Back to School Pool Noodle Self Portrait

Back to School Pool Noodle Self Portrait

Every year, no matter what grade I teach, I get my students to do a Self-Portrait in the first week of school. This gives me the opportunity to lay art expectations and rules down early in the year and they also make a great display for the Parent Teacher nights that are usually the following week.

This particular Self Portrait is quite simple and although I say it is for Early Primary, really, any grade good give it a go. It explores the mixing of primary colours as well as focusing on choosing colours that make pictures more realistic – students are required to observe themselves (in particular their skin tone) and mix colours or choose a colour that best matches their skin tone. A great way to lead into conversations about appreciating one another’s differences.

I highly recommend doing this art activity alongside Mem Fox’s book Whoever You Are.

Whoever You Are | Mem Fox

Here is what you will need:
– acrylic/washable paints (acrylic paints give a richer, bolder colour but are not as easy to wash out of clothes) – black, yellow, white, brown (in various shades), skin colour, tan
– A3 cartridge paper (this paper is thicker that the A3 paper you put through your printer – using cartridge paper will help avoid the paper tearing in case of over painting)
– Edicol dyes (primary colours only)
– Spray bottles of some sort
– Pegs
– Paintbrushes/Foam brushes
– Pool noodle cut into pieces

And here is how to create it with your class this year:
1. Allow your students to spray their piece of paper with the spray bottles filled with edicol dyes. Encourage your students to use a variety of the colours provided. What do they observe? What colours are being made as they mix together?

2. After your student’s spray paintings have dried, provide them with a variety of different skin tone paint colours (also include some black and white so students can mix the colours to suit their needs).

3. Ask your students to observe their skin tone and discuss the colours they will need to make their skin tone. Also discuss the impact of adding white and black to the colours provided (white lightens, black darkens). Allow your students to mix the colours until they are happy they have produced a colour similar to their skin tone. Students can then dip the pool noodle piece into their unique paint colour and print two circles one underneath the other to create a head and body.

4. From the body of their pool noodle print, use paint brushes or foam brushes to paint on arms and legs.

5. Allow your students to add hair and facial features to their portrait to complete their self-portrait.

And there you have a pool noodle self-portrait! Easy hey?! Why don’t you try doing a pool noodle family?

Pool Noodle Family

Like this idea? If you liked this idea you might like more of these ideas in our Self Portrait Art Unit.

Happy Back To School Everyone!!

10 FREE Classroom Christmas Activities

10 FREE Classroom Christmas Activities

With the end of the year drawing near I know how time poor we as teachers become. Reports to wrap up, curriculum to complete, swimming lessons to coordinate, end of year parties and concerts to prepare, next year planning to begin, children to keep alive… The list goes on!

So let me lend you a helping hand and share with you some of my favourite free Christmas resources to help keep your kiddos busy while you attend to other pressing matters like pulling posters off walls and cleaning furniture…

