30 Days of FREE Books!

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I recently discovered Epic! now understand exactly why it has been called the “Netflix of kids’ books” for a while. Epic is a fantastic teaching resource with an unlimited library that kids can take anywhere on iPads and tablets! The site has so many books including titles like Warriors, Rainbow Magic Fairies, The Chronicles of Narnia, Batman, Goosebumps, Clifford, Best of all, you can have access to 15,000 children’s books and thousands of read-to-me and Audio books for FREE for 30 days, with a $7.99 (US) monthly subscription after the trial or it’s FREE FOR EDUCATORS! How cool!

Perfect for

  • parents
  • entertaing kids
  • engaging children and those tricky learners
  • kids who rely heavily on iPads
  • Daily 5 reading time
  • literacy rotations

Enjoy!

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STEM NOVELS

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Kids love hands on learning. They seem to thrive and achieve new things when they’re given new hands on learning experiences. I love the idea that these books and novels can be used in a classroom setting.

Educents STEM novel by Science, Natrually

Amy, a former teacher and now homeschooling mom, recently had the opportunity to read and review Ghost in the Water and Leonardo da Vinci Gets a Do-Over.   Both of these amazing books are published by the Science, Naturally! company and provide a myriad of learning opportunities for the reader. Each book is jammed pack with facts and ideas from multiple subject areas that are seamlessly woven together to create a great story! Readers will be so enthralled in the story that they won’t realize they are learning. Here’s what Amy thought about these STEM novels by Science, Naturally!

Ghost in the Water with Teacher Guide

Ghost in the Water, written by Sue Garcia, is the first book in the League of Scientist Mystery series. This fantastic book introduces us to a great group of middle school students who have banned together to form the League of Scientists. Together they use their knowledge of science, technology, math and logic to solve mysteries – but not in a textbook, science class kind of way. Kids of all ages will be able to identify with problems and challenges faced by the characters as they ban together to save the school swimming pool.

DaVinci Gets a DoOver and Teacher Guide

Leonardo da Vinci Gets a Do-Over, written by Mark Friedlander, Jr., is the first book in the Innovators in Action series. This fun adventure takes three American middle school students on a class trip to Florence, Italy. While there they meet Leonardo da Vinci who is back in modern times to help make the world a better place. Join the fun as these engaging characters help the Renaissance legend survive in the 21st century.

Each book also has a free Teacher’s Guide that is filled with hundreds of suggestions, activities and connecting points to help guide the learning during the reading of the book. The Teacher’s Guide makes cross-curricular learning through these books a snap – because so much is already done for the teacher. The hardest part will be choosing which of the activities you want to do because it would be almost impossible to do them all! The activities include everything from discussion topics, writing prompts, areas to research, hands-on activities and more. They are truly what brings the learning to life and the Teacher’s Guide has it all ready to go!

both books

So how am I using these books? It has been very easy in incorporate a book into our daily reading. I started with Ghost in the Water because we are currently learning about physics and chemistry in science and this book is a natural tie to those concepts. Prior to reading a chapter with my son, I review the Teacher’s Guide and determine which of the listed activities I want to do. I generally make this decision based on what I know my son will enjoy or an area that I want him to dig deeper in. Then we read a chapter together.

As we get to a topic in the reading, I pose a discussion question that naturally fits in. I often model the thinking that I want my son to do, so you might hear me questioning why something is happening or making “I wonder . . .” statements. At the end of the chapter we use the discussion or these questions to do further research and learn more about the “cool” things we learned in the chapter, including adding in some hands-on activities from the Teacher’s Guide that fit. When we are ready, we move on to the next chapter. Some chapters have taken us longer to get through than others because there is more we want to explore.

two thumbs up from landryWhen I first got asked to do the review, I was not sure what to expect. My son is a big science lover so I knew it was something I wanted to look further into. However, I never could have dreamed that the books would be as amazing as they are. Whether you have a book lover, science lover or reluctant learner, these books are sure to add some fun and exciting learning. I used these books as part of my current teaching role as a homeschooling mom, however, as a former classroom teacher, I would excitedly use them in a more traditional classroom too!

I am very impressed with the Science, Naturally! books and would recommend them highly if you are looking to add some seriously fun learning to your homeschool or traditional classroom. I have loved these books so much that I am looking at adding some of their other resources to our curriculum too. I am most excited about trying out the One Minute Science Mysteries and the One Minute Math Mysteries.

