Smartie Subtraction

We introduced subtraction to our little ones this week and what better way to do it than with some sugar! This Smarties Subtraction lesson worked a treat! :P (pun intended!)

Each student was given a box of Smarties and was asked to count how many there were in their box.

Then they were asked to eat a few and count how many were left. Children then recorded the corresponding subtraction number sentence. Each child continued eating their smarties and recorded  the number sentences until there were none left. 

Following this lesson, we discussed what subtraction is and what happens to numbers when we subtract. We shared some subtraction strategies that we could use to help us solve subtraction problems.

We discussed the use of a hundreds chart and a number line to assist us in 'Counting Back' as well as the 'Jump Method'.

I display these posters in my classroom once I have introduced each strategy to my children.

They are suitable for Foundation (Kindergarten) all the way up to grade 4 as they are differentiated to suit the various abilities in your grade. 

Learning Intentions and Success Criteria

Over the last few years, there has been a bit of a push in schools to be creating and displaying a Learning Focus for each lesson.

At my school, we are required to display our Learning Intention and Success Criteria to match. This needs to be visible to the students and written in child-friendly language.

I can definitely see the benefit of this as not only does it enable teachers to stay on track, it also gives students an opportunity to self-assess and reflect on their own learning. The only problem is however, it can be a little time consuming creating these statements and then displaying them.

Initially, I started writing them on my whiteboard but then it would get in the way and I'd end up rubbing it off. Then I tried printing them out - which took time and wasted paper and ink.

I recently experimented with this and it has worked a treat!

How I created it:

I have used an A3 sized plastic pocket (it is quite thick and durable). 
These are available at Office Max or Office Works.

I used an A3 coloured card for each subject and glued 

Then I placed this in the plastic pocket.

This allows me to use it every day. I just write on top of the plastic pocket using a 
whiteboard marker and rub it off using a tissue when I am ready to write the new focus up. 

I made one for Reading, Writing and Mathematics and colour coded them.
Too easy!!!

I hope this little tip has inspired you with your own Learning Goals Display!

Until next time,

Writing Goal Posters

Hi guys!
 I hope you are all doing well and keeping calm during this crazy assessment term!

I have had quite a few teachers message and email me about how I use my new Writing Goal Posters so I thought I would explain how I use them here :)

This year, I am teaching Grade 1 and now that Term 1 is over, we are really beginning to get into some nitty gritty WRITING!! We have been writing about all sorts of engaging topics (which I will include in a separate blog post on how I conduct my writing lessons... more to come), and I have decided that it is now time to start introducing my individual 
Writing Goals.

So here is my Writing Goals display. I have only displayed a few goals at a time (the most relevant ones to my class). I don't want to overwhelm them and I also have limited wall space. I have put my students' names next to their corresponding writing goal and the display is nice and large so they can see it from their seats.

For now, I have chosen their goals for them and have based it on their current writing abilities and writing behaviours. I only JUST introduced this today so once they get the hang of it and I see the children are achieving their goals, I will open it up to them to begin deciding on what they would like to work on (with a little guidance from myself of course!) 
I do believe it's good for the children to have some ownership over their own learning but this will come once they are aware of what 'good writers do'.
Not all children will move as frequently as others. Some might be working on the same goal for while whilst others will move around quite quickly, once I see they are consistently achieving their goal. 

Writing Goal Posters

HERE you will find my Writing Goals Poster Pack:

In this pack there are 34 various writing goals that will cater for all writing abilities in a Foundation/Kindergarten class all the way up to Year 3/4. Just choose the ones that apply to your students.

FREE Pencil Name Tags

HERE you will find the pencil name tags that I used. They are editable and are in Powerpoint format. Just type in your students names and print. I put some velcro dots on the back of mine to stick to my lovely carpeted walls ;).

Got limited wall space?

You can always shrink these posters to A5 size. (They are currently A4). You can do this in your printer settings.

Writing Goal Reminder Slips

In conjunction with these Writing Goal posters, I use smaller, Writing Goal Slips which I staple into my students writing books. 

(You can also have a dedicated Goals Book for them to record all their goals in if you wish). 
Last year, I used these:

Happy goal setting everyone!

Early Years Skip Counting Lesson Ideas

Hi Everyone! 

I hope you are all well and are enjoying working with your new Grade and new teams. 
Now that all the 'Getting to Know You' activities, setting up classroom protocols and dreaded assessment tasks are out of the way, its time to get stuck into some TEACHING!!! YAY!!!

