Miss Galvin Learns

April 16, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
0 comments

Teaching in a Multiage Classroom, Part 1

banner_multiage

(Background and graphics by From the Pond, Fonts by KG Fonts)

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to receive a comment from a fellow Prep/1 teacher (Kylie) who asked about any tips and tricks I had for teaching in a multiage classroom. I decided to write a short series of posts on how I’ve managed this over the last two and bit years.

First up, I’m going to talk about how I prepare myself for the coming year. Following posts will focus on setting up the physical layout of the classroom, and planning and implementing lessons.

Obviously, these are my personal views, and I think everyone approaches teaching a multiage classroom in the way that best works for them. What works for me, may not work for everyone, but I think it gives us a great opportunity for discussion!

Be Prepared

In my school, we run multiage classrooms at just about every level. It’s part of our school culture and how the staff work together and we’ve worked really hard to build a school community based on good values and great education.  Our current class structure is this:

  • 3 Prep (Kinder) classes
  • 1 Prep/1 (Kinder/1) class
  • 5 Grade 1/2 classes
  • 4 Grade 3/4 classes
  • 3 Grade 5/6 classes

However, teaching a Prep/1 has always been a tough ask because parents come to a school (regardless of how many info nights they’ve been to) expecting their preps to only be in a ‘prep’ class. It takes a lot of clear communication to manage this.

Questions that you get (from Prep parents and Grade 1 parents alike) are always:

  • How do you teach Preps and Grade 1s at the same time?
  • How does it work?
  • Do you only pick bright Preps to be in the class?
  • Do you only pick low-achieving Grade 1s to be in the class?

And, invariably, you get the parents who (within their right, but often without thinking about their tone) turn around and say “I don’t want my child in the P/1.” (Which, as a P/1 teacher really stings, even though it’s not personal, because often times this statement happens before they even ask about the class.)

So, you kind of need a tough skin because of all the composite/multiage classes in my school, it’s only my Prep/1 that has SO MUCH commentary. (But I’ll talk about that in later posts.)

Now that’ve you’ve got a bit of a run-down, there are 2 things that I think about at the start of every year:

1) What are my goals for the P/1?

2) What do I want my classroom to look/feel/sound like?

Setting Goals

Just like in any classroom, think about what YOU want to achieve in the year. If you know where YOU’RE headed, you’re already in a better place to direct your class.

If you’ve been lucky enough to meet you class before the start of the year (which I do), you already have a bit of a feel for the class that you’ll have. From speaking to their previous teachers (school or kinder) I get a sense of who they are and what their needs might be. Obviously this needs to be reassessed once they start the new year, but it gives you a good place to start.

I know if there are students who have special needs or requirements, students who have friends in the class or not, students who are new (to the school/to the state/to the country).

Do I need to find out more? Do I need to attend any PD to assist particular students? (A perfect example is one of my little kiddos who is visually impaired and I needed to find out how I could best support him in the classroom.)

Every year that I’ve taught the Prep/1 (and this is my third year), I reassess what I need to do each year. My first year, I was SO nervous because I had no idea what to do. My second year, I had a bit more confidence. This year I started completely confident because I know my curriculum and I’ve had things succeed and fail and so I don’t worry so much about things going a bit pear-shaped now and then because that’s teaching.

Nothing works the same way perfectly every year because the kids are different.

So my goals this year?

  • Start every day with a smile (I ask my kids to, so I need to as well!)
  • Learn about visual impairment and how to support students with a VI in the classroom.
  • Look at the new AusVELS curriculum yearly planners and adjust for the Prep/1 classroom (Maths/English)
  • Refine my Guided Reading practice (This is actually my personal focus for my PRP)

Building a Classroom

I’ll talk about classroom layouts/etc in my next post, but I did want to touch on building classroom community here, because it’s not all that dissimilar to building classroom community in any other classroom, but there are a couple of things to consider.

How will you sell the P/1 to your students? Happy students equals a happy classroom. At the end of the day, the biggest sell I have to make is to the students themselves, because they are the ones I see every day.

When we have ‘Meet the Teacher’ day in December, I sit down with my future Grade 1s and talk to them about the P/1, reinforcing that they will be doing work at their level (but that might be more challenging than their current Prep work), and that they’ll be the Big Kids. They’re the role models, just like their Grade 5/6 buddies were for them. It’s a big responsibility and they’re the only Grade 1s who get the opportunity. So it becomes special for them.

