Monday, 20 October 2014

Sunday Scoop (on Monday!!)

I am already so behind on this week I don't think I am going to catch up and the thought of managing 20 posts this month (when I got off to such a good start!!) is just on of those delirious dreams but I'm joining in with The Teaching Trio's
even if it is Monday!

As my husband is one of those that it's incredibly hard to buy things for, when I do see something I know he might like I just get it there and then which means it has to be hidden away really secretively until his birthday.  Of course by the time it is his birthday I have either forgotten where I hid it or even that I did buy it and hide it so I need to go on a hunt or he'll end up with only the Terry Pratchett books I bought last week for him!!

No. 1 son left for final year at Uni a couple of weeks ago but obviously forgot several items which is why I had to go into his room to have a look for them this weekend and discovered much to my horror a suitcase of clothes that look (and smell) like they need a wash - honestly - so much intelligence so little thought!!!

And I must, must, must get this Art Challenge present wrapped up and sent off to Fil over at as I finished it off last month and still haven't made it to the post office.  If you want to join in too or find out more click on the button below.

My happy to do is to get to be with my husband on his actual birthday - as he works and lives away during the week this is normally an impossibility but as no children will be at home on the day, I am going to drive over to him on the night and come back early in the morning so hopefully that will be a lovely evening spent together celebrating at a nice restaurant somewhere (if I can find his presents!!)

Friday, 17 October 2014

Five for Friday Ghostly Freebie

This week I have not had time to post anything as suddenly everything is coming at once and I've been up to my eyeballs in work so it's not much of a Friday Five but here goes!

Join in the fun over at Doodle Bugs Teaching by clicking the button above

 First - these little ghostly numbers - with thanks to Cara from Creative Playground for the Mrs Monster numeral font :)

DD goes to Australia in less than two weeks so we have been sorting all last minute paperwork, banking, phones, luggage locks, travel adapters etc because I know it will all be MY fault if something gets forgotten!!  I just keep on feeling I'm going to burst into tears at any moment when I stop to think she really is going - I don't know how I'm going to cope with the worry :( 

Did a flying visit to my parents in the north so she could say goodbye as they won't be seeing her for the next 8 months and took in a bit of shopping and sightseeing in the city of York.  We decided against having tea at Betty's as the waiting line outside was too long!

This weekend she will be going to visit her other set of grandparents at the opposite end of the country.

I have been taking the opportunity as the weather has been patchy to start to go through years of teaching files as I now do not need to have all subjects kept as I will not be returning to the life of a full scale classroom teacher - this too is a little difficult to get my head around but as I am now concentrating on special needs I know this will be my area of interest from now on so goodbye to many of my geography specialist resources and files!  The sad truth is there is little point in passing these on to anyone else at school as I know they have so little time and inclination to actually do anything with them or plan other lessons except those they already have for their classes so it's into the recycling bin they will be going and books & CD Roms to the charity shop.

And finally a little freebie the rest of these ghostly numbers to 10 for anyone else who would like them :)


Have a great weekend!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Five for Friday Pumpkin Power

It's Friday already so I'm linking up with Kacey over at Doodlebugs to share my 5!
Normally I'm quite good about posting five random things but this week I appear to have become pumpkin obsessed so you might just notice a theme!!

First, I have created these little pumpkin number buttons which have excited more of my older children as they look just that little bit more scary.  They know me as being all sweetness and light so they were impressed b my darker side!!

I have got back into thinking about the embroidery I used to do whilst listening to music or watching T.V. and I found a little website where you can create your own patterns.  So I had a little dabble and created one of a pumpkin!  If you want the pattern as a pdf just click on the pumpkin button number 2 to download.  I hope to be having a go at actually stitching some of it this weekend - fingers crossed I get some free time.

I created some pumpkin clip art that I put on TpT for the first time and it was a success and it appears to work judging from the comments I have received.  It has also led to me finding other wonderful artists (no I am not in that category I mean the artists I already know e.g. Cara from Creative Playground or Krista Walden or Mel from Graphicsfromthepond!!)  Which has inspired me to begin creating some new products with an autumnal theme.

