Miss Galvin Learns

December 15, 2013
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Elfin’ Around (Week 2)

I have to say, I’m having an absolute ball with the Elf on the Shelf.

So are the kids. At a time of year when getting any response out of them (on ANYTHING) is like pulling teeth, they come into the classroom every day and the first thing they ask is ‘Where is she?‘ And then they write in their elf journals without complaint.

I’ve only got 5 days until I farewell my current class for another year (yes, there will be tears) and it’s a pretty special daily activity that we’ve been doing all December long.

Here’s a recap of this week’s adventures!

We finally got our Aussie Animals Collector’s Album. (One of our Supermarkets ran a promotion earlier in the year giving away free animal trading cards – they’re FABULOUS – and we collected 2 complete sets as a class!) Elfina decided to share some facts with Hello Kitty and Eddie the Teddy!

One of the boys bought Elfina a Christmas present, so Elfina wrote a thank you letter and hung out with the Toy Solider.

She then took a spin in a very spiffy-looking car. Not sure she has a license, though.

Elfina decided to observe the classroom from a higher perch…

… only to be blown down by a gust of wind coming through our window!

(Oh my goodness, you should have HEARD the distress from my kids – she fell down right in front of them. They were distraught because they couldn’t help her!)

But, we had a chat and decided that she needed to be able to help herself. We were going to be out of the classroom for a bit, so the kids whispered words of encouragement to Elfina on the way out and hoped she would be okay. We even left a message for her:

… and she replied to us. They were VERY RELIEVED when we got back to the classroom.

The next day, Elfina continued to hang around the whiteboard with this vaguely creepy reminder…

Then she had a minor parachuting accident on Thursday. The kids’ theory was that she was coming back from the North Pole and got stuck on our ceiling fan.

A few very clever little kids suggested using our feather duster handle to help her down without touching her!

On Friday we witnessed The Great Marshmallow Fight of 2013. Elfina vs. Hush (from Possum Magic) and Wally (our take-home wombat from Wombat Stew). This was VERY popular!

And that’s it for another week! My next post will probably be AFTER I have said goodbye to my kiddos – it’s a very busy week – but I’ll be back to share the final chapter of Elfina’s adventures.

I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

July 30, 2013
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Teacher Moment #1

I’m ten kinds of exhausted right now – but that’s a story for another day.

I have a wonderful teaching anecdote that came from our Investigations session today.

Our new dramatic play scene is a school – we have a lovely little corner, complete with ‘mat’ (actually off-cuts of our tiger turf), blackboards and chalk, giant magnetic letters, teacher station (magnetic whiteboard/drawers/supplies), teacher desk, etc.

Being the first session in a new rotation, my entire class went out (including my Grade 1s). I think I’ve mentioned before that Investigations, at my school, is for the Preps. Anyway…

My Grade 1s made a beeline (running NOT walking) for the school space, all desperate to be the teacher.

Which should be a good sign, right?

20 minutes passed. Then, one of my little cherubs ended up in tears. She was quite beside herself.

When she calmed down enough, she explained that she was upset because no one (the students) was listening to her.

To which I replied… ‘Now you know how I feel sometimes.’

At which point, I saw the glimmer of realisation dawn in my young friend. (And her friends.)

It was one of those very unexpected, very real experiences.

How’s your week going?

June 10, 2013
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Serving Up Numbers game

Here in Australia we’ve just finished our Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

Funny, it didn’t feel like a long weekend. At all! Oh well… our school holidays are getting closer and closer. Three more weeks!

I did, however, manage to roll out another new product on TpT and TN. And it wouldn’t have been possible without the awesome graphics of the ever-talented Mel from Graphics at the Pond! Her awesome new pack, Plate It Up, made this all possible!

Join in a celebration of all things From the Pond on Mrs Poultney’s Place!

And now… let me introduce Serving Up Numbers:

Find on TpT

Find on TN

Essentially it is a really fun way for students to show all the different ways to make a given number from 1-20 – using numbers, names, subitising patterns, base ten and popsticks, as well as physically counting out counters/food images to represent their number.

