Friday, 27 January 2012

For all Bloggers...

I love The Teaching Blog Traffic School - I am a 'student'! It is for all Teacher Bloggers. If you want to share what happens in your classroom with others via a blog, The Teaching Blog Traffic School helps you to build your Blog from start to finish, get traffic to your blog (and followers). It also teaches you to use facebook, twitter, youtube, pinterest, and other social networks to be a part of your Blog's network. It has been created by Charity Preston from The Organized Classroom Blog and Classroom  So, under her guidance, you'll be able to master all of the social networks out there and use them in collaboration with your blog to reach a much greater audience of fellow bloggers and other teachers like yourself. Enjoy the power of networking!

P.S. If you are already one of my fellow TBTS members, give this post a +1 (Google plus1)!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Hard and Soft Water Experiment in my Class...

What a splash we had last week! Our science lab - Lathering hard and soft water - was really fun. We live on an island so we have access to rain water, sea water, river water, spring water and tap water :) I gave each student a collection list of water samples to collect from their neighborhoods and they brought back to much. You should have seen my class, bottles were everywhere and everyday, parents kept dropping in to leave more bottles of some kind of water. It was crazy! We started off with equal volumes of each water sample with three drops of dish-washing liquid in each.  After shaking them in unison, the students measured and recorded the height of the suds in each bottle to determine how hard or soft each sample is. They did several batches of this and after they were done some even tried to shake up the sea water sample to get the suds to increase and were so amazed to see that it couldn't rise by much. It made me smile to see their curiosity.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Mother Nature Times my Lessons

Mother natures runs the show here but only when it comes to subjects like P.E. and Science. We have two seasons here - the rainy season and the dry season. All P.E. drills take place out in the school yard as long as the sun is not being upstaged by clouds and it did not rain the night before (can't handle the mud!).

For science, I have to time my experiments carefully. I may live in the tropics but it doesn't mean that I get the right fauna available at any given time.  When certain flowers are in bloom, I am reminded that it's time for me to teach about the parts of a flower. I usually ask students to pick a hibiscus flower in the morning before they come to school to keep the flower fresh. I love to have students cut open and pick apart the hibiscus flower with plastic knives. Other flowers are suitable but for me, I prefer the hibiscus because it is very common and the layout of the flower is very simple. 

When the rainy season is coming to an end, I teach about hard water and soft water. The students collect samples of tap water, river water, sea water, rain water and spring water. This way, the students are able to collect the rain water when it rains and also collect clean river water. If they do this in the middle of the rainy season, the river water would be very brown from the erosion of soil particles. But when that happens, it's a good time to teach about erosion and flooding!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

What Every Crafty Teacher Needs!


If you love to teach and you love to make your own teaching resources or refine existing ones, then you are a crafty teacher! We have the best jobs ever because it is therapeutic to be creative, the students definitely appreciate your efforts especially if they were a part of the creative process and best of all, it makes teaching and learning fun!

There are certain things that a crafty teacher cannot live without (maybe, I'm exaggerating) :)  But in my nine yeas of teaching, I have found a few handy-dandy must-haves that I cannot imagine myself doing without...

Storage Space - If you don't have much horizontal space, then use lots of shelving and stack-able drawers to create all of the vertical spaces you need. I also use over-the-door hangers to hang some of my pocket charts.  The stacking mini drawers below are labeled with my polka dot classroom labels.

A Laminating Machine - It does not have to be large or heavy-duty. Mine is light and portable. I use it at school and take it home for the Summer break. I laminate classroom posters, certificates, my card games, fold-able cut-outs, signs, pictures, bulletin board labels, and write on-wipe off activities. And of course, all laminators use pouches. I tend to use the 9" x 11.4" pouches for the letter-sized sheets of paper.

Mechanical Pencil Sharpeners - For both art time and regular paper and pencil tasks. It seems like I have some chronic pencil point breakers on my hands... or is it that they want them to break so that they can get to sharpen them? I can't tell.  This is the X-Acto school heavy duty sharpener which was designed by teachers. That's right, teachers. They last very long if you follow the #1 rule: no crayons and no plastic coated pencils. So once your students stick to the regular pencils for this, they will have sharpened pencils which leads to neater writing and less time fiddling with manual sharpeners.

