Thursday, 30 July 2015

Turn Your Beliefs Into Actions

So here I am, taking part in another fabulous blog hop! This one hosted by a lovely lady called Whitney from With Love from Texas




Whitney challenged us bloggers to write down about our Education Beliefs.


When reading others beliefs, I think it's important for us all to realise that we all have different ones, we all have something different about each and every one of us - and that's good. We may not agree with or share others beliefs but we all have our own and that's what makes this World go round.

I have numerous beliefs, and didn't really know where to start. I have so much swimming around my head at one time, sometimes I think I'm going to go crazy, so I had to sit down and really think carefully about my Education Beliefs and what I feel strongly about. I narrowed it down to 5, although it was quite hard!

1) Every child has the right to be educated to their individual needs.
2) Every child deserves an equal amount of your attention.
3) Parents and Teachers form half and half of a students life; work together.
4) There is such a thing as over expectation.
5) Celebrate every achievement; big or small.

Now, let me expand on my beliefs and why I have them.

1) Every child has individual, different needs. Just because once child isn't up to the others abilities doesn't mean we just dismiss them and give them the same work as everyone else. We have to realise that sometimes we need to spend that extra few moments differentiating the level of activity so that it suits individuals. Within our classroom we have 7 pupils, we have 7 different levels of each resource, every pupil is working on the same activity, but at different levels to suit their level. Granted it is totally different in my line of work, working with severe ASD students means we have smaller classrooms so it's easier for us to differentiate completely for them all, but I honestly believe that the students deserve us spending some extra time to make sure the resources suit their capabilities.

2) There is nothing I hate more than going into a classroom and you can instantly pick up on who the class favorite is and who is the one that isn't. I believe every child should be treated the same. Naturally, teachers are only human, there's going to be a child that grows on you the most, and the least, but it is our professionalism that makes us who we are, and that is to treat everyone equally. No child should feel less liked compared to another, every child should be treated the same.

3) I don't know how many times I have come across parents and teachers reaching mis-understandings over things. Sometimes things can come across worse than intended - as parents they may get defensive thinking you are criticising their parent skills/abilities and as teachers you may get defensive thinking they are criticising your teaching abilities. This really isn't the case; you need to be able to form a relationship and work together to help the pupil reach their full potential! Teacher's can't do their job without the support of parents/guardians/families and vice versa.

4) Over expectation. Nothing I hate more. Yes, push the pupils to achieve their best, but do not set the bar so high that they never have a hope in reaching it! Be fair, assess the pupils abilities, level of learning, any additional needs that they have and then set the bar, but don't expect miracles and set the bar too high. Don't forget we don't want children worrying that they can't reach their target(s)! We want children seeing that they are reaching their targets at the end of the year!

5) Yes. I celebrate everything. And I mean everything. We all should! We had a child who wouldn't sit for literally a second to complete his work, he would NOT complete work. After much persistence, different techniques/methods we finally convinced him to complete one activity. And i'm talking a 10 second activity. I was literally over the moon dancing and prancing! Some of you teachers may be sat there thinking - really? He sat for 10 seconds? A year and half later they will sit for up to 15 minutes on a good day! That 10 seconds is the biggest achievement ever, because that led to the student sitting at a desk completing work, building up their attention time until now it's at almost 15 minutes. Unbelievable! 

What are your education beliefs? Let me know! It's great to share beliefs.

Click here to hop on to the next persons blog!


Nikki 


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Technology Tuesday; How to add a photo to your blogger post.

Welcome to my first ever weekly Technology Tuesday post.
My aim each week is to be able to post something to help others with Technology.


So this week is all about how to add a photo to your blog post. This may be something that a lot of us can do with our eyes closed now, but I remember what it was like to be totally new to blogger. I find myself really pretty good with Technology, but when faced with blogger for the first time, every thing is a little bit overwhelming! So.. here's how to do it! 











Hope this helps ! 

Check back on Tuesday 4th August for a new Technology Tip on how to add a link to an image on your blog post!

 Nikki 



Monday, 27 July 2015

Weekly Summer Link-Up; My Talents

Can you believe how fast time is going? Now that I'm off for the Summer I can't even remember what day it is most of the time, so imagine my surprise when I forgot about Monica's weekly summer link up! Thank Gosh I saw her post just now to remind me! It's been one of the most fun, fabulous linkys to take part in this Summer - it's not too late for you to take part either! :) 


This week is all about Talents. Hmm, this is a tough one. What is a talent? It is most commonly known as a natural skill/ability for something. If it's down to this, I would have to say one of my talents is patience and understanding.. with Autism that is! Working with Autism is a huge part of me, that just feels natural, it's something I enjoy doing and something I feel I do really well - could I call that a talent?

