Sunday, 7 December 2014

December Wallpaper

I couldn't resist. 

I saw this quote and thought it was relevant for teachers, especially in Australia with both happening at the same time.

This wallpaper was created using Stampin Up's My Digital Studios Embellishment: Hello December Project Life 6x4 - 1; Stamps: Hello December Project Life - dots, Hello December Project Life -december week, Hello December Project Life -curly, Hello December Project Life -star.

Fonts used include "A Hundred Miles" and "Dancing in the Minefields".
Saturday, 1 November 2014

November Wallpaper

October has disappeared. I can't believe how quickly this year is going by.

6 weeks of school left for the year.

And lots of teaching and learning still occurring.

Right now I'm thinking about feedback. What is it? When do I use it? How do I use it? But most importantly, what are my students doing with it so that they can improve?

This wallpaper was designed in Stampin Up's My Digital Studios using Embellishment Playground Project Life 4x6 - 16 and Fonts Ride My Bike Pro, Return to Sender, Milkmaid and Pineapple Delight.

The words...a synthesis of what I'm thinking about right now.
Thursday, 2 October 2014

Posters to help students to write

One of my colleagues asked me to put together some posters of a list of words that she had, that could be displayed in her classroom to support her students to find the right words when doing extended paragraphs and essay writing.

I put the following posters together and thought others might find them useful as well.

You can access the PDF files from my Dropbox at this link. Alternatively by clicking on any of the above images, you can choose particular sizes to download from my Flickr account.

These posters have been created using Stampin' Up's My Digital Studios: DSP My First Day - chalkboard as well as the following stamps: School Days II - star 4; School Days - check box; School Days - 1 2 3 4 and School Days - Apple. Fonts used include KG Primary Italics and KG Next To Me Sketched.
Wednesday, 1 October 2014

October 2014

We've hit October already.

Footy Finals...Go South Sydney!!!

School starting up for the the last term.

The countdown to Christmas begins in earnest.

The wallpaper was created in Stampin Up's My Digital Studios using Embellishment Playground Project Life 4x6 - 10 and Stamp Any Year Calendar - 10 October.

Monday, 29 September 2014

My Mantra

You can download a copy of this poster at this link from my Dropbox. Alternatively you can select various sizes at my Flickr page by clicking on the image above.

This poster was created using Stampin' Up's My Digital Studio's Stamps Playground Project Life - pencil and Playground Project Life - apple. The font used is KG Next To Me Solid.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

You're Not Just A Teacher

I did it again.

I was buying a cup of coffee on my way to work and was in conversation with the two ladies serving behind the counter.

"What do you do?" I was asked.
"Oh, I'm just a teacher" I replied
"Don't say you're just a teacher" the barista told me. "My friends have just started teaching and I can't believe how exhausted they are. They work so hard."

And you know what. She was absolutely right.

Why do I say "just" a teacher.

I'm more than "just" a teacher.

I am so proud of what I do. I work hard. I do amazing things. My job isn't mundane. I don't just do anything.

I engage students. I challenge them. I work to extend them. I get them out of their comfort zone. I help them to see the world differently.

I'm not just anything!

But I'm not the only teacher who says that. Why do we put ourselves down? Why don't we recognise the amazing work that we do? The multi-faceted work that teachers do? The various roles that we fill for our students.

I'm not just anything.

And neither is any other teacher out there!

This poster was created using Stampin Up's My Digital Studios Embellishment Playground Project Life 3x4 - 42 and fonts KG Ten Thousand Reasons, KG Lego House, KG Makes You Stronger, KG Wakes You Up, KG Alphabet Regurgitation.
 embellishments/Playground Project Life 3x4 - 42
Friday, 5 September 2014

Professional Learning

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. This isn't unusual - English teacher - will read. But I'm trying to focus my attention on Education books - books that I guess could be considered professional development.

I've seen lots of infographics floating around that state that if you spend 10000 hours reading about a particular topic/idea you can be called an expert in the field...

I'm not sure how accurate this is. If you want to seem more information about how this number is determined have a look at this post by FreakoStats...

But right now, I've got a couple of key areas that I feel I need to me more well read in - to I guess be an expert in the field. 

So to help me to reflect on what I am reading, I'm going to start blogging about what I'm reading. I know that I'm a reflective learner and that this will help me to process my ideas.

The first book I've grabbed is "Using Data to Improve Learning: A practical guide for busy teachers" by Anthony Shaddock. I picked it up because I'm trying to determine how to best use the data we're collecting from a range of sources: PAT Testing, NAPLAN, Academic Data etc. Instead of looking at it and saying hmmmm...that's where that student it is - I want to think with my staff about what we do with it next - now that we've identified what the student can and can't do - how do we help them to improve?