Sticky Stuff - I use glue, double sided tape, mounting tape and a glue gun. For light sticking or heavy bonding, do not limit yourself to only one type of adhesive method. There are also the non-sticky methods of bonding - using staplers, florists' wire, Velcro, and fasteners. This is the strongest mounting tape you'll ever find... it's exterior mounting tape by Scotch but I use it for hanging up my bulletin boards. The really hold up well, I cannot complain!
Once, you have all of the materials you need, then the easy part is over, the hard part is finding the time to create all of the things that are on your do-do list! Good luck!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Free 3D Shape Nets!

3dv shapesAre you teaching about 3D shapes this term? Use these free printable nets of the cube, cuboid/rectangular prism, cone, cylinder, square based pyramid, triangular based pyramid and triangular prism. Just cut out and fold! You can print them out on differently colored sheets of cards stock paper, cut, fold and tape them up to easily create your own collection that is ready to distribute to your students for free play - like the sets I made here in the pictures here!

nets of 3D shapes  Free nets of 3D shapes

nets of 3d shapes

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Fraction Bundle!

Fraction printables

This is the latest addition to my teaching resources. Think of it as a permanent sale on three fraction games that I have bundled together. They are my fraction strips for beginners, fraction dominoes for intermediates and fraction war cards for advanced learners. My Fraction war cards can be modified to be played as a fraction memory game and a fraction matching game. 

This combo is recommended for grades 3 - 6 and saves you $3.00! Grab it at TpT or Teachers Notebook!

Monday, 2 January 2012

My favorite Things

Here are a few of My Favorite Things. They are always in my handbag or my drawer!

  • My Glasses! Or if you prefer, my spectacles... I've been using reading glasses for the past six years and let me tell you, it's a life saver! Sure, it felt strange at first, (I didn't think any frame suited my face!), but now I am a proud eye-frame wearer. With all of the books that I have to mark, it really helps my poor eyes, plus I get to use it to guilt my students into writing legibly! They really wouldn't want to see me wearing a thinker lens...
  • Erasable Pens. These save me from having to use correction ink. I actually learned about these from my students! They already got it as it came out on the market. Erasable pens have always been around but the ones my students got erase so perfectly clean! So I had to have a few of my own.
  • Wet wipes and paper towels! My class always has spills, every single day. Paper towels are handy for these spills which can range from a juice spill at lunch time to a major science lab spill. Would you believe that only yesterday, I had to deal with a nail polish spill? (Which was caused by the boys in my class, mind you... Don't ask!)

It's About Time... for Teachers!

Teachers Pay Teachers

I couldn't have said it better! See the picture above? I got this from Becca Sutton, a fellow teacher who is creative in the classroom and shares her printables, worksheets, and lessons at TeacherspayTeachers just as I do. I love that teachers are now empowered to use their expertise of being right in the classroom with real students to be able to create their own teaching printables which can also benefit other teachers. We are finally moving away from an industry of non-pedagogic, broad text books and guides towards teacher-created, student centered classroom resources.  Teachers know what their students need, what other teachers need and therefore, teachers are naturally able to provide uniquely tailored resources that work in their classroom for other teachers to benefit from. It's definitely time for teachers to be fully appreciated for all that they do!

I am inviting you to consider sharing your own classroom printables on Teachers pay Teachers. You may be able to earn some extra money along the way which is always helpful in offsetting expenses. You can click on the link below to sign up for your free seller account by selecting the basic membership option. The site has a very warm and friendly community of helpful teachers in he seller's forum and it is very user friendly. So, check it out!

About Me

My photo
As a Caribbean primary school teacher, I share my unique classroom with the world through this blog. Readers step into my class through the pictures, articles and classroom samples of games and lessons used in my class. I have been teaching since 2005 at the std. 4 primary level in Trinidad and Tobago. I am particularly interested in sharing my own personal lesson plans, tests and activities. Teachers need to share ideas and support each other because in doing so, we help to educate our students and develop ourselves as teachers. Technology is ever evolving and we as teachers should get on board with it, collaborate and keep up to date with this new age that we live in. Our students belong to this technological era and we must embrace opportunities to learn from each other in this global community. I also love to express my creativity in the classroom. I am a bit of a craftster . So I'm always cutting, gluing or making something... a game, a chart, a learning center, etc. So, teachers and parents, feel free to stop by and see what's new at Nyla's Crafty Teaching!