Miss Galvin Learns

August 16, 2015
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

The Jungle Bully (R.I.C.)

Slide1Welcome to part 3 of my review for R.I.C. Publications! If you haven’t already, check out my reviews of some of their English and Maths resources.



The last item I have for review, is the textless big book The Jungle Bully ($29.95). This book is A3 in size (see below for comparison with an A4 book).

IMG_4602This beautifully illustrated book deals with the topic of bullying, and how those situations can be dealt with and resolved, all through oral discussion about what is happening in the illustrations.

The following narrative description is taken from R.I.C.’s page:

A small monkey is bullied by other monkeys in his community and, feeling sad, runs away to be by himself. Seeing a group of happy animals, he decides to take his frustrations out on a harmless gorilla, and does this while the gorilla’s friends are distracted or sleeping. Although much bigger than the monkey, the gorilla doesn’t retaliate; but rather than remain silent, he finds his friends and tells them what happened to him. The animals decide to confront the monkey and talk about what he did to their friend.

The monkey, now realising the gorilla has a support network, appears worried about what they will do to him. The animals give the monkey a chance to tell his side of the story and are saddened by what they hear. The gorilla and monkey are left to discuss how they can move forward and how the gorilla and his friends can support the monkey.

They come up with a plan where all the animals can work together so they can all enjoy the jungle and keep the monkey safe.

IMG_4603I love using wordless texts with students, because not only does it reinforce the practise of using/paying close attention to the illustrations, but also because it allows students the opportunity to make their own meaning rather than purely being influenced by the words the author has chosen.

IMG_4604At the back of the book, you can find extensive teacher notes, or you can download them from R.I.C.’s website, too. These notes have extensive questions for discussion with students, ordered by page so you can tailor the depth of your book discussion to the needs of your class.

IMG_4619You can also download printable masks in black and white and colour (I printed the BLM ones) for use with the class. This provides plenty of opportunities for role-playing to build the connections established through the storytelling process.

I think this would be a great book to add to any school’s collection of student well-being resources – no matter where you are in the world – because it deals with a topic that students really struggle with. Discussing it through the medium of a story can make it very accessible even to young learners.

Thanks so much to R.I.C. Publications for the wonderful opportunity to review all of these fabulous resources. Don’t forget to check out their website, and my reviews of their English and Maths resources.

Happy weekend, friends!




August 15, 2015
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

R.I.C. Maths Resources



Last weekend I shared with you a review of R.I.C.‘s new Australian Curriculum-linked English resources. This weekend I have the 2nd and 3rd parts of the review, starting with this review of some of their recent Maths resource releases, and I can’t wait to get started!

IMG_4606First up I want to look at the New Wave Mental Maths A book ($11.95). There are 7 books and a teacher resource book in this series, so there’s something for all year levels. You can download some sample pages from the R.I.C. website here by clicking on the Book A link.

Because Book A is aimed at 5-6 year olds, it’s a scrapbook size book (see below, compared to an A4 resource book) and slightly larger. It also has coloured pages and the best way to use it would be to have one book per student.


As a daily maths activity, students can track the tasks they complete at the front of their books.
IMG_4608Activities are organised by Week # and Day of the Week, with each weekday having between 4-5 different mental math activities to complete.

IMG_4609 These books would be great for students to use first thing in the morning (as morning work) or as an early finishers task during math lessons. Alternatively, if you run math rotations, it could be one of the activities during the rotations.

I really like the variety of questions and the visuals and visual prompts students are given which will eventually aid in them being able to complete most tasks independently.

IMG_4611Next up is the Number and Algebra Foundation book ($6.95/$7.95). Again, this book series goes all the way up to Year 6.

Like the Mental Maths book, this book is a colour resource and as the title would suggest, focuses on the Number and Algebra strand of the Australian Curriculum.

The Foundation book has two sections: Number and Place Value and Patterns and Algebra as per the curriculum. The bulk of the Foundation book focuses on Number and Place Value, and the sections are marked by colours – blue for Number and Place Value and pink for Patterns and Algebra (see below).


IMG_4614Wearing my Foundation teacher hat, the layout of this is wonderful because it’s clean, simple, and very easy to read. The text and images are large enough for the little learners in my class to have room to work on the activities.