I have also been working on both literacy and maths resources this week to aid students in these areas and have created some freebies to share if you want to go back to those blog posts via my Throwback Thursday one press on pumpkin number 4 :)

And finally for something completely different - turnips!!
I was taken out to a Lebanese restaurant the other evening and all I can say is WOW!!  I am not one for spicy food so I went with trepidation but instead experienced one of the best meals of my life - the tastes were astounding so aromatic and the beauty of the dishes was wonderful to behold.  But one thing on our plates of mezze had us all confounded as long pink fingers of an unknown food were consumed so we had to ask and were told it was pickled turnip - I don't thing I've ever had turnip before - swede yes turnip no but I certainly will have this again.  I did not think to take a picture so instead you'll have to settle for one off the internet (I hasten to add that our plates looked better than this but you can see the pink pickled turnip).

I have already said I will be taking my husband there at another time as I am sure he too will enjoy the whole experience.

Now I'm off to find out one everyone else has been up to.  Leave me a comment - I'd love to hear where you've eaten this week or have you become obsessed with something recently or even have you gone back to doing something you used to when you were younger?

Have a happy weekend :)

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Throwback Thursday Halloween Special

Joining in with Throwback fun over at:

I am so glad I did because I had forgotten the Halloween special linky she is hosting.  I am linking my new freebie there as well as at the bottom of this post!

Lots of Halloween hi-jinks was to be had all through last week so press on each of the buttons below to take you back for some useful and fun freebies.

The traditional scary pumpkin was featured in my clip art freebie on Monday to celebrate my 
half century of followers on TpT!

Magic Hat pattern solving was the freebie packet offered on Tuesday.

I also decided to join in the linky clip art fun going on last week over with Mel at Graphics from the Pond and contributed my first clip art package through TpT - I was a bit nervous but the feedback shows everything works correctly so that's a big relief!!

And now for my latest freebie - I would like to offer you something made using the above clip art to support basic literacy skills - in particular the Common Core standard

Add or substitute individual sounds (phonemes) in simple, one-syllable words to make new words
You can choose to leave these as work sheets or if printed off on to card and cut out they can be used with pegs for the children to put two pegs on the pumpkin vowels that make the words or punch a hole beneath each pumpkin and two holes in the central missing vowel square and the children use laces to select the correct vowel pumpkins (this is good for those children improving their threading skills).
Click on the button below to download :)

As per usual, I would value all feedback on how you aim to use this resource, any improvements you think I should make, whether it would be better in colour (I was thinking of conserving ink when I made this one in B&W!!) - just let me know in the comments below.  Many thanks :)

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Wordless Wednesday Nuts!

Taking part in:

I had a special visitor to my garden the other day and I actually managed to take a photo!

Just in case you're wondering, it's a nuthatch!  I was delighted to see not one but two the other day creeping about on one of the trees in my own garden - however they were far too flighty to stay still for me to get a quick snap so I decided to put out this bird feeder and see what I could attract and behold nuthatch upside down on it feeding!!  It's not the best quality photo obviously snapped through a window and standing the other side of the kitchen so as not to spook it so here's one that someone else took that shows this bird in all its glory.
Courtesy of Paul Riddle at

I was actually quite surprised to find out that it's not a rare bird in England or Wales (although it doesn't seem to frequent Scotland so much!) as this is only the second one I've seen in my life time (the first time was when I was a child at my parent's house).  Obviously, I just haven't been in the right place at the right time!  Anyway I hope to see them both hanging about the garden on the bird feeder - when I have the cats in I might add.

Have you seen something in nature recently that is quite rare to you?  Do you have nuthatches in your garden?  How do you squirrel proof your bird feeder?  Let me know in the comments below as I'm always happy to hear!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Magic Hat Pattern Matching Freebie

Thought I would share part of another resource I am working on for some of the children to help with their understanding of and being able to replicate repeating patterns.  I thought I would give it a bit of a Halloween twist to make it a slightly different.