Likewise, I’m able to tell the incoming Preps that they’ll have some really lovely Grade 1 buddies to help them once they start in the classroom.

If my students are happy and enjoying themselves and are making friends, then that is the best selling point you can make to parents.

How will you refer to your students? Will you refer to them as Preps and Grade 1s as clearly delineated groups? Will you use group names? Will you refer to them as Class?

I use a combination of all 3. Unfortunately this year I’ve had to step up to the Preps and Grade 1s labels a bit more, which I actually don’t like because I don’t think it promotes a ‘whole class’ feeling when you’re constantly saying “Preps are doing this” and “Grade 1s are doing this” – but alas, the larger community has put some pressure on the P/1 and things have to be a little clearer for everyone outside the classroom.

My preference has always been to use flexible groupings in the classroom because I have a wide range of abilities – I have high achieving preps and low-achieving ones. I’ve taught Grade 1s achieving end of Grade 2 standards and Grade 1s who were at beginning Prep level at the end of the year. Classrooms ALWAYS have a wide range of abilities and so just saying ‘Preps and Ones’ isn’t very flexible.

At the start of the year, it’s pretty common – the Preps are generally learning the very basics of school and so it makes sense to have them work together. Later in the year, though, the lines start to blur a bit as students really show what they’re capable of and I do have Grade 1s working with Preps and vice versa in a range of capacities.

How will you group your students? I’ve touched on this a bit above, but I use a range of grouping strategies, from the year level groupings, boys and girls, multiage, partners, groups, etc. Whatever works best for a task.

For example: my Maths groups are identified by pre-tests and students with similar needs work together, and these groups change. My Literacy groups are similar, too, and just as fluid. For more generic subjects like Integrated Studies, I prefer to use multiage groups because it gives everyone an opportunity to work TOGETHER and be a class. (The same goes for PMP and any other special activities we do.)

By keeping these things in mind at the start of the year, I can consider the more technical aspects of teaching with less stress.

And it’s not perfect – nothing ever is – but it works for me.

Do you teach in a multiage classroom? How do you prepare for a new year?

Sig_NewBlog2014

April 15, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
3 Comments

Keeping my life organised…

… or trying to, at least!

Hi friends!

For those of you who have been following me for a little while now, you’ll know that I’ve been on this (on-going, never-ending!) venture of trying to keep myself organised! If you’ve only discovered my blog recently, I don’t consider myself an organised person in my personal life, but I’m trying! You can check out my posts on a sneak-peak into my Erin Condren Teacher Planner, my planner suitcase, and using Evernote to reduce my paperwork.

(I confess, I’ve been a bit slack on using Evernote in the classroom lately, but I’m geared up to get back into it this term!)

Anyway, I’ve just ordered (and received a shipment notice) for my second Erin Condren teacher planner (for July) because I really have enjoyed using it. However, I’ve decided that from now on it will be STRICTLY a teacher planner, because I like handwriting my weekly overview. (I do have more detailed Literacy and Numeracy planner for each week) but I do like blocking out times and special events, etc. I also love the checklists and monthly overviews, etc. If you’re interested in seeing more detail photos/descriptions on how I use my teacher planner, let me know in the comments.

HOWEVER. For my personal life, I wanted to use something different.

KikkiKPlanner

Enter my new Kikki-K Time Planner.

For those of you familiar with Filofax planners, this is equivalent to an A5 Filofax.

KikkiKPlanner2

My goal with this planner is to use it for all my appointments, social events, to-do lists for around the house, birthdays, expenses, BLOG PLANNER (capitals warranted because I need to get onto this), wish lists, meeting notes, etc.

My plan is to spend about 15 minutes on Sunday nights checking my monthly calendar and updating my upcoming weekly planner (week to 2 pages) with all the things that are happening, plus things that need to be done, and a little bit of decorating. (I think I’ve told you all that if something’s pretty, I’m more inclined to use it? Totally true.)

If anyone’s interested in seeing what I’m doing with my planner, let me know and I’m happy to share pictures. It’s a work in progress, but I started using it on Monday and so far I’m really enjoying it. It’s a very pretty ‘berry’ colour and I think it’ll help keep me on track!

And… because it’s the holidays, and because I needed some cute little bits and pieces to decorate my brand new planner, I did a bit of stationary shop. Here are all my goodies (because I know teachers like stationary!):

BigW_Haul

From Big W I bought a mini-scrapbooking paper pad to create some pretty page dividers, plus some Pilot Frixion Erasable pens (these ones are 0.7 point). This don’t bleed through the pages of the planner, and can be erased if an error is made – this makes me very happy!

