Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Sight Word Idea

Sight words ... the bane of our lives and something that I am constantly looking for more ideas for because the kids get bored. However, despite that their favourite activity is still jumping on the words written on the cement but I do like a bit of variety.

I am not sure about in 'real' school but in distance ed preps are given a list of sight words to learn (those words that you just need to know for successful reading).

On air one day Mr Prep's teacher did an activity where they had to look at the sight word and then move the letters onto the pegs on a picture of a clothes line ... so I decided to make the same thing.

 So now we have a pile of laminated letters and some cool pegs on string from Crazy Clarks. Mr Prep can then sit down on the floor and copy words from his sight word book. Sometime I choose the word for him to find and make and sometimes he chooses the word and tells me what it is.

Monday, 19 September 2011


No,  I am not going to write a post about having the perks/chucks instead I thought I would fill you in on one of the perks (as in upside) of my job ... school holidays. I am pretty sure there are govies/nannies out there who unfortunately don't get to participate in this fun past time but luckily for me I get to.

This time my family (as in my real, biological family as opposed to the family I work for who have practically adopted me) have planned a week at the coast because poor me hasn't been in a LONG time. Then lucky people that they are get to come and spend a week on my turf and check out the area.

Very smokey drive south. It seems that everyone has decided to burn off at the same time.
So back to holidays....
It usually takes me one and a half to two days to get home or in this case the coast, so the holidays really don't begin til I get to my destination. It's not that I don't like driving because I kind of do but quite frankly after a day on the road I am over it and usually have a numb backside and sore shoulders. But that feeling of excitement when I am close to my destination that really is hard to beat ... and contain. Sorry other drivers on the highway I am not insane, I was just clapping for joy.

I got to the coast yesterday afternoon and I am sorry to say the first thing I hit was the shops not the beach simply because I rather thought that other beach goers might prefer it if I had swimwear to go to the beach in. I did get to the beach however, and even went swimming BRRRR. Crazy idea that was.

So to finish up here are some smokey sunset pictures from the coast.


Friday, 16 September 2011

Fun Friday - Icy Fun

It is yet again Fun Friday and how convenient that it coincided with the last day of term (wooohooo!). As I mentioned last Fun Friday, two weeks ago, the plan was for an Antarctic Fun Friday and so today was born. 

This morning when the kids walked into the schoolroom their faces lit up when they saw how our room had been transformed. Miss Yr6 thought the room even looked cold like Antarctica. She has been studying Antarctica as part of her school work which is where the idea originated from. Earlier in the week Miss Yr6 was lucky enough to be able to talk to a man who had been to Antarctica, thanks to a friend of a relative of mine. She loved it and we learnt all kinds of interesting information about living there. 

Miss Yr6 shared some interesting things she had learnt with the others and we did various activities like cooking, craft and games (all after the small amount of school work left to be done today was finished, of cause). Over all I think it was a success and the kids agree.

Our view from Antarctica, clear blue waters and ice burgs

View from the other side of Antarctica.

Antarctica ... the kids loved the streamers at the door. I would have loved to do a white sheet floor for the ice but there were none to be found plus that equals more washing YUCK!

The kids cooked an Igloo cake with Boss Lady R. They iced it in whipped cream and covered in in blue tinted snow.

The kids cake Igloo. Very creative and very tasty.

Making seal masks. The kids chose what materials and colours they wanted and we ended up with four very different looking seals.

Miss Yr6 working on her seal mask. Our piece of plastic for the floor is very handy.

Mr Preppy's seal mask. In the background you can see the paint equipment box, we keep all our craft stuff in boxes so you can pull out what you want.

Mr Preppy making a penguin.

We thought we would give making an igloo from ice cubes a go. It wasn't very successful but it was plenty of fun. It was a good lesson in problem solving.

It takes lots of concentration to get icecubes to stack.

Our icy blackboard.

We added to our window dioramas. The kids made origami whales and some penguins. This penguin is ready for a swim.
After we added to our Antarctica schoolroom.

The kids all working away this morning.
Even though our day is done the kids are still hiding out in our cool looking schoolroom playing, so today must have been a good day ... either that or it is just the allure of the new train set that they have set up all over the floor. Not even the temptation of drawing all over the blackboard could get them away from it.

The teachers are coming out on a home visit first day back next term so I think I'll leave our lovely creations up until the kids have proudly shown them off, and it saves me packing it up.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

How we get our school work

I thought it was time I explained how we get our school work.
The photos shown are in our old, very messy schoolroom and were taken for who knows what reason ... I am sure I had one but I don't know what it was.

The school does lovely parcels up for us with a terms worth or units in it, well that is the plan (units go for 2 weeks). They are then delivered to us either on the mail or at clusters. If you happen to be in at school when the curriculum boxes are ready you are advised politely to take the boot load home.

 Then comes the joyful task of unpacking the boxes and finding somewhere to keep all the units until needed.

Lucky for us we will no longer have the problem of trying to find the space like we did in the old schoolroom.

