Sunday, 19 February 2017

Tips for Student Teachers - Getting the Most Out of Your Degree

You may be at the start of your degree thinking about how much content there is and how you'll ever learn it all, or perhaps that you have so much time to go that you don't need to take it all in yet. But I can assure you it will go by in a flash and soon enough you will be standing in front of 30 pairs of eyes, wishing you had paid more attention! Here are my top tips for making the most of your teaching degree (in no particular order).

1. Prepare for everything. When I was at uni we had to do a physical education class. Not being the sporty types, my friends and I didn't take the class too seriously, not ever planning to teach sport. Fast forward a few years and one of my friends is now a sports teacher because it was the only position available. Lesson: Just because you don't plan to teach something, doesn't mean you won't teach it.

2. Pay extra attention to your least favourite subjects. What was the subject you didn't like at school? Now learn that! Science was always my weakness, purely because I didn't find it interesting. Consequently I now have a fairly poor knowledge of science, which has proven challenging as a teacher. In hindsight I wish I had taken more science classes as my electives, to make teaching science less daunting.

3. Take note of all the children's literature that is recommended to you. I had a list of books mentioned at the back of each of my notebooks. Reading to your students is a great way of introducing a topic to students, fostering a love of reading and filling the ten minutes before the bell. You want to have a list of amazing children's literature that you can bring out when you are looking for something to read to your students, a quality book will be more enjoyable for you to read and for the students to listen to.

4. Make friends. Networking is a valuable thing to do at uni because 1) you never know who is going to become a principal and give you a fantastic job and 2) it is great to have a support network to share ideas and resources with when you are teaching. You will never know everything, so being friends with other teachers can be so helpful. Having an issue with a particular student? Another teacher has most likely had a similar situation and can either lend a sympathetic ear or can offer some advice on what worked for them.

5. Buy the textbooks. Being a teacher means being a lifelong learner, so you will find yourself referring back to your old textbooks time and time again! I also found that just because one textbook was assigned to one class didn't mean it wasn't useful and applicable to other classes. By the end of my degree I had a bank of great textbooks to reference when writing my assignments.

6. Build a resource file. This will be so useful, particularly in your first year of teaching! I have a full post on this coming up.

7. Watch how your teachers teach. Several times in my degree I sat in a lecture being told not to lecture. Why? Think about it while you are in class, are you paying attention? What does that say about what sort of learner you are? Watch which teachers can engage the whole class and which ones have all their students staring out the window. What are they doing differently?

8. Enjoy it! Teaching is a fabulous career and can be great fun to study so enjoy your degree, soak it up.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

A Valentine's Day Blog Hop

Happy Valentine's Day my beautiful friends!

I am very excited to be joining in a blog hop to celebrate the collaboration of Daisy Designs and Daisy A Day Doodles. Amanda of Daisy Designs is a year two teacher from Florida who creates education resources for Teachers Pay Teachers. Daisy A Day Doodles is head up by Jodilyn, a reading specialist and year three teacher from New Mexico. Together they have created The Crazy Daisies, a collaboration with educational resources and clip art.

If you are new to my store or blog, welcome! I have a bit of everything in my store, plenty of Australian resources as well as resources suitable to American or British classrooms. On the cover of each of my products I keep the flags of the countries that particular product is suitable for.

Since it is Valentine's Day soon, why not check out these cute task cards I have made! I personally enjoy Valentine's Day as I get to add a few girly decorations to the classroom and the boys are not allowed to complain! Lessons can be adjusted very simply, just a few Valentine's Day adjustments and you're ready to go.

And now, on to your freebie!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more entries hop along to the delightful Believe to Achieve and collect another freebie!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Books About Being Yourself

School can be a scary place for children, their peers are inevitably going to be different to them. In order to combat bullying, students should be encouraged to accept themselves and to accept others. Here are six beautiful children's books that discuss being yourself and embracing differences.