Or maybe my fundraising.. last year I fundraised for pupils within the ASD School I work in, raising thousands and thousands (over 17k) in just 6 months for them.

Another talent is probably my love of making resources, invitations, anything that involves technology I tend to be pretty good at. I can remember being given my first computer at about the age of 12/13, finding a way to get hold of Photoshop and being able to edit photos like there was no tomorrow, I'd be the one who could make animated pictures, creating fonts etc. all at such a young age. I feel like I should have been born typing on a keyboard! Whenever I sit and type I can see and feel people gaping at me. The speed I type at is crazy, when I was in School they used to have 'touch typing' as a compulsory subject our 2nd year of Comp. By the end of my first lesson I could touch type, I can remember the shock on my teachers face as she couldn't give me stuff that was hard enough! Sometimes I do feel I've lost myself a bit if I go without my computer for a long period of time! I like to be sat, creating and doing different things.

As i'm sat typing this, I have Nathan sat taking the mick out of my typing skills, typing really fast on the side of the settee laughing at me! It's just a natural ability to be able to type so fast I think! I suppose at least I'll never have chubby fingers, right?!

This is a bit of a crazy one tonight, I've had people chatting to me through the night, lots of distractions and messages coming through so I'm apologising now if it's a bit crazy and not making much sense!

Don't forget to pop on over to see what talents Monica at I Heart Grade 3 has! :)

 Nikki 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

My Very First Sunday Scoop

So this is my very first time, EVER, linking up with Teaching Trio.


So here is my Sunday Scoop..


So, 3 things I have to do;

* wash my hair, I can not keep leaving it til the next morning - it's so much nicer going to bed with freshly washed hair but I can't be bothered!
* book my hair appointment. So I have some trust issues with hairdressers, I'm yet to find a decent replacement for my old hair dresser. Can you believe, I haven't had a trim since April 2014?! And not had my hair dyed since before then! I'm in urgent need so alas, I will be trying a new hairdresser - uh oh.
*change £ to $ - in just a few weeks we will be off to Florida and New York. I must get around to changing some £££ !!

2 things I hope to do;
* I need to pick up just a couple more things, but I'm hoping that because we are hiring a car and staying in a villa in Florida we will be close to a Target store so I can pick up some nice sandals there! 
* Start on my to-do list. Ok I actually have two full notebooks of to-do lists. They are all my ideas for resources that I want to make, it's just getting around to doing them!

1 thing I'm happy to do;
continue watching NCIS repeats.
Yep, I'm currently sat here on my lazy, big behind watching old episodes of NCIS. I can't help it, I love it. And since I finished my netflix binge of Once Upon a Time - loved it, gutted I've watched them all - I'm feeling a little lost.

What about you? What's your Sunday Scoop?

 Nikki 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

I Like Kids Books and I Can Not Lie!

Well, well, well, can you believe what I stumbled upon today?
I'm having a bit of a sad day. Nathan is away in Nottingham but he is back this evening - wahoo! He came across this and just had to send it to me..


Everyone knows how much I love Minions and poor Nath spent a fortune trying to win one for me - sadly he didn't but he tried - that's worth it! 

Anyway, back to the topic. I was sat this afternoon, having a chill, browsing along while I found this fabulous new linky over at Primary Polka Dots.


Isn't it just the best linky ever?! I honestly think everyone in Education - especially Primary/Kindergarten has a secret obsession with kids books - don't deny it, it's okay, we're all freaky obsessive teachies (FOT) here. 

So, I am going to discuss my favorite book when I was a kid.
It just HAS to be the Hairy Maclary Collection by Lynley Dodd. I loved them!
They have lots of rhyming in them and are absolutely fabulous to use when working on rhymes with students.


You can even watch/read along one of their books online here for free!


Aren't the rhymes just fabulous? And so much fun! There is so much that can be done on this book within the classroom, it's just a great book to use! Even if it's describing different dogs - although all can be called dogs, it doesn't necessarily mean that they all have to look the same! It can be linked in with Pet Shop Work, Rhyming Work, Sound Work, you name it, this can probably link to it!

Even CRAFTS..

 


(Click the photos to be directed to their sites.)

And this fabulous display...




Within our classroom we always have a theme which is based around a book and it is so much fun basing everything around it! This past term was The Very Hungry Caterpillar - a huge book and there are so many endless learning opportunities from it!


