Roll A Valentine’s Day Story

It’s hard to ignore the endless amount of pink and red hearted cuddly toys and candy filling the stores this past week! Valentine’s day is most definitely almost upon us! One thing I love about Valentine’s day now, compared to when I was growing up, is the focus upon friendship and everyone in the class getting a valentine. It’s a lot more about community building. I love when my excited kids come home with a bag full of tiny cards from their classmates and they are SO excited and spend a long time looking at every one of those cards.

If you’re looking to add some Valentine writing fun for the young writers in your class this week, this Roll a Valentine Story activity has lots of ideas! Roll A Story is a fun way to get your students to create their own story starters, and will have them having fun with their story before they even begin writing. Valentine Roll-A-Story gives beginner writers some basic elements (Character, Setting, and Problem), to create a story. With the roll of a dice they mix and match these story elements and can create a new story every time! For those writers who want something extra there’s also a ‘Extra Element’ that can be included in the story.


What you need:
A die, a roll a valentine story sheet, an extra element sheet (optional) and a recording sheet.

  1. Take a story sheet (with / without images)  and roll a die to choose:
    (a) a character, (b) a setting and (c) a problem.roll-a-story


  1. Add an extra element to the story (optional)
  1. Record what you rolled, and add any extra ideas that you have, before writing your story!

Happy Rolling and Happy Valentine’s Day!


The Christmas Addition Machine

I just love this time of year. Everywhere you look people are full of the holiday spirit. Ever since I was a small child this has been my favorite of the year! The lights around the neighborhood and in the main streets of the city just made it look so magical .

Have some Christmas fun with your students , with this FREEBIE Christmas Addition Machine. This is a fun and hands-on way for your students to explore number bonds up to 10.


Click HERE to download this activity.

In this ‘Christmas Addition Machine’ game, your students explore number bonds from 1-10, by using the ten frame and recording their answers on the Addition Machine and the recording sheet.

To play:

  1. Students pick an Addition Machine Card. blog pic 1

2. They use the Ten Frame to find a number bond that makes 5.

blog pic 23. Finally students fill in the numbers in the Addition Machine, and record it on their recording sheet.

Christmas Addition Machine Christmas Addition Machine - Recording Sheet


I hope you have some addition fun with your class with this game! If you are looking for more addition fun you can check out Making 10 for Christmas HERE.



The Power of Nursery Rhymes

The Power Of Nursery Rhymes

Nursery Rhymes are a fantastic tool in the early years classroom. They give children exposure to rhyme and rhythm, and teach phonemic awareness in a fun and repetitive way. The Guardian paper in the UK polled 2,500 people and asked them what their all time favorite nursery rhymes were. The top ten nursery rhymes included: Hickory Dickory Dock, Little Miss Muffet, Incey Wincey Spider (Itsy Bitsy Spider), Baa Baa Black Sheep, Jack and Jill, Twinkle Twinkle and Humpty Dumpty. These nursery rhymes have been shared with young children by their parents for hundreds of years. What makes nursery rhymes such appealing rhymes for young children and why are they such a good learning tool in the early years?


As young children grow as language learners they become aware that some words sound the same even if they are spelt differently. Through nursery rhymes children are exposed to fun and memorable rhymes and word families like diddle/fiddle, stream/dream and dock/clock. Not all of the rhymes in the nursery rhymes make sense like ‘hickory dickory dock’ or ‘hey diddle diddle’, but I think this adds to the fun of nursery rhymes, and inspires the young creative mind to think of limitless rhyming words. From a very young age children can begin joining in with nursery rhymes. Even very young children can begin joining in the rhyming fun by finishing sentences ‘Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you ______?’


Rhythm and Phonics

I remember very clearly singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ with my daughter when she was a baby. To begin with she always sang ‘star’ at the end of every sentence, but even in the early days, her sense of rhythmic patterns and the structure of language were beginning to develop.  Nursery rhymes are full of fun rhythm which make it easy for children to join in and follow. Exposing children to this rich culture of words and rhythm in language is a fantastically enriching experience for them. The best thing is that nursery rhymes are so much fun, children don’t even realise they are learning such important elements as assonance, alliteration, rhythm, etc.


