Budding Bloggers Showcase {Lauren from Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep}

Hi everyone!  I'm so excited to be featured as one of Amanda's 'Budding Bloggers' - isn't she amazing for hosting such a generous series?  I really hope that you enjoy learning a few random bits and pieces about me and my teaching style. :)

Let's start with the basics - my name is Lauren and I blog over at Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep!  I started my little corner of cyberspace when I was coming back to teaching after a year off, living in Canada and working in a jewellery store.  I live in sunny Queensland, Australia, right by the beach.  When I'm not at school you could probably find me walking by the water, reading in the sun or swimming.  I could never move back to the city after living here!  In my lazy moments I love to pin, watch trashy TV and enjoy a glass of wine.

My family lives about an hour away, but I travel to visit them pretty regularly - especially to see my gorgeous nephew!  I left a little piece of my heart in Canada, so I also travel back there as much as I can.  It's like a second home and I've got so many lovely friends there... it's just too bad it's so far away.  Before I moved away everyone told me that I would find my perfect man in Calgary, I didn't believe them until I met him!

I've been teaching for coming up to 12 years and in that time I've taught lots of different year levels, mostly at an independent Christian school. I found my niche 4 years ago when I began teaching Prep (called Kindergarten most other places in the world).  I love it - it's definitely the most exhausting year level I've taught but it's just so rewarding.  I get to spend the day with 25 hilarious, sweet, energetic and loving characters, having fun and seeing them learn and grow - what more could you ask for?

If you popped in to visit me in my classroom you would most likely see us not doing whatever was on my daily plan!  I have a bad (?) habit of having exciting ideas on the hop and using them immediately - most of what I plan for the week I never do (apart from literacy and maths group activities).  I am so lucky to have a TA in my room full time (I know, I know!) and the two ladies who share that job are amazing.  Nothing is too random or last minute for them!  Whenever you visited though, you would most likely find the kidlets working in groups.  Because my little learners vary so greatly in their abilities (Prep is their first year of school) I find that the best way to differentiate is to do lots of group work so everyone can work at their point of need.  That does mean that my classroom is stuffed to the rafters with games, resources, manipulatives, imaginative play props, books and other random bits'n'bobs!  

You can see a few more photos of my classroom here!
 I have two teaching 'resources' that I can't seem to live without - the first is a canvas bag that I got with a pair of Toms a few years ago.  Yep, an empty bag.  It's amazing how much more exciting a lesson can be when the materials are hidden away in it, just waiting to be discovered!  It's also amazing how perfectly kidlets will behave if they think they might be chosen to draw something out.  Never has a picture card, sight word or maths fact been so amazing as when it comes out of that bag!  The second thing I can't live without is coffee - it gets me through 'one of those days' for sure!

I have so many favourite classroom activities that it would be too tricky to share just one example.  My favourite times of the day are any that my kidlets are smiling as they learn.  Wherever I can, I keep their little faces happy by using hands-on resources, play based tasks, sensory experiences, opportunities for choice and a variety of activities that address many different learning styles.  (Let's just say that the dollar store is a place I visit frequently!)  Although that all takes a tonne of time to organise and prepare, I really think that the days are so much more relaxed and smooth when kidlets are invested in what they're doing... easier said than done, right? :)

Amanda asked me to share what one of my blogging goals for this year is, and I guess I've always had the same one.  My goal has always been to contribute (in whatever small way I can) to this wonderful online community that has been such a source of inspiration and motivation to me since I stumbled across teaching blogs.  Any time that someone sends me an email or leaves a comment to tell me that something I've shared has been helpful to them I've reached my goal!  This quote kind of sums it up for me:

Thanks so much for reading!  I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about me.  I'd love to get to know you too, so feel free to pop over and visit me if you can. :)


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