The year levels are colour coded. We have orange for prep, blue for year 3 and green for year 6. It depends on the year level and the unit what you get but as a general rule you get booklets of the school work and a packet of books to with it.
In year 3 for each unit you get a learning guide, an activity book and a send in book for Maths, CLC and English as well as a handwriting book. Then the books, CDs and DVDs needed are packaged with two units together.

In year 6 however we are still working with curriculum that was put together in 1996. In these packs we get a home tutor guide, an instruction paper (for the student) and an assignment book for both Maths and LAC. We also get a handwriting and grammar book that comes with and answer book.

 Prep has a learning guide, activity sheets, supportive learning cards and feedback sheets. They do pretty much all their work in a scrapbook.

Then after all that we work through the units. I mark the maths, check spelling and try to get the kids to work as independently as possible. Then after making sure I have filled in all the feedback sheets in their various forms we send our units back on the mail or I take them into town with me and drop them in the bin at school.

It is very satisfying putting the unit in the mail bag and sending it on its way, never to be seen again. Well that is until it returns in the mail after about a month with corrections and feedback from the teachers.

The school has a 10 day turn around policy on school work and despite the fact that it only takes a week (or less) for our mail to get to school it for some unknown reason takes it about 2 weeks to get back to us.  

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Yard Work

Yet again this week the smell of seared hair, flesh and woodsmoke filled our nostrils while dust and smoke gritted up our eyes and mouths.

Branding irons in the fire.
The men found about 100 head of cows and 60+ calves in a paddock that was cleared out last muster so we had some impromptu yard work to do.

Calves all ready to go.
All I can say is those cows must be good at hiding as it was done by chopper that muster. Our light aircraft whiz found them though and the Bosses brought them in by bike (very unusual as they normally do it all on horse).

The flying machine whiz.
On Thursday morning we did school as per usual, although there were many on airs missing from our day as teachers were out on home visits.

Mr T, sorry Captain T sailing his ship while waiting to go to the yards.
After lunch the kids and I armed with waddies headed down to the yards to help out with branding. Miss S and Miss E helped Boss Lady H push the calves into the race.

There is plenty to keep a young boy entertained at the cattle yards.
I kept them going up the race and into the calf cradle. Mr R lifted the gate that stops the first calf going backwards to let them through. Then Mr E helped Boss Lady R to put tags onto the tagger while Bosses H and R tagged, branded, castrated and dipped.

Branding and tagging.

Boss Lady H giving branding a go once the pen was empty.
We had four escape artists. One that was determined to go back through the fence to get back in with its mates. It had us all up the rails fending it off with our feet, trying to encourage it to turn around ... friendly encouragement of cause. There were a couple of calves that got themselves into interesting positions in the calf cradle, they weren't at all eager to have their turn.

Castrating and tagging, now that's a bit awkward.

Silly calf
We had one that had to be put up the crush to be branded which then means the brand needs to be run from one end of the yards to the other. Steer clear or you could find yourself marked.

Pushing the calves into the next yard.

Calves going back to their mummies.
The fellas also found the missing bulls who had been hiding out. They obviously thought they were getting too much of a good thing so decided to stay put. Most were quiet, we were walking in and out of the yard they were in and they didn't blink an eye. One however was not such a happy chappy.

Fred's bull, a longhorn
Fred's Bull belongs to a relative of the family and the last time they brought him into the yards he had to be dipped. Being too big to fit up the plunge dip he had to be sprayed. One minute Boss H was spraying him and the next he was flying through the air. Turns out he didn't like his shower.

Attitude problem.
Fred's Bull then rammed through the gate into the drafting circle and proceeded to use a calf as a battering ram to get through another gate. So basically he is a really nice piece of work. This meant that this time he got to go into a yard by himself. See if you can't play nice you don't get to play at all. I don't think he stopped watching us the whole time and whenever someone so much as looked at him down went his head while he kicked up dust.

Kicking up dust.

Best News

I haven't written a new post in a while so there is a bit to cover ... or I could just skip to the best bit. Now that sounds like a good idea to me.
So here goes ... tomorrow is the BIG DAY, the first day in our new schoolroom. Finally after waiting nearly 2 years the kids and I finally have a new school room with space and storage WOOHOO!

The outside doesn't look much different to this ... still needs a bit of work.
After moving most of the stuff from the old schoolroom over yesterday and Friday I am amazed at how much we managed to fit in our tiny little room (which by the way doesn't look anywhere near as tiny now that all that stuff and the desks has been moved out).

This boss tried out the blackboard.

A bit messy while moving.
Our old schoolroom was a small room off the kitchen in the main house. It had a walkway through it into the house and a servery that went into the kitchen = constant distractions. I don't know what I will do though when all the kids are working independently because now the boss won't be there to chat to. She doesn't know what she'll do either without me distracting her and with all the quiet.

The cupboards.

The shelves were for the computers

I am sure we will rearrange everything a few times until we work out what works best.

Now I am just waiting on the quarters. I think I have a bit of waiting left. Now back to moving in.