IMG_4615The final maths resource book that R.I.C. sent me to review was the Year 1-2 Fractions Book ($32.95).

I was really excited to get a peek at this book because even though I’m not currently teaching in a Year 1 or 2 classroom, fractions are one of my favourite maths topics to teach, especially over the last 3 years when I had my Prep/1 class.

IMG_4616The book itself is broken in to two sections – Year 1 and Year 2.

Within those sections, there are teacher notes, warm-ups, resources, BLMS, assessments, checklists and answers – everything a teacher might need to keep track of student learning and progress.

Most of you know I’m a firm believer in hands-on learning (especially in maths) but having access to a collection of high quality resources such as the ones found in this book do make it easier to collect student understanding, because we do still need to collect evidence and these can form one aspect of that evidence.


IMG_4618These are perfect for copying for your class – whether as a whole group, small group, or even using the activities included (enlarging them) and completing them as part of your focus or summing up activities.

Like all the reproducible books produced by R.I.C. the layouts are clean, free from any unnecessary distraction with all activities being relevant to the topic.


I’m looking forward to using these resources in the classroom, so a huge thanks to R.I.C. for the opportunity to do so!

Don’t forget to check out my review of their English resources and stay tuned tomorrow for a review of their new anti-bullying Big Book! Also, head on over to R.I.C. Publications to check out more of their wonderful resources!







August 14, 2015
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Five for Friday (August 14, 2015)


Happy Friday, friends! Here’s this week’s random five things!


Since when did Kit-Kat start putting stuff on their packaging?! (Doesn’t matter, both of these breaks perfectly suit me!) Also, tea in a double-wall glass tumbler = perfection.



Total geek moment – found a Batgirl hoodie and couldn’t pass it up!



Pinterest inspired art. (Need to track down the original link.) We did these with the kiddos during Investigations and now have a MASSIVE display all around our central/shared space. These are my more mini-versions done at home!



This appeared in the staffroom at lunch one day. No idea why!



The sky as I left work yesterday. So pretty!


August 8, 2015
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

R.I.C. English Resources

Slide1Hi guys!

I’m back toward with the first of approximately 3 posts that I hope to have up this week showcasing some of the new Australian Curriculum-linked resources produced by R.I.C. Publications. (

Some of you may remember that I did some reviews last year, and when I received an email asking if I was interested in doing some more reviews, I was really excited because the resources R.I.C. produce are always of very high quality and perfect for classroom use! To that end, a disclaimer that all products in this post were sent to me to review, and all opinions are my own!



First up, I’ll talk a bit about the Australian Curriculum Literacy series ($39.95). I received the Foundation book (perfect for Kinder/Prep/Foundation students). This series is designed to focus on the sub-strands of interpreting, analysing, evaluation and creating texts from the Literacy strand of the curriculum.

There are 18 different imaginative and informative texts provided in this book (including familiar tales like Chicken Licken and Rub-a-dub-dub), and each text has a teacher information page and two comprehension/activity pages (seen below).

IMG_4526 IMG_4527


The format of all these pages are simple, clear and perfect for completing as a whole class, or with small groups of students. I’ve used samples of these pages with my class during Literacy rotations, with parents working with a small group, reading through the text and working through the corresponding activities. This would also be great if you need to leave activities for CRTs because the teacher notes are included.

IMG_4525As with all R.I.C. publications, the curriculum links are provided at the front of the book, with all activities highlighted across the various progression points in a very clear, user-friendly way.

IMG_4528The next book I want to share with you is the Foundation book from the Australian Curriculum – Literature series ($39.95). Much like the Literacy series, the Literature series focuses on the Literature strand of the Australian Curriculum and its sub-strands.

It also has 18 different texts – original texts, retellings of folktales, fables, legends, myths and fairytales, including some Indigenous tales, too.

As with all their books, the presentation is very clean, and easy for young students to navigate. This would be fantastic for use with the whole class or small groups.

IMG_4529I particularly love the detailed teachers notes included with the series – as a teacher who mentors/assists Grads in their first few years of school, detailed notes like this are invaluable to supporting teachers in the classroom. Even those of us with years of experience can always benefit from a refresher or just a new way of approaching the teaching of familiar concepts.

