking forward to the last few things of school - pizza lunch, popsicles, shaving cream desk cleaning... all that good stuff and then it's heigh ho for the holidays :) Yippee!!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Aztec Open Day...

... was great fun!!

My kiddies were awesome, the classroom looked fantastic and the parents thought their work was wonderful.

We dressed up, ate tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole (in the Aztec world) quinoa stew (in the Inca mountains) and sampled spicy hot chocolate (in the Mayan civilization) - and then sent everyone home happy.

A wonderful day. And my slaves were awesome - they fanned me all afternoon (and it was HOT with all those parents in the room!!) and posed for photographs.

Here's a sampling of our afternoon :)

(Plus photos of me - and I'm not all that comfortable in front of the camera so these are rare glimpses :) )

Sacrificing a slave - nearly all the parents volunteered too!
Sampling salsa and guacamole

Miniature Aztec houses and chinampas

More displays
The Ball Game display

Emperor Moctezuma with a member of the court

And with a Snake Warrior
and personal slave :)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Our Group Projects

We're coming into the home stretch now!!

Meso-American Day is just around the corner and my classroom is in total CHAOS. I know it will look great on the day but right now it is a disaster zone.

Today my kiddies finished their group projects and they look amazing so I am totally going to brag and post photos of them here so you can all see how creative and amazing my class is.

The best part is these were actually completed with NO arguing!! They've come so far since September when group projects were, frankly, a nightmare. This time everyone cooperated, helped each other, complimented each other - it was wonderful.

Here is the project on Aztec Music.

The Meso-American Ball Game:

Aztec Pottery and Sculpture:

and Aztec Weapons:

I seem to be missing the photo of Aztec Sacrifice - I think they were still adding blood drops all over the place while I was taking photos. You can admire the blood and gore another day :)

I love these photos of my girls working. They were SO engrossed in what they were doing :)


We also discussed, at great length, today the costumes that we would all be wearing next Tuesday. I headed off all those who wanted to harass their parents into making them fantastic and exotic costumes, vetoed "real gold" jewelry and agreed that everyone, regardless of their social status, could wear face paint!!

I'm really not sure if we'll make it to Tuesday because they are SO excited they might just explode before then. :) If you hear a big KABOOM from the middle of the Atlantic you'll know what it was!!

:)  :)

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

And still more new stuff to learn...

Just as I've been getting comfortable with my blogging I read all these posts today about Google Reader ending on July 1st - which of course, I knew but had pushed deep into my subconscious because I just didn't want to deal with yet another techie thing.

However, the change over to


 was actually quite painless :) I hope I have done it correctly! I'm assuming so because there is now a new little gadget at the top of this blog that can be clicked on to follow.

Since there's absolutely no way I can explain this competently you can follow this link to a very good post written by Megan at:

 I Teach, What's Your Super Power?

She tells you exactly what to do to change over. I definitely didn't want to lose my blog list and have to find everyone again so I followed her directions implicitly. :)  Thanks Megan!!

I keep telling myself that all this learning is good - it will help me empathize with my kiddies. After all, they're always being pushed to learn new things so I, as their teacher, should challenge myself the same way. :)

Monday, 17 June 2013

Kindness of our Hearts

This, folks, is a wonderful donation drive - with a very heartwarming story of friendship behind it.

Kindness of our Hearts Donation Drive

for her friend Kathy who was involved in a serious accident.

I would encourage everyone to consider donating to this cause. Lisa has set everything up so that it is incredibly easy to participate and your participation will help a fellow teacher.

You can read the whole story on Lisa's blog by clicking on the link above.

As she says in her post, the teaching community is truly just that - a community. I'm proud to be a part of it.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Excuses, excuses...

I have been very lax about posting lately - too many things to do as school winds down.

The good thing is my reports are done - and after a plethora of accidents, like printing off all the 2nd term reports instead of the 3rd term, and deleting one report completely, and losing some Maths comments... I managed to hand them in safely. I'll probably get them back on Tuesday and hopefully there won't be any "correction stickies" on them. It is a matter of personal pride to have no stickies and to date I am the only person in the school to manage it two terms in a row :)

No pressure or anything... aaghh.

Today is Father's Day. My daughter has cleaned the entire house and cooked her dad's lunch (both of which things I benefit from as well :) ) so we're just waiting to sit down. Hopefully soon...

My own dad is waiting for a visit too so we'll be heading over there afterwards with the dogs (puppy playdate time) for tea and chat.

Tomorrow is a public holiday and more family time...

I say all this to explain why nothing is happening in the way of interesting blog posts :) and with 2 weeks to go still, writing may continue to be a little sparse.

