1. Teachers forfeit their weeknights and weekends to prepare resources and lessons for their class.

Teachers all across the world will agree that teaching isn't a 9am to 3pm job like many outside the profession believe it to be. Many teachers spend countless hours outside of the classroom preparing resources and lesson plans for their classroom. It can be hard to maintain balance throughout the year so I aways tried to 'clock off' by dinner time during the week.

2. Teachers don't get to enjoy a nice long lunch break until their school holidays.

Is it just me or is there always a million things that need to be done during your lunch break? Marking student work, tidying your desk, putting up displays, photocopying, checking your pigeon hole in the office...the list goes on! 

3. Teachers endure sickness after sickness throughout the school year, especially when they work with little ones!

During my first year of teaching Prep/Foundation, I was sick so often that by the end of the year I had been on 12 courses of antibiotics. That's just insane! Cut down on the sicknesses by wiping surfaces with Glen 20 as often as possible and wash your hands frequently especially in the cooler months. 

4. A teachers pay cheque is never their own until the school holidays!

I can't be the only teacher who is guilty of spending her pay on her class or classroom. As a new teacher, it takes sometime to collect resources and it's certainly not a cheap task either. After my first year of teaching, I set a budget of $50 per week for school related purchases (printer ink, paper, laminating sheets, picture books, resources etc) to try and cut down. 

5. Teachers keep stationery stores in business

My favourite Christmas present ever was a gift voucher for Officeworks. I don't think I need to say anymore! 


Even though we really, REALLY look forward to the school holidays after a year of super hard work, we are always *itching* to get back into the swing of things with a brand new class at the beginning of each year.

A wonderful teacher cannot be measured by the results of her class, but by the love of learning she instils in her students. All teachers deserve a medal at the end of the year, simply for shaping young minds and creating a better future for all. 

It's summer time and I'm definitely going to relax and enjoy my time off.  Even though I'm spending 98% of my time visiting family in the United States, I'll still be preparing for the upcoming school year!  Here are some great ways to prepare for the upcoming school year and some helpful blog posts out there!

Steps to Get Prepared:

1.  Out with the old!  I'm a BIG believer in "If I haven't touched it in years, then it may be time to get rid of it."  I'm not a hoarder because it just piles and piles up on me and I can never find what I need.  Before school ended I spent Weeks 7 & 8 cleaning out the store room. (This was my outfit those days!)

A photo posted by Stephanie (@fishingforeducation) on

2.  Moving Rooms = Moving Tubs!  I moved rooms this year and I made sure to put everything in a tub.  (My favourite place to go for storage is The Reject Shop!)  I had organised each tub and made sure they all fit in my cupboards.  This way they were ALL out of the way for the cleaners.

3.  Got My List!  I got my list and a few notes from previous teachers to get me a bit prepared for my upcoming class.  I take in what they noted, but I make sure to start the year FRESH with each student (even my 7 kiddos moving up with me), no judgements. I'm already making a Welcome sign and preparing labels.  (Check out this cute door made by MissGirlingsClassroom)

4.  Room Theme Decor.  I keep an ocean them in my class, goes along with my website.  It may not really be THAT important, but I know my students enjoy an inviting room.  However, some may go out and buy things, I either make them or get them off TPT to fit my classroom needs.  There's a theme, but also a PURPOSE for each.  I like to keep in mind "How will this benefit my students?" when putting up decor.

5.  What worked this year? What didn't? I like to take a step back and think about what worked for my classroom this year.  I think about the benefits and student outcomes to help decide if I keep it or change it. There were also things I wanted to try that didn't work for me.  (And not even my students.) Things I like to focus on for the upcoming year: Parent Communication, Homework schedule, Literacy & Maths rotations, and Classroom jobs.

A photo posted by Stephanie (@fishingforeducation) on

6.  REST & RELAX!  Best thing you can do to prepare for the new year is to rest up!  Let your mind take a break and get plenty of sleep!  Go off and have fun! Experience life and bring stories back to your students!

A photo posted by Paula's Place (@paulas_place) on

Helpful Blog Posts

Here are some helpful blog posts out there to help teachers prepare for a new school year!

Enjoy your summer! 

Hello, Paula here from Paula's Place

and this week I am blogging about what makes a writer succeed.

Setting the scene

As teachers we think and rethink our classroom set up for hours (read days).
We consider the flow of the room, the light, where posters will go, how will the tables and chairs fit, who will sit with who. That's the tip of the iceberg really. 

The routines for how our class works, impacts on the writing sessions we have (well everything we do really).
So setting up our Writing Centre and Six Traits Plus 1 reference charts is vital.
The listing of what happens in 'Work On Writing' time and what happens at conference time, just makes for a smooth writing time.

Word Walls are necessary for children to be able to check in with at any age. 

Then we think what will I teach?

We look at Curriculum, past teacher judgements, we participate in writing moderation and look at samples of work. We consider what should be next and then devise a plan of action. So armed with all this research we begin to plan our lessons. 

Writing is a cycle

This is an agreed cycle that my grade and I put together and we revisit it and make changes as we need to. 
Even though we call it a cycle - with some tasks we don't always get to the publishing stage.

The writing phase

With early writers they need to be able to have a topic that is relevant and for some they just cannot write about their choice. I am a huge advocate of using Discovery Learning (you may call it by another name). This way they will always have something to write about. 

Our students need to have plenty of options. 
These books are ready for them to record in and add an illustration. 
They share them with a buddy or a group and get feedback before the book goes back for someone else to use. 