Bonus skill = practising their place-setting skills! (My mum would be so proud – lol!)

The best thing about this particular activity is that while you can print all the pieces out in colour, I’ve also provided the blacklines of every piece to help you save on printing costs, should you choose!

This is a great visual for students, and will really demonstrate their knowledge.

As a teacher, this pack is easy to differentiate – simply choose the numbers you wish students to work with (1-10, 11-20, all, etc).

This pack is on SALE for the next 24-ish hours!

I’d love to know what you all think!

Enjoy the start to your week!

June 3, 2013
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Peas on a Plate – Counting to 10

I confess to being quite behind in blog posts, but I blame reports, a week-long head cold and inability to sleep to my lethargic approach to my online presence.

But I’m here to share something fun that I’ve made and uploaded on TpT (and soon TN).

It’s a resource that I actually made in 2010 when I first started teaching and have remade into something a little prettier. It does involve some laminating and printing, but it works beautifully!

Purchase on TeachersPayTeachers

Purchase on TeachersNotebook

Peas on a Plate is a fun little resource to practise number recognition from 0 to 10. (Yay, subitising!)

I’ve used this little activity for the last 4 years with my kiddos to build and reinforce instant number recognition and I’m so happy to be able to share it with all of you!

Here’s what my cards used to look like… (Ok… shhh! I still have them and use them because the kids enjoy them, so we mix it up!):

Now I have a set that look like this:

All cards come in a full-page format, I simply print multiple pages per sheet (2 per page), laminate and cut them out.

Each number (except for 0) has four pea combinations in different patterns, from dice patterns to less common groupings.

Ideas for use:

– whole class/small group focus: display cards for a few seconds and ask students to identify the number displayed,

– whole class game: divide the class into 2 and line them up so that there are 2 teams, flash a Peas on a Plate card and have the two leaders compete for points, and,

– small group games: play Memory or Snap with students matching different representations of the same number.

Hope that some of you may find it useful!

Purchase on TeachersPayTeachers

Purchase on TeachersNotebook

April 19, 2013
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Five for Friday

After only 1 week of term I feel like I’ve been hit by a freight train. Tonight’s post will be brief because I honestly don’t think my brain is functioning properly.

It’s been one of those weeks.

Linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday:


I got mail! Brand new write and wipe pockets. I was so VERY excited on Monday night.


This week we’ve been exploring shapes. The Grade 1s loved using the geoboards to make different quadrilaterals.


We read the Very Hungry Caterpillar on Thursday. My Preps retold the story by sequencing the food the caterpillar ate using ordinal numbers. We turned them into caterpillars and hats and made the Grade 1s very jealous. Must come up with a Grade 1 hat idea soon, or I may be accosted by grumpy Grade 1s!


First classroom test run with the write-on-wipe-off pockets. Major success. I foresee much use in the future.


We have an open-day tomorrow (Saturday) for prospective Prep parents for 2014. We had to change the big display board in the Prep area. Now… my classroom is NOT in the Prep area, but this is my display because it wouldn’t have been changed (or half as bright and colourful) if I hadn’t done it. 2.5 hours of my time (not including tissue-paper pom-pom making time) and it’s up and done.

In the next week or so we’ll be adding photos of all the Prep and Prep/1 kiddos with their Lorax moustaches and their quotes on how to look after the environment.

I’m going to go and collapse now. I’ll be back later this weekend with my review for the Magical Product Swap.

Enjoy your Friday!

April 1, 2013
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Currently & a Request for Recommendations

It’s that time of the month for linking up with Farley for the awesomeness that is the monthly Currently linky!

My help request:

Next term I’m going to be teaching persuasive writing with my Grade 1s. I’m looking for some great picturebooks to highlight persuasive writing. I’d love to hear your recommendations and at the end of the week I’m going to be ordering some books for the first half of term.

I already have a stack of Mo Willem’s Pigeon books, which I plan on using, but I’d love some alternative suggestions!


March 11, 2013
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Monday Made It

I’m linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It for the first time! (You know, having actually made something this weekend!)