I know that I'm going to enjoy this book because in the first chapter that really resonated with me:

This is so true. I can't work out how to balance everything. To meet the needs of a constantly changing work environment that is impacted more and more by the outside - policies, parents, society. How do we use all the data available to tailor learning. And most importantly - when do we do it? 

When do we as individual teachers with our own classes, as teachers working in year level or subject teams, or as teachers within a whole school cohort have time to analyse the data and make decisions about how to tailor and differentiate the curriculum more specifically to meet the needs of all our students?

How can I ask my staff to analyse the data without providing them with a clear framework? A clear purpose for why they need to analyse the data? A clear explanation of how they should analyse the data? 

I hope that as I take a journey through this book, that I can come to a better understanding and realisation of what I should do next and how I can work with my staff to make real change.

A small step for an English teacher....
Sunday, 31 August 2014

Wallpaper - September 2014

Spring has come again.

It is without a doubt, my favourite season of the year. Everything is bright and shiny and new.

This month's wallpaper is dedicated to the memory of my favourite TV teacher - Robin Williams/Mr Keating.

This wallpaper has been created using Stampin Up's My Digital Studio's:

  • DSP: Go with Heart - 3; 
  • Stamps: Up To Date Planner - september;
  • Punches: Curly Label Punch and Wide Oval Punch.
The font that has been used is Alana Pro - purchased with a commercial license. 
Friday, 1 August 2014

August 2014 Wallpaper

August is here...

We haven't had much of a winter I felt like starting Spring a bit earlier.

This wallpaper was made using Stampin Up's My Digital Studios. Click on the image above to download the right size from my Flickr account.

     Designer Series Paper/_Designer Kits/Blossoms Abound - designer series paper/Blossoms Abound - 5

    _Designer Kits/Blossoms Abound - embellishments/Blossoms Abound - flower wreath 2
    _Designer Kits/Be Yourself - embellishments/Be Yourself - quote 2

    Month by Month/Month by Month - august curls
    Copyright Stamps/Copyright Stamps - brackets

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Advice From Dr Seuss

I remember as a child reading books by Dr Seuss. The Cat in the Hat. Green Eggs and Ham.

But until recently I really didn't get the bigger picture. The hidden meaning that exists behind the books of Dr Seuss.

The Sneetches. Oh, The Places You Will Go.

There is so much more to Dr Seuss' work than meets the eye.

Personal Photo

A couple of years ago I travelled to the United States of America and visited Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. And I fell in love with Seuss Landing. I know that I do have a soft spot for gift shops, but walking around and reading about Dr Seuss, and picking up a book with information and some of his stories, I began a journey with the work of Dr Seuss.

Looking at Pinterest, I can see how popular the work of Dr Seuss is in classrooms across the USA.

I teach in a high school setting. I work with students aged 12 to 18. But Dr Seuss isn't just for primary students. The messages translate. I have used The Sneetches with students to look at analysing perspectives and will be using it next term as we discuss Refugees and Asylum Seekers. I have used his quotes to engage students with Reading. And I have used Oh, The Places You Will Go to look at goal setting and ambition.

This past term in my classroom I have had a display up about why it's important to read. You can find the resources for this in this post. This term, I wanted to try something different.

So this term, we're going to have the "Advice from Dr Seuss" display.

The quotes have been pulled from a range of sources. There are some that have been attributed to Dr Seuss. Some quotes are contested but there is no real clarity around them, and the majority of sources establish that they are by Dr Seuss. I believe that these quotes can provide some guidance to students, to help them to think about themselves and others. A little reminder in the room every lesson; something for them to have a look at.

I have created the materials for this display using Stampin Up's My Digital Studio. Once the display is up in my room I will share the photos with you.

The banner has been made using the Build a Banner Simply Created - 1 punch, circle punch and the font Doctor Soos Bold. The colours have been created using an image from Seussville in Adobe Kuler to come up with the specific colour scheme - close to Cat in the Hat...

The quotes have been created using DSP Day in the Life 1 - 12. The font is Doctor Soos Light. The square punch has been used as well.

I have used Photovisi to create the collage of the posters.

You can download the posters from my Dropbox.

I am very conscious of the copyright around Dr Seuss's work and have worked to ensure that all the quotes contained in this post have been created from sources available at a number of sites online.
Monday, 7 July 2014

July Wallpaper

This month's wallpaper is based on the words of Dr Seuss. More from Dr Seuss to come this month.

This wallpaper has been created in Stampin Up's My Digital Studios using the scalloped edge punch and Build a Banner punch 1. The stamp used is Beautiful Today - large stripes. The font is Doctor Soos Bold/Light.

UPDATE: This post was updated with changes to the wallpaper on Monday 7 July with to address issues with the size of the banner.

