We've just been to the Ballet.  And by we - yes I do mean the E-Z Class (and half of the school as well).
The kids in years 3-6 (Grades 2-5) all got free tickets to the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company to go and watch their touring cast put on a range of performances.

As I was watching the kids I was thinking - those kids in the younger year groups are sitting so much nicer than mine.  And it wasn't even that they were, I think I'm just tired today!!  It got me thinking - I can't wait til I know what is happening next year!! I want to know who is in my class.  What I will be teaching.  Who is going to be in my teaching team!  All these things that I'm anxious to know - And we still have 6.5 weeks left of this year.

Is there anybody out there who gets like this too? Not that I'm sick of the kids I have now - I do love them - But I just want to know what is happening NEXT year already!!!

Maybe I'm the only weird one...

Oh gosh - it doesn't matter how refreshing a weekend is, the first day back at school is always the hardest!

This weekend just been was Labour Weekend here in New Zealand.  We "celebrate" (??) it on the last weekend of October, rather than the first of September - which is great!  It is the last public holiday here in NZ before Christmas!

I headed down to Ohakune with three of my closest friends to spend the weekend catching up.  Two of them are also teachers.

We spent the weekend eating, talking, doing a little bit of walking, and of course we ended it with the obligatory Pride and Prejudice marathon - NOT the Kiera Knightly version mind!  Absolutely the only way to go is the BBC miniseries where Colin Firth plays Mr Darcy.

Here are some photo highlights.
Ohakune is famous for its giant carrot.

I'm not very good at selfies! - halfway through the forest.

Us just before saying our goodbyes!
Next post I promise to share something school related. 

Until then I'll leave you with this...

Well we are at the end of week two - with only 8 weeks left until Summer break, the year is very quickly showing us what it's made of!
I'm going to link up to 5 for Friday a wee bit late - and I'm going to meld everything from the last two weeks altogether, because I've lost all track and sense of time!!
And it's Saturday.

Head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to see what everyone else has been up to this week!

These last two weeks we have been in FULL ON testing mode.  We have assessments, and reports, and tests coming out the waazoo!!  Thankfully, we are on the home stretch, and ONLY have running records left to complete.

Other than that, I'll let the photos speak for themselves (with a caption of course haha)


 The First Tee



  Skipping - Jump Rope for Heart

 And the start of a long weekend

Catch ya later - It's Labour weekend here in New Zealand, and the sun is shining!! I'm off to spend the weekend at the mountains with some of my girl friends - Yay for girly weekends away!!  And this also means no school on Monday - double yay!!

The E-Z Class
It's that the E-Z kids are pretty choice.  We are about 3/4's the way through our very long and arduous journey of testing, and while they have been FAR from perfect behaviour wise, they are surprising us every day with their progress.  Mrs Z has been so happy with some of the results the kids are getting in Numeracy, and so far everyone has made progress in their reading!! 
I love this time of the year - scratch that - I love the time of the year that happens AFTER all the testing is done.  We as teachers write reports about our little treasures and then that's when the fun begins!! 

I can't wait.  Not long to go - I'm about 1/2 way through the running records and then that's it!

Here in New Zealand, we are in full swing with end of year testing and reporting.  For us here in the E-Z Class that involves the following list of tests


  • running record for every child (individual)
  • STAR test for all year 6's (all but 9 of our 50 kids)
  • Easttle reading test (kind of like an exam.  Mostly multichoice with a few long answers)


  • Writing snapshot


  • GLOSS test (tests the kids number strategies) (individual)
  • Number knowledge (individual)
  • Easttle maths test (like the reading one from above)
Thankfully we don't have to test other subject areas!!

So with all these tests, and with so many of them being individual ones - like it's 20ish minutes of 1-1 time with the teacher, we have to have so fairly awesome/robust routines in place to get through it reasonably unscathed!!

So how do we do it here in the E-Z Class?  Well firstly good routines are set up - but y'all do that already, I mean we are teachers, and routines are what keep us sane right?
In my literacy class I work on the kids all year to get them ready to use contracts.  I generally use them in terms 2 and 4.  Not in T1 - because that term is ALL about routines, and you CANNOT do contracts without amazing routines.  And then in T3, it just gets a bit much, and the kids lose focus if you over use them.
This term our learning is all about the human body and how it works.  Science based topics are awesome for literacy contracts - especially if you can work in an experiment!!

The contracts have pretty much all aspects of literacy covered - and this term my comprehension focus is skimming and scanning.  Reading, vocabulary/dictionary skills, comprehension skills (skimming and scanning), writing/presenting, and sometimes a science experiment.  These kids have been well trained in all the skills necessary to complete these contracts throughout the year, so in a way they are also a form of assessment!