Fun with the printed text

Even before children can read they can have exposure to how a books work and engage with text on a page. As simple as looking at a page of a poem that is read by an adult, or ‘reading’ a book by themselves as they turn the pages and observe the pages filled with both text, and also visual prompts,  illustrations or key words in the books small2

There are several products in my store which you might find useful as you explore Nursery Rhymes with your class.

Nursery Rhyme Bundleshop3

potato print 2

5 Things to know for St Patrick’s Day!

Having grown up in Ireland, St Patrick’s Day is still a day that fills me with great excitement! St. Patrick’s Day was always a holiday and a guaranteed day off school or work, a trip to see the parade and wearing green was always a must! Even now the anticipation of the arrival of Paddy’s Day, fills me with that giddy excitement of that younger excited schoolgirl.

first pic
5 Things to Know for St Patrick’s Day


St Patrick wasn't Irish, he was born in Britain. St Patrick wasn’t born in Ireland. That’s right! Ireland’s most famous and celebrated saint, St Patrick, wasn’t actually born in Ireland, in fact he was kidnapped by pirates and brought to Ireland where he was sold as a slave! Historians aren’t exactly sure where he came from, but they believe it is either Wales or England.

St Patrick is the Patron Saint of IrelandWhen Saint Patrick was brought to Ireland, he was sold to a farmer who put him to work minding his animals. Saint Patrick lived and worked with the animals. After several years he managed to escape by stowing away on a boat which set sail to France. While he was in France, he trained to become a priest. After many years he began having dreams about the people of Ireland calling to him to come back to them. He returned to Ireland as a missionary and is now Ireland’s patron saint.

My freebie is available at my TpT Store
This is part of my St Patrick’s Day Freebie. Click to download from TpT.

Ireland has a female patron saintIreland has a female Patron Saint too. In fact Ireland has three patron saints – Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and Saint Columba. Saint Patrick is by far the most famous. The female patron saint of Ireland is Saint Brigid. She has her own feast day on February 1st and she even has her own cross. Saint Brigid was a nun and there is a story that tells how she went to visit the King of Leinster (one of the 4 provinces of Ireland) for some land to build a convent. When the king refused, she asked would he let her have however much land her cloak she was wearing would cover. Then king wanted to get rid of Brigid, and so he agreed. When Saint Brigid began to lay her cloak out, the corners of the cloak continued to stretch until it covered huge parts of the land. The king began to panic when he saw this and promised Saint Brigid a nice plot of land for her convent.

There are no snakes in Ireland - St Patrick banished them It’s true! There really are no snakes in Ireland! The legend says that St Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland by driving them off a cliff and into the sea. There is a story about the last snake in Ireland. There was a snake who did not want to be banished. St Patrick tricked the snake into climbing into a box, and then threw the box into the sea. This, the legend goes, is why there are no snakes in Ireland. It is because of this legend that St Patrick is often pictured with snakes by his feet.

This is part of my St Patrick’s Day Freebie. Click to download from TpT.

Shamrocks have 3 heart Shaped LeavesA shamrock has 3 heart shaped leaves. It really is very simple to draw a shamrock once you know this. It might seem simple, but if you ever find yourself needing to draw a quick shamrock for an activity, this little observation can be a lifesaver. Trust me!

This is part of my St Patrick’s Day Freebie. Click to download from TpT.

One thing I really enjoying for St Patrick’s Day is making Potato Print pictures. It’s simple and is lots of hands on fun!

All you need is:

  •  A potato, A knife (to cut the potato), Paper, Green Paint & a container for the paint

1. Cut the potato in half. Carve a heart shape into the top of the potato and cut away the potato until it looks like thisMake a potato print for St Patrick's Day


2. Using the heart shaped potato print, create shamrocks by placing 3 heart shaped prints beside each other. I love little finger prints, I just think they look so cute and encourage hands on play with the paint. So, using finger tips you could add a stem to the shamrock.

Potato Printing Shamrocks for St Patrick's DayPotato Printing Shamrocks for St Patrick's Day

If you are looking for more st Patrick’s Day ideas check out:

Slide1   Slide1



Graphics © Krista Wallden (Creative Clips)


Yippee – newsletter and a Sale!

