Sunday, 25 August 2013

This was how it began in Australia…

I felt a bit out of it with all of you guys showing your new rooms so I decided to head back to my start up in January.  Remember in Australia our school year begins in January and finishes in December so we are actually in term 3 now
…a little over halfway through Kindergarten!
This was how I began the school year…
My classroom is not very big so organisation is the key. I can hear my colleagues laughing and whispering..."She's a little OCD." Perhaps I am but hey, what's not to like about neatness and organisation!
Let's take a look around together. This is the main area with my brand new 2013 Smartboard...yay!

And this is my teaching nook. It's little, cosy and the kids love it...especially Big Ted and Snowy Bear.

Winnie the Pooh
features as my class theme/mascot. I was never a huge fan of the Winnie the Pooh stories. However, the theme stuck after a dear colleague, Ruth, many years ago, gave me a pair of Winnie socks that she bought for me. Thanks Ruth!!
From there my collection has grown incredibly and I now have to disclaim to all new families that I am not some weirdo collector and it really is safe to leave their littlies with me!!!
Actually I love it when kids bring me their beloved Winnie the Pooh items because they sincerely want to share with me. It was really cute ...until the kids started calling my room Kinder Pooh!
Now let’s look at my Class Rules. I use, standby and love many Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) techniques. After watching a few free video's at I downloaded these cute rule posters from Pinterest then added some gingham backing paper, a little red card stock and laminated them. I have a small A4 sized set in my class nook area that we run through every morning as a reminder of our rules. The Little Learner's take turns in leading the class in rule gestures as they all chant them. This definitely helps to reinforce the rules and the kids just love using gestures. Throughout the day I sometimes just perform a gesture relating to one of our rules and instantaneously the child is bought back into line without a spoken word. Alternatively. I call out rule 3 or rule 2 and the Little learners all recite the rule aloud, continue working and the rule offender is brought back into the cohort without being singled out by name. I plan to write a blog solely about these basic rules and how effective they really are in the future. If you haven't tried are going to love it!!!

Class Rule reminder
Next its the Birthday Wall. Simple... yes. Bright and cheery...yes.
The kids love to see their names on display and are always checking to see how many months until their birthday and who is having a birthday. We have also used this information display to graph birthdays in our class. We have used it to name the various colours, count the months, say the months in order, story spelling and of course it keeps me on red alert as to who has a special day coming up. This too was a free download from Sparklebox.

Birthday Balloons - months of the year chart
Special Five Sound Houses. I have a sound house for each alphabetic letter. The humming House, The Royal House, The Quiet House, The Noisy House and The Vowel House. The divisions were not my idea but I did make up the roof tops and cards. Eventually I will provide a link to these for anyone interested. I run through these each morning with the Little Learners and they seriously LOVE vocalising them in the appropriate tone.

Sound Houses

The Behaviour Clip Chart. I down loaded this from Pinterest then mounted it on matching card stock and laminated each for durability. I soaked some wooden pegs in yellow food dye and used a black marker to write each Little Learner's name on a peg. The idea is to move the pegs up and down over the course of the day, week, term. All pegs were in the starting position to start the year and now...well they are all over the place.

Behaviour Clip Chart & Colour words on Cats

The Coloured Cats surrounding the chart were a freebie from Sparklebox. Having the names of each colour on the cat means the Little Learners can refer to them when writing as well as practise their colour word reading anytime.
Here is my first ever Super Improvers Wall. Another brilliant WBT idea. I wasn't sure how the Kindergartners would respond to it but it has been a huge encouragement for the Little Learners. When I took the photos below it was January, the day before my new class started therefore, all of the stars are the same colour. After just one term our wall has three different coloured stars and my Little Learners are striving for the next level constantly. Motivation Maximum I can assure you.

Super Improvers Wall at start of 2013
 As you can see the display board has a bright background with cute little letter flags making up the title. Underneath the title each Little Learner has their own star with their name on it. I made up stars in 10 different colours for each student because each colour represents progressive improvement. I made these up before I started the year so that all was ready to go before I began using the reward system. You know how busy things get during the term and we need instant follow through to maintain motivation for this age group. I keep each set of coloured stars in a separate snap lock bag for quick access and efficient storage. Before a student can move to the next level/colour they earn 10 stickers on their star. Stickers are awarded for individual improvement in absolutely anything. For example; lining up without touching others, good manners, neat colouring, clever thinking, fact recall, waiting turn, helping others etc I now have a chart which is on the wall next to the Super Improver Board in place of the birthday cake. This shows the Little Learners what the name and colour of the next level is so it adds to the whole motivation. I will photograph this after holiday break and add a link to that post to share with you.