What do I do?  Well I still teach shared book (which I teach other comprehension and writing skills from), and then I am available to help them when they need the help.  This hugely fosters independence, and I generally have about 4-5 queries a block on average.  It's great, because the kids are able to help each other!! And then I test.  I can generally get through about 4 running records a block (1.5 hours) while the kids are working on these contracts.  So it's a win win! This is SOOOO not busy work.  It took far too much training throughout the year for these to be classed as busy work - and besides which, the kids are learning skills while they are doing them, which they don't get in busy work.

I can't do a google doc share here because the contracts are in Publisher format, but I am MORE than happy to send everyone a copy!  Use the email form on the side ----> and I will send you a copy of a few different formats I've used over the years.  Or leave your email in the comments and I will send you what I've got :)

Back to testing.... 13 down, 37 running records to go!!!


Hey everyone.
I thought I'd try something a little bit fun today - please link up, I'd love to see what you're thinking too!!

So I was watching something, or reading something I can't actually remember, the other day and someone said something about their bucket list!  Sorry - terrible sentence, I've been reading my kids writing samples, and while they apparently haven't learnt a thing from me this year by way of constructing a sentence, my reading of their terrible sentences has obviously affected my ability to write!
So any way, I personally think that bucket lists are in general a rather morbid thing.  I mean, what happens if you don't put enough on your list, and then you finish it all and you're like 29 and oh well no point living any more?!  (Y'all are probably getting used to my gross exaggerations by now right?)
BUT the year is going to end on December 31st, and we will have no choice but to deal with that fact (and party into the wee small hours?).  SOOOO instead of waiting til then and checking out my new set of resolutions that ALWAYS involve something to do with healthier eating, and exercising more - I thought it would be more fun to have a "2013 Bucket List" linky party.
The idea is that you choose about 5 (really as many things as you want) things that you want to achieve before midnight on the 31st.  Be outrageous!  These aren't goals, like we set at the start of the school year, they are things that you might never achieve.  The point isn't necessarily to achieve them, but more to set your sights higher, and then surprise yourself with what you have accomplished!!

Grab the graphic (which was boringly made from generic office2010 clipart) and link up below.  And while you're at it, enter the competition and win yourself an early Christmas Present - some New Zealand picture books.  There will be at least 2 names drawn in a few weeks time, so link up and get entering!

Here is my Bucket List - again sorry for the boring graphic!!

  1. I want to run in a race.  Actually walking would be fine. I am booked in to do a quarter marathon in 2 and a bit weeks, but my knee is injured, so I'm not sure if I will be able to complete it...  Watch this space.
  2. Bit strange - but I love swimming, the river is just a little bit cold until about February - I'm going to aim to swim in it in December - snow melt and all!
  3. Aim big or go home right?!
  4. I love making new friends, so this should be fun.
  5. To eat that is... I am far too fussy for my own good!! It's either fish, or mushrooms.  And mushrooms are just a little bit too weird for me just yet!!

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The E-Z Class
Ok so I'm known for gross exaggerations, but still!!! Check out my Monday Made it/Tuesday Tried it/OMG moment of the week.

I've never linked up to either of these parties before - not because I've never made anything, but just because y'all had so much more exciting things that you have made!  And I'm not 100% sure this really is a "Monday Made it" moment, ore even really a "Tuesday Tried it" but I
wanted to share it, because it really is AMAZING.  (cue gross exaggeration hehe)

So a bit of back ground first off.  Here in New Zealand, primary school yearbooks aren't really done everywhere.  They are starting to take off, and many schools have some form of publication.  Last year I started the year book here at my school.  HUGE job say what?!  I have a group of kids that works with me on Wednesday afternoons for an hour, and now they will come and see me at lunch times on Wednesday's too.  Cray cray big job!!
Any way, so I don't have access to any photo editing software or anything!! Like the most high tech stuff I have is paint.  And paint is SOOOO not what it used to be when I was a kid - picasso masterpieces anyone?

Right so I was looking at the pages some of the teachers had created for the book, and someone had managed to created photos that had been cut around the edge of the subject.  Here I was thinking that they had access to photoshop or something!  Turns out NO - they used Word!
Ok so here you are sitting, thinking to yourself "Erin, you're crazy! How did you not know that you could use Word for that?  EVERY one knows that!"  But I didn't - And in case you are as behind the times as I am, here is a tutorial!!

1. Find a photo that you want to edit.

2. Open it in Word (disclaimer, I have not tried this on a Mac, so don't know if it works.  If someone else knows, add a comment below!)

3. Click on the photo and then you will see "Picture Tools"(1).  Click on it.  Then click on "Remove Background" (2).

4.  It will automatically remove the background, but you can play around with it if some of your picture is missing.  Everything that is purple will be removed.

5.  You can now use your picture background free!!!

Wow I honestly have needed to have this kind of editing tool before and never knew it was available to me on WORD!! Seriously, how cool is that?!
THIS YEAR BOOK IS GONNA BE EPIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Holidays are officially over, and school starts in exactly twelve hours! Gosh better get writing so I can go to sleep.

