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Friday 8 December 2017

A Very Merry Giveaway with Learning Resources UK

Hi Everyone,

Can you believe that there's only a few weeks until Christmas?! Today we got a snow day so school was closed, but I've also had a sickness bug so I didn't get to enjoy the snow (poor me!).. but enough of my self pity... today I'm sharing my giveaway and a chance for you lovely people who live in the UK to win a Learning Resources City Engineering and Design Building Set worth £24... and the bonus is that it will be here in time for Christmas for the winner!!

I was sent this set over by the great team at Learning Resources UK and my kids have seriously LOVED it! You can probably tell from the photos that it was a HUGE hit with the boys!

I just love how it has supported collaborative learning and has tested their negotiation and communication skills - some of my boys can be reluctant talkers but having to work together with their friends to create different designs has meant that they have HAD speak to others.

The kit contains over 80 construction pieces and comes with instruction cards which are super simple for the children to follow, the recommended age is 5-9 but my little 3 and 4 year olds had absolutely no problem with using this set!

If you have any budding engineers out there or are simply looking for a set to enhance your construction area like I was then this is definitely worth getting!

You can enter the competition here;

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember it is for UK entrants only. I will announce the winner on Friday 15th December and pass their details on to Learning Resources UK who will arrange delivery. If you simply cannot wait or just want to purchase the set for yourself then check out the full range of the Engineering and Design Build Sets at Learning Resources UK.

I am part of the Learning Resources UK testing team and received these products for free to try out with my class. However, the review and opinions are my own and I have given a full and true reflection of how these products were used and tested in my classroom.

Good Luck!

Sunday 12 November 2017

Teaching Phonics with Hope Education

This term has been all about beginning our phonics lessons - children in Nursery are either working on Phase 1, but we have a lot of high fliers who are working on Phase 2 and beginning to learn their sounds.

I know that there are people who don't believe in teaching sounds to children in Nursery, but I truly believe that the children are ready and the parents have made so many comments about how their children are suddenly starting to recognise sounds that they have been taught.. with standards rising higher each year then why not begin teaching sounds if they are ready and in an age appropriate way.

Hope Education sent over some resources that my children have truly loved using in the class, whilst learning their sounds to boot!

First up was the Alphabet Play Tray Mat which fits perfectly into my tuff spot. The colours are so lovely and vivid and it's such a great, versatile activity to put out in the tuff spot!

We have also been using our beautiful Alphabet Acorns which are perfect for this time of year - the children have really enjoyed opening them up and guessing what is inside using their initial sound knowledge!
 ...and last, but certainly not least are these super cute A-Z Lacing Snakes which have been a big hit!

We used our Alphabet Acorns with our Alphabet Play Tray mat to match the sounds, we also added our sound pebbles to support children with their letter correspondence. The main thing I love about the alphabet mat is that the main letter being represented is in lower-case.. something that can be a struggle to find in resources to support phonics, as generally only the lower-case sound is taught first. However, the upper-case letter is also on the mat too so children who do recognise upper-case are also supported.

One of my lovely littlies was extremely excited to find the acorn with the same initial sound as in her name!

 They also soon discovered that the acorns are perfect for stacking and began working on those hand muscles seeing how high they could stack their acorns!

I put the lacing snakes in my Finger Gym area as the threading is perfect practise for little hands to develop those fine motor skills!

They were a huge hit and the children really enjoyed threading the beads on to the laces - the beads are lovely and chunky, again with lower-case letters which I love! The laces are also really good quality, some of the laces I've had in the past have been really thin and frayed way too easily but you can tell that these will definitely withstand lots of years of use from heavy handed nursery kiddos! 

 On Friday we had a Phonics Stay & Play in Nursery where we invited parents in to see how we teach Phonics in Nursery and how they can support their children at home.

Parents were given a Phonics book to explain how to support their child's development with lots of ideas in, as well as Phonics boxes for children working at Phase 2 to practise their sounds at home.

 They then accessed a huge range of activities that we put out, including our trusty resources from Hope.


 I added some SATPIN cards to the A-Z Lacing Snakes so that children could begin to work on their blending skills with the sounds that they know. If you would like a copy of these then simply click on the image below to download them completely FREE! They are a perfect accompaniment to the lacing snakes and my children really enjoyed copying the words on the snake, so even those who can't blend can practise their correspondence.