We literally base everything around it. It's a little different for us, in an ASD foundation phase classroom it means our activities may look a little different to what others would use. I have visited so many fabulous different SEN Classes/Schools and have never seen two that have even been remotely similar in teaching styles/resources/activities.

We love to base cookery around it..


These are such fun and easy to make! You can find out all about them on my earlier blog post here.

And of course, ART. We do A LOT of art. It's great for the children - sensory, different textures, fine motor skills, concentration, attention to detail, you name it, art and crafts pretty much cover its! Some of the children get SOOOO into it! It's great to see. Here are one of my favorite Arty things that we did. So much fun and easy to make! Plus every caterpillar can be made different - something that we love in our class - different!


Then for some numeracy work...


So basically we follow our own non-verbal literacy/numeracy programme that we created. It's brilliant and the students progress so well with it. It starts with us in the little ones and is carried throughout the entire School. It is differentiated for all different levels within the classroom. 

Top left;
Data Handling Book. I wish I had taken more photos to show you all the different fun pages that were included in this data handling book. But the one attached is one of my favorites where students have to count how many of each fruit they can see on the left hand side then put the fruit on the graph on the right, counting them.

Top right; 
Boards. These are great matching activities. It can include counting how many holes were on each fruit (the caterpillar ate), counting how many spots are on the ladybirds back and of course sequencing. As you can see we laminate and velcro them so that students can pick them up, match them and they don't get lost! These are great and the students really progress with them.

Bottom left and right;
Books. These can go from as simple to as hard as you like. Included are two of the easier levels. Students have to choose the correct symbol for the picture i.e 1 salami, 1 cup cake, on pages there can be 3 of each etc. So students have to count and differentiate the fruit. Then of course the books get harder, the second one is 'Caterpillar ate 3 plums' we introduce some words slower than others i.e the, and, the students build up to these. For example it will go;

Caterpillar ate 3 plums
The Caterpillar ate 3 plums
The Caterpillar ate 3 purple plums

etc. you can just keep on building up sentences as much as you like. Students have to select and place them in correct order. Great for building sentences - which also coincides with our literacy framework.


Matching boards.. matching detail, direction etc. This can be slight differences in detail, size, color.




We love to laminate and re-use worksheets- these are for some of our higher ability students. Some of our students are learning to read, so we re-make the story and add symbols for all the words so that students are able to become more independent in their reading. The more their reading progresses, the more symbols we start to remove so that they are learning to depend on the words more than the symbols.

We done the most absolutely wonderful wall display but I never got around to taking a picture of it which is a huge shame! It was so bright, colourful and we pride ourselves on that our displays are purely made by our children. We also put walkie talkie machines on there which students can press to hear different songs related to hungry caterpillar/minibeasts. There are lots of different textures, making it very sensory! 

So, as you can see, I am a HUGE believer in tying everything to one theme, there is so much that you can do for it. We photo everything as evidence throughout the term and then put it together as a big book (via book creator app, see here) so that we can look back on our whole topic! It's a lot of fun!

We even tie in our trips and look at butterfly farms etc!

Nikki 


My favorite books and their titles/details;



Hairy Maclary by Lynley Dodd
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
Little Princess by Tony Ross
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson 
Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet Ahlberg
Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs by Ian Whybrow
Barry the Fish with Fingers by Sue Hendra
Peepo by Janet Ahlberg
Pants by Giles Andreae








Spotlight Saturday; Re-Do Style!

Woohoo, time for another fabulous Spotlight Saturday hosted by

This is a great linky to be a part of, if you want to join up - don't think about it, just do it! It's a great linky, lots of fun! Everyone spotlights activities/products of theirs or others that they have come across.

Today is bit of a selfish one, I must admit. I have spent all week re-doing my cover photos on my store and have started working my way through re-doing some resources!

One of my favorite resources that I have re-done is my Summer Literacy and Numeracy Packs. Although I am still working my way through updating the giant bundle too.





My numeracy worksheet bundle which can be found here has been updated with lots of fun new clip art and 94 pages in total, with color or black and white options. Note, there are black and white options for every page, and color option for some pages (not all).


There are so many endless teaching days included in this and so many different skills are covered, perfect for Primary Math/Kindergarten. It's full of fun, summer clipart courtesy of fabulous Krista Wallden at Creative Clips and sure to keep students occupied and interested!

PLUS.. as bit of a thank you to my fabulous blog followers, I have attached a link to a dropbox file where you can download a freebie sample of this fabulous Summer Numeracy Bundle available only here! Please heed the Terms Of Use included in the download. This is a limited time only download so be sure not to miss out! Download here. I would love some feedback from you on what you think of it!




