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Teacher-authors around the world: meet Jean from Australia!

Hey everyone, I'm here for a new interview in the series Teacher-authors around the world!
This time, my interviewee is Jean, better known as The Teacher Gene.

 The Teacher Gene
Click on the image to check out Jean's TpT store
1. Tell us about where you were born.
If you are looking for an international teacher you have come to the right place! This Australian was born in a little town called London, England! My Australian mum and Irish dad were on a working holiday in the UK when I was born. At a few months old, I was living in sunny Queensland, where I spent my childhood. I now call Brisbane home.

A day at the beach near home.

2. Where else have you lived?
Other than my short stint in London, I have also lived in Scotland. My husband and I lived in a little village near Aberdeen for 6 years. We loved our time in Scotland, where I had the privilege of teaching my Scottish students phonics albeit with an Australian accent! Our three beautiful children were born while we were there. Our time in Scotland was very special and will always be a part of us.

The village in Scotland where Jean and her family lived for 6 years.

3. I believe your mother is also a teacher. Have you always known you'd grow up to be a teacher? Is that where "The Teacher Gene" name come from?
You are right, Lucy! My mum is a wonderful teacher! Although I saw the hours she put into her job as I grew up, I also witnessed the fulfillment, love and sense of purpose she experienced from what was her calling in life. I don't think I ever thought I would do anything else other than follow in her footsteps. She has been such a wonderful support to me in my own teaching and we have so many similar thoughts regarding education. It is special to share my teaching journey with my mum. So yes, 'The Teacher Gene' came from this sense of teaching being a part of who I am and where I came from. Also my name is Jean.

And this is the face behind The Teacher Gene.
What a beautiful smile!
4. I know you're on a mission to get the word out about Teachers Pay Teachers in Australia. Do your colleagues and friends know about TpT?
If they have met me, they know ALL about TpT now! I have to hold myself back from sounding too 'evangelical' about TpT to be honest! Teachers Pay Teachers has been such a huge blessing to me that I want others to know what creative and time-saving resources are out there to buy, and what an awesome opportunity exists if they wish to sell! In fact my lovely mum and sister-in-law have become sellers, and I have a few colleagues also asking questions! I love walking into classrooms and spotting TpT resources. It's amazing to think how many students and teachers have been impacted by TpT!

Here's what an interactive notebook looks like!
5. You really love interactive notebooks, don't you? What would you say to teachers who are thinking about implementing INBs in their classrooms?
Yes! I am a big believer in making learning as engaging as possible! I love that Interactive Notebooks can cater for different learning styles, provide opportunities for hands-on learning experiences and be an organized reference for reinforcement! For those teachers thinking about using INBs in their early years classroom, I would say go for it and don't be afraid of the mess! There will be a lot of cutting and pasting, you will need to be patient at the beginning and work in small groups, but once the kids become familiar with the process and better with their fine motor (encouraged by INBs!) the enjoyment and progress of your students will be worth it!


 FREE Interactive Notebook Sight Words
FREE Interactive Notebook - Sight Words
6. Just for fun, could you share something about you that we don't know?
Although I have traveled to many different countries internationally, I haven't seen much of my own country! Up until last week, I had never been to Sydney! Crazy! So over the school holidays, my children and I saw these Australian icons for the first time......together! Very special!


Thank you so much, Jean, for the interview! I really enjoyed getting to know you more! 

Now head to Jean's The Teacher Gene blog, check out her Pinterest boards or chat with her on Facebook or G+.

Don't forget to leave a comment for me and Jean and try to guess from where my next guest is!

READ: Teacher-authors around the world: meet Catia from Portugal

READ: Teacher-authors around the world: meet Lisa from Scotland

READ: Teacher-authors around the world: meet Lindy from South Africa

READ: Teacher-authors around the world: meet Rosie from New Zealand


Thank you all for reading!

A selection of 30 FREE clipart sets for back-to-school or year-round use

Here's a selection of FREE clipart sets that you can use to create your resources. I've chosen some sets that are related to the back-to-school season and other sets that can be used throughout the year.



They have not been downloaded a gazillion times YET (as I write this post), so you have the chance of using them before everyone else!

I can say that I'm totally addicted to clipart and I love discovering new artists as much as I love getting new items from my favorite sellers. I have even created a Pinterest board for clipart. Be sure to follow it if you want to be the first to know about a new seller or a new set (if you know me a little, you know I'm always on Pinterest).

Follow Lucy S.'s board Crazy for Clip Art (mostly free sets) on Pinterest.