Today, I wanted to share with you a few really fun and engaging lesson ideas that you may like to incorporate into your upcoming planners - A bit of inspiration for you because lets face it - it's hard work coming up with authentic lessons and activities that will keep your students motivated whilst learning. 
I LOVE that social media allows us to share these fabulous ideas. with one another. We are not on our own anymore - we have sooo much support now!! Its FABULOUS!


Anyone that knows me personally (or has taught next door to me :P) will know how much I just love to incorporate lots of music, singing and interaction into my lessons. Most of the time, I will start off my lessons with a little song or clip to get the kids into the topic.

Here are a few fantastic clips that I use regularly at the beginning of my skip counting lessons. You can find them on Youtube - or if you don't have access to Youtube at school, you can always use Keepvid to download the clip at home and save it to your computer as a .mp4 clip.

Click on the clips to be taken directly to the link.

Another great interactive tool to use if you have an IWB is Splat Square by Primary Games

Children can come up to the IWB and click on the 100 square to create a skip counting pattern.
TIP: For extra fun and giggles, make sure your sound is ON... :)

Crab Lesson: Counting by 10s

If you can get your hands on a copy of this book, I highly recommend it for both counting by 10s. It is also fantastic for an introduction to Addition.
For counting by 10s, after reading the book children can make their own crabs and count how many legs there are altogether. I sat my grade in a circle with their crabs and we went around and counted by 10s. Then I created a cute display for our Numeracy Wall :)

If you would like to make these crabs with your grade, you can find the FREE template here: 

What activities have you used to teach skip counting in the early years? We'd love it if you posted some ideas or photos of things you have implemented in your classroom in the comment section below.

Tips for Prep Teachers!

This post is designed to assist new Grade Prep teachers during the first few weeks of school. 

It is aimed at assisting you with what to do PRIOR to the year commencing.  

I hope you find this post useful. 

YAY! You are SOOOO lucky to be teaching Grade Prep! 
(Also known as Kindergarten or Foundation in some states.)

Grade Prep is one of my favourite years to teach and it is very close to my heart as it was the first year level I ever taught - also the level that I have the most experience in. 

This is going to be such a REWARDING year for you however, be prepared to be EXHAUSTED in Term 1. Trust me though, it WILL get better!

This post has been created to give new Prep teachers some advice on how to go about the first few weeks of teaching this unique year level. I hope that you find it useful :)


This is the exciting part! My advice is to try to set up your classroom and organise as much as you can BEFORE the first day of school. Once the children start and you are into the term, you will find it very difficult to find time to get these things done. 
Here are some things I suggest you make / purchase / borrow - please note they are not essential, however you will find them useful.


Alphabet Posters - up high and visible to all students (examples here)

Word Wall / Literacy Wall - a wall/board to place new words or weekly Reading focus
(I have some FREE Word Wall cards in 3 State Fonts - NSW, VIC and QLD.  Click on your state to download for FREE)
Number Posters - up high and visible - its good to include the numeral and word and a visual representation of the number (Tens Frame or collection of objects) (examples here)

Numeracy Wall - a wall/board dedicated to display new maths concepts, strategies or weekly Maths focus
Visual Timetable - to outline your daily schedule - many children at this age require visuals so they know what to expect. (Read about this more here) (examples here)

Bag/Locker/Tub/Desk Labels - the parents and children like to see this all set up prior to the first day - use a different picture for each child to assist them in locating their name.
I used these labels for their tables.
(examples here)

Alphabet Desk Charts - the children will use these daily so make them accessible - on their desks or around the room so they can refer to them when writing. You can grab this one FREE from here:


Its a good idea to get some games and activities laminated and ready before the year begins. These games will often need to be self-directed and focus on either Alphabet letter/sound knowledge, Number Knowledge, Fine Motor Development and even building social skills.

There are LOADS of ideas around that you can use. Pinterest is a great start!

Here are a few PINTEREST BOARDS that you can follow which may help:

Literacy Games:

Numeracy Games:

Alphabet recognition games, letter sound games, matching upper case and lower case letters, sight word games, jumbled sentences.

Here are some of mine: You can find them all here:

Numeracy Games:

Number recognition, number ordering, matching amounts with the numeral, one to one correspondence (pointing to objects as you count them - only once), subitizing (the ability to look at a small group of objects or dots and instantly recognise how many are there), patterns (red, yellow blue, red, yellow blue etc)

Here are some of mine: You can find them here:

Fine Motor Activities:

Threading and beading, jigsaw puzzles, play dough, magna doodles, tracing the alphabet with whiteboard markers or fingers

Developmental Play:

Dress ups, make believe play, sandpit, water play, board games - anything that encourages sharing and co-operation and building relationships. 

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