  1. Six White Boomers Art Templates
    This fun art idea has been inspired by the song by Rolf Harris and gives you the opportunity to bring a bit of reality to your classroom regarding the Australian Christmas experience.
  2. Christmas and Holidays Around the World STEM Challenge Passport
    This FREE Christmas and Holidays Around the World STEM Challenge Passport enables you to track your student’s progress through a variety of Christmas and/or Holidays Around the World STEM challenges.
  3. Naughty or Nice – Who Stole Santa’s Toy Sack
    Naughty or Nice is a no prep freebie Christmas activity involving a simple alphabet/number code. The aim is to find out who hid Santa’s toy sack. Eight suspects have been identified by Santa. The two naughty culprits have owned up and the sack has been returned, but their identities will remain a secret unless you can decipher this clue. Answer is included. Only two responses can be justified from the information provided.
  4. Christmas Math Word Problem Prompt Cards
    These Christmas ‘What’s the question?’ cards are great to help your students create their own Christmas themed math word problems. Differentiate this card set by setting the challenge to make word problems involving either multiplication, division, negative numbers for higher grades OR keep it to basic addition and subtraction for lower grades.
  5. Christmas in Australia Workbook
    Looking for a fun, yet educational activity for your student’s to complete this Christmas season?This workbook is filled with fact sheets, reflection sheets, creative tasks and fun activities for your students to complete.
  6. Christmas I Spy: Find and Colour
    These I Spy mats are fantastic laminated and used as a placemat for Christmas celebrations. The black and white version can be used the same way, and laminated after all the images have been coloured in.
  7. A Christmas Riddle
    A riddle for Christmas is a fun freebie activity to challenge and increase vocabulary skills. Your students use their critical thinking skills to decipher the clue and find the word.
  8. Snowman Tens Frames Printable
    Ten frames are simple tools that allows kids to build strong number sense. Using them will help them to see numbers and connect their understandings about a number name or digit to the matching quantity. These Snowman themed Tens Frames are sure to engage and educate at the same time!
  9. Christmas Spin and Graph Activity
    Teaching data and graphing has never been so much fun! This freebie contains 2 no-prep graphing activities that are Christmas themed.
  10. Kindness Kris Kringle Christmas Tree Activity
    This resource is for students to explore the idea of being kind and completing random acts of kindness, especially leading up to the Christmas season. It focuses on showing kindness and recognising kindness in others.


    And for the older learners…

  11. Christmas Employability Skills Checklist for Teen and Adult Learners
    For some learners, having a plan for how they will organise their Christmas break can be really useful, as it avoids leaving large chunks of time in their schedule where there is nothing to do. Help your students work out a plan for their Christmas break, so they are able to make the most of their opportunities and come back to learning in 2019 full of newfound talents and feeling energised and positive.

I hope that help you out this year as you are looking at ways to occupy your students in the remaining weeks of term 4!

Best of luck!!

Six White Boomers Australian Christmas Art Idea

Six White Boomers Australian Christmas Art Idea

I used to loooove celebrating Christmas in my classroom!! And even though I am not in the classroom anymore I am always on the hunt for great Christmas activities to complete with my daughter at home.

What I always found difficult when looking, was finding Christmas activities that had more of an Australian theme. I used to feel a little weird getting my students to colour in, paint or draw, reindeer, woollen mittens and snow themed pictures when they really had no relevance to our Christmas experience here in Australia.

So I thought I would share with you one of my favourite Australian Christmas art activities, inspired by Rolf Harris’ Six White Boomers.

You will need:
– A3 Cartridge Paper (this paper is thicker than normal A3 paper and will be more resistant to ripping once the Edicol Dyes are added)
– Edicol Dyes (Blue and Orange)
– Oil Pastels (Green and Brown)
– Acrylic Paints (Red, White, Brown, Yellow/Tan)
– Paintbrushes
– Sponges
Kangaroo template

How to create your own Australian Xmas Masterpiece:

  1. Using your brown oil pastel firstly lightly draw a rough line 2/3 of the way down your A3 paper. This is your horizon line. Then draw the outline of a tree using the same oil pastel. Add small tufts of grass on the ground using the green oil pastel.
  2. Now you can fill in the ground with orange Edicol dye paint and the sky with the blue Edicol dye paint. Be sure not to paint inside the tree. You can paint over the other oil pastel lines though as the oil will resist the dye and show through.
  3. Paint inside the tree layering the different colours (brown, tan and white) to give the tree a textured look).
  4. Cut out the inside of your kangaroo template. Discard the centre of the kangaroo and place the remaining stencil on top of your Australian landscape painting.
  5. Using your sponge, paint the inside of the stencil white.
  6. Remove your stencil to reveal the white kangaroo.
  7. With a thin paintbrush add a red bow around the neck of the kangaroo.
  8. And you are finished!! Well done!

Be sure to grab your free copy of the kangaroo outline from our Free Resource library so you can complete this artwork in your classroom this Christmas season!

Organising Science Groups

Organising Science Groups

Assigning roles in science groups can be a helpful way of managing student participation in science investigations.

Notice I say managing participation! Not managing behaviour… Obviously there will inevitably be issues that require teacher support to overcome when children work in small groups but assigning roles encourages participation, develops responsibility and increases accountability among your students.