Here's what we have planned for the upcoming week in the E-Z Class - check out Mrs Laffin's Laughings to see what everyone else has planned.

We are straight into testing as of tomorrow.  I have 54 running records (plus resits), 54 writing snapshots, 45 STAR tests, and 54 reading asstle tests to get done in the next 20 days. Some by the end of next week!  It's full on - we breed 'em tough though and these kids will handle it better than me!!
Along with that, Mrs Z has 54 Numpa tests, and 54 maths asstle tests to do aswell, and they have to be in earlier!

All 54 PROBE running records, photocopied and ready to go!
Thanks to some wonderful people on instagram I have finally picked one of our prizegiving songs, that I will start teaching tomorrow afternoon.  I love hearing kids sing, I just really struggle picking good songs to teach them!! 
We're gonna go with "Make a wave" by Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas.  I'm loving it and I only heard it for the first time today! 

We're gonna try something new to me this week in literacy.  Well it's kinda new anyway!! I have loved reading all about mentor sentences, and have really found Jivey a HUGE help.  
I even bought the book "Mechanically inclined: Building Grammar, Usage, and Style into Writer's Workshop, by Jeff Anderson".  It is very American (by that I mean it doesn't 100% fit in with the New Zealand way of teaching), but I am picking and choosing things that I love!!  I have stopped reading it just now, because I want to put in a couple good things to my programme at a time, and will make bigger changes in February when we start the new year.  
(As an aside, New Zealanders - it does fit in really well with what Louise Dempsey teaches, all about shared book in reading time. Just more on a grammar level.)
For those of you who haven't read this book - seriously what are you waiting for!! I got Everyday Editing too, but for the same reason I haven't read it yet.  I would have bought the third book, but there wasn't a Kindle version, and I'm not paying $80 shipping for a $20 book! No sir-e!!  I'll just get my sister to buy it for me and bring it back to NZ after she graduates in June hehe.

Right so what I was going to say is - we are going to give mentor sentences a real go this term!   We already have a shared text that is part of our reading programme. We've even done something similar, but not exactly the same in the past, but I'm excited about incorporating it into my writing programme too!!  Watch this space people is all I have to say!

I'm so sure that there are many other things we have on the cards for this week, but I can't remember - and I need to get to sleep.  My aim for this term is to be at school earlier, so that I can leave earlier!!


The E-Z Class
Hey everyone,
Well I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my holidays!! I feel refreshed and ready to go for the new term - well almost, I still have a little bit of planning to do yet!

This week has been quite busy, with a bit of travel thrown in there for good measure!
Let's link on my with Doodle Bugs Teaching and see what happened this week - make sure you head over there too and see what everyone else has been up to!

I finally got a well overdue, MUCH needed haircut!  Hairdressers in the town that I live in are SOOOO crazy expensive - like take a second mortgage on your house for a trim expensive - so I normally wait until I get home to get my hair done.  I love going to get my hair done, especially the head massage when they are washing your hair!  Oh it's heaven!!
Not the best selfie in the world, but there is SOOOO much less hair, which I love!!

Part of the wonderfulness that is the holidays, I went on a mini road trip.  My dad went to Melbourne (Australia) for the weekend for his Aunt's 90th birthday party, and he had to go to a meeting in Matamata on the way up.  For those of you that are fans of Lord of the Rings, Matamata is also known as Hobbiton.  While my dad was at his meeting I went shopping, and took a few photos.

In the centre of town

Cute little park I sat at while Dad finished his meeting.

The bling I found while getting a coffee.

I've really enjoyed just spending time with my family - even the furry members.  Life is all about being with your family!
This is a VERY blurry photo of my brothers cat.  It was taken at about 4am - when the kitten came in a started jumping on me.  I was sleeping on the couch after picking my dad up from the airport after his weekend in Melbourne.

These two!! Ollie and Poppy have made the last two weeks fun.  They are the best dogs ever - most of the time!!

Hehe - If my dad knew this photo were up he'd growl me!  He got the mantle for the fire place and has refurbished it.  He loves it, my mum isn't quite so sure!!

And now we are back to school!! I went in yesterday to get everything sorted, but didn't quite finish.  I might have to go in tomorrow.  All my tests are ready to go, and my planning is half done, so I am not as far behind as I could possibly be!  Everything will sort itself out by Monday morning!

All 54 PROBE tests are ready to go!!  Along with the other 5 literacy assessments we have to get done in the next 4 weeks.

And now I've got just under two days for the weekend left to enjoy my freedom.  I'm off to a friends baby shower in about half an hour, and then I've got a few errands to do!  Other than that, the countdown is on to Summer!!  With several really important things to do first!!

I'm out - enjoy your weekend!!


The E-Z Class

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