Miss Galvin Learns

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!

January 22, 2015
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Back to School Bounty Giveaway!

Hello friends! I’m back on home soil after 24 wonderful days spent with my best friend in Toronto. I have that lovely bittersweet feeling of enjoying being home, but being sad that I had to say goodbye to some people that I love dearly. But, the wonderful thing about living in this day an age is the awesomeness of Skype and FaceTime!

I’m interrupting my scheduled blogging program to share a fun giveaway that some friends and I are putting on to celebrate the start of the new school year here in Australia!

So, to all my Aussie friends – this post is to cheer you up as we embark on a brand new year. To anyone who’s not starting the new year now, there are still PLENTY of wonderful things for you to win, so do join in the fun!

My friends and I have teamed up to give you a chance to win 2 fabulous prizes!


All you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For those of you who are new to my blog, or those of you who missed this last year, here’s a fun freebie for you – a Valentine’s Day class book that coordinates perfectly with my Start Write Away pack included in the ELA giveaway!

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 8.01.57 am


Finally, you have the opportunity to win a $10 voucher for TpT! Simply complete the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win, and don’t forget to check out the other fabulous blogs involved for a chance to win other vouchers, too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I’ll see you all tomorrow for my Five For Friday post!   Sig_NewBlog2014

January 22, 2013
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Such Sweet Language, Sale & Giveaway!

Now that I’m home I’ve finally been able to finish my valentines-themed Literacy Centers pack!

This pack includes 7 centers, perfect for use during February. Each center includes a recording sheet (or more than one option).

  1. Such a Sweet Alphabet: ordering letters of the alphabet, sorting uppercase and lowercase letters, sorting consonants and vowels.
  2. Such Sweet ABC Order: 9 valentines-themed words to alphabetise and record.
  3. Such Sweet Nouns: sorting (18) nouns
  4. Such Sweet Compound Words: 16 compound word puzzles
  5. Such Sweet Contractions: matching ‘not’ contraction
  6. Such Sweet Sentences: 6 beginnings and 6 endings for students to make their own sentences
  7. Such Sweet Comma Pies: perfect for practising using commas in a sentence – students create their own designer pie, using commas to separate the ingredients

I’m so excited to use these activities with my kiddos (although some will be later on, since we only start our new year on the 31st January!).

To celebrate my new pack I’m having a SALE in my TpT store! You can get

20% off everything!

That definitely includes Such Sweet Language.

Visit my TpT Store

And, because I love giving away things I’m giving one person the chance to win a copy of Such Sweet Language. Simply leave me a comment (including your email) and tell my your favourite valentines activity. CLOSED

Congrats, Kelly!

October 26, 2012
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

A-Z Silly Sentence Sorts Pack & End of Year Freebie

Available on TeachersPayTeachers and Teachers Notebook (coming soon)

Silly Sentence sorts is a collection of 26 alliterative sentences that have been mixed up. When read out loud they sound very ‘silly’ and young students get a great kick out of recognising that it doesn’t make sense!

These would make a great addition to literacy center rotations – younger students can use the complete sentence strip as a reference when rebuilding the mixed-up words, while more capable students can piece it back together using their knowledge of sentence structure.

These look great on coloured card stock, or simply pasted into Literacy workbooks.

I hope that you find a place for them in your resources!

A-Z Silly Sentence Sorts (TpT)

A-Z Silly Sentence Sorts (TN)

Good grief – the end of year (here in the Southern Hemisphere, at least) is fast approaching. Soon we’ll be reflecting on our year-long learning journey.

It is available with Australian spelling and American!


Freebie Fridays

October 19, 2012
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Label the Trick-or-Treaters Pack & Friday Freebie

I’m having so much fun with labelling kits – they’re a great way to reinforce adjectives – and I had to make a set for Halloween using Nikki’s beautiful Halloween Kidlettes clipart. It was an exclusive bundle she released last weekend and it’s just adorable!