Carla's Sandwich by Debbie Herman
This is a beautifully written book about "that weird kid" in the class who is brave enough to be herself. It is full of strange sandwich fillings that are sure to get your students engaged and giggling. What I love most about this book is that Carla does not doubt herself or give in to peer pressure, it is her peers who learn a lesson.

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
A Bad Case of Stripes tells the story of a young girl who turns into whatever people say she is. It is an excellent way of discussing peer pressure and conforming to what other people think, rather than just being yourself.

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy
This is another story of a young girl who is willing to be herself even when she is bullied. It invites discussion as to why others may not accept someone for being who they are, and how different responses may affect the situation. This is a great book for teaching about kindness to everyone.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum loved her name until she started school and got bullied for it. This delightful book encourages children to not only to love themselves but also to stand up for others. One character in the story notably bullies Chrysanthemum more than other, allowing for discussion about what that character may be feeling.

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
The Name Jar is a beautiful book about a Korean girl's journey to accept her differences as a Korean living in America. This book is great for classrooms that have different cultures and could benefit from a little more acceptance both of themselves and of each other.

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great by Bob Shea
This is a fabulous book for teaching students about the idea that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Goat thinks Unicorn is perfect, but he is soon surprised to find that there are thinks that Goat has that Unicorn wishes he had too! Students are encouraged to look at themselves and see all the things they have, rather than look at what they don't have.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I am afraid I am quite typical when it comes to not keeping resolutions. Most years I prefer to semi-commit with the old "I'm not doing resolutions this year, but I'm going to try and...". Yeah, that doesn't work either.

This year I would like to eat better. With my son starting solids I have become aware of how much I eat that I am not willing to feed him. So why am I eating it? I'd like to try and reduce the amount of sugar I eat, but I have a serious chocolate addiction so I'm not sure how well that will go.

I also have great plans for this blog and my TpT store. I am finally at a point where I am proud of the products I am putting up and am making some progress in terms of getting them noticed. I also have some great ideas for this blog so stay tuned!

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday and a really great 2017!

Love Mrs Hartig

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Using Halloween in the Classroom

So Halloween is this Monday, and that receives mixed reviews from those in Australia. Some consider it a good excuse to get dressed up and have some fun with friends, while others consider it to be an American holiday that should not be celebrated in Australia. I fall somewhere in the middle, I don't make a point to celebrate most years, but I don't dislike it.

Australian students also fall somewhere on this spectrum, often depending on what their parents think. However most kids are happy with anything that's a little bit fun and different.

In my classroom I like to switch up a couple of activities for Halloween themed ones. For example instead of my normal task cards I use themed Halloween ones. Students are still practising their numeracy skills, but I get to be the fun teacher for a bit!

Saturday, 1 October 2016

The Impact of Classroom Tour Videos

Have you been watching everyone's classroom tour videos? It's a trend that has really taken off this back to school season and I'm loving it. Not only is it great entertainment, but it gives teachers great new ideas and inspires them.

These videos are an example of why I believe the website Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) is really changing education. The majority of teachers posting videos of their new classrooms are sellers on TpT, or at the very least have used a selection of products from the site. The significance of this is that it demonstrates the community that is forming thanks to the site.

Sellers are getting to know each other, inspiring each other and challenging each other to create better resources for the classroom. It is no secret amongst teachers that it is a tough gig, and as we are typically the only adults in the room, it can be lonely. But TpT is allowing teachers to connect beyond the staff room (which let's face it, most days we don't have time to go there anyway). We can learn from each other by seeing what is being done in other classrooms and buying the resources to do it ourselves.

So if you haven't already seen these great videos and you're ready to be inspired, check out one of my favourites.

Saturday, 17 September 2016


Oh the first post, something every blogger needs to consider carefully. On the one hand, it should be an introduction, take note of the fact that it is the very first post on a shiny new blog. On the other hand, does anyone really want to read another 'welcome to my blog' post? Although let's face it, most first blog posts never get read, as blogs inevitably get abandoned as the blogger gets busy or gets disheartened when they are not immediately an internet celebrity.

The fate of this post is yet to be determined, but if you are reading this, then there may be a little hope for this shiny new blog.