We also use writing groups where there are tasks for them at point of need - these are driven by the conference time and setting goals. 

Displaying writing creates better writers

If you can, display as much writing as possible. Display it in a variety of ways - books, charts, on walls, hanging and let them interact with the texts. 

We conference - and we set goals

Conference time means being super organised. 
Students need to prove what they know and explain how it has changed their writing. 


Students need to walk away from a conference knowing their next goal. It needs to be in student friendly language and accessible to look at before they start their next text. 
I like being able to look back and be able to share with parents and the student how fa they have come over time. 


Great writing resources to have



This one is in a series. 

Here are some packs form our collaborators that will help excite your writers to write. 
Click on the images to see more.

Writing Goals

Writing Goals

Genres, Text Types and Structure

 Six Traits of Writing plus 1Keys to Writing a Recount  Journal Writing Tasks - Year 3 - 4

    Narrative Writing Unit       NAPLAN - 22 Writing Tasks for Persuasive Texts

Recount Writing Rubric

Writing Process Packs

Writing Process Posters (with Bright Colours Background)

Writing Ideas for Independent Writing

Writing Ideas K-2  Books waiting for Authors

  Writing prompts - over 100 prompts      Writing prompts with checklist - worksheets - NO PREP

Happy writing everyone. 

signing off from 

Hi everyone!

This is my first post on the Australian Teachers Collaborative Blog. I'm Jem from Jem's Bright Buttons, and I'm really excited to be joining this fantastic team of teachers and bloggers!

Transition background

For the past four years I've taught prep (in Victoria that is the first year of school, which is known as Kindergarten, Foundation, Reception, etc depending on where you work) and I've been part of the transition team. Every year we work hard to make sure the transition from kinder to school is smooth and exciting for the new kids. We hold transition sessions, parenting sessions, information sessions and 'meet the teacher' sessions. But today I want to share our Transition Showbags!

Transition Showbags

Many years ago one of our wonderful prep teachers started to send home showbags, and it has grown since then. Our showbags are filled with fun things, informative things and useful things. I'll show you what we put in our bags this year, and explain how we get it all done!

What it looks like

We have used lots of different bags: brown paper bags, white paper bags, opaque coloured plastic bags. Different things will work for different schools, and different budgets. This year we used simple brown paper bags with handles, which we bought from a local '$2 shop'/discount shop.

What's inside it

The items inside have been developed over a number of years. Some are purchased, some are donated and some are made by the school. These change year to year depending on who is on the Transition Team, and what great ideas we've had throughout the year.

Below are some donated and some purchased items. We have two local banks, and we ask each of them if they have things that could be put into the bag. This year we got stickers, colouring sheets, balloons, bookmarks and mini coloured pencils. We also purchased and included a half-sheet of stickers and a 'fancy pencil'. Most of the items we purchase are through Officemax (a school stationery supply company) but we also buy things at '$2 shops'/discount shops.

These are useful items that students will (hopefully) use over the summer break to prepare themselves for school. We found this year that many students had poor scissor skills, so we included scissors in the bags. We gave them a dice with some suggested uses, a writing pencil to practice their pencil grip, and a whiteboard marker to write on a laminated ABC sheet.

To support their alphabet knowledge before they start school we gave them a laminated alphabet handwriting chart in our state font (Victorian Modern Cursive) and an alphabet chart with pictures (also in Vic Modern Cursive).

To help parents with preparing their children for school we gave them a Maths Tips and Ideas sheet, and Reading and Writing Tips and Ideas sheet, the Headstart sheet to outline things we'd like new preps to be able to do, and gave them an easy playdough recipe to support fine motor skills and hand strength development.

The favourite bits of the bag every year are the Morning and Night Time Routine cards and the Countdown To School card. New students love completing the different activities on the Countdown card and get excited to start school! The routine card supports parents to set up effective and sensible morning and evening routines to help students succeed at school.

Finally, we included a colouring sheet (our school uses rockets in our logo) and a Snakes and Ladders game - great for taking turns, counting, reading a dice, and learning that we won't always win games.

The last thing we add to the bags, which I don't have a photo of, is a student name card. It is typed in our state font and laminated so that new students can use their whiteboard marker to practise writing their name over the summer holidays.

How we make it happen

At my school we are lucky to have very supportive parents who volunteer to help with all sorts of things around the school. In this case, we got four parents to come in for a couple of hours over two days. As transition coordinator I organised all of the 'raw' materials (photocopied, collected, purchased) into a big box. The parent helpers laminated and cut all of the sheets, then they filled the bags following a list I provided them. The last thing they do is tie the name card on with curling ribbon.

At our second Transition Session (we have five sessions) we hand out the Showbags to each student. This gives them a chance to have a look with parents, and ask any questions about the items in the bags.

If you'd like to do something similar we have a few freebies for you! 

Paula (Paula's Place) has a fabulous School Countdown sheet available for parents to use. It's a list of suggested ideas to try in the lead-up to school, not requirements that must be completed. It's available free to our readers here. But it's only available until mid-January!


Chantelle (Miss Jacob's Little Learners) has an awesome alphabet chart in Victorian Modern Cursive, available for free on her TPT store.


I (Jem's Bright Buttons) have a free Victorian Modern Cursive handwriting chart available on my TPT Store, and the alphabet chart in one of my photos is available as a freebie on my store as well.



I hope you can take away some fun ideas for Transition into school, or even ideas for Transition between grades!

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