The children and parents were busy all session putting the Hope Education resources to the test!

The children absolutely love their phonics lessons and it's so nice that these skills can then be reinforced throughout play to help children consolidate their learning. Phonics is definitely one of my favourite lessons to teach and I'm always looking for new ways to support my children with their Phonics knowledge and make lessons more interesting! you would like to purchase any of these resources from yourself then the links are at the top of the post.
For the full range of resources from Hope Education then simply visit their website for lots more creative ideas! 
I received these products for free to try out with my class. However, the review and opinions are my own and I have given a full and true reflection of how these products were used and tested in my classroom.

Monday 6 November 2017

Teachers Pay Teachers Giveaway

Hi All! 

I've linked up with some other super generous teacher bloggers to host a giveaway - and there'll be not one but TWO winners! 

First Prize

Second Prize

Enter via the rafflecopter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

First Place  - $75 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card
Second Place  - $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card
Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 11/13/17 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!

Good luck!

Sunday 15 October 2017

Getting them mark-making with Brian Clegg's Paintsticks

Hi all!

This week we have been super busy working on our mark-making skills, especially as a lot of the children (we have a super clever bunch in nursery!) will be starting Phase 2 phonics next week and will then begin to work on their letter formation.

Mark-making is SUCH an important part of the whole writing process - and most importantly it should be FUN and exciting for them.. and boy did we have fun! I read a lot of education forums and came across a post which made me so sad. A practitioner said that her children were mark making anywhere but the mark making area, on the walls, the tables - so she removed the mark making area from the classroom! Guys, this is not the way forward! We should be encouraging mark making in all forms (I'm not saying let them destroy the room with their mark making!) ..but there are ways to make mark making fun - not just sitting at a table with a pencil!

Brian Clegg's Little Brian company sent me over some paint sticks for the children to use and they have LOVED them so much! We had the metallic and the day glow set - the day glow are my favourite because they're super bright neon 80s colours!

When the word paint is mentioned in an Early Years Classroom it often leaves the practitioner hiding under a table thinking 'Please God, just choose another activity' because the mess is often too much to bear! Kids just love piling on the paint and repainting over the same spot over and over until the paper disintegrates! Not with these bad boys!

Initially the children just used them to create pictures in the creative area and taking the lids off and putting them back on again also supported their fine motor development;


The children produced some lovely work and there was minimal mess to clean up afterwards which was a total bonus!

We then began to experiment with mixing colours which the children really enjoyed, but before long they had other ideas (as they always do!)...

They soon realised that they could paint their hands and fingers and transfer it on to the paper which they thought was brilliant!

We used them on huge sheets of paper to create larger pictures;

...and I also taped some paper underneath the tables which was one of their favourite activities! They loved lying on their backs and a bonus was they were developing their gross motor skills too without even realising it!!

However, the highlight of the whole week was getting to mark make on the windows!! Yes my friends, the kiddos were using the paint sticks on the windows! (Don't worry, I did make it clear to them that we only do this in nursery - I didn't want any angry parents coming after me after their child decided to turn into Picasso on their bedroom windows!) 

I could not keep the boys away from this area - normally it's a struggle to get them into the creative or writing activities but this is definitely an activity that I will be using a lot in my classroom now! I just used baby wipes to clean it off the windows, I didn't even need any harsh sprays it was such a breeze to remove even after the paint had dried! 

If you would like to purchase these paint sticks for yourself then they can be purchased from Brian Clegg direct, in store at ToysRUs or even Amazon with prices starting from just £4.99 - they're a great addition to any classroom and would make a great stocking filler for Christmas for your own kiddos - especially those with an aversion to paint and mess!! 

For the full Brian Clegg range then simply visit their website for lots more creative ideas! 

I received these products for free to try out with my class. However, the review and opinions are my own and I have given a full and true reflection of how these products were used and tested in my classroom.

 I hope this has gave you some ideas to use in your own classroom and given you an insight into how Brian Clegg/Little Brian items could be used in your own classroom or at home!

Head on over to Brian Clegg Art's Facebook page to keep up to date with all the latest competition and offers and ideas on how to use their products! 

Happy mark making!