To keep your students on track we highly recommend using these posters and badges in your classroom – Science Groups Posters, Badges and Labels

Science Groups Posters | Ridgy Didge Resources | Australia

To use the posters and badges follow these simple tips:

  1. Assign a role to each student at the beginning of each lesson. Teachers can determine whether these roles are chosen by the students or themselves. I personally like to assign the roles myself so that students are given the opportunity to have a go at each role.
  2. Despite the roles that have been assigned, students should still be monitored as they work to ensure groups are cooperating and remaining on task.
  3. Posters should be displayed in the classroom for students to refer to as well as badges prepared for students to wear during lessons so everyone is clear on what their role is. These badges can be laminated for longevity, hole-punched and threaded with a safety pin. Science basket labels can be laminated and attached to baskets with zip-ties, blue-tac, Velcro dots or sticky tape.

Following these simple steps will ensure your students are not only staying on track so they remain concentrated on the task at hand (hence more able to learn) but will also ensure they are learning vital life skills to set themselves up for success for life beyond the classroom.

Like the sound of getting your students working purposefully in your science classroom? Sign up to our Free Resource Library to get access to these posters plus plenty more great resources aligned to the Australian Curriculum.

Science Groups Classroom Management | Ridgy Didge Resources | Australia
7 Fun Ways to use Timelines in your Classroom

7 Fun Ways to use Timelines in your Classroom

Reading, writing and analysing timelines is a requirement of the Australian Curriculum but it should not have to be a chore for you or your students!

Here are seven simple, yet effective, ways to get your students involved in practising timeline reading and writing skills while keeping them engaged and excited about what they are learning:

1. Timeline Bunting:
You know the bunting you see in the party section of your local dollar store?

It can make a simple, yet effective timeline activity for your students. Depending on the age of your students and the outcome you wish to achieve:
– you could have your students write the dates onto the bunting themselves to create their own individual timeline;
– you could have each student write one date and event on their bunting and then come together as a class to put the timeline together;
– OR you could add the dates and events on yourself and then have your students put the timeline back together after handing them a piece of bunting each.

Indigenous Australians Reconciliation Timeline

2. Block Timeline:
This idea is great for the lower grades but I can assure you the older grades will have no hesitation in having a go at this activity as well! Using wooden blocks, cheap building blocks or even an old jenga set you can write the dates and events on separate blocks. You can then either:
– allow students in small groups to put the timeline back together
– OR give each student a matching date and event and have them together as a class put the timeline back together.

Australian Goldrush Timeline

3. Paperchain Timeline:
This is a super simple timeline activity that can easily be prepared in minutes. Giving each student some strips of paper have them write the dates and events on each strip. Glue them together to create a chain. (Alternatively you could again do this as a whole class or in small groups by giving each student one strip and then have them work together to put the timeline together).

Australian History Timeline

4. Coathanger Timeline:
This activity could be done with the recommended coat hanger for individual timelines or a piece of string for a collaborative timeline. Students write the dates and events on pieces of paper/card and then tie the events onto their coathanger with string. Alternatively you could peg them on their coat hanger or a piece of string if doing a collaborative timeline.

History of Toys Timeline

5. Floor Timeline:
Place a long piece of tape onto the floor (or depending on the surface you could just use chalk to rule a line). Mark certain dates on the timeline and have students add events that they have been given onto the timeline. Alternatively students could create their own timeline on the floor if they have been given multiple events to sequence (this would be space dependent though).

History of Technology Timeline

6. Puzzle Timeline:
Using real puzzle pieces or the template found in our FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY, either you or your students can write the dates and events onto each puzzle piece and then put them back together.

Timeline Puzzle Templates

7. Paper Cutout Timeline:
Also from the dollar store you can often find pre-cut cards in various different shapes and sizes. These plane-shaped cards were perfect for creating a collaborative Transportation Timeline.

History of Transportation Timeline

Got any other ideas? Please share them below.

For other timeline ideas, check out these resources: