Miss Galvin Learns

July 16, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
3 Comments

So excited!

I have a random sort of post for you today, but I can’t help myself – I just have to share!

Today I had new tables arrive for my classroom!

Now, my old tables were big, round and the spacing between the legs was terrible when I had to sit 5 or more kids on each one. Everyone was just a bit too cramped.

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I’ve had those old tables for 5 years and nearly got rid of them 2 and a half years ago before they ended up in my room again (and people, there were tears when they reappeared – they’re just not Prep friendly!).

And now…

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Now I have fun-coloured desks that work well in a pod and can be separated, too!

The kiddos were very disappointed they didn’t get to help unstack them this morning (when they arrived), but I promised they would be set up for tomorrow morning and they are!

If you could see me now you would see me bouncing up and down like an idiot! <3

What’s your favourite piece of classroom furniture?

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July 13, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
1 Comment

Sunday (Life)Style – July 13

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Hi friends!

Happy weekend to all of  you! (To my Australian friends enjoying the last day of holidays – enjoy your last day and try to relax!)

Before I dive into the non-teaching related stuff, I actually went into work twice during the holidays. (I know, I know.) I didn’t achieve all my goals, but I did get some stuff done. Next week I’m presenting PD to the staff of my school and I had to prepare handout packs, and I really wanted to do my filing (which I seem to do once every twelve months – please don’t judge me!) and organise the front of my room which has been a bit of disaster zone lately.

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Check out my mess! (And the paper bin was totally full by the time I was done.)

The bins underneath the the IWB and whiteboard all contain frequently access materials and rather than spend MORE MONEY on matching containers, I’ve used what I had. It doesn’t look as nice, but it’s a lot more organised than it was when I started and I didn’t waste any more money on school. (This is a goal for this financial year!)

Finally, I added this movable word wall to our big whiteboard (we do still have our original word wall with sight words on the opposite wall), but this is for those words that my kids use in their journal writing. I used Tara West’s Teacher, Teacher, How Do I Spell…? pack, and added a few more Australian-specific words and holidays.

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I’m SO excited… these holidays I finished two books. I haven’t done that in soooo long. I feel very accomplished!

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Matthew Reilly is my go-to author for books that I just love. Granted, I love action-adventure and sci-fi – and his books always fit into one of those categories. They are very violent (usually), so just beware. BUT, he is an amazing Australian author and his books read like Action Blockbuster Movies and I’m not even kidding.

This one is very different to most of his books, in that it’s set in the past with a Young Queen Elizabeth I, but it’s a murder-intrigue style book. It’s also very definitely for mature readers.

A 13-year old Elizabeth travels to Constantinople with her teacher Roger Ascham for the first international Chess Tournament. Check out the rest of the description here.

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So, a couple of weeks ago I posted about my Fortune Cookie Soap box. Included in the subscription box was a $10 voucher to spend in the online store, so I took the opportunity to try some other goodies.

I will confess, the Candy Aisle items from the original box didn’t thrill me, only because the scents were a little sickly sweet for me (I can be quite picky with different scents). But I definitely wanted to give these guys another go, because they have some awesome products.

From the Tree of Life collection I bought the OCD Hand Sanitiser, Personal Space Air Freshener, Steam Me Up Scotty, and Whipped Cream.

From the Polyjuice Potion (!!!) collection I bought the OCD Hand Sanitiser, Personal Space Air Freshener and Whipped Cream. Of the two lines, this is my FAVOURITE. It smells divine. And I’m probably going to divide all the items between home and school so I have nice hand sanitiser and air fresheners and creams to use everywhere!

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So, last week I did a video about one of my Memebox subscription boxes, and I’ve got a few of these ordered and they’ll ship out at various times of the year. This week I received the Milk box (which has unfortunately sold out at the moment) which is full of skincare products that all use milk as a base.

What I got:

  • Pure Smile Milk Mask Pack (1 full size)
  • Skin Ceramic Donkey Milk & Argan Oil Multi Steam Cream (full size)
  • Enesti Rice and Milk Foaming Cleanser (full size)
  • Pure Smile Choosy Lip Pack Milk (1 full size)
  • Hello Everybody Bubble Bath Steam Milk (25g)
  • Hello Everybody Nature Holic Body Lotion Milk (full size)
  • Pure Smile Choose Lip Scrub (25g)

What I really love about Memebox is that, because it’s full of Korean products, there are so many things I’ve never heard of, or would have bought on my own. I’m really looking forward to trying some of these products, because milk is meant to be fantastic for your skin.