I believe I'm going to introduce you to some artists you don't know yet, or show you some sets from your favorite artists that you might somehow have missed. Click on the images to check out their pages on Teachers Pay Teachers (note: the clipart set from Educasong can be downloaded from her website).

APPLES

- Apple Dice Clipart Freebie by Teaching in the Tongass


- Free Wild & Crazy Animal Print Apples Clipart Set by Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs

 Free Wild & Crazy Animal Apples Clipart Set by Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs

- Back to School Apples Freebie by A Sketchy Guy

 Back to School Apples Freebie by A Sketchy Guy


- Doodle Apples Freebie Clipart by KB Konnected

 Doodle Apples Freebie Clipart by KB Konnected


- Apple Friends Clipart Freebie by 2 Super Teachers

 Apple Friends Clipart Freebie by 2 Super Teachers

SCHOOL / SUPPLIES

- Free Clipart: Journal / Notebook by Teacher Karma

 Free Clipart Journal / Notebook by Teacher Karma

- Bookworm clipart freebie by Kinka Art

 Bookworm clipart freebie by Kinka Art

- Mr. Thompson's Flipchart Board Freebie by Surfer Kids Clipart

 Mr. Thompson's Flipchart Board Freebie by Surfer Kids Clip Art

- Alphabet Lettered Tiles Freebie by Teachers Resource Force

 Alphabet Lettered Tiles Freebie by Teachers Resource Force

- Free Glitter Stationery Helpers Clip Art by Teacher's Toolkit

 Free Glitter Staionery Helpers Clip Art by Teacher's Toolkit

- Free Thumbtack Clipart by Digital Classroom Clipart

 Free Thumbtack Clipart by Digital Classroom Clipart

- Math Symbols Clip Art Freebie by Kelli Olson

 Math Symbols Clip Art Freebie by Kelli Olson

PAPERS, FRAMES & BORDERS

- Scribble Polka Dot Pages by Graphics from the Pond

 Scribble Polka Dot Pages by Graphics from the Pond

- Glitter Digi Paper Freebie by A Little Peace of Africa

 Glitter Digi Paper Freebie by A Little Peace of Africa

- Digital Papers Bokeh Textures 4 by Sonya De Hart Design

 Digital Paper Bokeh Textures 4 by Sonya DeHart

- Free Simple Glitter Rounded Rectangle Frames / Borders Clipart by Glitter Meets Glue

 Free Simple Glitter Rounded Rectangle Clipart by Glitter Meets Glue

- Border Hoarder #1 by the Spanglish Señorita

 Border Hoarder #1 by the Spanglish Señorita


- Free Square Black Frames / Borders by Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy

 Free Square Black Frames / Borders by Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy

- Free Mini Starter Kit Papers and Frames by The Enlightened Elephant

Free Mini Starter Kit Papers and Frames by The Enlightened Elephant

- Free Marble Digital Paper Pack by Cara Taylor

 Free Marble Digital Paper Pack by Cara Taylor


- Free Medallion - Text Frames by Catia Dias

 Free Medallion - Text Frames by Catia Dias

READ: Teacher-authors around the world: meet Catia from Portugal!


- Free Page Borders by Lindy du Plessis

 Free Page Borders by Lindy du Plessis

READ: Teacher-authors around the world: meet Lindy from South Africa!


MISCELLANEOUS

- Free Cakes by Guilherme José Drawings

 Free Cakes Clipart by Guilherme José Drawings

- Free Sample Clipart by Image Boutique

 Free Sample Clipart by Image Boutique

- Free Riboons Clip Art by Cherry Workshop

 Free Ribbons Clipart by Cherry Workshop

- Free Colorful Happy Stars by The 3am Teacher

 Free Colorful Happy Stars by The 3am Teacher

- Free Teacher Appreciation Graphic by Educlips

 Free Teacher Appreciation Graphic by Educlips

- Free Initial "H" clipart by Illumismart

Free initial "H" clipart by Illumismart

- Free Bees Clipart by The Lost Teacher NOT FREE ANYMORE. Sorry!

 Free Bees Clipart by The Lost Teacher

- Free Proper Pencil Position Clipart by Poppydreamz Digital Art

 Free Proper Pencil Position Clipart by Poppydreamz


If you have discovered new artists by reading this blog post, be sure to let me know. More importantly, leave the sellers some glowing feedback. I'm sure they'll appreciate it!

If you are one of the fabulous artists mentioned here and, for whatever reason, don't want to be part of this post, let me know. I'll remove the image and links to your store ASAP.

