5 Oct 2015

October Calendar Freebie

This is a real quick little post. 

I just put this October calendar together for my class tomorrow. They're still learning how to print their numbers properly, so we're going to complete this together.

After we've added all the numbers we'll add special days like Thanksgiving, Halloween, birthdays and our pumpkin patch field trip.

The first one uses a font called KG Shadow of the Night. The second font is Head in the Clouds. The clipart is by me.

Click either image to grab both.


Black and white, blank October calendar with a ghost and bat. By GradeONEderful.com

Black and white, blank October calendar with a ghost and bat. By GradeONEderful.com

3 Oct 2015

October's Top 3 Pinterest Picks

Pick 3 This Month's Top Pinterest Picks Grade Onederful

Hi Everyone!

It's time again for the Pick 3 Top Pinterest Picks, hosted by Inspired Owl's Corner and Pawsitively Teaching.

The focus this month is, of course, all things October, my absolutely favourite month of the year: Thanksgiving, my birthday, Halloween!

Pick 3 This Month's Top Pinterest Picks Grade Onederful

So here's my first pick. I definitely plan on doing this project because I LOVE all things art. This is a mixed-media project from That Artist Woman with a watercolour background, paper collage trees, and ink stamped owls.

Click the image to see the pin!

Mixed media owl painting

Pick 3 This Month's Top Pinterest Picks Grade Onederful

My second pick is this cute printable from Green Grubs Garden Club in New Zealand. The printable is found on Teachers Pay Teachers but it's a FREEBIE. Yay! We've already been on one Autumn walk through our neighbouring forest, but it was so much fun, I think we'll go again. Or maybe we'll go down to the pond this time. Either way, I'm going to use this sheet with the kids when we get back.

Click the pic to see the pin.

My Fall Walk printable

Pick 3 This Month's Top Pinterest Picks Grade Onederful

My last pin is this beauty from Deep Space Sparkle. As you probably already know I LOVE anything and everything that Patty comes up with. This project is meant for Grade 2, but I know my first graders will definitely be able to handle it.

Click the pic, please:)

Perspective Fall Trees

Hope you enjoyed these pins!

2 Oct 2015

The Princess and the Pony Book Review!

The princess and the pony book review by Grade ONEderful

Here's a brand-new picture book by author and illustrator Kate Beaton. It came highly recommended from our local book store and it totally lived up to my expectations.

The kids laughed all the way through it and couldn't get over how the little warrior horse looks like a chubby guinea pig:)

Princess and the Pony
Kate Beaton
Arthur A. Levine Books
July 2015
Ponies, Princesses, Humour

Opening Lines:

In a kingdom of warriors, the smallest warrior was Princess Pinecone. And she was very excited for her birthday.


Princess Pinecone, the smallest warrior in the kingdom,  has BIG birthday dreams: she really really really wants a big, strong, fast warrior horse. So it's an understatement to say she's a little disappointed when her present arrives. She makes do with her not-so-perfect, buggy-eyed, flatulating warrior horse until she goes into her first battle (it's actually a fake, kind-of-fun battle) where things take a very surprising turn. 

The princess and the pony book review by Grade ONEderful

Why I Like This Book:

Well, I'm always a sucker for funny books and I thought this one was pretty hilarious. The pony just cracks me up. But the ending is what sold me. All these huge, strong, scary looking warriors just melt and get all "coochie coo" as soon as they see the little pony. It turns out that Sally Smash, Otto the Awful and the rest of the gang all have a cuddly side that they rarely get to show. 

The princess and the pony book review by Grade ONEderful

Something else worth mentioning (although to be honest, I didn't even notice during the first read-through), is that this is a bi-racial marriage! Cool, eh? You don't often see picture books reflecting that kind of reality. I love it!

The princess and the pony book review by Grade ONEderful


If you visit Kate's website you'll find some activity pages.

The princess and the pony book review by Grade ONEderful. Colouring activities by Scholastic.

Here's a simple tutorial for drawing your own horse.

And here's another one for a more cutesy kind of pony.

Drawing a pony tutorial

Be sure to visit Susanna Hill for more great book reviews!