Please click on the button below to be able to download the pdf.  The first page is made up of the patterns the children need to continue and the second page is where I have put the hat cards that can be cut out and given to the child for them to put into the blank squares.  You could put velcro on the blank squares or make into a folder if you so wish.  For children who like to draw they could draw and colour the next hats in the blank boxes if you so wished.

This type of work helps with colour recognition and as we do not use black so much in the classroom I thought this would be a good opportunity for the children to have manipulatives that are this colour!

I am calling them magic hats as one of the children I work with has parents who do not like Halloween to be "celebrated" and this is a way they can be included without the "H" word.

If you would like some more pattern cards or have any suggestions to make this even better let me know and I can either email you the improvements or will include them in a later post.

Monday, 6 October 2014

50 TpT Followers Freebie

I know I've said it before but it does bring a warm glow when someone chooses to follow you.  It means they value what you do and they want to see more of you in the future so that is why I have decided to create and distribute another freebie to celebrate gaining 50 followers on the Teachers Pay Teachers website.  As it is pumpkin clip art it also ties in with the clip art Halloween celebration going on over at Graphics From the Pond that I blogged about yesterday.

However, you also know how technology thwarts me at every turn if it can - even though I try my very best to embrace it in my work and today was no different as when I tried to upload a thumbnail image on to the TpT website it came back with the comment that the file was too large - say what???

How could I change my file size I asked myself and tried various saving picture from a word document, then to paint and back again, powerpoint and nothing worked it remained as 220k and not the 200k or less I needed to upload successfully.  I then googled the question which came up with I needed my snipping tool - where the heck is that I asked next!?!  It seemed to suggest I would find it if I put a search in on my start button - alright let's do that - O.K. now what's happened???  I seem to have been flung out into cyberspace on a loop back to where I began!!  OK after trying again without pressing return my computer sat there ...   ...   ... but finally came back with a snipping tool in a little move-able box which I shifted rapidly to the top left of my screen.  Now I realised I was dealing with something similar to my Smartboard phototool so took a snip of the picture and turned it into a PNG file and tried uploading and still too big - looked at the file and saw that it now weighed in at 310k!!! I was heading to melt down at this point when after reading another helpful post I changed the size of my picture in my word document so that it was really little and took another snip of it - this time it worked- yippee which is why I can offer you this Pumpkin Porch clip art freebie whilst I still have some hair left on my head!!

Let me know what you think and if anyone else is struggling with making their picture files smaller I hope this helped!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Pumpkin Patch

I love clip art and the artists who create it - particularly those that will share their talents freely so when I heard that Graphics from the Pond was holding an October celebration of clip art I knew I would like to grab me some freebies.  You can too by clicking on the button below.

I also thought that the old adage share and share alike rang true so I have decided to create and share some original clip art as well.  I know when working with children that they like variety and are not too critical of someone's drawing skills so I hope that holds true for the rest of you!!

Click to go to my TpT store to pick up your free clipart.  I'd love some feedback as I am really nervous it might not work correctly.  Please remember this is the first time I have tried posting clipart as a product on TpT and I might have done things wrong :(

Saturday, 4 October 2014

October Currently

With everything else that has been happening at the beginning of October I almost forgot to get over to Farley for her monthly Currently linky party - press the button below to go over and join in the fun.

So here's what mine looks like - all the wonderful spooky fonts I used are from the Halloween collection by Cara over at her Creative Playground (

I woke up so early this morning and just couldn't get back to sleep so I went into our front room to do some work and that did let me hear the owls hooting from the trees at the front which I haven't heard in some months.

I have been loving that it has still been sunny and warm over the past four days despite the forecast being that October would bring about change but I know it will be changing soon so make the best of it I say :)

I am thinking I need to get fitter and lose some weight and I know that chocolate and I do not have a good relationship (I do think I am addicted - I just cannot eat one piece - never have been able to never will!!) so I am banning chocolate completely from my life (going cold turkey) - let's hope I can hold out!!