Read: A selection of 20 FREE clipart sets for fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving!


Thank you all clip artists for sharing your beautiful art with us!!!

Have a wonderful week!

Teacher-authors around the world: meet Catia from Portugal!

I'm back with another interview in the series of Teacher-Authors Around the World.
My guest today is my fellow Portuguese-speaker Catia from Always a Teacher & Forever a Mom.

 Always a Teacher and Forever a Mom
Click on the image to check out Catia's blog!

1. Where were you born and how did you end up in Canada? 
I was born and raised in Lousada, a small town in northern Portugal.
It's a quiet town very rich in culture and history. Its historic sites comprehend Bronze Era buildings, Roman bridges and aqueducts, medieval churches and dozens of manors and palatial homes.

Catia's parents' home is a typical farm house of the North of Portugal.
It's over 200 years old and built in granite!

I lived in Lousada until 2003, when I moved to Canada.
My husband is Canadian and after 5 years of marriage, 2 children and the prospect of a country entering a deep economic crisis, we decided to move to Canada.
We have been here for 11 years now, and although I miss my country, family and friends, I never regretted making the move.

2. Do your children speak Portuguese?
No, my children do not speak Portuguese.

When we moved to Canada, my oldest was only 3 years old and about to enter school. Since his English speaking abilities were non-existent at the time, we decided to only speak English until he learned the language. I guess we got so comfortable with English that we never went back, lol.

Once in a while we try to teach the children some vocabulary. They really enjoy it and we hope that eventually they will become somewhat fluent in Portuguese.

3. What are the main differences between schools in Portugal and Canada?
There are a few differences. Some are positive and others not so much. The following are the ones that I most noticed:

In Canada there is a homeroom teacher until grade 8.
In Portugal this only happens until grade 4. For grade 5 and up students have one teacher per each different subject.

School hours in Canada are always the same throughout the week. Elementary starts around 9 a.m. and ends around 3:30 p.m.; and Secondary starts around 8:30 a.m. and ends around 2:30 p.m.
In Portugal only kindergarten to grade 4 have this type of regular schedule. Starting with grade 5, school schedules vary throughout the week. Some days, children can start as early as 8:30 a.m. and only finish at 6:30 p.m.; while on the next day, they might just start at 9:30 a.m. and finish at 1:30 p.m.
I find that this type of school schedule has a negative impact on children. They are often very tired and unmotivated by the end of the day.

Studying doesn't mean you can't cuddle with your favorite kitty!

There is no such thing as substitute teachers in Portugal! Usually, if a teacher misses school, the students are either sent home with parents/caregivers or are left to roam around the school grounds. In fact, unless the teacher misses for more than a month or two, there are no substitutes at all :( This doesn't help giving continuity to learning and the students are the ones that most suffer from it!

Public school in Canada is 100% free.
In Portugal, the public school is also free, however, the students have to pay for all books and supplies!

There are more differences between both school systems, but these are the most striking to me.

4. I believe you've already homeschooled your children. Is homeschooling common in Portugal?
Yes, I homeschooled my son for grade 5 only!

Teaching the science curriculum:
a project-based activity to cover the body systems
It was a good learning experience for both of us and it gave me a renewed respect for all homeschoolers out there. Although there is a lot more flexibility in homeschooling, it is also very demanding in terms of prep work.

When I left Portugal, homeschooling was not even heard off. However, I have recently learned from some colleagues and relatives that it has become quite popular lately. Due to the economic crisis of the country, some families have ventured into homeschooling in order to provide their children with a good education while cutting on costs.
In general, it is regarded as something strange and most people don't really "buy" into it.


5. Which do you prefer creating: classroom resources or clipart?
BOTH! LOL
I love the creative process of both classroom resources and clip art. Each has its own appeal and often play off each other :)

 Subtraction Activity Set
Check out the cupcakes Catia drew for her Subtraction Activity Set
 Free Word Wizard Vocabulary
Click on the image to download the FREE Word Wizard Vocabulary Journal 
          
There are times when I come up with an idea for a resource and then have to create the clip art to complement it; and other times I just create clip art that later on inspires me to create classroom resources.

6. If you could give one tip to anybody getting started on Teachers Pay Teachers (or similar websites), what would it be
Definitely: be patient!!!!
I think that when we start as new sellers, often we set extremely high expectations based on the success of others. I was no different! When I first heard of Deanna Jump's success, I thought right away that I could do just as well as her... I thought my resources were certainly going to take TpT by storm and I would make a million dollars in a few weeks !!! Well, that just didn't happen, lol.