Kinder Cottage
Super Improvers Wall Title

Super Improvers Wall
The Little Learners spontaneously applaud when a classmate achieves a new level. It's very cute and honestly required no prompting whatsoever. I take down the star which has 10 stickers on it, hand it to it's owner and immediately replace it with the new coloured star. Usually the Little Learner keeps the sticker filled star on their desk for the day then takes it home to share with their family. Absolutely gorgeous, motivational system and simple to implement I promise.

Our News Week is a display board that prevents many 5 and 6 year olds from talking all day - everyday! I cant actually believe how many times a day the children check their names on this chart. Each child is allocated a day to present a news item to the class for approximately 1-2 minutes. I have a timer to prevent the talks going longer which the days leader controls.

Our News Week display board
My 'News' rules are simple.
  • Everyone must take a turn... every week.
  • Children are free to talk about one object of their choice per session or News Talks may be based on the 'question of the week' which is usually theme related. For example, 'What's you favourite Australian Animal?'
  • Anyone who is speaking during a presentation loses their turn for that week. Very strict on this rule right from Day 1.
  • The presenter may select one question from the audience to answer.
  • If someone is experiencing difficulty they may opt for five questions from the audience rather than presenting news. Most Little Learners take this option once in term 1.
  • If someone is away they may have their News on the day they return.
Little Learners Kings & Queens
I have a student run the news session as supervisor and I sit with the audience checking eye contact, volume, oral sentence structure progression etc. (I usually jot down any of the little pearls of wisdom the Little Learners reveal too. Later to be shared with Mum or Dad or a colleague. You have to admit we hear some hilarious stuff!)
Kids love to Be King or Queen during News because they sit on our class throne and wear their choice of royal cape and crown, of course. They also have the privilege of selecting 2 students to receive a gold glitter star sticker on their Super Improver Wall - a huge motivator for my class.
Meet my Scoreboard...Smileys and Frownies!
I LOVE using The Scoreboard with Kindergarten, another fabulous idea from wholebrainteaching. Although I admit that I was uncertain of its potential success at first. In fact I was sure it wouldn't work with the Little Learners but could see it being effective in older years But guess what??? It worked a charm.
(I simply printed my icons, cut them out and Blu Tack them to my chalkboard)
Give it a go - I am so glad I did!

Kinder Cottage Smiley and Frownie Scoreboard

What is this Scoreboard?? I hear you ask. The Scoreboard is a whole class motivational tool. You simply put two icons on a board, one representing success and the other room for improvement. Every time your class is achieving your expectations you exclaim, '1 second party!' hold up one finger and add a tally point below the Smiley on the scoreboard.
Now this next part is priceless - Your Little Learners then shout 'Oh Yes/Yeah!' They raise their arm and punch up into the air.

If you see or hear something that you want to discourage you simply exclaim, ' Mighty groan! shrug your shoulders, hang your head down and add one tally point below the Frownie on the scoreboard.
 Now for the priceless part - The Little Learners voice 'Ohhhh!' and sadly sigh loudly.

It doesn't take long before the children are checking the scoreboard and quietly encouraging each other to do their best to ensure Smiley wins. You need to maintain a difference of no more than 3 tally points between the Smileys and Frownies all day for optimum motivation and give points frequently. 100 points is suggested for the first few weeks.
I know, I know, you are thinking doesn't this distract the Little Learners from their work tasks?
Quite the opposite which is hilarious. The Little learners very quickly make their responses then continue with their tasks without prompting to do so. It really is funny to listen to their responses, watch gestures that accompany the words then to have the Little Learners immediately back on task....all without you saying a word.

The Scoreboard needs to be in a prominent position allowing quick, easy access.

By the way...there isn't any reward at the end of the day, week, month or ever. Kids just enjoy the challenge. After about a term you can crank it up/refresh it by telling the kids that they are soooo amazingly good that they have moved to the next level. Simply write 'Level 2' on the board above the icons and off you go again. Hilarious...but this genuinely motivates the Little Learners. Theory suggests that they are so used to playing computer games that progressing to the next level is mental reward.

My Little Learner's respond quickly to this simple Classroom Noise Visual Display. They often remind me to set the display for the lesson! I think it gives them comfort or maybe they just like to 'dob' on peer violators!!!

Kinder Cottage Visual Noise Level Display

This Visual sits at the front of the classroom to the right of my Smart Board.
Easy visual access for all.
I Blu Tacked 3 brightly coloured, purchased, call outs to the chalkboard. The Little Learners and I agreed on the noise level labels as a class and I wrote them in semi permanent chalk pen. We chose a Tigger mascot magnet to be the pointer and added the title,
"Tigger is happy...".