Hello long forgotten blog! My resolution to post regularly hasn’t really worked out, but I’m going to get better about posting – New Year’s Resolution (Again!)

I was SO excited to find out that one of my Freebies is featured in today’s TpT newsletter! I really like this product – I created it to reinforce Fact Families, as I had a little boy who was struggling with them. I found that it really helped!

Addition Fact Families



How to Play:

The game includes Owl Nest Cards, Egg Number Cards and a Student Recording Sheet. Place the Owl Nest Cards & Egg number cards on the table. Players choose a nest.They find two egg cards that they can add together to make the number on the nest. They record their number work on the recording sheet.


To celebrate I am throwing a One Day Flash Sale Today with 20% off in my store!

Giant Sale on TpT! 3 Million Strong!

Wow – 3 million teacher members! TpT is having a huge site wide sale to celebrate hitting this milestone on February 27th-28th this week. I have loved my TpT journey so far, and am delighted to be celebrating this giant milestone with them – reaching my one year anniversary with TpT this month seems teeny compared to their milestone!

The majority of stores will be offering 20% off for the duration of the sale. If you add the TpT Promo Code TPT3 at the checkout, you will receive a MASSIVE 28% off all of your purchases! That’s a great deal! My ENTIRE STORE will be 28% off for Thursday and Friday. If you are a TpT fan (or are curious about the site) you should head over to TpT and get your wishlists ready – I know I am!


I am linking up with  Mrs Beattie’s Linky Party to spread the news about the sale! Check out the links below to find more fantastic sellers who are on sale!


square numbers

Lego really is awesome for Education!

Any of you with young children have, most likely, already been dragged along to the latest Lego movie. The unlikely and reluctant hero, Emmet, sets out to save the Lego world, and through his quest children are encouraged to throw away the building directions and follow their imaginations when constructing their Lego masterpieces. The Lego song ‘Everything is Awesome’ is completely catchy, and I have heard at least two adults singing this out loud in public spaces, no doubt having heard it on countless occasions since seeing the movie. After taking my kids to the movie, the very first thing they did upon returning home was to take their Lego constructions apart so that they could find spare parts to make their new inventions.

Lego, the construction, creativity and planning has limitless possibilities. I have seen several ideas for using Lego in lessons, so I thought I’d pull them together in one place, and share a few of my own too.
Tallest LEGO Tower: Here are some Lego facts (and video clips – click on city name) to inspire any budding Lego builders / engineers in your class:

  • One of the Tallest Lego Towers in the world was built in Sao Paolo, Brazil, in 2011. It took 500,000 bricks,  6,000 volunteers (mainly children), 5 days to build.It measured 102feet and 3 inches.
  • The current word record for the tallest Lego Tower was set in Delaware, USA, in August 2013. It consisted of 420,000 bricks and was built by the students in the Red Clay School district. It measured 112 ft 11.75 in.

lego factsThe video clips could prompt endless conversations about construction  and design. I wonder how tall a tower students could build of they worked together and planned carefully….

Five Great Lego Posts about using Lego in the classroom areI found online are:

1. Duplo Montessori Number Rods:

Create Montessori Number rods with Duplo. Totally Tots gives a great idea for how to explore numbers, and create Montessori number rods with your little ones. By making the rods in the blue, red, blue red, pattern (creating conversation about patten too), you can create a this traditional Montessori number tool, with Duplo you have at home. And you can explore number in a fun way too.

montessori number rodsMontessori Number Rods (image & idea: Tiny Tots)

2. Greater Than or Less Than Lego Game

One Simple Day has a great idea for using Lego to make a ‘Great Than, Less Than’ game! By providing Lego bricks,a selection of numbers from 1-20 and a ‘>’ card, this simple and fun game, makes a hands on and visually effective way for students to explore the concepts of Greater Than and Less Than.