The pack contains 6 colour AND black & white labelling mats for trick-or-treaters in fantastic animal costumes.

The black & white mats can be printed and copied (either individually or onto coloured card stock and laminated for re-use. The colour ones could be laminated and used multiple times with whiteboard markers.

Super-cute and super-fun! Just in time for the Halloween holiday season.

You purchase it on TpT and Teachers Notebook.

Freebie Fridays

And, because I love you guys so much, I’ve also included a freebie in the Preview file.

Click on the picture above to take you to TpT for the free download!

However, the first 2 people to leave a comment and their email address will get a copy of Label the Trick-or-Treaters for FREE!

What’s your favourite Halloween costume?

January 8, 2012
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Word Cloud Art

Well, sort of.

A little while ago I saw a fantastic idea posted on a classroom blog (and I feel terrible because I forgot to save the post and I can’t remember where I saw it – point being, this is not my original idea!) that I remembered this afternoon and had to try.

This year I’m moving into a brand new classroom in brand new building. Now, I’m slightly distressed because the room is tiny and I have a LOT of stuff. I don’t even have room to hang a net in my room – which is difficult for me, because I put up student work and displays left, right, up, down, all across the classroom. This year, however, I have to be super organised and crafty with my room space.

But I am determined (I swear!) to have a cozy reading space. And this is why my borrowed idea comes in handy.

Blog-HungryUsing my (undeniable) love for word clouds, I’m making picture-book word clouds for some of my favourite children’s books using the words from the stories. I’m using Tagxedo, mostly because I love the different shape layout options, but I do also have a love for the original word clouds from Wordle.

My aim is to frame these and put them up in the reading area, and throughout the year make new ones and switch them around based on my class’ favourite stories. (Not counting the other many Literacy-rich activities that word clouds can be used for – but that’s another post all on its own!)

If anyone’s interested I’ve put together some of the word clouds I made in a .pdf featuring the following books:

  • Imagine a Place (Rob Gonsalves and Sarah L. Thomson)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle)
  • The Very Itchy Bear (Nick Bland)
  • Possum Magic (Mem Fox)
  • The Red Tree (Shaun Tan)
  • Diary of a Wombat (Jackie French)

Download the .pdf here

I have no doubt that more classroom decorating posts will follow (I’m notorious for documenting that sort of thing) once I can actually get into my classroom! First trip in on Tuesday, to sort out the Prep Resource Room (a disaster site after our moving day in December).

However, I think more of these picture-book word clouds are also on the agenda, because frankly, they’re addictive and cute!

Which picture-books would you turn into a word cloud?

August 27, 2011
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Isabella’s Garden, Pt. 2

Earlier this week I made a post about Isabella’s Garden, a beautiful picturebook written by Glenda Millard, and illustrated by Rebecca Cool.

I also talked about an art activity that I’ve used following a reading of the story, using torn bits of coloured paper to create a landscape image in the season of the students’ choosing. Below, please find examples of students work from 2011.

Isabella's Garden

View more presentations from stefgalvin

I also promised to share a photo of my Book Week Parade costume – Sunday Chutney!
IMG_0237Alas, I cut all my hair off the Saturday prior to the parade, but other than that I was quite happy with my costume!
How was your Book Week? (For those who celebrated it!)

Who would you dress up as for a book parade?

August 16, 2011
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Mobile Learning

IMG_0009(Preps using an iPad during Literacy Rotations)

This term I’ve been ‘road-testing’ mobile learning devices in my prep classroom. This is in part due to a research project my school is participating in, funded by the DEECD’s Innovation department, and partly inspired by my own grand ideas of using technology.

This morning I was listening to Shelly Terrell‘s webinar at SimpleK12 on “Read World Learning Through Mobile Devices” (at 5am!) – which was particularly fortunate timing for me, given my exploratory use of an iPad and iPod Touch in the classroom. I also particularly enjoyed Shelly’s ebook Effective Mobile Learning (50+ Quick Tips & Resources).