Daiso_Haul

Daiso_Haul2

Then I went to Daiso – and that is a REALLY dangerous shopping experience for me. A few sheets of stickers, a few SUPER CUTE collections of sticky notes (hello cute little coloured pencils!), washi tape and giant paper clips later and I was done!

Newsagency_HaulThen I stopped in at a news agency… and I don’t normally go into news agencies, but I totally found these colourful versions of my all-time favourite pens (Uniball Jetstreams). I love, love, love these pens! Plus a single hole punch because I have 2 in my classroom, but none at home.

Officeworks_HaulThen it was in to Officeworks, and I didn’t do too badly. Normally I buy waaaaaaay too much at Officeworks. Here I found the Pilot Frixion pens I really wanted (in 0.5 pt), and I ended with 7 different colours. These pens have taken up residence in my Planner Suitcase now (and the black pen lives in my Kikki-K planner). Plus, two full adhesive sticky note packs (in my favourite colours!). These are awesome because basically the entire sheet is sticky except for one tiny strip that’s not, if you want to move them around.

Is anyone else as picky as I am about their pens? (Don’t get me wrong, one can never have TOO many pens because they never seem to be handy when you need them.) I started using the Jetstream pens about 6 years ago now, and they are by far the best pens. Although I do like how the Frixion pens write in my planner.

Maybe I’m just ALL ABOUT the coloured pens? :D

Washitape1

Washitape2

Do you think I have enough washi tape? I saw this great idea in a planner organisation video about having a sample of each roll of washi tape you have in your planner so you don’t double-up, want to try and coordinate colours, etc. Well, I ended up with nearly 2 back-and-front A5 sheets covered in washi tape. And I thought that was… kind of a lot.

Then I remembered I had a stack of tape rolls in my Planner Suitcase. So… now I’m on to the third sheet.

People, I think I have a problem! :D

What are your stationary loves?

Sig_NewBlog2014

 

 

April 11, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
0 comments

Freebie fonts for the classroom!

Hi all, it’s been a while.

I have been on holidays, but I confess that I’ve not been doing a whole lot (other than SHOPPING!) because I’ve really needed to decompress after the first term. Yes, it’s been one of those starts to the year.

However, I have completed all my planners for Term 2 (with the exception of my weekly breakdowns). I still have a couple of pre-tests to modify for my Grade 1s and a whole stack of laminating and cutting out to do.

But besides that I’ve done a LOT of shopping (hello, new wardrobe!) and a lot of creative writing (I write in an online game and despite starting with only one character in December I may have picked up another 2 along the way…!). I’ve also ordered my new Erin Condren planner for July 2014-June-2015 to replace my current one when it runs out this term, and I have a brand new Kikki-K Personal Planner, too, which I’m planning on using for organising the rest of my life and blogging and so forth. If you’d like pictures of those once they arrive, just let me know and I’m happy to share my attempt to get myself organised!

But, in the meantime, I have some font freebies for you!

(Note: I’m considering condensing my fonts into a single file on TpT, but that will take some time on my part. If that happens, I will let you all know!)

Title-FreebieFonts

MGL_CarrotWriter

 

MGL Carrot Writer is available for free in my TeachersPayTeachers store. This font is perfect for headings/titles, alphabet matching cards, etc. I wouldn’t recommend it for large chunks of text because it could appear cluttered, but it definitely works for sprucing up titles and adding a bit of seasonal flair to your activity pages! Click the image above to go directly to the download.

MGL_SmileyWriter

 

MGL Smiley Writer is only available on my Miss Galvin Learns Facebook page (scroll down a few posts and you’ll see the above image with a link in the comments). This was to celebrate my Facebook page reaching 2000 likes which is BEYOND THRILLING for me!

If you don’t follow me on Facebook yet, make sure you do (don’t forget to hover over the like and select Get Notifications and Add to Interests Lists to ensure you don’t miss any future freebies!

I’m hoping to be back soon with a review of the new Targeting Maths K app. I also have another Wantable Box (do people want to see it?)

Also… I’ve been floating the idea of doing a video post for my blog. Is that something you would be interested in seeing? And if so, what sort of content would you like to see (i.e.: a show and tell/demonstration of my products, a Q&A sessions, etc)?


