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Monday 22 September 2014

Trying to avoid teacher burnout!!

This picture sums me up at the moment.

I've been back for 3 weeks and 1 day, but it feels as though I've been back for 3 months!! Today my colleague and I FORCED each other to leave at 4.15pm, the first time we have left so early since we started - the first day where we haven't been at school for 11 HOURS.

I can't remember if I just block out how difficult the start of the school year is, or whether it just gets more difficult each year. Unfortunately I think it's the latter.

This is my fifth year of teaching, and at times I feel as though it is my first.

Don't get me wrong, it's not the children. I LOVE love love my class - they are definitely up there competing for the loveliest, sweetest class I've ever had award. You would think the little cherubs have been in school for months - they are so settled and just adorable. If it wasn't for the kids, I think I would have burnt out already.

It's the paperwork. Mountains and mountains of paperwork. Not just from lesson plans, but from assessments and assessing assessments, and copying assessments and copying copies of assessment, and copying out endless forms for reasons which I sometimes have no clue why I'm even doing it.

I'm spending evenings and weekends working. I think I've forgotten what my boyfriend looks like. I'm not sure I even have a boyfriend anymore? I think he still lives in the same house, I hardly come out of my office for long enough to see him - and generally crash out before he manages to get in to bed.

Thank goodness I don't have children - social services would have been called months ago. They would be wearing month old clothes and probably would have been fed leftover processed food.

I've been meaning to blog forever. I have loads of saved photographs of ideas I'm super keen to share, but I never get time. Then I feel guilty for neglecting my blog.

I just want people to know that blogs can sometimes make it look as though we are super teachers. I often look at other blogs and see perfect classrooms, and perfectly cut out and laminated resources PLUS copies of plans and I think - how do they have the time to do it all and blog about it?

I'm sure I'm not the only person who is feeling like this. I'm sure there are hundreds of teachers out there thinking - that's me!! Just know that you're not alone.

...and just when I begin to wonder why on earth I'm in this profession I hear a little voice behind me say 'Miss Lynch, I'm really going to miss you when I go home' ... and suddenly I remember that it's all worthwhile and it will eventually get a little easier.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

SitSpots Winner!!

...drum roll please...

the winner is Jessica Hamilton!! Congratulations!! I'll email you the address for you to claim your prize! I can't wait to see what you choose - and thank you everyone for entering. Check back in a few days for a big post about how I use assessment and encourage resilience in my class :)

Wednesday 3 September 2014

First day of Reception!

So today was my first day back with my initial bunch of kiddos - we have half of the class in for the first few days and then gradually introduce the new children over the space of a week - so I only have 15 children in for the first 3 days, which is really lovely and I'm going to make the most of the more personal time I get to spend with them.

I've been busy making lots of resources and activities for the kiddos to use for the first few days - our topic is 'My Family and Me' so I've been trying to make activities that fit around that theme, as well as starting school.

These are the activities that I had out today for the first day back;

I saw this idea on abc does but I cannot for the life of me find the link - I was sure I saw it on there, but went back to find out how to make them and couldn't!

Anyway, I had to guess and they turned out really well! I cut out a selection of face parts from some magazines, then found some appropriately sized stones - whacked on loads of PVA glue, placed the picture on and put lots more glue over the top - then left them to dry.


I bought the blank face mats from Busy Little Bugs on Etsy - they're super cute and can be used for so much!!

I then made up a batch of skin coloured play-dough so that they could make themselves - the mats were free from picklebums and again, they're brilliant!! 

I made the dough using coconut oil - this really makes the dough silky smooth and last. I left one uncoloured, added cherry Kool Aid to the pink one, some cumin to the slightly pale brown, and the other 2 darker coloured doughs were just varying amounts of cocoa powder. The dough is completely edible so won't harm the kiddos if they do shove some in their mouths! 

I also set up my writing area using write the room and name crowns - which I forgot to take a photograph of in my excitement!! 

I also had my visual class schedule up so the children could see what our day will look like when all of the children have started. We're a little off schedule at the moment, so it's a bit difficult! If you like the schedule cards you can get them from my TPT shop or my Teacher's Notebook shop.

Last year I used my IKEA frames for table name groups and writing reminders but this year is different, so I am using them to show parents/children how to use the activities that are set out in the classroom. 

Tomorrow, I have seen this SUPERCUTE idea on pinterest and I have cut out the children's photographs so that they can give their friends a crazy hairdo! 

I have also put out my sorting arrows from Green Grubs Garden Club that I bought on TPT - I love these, and I can't wait for them to sort the natural objects.

I couldn't resist sorting some myself!! 

The kiddos will also be rainbow writing their names! I love this activity, and hopefully the kids will too! 

Finally, I thought I would leave you with this! My year partner's very clever Mom made us these fab aprons with pockets so that we can carry around our cameras, post its and pens at all times! I am COMPLETELY in love with it! It's so cute! 

Hope you enjoyed reading about my first day and could use some of the ideas! 

Monday 1 September 2014

How SitSpots saved my life and a SITSPOTS GIVEAWAY!!

This post has been in the pipeline for a while and I am SO excited that I finally get to let it all out!! If you know me then you will know that I am TERRIBLE at keeping things quiet.

My mouth normally blurts things out quicker than my poor little brain can react - so how I have kept this a secret is beyond me!!

Anyway... this is my old classroom (ignore the walls, just look at the beautiful tiled flooring - PERFECT ready made spots for my little darlings to perch their bottoms on - just enough individual space without sitting on top of their best friend!)

This year I have moved over to Reception (PreK/Kinder) and when I saw the flooring I had a little panic attack about where my lovely littlies were going to sit and how they would know where to sit without any visual guidance! 

I remember seeing SitSpots on a few US blog posts and had lusted after them for some time, so eventually thought that the time was right to get my own to save my sanity this year...

The other day these BEAUTIES arrived - I settled on pink and green because I have bought baskets in those colours so thought it would tie in with my classroom. These badboys are BRIGHT - but I like that they're so bright (my phase leader would disagree haha!) 

...and now my problem is well and truly SOLVED!! Look at this amazingness! (Yes, that is a word!) 

If you look at the front by my chair I have 2 little stars for my super star sitters - the kiddies who have worked super hard or had an excellent attitude will get to mosey right on up to the front and sit proudly on those beautiful little stars! 

If you can see from my flooring, it's the scratchy tile flooring and this is PERFECT for SitSpots - as they are made from velcro they NEED something to latch on to - if you look at the rug in my picture, they won't work on this sort of material, or if you're lucky/posh enough to have beautiful plush carpet in your room. They also won't work on tiles/wooden flooring, the scratchy material is what they need.

However, the GREAT thing with SitSpots is that you can order a sample completely free of charge to see if they will work in your classroom - amazing, right?!

The other amazing thing is that they have given me a whole class set to GIVE AWAY to one lucky reader!!! I am SUPER excited about this! You can browse the store here and lust over what you would like to win! It took me SO long to settle on these.

I've also seen loads of other uses for SitSpots, you can write on them with Sharpies so you can have Math, Literacy or Phonics activities! Your imagination really is the limit - and did I mention they are machine washable?!

Can you tell how in LOVE I am with SitSpots?! 

I can't wait to order some more - I'm planning on getting some cute little green feet for when those pesky leprechauns come to visit in March! 

You can enter the giveaway below - good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway bsp;