Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Technology Tuesday; Adding a Hyperlink to your TpT Product Listing

Welcome to another Technology Tuesday post! 


This week is all about adding a hyperlink to your TpT product listing. 
This is something that I didn't first implement when I was uploading listings to TpT but I quickly learned all about the benefits of having the hyperlink there.

And to be honest, I've since realised when I myself am on there as a buyer - especially for clipart - I use the sellers hyperlinks to look for other other similar clipart and usually end up wish listing or purchasing it! So it's definitely worth having. If a listing is part of a bigger bundle I hyperlink the bundle and then vice versa, in my big bundles I hyperlink the smaller parts that make it up!

Just be sure to hyperlink to keep people in your store, you want buyers browsing your store, not leading away from it!

So, back to the walkthrough, here's how I hyperlink other products in my product listings;














Hope it helps! Let me know if you have any questions!

Nikki 

Monday, 28 September 2015

Movement Breaks - What and Why?

All of us have probably heard of movement breaks or brain breaks at one point or another during our time in education. However - not everyone has been able to put them into practice or even knows where to start with them.

So, today's blog post is all about movement breaks, what they are and why they are useful and beneficial for you to put into place in your classroom.

Although my blog is generally about 'Autism' this does not mean that movement breaks/brain breaks are just for students diagnosed with autism - it can be used for any student in any classroom! You can put your own spin on them and use them as and when you want to.

Before we start this post, picture yourself at a full day course. You are sat at the same desk, you get up twice - once for coffee break which is 15 minutes and once for lunch which is 30 minutes. Apart from that, you don't move from your chair. At first it's ok, you're engaged, taking notes, enjoying the course, but soon, you start to get fed up, your concentration is going, your zoning out and that's it, the attention has gone. You need a movement break.

As always, the views in this blog post are my own - they have not been medically researched etc, they are just what I have come to learn over the years. 


So, first up, what are movement breaks?

Well, it's quite literally in the name - movement breaks. Get up, get active and get moving! 

How long would you say your students are sat in one position? Especially if completing work at their desk? Then they start to get ratty, right? They want to start fiddling with stuff, banging their pencil on the table, tapping their feet, drumming their fingers on the table, huffing and puffing, right?

Yep, it's overload, they need a break! And what's the best way to snap them out of this? To get active and start moving around a bit!

But, as we know, not all children like to 'move' or 'be active' so we have to make it fun. There are LOADS of great things on youtube - Shake Your Sillies Out is our kiddos absolute favourite! We tend to do this song just before we're about to sit down for some work, it helps get the children active, engaged and feeling fresh and full of fun!

But some of the favourite movement breaks are the most random ones. It's important to practice the movement breaks first with your students, then you can decide on how many minutes into tasks you jump up and do a movement break - shout out a movement break, call a student to choose a movement break - you decide how you introduce it. The crazier and more fun the better to engage your students.


But, what are the benefits? I hear you ask. Well, to be honest, there are so many benefits to these that I don't know where to start! So, I put together 10 parts which I feel are the main reasons we use movement breaks in class. 

1) So, there has been a lot of research into movement in children in the classroom by all sorts of crazy-clever people up high in the job world. They all agree on the one fact that movement definitely helps to improve students concentration levels, it helps them to gain some, or all control over their behaviour. 

2) It's not just for children!! Movement breaks are said to have benefits for adults and children alike! It helps to get you back in that zone, improves your concentration and attention levels and helps you to continue with the learning process.

3) Energy. Let's face it, our kiddos are just B U R S T I N G with energy - and that is no exaggeration! I mean, seriously, where do they get it from? Now, imagine your kiddos as a bottle of pop. All that energy is bubbling up inside of them, but the lid is kept on firmly tight, but soon, the bubbling just grows to a point where they're going to explode! You need to help them be able to take control over their energy and ensure they are releasing enough throughout the day so they don't 'explode' when they get to playtime/recess.

4) If a child is sitting for a long periods of time throughout a day, then this is just going to continue to happen over the years, before long, you have an adult who likes to sit for long periods of time, shying away from physical activity. It has become a learned behaviour.

5) It has been said that it helps children to digest and keep hold of more information. Try it yourself and see what you think. I know it works for me! My current professional development reading is a guided reading booking, it's very big and it's very full on, there's a lot of information to take in, i've tried two separate approaches. The first time I read 30 minutes in one go - didn't move. The second time I read 10 minutes, had 5 minute move around - walking around, getting a drink, went back and read a further 10 minutes, had 5 minute move around again then went back and read a further 10 minutes and then went off for a 5 minute move around. Being totally honest, I digested far more information the second time, I didn't get distracted as easily and I didn't find myself reaching for my phone all the time to see how long I had left. For sure, there were benefits.

6) It doesn't have to be a break from learning! Incorporate the topic into your movement breaks. For example, you're topic is Halloween, the movement break you have chosen is 'jump 5 times', put your teacher cap on, how would you link this to Halloween? Easy! 'Jump 5 times over the spiders!' 'Jump up high 5 times to reach the bats!' You see, it's so easy to link it in! Plus, you're already including numeracy/math by counting with them! 

7) It's fun. Sometimes, we are so full up of this, that and the other that children have to learn, that we forget they are still just children. They still want fun, they want to bond with you. Nobody wants to have a teacher who sits behind their desk looking stern all day. But a teacher who's doing star jumps at the front of the class with them? That's a teacher who's going to stick in their mind and someone that they are going to feel confident and comfortable with - building relationships is so important for learning, don't forget!

8) Gross & fine motor skills. Do you know how many children (especially in spec ed) struggle with their gross and fine motor skills? Movement breaks can totally support this! Just incorporate different things into your sessions! How about, 5 jumping jacks then pick up something small off the floor? 