Organising Your Pinterest Boards

Today, my Mum came to me asking about how she could get her 151 Pinterest boards into some order. She was finding it difficult to locate boards directly from her pins from "Your Profile & Pins" page.

I sat for quite some time on my computer moving the boards into an alphabetical order that suited her. As I was doing this, I remembered a post recently published on the Canva blog. It discussed how to use the Canva tools to create eye-catching images for your blog that would work well on Pinterest and attract attention.

This is something that has been floating around in the back of mind but that I haven't had time to work on. But today as I worked through Mum's pins I realised that a similar idea may work for the board cover images; that they could be clearer and easier to discover when looking at all the images.

So this is where I started. It's not something I've seen when looking at anyone else's Pinterest boards, although I'm sure that somewhere someone has already done it. I've kept the colours and design similar to what you would already be able to see on my blog.

To make the images the board covers you need to follow the steps outlined below. You will need to follow these steps on a PC or Mac, not an iPad (unless someone knows a way to do it on the App?)

STEP 1: Click on the red cross in the top right corner and select 'Upload a Pin'.

STEP 2: You will be asked to select an image from your computer.

STEP 3: Choose the image that you want to use from your computer.

STEP 4: Let the image load to 100%.

STEP 5: Pin the image to the board that it will be the cover image for.

STEP 6: You must write a description for the pin - I have just used Cover Image so that others are aware that it is just a photo used for this purpose.

STEP 7: Choose the board that you have just pinned the image to. Select "Change Cover".

STEP 8: The last image you pinned will come up as the option for the cover photo. Move it around until it is suitable and select SAVE NOW.

And we're left with...

I think this makes my boards not only stand out, but they're much easier to navigate on any of my devices.

I created the images in Stampin Up's My Digital Studios. I used the postcard template 3.5 x 4.87 and focused on utilising an embellishment in the middle so that the area that would be seen as the board cover would fit. I used embellishment Back to School - blackboard with DSP Watercolour Wonder - 3. The font used is Sketchnote Square purchased with a commercial licence.

You can use a range of graphic design options to create your images. You might want to also look at Canva.

UPDATE: I strongly recommend using Safari to organise your boards as other browsers didn't save as effectively.
Saturday, 7 June 2014

June Wallpaper

It's that time again...June wallpaper...

It hasn't exactly been cold yet...but hopefully it's coming...there is nothing nicer in my opinion than a roaring fire, a hot drink, blanket and a good book...

This wallpaper was created using Stampin Up's My Digital Studios DSP Fall Memories - 12, Embellishment Fall Memories - label 6 and font Roverd.
Saturday, 17 May 2014

Writing a Reading Program

Reading is a priority for my school and I'm working on a program that will operate across Year 7 & 8 to address a range of areas that we've identified.

I'm trying to find the buy-in with the students, parents and the teachers across all subjects.

We are all teachers of reading, but we need to know how to teach reading first.

We need to have the skills to break down 'reading' for our students before we can just assume they can all do it.

It's a marathon, not a sprint. This is a cultural change that we need to enact across the whole school.

At the moment we are looking at silent, sustained reading, guided reading and SRA labs in group rotations.

Any advice? What have you tried? What has worked for you?

What is a teacher?

Thursday, 15 May 2014

A small group of thoughtful committed citizens

This is a favourite quote.

Sometimes it is important to remember that we don't have to do everything on our own. That there are likeminded people out there who think and believe the same things.

And if they don't...if they push your can unfollow or block.

This poster has been made using Stampin Up's My Digital Studios, DSP Beautiful Today - 4, Flag Punch and font, Dead Hardy.
Sunday, 11 May 2014

Testing Times

The NAPLAN tests are occurring in Australian schools this week.

I find it interesting that last week Academics from around the world sent an open letter to the OECD's director of the Programme for International of Student Assessment expressing their concern about standardised testing and its impact on student learning.

You can read about the open letter here.

My own personal concerns about the impact of NAPLAN on students and curriculum aside, it's something that we have to do.

So to brighten up the test room and to let other students know that they need to respect their peers while the exams are on, I've designed a couple of signs to put up.

I thought I would share them so others could use them if they want.

The first is to put around the test rooms, so that all students are aware of what is happening and show respect for their peers.

This sign is for the classroom itself. While there can't be anything in the room that may be something that can 'assist' students, I hope that a motivational sign might encourage students to do their best.

These signs have been created using Stampin Up's My Digital Studios. The first sign has DSP - My First Day, Stamps Banner Blast - outline flag & Extreme Elements - stars. The font used is Stacked. The second sign uses DSP - My First Day and DSP - Be Awesome Today: 7. Fonts used include Citizen Slab, Castor One and Earwig.
Tuesday, 6 May 2014

May Wallpaper

And it's quickly the year goes by...