The other nice addition to the student activity pages are the way R.I.C. have coded the questions that students answer. Each question has either a LC (Literature and context), RL (Responding to Literature), EL (Examining Literature) or CL (Creating Literature) next to it, highlighting the sub-strands of the Australian Curriculum.

IMG_4531 IMG_4532

IMG_4533The next series is the Australian Curriculum – Poetry ($32.95). This series has 3 books – Book 1 (Foundation/1/2), Book 2 (3/4) and Book 3 (5/6).

I love teaching poetry to my students, so I was probably most excited to see this book in my pack review. It has R.I.C.’s trademark clean and easy to read layout, just like the books above, but this book is broken into 3 sections – Foundation, Year 1 and Year 2, addressing the different poetry skills required at each level.

At each level there are teacher notes, curriculum links, a glossary of terms, anecdotal record pages, 9 lessons and 10-15 resource pages.

IMG_4536There’s lots of detail in here – again, perfect for new and experienced teachers.





I also received Set 1 of the Spelling Posters ($39.95), which has 12 A3-size posters featuring common spelling rules used by students in the early years.

Now, as a general rule, I don’t tend to use commercially produced posters in the classroom because I think it is important for students to help add content and be part of that process. Also, I find a lot of commercially produced posters to be quite busy and difficult for young students to read.

That said, these posters are very easy to read. Designed for the early years, they’re not overly cluttered, the text is quite large and all the examples are relevant to the learning point.

IMG_4541These would make a great resource when teaching a particular spelling strategy. As with any new strategy, it’s important to unpack what’s happening on each chart, but I think these would be very useful in any early years classroom as an easy reference.

(We’re currently talking about syllables, so that poster will be getting a lot of use in the next few weeks!)

Thanks so much to R.I.C. for the opportunity to review these products. Stay tuned this week for my reviews on some of their new Maths and Anti-Bullying resources!








August 3, 2015
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Back to School SALE!

11836793_598931265732_4150763182081297363_nIs it just me, or does everything always happen all at once?

It’s been utterly manic over here in the last week and a bit, and I’m holding out until tomorrow afternoon (after I run a PD session) to finally stop and take a breath.

BUT, in the meantime, TPT has it’s Back to School Sale happening and my store is on sale, too! Stop by and snag yourself a bargain!


July 19, 2015
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

A Bright Idea for Thinking Hats



Welcome back to another Bright Ideas post!

Slide1Most of you will be familiar with DeBono’s 6 Thinking Hats.

For those of you who aren’t, the 6 different coloured hats represent 6 different ways of thinking:

White Hat: Facts
Black Hat: Cautions
Yellow Hat: Benefits
Red Hat:  Feelings
Green Hat: Creativity
Blue Hat: Process

At my school we use the Thinking Hats to use different ways to think about tasks, problems and any number of activities. That said, it can be a little challenging for my Foundation students.

Thus, (many years ago!) I purchased these fun glitter hats from the local dollar store and any time an activity calls for a Thinking Hat, we pull them down and we wear them!

Slide3I’ve found that the kids really enjoy having the hands on, physical representation of the type of thinking they’re trying to undertake – it’s also a fabulous reminder for them that there ARE different ways of approaching a task because they can see the hats displayed all the time in the classroom.


If you liked this Bright Idea, I’d love for you to join me on FacebookInstagram or Twitter! Don’t be a stranger!

For more bright ideas from other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

July 17, 2015
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Five for Friday – July 17th


I’m linking up again, so here’s a sneak peak at my week!


You guys know by now how much I love to decorate my planner! I really love this week’s layout (it’s full of writing at the current moment!) and I have a blog post up here talking about the process of putting it together.



This week our applied focus for maths was capacity. We talked about full, half-full and empty, and then read Who Sank the Boat by Pamela Allen. In groups students made a boat out of foil and estimated how many Unifix cubes it would take to completely fill (and sink) their boat.

We tested it out, of course.

(I couldn’t tell if they were more excited about the big number of cubes they all fit or the fact that their boats sank?!)