Freebie Fridays

April 4, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
0 comments

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Jenny, who won my recent giveaway for Sea of Knowledge‘s Veggie Kingdom pack. Let me know if the email hasn’t come through for you!

Giveaway_VeggieKingdom

I’ve finally hit the school holidays here in Melbourne (Oh, my goodness! SO exciting!)

I’ll have a bit more time to post, and hopefully work on some new teaching products (in between all my Term 2 planning documents – ho hum!). I also have some more subscription boxes that have arrived/etc – should I post them? (Do people care? I don’t know these things – you have to let me know!)

Anyway… look for some more posts coming up in the future!

March 31, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
4 Comments

Help needed!

Hello, online friends!

I need some help!

Next term my Prep team is planning on organising to hatch some chicks as part of our integrated studies unit. We’re well on the way to organising all of that, but what I want to try and find are some good life cycle books for the little kiddos to explore while waiting for our chicks to hatch!

SO:

What books can you recommend for the life cycle of chickens?

If you have links, titles, authors, etc, I’d love to hear them. Also, I’m totally happy for non-fiction and fiction recommendations of books you like to use when looking at this topic.

Thanks in advance for all your help!

Sig_NewBlog2014

March 31, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
2 Comments

More subscription box fun!

A couple of weeks ago I shared a couple of subscription boxes that I tried, and I have a few more that I thought I would share with you. Honestly, these things are like receiving presents in the mail, and I love make-up and beauty stuff, but I’m actually quite clueless about it all, too, so it’s also a learning experience for me!

First up, is my Lip Factory Inc box for March:

March2014_LipFactory

Lip Factory, as it sounds is a make-up subscription box, and in particular it focuses on lip products, which is fun. This month (and apologies, I forgot to take a photo of the card that came with the box) was themed It’s All About the Lips. Everything in this box is for your lips which is super-cool. So, onto the goodies (and I’ve got a swatch photo below for people who are interested in seeing how the colours actually look):

  • Mirenesse Lip Bomb (Shade #13) – this is full size, and quite fun. Very pigmented and this colour is kind of a nude peachy-pink colour.
  • Ellovi Lip Butter - this is a lip balm that has Hawaiian coconut, sunflower, hemp, macadamia, Ghanaian marula and shea. It’s really nice, too.
  • Jessie’s Girl Vitamin E Treatment – Now, this is a sheer lipstick-like lip treatment. Perfect if you’re not wearing lipstick, but still want something moisturising on your lips.
  • Cargo Cosmetics Lip Quad (Casablanca) - these are (for the most part) super-pigmented. I do love the packaging for this one.
  • Jessie’s Girl Lip-Liner (Brick) – I don’t really have any lipsticks in this shade of red (mine all tend to be BRIGHT red, as opposed to a brick red), but I’m happy to add this to my collection if and when I acquire a colour like that!

March2014_LipFactory_Swatch

Next up, is my first BellaBox:

March2014_BellaBox

BellaBox is an Australian beauty box and is about $15.00 a month, so it’s super affordable, and is primarily a samples box (rather than full-size like Wantable of Lip Factory). Still, samples are cool, too and I really like this box.

  • ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick in Matte (Parisian Pink) – This is a bright pink lipstick that comes in cute white packaging, and it has a mirror, which is great because lipstick requires a mirror.
  • WOTNOT Facial Wipes - I got these in my February VioletBox, but I love these facial wipes and I am so happy to get another sample set. I’m actually really tempted to buy these because I use facial wipes all the time and these are super soft, and super moisturising.
  • St Tropez Gradual Tan Medium/Dark - I won’t lie, I’ll never use this because I am so pale and I actually do not like to tan. (I know, I know!) That said, my sister DOES, and she’s coming to visit from Sydney over Easter and I’ll be handing this over to her when I see her.
  • Coconut Revolution Lip Balm Stick – I am so not going to run out of lip balms any time soon! This one smells like coconut oil, which is probably an acquired taste, but it is very moisturising.
  • Pantene Aqua Light Shampoo and Conditioner samples – I have a particular brand of shampoo and conditioner that I use (as recommended by my hairdresser), but I love having these little travel-size bottles on hand if I’m going away for a weekend/week because they’re so handy. These actually smell really nice, too, so I’ll happily give them a shot.
  • Natralus Paw Paw Pure Gel - this is a foil sample packet, but this stuff is always great to have on hand in case of sunburn, rashes, etc to sooth skin, so I’ll be keeping this somewhere safe.

