Do You Elf?

Every year, my Year 2 class has a Christmas Elf who comes to visit on December 1st. As our school year usually ends around December 13th, we only have our little mate for a fortnight before he heads back home to the North Pole.

I always allow the students to name our elf as it gives them a sense of unity with the newest class member and he then officially becomes ‘our elf’.

Our new friend always arrives with an official letter to make it more authentic. Click on the image below to download your own copy of the letter.

As a group, we have discussions around what we should name our little visitor, and we do a blind vote on our top 5 choices. Then we vote a second time and graph the results.

In the afternoon of the first day of our elf arriving, I either read the elf story to the class from the official book or watch the YouTube clip of the same name.

Every year without fail I have a student who announces that the elf isn’t real. That’s fine by me, as it stirs up conversations and sparks wonderful opinion writing. Every now and then I purposely won’t move the elf after school or he’ll ‘go missing’ (ie hidden in my drawer) for a short period of time with a note left a) addressing the issue of everyone thinking that he’s not real or b) claiming he was touched by a non believer. Even the non-believers don’t want to miss out on the fun of finding the elf’s new hiding spot each day!

Over the years I’ve been taking photos of some of the mischief our elves have been up to both at school and at home. I’m a big believer in simple is wonderful, so if you’re after some super easy ideas, check out our Pinterest board below. There is an ongoing board so more will be added each year.

Happy Elfing!

✏️❤️ Katie

Kmart Games in the Classroom

I love using games in my classroom for two reasons: 1) they can be adapted to reinforce absolutely ANY subject area and 2) my students have so much fun that they don’t even realize they’re learning!

I’ve written about this before with my Print and Play series but I also use purchased board games and modify them to suit my class needs. The best place to buy these games that I have found honestly is Kmart.

At anywhere from $1 to $5 per game, my rather extensive (and growing!) collection includes ‘Don’t Fall Down’, ‘Tumbling Towers’, and ‘Who Is It?‘ just to name a few. I also find myself drawn to the incredible cheaper items such as the mini erasers, pizza erasers, wooden noughts and crosses sets and mini bowling sets and devising cool ways to use these. At around $1 per set why wouldn’t you?


With my collection growing, I needed a way of storing all of my resources that works for me. I have found that the easiest way to store the games is to use  plastic tubs. It keeps everything neatly organised and for each session I can quickly just glance at the label, grab the box and go!   I also keep a laminated copy of the corresponding worksheets inside the box.   That way everything is together and I don’t need to go hunting for anything.


Larger boxed games are kept in a centrally located tub in the classroom labeled ‘Board Games’.


The best games are the ones that can be used in more than one way. For example, the mini bowling set is ideal for practicing multiplication, addition and subtraction skills, while noughts and crosses can be utilized for tallying and graphing…


or ‘Don’t Fall Down’ (the Kmart version of ‘Twister’) for sight words, graphing and probability…


or ‘Who Is It?’ (the Kmart version of ‘Guess Who?’) can be utilised for Math, English, Science – the options are endless!


To help you take advantage of any Kmart games you buy, check out this resource. It includes printable recording sheets, games suggests and activities to help you on your gaming journey. For the majority of the games, the prep is extremely minimal; all you need to do is print off the recording sheet, grab your game and play!


I hope this inspires you to have more fun with your class. I’d love to hear how you use games in the classroom to encourage hands-on learning.

✏️❤️ Katie


FREE Activities with Letter Tiles

This week I got a shock when one of my class parents walked in and presented me with a large box. This box contained 2,000 (!) of the Woolworth’s promotional Disney letter tiles. As the dad worked at Woolworths and the promotion had ended, he was able to give the tiles away and lucky me – I now have a new resource for my class!

I instantly put my creativity hat on and came up with a selection of printables that could be used for letter tiles – and not just the Disney tiles (to download your own free copy just scroll to the bottom of the page).



While all of the activities can be used with any generic letter tiles, Ive also included a few extra pages specifically for you to use if you have any Woolworths Disney tiles!


To grab your own free copy, click the image below!


✏️❤️ Katie

I Need a Break!

It is often difficult for a student to control their emotions when they are angry or upset. Over the years I have tried many different strategies and this is one easy way that I have found works brilliantly.

When a student is frustrated or on the verge of losing control, it is imperative to nip it in the bud before it escalates. I have found over the years that the use of these cards has really helped my students to self regulate and become more in control of their behaviour.

At first I was genuinely worried that the use of a card to go to the office / time out space / calm down room / buddy class would be taken advantage of, however every time I have used these cards the students are aware that this is a strategy that is being used to help them.

Obviously you don’t want to send your student off in to the yard without supervision, but instead to a supervised area. This could be the office, a buddy class or even the front office. Before introducing the card to the student, I will speak to the office team / leadership team / teacher colleague and discuss the situation with them, making others aware that I have a student who often simply needs a quiet space to breathe and take a few moments to clam down before returning to class. Every staff member I have ever asked to be that 5 minute time out person, has always been happy to help.

When introducing the card to the student, make it REALLY clear that this isn’t a punishment, but simply a chance for them to calm down and take some time to settle before returning to class. I quietly sit down one on one and read the card with them, pointing out the words ‘When I am ready, I will go back to my classroom.   Thank you for helping me. ‘ Students need to be aware that we all care about them and want to help them to be the best they can be. That’s why it is important to thank the person helping us.

I also incorporate into my health lessons sessions about being angry and that its ok to be angry, but it is up to us how we choose how we deal with it.

After a few weeks of using the cards, I find that students are beginning to self regulate and use the cards to take a mini break before their behaviour escalates.

HINT: Laminate the cards for durability and record your class name on the back. That way if it gets left behind, it can find its way back to you!

Download your free copy of the I Need A Break Cards by clicking on the picture below.


✏️❤️ Katie