I really do want to sort out a whole lot of craft materials and school stuff up in the attic - would be useful for the craft activities I might want to plan and I really do think that some of the teaching material I have kept for the past 15 years are now obsolete.  With cooler weather approaching this would be the time so it doesn't feel like I'm up in a sauna.

This month, I need to get some of the products I have half done completely finished and posted on to TpT as I could so do with a bit of extra money on the run up to Christmas this year.  I am also thinking it is coming up to a year of having joined as a seller so I should be doing something to celebrate!

My final thing here is a TREAT for you with once again a big shout out to Granny Goes to School for all of the wonderful clipart.

Click on the button below to download

This simple Halloween gameboard that can be adapted for any use you want - at the moment I am using it with children who are learning to count spots on a dice and then move that correct number of spaces - if they land on a spooky picture they get a small treat - and I am also using it as a practising blends board with another group - every time they land on a picture they turn over the card and try to say the blend - if they do get it right they get an activity card (stand on one leg/pat your head three times/spin around twice etc) as their prize.

If you would like a copy of the gamecard backs press on the picture below to download (the space on the card is to write what category the card belongs too e.g. blends/activity/times-tables/speech & language target - this helps ensure you don't muddle up cards accidentally.
You get nine to a page

I'm off now to follow Farley's rules and leave meaningful comments on peoples' blogs. 

 I'd love a comment from you if you visit my page - many thanks :-)

Friday, 3 October 2014

Friday Five Autumn & Halloween Freebie

It's the first Friday of October so I'm joining up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her:

and also joining in with 

I made these little apple counters to fit in with our autumnal theme for this month heading towards Halloween celebrations.  A big thank you to Granny Goes to School for her lovely apple graphics and to Carrie for the use of her Dnealian font

I seem to have seen lots of harvest celebrations going on all over the place with donations heading towards the old people's centre and the local homeless centre - both very deserving causes. This led to me clearing out cupboards looking for donations and of course finding those old tins and packets that are out of date including one that has managed to stay hidden since 2005!!!  Honestly, most of the children I teach are younger than this tin of pineapple!!  Needless to say they all went in the rubbish bin immediately (in mitigation I have in the past used out of date packets and tins for shop work in school so that might have been why there were so many!!)  As there was also homemade produce on sale to raise donations for said causes, I picked up some spiced apple chutney for my hubby as he enjoys this with a big hunk of English mature cheddar.

My work in the garden has been mainly sweeping the leaves off the front drive this week.  I tried raking them from the front lawn but have decided a going over with the lawnmower would probably remove more (it might be the last cut of the season!)  However, I did pick up 4 winter polyanthus in various colours for only 99p which have gone in for some brightening up one of my borders.

Granny Goes to School is also responsible for inspiring me to create this week's freebie - which I think will link well to Halloween through its monster theme - a little emergent reader strip book (easy to print, cut out and make in larger quantities if necessary).  Mine will be going home with some of the children who very rarely get to take books home because they never return but this is cheap enough to give them a book and who cares if it doesn't come back they will have the opportunity to read at home or even better to a younger sibling (I have found in the past that if children expose their younger siblings to these books those siblings are much better at reading by the time they come to school!)  These will be used when we look at Not Now Bernard (a favourite book of mine) by David McKee.

The little book contains both statement sentences as well as questions for comprehension requiring a simpe yes or no answer which make them perfect as an introduction to comprehension exercises.

If you would like a copy head over to my TpT store for US English version:

or for the English spelling version

Please remember to leave feedback so I can improve the quality of my products and it helps me create even more freebies to share with you!!

Please check out Granny Goes to School blog as she has so many other great clipart products and freebies which I am sure will inspire you.

And on a slightly sad note for me - this will be the last weekend we spend as a family for a long time as No.1 son heads back to Uni for the autumn term and DD gets ready to fly overseas for the next 8 months!!  My children are like the swallows flying south!  I do not really know how I will feel when it's only hubby and me - a brand new chapter in our lives - I hope it will be a good one :-)

Have a great weekend everyone.