March2014_BellaBox_Swatch

Finally, I received my March Violet Box, too!

March2014_VioletBox

I’m still liking VioletBox, I won’t lie. There were 3 full-size products in my box this month, and there’s a sneak peek for next month, featuring TeeezTrend Cosmetics, which I’ve heard a lot about, so I’m kind of excited for that. Anyway, on to the contents:

  • Love Those Lashes New Silk Strip Lashes - I’ve never worn false lashes before, but I do have a friend’s wedding coming up and I might give them a shot. Apparently these are reusable (up to 15 times), which is pretty cool, so I’ll let you know how I go.
  • Starlooks Gem Pencil - this is super-silvery and very soft and has great coverage. I don’t know when I’ll wear it because I’ve been wearing very neural colours on my eyes, but I do like swatching it because it’s silvery and glittering and who doesn’t like that combination?!
  • Sinful Colors Nail Polish (Good Girl) – I’ve got a couple of red nail polishes, but not a plain, dark red nail polish and this is going to be perfect for Autumn/Winter. This is going to be my next toenail colour. Also, it’s a full-size, which is very cool.
  • Acorelle Skincare (Night Creme) – This is a teeny-tiny sample size and I’ve used it once, and it was quite nice on my skin. I actually don’t know if there’s anything else in the little tube – lol!
  • Mirenesse Velvet Lift Moisture Shine (Shade #55) – This is a little sample bottle (and it’s so cute!) and my second Mirenesse product this month… and their Australian! That was probably the most exciting thing I found out. Apparently this lip gloss is designed to make your lips look fuller. Can’t comment on that yet, but it’s a very sheer colour.

March2014_VioletBox_Swatch

So those are my boxes.

I’m going to give both BellaBox and VioletBox at least another month – they’re the cheapest of all the boxes I’ve tried, and I don’t mind sample sizes. I get to try things I’ve never tried, and never heard of before, so no complaints from me! I’ve decided not to continue with Lip Factory (not because it’s not worth the money, but because I’d rather give Wantable another month or two and it’s a little more expensive).

ANYWHO!

Here in Victoria we’re got one more week of term until we hit our Term 1 Break (2 weeks off! Easter! Yay!) so I’ll have a bit more time for blogging.

What would you like to see me post about?

More classroom photos? Do you want to see my organisation nightmare (honestly, you’ll feel so much better with yourself compared to my mess!)? Should I share some things I’ve been doing to support my visually impaired student? Do you want more START WRITE AWAY class book sets?

I’d love your input!

Until next time, have a great week!

Sig_NewBlog2014

March 30, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
2 Comments

Swap, Share & Give Product Swap & Giveaway

Linky_SwapShareGive

Hi all!

Welcome to your next stop along the Swap, Share & Give product swap train!
First up, I want to give credit where it’s due: the lovely Lauren from Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep organised this fun product swap linky and I’m so proud to have been involved in it. Lots of fantastic women have gotten together to swap products with one another and share our reviews with you! If you head over to Lauren’s blog you can enter a Rafflecopter to win every product swapped in this linky!
Swap
Button-SeaofKNowledge

I was very fortunate to be paired with Yara from Sea of Knowledge and I was so excited to pick this pack from her store to review. This pack is designed for Kinder-First Grade students, and has a selection of Literacy and Numeracy center activities. Don’t forget to visit Yara’s blog to see her review of my product (Chicks Build Words)!

Next term my students and I will be planting our vegetable garden for 2014, and this is full of fabulous activities that are perfect as an introduction to us planting our own vegetables.

PS_Veggie
Veggie_Book

The first thing you get in Yara’s pack is a book introducing the vegetables in the pack (broccoli, tomatoes, garlic, capsicum, eggplants and carrots). I love this book because it’s a simple introduction to describing the vegetables, as well as including a simple fact on why each vegetable is good for you – PERFECT for discussions with my little kiddos.

I chose to print and bind the colour version of the book, but it would be great to read together on an interactive whiteboard, and there are black and white versions for students, too. The student books include some fun activity pages as well, such as writing the names of the vegetables, filling in missing letters and cloze activities.

Next up is a series of vocabulary activities pages where students practise writing the names of each vegetable, write a sentence using the vegetable in question and write facts about their vegetables. Students can use the information book provided OR do further research into each vegetable.