I’ve literally becoming obsessed with Washi tape (so many cute designs and colours…!) and have started to Pin lots of ideas to my board Washi-nspired. Here’s one idea I’ve become particularly enamoured with:

See pin here.

Seriously, how cute are these fold-back clips?!

So, clearly, I could not resist, what with my growing collection of washi tape that’s been sitting in a drawer, begging to be used.

I found some super-cute, coloured fold-back clips from K-Mart and this great washi tape from Typo and voila!

I now have a cute collection of fold-back clips to add to my classroom collection.

(Beware, I may go on a fold-back clip decorating frenzy…!)

March 11, 2013
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

So… I’ve been busy. How about you? (Freebie and Linky at the end!)

Can’t believe it’s already March 11th!

Here in Melbourne we’re having a public holiday (Woohoo! I needed the sleep-in this morning!) so I’m making the most of my Monday off.

I’ve missed a few bits and pieces over the weekend – my ISP decided to to ‘maintenance’ that went 2.5 days over schedule, leaving my internet-less until yesterday evening. (Insert sad face here.) But I’m back now and I’ve got a few bits and pieces to share with you!

While I’ve been doing a lot of 1-10 number work with my Preps (aka Kinders!), my lovely First Graders have been doing lots and lots of work with numbers to 100 and beyond. The last few weeks we’ve been practising skip-counting and recognising the patterns and numbers that appear.

Hence, I’ve been busy making some simple games that students can play (click on pictures to view at TpT):

Both games have multiple purposes:

  • Pull cards out, read numbers, determine if it’s part of the skip-counting pattern in focus (use sorting mats to help categorise the numbers).
  • Add in the JIVE or CLUCK cards – when a student pulls these out they must return all their cards to the container.

All you need for these games is a container to store the game cards in (I found some cute little gift boxes in my local dollar store) and to print and laminate the pieces. If you need a title for your container, I just printed out the front cover at a reduced size and used tape to secure it to the container.

I have at least 1 more game coming in the series (Shoes Come in Twos) – and possibly a fourth (Bees Fly in Threes) for those interested – so be on the lookout for them, hopefully by the end of the week.

Each game is only $1.00 in both my TeachersPayTeachers and TeachersNotebook stores.

And now for a freebie: MEOW! Book Response Activities for Cool Cats

My kiddos (the Little Smarties) are now officially obsessed with Pete the Cat and Splat the Cat. We’re re-reading the books regularly – which is fantastic. I came up with some generic, cat-inspired book response sheets for them to use when responding to the texts.

You can grab them on TpT for FREE by clicking the image below. I’d love to hear your feedback!

And finally, I’m joining up with Latoya Reed from Flying into First Grade for her first linky party!

This week it’s all about using your initials to share things you love, so here we go!

I’m a Spring baby, born in September (yes, I’m in the Southern Hemisphere, folks!). I love Spring – it’s pretty much my favourite season – the wet season and cold weather of Winter starts to fade away and beautiful cool, sunny days start appearing.

I’m a sucker for anything lemon-flavoured – lemonade, lemon soda, lemon juice, lemon ice-cubes. I’m even one of those weird people who’ll eat little bits of lemon. It also smells beautiful!

As for the lipstick – prior to January this year I never wore lipstick, but I bought some MAC lipsticks while in the U.S. ($15 people! They’re $35 here!) and have fallen in love! My favs are Ruby Woo, Vegas Volt and Chatterbox!

When I started teaching four years ago I was head-over-heels in love with being a Prep (Kinder) teacher. Now I’ve been a Prep/Grade 1 teacher for over 12 months and I am enjoying it. (I still would love to go back into a straight Prep class, but my confidence has grown as a Grad1 teacher!)

And that’s all from me today, folks!

Enjoy the start of your week!

March 2, 2013
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

March Currently and Freebie Font Friday

(Ok, so Freebie Font Friday is now on a Saturday… but I’ve been busy!)

I’m linking up with Farley from Oh’ Boy 4th Grade:

LISTENING: I’ve been loving listening to Of Monsters and Men, especially their song “Little Talks” which my kiddos love listening to as well. It’s got quite a fun little tune to it.