We’re in the middle of Winter here in Australia. It’s been quite chilly this week (for us).



Today we had a Curriculum Day for Staff Professional Development. During our lunch break our Wellbeing School Improvement Team put on a Christmas in July lunch for us in the staffroom. It was a lovely surprise!



Over on my creative blog, I’ve started a new series on Friday – Fauxligraphy Friday. These are all words/phrases I’ve hand lettered and then digitised. Check out this week’s collection. Feel free to leave suggestions for what you might like to see in the future!


July 11, 2015
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Five for Friday (July 10th)


Okay, so it IS Saturday here in Melbourne, but things kind of got away from me last night, so apologies for the late Five for Friday post!


Those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while may know that I’m a BIG comic book nerd. (And proud!) However, I do not video game – because frankly, I’m useless at it. BUT, due to the modern wonders of technology, last weekend I was able to watch a very good friend of mine, from Philadelphia, play Arkham Knight and boy, it was like watching a mini movie! (Okay, so it was kind of long, but, it was super fun and we were able to chat about it at the same time, so I thought it was kind of cool!)



On Tuesday my Nonno turned 82. He’s fabulous and hilarious and this is how he chose to utilise the crocheted blanket my Mum made for him. <3



I was in the city yesterday and had a bit of time to wander around and so I stopped by (briefly) to The Art of Dr. Seuss gallery at the Block Arcade. It’s only small, but it’s amazing and I definitely want to go back and spend some more time there.



The reason for being in the city yesterday?

Catching up with these amazing Victorian teachers! It was so lovely to have lunch and chat – for hours – with Jemima (Jem’s Bright Buttons), Paula (Paula’s Place), Chantelle (Miss Jacob’s Little Learners) and Bec (Stars and Wishes). These ladies are simply amazing, and I hope to catch up with them again soon!



Over on my crafty blog (Noveltea Corner), I’ve started up a regularly Friday post – Fauxligraphy Friday – which will feature seven samples every week of my hand lettering practice. Simply click the links above, or the image before to view the first week’s collection!


I’m back to school on Monday (man, the holiday breaks go by quickly!) and I hope to have some fun classroom posts for you soon!

Until then, happy weekend, friends!


July 6, 2015
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Word Wall Alphabet

My goodness, it’s been a while. I hope all my Aussie teacher friends are enjoying their mid-year break, and that all my Northern Hemisphere friends are enjoying their Summer!

I had a few requests after my last post (the June Bright Ideas Linky) for me to share my Word Wall Alphabet letter tiles. As of this morning, I have finally been able to upload it to my TpT Store:



It’s currently on sale for  $1.50 until tomorrow lunch time here in Melbourne. Grab it here.

For images of what it looks like in my classroom, don’t forget to revisit my last post.

Have a fabulous week, my friends!

June 20, 2015
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

A Bright Idea for Magnetic Tape


I’m linking up again with a quick idea for managing all those pieces on your whiteboard!

One of the biggest saving grace’s in my classroom decoration toolkit now is magnetic tape.

I know – it seems so simple, right?!


I’m fortunate enough to have 2 magnetic whiteboards (and an interactive whiteboard) in my classroom, but I only use one on a daily basis. My biggest whiteboard I do use for lots of different things every day, but I don’t often write on it this year.


This year I thought it would make an amazing interactive word wall that kids could add and take words on and off of.

But my dilemma was Blu Tac. Blu Tac is horrible on whiteboard surfaces, because it leaves residue and when you go to clean it, it smudges. I didn’t want to do Blu Tac.

Which is where the magnetic tape comes in.


I printed and laminated my word wall cards, cut them out, and add a small piece of magnetic tape to the back. The brand I use is completely flat so the cards lay flush with the board (which stops them being knocked off accidentally!), but the kiddos are still able to pull them on and off the board as needed.

Now, for those of you who need perfectly straight displays – this may not work for you! However, I like to think that the unperfect columns is further proof that my kiddos are actually USING the display to assist with their writing.

I also use it for any other displays I need to put on the board, too, like group names and other labels!

If you liked this Bright Idea, I’d love for you to join me on FacebookInstagram or Twitter! Don’t be a stranger!

For more bright ideas from other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

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