I know that for this activity I will probably group my students and have each group work on a vegetable and present it as a report to the rest of the class, which is a great opportunity for group work!

Veggie_Rhyme
There is a set of rhyming word cards, too, focusing on the an and ar sounds. Students match up the rhyming cards – and Yara has a suggested activity, but like all center activities, the sky is the limit! There is a recording sheet provided, too, which is fabulous for having students record their learning.
Veggie_SightWords

This activity includes 24 sight words for students to practise reading, as well as recording pages for students to write down the words they are learning. Like all task card activities LOTS of opportunities are open to you – these could be fun as flash cards, for alphabetical ordering, write the room, spelling activities, etc.

Veggie_Maths

There’s a great selection of Kinder/early First Grade math activity pages available in this set:

- Veggie Graphing
- Veggie Number Math (matching numbers and number words to 10)
- Writing Number Words
- Counting by 1s (to 10)
- Counting by 2s (to 20)

Each activity is perfect for center work or individual work following reading the whole class story.

Veggie_CapsGoForward

This is a fun little game (with great instructions!) and includes a game mat. Students are grouped and given the name of a vegetable – and each vegetable has a counting rule (i.e.: counting forwards and backwards by 10s).

Alternatively you can have students use the counting by 10s cards and match/write the numbers and number words.

It’s such a fun pack and I’m really looking forward to starting it with my kiddos very soon!

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 9.44.17 pm

In keeping with the veggie theme, I have a freebie to share with all of you! The next class book in my START WRITE AWAY series is completely free for you to download and use with your class. (And my Northern Hemisphere friends, fear not, I have also included the US spelling of ‘favorite’ for you to use, too!). Please download and don’t forget to rate it and leave me a comment!

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Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 9.44.24 pm

Now you have the opportunity to win a copy of Yara’s Veggie Kingdom! Just complete the rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

March 16, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
2 Comments

A little update and some new finds

Hi all!

I had grand plans this week to post all sorts of stuff, including a post on some new resources I uploaded last weekend, but this week (and the previous few weeks, to be honest) have hit me kind of hard.

I won’t lie, I’m having a tough time this year with my class and the kind of school politicking that no teacher ever likes. This isn’t the right forum for going into it, but suffice to say, some of my enthusiasm has taken a hit and I’m trying really hard to recoup and gather my thoughts and get myself back on track.

It’s going to be a bumpy year (and we’re not even a term in, yet), but I am determined to enjoy my life if not always my work (which I hope I do, too, because I do love teaching).

SO. Hopefully in the next few days I’ll be writing up some posts on my new products: Alphabet Hop (Print Version), Alphabet Hop (Vic Modern Cursive Version) and Start Write Away. But feel free to check them out. If you have questions, drop them into TpT Q&A on my page, or leave me a comment here and I’ll try to answer your questions when I do my posts!

Now for something different…

I’ve been really fascinated by subscription boxes recently, and I’ve been watching a lot of people’s reviews on YouTube and exploring the different options (note: options are NOT endless here in Australia. Surprise, surprise – lol!).

But, given my recent mood and the desperate need for a pick-me-up, I decided to try a few different options (some on an individual basis and some on a trial subscription basis), and I thought I’d share what I’ve received so far.

MarchVioletBox

The first box I tried received was Violet Box, which is a beauty subscription service in Australia. It costs $22.95 per month (but I got $10 off my first box with the code VIOLETBOX10).

So, what did I get?

  • Red Carpet Kolour (not pictured) which was a foil sample pack. It was a ‘body glow’ cream – but it was too dark for me so I gave it to my Mum!
  • Nuxe Creme Nirvanesque (white bottle, sample) which, according to the little card included, ‘smooths, de-stresses, relaxes first expression lines.’ Haven’t tried it yet, but am looking forward to it!
  • Be a Bombshell “The One Stick” (full size) in the colour ‘girl crush’ which is a pinkish colour and can apparently be used on your eyes, cheeks or lips. Haven’t tried this one yet – bit hesitant with creamy type products but one day I’ll be brave enough to test it out. Looks pretty in a swatch though!
  • WOTNOT Natural Organic Face Wipes (sample) – I love these. So soft and perfectly removes make-up/etc.
  • Aphelia Oasis Acne Solution (sample) – should try this because I’ve been breaking out recently, which is annoying.
  • Be a Bombshell Lip Crayon (full size) in the colour “Some Beach”. OMG! love this lip crayon. It’s a gorgeous, shimmery coral colour and it is so easy to apply. This has been my go-to lip colour since I got it! People, lip crayons are my new fav!