Kinder Cottage Noise Level Visual Display
Following teacher instruction... I set the level of acceptable noise allowed for task completion. I say,
" Tigger is happy when you work silently. "
I place the Tigger magnet on the matching callout. During the lesson if necessary I say,
" Oops! Tigger is not happy."
...Alternatively, I say,
"Tigger is bouncing on ..." This triggers the Little Learners look to the board and see where he is bouncing. Sometimes I add, "Tell your neighbour that Tigger is bouncing on ...whisper voices" Then the kids start working. However, if someone breaks the set noise level, the Little Learners very indignantly remind the 'rule breaker', often pointing to the display board as a cue. It's great...the children participate in the classroom behavioural management!
Super Improver Levels after a few weeks!

I didn’t create the gorgeous level graphics that you see on the right in the photo above but thanks to a Tara West freebie on TpT we have them beautifully prepared for us to use.

Thanks Tara – very cute Smile
I personalised the premade levels after printing them by adding the gingham paper backing boarders.
I LOVE gingham!!

     Luckily I was able to match a gingham backing paper, from my craft supplies, to each level card before I laminated them. Happy days - the final product looks effective and as I mentioned in a previous post, the Little Learners LOVE the Super Improver Wall.

You may also like to check out my previous post about how this system works.

Check it out here… Super Improver Wall.
The photo below shows the angle that the Little Learners view the Levels.
Kind of looks like a colourful ladder don’t you think?

If you’d like to know more about the Super Improvers Wall visit
- it’s fabulous or follow my blog, Mrs Stowe’s Kinder Cottage.  I regularly post about whole brain strategies and I PROMISE that my post is never, ever this long!
Happy Sunday!
Mrs Stowe

Friday, 23 August 2013

swamp run


Science Week…

our Senior school provided our Junior school with some fabulous times. 
It’s great having Physics, Chemistry and Biology Senior school teachers
promoting all things science to our Little Learners. 

The kids were blown away by their week long experiments and shows. 
Everyday was an adventure.  One favourite activity was…

The Swamp Run.


Strategically placed at the bottom of the stairs leading to the oval, the Little Learners were intrigued from the beginning of the day as they peered at the set up. 
Several stories circulated about what was happening  in the playground. 
The Teachers were loving it – especially our Physics Teacher, 
who donned fancy apparel for the occasion.


This one particularly delighted in advising all of the Kinder Kids to take off their shoes and socks,
stating that the
Kinder teachers
would help them all put them back on after their swamp run!!!
…he’s soooo funny. Hmm


The Swamp run was a HUGE tray filled with cornflour and water. 
The Little learners had to trust the science experts as they advised the Little Learners to run and not walk through the swamp.

One brave Kindy teacher
volunteered was persuaded, pressured to model the process. 
Luckily I was on photos!


And here they are…

P1010332  P1010308 

It was hilarious. 
There were those who did exactly as they were told and safely made it through the swamp. 
Some made it half way, doubted and sunk. 
Then again their were some who right from the start could not believe the ‘scientists’ and sank right from the start as they slowly stepped into the swamp.

P1010317  P1010316

My favourite was a little fellow who was doubtful, sunk, then tried to get out with his hands which also got stuck. 
We had a few tears but mostly giggles and joy with everyone wanting more attempts to cross the swamp. 
Two feet together kangaroo jumps were a successful way to journey the swamp and looked very funny too.

P1010324  P1010310

All in all a really fun week. 
Thanks Science Team!

Happy Saturday!
Mrs StoweSmile

Thursday, 22 August 2013

K-6 Literacy Day

This week our Junior school held it’s annual

Literacy Day.

Each teacher selects a book from either Australia’s short listed award potentially winning titles or a favourite book and creates a little bit of fun for the Little Learners.  we hold the groups from morning until lunchtime.

The children from Kindergarten to Year 6 are placed into groups of about 18 students, mixed grades.  Each group spends approximately 30minutes in a teachers classroom listening to a story and completing an activity.  The group then moves on and experiences a new book every 30minutes until lunchtime.

It’s so lovely to watch the older 12year olds interact with the Little 5year olds.  It also gives the “bigger” kids an excuse to really enjoy picture books that they otherwise think they are too mature for.

What did I do?  I hear you ask.