(image & idea: One Perfect Day)

3. Counting and Measuring with Lego

This idea of using Lego to make a number stick, with both numerals and dots is another hands on way for students to explore numbers. With a permanent pen write the numbers, and corresponding dots on individual Lego pieces. Students can then make a number stick with the Lego pieces. Counting, ordering numbers and measuring are just some of the fun activities that students can use the Lego for.

counting-and-measuring-with-lego-680x453(Image & idea: The Imagination Tree)

4. The LEGO Interlocking brick technique:

When you look at a brick wall, and observe the pattern, the bricks are typically not stacked immediately on top of each other, but are placed overlapping each other so as to reinforce and strengthen the structure. I’ve always built Lego structures without thinking  that this is called this the Interlocking Brick Technique. Homegrown Learners has a good post about how to explore this concept with your students as they build with Lego.interlockingbrick.png

(Image & idea: Homegrown Learners)

5. Using Lego to Build Mathematical Concepts

Ever think about just how great Lego is for exploring and understanding mathematical concepts? Part-part-total, Square Numbers and Fractions are all explored and the activity explained clearly in this blog post. It’s a really good read with some great ideas.

lego_fractions1(Image & idea from Scholastic)

And finally…… has 12 random facts you probably didn’t know about Lego. Did you know that over 4 billion mini figures have been produced to date? Or that Lego is the largest tire manufacturer in the world (producing more tires per year than Goodyear and Bridgestone combined? For more facts check out the blog post:

lego (Image & Facts: Supercompressor)

Liebster Blog Award! (or All about Me)

liebster I’m very happy because the lovely Vilena at ‘Classroom in Paradise’ has nominated me for a Liebster award. Thank you very much Vilena! cipbb1Of course, the initial excitement of realizing someone had given me an award, was followed quickly by the question, ‘What is a Liebster Award?’ Basically a Liebster award is a peer nominated award given by bloggers, to their favorite up and coming blogs (which is defined as a blog with under 200 followers). The ‘Liebster’ award gets its name from the German word ‘liebster’ which means ‘dearest’.

In accepting the nomination I’m asked to answer 11 questions, post 11 random facts about myself and name 5 or more other bloggers whose work I find inspiring, interesting, and fun. As I haven’t actually got around to properly introducing myself on my blog, and this award involves me answering several questions about myself, I thought that this would be the ideal opportunity to do that!

Here are my 11 questions posted for me by my nominator (Vilena)
1) How do you spend your free time? 
My ideal way to spend free time is traveling and taking photographs. I love to travel and see different places cultures, and at the weekends nothing makes me happier than heading out exploring with my family and taking photographs.
2) How do you juggle your family life, teaching, blogging and creating lessons? Do you use a planner?
I think I haven’t yet managed to find the perfect balance, but I’m getting there. I find that late at night is often my best time for being creative. My kids quite like the idea of creating products, so sometimes family time consists of me creating a product, with both kids at a laptop creating their little ‘products’ too – it’s very sweet!
3) Do you work out?
Well…..there’s the theory and the practice. I am signed up at my local gym and I go far less than I should. I can’t wait for the summer to get back sailing and swimming – I’m more of a fair weather outdoors person.  I am walking a half marathon with some friends at the start of April, so I’m hoping that will be a motivator to at least get myself semi fit!
4) Are you scared of anything?
That someday my daughter, Little Missy, will want me to sit through a Justin Bieber concert with her
5) Describe yourself in 5 words.
Sociable (a chatterbox), creative, loyal, happy and a lifelong –learner
6) Cake or chips?
Chips! Although, if the question had been ‘Chips or chocolate’, the answer would have been different
7) What was your favorite toy as a kid?
Lego – I loved building lego towns and taking over the living room table with my creations.
8) What is your biggest achievement in life?
Two of my biggest achievements in my life are my kids…. Little Missy and Ninja Dude. In the past year one of my biggest personal achievements was learning to ice skate. I wouldn’t say I’m great by any means, but I can now get on the ice without feeling like it’s an extreme sport – which was my aim.
9) Your funniest moment in the classroom.
Gosh, where to start……I think probably one of my funniest/embarrassing moments was when I was team teaching in 3rd grade. We did a full unit on ‘Inventions’ and we had an amazing speaker come to the school who used to work for NASA. I was so in awe of him (his stories were fascinating), that I was actually struck dumb, and acted more like a star-struck teenager than a professional .One of the funniest moments with students was when I took my kindergarten class sledding – let’s just say when I headed off down the hill it wasn’t one of my more graceful moments on a sled. Luckily I had opted not to take one of the kids on the sled with me when I ended up in the giant pile of snow!
10) Your celebrity crush.
Chris Hemsworth (a.k.a. Thor). My brother was always into Superhero comics and I used to read his copies when he was finished. I always loved Thor   – and Chris Hemsworth, certainly fits the bill as a rugged Thor.
11) If you were granted 3 wishes, what would they be?
1. To visit the Galapagos Islands
2.  I have ALWAYS wanted to swim with a dolphin
3. To have live in ‘house elves’ to do the housework

