Miss Galvin Learns

June 20, 2015
by Ms Stefanie Galvin
10 Comments

A Bright Idea for Magnetic Tape

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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?!

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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.

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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.

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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!


February 22, 2015
by Ms Stefanie Galvin
8 Comments

A Bright Idea for Handwriting

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Thanks for joining the Bright Ideas Blog Hop this month.

Almost two years ago I wrote a blog post about the handwriting bags I was using with my class and it’s one of my most popular posts that I receive comments and emails for.

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Today I thought I’d share the revised version of my Handwriting Bags for my brand new class of Kinder/Foundation/Prep kiddos.

These are bags full of handwriting goodies that the kids keep in their chair bags so that they always have the tools they need ready to go.

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I start with a large ziplock bag to pack all the goodies in. This keeps everything neat and tidy and stops little pieces from being lost. Also, because the bags are clear, it’s easy to work out WHO dropped WHAT on the floor.

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What’s included in the bags:

  • 1 mini whiteboard
  • 1 A4 laminated handwriting page –  this has our school’s handwriting font (Vic Modern Cursive) in upper and lowercase letters, plus a larger version of their name to practise correct letter formation.
  • 1 little tub of playdough
  • 1 whiteboard marker
  • 1 piece of Magic Eraser sponge

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The play dough is there for warming up little fingers. I have quite a few kiddos with very poor fine motor skills this year and I intend for them to use the play dough for the first minute or two.

The mini whiteboards are normally used during whole class instruction, where students record the letter under focus and can then hold the board underneath their chin so I can see how everyone’s going. (Also, it’s a bit easier than having everyone argue about coming up to the teacher’s board to practise writing their letters.)

The A4 laminated pages are usually for warm-ups or early finishers to practise forming each letter correctly, following the arrows provided in the tunnelling font for Vic Modern Cursive.

The Magic Eraser sponges are AWESOME at cleaning whiteboard markers off both whiteboards and laminated sheets and I can buy a couple of packets, cut them up and have really inexpensive erasers for everyone.

Thanks for stopping by this blog hop! I’d love to heard your ideas for handwriting, so don’t forget to leave a comment below. I’d also love for you to stop by my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for more bright ideas!

For variations on the handwriting bag, head along to this post, which has a few different ideas!

For more bright ideas, don’t forget to visit these wonderful bloggers and leave them some love!


November 15, 2014
by Ms Stefanie Galvin
2 Comments

Bright Ideas Round-Up!

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Thanks for stopping by for the November Bright Ideas link-up! This month is a special month where the participating blogs are highlighting all the wonderful bright ideas that they’ve shared over the last ten months. I’ve only participated in the last few months, but it’s still fun to revisit all of the great tips from teachers who are in the classroom every day – they do have the most practical, relevant ideas, after all!

Back in August I shared an idea for managing the Pencil War that happens in every classroom – what to do when you’re fighting the blunt/dull pencil fight! Check out my post here for some tips!

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Back in September I shared my tips for how to manage indoor/wet recesses! You can check out that post here.BrightIdeas_Sept2014_3

Finally, last month I shared some tips for keeping my most-used math resources handy on a day-to-day basis. You can read about that here.

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I hope you got a handy tip or trick from these posts. Don’t forget to check out all the links below for even more fabulous ideas that you can use for your classroom!

Thanks for stopping by!

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September 21, 2014
by Ms Stefanie Galvin
4 Comments

A Bright Idea for Wet Days

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I’m linking up again with the September Bright Ideas Blog Hop. This is such a fantastic blog hop through the wonderful land of teacher blogs, with a whole host of amazing teachers sharing handy, USEFUL (and FREE!) tips for the classroom.

Today’s tip is something that I started doing this year. I have a vague feeling that I saw this somewhere online (or at least a variation of it) and I can’t find it – so if you’ve done this and shared it before, I’d love for you to let me know so I can link to your post!. BUT, it has been an absolutely fantastic routine that I’ve trained my kids to use independently.

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Do you dread days like this? Days when it rains (or snows?) and your kids are stuck inside ALL DAY with no chance to run around an burn off that excess energy?

Me, too!

(A bit of background for my non-Australian friends – at my school, we have recess (30 mins) and lunch breaks (50 mins) where students are outside in the yard while the majority of staff are on recess/lunch breaks.)

When it’s a Wet Day Recess/Lunch the students are stuck inside and my classroom is at the mercy of their whims! I’m not required to be in the classroom with them (that’s the job of the yard duty teacher who has duty on that day) and so in order to stop the near-compulsive need to remain in the classroom to supervise, I’ve implemented my visual label system.

This systems lets students know which classroom resources/toys/games they’re allowed to access on a wet day.

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See those cute little rainclouds?

If a classroom container/drawer has one of those labels, students are allowed free reign/access to the contents of that container.

I have some on my art trolley for white scrap paper (for drawing), scrap coloured paper (for crafts/collages), paper punches and scissors, odds and ends and How to Draw books.

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I also have some on my Maths trolley – students can access dice and counting cubes and unifix blocks.

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I also have a tub of card games, student-made board games and Pokemon cards that students can pull down and use.

Honestly, it’s been such a life-saver here in rainy Melbourne! No more “Can I use the (insert activity of choice here!)?!”

Additional Wet Day Tips

With our IWB, students have the option of 2 different video options during wet days.

At lunch times I usually put on a DVD (usually a Magic School Bus DVD or something Disney) for those students who just want to sit and chill out. It’s usually a small portion of my kids, but it keeps them settled and out of trouble. The rest of the kids choose activities from their Wet Day options and keep themselves busy.

At recess times I always put on a Dance Party – which is just a playlist of Just Dance videos. Because our recess is short, it gives kids the opportunity to move and get rid of some of their excess energy!

One of our favourite Dance Party dances is Moves Like Jagger.

If you’ve got a great wet day/indoor recess tip, leave it in the comments!

If you enjoyed this Bright Idea, I’d love for you to join me on Facebook or Instagram  for more great ideas!

For even more Bright Ideas from over 100 fantastic teacher-bloggers, don’t forget to check out the wonderful links below. There are plenty of grade and topic options available and you’re sure to find something that interests you!



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