Now, a very quick overview of my class: I teach a class of 22 preps (5-6 year olds) in a government school in the Northern Metropolitan region of Melbourne. I have a wonderful mix of cultures within my classroom, a small number of ESL students, and a wide range of abilities (both in traditional curriculum areas and also in using technology). A handful of students have iPod Touches, 1 has an iPad that he shares with a sibling, a few more occasionally play on their parents’ iPhones, and about half the class have access to a computer (desktop or laptop) at home under parent supervision.

Since the start of this term, I’ve spent quite a bit of time incorporating at least 1 literacy-based technology activity into my literacy rotations (school wireless permitting!). I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the way all of my students have worked together to respect the rules of using these devices, and have demonstrated great cooperative skills and a willingness to be involved. Needless to say, the enthusiasm of the group using the iPad outweighs most of the other activities!

Activities I have incorporated:

  • An interactive ebook story (The Three Pandas) – students listened to the story, touched the screen to interact with the characters. At the end of each session the groups discussed the story, relating it to other stories they knew of (Goldilocks and the Three Bears), talking about the differences between the ebook and a traditional paper-based book. We also connected it to our IWB and watched it as a class.
  • Watched (downloaded) YouTube videos appropriate to lessons (including nursery rhymes, counting rhymes and other fun little videos based on sounds and word play).
  • Used Halftone to take photos and create a one-page poster with a descriptive sentence. I worked with each student one-on-one (and quite a few of the students worked together, teaching each other, too!) to explore how to take a photo and how to edit and create text in the Halftone app. They then saved these photos to iPhoto and printed them in colour to make a classroom book. They were able to show (and demonstrate) to our Principal – who was amazed at the knowledge and ability of the students after one lesson using the app – and Assistant Principal their creations both on the iPad and then the book. This lead to their introduction to Comic Life during ICT sessions (starting today).
  • This week we’re focusing on short-vowel sounds and are using Spelling Magic 1 (and 2) to listen to and make simple/CVC words using the vowel sounds. The picture at the top of this post is 3 students using the app and recording the words that they hear on a vowel chart. They then took these posters to our desktops (Macs) and (with some help) logged into Voki and created avatars who introduced themselves and shared some of the words from their posters. We’ve put their Vokis onto our classroom blog, to share with their peers, families and members of our school community. Needless to say, they’re all very proud of their work, and I look forward to seeing what else they come up with during the week.
  • I’ve also recorded lots of simple levelled reading texts in Garage Band and uploaded them onto the iPod Touch which, coupled with a headphone splitter, has turned into a portable listening post.

What do I have planned for the future?

  • Inspired by Shelly’s webinar, I’m planning on using MouthOff on the iPod Touch (and our mini HD Flip cameras) to record student communications – most likely with them talking about their weekends!
  • A simple QR code hunt – likely to revolve around either our Sounds of the Week or a text response activity.
  • An activity (still in the planning stages) using the PuppetPals app on the iPad.

Plus a whole host of other activities that I’m determined to design using lots of apps and the cameras and video functions.

I don’t think any of these activities are revolutionary (I see so many fantastic and inspiring activities being posted on Twitter by my PLN on a daily basis, and I feel so behind!) – but they’re a step forward for my school and I’m quite happy to be the one pushing things forward… even just a little bit!

As my AP said in the staffroom – a few years ago you would never have thought to have Prep students creating a Voki. And while I do a lot of the set-up and logging in for them – they type in the text and they create their avatars and that’s fantastic to see!

Are you in the Early Years and using mobile learning devices? What activities have you implemented? (Or, spare some advice on what worked for you/what didn’t work!)

August 10, 2011
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

Face to Face Networking

Screen shot 2011-08-10 at 8.12.58 PM

One of the most challenging things about teaching, at the moment, is the integration of technology into daily classroom use. Since starting to build my online PLN, barely a month ago, I’ve been inundated with great ideas from educators who do just that – and they do it well.