Here are 11 Random Facts about me:
–          I love sailing and am a qualified day skipper
–          I enjoy diving and have dived in some beautiful places
–          I LOVE snow but I am finally fed up with snow for this winter!
–          I like to change things up regularly and am constantly changing  my work role
–          I love hands on projects and making things
–          Because I am tall people always thought I should be good at the high jump, but I was terrible!
–          I am gradually getting hooked on Pinterest!
–          I don’t think I’m old enough to have my childhood games in an ‘Old Time games’ book, but apparently I am!
–          Chocolate is my absolute indulgence
–          I usually manage to kill any house plant that I am given as a gift

Here are my nominees:
I found it hard to be sure of the exact number of followers of all of the blogs, but I’m going to go ahead and post them all here, as I have enjoyed reading their blogs.

1)      Mrs Burgen’s Sign Me Up Mrs Burgens

This blog has a great mix of classroom stories about teaching deaf and hard of hearing Kindergartners.  Mrs Burgen’s chatty style makes you feel like you really know her!

2)      High Flying in Fifth:
High Flying in fifth has some great ideas and shared a fantastic TED talk that has become my latest favorite! She also has a really touching post about why she became I teacher.

3)     Teaching Momster

MOMSTERheader_zps36408570.png~originalTeaching Momster has started posting Mentor Mondays and Math Madness Wednesdays which have great tips and ideas for teachers.

4)       C is for creative classroom

BannerfinalThe list of ‘Top Five Books That Will Have You Reaching for a Box of Tissue!’ has some really great books to choose from, and her ‘Pinterst gone wrong’ post will make you smile.

5)     Evil Math Wizard

evil math wizardI was hooked from the moment I read the name of this blog. The content doesn’t disappoint – lots of great ideas for math games and explorations in the classroom.

6)     Mrs E Teachers Math:   square logo I really enjoyed some of the posts about classroom activities and her ‘Never Give Up’ post about trying to keep up student motivation and persistence during problem solving

7)  : PerfettoWritingRoom:
Perfetto Writing Room is aimed at writers and teachers alike. This blog got me thinking about language. The guided short short writing idea was really useful and the ‘make your verbs sweat’ post was really enjoyable to read.

Here are my questions for my nominees:
Q1: What is one of the most beautiful places you have ever visited?
Q2: If you could go to three places in the world – one for a week, one for a month and one for a year – where would you go?
Q3: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Q4: If you could rewrite the ending of any movie what would it be?
Q5: When did you decide you wanted to be a teacher?
Q6: What app can you not live without on your phone? Why?
Q7: What teaching supply could you not live without?
Q8: What got you into blogging?
Q9: How many years have you been teaching for?
Q10: What advice would you give your 18 year old self?
Q:11: If you could change a movie ending what would it be?

I’m looking forward to reading the answers from my nominees!

HUGE Spring Giveaway

I’m excited to let you know that Teach2Love is having a HUGE ‘Spring Into Learning’ giveaway. There is over $150 worth of goodies up for grabs, from over 50 TpT sellers. I’ve donated my ‘St Patrick’s Day Math and Literacy Activity Pack’ –  which is perfect for celebrating St. Patrick’s day with your class with Math, Literacy and Fun activities! For a chance to win sign up here: Entry Form 3-5 graphicK-2 graphic

A year on TpT ……some things I’ve learned

This week I hit my TpT-versary – one year since I started my Teachers pay Teachers Store! I have learned a lot in the past year, both about myself and about how the world of online stores and marketing your materials works. I have so much still to learn, but I thought I’d pause to look back and reflect on the past year. I have had so much fun and I’ve discovered just how much I enjoy making teaching materials. It’s something that I can lose track of time doing.