To be honest, I'm not sure why we have to have 2 more weeks of school - there are so many events scheduled that I'll be lucky to get one Math sum done at all!! We have cricket games to attend, the Aquarium to visit, our end-of-year outing, Open Day, Math pizza lunch - and somehow, squashed into all this fun stuff, we still have to do our whole science unit on magnets and forces. I've no idea how it's going to happen!! We may just have to grit our teeth and go flat out for 2 days! :)

Summer is a comin' though, so yay for that :)

Happy Father's Day to all the dads - hope it's a good one for you :)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Froot Loop Fractions - and Aztec Update

Since I can't get to the end of the year without doing any more Math (tempting as that thought is!) I decided to review fractions of a group by making Froot Loop necklaces this week :)

Some of my kiddies are still struggling with this concept and froot loops are so much more fun to work with than cubes or jewels. We went through all the problems step by step with their edible manipulatives and everyone loved it. Plus - they all got the right answers!!

the beginning
1/4 of 16

4 sums completed

the finished product

Today in our Aztec world we did a multitude of different projects:

We worked on our weaving...

I love the jaguar weaving :)

... and some students finished their little bags :)

And we started making artifacts for our group projects:

a magnetic ball game
clay whistles
clay mosaic serpents
and some bows 

I took photos of 3 of my warriors posing in front of the house. I really wish I could show their faces because they were so proud - and such posers!  - but at least you can see the bows :)

Arrows later on (maybe - someone shot a paintbrush across the room today which wasn't such a bright idea since it landed on another child's head. Mind you I had already demonstrated it but I cleared the kiddies all off to one side before I demonstrated and I know how to shoot straight!!) I think I'll just get foam tips for the arrow heads and only let them shoot outside. We used oleander branches which make great bows - it always surprises me that none of the kids have ever made them. I did it all the time when I was a child :)

Anyway I may now have to help the whole class make these - or I might give the parents instructions for a fun summer project :) They were a hit!!

Don't their helmets look good with the bows? :) You're looking at two jaguars and a parrot :)

Here's a picture of the parrot under construction so you can fully appreciate its magnificence.

And so we progress - Open Day is just around the corner. I can't wait :)

Next on the agenda is the temple for sacrificing, my headdress (VERY important) and feathered fans so that my slaves can fan me :)

I do so LOVE this project!!

Sunday, 9 June 2013


One day I'm going to do a giveaway but for now I just like entering them and supporting them :)

Christina at Bunting, Books and Bainbridge is having a Blog-a-versary Party from tomorrow until Saturday - lots of great things to win so head on over and enter :)

And here's another fun giveaway to check out at It's a Jungle Out There!

Fun stuff :)

Friday, 7 June 2013

Awesome Aztecs...

... well, they will be in  a couple of weeks when they're all dressed up in their super cool helmets! :)

We had an afternoon of miniature food making (for the chinampas), made papier mache pots for the big house and added details to our helmets.

 I LOVE the helmets!! They are looking really good!!

Wolf under construction

Took this when the afternoon sun was coming through
the window so the wolf looks a little yellow - it's really a
tasteful gray :)

Super cute jaguar. Despite the fact that
jaguars normally have BLACK noses
this child chose to do a pink one :)

The green thing is a snake :) I think it needs a tongue!

Gotta say I've loved watching the kids make these. They're the best any class has ever done - and they're always wearing them. One child yesterday painted her parrot helmet bright red, then put it on her head. She had a nice red ring around her hair and forehead for most of the day :) 

It's nice to know they're enjoying the project :)

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

And More Aztecs...

My entire life revolves around this project right now (well, that and assessments and reports of course!) - and the classroom is starting to come together. It's still chaotic but I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel. We might actually pull Open Day off :)

Today we put snouts and ears on the Aztec warrior helmets :) Even though they're not painted yet the kids love them so much they are wearing them all the time (and unfortunately pretending to be the animals they have chosen to represent - so I had jaguars and panthers pouncing on each other, snakes slithering around the room, a couple of prowling wolves and three swooping parrots in my room this afternoon!)

All these animals were supposed to be working on their Aztec codices but it was obviously more fun to creep up on a warrior in the Aztec house :) I told myself it was creative role play - and a form of learning! :)

A jaguar working on her codex
Waiting for paint, eyes, noses and whiskers

The house looks awesome now - we still have to put on the back half of the roof but it's really looking very realistic I think and the kiddies adore it!! When we get the fire inside (complete with flickering flames - i.e. battery candles and tissue paper) it's going to be THE place to be!

We covered their woven mats in plastic to protect them

Project books are coming along nicely and some are just fabulous. Some children have gone way beyond my expectations and have created the most gorgeous books. Their parents are going to be very proud!


And finally this week we started our giant Aztec god paintings. We used the overhead projector to draw the figures and then randomly assigned colours to all the parts in a "paint by letter" project. We keep them on the easel and anyone who finishes their work gets to go and paint any bits they like as long as they do it CAREFULLY. So far no spills and it's the neatest work I've seen in the last 4 years. And they're SO colorful :)

I think this is Quetzalcoatl :)

 We still have a lot to do - some weaving samples, planting the miniature chinampas, building the model temple, making our costumes and (most importantly) my feathered headdress and feathered fans for my slaves to fan me :) and the group projects (which involves making spears and bows and arrows, pots, musical instruments etc) - so there's no time to rest on our laurels yet but I am VERY proud of my kiddies to date. They're doing a fantastic job :)

Keep an eye out for more photos later on - right now I have to focus on (gag) reports :(