While I didn’t grow up with technology from a very young age, by the end of Primary School, I had access to a computer at home and I had a blog on LiveJournal just after I turned 13. (I shudder to think about the things I probably posted on that blog!) I’ve always loved using computers to connect and talk to other people, to write and share ideas. It’s a great way to meet and learn from people who live all over the world, which is the driving force behind online PLNs, Twitter chats and other sources of networking.

However, as a relatively new teacher to the profession, relatively young and – dare I say it – naive to the politics involved in teaching, I sometimes struggle with the idea that there are teachers out there who are reluctant to make use of all the amazing resources available to them – mostly free – online.

As a result, just in the last four weeks I’ve found myself presenting web2.0 tools to parents, colleagues from my workplace and colleagues from the local teaching network. For me, it’s a very strange position to be in, not least because I’m absolutely petrified of public speaking (please don’t ask me what I’ve actually said at any of these presentations, because I’m usually so nervous I can’t remember!). But the sad thing is, it feels like if I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t be presented at all and I think that’s a detriment to teaching in such a digital age.

In a lot of ways, I consider myself a sponge – I want to learn and know as much as I possibly can (usually in the shortest time span), and I’m willing to put the time in to teach myself. In reality, I know that schools can only provide so much professional development on ICT development, tools and skills – there’s just so much that is crammed into each year, so much time spent before and after school at meetings and planning that it’s just not possible.* That said, I think teachers also need to be willing to put in an effort on their own – and spend 15-20mins researching and playing with the different tools they want to use with their students – and ultimately it’s that 20mins that will the most valuable in the long run.

*Unless of course you volunteer your own time (which I recommend, in moderation) to attend PD that you want to. Or attending something wonderful, like RSCON3 – or simply watching the recordings!

To that end, during our most recent Mini-Network Meeting – a gathering of teachers from local schools meeting together in Level teams to discuss areas of interest – which was held at my school for Level 1, it was decided that we would look at free, interactive resources for teachers. (Ultimately, this also included subscriptions that schools had, classroom resources and blogs.)

Screen shot 2011-08-07 at 7.08.22 PM

I’ll admit to getting all exciting and pulling together all the links of great sites I’d come across over the last couple of years (and a few from the last few weeks!) and throwing them into a LiveBinder all ready to share. I organised a bit.ly short link for ease of access and made sure we had access to an IWB for the session. During the meeting, I was able to easily show examples of sites, explain what they were, etc. Others we able to suggest extra resources (which were recording and added to the LiveBinder) and we had decent discussion going.

And, I think it went well. It was actually quite hard to judge; these were people I see once a term (if that) and I’m not sure if it was what they were expecting, or whether it was an overload or if they just thought it was a waste of time. Most of the suggestions for additional resources were subscription sites/accounts that schools had purchased, which was fine, and there were suggestions for blogs that one of the teachers followed (I internally leaped for joy at the thought of another local teacher following blogs!).

The feedback I got from my AP was very positive though – and it is nice to hear that from school leadership.

August 6, 2011
by Ms Stefanie Galvin

100 Days of School Celebrations


Last Wednesday (August 3rd, 2011), my prep class celebrated their first 100 Days of School.

Now, I know this is not a new concept, but for our school it was and it was extremely successful. Which was a huge relief for me, because I drove the whole idea, and the days leading up to it were quite nerve-racking for me. Being only in my second year of teaching I didn’t know how it would go over with the rest of the team, and with the school, so I didn’t make such a huge deal over it with the wider school community (although if my contract is renewed at the end of this year that will change for next year).

My rationale behind the 100 Days of School celebrations was purely to give my students something to celebrate – a tangible milestone that had lots of educational merit. We start the majority of our numeracy sessions with counting, and since the middle of last term we’ve counted from 1-100 – so it’s not something that’s out of reach for them. In fact, for some it’s downright easy – but ‘100’ is such an exciting number that just knowing they had reached 100 days filled each of them with such enthusiasm.