Here are some lessons that I have learned that might help you on your TpT adventure if you are thinking of starting, or have recently started, a store.

  1. Making materials is harder that I thought it would be but I LOVE it! I can’t say that I ever thought about just how much I enjoyed making materials before starting my TpT store. I’ve always enjoyed curriculum design, I have always enjoyed hands on projects … but designing materials that other teachers would find useful, and that are quality products, is a whole different thing. I think that’s because the last time I really thought about creating a complete product with full layout, instructions and teacher directions, was probably in college. I mean, it’s not like you ever really fully write out clear directions for yourself when you are creating materials for your classroom. You have a purpose for creating it, and you make it to fit that need. Even if you share it with your team, you are most likely going to talk about why you are sharing it, rather than writing down all of the directions. Creating a complete product takes a while, but when it’s complete you feel a great sense of satisfaction.
  2.  Ideas can come at the strangest times….so now I always carry a notebook with me! Sometimes something happens which helps me make a connection, or inspires an idea, when I’m in the strangest of places. Like in the grocery store comparing cereal boxes and you might notice how much math there is on the side of the box. I have also discovered that for me, late at night, when everyone else is asleep (and when I should be sleeping myself), my mind goes into creative hyper drive and I can spend much longer than I think working on an idea. I’m trying to be good about that now – too many 1-2am nights, with an early start, are not good.
  3.  Making a quality product takes time. Sometimes it can take quite a while to make a product. Take your time. The ideas will come. Sometimes leaving it for a couple of days gives me a fresh perspective, and it helps me to make the changes or add the final details that just weren’t coming. Producing a quality product is worth taking the time for.
  4. Make attractive product covers and use clip art. This will help you make a quality product.  Have a look at any of the bestselling products, and one thing that stands out is just how appealing they are to look at. With attractive covers and well-designed pages, they are great examples of just how important the design of your product is. Every week TpT highlights 10 freebies in their newsletter – this is also a great way to see quality products. There are lots of clipart stores on TpT, and also on other websites, that sell clipart to TpT sellers. They also have some free clipart too, so it’s a great place to start when you’re getting setting up your online store.
  5.  Upgrading to Premium Membership makes such a difference! When I first joined I decided not to sign up for Premium Membership until I had earned the money to pay for it. Then I sold a few products and realized the earnings on a $1.50 product, after the TpT commission and transaction fee, was SO tiny it was disheartening.  I looked on the forums and saw so many threads about whether or not to upgrade – each of them with comments from experienced sellers saying they wished they’d upgraded sooner. I upgraded after a week and it was a great decision! You see a return on your investment so much quicker than if you wait to earn it with basic membership. Look at the math: On a $1 product with basic membership you pay 40% to TpT AND a 30cent transaction fee on each sale – Profit 30cent. On a $1 product with Premium membership you pay 15% commission and NO transaction fee. Profit 85 cent. Taking the leap and believing in myself that I could earn back the $60 investment was SO worth it! I promise I have not been encouraged to say this – this is just my personal experience.
  6. Social Media: Social media is really important when you’re promoting your store. It took me a while to figure out Pinterest and to start pinning. But once I did I quickly noticed a difference in the traffic to my store. There are SO many products on TpT that promotion is important, especially as you establish your store. Pinterest is a great way to start. One thing that I have noticed, both as a pinner, and also as a follower, is that pages and pages of product covers are really not appealing for followers to look at. A wide variety of product pages and interesting teaching ideas or tips, or even non related teaching topics like recipes, will be far more appealing to followers. I try to keep the balance of at least 3:1 for non-related product pins to products. You can also vary your pins for the same product so that you followers don’t see the same pin multiple times. And then when you have got to grips with Pinterest there is always, Facebook, Twitter, blogging…
  7. Get the app! TpT has a handy little app that makes a ‘Ca-Ching’ every time you make a sale. It is so much fun to hear the ca-ching during the day.  There were some bugs recently with the app but that seems to be fixed now. So if you open up a store, download the app and let the ca-chings begin!
  8. Blogging: I have been told that Blogging is essential for spreading your words and ideas . I have just started this blog. I’ll let you know how it goes……

Making materials can be harder than you think, but it’s really rewarding – jump in and give it a try. You might pleasantly surprised!