LOVING: All the math game ideas I’ve been getting from Mel (From the Pond) and Brooke (Teachable Moments). I’m really not a math person and so I find it hard to think up great little games – but these girls have been fab the last week or so. I’m spending my weekend making up some of their games and activities for my class this week!

THINKING: I’ve got a decent amount of money sitting in my Scholastic Rewards bank and I’m really considering getting an EasiSpeak microphone for my class to use. I’m thinking they could record their reading at home one night, or even in the classroom, and then I’ve got a bank of their recordings. (Also, very good for them to ‘hear’ their reading back as well.)

WANTING: I know lots of you love hot Summer weather, but I’m desperate for Winter. I loved being in the cold weather in the U.S. over Christmas. You can always put more clothes on to get warmed, but when the mercury rises you can only take off so much clothing… (and still be decent!)

NEEDING: Air-conditioning. I know we’re in Autumn now, but Melbourne gets hot, dry heat and teaching in a glass and metal building with NO air-conditioning and broken windows (that are run electronically) has not been fun for me or the kiddos.

LIKE. LOVE. HATE.: Pretty self-explanatory – I like me some silliness, and I love singing songs with the kiddos (this week we’ve been learning the Date Song and the Days of the Week song). I hate supermarkets because they’re always busy when you’re in a hurry. Like today. Sigh.

So, this week I went on a font-making binge because I’m in a terrible state of TpT writer’s block. Oh well.

(Perhaps I should have charged for my fonts? Ok, not really. They’re not THAT good, lol!)

Anywho, here are a few more goodies for YOU!

Click on the images to download the fonts from TpT!

You can also purchase MGL Spring Writer Ext for $1 which includes the accents and misc options (for a total of 195 characters, as opposed to the standard alphabet of 99 characters). I only put the charge on this one because it took a while longer to make.

March 1, 2013
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Five for Friday!

Were anyone else’s kids completely CHATTY this week? I honestly don’t think some of my kiddos stopped to take a breath for an entire week. (I confess to still being a little frazzled from this week.)

Anyway, time for the weekly Five for Friday!


I made my very first ball of tissue-paper cuteness! I have grand plans for changing up the Prep bulletin board next term (yes, I am planning THAT far ahead) when we do our unit on Change and creating a Lorax-inspired design. It was so quick and easy to do (and it’s still floating around my room!)!

Ah… if only I could hang these things from my classroom ceiling… silly motion sensors. 🙁


I started Morning Messages on the IWB this week, and on Wednesday (when I only had my Grade 1s for the day), we had our first go at sounding out CVC words on the board. Lots of great attempts, and a few that leave me puzzled… but great for teaching opportunities and the kids (and their parents!) loved it!



You know I love books. I stopped by the local AllBooks4Less yesterday and all of these books were 2 for $5. I ended up with 14 fab books to cover topics from Halloween and Winter, onomatopoeia and friendship, and great books in the I Wonder Why series that the kiddos and I used to explore question marks and questioning today in the classroom. (Plus the requisite books for the kiddos like Fancy Nancy and Paddington!)


This is part of the bulletin board that is being constructed by the Preps during Investigation (Developmental Play) time. A crinkly tree with cellophane  leaves and collage apples.

My team leader and I had fun putting it up!


Meet my classes new handwriting bags. The kiddos and I put them together this afternoon and road-tested them as well.

Each student has a large zip-lock baggie with a mini-whiteboard, a laminated sheet that has our Victorian Modern Cursive handwriting font for tracing and dotted thirds for practising writing on the other side, a name card for the them to continue to practise correct letter formation and comparative size of letters, a whiteboard marker and a piece of Chux Magic Eraser to clean their board and laminated sheets.

They were SO excited – and when they got to practise with their OWN bag they were the quietest they’ve been all week!

I’m planning to include a little tub of play dough to do basic warm-up exercises for their little fingers, plus a plastic pocket to hold any paper copies of handwriting that we do.

And that’s my Five for Friday!

Stay tuned tomorrow for the announcement of the winner of my giveaway!

What tool/trick do you have that your students LOVE?

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