Moving on.. there's also the Summer Literacy Worksheet Bundle! Literacy is one of my favorite subjects to teach, I'm not really sure why, it just is - the opportunities are endless. For now I have updated the listing here. So I again, changed it completely. I put in lots of fun new Summery clipart (again from fabulous Krista see above), it includes 73 pages in total, in color or black and white options. Note, there are black and white options for every page, and color option for some pages (not all).

There are a whole range of skills that can be taught from this resource pack, far too many for me to list on this blog (it would take over the page!) so be sure to pop on over and check out all the fab angles covered by it. 


And what kind of person would I be to not give you a sneaky little freebie sample of this too? Be quick, the same rules apply! Download here. Don't forget to pop me a message/comment below on what you think of the sampler!


And finally, I updated/re-did one of my freebies. It is the fabulous food spelling boards.  Note the jazzy new cover? Like it? I have to admit, it's one of my favorites, I have an unhealthy obsession with anything chalkboard style - oops!

So basically this freebie is all about food - YAY! It's spelling and over writing boards. Lot's of fun! Perfect for little ones and ASD/SEN classrooms - we use this style a lot - and the students love them!


So everything comes in option of black and white or color. I would recommend cutting out the 'board/base' and laminating it. Then cutting out and laminating the letters separately. Students use the prompt to be able to match/copy/spell.




The same goes for this one too. I would cut out and laminate the 'board/base' or use wipeable pockets so that they can be re-used over and over. Great for improving fine motor skills/hand writing.

Lots of fun and totally free! Head on over here to download now!



and of course a bit of a fun for you to do at home with your children now that the summer holidays are here - I bet they're bored already, right? Either that or driving you insane! 


I hope you are all having lots of fabulous sunshine over the Summer, so why not make this fabulous water blob? You can find all the instructions by clicking the image or here to visit the creators site! It costs just $12. I'm not even lying, $12! This is sure to keep little and big kids occupied, or let's face it - even the hubby!!

Thanks for reading my Spotlight Saturday, don't forget to claim your freebies and have lots of fun this Summer too! Be sure to let me know how you find the freebies and if you give a go at making the giant water blob!

 Nikki 





Friday, 24 July 2015

Five for Friday

It's that time of week again! It's time for Five for Friday!


If you haven't heard of this linky before you are seriously missing out! It's a lot of fun and all the info can be found over at Doodle Bugs Teaching. So basically we just share 5 things about this week! Fun, right? 


So, up first. It's my first week of Summer Holidays. Here in the UK we didn't break up until last Friday so the first week of our six week summer is over - boohoo! It's gone so quick. So naturally, I have been lounging around and spending some time with the kitty cats. My boyfriend is away tonight and tomorrow though so I am back at my parents for tonight! Spending some time with my family and the pooches..


Don't be fooled by how sweet and innocent they look though! 


I have been LOVING the MEGA bash that Krista over at Creative Clips has been throwing these past two days, and there should be more to come! Her clipart is amazing and is in most of my products, she's had some right bargains and freebies so be sure to check her out either on Facebook or on TpT.



So..now that I have some spare time on my hands I decided to go back through my older TpT resources and see how I could improve them. I actually CRINGED at some of the resources and their cover photos! So I have been busy working away updating some cover pages. It took a while - ok. Updating 215 resources and their covers has been tiring. I have updated all the covers, deleted some really naff resources that - let's be honest needing deleting and complete overhauling, and now I am currently working my way through updating the resources content with lots of fab new clipart.
What do you think of some of the cover updates? This one is my favourite...


While I was in this little creative mood I also made a few new adjustments..


I got this idea off Step into 2nd Grade.

Then I decided to mix it up and add it to my Credits and TOU pages..


As they say, there is no rest for the wicked!





I'm also currently trying to think up some new milestone celebrations for my lovely TpT followers. I recently reached over 300 followers, I'm over the moon.If you'd asked me back in January - when I first started putting the effort in - that it would be going this well I would never have believed you! I hope to continue to expand, progress and one day be able to do this full time! We shall see!




Last, but certainly not least I have been spending a bit of time emptying my poor wardrobe. However, I should really be saying my poor bank card. Last weekend we went to Next - AT 5AM! For their sale. I spent a fortune. But I have a fabulous new wardrobe full of lovely clothes! As you can see, I had lots of new lovely clothes...



That's all for me this week!! 

 Nikki 






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