MarchNaturesBag

The next box I received was Nature’s Beauty Bag which is full of natural/organic friendly products and is pretty cool. I love/love/love! the chevron patterned bag it comes in. It’s just too cute! (I got the grey, but they also have a lime-green one, too. So hard to pick!)

What I got:

  • Rubifresh Cleansing Oil
  • From the Bean Green Tea Face and Body Scrub – I’m super excited to try this one!
  • Seraphina Organics Be Mine, So Devine Hand Cream – this retails for super-expensive ($40 a bottle!) which for me, for a hand cream, is a bit much, but hey, it pretty much paid for the bag, so I’m not complaining! One can never have too many hand creams!
  • Hurraw! Lip Balm in coconut flavour – one can never have too many lip balms, either!
  • Ultra C Radiance Serum – this looks super cool (it’s the tiny little bottle with an eyedropper!), and I’m very excited to try it out.
  • Australian Bush Essence Intensive Eye Serum – something else I’m very excited to try because I’m looking SO TIRED it’s not even funny anymore. This + sleep will hopefully help!
  • Pukka Herbs Love Tea – haven’t tried this yet, but I’m thinking this will be my afternoon tea today!
  • Kuranda Chia Wholefood Bar – this is chia and quinoa… and I do love my quinoa, so I’ll be throwing this in my snack drawer at school. (Do you have a work snack drawer? I think it’s a massive necessity!)

MarchWantable_AccNext up, is Wantable, which is American, and actually has 3 different subscription boxes – an accessories box (above), a make-up box (below) and an intimates box (which has things like socks, undies, etc – being American I just can’t be bothered to work out my sizes, so I’m not going to try that one). I heard lots of really great reviews for them, and they have a super fun survey process where you go through and rate things at three levels: love, like and dislike, and supposedly they’ll never send you things that you dislike. (I’ve found a loophole here, because I was redoing the survey earlier and I decided to ‘dislike’ earrings… except when it came to the rest of the survey I still had to select preferences for earrings. But hey, I’ll go with the flow!)

These boxes are great if you would prefer someone else to send you things and give it a go.

I wasn’t thrilled with this box, but I wasn’t disappointed either, because THEY SENT ME A SCARF! People, I am a scarf fiend!

What I got:

  • Philomena Ring – which is really cute, only a bit small because I had to guess my ring size. Would probably prefer to receive rings that you can resize because I don’t have ring measurements for myself and I’m too lazy to go out and have them measured – lol!
  • Felicity Bracelet – this is cute, but not especially my taste (I think it’s a bit dainty for me, to be honest), but I d0 think it’s really cool because the strings have little beads on them and they connect of two different strings and move up and down so you can create different effects. It also has an adorable little tassel on the end.
  • Rhonda Earrings – these are kinda cool. I’m not a huge gold-coloured jewellery wearer (I much prefer silver, or multi tone), but these studs are nice for every day wear. I haven’t worn earrings in ages so I have to make sure I can still get them through my ears, but I’m reasonably happy with this. (Hello, three pairs of earrings!)
  • Sonya Scarf - I AM IN LOVE! This is the most gorgeous coral-y-peach colour and it’s so soft and pretty and perfect for the weather heading into Autumn. Very, very happy with this one!

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This is the make-up box from Wantable and I was a bit disappointed with this box, too, but again, it’s only the first one I’ve received and I’ll be giving it at least one more shot, because I think this is nice way to experience new make-up that I might not necessarily know about otherwise.

What I got:

  • Liberty Republic Nail Laquer in ‘Belladonna’ – this is a very ‘nude’ nail colour and I’m honestly not a fan. I actually get my nails done professionally (and have for years, for lots of reasons), so I prefer brighter colours for my toenails. I guess if you like ‘nude’ colours this is pretty cool, and it did apply really well with two coats. Luck of the drawer, I guess – would have much preferred one of the blue or teal colours from this series, but OH WELL!
  • LAQA & Co Fat Lip Pencil in ‘Bossy Boots’ – I love this. Seriously, chubby lip pencils/crayons/etc are my new favourite accessory because I find them easier than lipsticks (Shh! I’m lazy!). Plus, this is really nice, sheer reddish-pink colour.
  • La Bella Donna Compressed Mineral Eye Shadow in ‘Sulty Olive’ – this is pretty cool, too. Very pigmented, which is great and it’s a nice olive colour that blends really well. It’s not completely ‘out there’ so it works really well with the more ‘natural’ looking colours I’ve been using lately on my eyes.
  • Girlactik Beauty Face Glimmer – I think this is meant to be like a highlighter? I’m not sure, but it’s very smooth and creamy and very shimmery. Not sure if I’d use this on my cheeks, but it would make a really pretty eye base colour (and it actually looks really nice with the ‘Sultry Olive’ eye shadow above.
  • Sorme AntiAging Trial Size – Just a sample pack. Haven’t tried it yet, but I will.