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Resources for Under $30

*This post contains affiliate links which means I will earn a small commission if you happen to purchase a subscription after clicking on my links. I only share things I’d have shared anyway.
I love finding affordable resources online. What I love most about Educents is that they give you back part of your spend in Edubucks which makes your next purchase even cheaper! What’s even better, these resources are perfect for small group work in a classroom setting.

Helpful Resources

Homeschool Music Journey – These 12 activities and 8 coloring pages introduce kids to a world of music-related fun, from Australian clapsticks to Indian ankle bells and Egyptian rattles. These projects fit perfectly into any homeschool curriculum where music is a part of the learning and discovery!

Photography Lessons for Kids – Add some fun to your homeschool! Whether your kids have a point and shoot or a DSLR camera, the fundamental rules of photography can still be taught.

Math Resources

Tegu Geometric Blocks – Here’s a hands-on way to learn geometric shapes. These blocks come in many shapes and colors.

Educents Tegu Blocks

Buy Now

Times Tales DVD – This one is my personal favourite. I was a little sceptical at first, but the system is great for helping kids to learn and remember some of the trickier times tables. Kids can learn their times tables in a snap! Most homeschoolers say this DVD only takes about an hour to teach kids the upper times tables. There’s also a downloadable version available.

Life of Fred Math Stories – After reading the Fred books, kids will never say “math is boring” ever again. These fictional stories weave in math concepts with real world examples. Start with the Apples book for early math, and follow Fred all the way to calculus lessons!

Science Activities

Early Access Tyto Online – Learn, create, and play with your student. These polymers can help teach measurements, chemical reactions, and following directions.

One Minute Science Mysteries – Each story, just one minute long, challenges students’ knowledge in earth, space, life, physical, chemical, and general science.

Language Arts Games & Lessons

Silly Stories Cursive Handwriting Practice – Silly Stories Cursive Handwriting Copybook uses wacky classic tales to provide a fun platform for cursive handwriting practice lessons. It’s fun for everyone!

The Best of StoryClub – Video Picture Books – Video Picture Books Featuring Real, On-Screen Storytellers mixed with amazing Picture Book Illustrations.  Great for bedtime, Naptime…Anytime!

uKloo Early Riddle Edition Treasure Hunt Game – Disguised as a treasure hunt, this literacy game gets kids physically active as they strengthen reading comprehension skills while solving clues to find a surprise.

ukloo treasure set

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Classroom Management, Classroom Organisation & Behaviour Management Hacks

I’ve found these ideas handy. They’re all my photos but aren’t all my own original ideas.

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I started the magic item clean up game with my kids. My classroom has never been so clean. It is hilarious to watch them run around looking for extra scraps of paper. I promised them scratch ‘n’ sniff stickers because they were doing such a great job. Got one of each scent. Surely I’m the coolest teacher ever! To play choose a new piece of rubbish each pack up and give the child who picks it up a sticker. They go nuts looking for the magic item!

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I picked up this little baby for $15 from Kmart and created name cards for my superstar of the day behaviour recognition system.

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I started my Positive Post Box with my first class. I’ve found a new box and had an idea to update the idea behind it.

Originally kids would leave little positive notes for each other or write something good about their day to share with the class. It didn’t take off. We were too busy.

I’ve decided to print little kindness cards and positive notes for the kids to write a note on the back to say thank you to a friend or to recognise a class mate doing the right thing, trying really hard, having a positive outlook or for helping each other out. I feel like it fit in with our school focus on growth mindsets.

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This is my peace and quiet necklace. I trained my last class not to interrupt unless it was an emergency if I was wearing my necklace. It worked like a charm. I was genuinely surprised as they’d interrupt constantly during reading sessions and while I was trying to test kids who had missed things the week before.

Other people have said they use glasses, hats, yard duty vests, headbands with ears or antennas, hats and capes.

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I found a stack of name letters from old pencil cases. I’m cutting them up so my kids can make their spelling words out of them. Saves money on colour printing!

14590350_10154679660207269_7903027721457073529_n.jpgI keep a calm down box in my classroom to help kids to chill out during moments of stress.

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Paint chip cards make brilliant flash cards – no cutting and or laminating required!

11041045_10153443183737269_2959327380373135540_n.jpgQuite possibly my smartest ever move. Double the laminating in half the time.

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Add a little colour to IKEA magazine holders. I’m pretty impressed with how the colours turned out. I store my books according to category in labelled magazine holders.

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Classroom game balls all set to go for Monday!

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Inspiration wall from my very first classroom. Dreams really do come true! I was totally onto the growth mindset idea before it was a thing!