This wallpaper was created using Stampin Up's My Digital Studio DSP Dropping You A Line - 2, Embellishments Dropping You A Line - mail label and Stamp Dropping You Line - letter back. The font used is KG Skinny Love.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Inspiration Cards for Teachers

Twitter has really become an integral part of my Professional Learning Network in the past 12 months. I am learning so much from other educators who I interact with through Twitter and hope that I too am contributing to the wider discussion.

The training wheels are coming off in a big way at the moment as I've built up the confidence to start conversations with others on Twitter and to ask questions. 

One account I have recently begun to follow is @TeachersJourney. Tweets from this account have introduced me to an American educator Robert John Meehan. His book "The Teacher's Journey" has so many quotes that inspire me and resonate with who I am as a teacher.

You can read more about Robert John Meehan and his work at the blog "The Teacher's Journey".

So many of the quotes that are being put out through Twitter have inspired me and made me think more about my role as a teacher, and how I as a leader in a school can inspire the staff I work with everyday.

I came up with the following idea - have the quotes available on a daily basis to remind me about the important things I need to focus on when I'm getting bogged down in Administration, and also to help me to pick up my staff when they come to me feeling low. So I came up with the idea of having quote cards which when laminated would sit on a small artist's easel that I could change over the course of a term when I or one of my staff needed a pick me up. I have chosen 15 quotes to start with that I enjoyed reading.

I have created a PDF file that you can download here that you use to cut out your cards. Alternatively, you can access the quotes at my Flickr page and print off the size that suits you.

You can then simply cut out the cards and laminate them. I am really excited about this project idea and can't wait to get back to school to my trusty laminator to do it myself, but as soon as I have, I'll post a picture for you. I thought the easel would be an easy way to keep them on a stand but if you have other ideas about how you would display your cards, let me know.

Chalkboard backgrounds have been purchased through Creative Market and are part of the 2 Lil Owls Studio Chalkboard Tutorial and Texture bundle

The font used is Lunchbox Slab and was purchased with a commercial license and can be accessed at
Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Why Read?

A fundamental skill that underpins all student learning is reading. Good readers are better spellers and writers. They have better comprehension skills.

It doesn't matter what classroom a student is in, they will be required to read. More importantly, they need to understand what they're reading.

As a first step I'm trying to highlight why it is important for my students to engage with reading. To get them interested and excited.

Using Stampin Up's My Digital Studios, I created posters with reading quotes that are important to me. Quotes that provide students with other viewpoints about why we read.

Using the posters as the base, I then developed these bookmarks as an Easter gift for my students instead of chocolate.

I was pleased to see how popular the bookmarks were and that students were swapping them with each other to get a quote that they preferred. As the posters had been up in the classroom for some weeks, they had already identified which ones they liked the most and chose those bookmarks as a reminder.

You can access copies of the posters here. The base of the bookmarks can be accessed here.

All the posters and bookmarks have been developed and created using My Digital Studios Storytime Digital Kit. I hope you enjoy them as much my students and I have.
Monday, 31 March 2014

April Wallpaper

April...the month of Easter...April Fools and Anzac Day.

This year we are celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli Landing. A time for reflection.

Do you have a personal link to the ANZAC Legend.

I'm going to share my story with you closer to ANZAC Day, and how I came to realise the importance of the Australian and New Zealand troops landing in Turkey - more than just going to the aid of Great Britain as a Commonwealth country.

Enjoy April. Eat a practical joke and remember.

The April wallpaper can be accessed below. Right click on the image and save to your computer. Then choose it as your desktop paper.

Alternatively, you can go to my Flickr account using the button on the top left hand side and you can download a range of sizes there.

This wallpaper has been created using Stampin Up's My Digital Studios DSP: Be Awesome Today - 8, Stamp: Bunch of Backgrounds - french flair and font: Charcuterie Serif.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Change is as good as a holiday...

So...things look a bit different.

I've used assets from Stampin Up's My Digital Studios to recreate my blog design. I have enjoyed playing with the Blogger Simple Template design utilising the colour palette from My Digital Studios Watercolor Wonder.

It wasn't as hard as I thought, and I'd been thinking about doing it for quite a while...but of course, work has been the priority as I fit into a new role and new workplace.

I feel reinvigorated. I have lots of new ideas and things I've been wanting to try and hope in the coming months I can share this passion with you.

I have lots of new blog post ideas that I would like to work on and with holidays in two weeks, I hope that I have time to put them all together.

Thanks for continuing along this journey with me.

Friday, 28 February 2014

March Wallpaper

It's March already...and it's time to freshen up your desktop wallpaper.

Trying something new this time. My PC has the icons on the left, my Mac the icons on the right, so this time there is a choice between two styles.



This desktop wallpaper has been created in Stampin Up's My Digital Studios using DSP Amped Up Ampersands - 5 and Stamp You're My Type - Typewriter.