I introduced the groups I had to Peggy by Anna Walker


Peggy is the delightful story of a chicken who finds herself in the city then makes her way home again to the country.  Its absolutely gorgeous, both story and illustrations.  The author cleverly uses a double  page spread of delightful illustrations and simple wording towards the start then repeats this double page at the end of the book to bring the story full circle visually and in writing.  The unexpected treat is the final page which leaves everyone with a smile.


Did you think I was going to tell you what happens and spoilt the story for you. No way!

Peggy the hen is given many human characteristics which are very funny as she fumbles her way around the city but rather than spend the reading time is ruckus laughter, it just makes you smile all the way through as you explore the illustrations.  It was a feel good story for sure.

Our Activity

We discussed chickens and I told the Little Learners how I had taken an egg from the fridge as a child, wrapped it in tissues and a hand towel and hopped it would hatch. 
Yes…I was pet deprived and…stupid!

Next the Little Learners played a game of
Memory in three’s. 


I printed the chicken and chicks freebie from TpT.
I laminated and cut them up ready for the day. 

I made six sets. 

Each chicken has upper case alphabet letters while the little chicks had lower case letters.

All ages enjoyed matching memory style.

P1010346  P1010353


Happy Thursday!
Mrs StoweSmile

Friday, 16 August 2013

My Piano Man…



Deviating slightly from my kinder posts just because I can. 
Although still about a school event.

Hats off to our Senior School Teachers

Last Thursday our school held its annual MAD night (Music, Arts & Drama).  The evening showcased some of the talents of the performing arts students in their final year at school.  These kids were amazing.  Credit to their teachers who persevere, encourage and channel their talents. While this MAD night is for fun, the students will present their items in about a month to a state judging panel and this will form part of their final school assessment.  In Australian we call this final school assessment HSC (Higher School Certificate) and it is used as entry for university. It includes all subjects the student studies.

Well…my son is in his final year and he is a gifted pianist!!
Okay, I know what you are thinking but honestly parent love aside,
He really is gifted…
Harry can hear something and reproduce it effortlessly. He plays with feeling and our home is filled with beautiful music of all styles from classic to jazz and more. Id like to add that he gets this gift or even talent from me but…he doesn’t.  I cant even clap a beat.  Sad but true. Sad smile

Just wanted to say WOW!!


you are incredible and so humble. 
You are a blessing and an inspiration.
All the best for your HSC

What a great night!

Listening to the CD now…speechless.

Let your light shine.

Happy Saturday!
Proud Mum
Mrs StoweSmile

PS  Thanks for your indulgence friends.

harry 1

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

desk plates…

Make summer last a little longer…

Ice Cream themed desk plates to drag Summer back into your classroom.
Take at look at the gorgeous graphics, frames and papers in these new desk plates.


Thanks to the creativity of the wonderful

Barbara Leyne
from Ruby Slippers Blog Designs.

I was able to put together a set of name plates using six different flavours/colours. 
Barb is amazingly talented and a real gem.

Barbara created six delicious flavoured ice-creams with matching paper and frames.  These are available at her TpT store. Creative possibilities are endless…hmm.

I love them all.  
Thanks BarbSmile


This is a sample of my desk plates and you can see them in the photos above and below too.


I printed my plates onto light card, cut them down the middle and added the Little Learners names. I laminated them so they will last until the end of the year too.

Multi use…

I will  use the desk plates to mark places, support ability and mixed ability grouping, socialise Little Learners, assist with letter recognition (alphabet in lower case on every desk plate)  and to quickly group the children as we set about tasks or move to the floor or out to lines etc.
I will simply call out an ice-cream flavour or colour and in my class of 24, four students should respond immediately because they have that colour ice-cream on their desk plate. 
No arguments…I’m hopeful.


Introduced the new Desk Plates Today…

The Little Learner’s were so excited with their new desk plates and I LOVE that they are a reminder the Australian Summer is on the way 
– yay!

ice-cream is good all year round

so head on over to my TpT store if you ‘d like a copy for your Little Learners.

Happy Wednesday!
Mrs Stowe Smile

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Posters–Days of the week & months of the year


A new product available from my Tpt store for anyone

too tired & too busy 

to be making Days of the week and Months of the year poster style display for their room.

Ready made poster style wall display.





Print, cut and laminate for an easy, bright, colourful wall display in your classroom.

All posters are based on a dotty theme to coordinate.

Pack includes a matching title display printable too. (essential to complete the matchy look)

Alternatively use the printable as a set of flash style cards to practise ordering names of the days of the week and months of the year. The Little Learners could use the cards to practise putting them back into correct order also.

Have fun with this product. My Tpt store, click here.

Happy Sunday!
Mrs Stowe Smile