9) You can personalise them to suit your class needs, or you can even make it a huge class task to think up new movement breaks - what do the children like doing? Can you give them funny names?!

10) It can be done anywhere, anytime. You don't need a huge classroom or a large room to do this, you don't need to put everyone into their pe kits, you don't need to be outside, the weather doesn't need to be a certain temperature, you don't have to have set times. You can completely leave it how you want to. This means it suits you and your class!



If you're stuck as to resources or breaks to use then check out these movement breaks here.


As shown they come in 2 styles - circular or rectangular. The rectangular ones are great for flash cards, but the circular ones are great to have on display somewhere. Print and laminate (they come in colour or black and white option) and stick them on the top of lollipop sticks/pencils etc. and keep in a pot on your desk. They're great and sure to get your students moving - do as many or as few as you want throughout the day. The more often you do them, the more you will come to realise and recognise when your students are in need of a movement break! I'm sure you will also see the benefits of them, for sure!



Thanks for reading about my take on movement breaks! Do you use movement breaks in your class? How do you find them?  I'd love to hear from you!

Nikki 

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Spotlight Saturday, 26.9.15

Don't you just LOVE a Saturday? I mean you get Friday night where you can relax knowing there's no work tomorrow, then all day Saturday you can relax with no work and know there's no work the next day!! 

Saturday's are my FAVE!
But it also means that I get to link up with Kindergarten Dragons for her Spotlight Saturday!!!


This week is a little different than previous weeks, this week I'm discussing a bundle that is really close to my heart!!

So, a little while back, while chatting away with other fabulous teachers involved in the TpT world I came across one particular teacher with a very worthy cause. She was talking about 'Saving the Macaws' and wanted to fundraise for the Tambopata Macaw Project. It really is a worthwhile cause and if you have 5 minutes (after reading my spotlight of course ;)!!) pop on over and check it out.

Why is it so close to my heart?
Because here is our baby Billy..








He, or should I say SHE is a right little menace but is the baby of the family for sure. We found out Billy was a she when she got very very ill a few years back - she even got to be on TV for RSPCA - our own little movie star. Yep, she does have her own bowl of Sunday lunch every Sunday to eat with us.

Anyway, back to the spotlight. The teacher who wanted to raise money decided to involve as many of us teachers as possible to donate a resource/activity to her and she will bundle them up and sell them all. So, I went away and created a parrot work book!



You can find this at my store or as part of this amazing bundle.

Can you believe the bundle is worth a WHOPPING $98 but it's yours for just $25?! And all the funds goes to this amazing project!






This bundle is just for K-2 but there are also bundles for different ages;

Don't forget - every bundle without a price next to it is just $25 yet worth SO much more. All funds will be going to this amazing project.

There are also other bits for sale with the funds going to this project that are a bit smaller priced;

Thanks for reading my Spotlight. Although a little bit different and not to everyones interests I would so appreciate anyone who is able to pop on over and check out the amazing resources up for sale to help this fabulous project or even pop over to their website and see how you can get involved or what they are all about!

Nikki 


Friday, 25 September 2015

Five for Friday! 25.9.15

Woohoo! It's Friday, time for Five for Friday!!

Please note, I am still suffering with severe flu, things may not flow as smoothly as usual.. or at all! My head is crazy! The flu has struck well and true!


So, I am linking up with the fabulous Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday. If like me, you are nosey and love seeing what everyone has been getting up to this past week then head over to her blog and check out all the other bloggers links on there! Or, why not share what you have been doing to!?

Ok, here goes. 


So, today was our MacMillan Coffee Morning to raise funds for this wonderful charity that is definitely close to mine and so many others hearts! We had a competition on who could make the best table display - our class won! We also had one of the children dress up as mad hatter - he loves it !! (If you didn't guess it was the mad hatters tea party, insert sad face here!)


Sorry for the naff editing - I needed it done quickly but also had to make sure you couldn't see anyone behind!! I'm a bit of a fuss pot and this is below my usual standards but it will do for now! 



We have been working on improving our ICT! The children make the sentence with me (or I do depending on their ability) then copy it from the whiteboard, this is one of our higher level students - the box around the I helps him realise it's a capital! This was talking about when we made our sausage rolls! They look at their photo and describe what they did or try to recall what they did! It's great and the children are improving so much already!





We have been using apples for apple printing! It's so much fun and a great activity for upcoming harvest! We did this as part of our letter of the week activities, this is letter a! We did apple printing, stamping into the letter a and counting the apples on the apple tree (cutting and sticking activity). We had so much fun!


I have been working on something that I just LOVE this week and I can't wait for it to be finished and shared with you. It's taking me a little longer than I had hoped - I've not been well all this week and so have not devoted as much time as I would have liked! Here's a sneak peek for now!!




This last one has been the toughest, I'm actually stumped and have nothing left for number five!! So, here is this quote. I am suffering heavily with severe flu, I do not have the time or patience for it right now, battling on but need it to go!!!



Have a great weekend!!!

Nikki 




Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Technology Tuesday; Add link to picture in Keynote.

Can you believe it's the middle of September?
How quick is this month going by?! It's time for another Technology Tuesday!


This week is all about how to add a link to a picture in Keynote. This is perfect for different things - I use this for my credits and TOU for my resources on TpT so that it can link back to appropriate TpT stores, blogs, social media accounts etc.

It's so quick and easy you'll be baffled that you didn't know before!








Hope you enjoy the tutorial! It's a great little trick to know - I love using the clickable links for my PDF's!

Stay tuned for next weeks Technology Tuesday Tutorial!

Nikki 

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