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Freebies for Australian Shoppers

*This post contains affiliate links which means I will earn a small commission if you happen to purchase a subscription after clicking on my links. I only share things I’d have shared anyway.
As a teacher, I love a good freebie. I spend so much money on resources and teaching aids for my school children, that I always find myself a little bit excited about a freebie. Especially if it’s one for me! I’ve put together a list of the freebies I’ve found for Australians.

Boost Juice – every 10th drink free and a free birthday Boost for VIBE Clubmembers 

C Coffee (On The Run) – free coffee when you download the app and then every 5th or 6th coffee free

Muffin Break – free birthday muffin and every 5th coffee free. I scored a free coffee for downloading the app too!

Cold Rock – free birthday icecream

CIBO – free coffee when you download the app

Maccas – every 6th coffee free with the app 

Bom Dia Bows – free acaai bowl once you’ve accumulated enough points

Pure Coffee Boutique – free coffee once you’ve accumulated enough points

Cafe Argo – free birthday coffee

Paleo Cafe – score $20 towards a birthday meal

Sumo Salad – free birthday salad

San Churros – free birthday churros

Cosmetics Fragrance Direct – free $10 discount voucher

Juice Bureau – free juice when you reach 100 points

Kiki K – $10 welcome voucher, $10 anniversary voucher and $10 birthday voucher. I love this as I’ve been lucky enough to receive vouchers that don’t require a minimum spend. They have beautiful little pen packs for $9.95. It’s not often that you score something that’s 100% free!

Fireflies – $50 voucher when you’ve accumulated enough points. It’s easy one when you’ve got a Kate Spade addiction! (Whoops)

Salsas Mex – free birthday burrito

Dymocks – free birthday voucher

Bonds – free birthday voucher

Sportscraft – free birthday voucher

Crossroads – free birthday voucher

Mimco – free birthday voucher

Witchery – free birthday voucher

*disclaimer: some offers may be seasonal or available for a limited time only. You may need to make an initial purchase to gain access to a membership and maintain regular purchases. You’ll probably need to be preregistered for birthday specials and offers. Terms and conditions apply to all of these offers. I’m not affiliated with these businesses and have nothing to do with their offers. 

*This post contains affiliate links which means I will earn a small commission if you happen to purchase a subscription after clicking on my links. I only share things I’d have shared anyway.

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Grammaropolis looks like a great resource for students of all ages.

I love that it enables teachers to address the varied learning styles of their students while incorporating an innovative approach to grammar. It’s also perfect for parents who want to help their children with their homework but need a refresher course.

The awesome little characters provide students with effective ways to visualise the parts of speech and to identify sentence structures.

What is included in the package?

  • One year subscription at edu.grammaropolis.com
  • Tracking for up to 35 students
  • Individual student logins
  • 8 different parts of speech
  • 20 animated shorts
  • 9 animated music videos
  • 26 different quiz categories
  • 9 illustrated books

Only after a couple of smaller Grammaropolis resources? Click on the photos below.

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Pinterest!

I’m now on Pinterest if anyone is interested. Lots of PD and heaps more ideas which I haven’t posted on here. I thought it might be easier for you to save them all in one place.
Please note, it is my personal account. You’ll find food ideas and fitness ideas. Please ignore what doesn’t interest you.

Tremendous Tangrams – Freebies Included – Update #2

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As a relief teacher, I have the luxury of having art as a last lesson a lot! I LOVE art. As a full time classroom teacher, I understand the annoyance of non educational “shhh and colour” colouring pages handed out by relief teachers who have agreed to plan an art lesson. I’m not talking about Zentangles or Maths colouring but normal colouring in pages that aren’t related to the curriculum. I’d rather plan the lesson myself and know that it meets an outcome or is linked to a subject other than art to create a cross connection.

My favourite activity at the moment is tangram art. There are so many designs and things you can do. I give the kids a template. This one http://www.tangram-channel.com/tangrams-to-cut-out/reversible-tangram-free-template/ from tangram-channel.com is great.

Once you’ve given the kids a template to cut out (if they’re older, they might be able to create their own or trace plastic pieces), you’ll need some examples. I’ve found a few resources for you.

These tangram cards from Tangram Channel look great.

These Tangrams & Pattern Cards from Learning Advantage allow you to cCompose various figures with this set of colorfully illustrated pattern cards and tangrams. “At a basic level students can analyze, identify, compare, and sort the different shapes based on their attributes. Beautifully illustrated cards. Included tangram pieces complete the set!”