It took me a while to learn to be patient. My store is growing slowly but steadily. Yes, I still think that I could achieve the success Ms. Jump did, but now I know that it will take me a long while :)

Thank you so much, Catia, for being my guest!!! Muito obrigada (that's "thank you" in Portuguese)!!

Now go check out Catia's Always a Teacher & Forever a Mom blog, chat with her on Facebook or G+! You can also find her on Twitter and Pinterest!


READ: 10 words that English borrowed from Portuguese

READ: Teacher-authors around the world: meet Lisa from Scotland

READ: Teacher-authors around the world: meet Lindy from South Africa

READ: Teacher-authors around the world: meet Rosie from New Zealand


Follow this blog if you don't want to miss the next interview in this series!

Thank you all for reading!

10 words that English borrowed from Japanese

In today's post, you'll get to learn that the following ten words, commonly used in English, actually come from Japanese, which I happen to speak a little because my mom is Japanese (so beside the point, but I just had to share).


1. KARAOKE
Whether you like it or not, I'm sure you have already sung your heart out at a karaoke bar or at someone's wedding. I know I have, and I can tell you it wasn't pretty!

Literally, "karaoke" means empty orchestra. We use the word to refer to singing along to a (usually bad) instrumental tune produced by a machine.

If you have read Lisa's interview here, you know this is one of the words she used to mispronounce until she got to live in Japan.

2. ORIGAMI
One of the first books I can remember flipping through was an origami book in Japanese. I couldn't understand any of the words, but the photo instructions were great. I was ecstatic when I finally got to fold my first crane. No, I haven't folded a thousand of them yet.

"Origami" is also pretty literal in meaning. It means "fold paper".

If you'd like to try your hand at a quite challenging and fun piece, watch the following video. It would be great as an art project for older kids.




3. TSUNAMI 
As I'm sure you'll remember, Japan is no stranger to tidal waves. So much so that they have a word to name the kind of gigantic wave often caused by an earthquake.

"Tsu" means harbor and "nami" means wave.

4. HAIKU
This is a Japanese form of poetry. The haiku poems consist of three lines (with 5, 7, and 5 syllables).
Having students compose haiku is a great exercise because they have to be creative and concise. They need to think about what is most important to say and really concentrate on that. Have you ever had your students write haiku?

5. SUDOKU
Sudoku is a shortened word in Japanese. Thankfully, this is the word we have borrowed or would you rather say "suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru"?

This is a kind of number puzzle that, in my opinion, is highly addictive. It also involves a lot of critical thinking and children should benefit from doing them.

If you want to try them yourselves or would like your kids to try sudoku, you can find thousands of free sudoku puzzles to print at Krazydad.

6. BENTO
This is a word originally used to describe single-serving meals that can either be homemade or purchased. The original bento is composed of rice, vegetables, and fish or meat - everything arranged in a bento box.

More recently, bento has been widely used to describe the cute arrangement of food for kids meals. Here's a video if you'd like to see how to prepare your own Hello Kitty bento lunch box:



7. TYCOON
Do you know any powerful and wealthy business person? If so, you know a tycoon.
Literally, tycoon means "great lord" and was used to refer to the shoguns, military leaders in Japan.

8. MANGA and ANIME
Manga refers to the Japanese comics and they're widely popular with teenagers all over the world. Anime refers to Japanese animation movies, such as My Neighbor Totoro.

Anime is an interesting word because it is actually an abbreviated form of "animation", a word borrowed from English by the Japanese. It's quite interesting to realize that English speakers are borrowing back the word.

9.BOKEH 
"Bokeh" is a Japanese word that means "blur" or "haze". In photography, it refers to a light effect that makes things look, well, blurred.
Even if you've never heard the term, I'm pretty sure you've seen it somewhere.

Check out the following set of Bokeh Digital Papers by KristyBear Designs and the FREE Stretch the Sentence resource by Rachel K Tutoring that uses a bokeh paper on the cover. (click on the images to see the resources)

 Bokeh Digital Papers

 FREE Stretch the Sentence


10.KAWAII
I would say that the most appropriate translation for "kawaii" is "cute". However, the word has taken on a much broader sense to describe a whole aesthetics that involves pastel colors, rounded facial and body features in illustrations, cute characters (e.g. baby animals), etc.

And here's something very kawaii to end this post with:



Read: 10 words that English borrowed from Spanish


Read: 10 words that English borrowed from French


Read: Teacher-authors around the world



Have a great week! Sayonara!