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A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a gorgeous online store called Artsyville.

They have very fun little products that would make AMAZING gifts. I, of course, only had eyes for the gorgeous washi tape and ordered all six patterns (because this is me who’s talking!). When I ordered the tapes there was a special deal where I also received a sample pack of these gorgeous, brightly-coloured doodle cards – that are perfect for notes and gift tags, etc. Her website has gorgeous prints and little gift packs, including this CUTE Super Teacher Box.

The store owner, Aimee, is lovely, and has an instagram page you can follow.

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Yesterday I had my nails done AND a Lemon Crush Boost Juice, which pretty much made it the best day ever.

If you live in Melbourne and are interested in getting a BioGel manicure, check out Nails by Nancy – she’s AWESOME!

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I also went shopping at Typo and bought more washi tape (picture me hanging my head in shame) and this awesome envelope template! (I thought that was kinda cool!)

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I also went to Spotlight and found some fabulous things on SALE! I found some classroom border strips (all $1 each, which for teacher supplies in Australia is AMAZING), plus some cut out decals for $1 a packet. I like to use those for sight words/etc.

I also got 3 packs of Heidi Swapp stamps (each for $4, down from $7), some CUTE Halloween paperclips for my planner in October for 50c each, plus some chalkboard labels for the classroom for $1.

And that was my week!

What was something you did for YOURSELF this week?

(Remember – you are an important person! <3)

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July 11, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
1 Comment

Free Font Friday (Flying Free)

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How sad! It is the last Free Font Friday from the Summer blogging series with The Teaching Tribune! :(

So here is one more font for you today!

FlyingFree

Simply click the image above to download from TeachersPayTeachers.

There should also be an update to my Exclusive Font Pack before the end of the weekend, too, so keep an eye out for that! (If you’ve purchased it, it now also includes ALL my free fonts, too, so there’s no need to download them all!)

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July 7, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
0 comments

Number Fluency Games

Hello again, my friends.

My sincerest apologies for posting twice in a  day, but I didn’t get a chance to post about my BRAND NEW math game over the weekend (even though I was able to upload it!).

I’m very excited about this pack, because I think it’s great number practise for all our early learners and it has a really fun food theme, too!

Introducing:

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(Click on any of the images to view this product on TpT!)

This activity is similar to SERVING UP NUMBERS with a fun coffee & donut theme that gives you the opportunity to practise the same skills but with a fresh face! (So to speak!)

Also, as someone who has students involved in Developmental Play/Investigations activities, this would be a really fun addition to that time, particularly if you have a Cafe or Bakery dramatic play area set-up because it would be very complimentary!

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In this pack you get colour cards for numbers 0-20 featuring words, numerals, tens-frames, tens blocks, popsticks and visual representations for each number.

Depending on the level or needs of your students you can add or remove different representations to practise the skills you are currently working on!

There are 6 ‘tables’ to place the donuts on (although they’re not necessary if you’re just working on matching different representations).

I’ve also included a numbers book where students record the different ways of representing each number.

It’s very easy to print sections of this pack as required (0-10, 11-20 or 0-20) and build the number booklet up as required!

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First, lay out the cards you want students to use.

Students select a coffee cup with a number name and find the matching visual representations and place them on the table.

(Alternative: have students roll a die to decide which number to start with!)

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Have students record their numbers on the matching page! (Turn into a booklet, or paste into Math Journals.)

I have quite a few students still struggling with number fluency and this pack is going to come in super-handy. (It also helps that they seem to be obsessed with donuts!)

If you’re interested, this pack will remain on SALE for another 24 hours only before going back to it’s full price!

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Have a lovely day, my friends!

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July 7, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
6 Comments

Monday Meet Me

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This has been a super fun link-up series, and definitely a way to ensure that I’m posting during the week!

Click on the banner above to visit The Teaching Tribune and join in the linky fun!

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July 6, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
3 Comments

Sunday (Life)Style ~ July 6th

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Oh, my word… it’s July! Can you believe it? (I can’t!)

I’ve got lots of things lined up for this edition of Sunday (Life)Style, so I’m going to dive right in. And this week, to make life easier for… well, everyone, I’ve even sectioned it into themed parts!

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Confession: I’ve not read a book (read: novel) cover-to-cover in such a long time.

I find I’m constantly reading picture books and teaching textbooks and blogs and my online RPG stuff, but not actual books. For me.

But I saw someone review this book and it sounded right up my alley, given the main character writes fan fiction (like I used to/sort-of-still-do!) and is dealing with growing up. It was actually quite a funny, sad and really real kind of story. Not at all what I would normally choose to read (given there’s no action/adventure/sci-fi stuff in it) but a good, entertaining read about a girl dealing with going to college and dealing with growing up and life and people.

Honestly, I spent the whole time reading it going… Yep. (Only the sad thing is I’m nearly 28 and still hopeless around people and in social situations, but this book gives me hope!)

If you’ve ever read or written fan fiction, or if you’ve ever read/watched something you loved so much you started dreaming up adventures that the characters from the book/show/movie do after you finished reading/watching, then this book is for you!

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I’m going to preface this by saying that I don’t like drawing. (Or, more specifically, I don’t like my drawings.) BUT I’m trying to break the habit of automatically disliking anything I do, SO I’ve been struck by the urge to draw random things at really random times (like at 10:30pm).

I blame all the YouTube craft/art journal videos I’ve been watching. I think I need an intervention.

But anyway, I thought I’d share in the name of trying to overcome my own inner-critic. (No need to leave comments about them looking good! Honest. Blogs have always been an outlet for me to share things that I would struggle to do in person in the vain hope of overcoming my self-doubt!)

But… can I just say that I really don’t like drawing people. People are difficult. Even stylised people.

If it’s more abstract, line-based I love it. So much easier. (Also… I have like a pack of 10 coloured markers, so there’s not a lot of colour choice – lol!)

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I preface this first video by saying…. OMG, I totally got tongue-tied. More than once! (A thousand apologies!)

I don’t think I’ve talked about Memebox on my blog before, but it’s another subscription service, only you don’t get a box every month – you purchase and pay for the ones you’d like. I’ve bought about 5 boxes, I think, and I have 2 more on the way. They sell out pretty quickly, too, and while they mostly do skincare, they do have make-up, mens boxes and other fun stuff, too.

They are a Korean subscription service, and generally all the products are full-size or deluxe sample size and are all high-end beauty products. I’ve loved everything they’ve sent me – even some really weird things I would never have bought on my own. (See this video!)

Boxes range from US$15 – US$30-40 dollars, but believe me, you get your money’s worth!

Next up is my June Wantable Accessories box. This was, perhaps, my favourite box that I’ve received so far. 2 gorgeous scarves and 2 really lovely necklaces. These will all be well-loved!

For those unsure, Wantable is a subscription box service based in the US – they offer 3 different boxes (make-up, accessories and intimates). A one-off box is US$40, or a monthly subscription is US$36/month (+ $10 shipping if you’re international). You can skip months if you need to save money and they have a really detailed survey to take before they send you your items!

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Finally, I finished these products this week and I’m really sad about it. The Appelles shampoo and condition were the samples I received in my June Violetbox and oh, my word did they smell divine! I also finished my LUSH Rub, Rub, Rub shower scrub. I just love this stuff. When I finish all the shower scrubs I bought in my last haul, I’m going back to this stuff. LUSH = awesome!

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I went to see Wicked for the second time this week. (The first time was their last run in Melbourne.)

I loved it the first time, but I think I loved it more the second time round. They had a really great cast and the girl playing Elpheba (who was the stand-in) was just amazing.

But, being a musical, I couldn’t not purchase any souvenirs – I got my witchy socks and a t-shirt to wear to Witches and Wizards day next term!

So that’s it for me this week! One more week of Winter holidays to go!

Have a fabulous weekend and start to the week, my friends!

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July 5, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
0 comments

R.I.C. Resource Review

I’ll preface this post with a bit of a disclaimer: the products I’m reviewing were sent to me to review in a fair and balanced way. All thoughts are my own, etc.

A few weeks ago, R.I.C. Publications approached me on Twitter (yes, I am on Twitter!) about reviewing some of their newer releases and, you know, I’m a teacher – I love resources, and I have always been a fan of R.I.C.’s work (particularly K-3 Class Ideas). Plus, I love writing reviews.

It’s just fun!

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They sent me same trial booklets from the English Skills Practice series and a copy of their new Australian Curriculum-linked Geography books.

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First up, I thought I’d tackle the English Skills Practice booklets. I received samples for the Year 2, 4 and 6 grades.

Now, being a Prep/1 teacher, I’ve never been a HUGE fan of practice tests, but given the world we live in today, testing is a big part of a teacher’s life, regardless of their feelings on the issue.

If I were to use skills practise tests, this would be something I would definitely be interested in.

Essentially they’re daily skills reviews for literacy skills and concepts – including grammar, punctuation, spelling, word knowledge, etc. Which is fantastic, because reviewing those skills is really important for our learners – the more they see and use and talk about the skills they’re using, the more likely they are to retain them.

According to the information provided, each workbook has enough questions for 150 days, and these have been organised into 15 units (equalling 10 days per unit) plus revision questions for each unit.

Each day has between 10-20 questions –  which would make this perfect for using for the 5-10 minutes after a lesson or for having on hand when you get the odd bit of extra time.

Given the way data is being collected in schools, this would provide a really great way to get a snapshot of student learning on a regular basis, and track their understandings and misconceptions. For older students, it would also be a great way for them to track their learning, too.

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(Click the link to visit the publisher’s website to view more info!)

The second item sent to me for review is the Year 1 Australian Curriculum-linked Geography book Places Have Distinctive Features. It has four main sections: 1) Natural, managed and constructed features, 2) Weather and seasons, 3) Activities of a place, and 4) Rearranging spaces.

Obviously, with the introduction and roll-out of the Australian Curriculum, teachers in Australia are very keen for updated/curriculum-linked resources to use with their students.

I quite like these particular resource books for a few reasons (beyond their links to the curriculum!):

They’re easy to use: R.I.C. have fantastic teachers notes, so if you’re not feeling 100% confident on a topic, there are some great suggestions to get you started. This book has information at the start on how to use the teacher pages and the student pages. They provide skills record checklists for the class (data!)

They’re clear: I teach a visually impaired boy and the one thing that’s become increasingly more prevalent to me (as his teacher) is how cluttered a lot of BLMS or work pages can be – which are not good for those kids. The BLMs in this book are clear, the pages are not cluttered and the text is large and easy to read.

They have multiple curriculum links: While the book itself is geared towards addressing the Geography component of the curriculum, the activities themselves can be worked into literacy or numeracy lessons without the need for a ‘whole lesson’ to be dedicated to an activity from the book.

There are links to Indigenous culture: Another really big component of the new curriculum, and one that can be daunting to find resources that are appropriate for the kids. There are a few Dreamtime stories (perfect for reading) with comprehension  tasks as well as numeracy tasks.

It’s Australian: This means that the Geography explored in this book will be familiar to students, which gives them an instant connection.

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Just to give you an idea of an activity similar to ones I’ve used with my class previously – on the far left in the grey box outlining the key inquiry questions, skills and concepts under review, then the white column provides information for the teacher (teaching notes, background and resources).

This particular activity is a Dreamtime story. I’ve used similar pages with reading groups, as well as whole class groups (where students all have a copy of the passage). Depending on the focus I have for the text, I’ll choose one of the following activities the corresponds to work through with the class (above there’s a bit of the comprehension, as well as a mapping activity).

All of the activities are geared towards the age group they’re labelled for – these activities would work really well for my Grade 1 students and could be adapted for my Preps, too.

Resource books like this are fabulous to have on hand, especially when you find yourself in a situation where you might not know a whole lot about a particular topic of inquiry, or you may not feel confident enough to create your own, complete set of resources. These provide a springboard into specific areas of the curriculum, with a lot of great activities for students.

This is definitely a resource I will be using this year.

Thanks for sticking with this review and don’t forget to check out the R.I.C. Publications website!

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July 4, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
2 Comments

Free Font Friday

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I missed this last week, but I’m back, with a BRAND NEW font, that’s actually a freebie from my EXCLUSIVE FONT PACK (when I get to TpT to update it!).

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Don’t forget to click on the Teaching Tribune banner for more fun, free fonts.

And while we’re on the topic of fonts, the following 4 fonts have been added to my pack, taking the grand total to 50 fonts for personal and commercial use!

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July 4, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
1 Comment

Throwback Thursday – Handwriting Bags

Originally posted March 16, 2013.

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Last week in my Five for Friday post I shared a picture of my student’s new handwriting bags. I thought I’d share a bit about how we’ve been using them.

In the P-2 early years area at my school, we try to include a specific handwriting session each week to focus on letter formation, thus, I’ve been modifying how I’ve previously taught handwriting (very paper-based!) to make it a little less damaging on the environment!

What’s included:

  • A name-tracing card in our State font (Victorian Modern Cursive, for those not from Australia), laminated
  • Lowercase and Uppercase alphabet and numbers in our State Font (this is from one of our handwriting books), laminated
  • Dotted-thirds writing paper (actually on the back of the alphabet page!), laminated
  • Mini whiteboard
  • Whiteboard marker (I got them in packs of 5 for $2.80 from Daiso)
  • 1/4 Chux Magic Eraser

And everything is kept in a large-size snaplock bag (I use Hercules bags) in their tubs.

Our handwriting program:

Currently our handwriting session is on a Thursday morning after our Literacy/Guided Reading session.

Students collect their bags, put them on their tables and join me on the floor for a focus session on our letter for the week. We use a program called Track, Trace and Copy to observe and practise forming letters correctly using our Interactive Whiteboard (IWB). Depending on the letter (and it’s relative complexity) I might have students bring their mini-whiteboards to the floor and we’ll practise forming letters together, or we might form them in the air. I also have students come out and model correct letter formation.

At the end of the mini-lesson students go back to their tables and use their writing packets. We’re developing a formula (slowly) so that students stay on task:

  1. Students start by tracing their name (at least once). For my Preps it’s good practise revising how to write their name correctly, and it’s just as good for my Grade 1s who, even though they can write their names independently, struggle with letter formation, capital letters and letter size.
  2. Students trace the lowercase and uppercase letters on their laminated tracing sheet.

Then, the handwriting task is differentiated for my Preps and my Grade 1s.

The Preps:

  • practise writing the letter focus on their mini-whiteboard 10 (or more times) and circle their best go,
  • use our weekly brainstorm of words to practise their handwriting, and,
  • practise writing out sight words (we use the Magic 100 Words program).

The Grade 1s:

  • use their personal dictionaries to practise writing words using our letter of the week on the dotted-thirds laminated sheet,
  • use our weekly brainstorm of words to practise their writing on dotted thirds, and,
  • write a sentence and illustrated it on their mini whiteboards.

All the students are responsible for cleaning their laminated sheets and whiteboards and for ensuring that their whiteboard pens have their lids on them and that everything goes into their bags at the end of a session.

While students are working independently I pull students out in small groups (or independently) to work on a specific hand-writing skill – using a variety of whiteboard activities, IWB activities or sheet-based activities (although I’m moving away from having handwriting sheets, unless I can reuse them!).

I also usually have a fantastic parent-helper during this session who is really good with the kids. (I taught her middle child in his first year of school in my first year of teaching, and now I’m teaching her youngest in his first year of school!) She knows all the tricks, and helps correct pencil-grip, letter formation and knows how to encourage even the most reluctant writer. I’m super-lucky to have her helping me out!

Now – this isn’t a perfect program, but already it’s starting helping me to really target the students that need specific instruction in letter formation (which is really tricky in Australia, because our State handwriting fonts are SO different to what students see everyday – sometimes I wonder why we don’t teach print handwriting, but that’s another story!).

I’m also hoping to include a few little fine-motor skill activities into handwriting as well, because some of my kiddos really need that extra support.

Do you teach handwriting? What do your handwriting sessions look like?

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July 2, 2014
by Miss Stefanie Galvin
0 comments

Great deal from Educents!

Miss Galvin Learns

 

You guys know how much I love Educents and their bundles, right?

Educents is currently offering Miss Galvin Learns readers $5.00 to any new members who sign up to purchase products on the site! Simply click the IMAGE ABOVE!

Earlier in the year (or last year, I can’t remember!) I was fortunate enough to be a part of a Writing Bundle and there are ALWAYS great deals happening on the website.

And, since I tend to post a lot of K-2 stuff on my blog, I was having a look through the website for some fantastic resources for Middle and Upper primary for my readers who teach in those areas, and there are some fabulous deals going on!

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$15.99 (for a total value of $74.00, which is about 78% off!)

slide01_2_4$24.99 (for a total value of $121.15, which is about 80% off!)

Plus they have some fantastic links, ideas and resources for Summer Fun!

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So, don’t forget to stop by and check out the great deals and freebies that are on the website!

Happy Mid-Week, my friends!

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