TEA

Finally, I just wanted to share with you a tea that I’ve been LOVING for the last few days. It’s cooled down a lot here in Melbourne – and it’s even been raining – YIPPEE! (Yes, I do like the rain!) So it’s been perfect tea weather and Southern Sunrise by T2 is just AMAZING! It’s a hibiscus flower, grapefruit and lemongrass herbal tea and it smells and tastes delicious! I just bought some extra today to take into work so I can drink it all day long!

YOU KNOW WHAT? There needs to be a ‘teacher’ subscription box, with fun markers, display board resources, etc. Who’s an entrepreneur who wants to tackle that one??

Okay, so that’s it from me. I know it’s not a teacher post, but given I’ve been feeling a bit down, I hope you’ll forgive my lack of teacher-y thoughts today. I might post a few more reviews of the boxes I receive at some point in the future, but I promise I will not do them ALL THE TIME – lol!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend. I’m off to go cut up a WHOLE LOT OF LAMINATING! (It’s a Sunday night tradition for me!)

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March 2, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
4 Comments

Storybook Sunday: Dear Greenpeace

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I’ve been teaching letter writing to my Grade 1 students over the last few weeks and we had a bit of fun with a great story called Dear Greenpeace by Simon James.

Dear Greenpeace(Purchase on Amazon or Fishpond)

For those of you who have never read the story, it’s told through a series of letters between a little girl named Emily and Greenpeace. Emily discovers a whale living in her pond and writes to Greenpeace to learn about (and how to look after) her whale.

It’s a very sweet, very endearing story, with a great environmental message, too.

My kiddos just adored it.

We used it as a springboard for writing imaginative letters to each other about wild animals living in strange places (e.g.: polar bears in freezers, dogs shaving on toilets, snakes in pipes, monkeys under beds, etc).

They had SO MUCH FUN brainstorming their ideas and their letters turned out great, too.

(For the beginning of the year, my expectations included an opening statement sentence, a sentence explaining how they knew what their animal was, and something that their animal was doing in its’ strange location.)

I’ve made up a couple of template pages for you to use if you’d like. Click on the sample letter below to download the letter and two template pages!

MGL_DG_Letter

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March 2, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
8 Comments

CURRENTLY March, 2014

Hi all!

I’m sneaking in super early this morning (OMG, is that the time… on a SUNDAY!) because I have all the planning to do to today. Along with some resource making, and I need to get a move on. I also really, really want to link up with Paula’s Storybook Sunday later tonight, too. So we’ll see!

But I’m linking up with Farley now for her March Currently, so let’s see how it goes!

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Listening to Clarity by Zedd. I love this song – fun and upbeat. (Incidentally, I have a playlist for the characters I’ve been writing online and this is on there, hence the listening to!)

Loving that I had THE BEST month on TpT in February. Honestly, Tpt is a hobby for me, so I don’t have super high expectations, but I don’t make a lot of money from it. But I’m so, so, so excited because I’ve cleared $1500 dollars on there, all of which I use to fund the purchase of resources for my classroom (on sight and on books etc), so to me that’s AMAZING!

Thinking that I need to start saving money because I’m not a saver. ;)

Wanting my new Macbook Pro Retina to turn up NOW. Only 24 hours people and I will have a shiny new toy with a 1Tb hard drive!

Needing a lot of sleep. Between school and my writing stuff, my sleep schedule is off a bit because all the people I write with are on the other side of the world and I’ve been staying up a bit later to chat and plot and generally do fun stuff. But I do need to get into a slightly better routine. So, that’s a goal!

? ? ? Can you guess? An additional clue is EARLY MORNING.

Enjoy your day, lovely friends! Hopefully I’ll be posting much later on with a fun picture book and activity for you to use!

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