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The five Totally Tangrams books below are my personal favourite of the resources I’ve found for you. Glue & Ink have released three different designs!

Animals! Halloween Fun! Gobble Gobble – Thanksgiving Tangrams Winter Tangrams Christmas Tangramsglue--ink_coverchristmastangramstt5glueandink_1e24.pngglue___ink_covertotallytangrams4winterwonderlandeducentsthumbnails_e71c.png or download the whole bundle here while it’s on special.

Cash strapped and don’t mind black and white? Check out http://www.fun-stuff-to-do.com/tangrams.html for some freebies.

The Activity Village http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/tangrams website have all the info you need to introduce the idea of tangrams to your class and a few sheets to print and copy. I never knew the background story behind tangrams!

Do yourself a favour and check this out –  http://www.didatticarte.it/Blog/?p=397&lang=en – THE WORLD MAP!

This peel and stick maths set also looks great. It’s on special for a limited time too.

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Guest Post: Times Tales by Celena from The Travelling Sisterhood

Update: Save unto 25% when using the codes bliss or givejoy on your entire purchase!

 

I had heard so many amazing reviews of Times Tales from other educators that I really started to wonder about it.  I was hearing things like, “My children learned their upper times tables in an  hour” and I heard stories of teens who had learned the times tables this way in school and still remembered them by remembering the stories. When I had the chance to review it, I jumped at the chance!  I was curious when I first put the DVD on to watch it with my kiddos.  The method is simply stories that provide students with a “memory peg” allowing them to quickly recall otherwise abstract facts.  The stories aren’t exciting and they’re only a couple sentences long each, things like:
After each story, the video shows how it translates into math problems. This one means 7 x 4 = 28.  Not sure how we arrived at that?  Just wait and see!  After the stories, there are flash card reminders and timed reviews during which you pause the video to tell the story.
During the beginning of the DVD, you learn the characters, each of which symbolizes a number.  For example, Mrs. Week is the number 7.  A chair is the number 4.  A treehouse is the number 9.  And so on.  As we watched, I wondered if it was really working.
It’s worth noting that Times Tales only goes through the 3,4,6,7,8, and 9 multiplication facts, but these are the ones it’s hardest to remember.  It doesn’t cover 0, 1, 2, 5, and 10 which wasn’t a problem for us as those are the super easy ones.  The program also comes with bonus division problems which is definitely a plus!  I really love that it comes with so many printables–24 pages total–including a dice game for each part, 4 written tests (2 with picture helps; 2 without), flashcards, and crossword puzzles.
The DVD is broken into Parts 1 and 2.  On the first day, we watched Part 1, did the printable crossword puzzles, and then took the first quiz.  My 9 and 10 year olds scored 100%! The next day, we watched Part 2, played the dice game that came with the DVD, and then took the quiz with picture helps.  Once again, 100%.  The following day, I had the kiddos take the quiz above.  Again, 100%!  I was so impressed I can’t even tell you! Below, you can see my kiddos playing the dice game. This is after watching the video one time.  Sometimes they have the math facts memorized even when they don’t remember exactly how the story goes but they definitely know the answers!
There are a variety of ways you could use Times Tables:
  • In a homeschool setting, like we did.
  • After school with kiddos who are having trouble memorizing their times tables (I really wish we’d had this when I was a kid!)
  • For kiddos with learning disabilities.  There are so many succeess stories of this working for kids when other programs have failed.
  • In an elementary school classroom.  I can’t even imagine how many less papers my 5th grade teacher would have had to grade!  We did multiplication drills every single day during our 2nd semester!  This really beats that.

I think it’s important to point out that the purpose of Times Tales is to teach memorization.  Children still need to understand the concept of multiplication–the fact that 7×4=28 means 7 groups of 4 equals 28 needs to be understood. I actually taught my kiddos this using Lego bricks (bookmark the lesson plan here).  They loved it and it worked! It was the perfect combination along with the Times Tales video.  This is one product worth buying!  It’s so amazing, but if you need more than just my recommendation, head to Amazon and read all the raving reviews… but do not buy the DVD there–it costs too much with them.
Times Tales is $10 less from Educents!

Where to Buy It
You can purchase Times Tales on Educents at 33% off which is $19.99 from Educents.  This price is even $10 lower than Amazon’s and you get free shipping with the code APPLECIDER16 through 9/30. Or get the downloadable version for $13 with the coupon code CJ10! Comes with all the same videos and printables including quizzes, worksheets, and a dice game.
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