Plus, it’s nice to have a themed day where all the activities are geared towards the same concept – from sport, to literacy and numeracy!

We really did have a great day, doing all sorts of activities. I specifically didn’t have a concrete list of activities that HAD to be completed by the end of the day. I had lots of activities that we could move through at our own pace, which turned out to be one of the most successful elements, in my opinion.

So, what did we do?

The shortest answer is: lots!

  • We made posters displayed 100 objects in 10 groups of 10. Students brought in 100 small objects of their choice (including pasta, beads, rice, stickers, matchsticks, etc) to use for their posters and I provided lots of extra items for students who forgot. One of the nicest elements of this activity thought, besides the wonderful numeracy concepts, was that students shared their objects with each other, and had 10 groups of 10 different items on their posters. They approached each other and asked if they could use 10 of the other students’ beads, or use 10 of their stickers. Some students even recorded who they received items from on their charts, which was just lovely to see. This activity took most of the first 2 hours of the day, and I let it, because they just had a wonderful time, and I’m not going to stand in the way of enthusiasm!
  • We did 100 exercises! After recess we stayed outside in the sun (we couldn’t have asked for nicer weather on Wednesday) and made a big circle. We then did 10 groups of 10 different exercises and stretches before heading back inside.
  • We wrote about what we would buy if we had $100. Students brainstormed a list of the things they would buy with $100 and then completed a sentence-starter and illustrated their pages beautifully. All of their writing is to be collated into a classroom book for a class library!
  • We explored the different ways that we could make 100. On a poster we stuck on pictures of 100s charts, $100 notes, 100 smiley faces, a hundreds MAB block and 10 groups of 10 icy-pole sticks and thought about all the ways we could make 100.
  • We made a tower of 100 unifix blocks. Students then took turns lying down next to our tower to see if anyone was as long as the tower (disappointingly, no), and then demanded that I lie down next to it. Unfortunately I am not as tall as 100 unifix blocks! However, when our principal, Mrs. Ringrose visited, the students quickly decided that she was definitely taller than 100 unifix blocks!
  • We rolled 6-sided and 10-sided dice and coloured in a 100s chart. Students rolled a die and had to colour in the number of squares on their 100s chart… until they reached 100. Some students made rainbow coloured charts, others decided to use 2 or 3 different colours to form patterns.
  • We looked at a 1m ruler and talked about how long 100cm was. Students then used streamers to estimate how long 100cm was (with the ruler hidden!) – some results were very close and some of the methods used to work out the results were inspired. One student noted how high the ruler was in comparison to our IWB and then used her foot to hold the streamer on the ground and unrolled the streamer until she found the ‘right’ spot on the board. In the end we had 2 students, one who was approximately an inch too short, and one who was an inch too long, so they were both declared the winners!
  • We made a chain of 100 paper links. A collaborative effort that was placed up in our classroom!
  • We made special masks. This was apparently one of the highlights of the day – something they could make and take/wear home after school. Most just decorated them with textas and sequins, but a few were quite inventive, covering them in the number 100!

100 daysofschool

View more presentations from stefgalvin.

At the end of the day, I was able to give each student a laminated certificate congratulating them on reaching 100 days of school.

I suppose the most gratifying part of the day was the happiness of my students at the end of the day – they were just so bubbly. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many hugs as they ran out the door to show their parents what they’d made!

I also had some lovely feedback from parents, and also from my principal who had been running school tours during the morning with prospective parents coming through the classrooms. I know that next year, whether or not I’m there, 100 Days with continue – hopefully bigger and better!

What I took away from the experience is the confidence that I am actually able to introduce ideas – successfully – and that I just have to be brave enough to say “this is what I’m doing (and would you like to join in with me!).”

Does your school run a 100 Days of School celebration?

What kinds of activities do they include?

What is (on of) your proudest achievements/experiences as a teacher?

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