26 Sep 2015

Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats

I just purchased the loveliest of lovely books for my class. It's called Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats and is written by Alicia Potter and illustrated by the talented Birgitta Siff.

I'm not even a cat lover (dogs are my best buddies!) but this book is just so charming and endearing that I absolutely had to share it with you.


Alfred A. Knopf, 2015


Fiction, Cats, Fear, Kindness

Opening Lines: 

When Miss Hazeltine opened her Home for Shy and Fearful Cats, she didn't know if anyone would come. But come they did.

Synopsis (taken from the book jacket): 

Miss Hazeltine has plenty of kitty company, and she gives her beloved scaredy-cats lessons in everything from Bird Basics to How Not to Fear the Broom.  The most timid of all is Crumb. He cowers in a corner. Miss Hazeltine doesn't mind. But when she gets in trouble and only Crumb knows where she is, will he find his inner courage and lead a daring rescue?

Why I Like This Book:

I think this is a wonderful book to read to beginning first graders (which I did!). I have four kiddies this year who are dealing with separation anxiety and almost every morning since school started there have been some tears. The kids loved this book and they could all relate to having fears and finding ways to overcome them. I'm really drawn to the illustrations, too, and their earthy, warm colours. I find them quirky but comforting. They were all hand-drawn in pencil and then digitally coloured. 


1. After reading this story it's a natural to share personal fears. I think, for many children, just knowing they're not alone with their fears, is very reassuring. A fun writing/art activity might be: "I USED to be afraid of ....." with an accompanying picture.

2. As an animal lover myself, I was struck with Miss Hazeltine's generosity. This book provides the perfect opportunity to talk about the needs of pets and perhaps a visit to the vet or local SPCA. I can see this book being the impetus for a cupcake sale to raise money for an animal charity.

3. It also ties in nicely with our beginning unit on Respect and Social Responsibility. One of the activities I just did with this was break the kids into pairs to work on "Kind Words" posters. There's even one where a child is about to rescue a cat!

4. Deep Space Sparkle has a fun cat art lesson for the Grade 1 set. It's based on the book "Cat at Night", but works perfectly with this book, too. BTW, if you're not familiar with Patty's blog, you MUST check it out!

I've linked up with Susanna's Perfect Picture Book Friday where you can find more wonderful book reviews.

Happy Reading!

23 Sep 2015

How To Reduce Image File Sizes for Your Blog

Hi Everyone!

I have a new/old tutorial for you. New, in the sense that it's the first time I've posted it on Grade ONEderful, but oldish because I previously posted it on Barbara Leyne Designs.

BUT...in case you haven't noticed (and I have to admit, I haven't said much) I've now combined the two blogs.

BL Designs is now Grade ONEderful Designs.  If you look at the page tabs above, you'll see the links to my pre-made blogger templates in "Designs". 

Nothing has really changed, other than the name and the fact that I'm now blogging in just one place. Not sure about you, but I was finding two blogs completely exhausting!

On to the tutorial ....

A tutorial explaining how to reduce your photo image file size when uploading to your blogger or word press blog, or your teachers pay teachers store.

I think this is a fantastic tutorial, especially if you sell products on TpT (Teachers Pay Teachers), as I do.

The Problem

I'm sure you've ALL had the experience where you try to upload your own thumbnail images and you've received the dreaded "File is too large" message!

File Image Size Tutorial by GradeONEderful.com

This used to majorly stress me out. The maximum file size for TpT's thumbnails is 200 KB. Any bigger and you absolutely CANNOT display that image.

I ended up going back and forth resizing my images and lowering the quality of the image which sometimes resulted in blurry photos. Not to mention ALL the time wasted.

The Solution

TinyPNG!  Have you heard of them? I found this site a couple of months ago and it's been a life-saver for me.

Here's how it works.

File Image Size Tutorial by GradeONEderful.com

You'll be greeted with this adorable panda bear. Just grab your image from your desk top and slide it right into that box.

File Image Size Tutorial by GradeONEderful.com

Look what happens. On the left you can see that my before image was 344.5 KB. That's way too large for TpT's liking. But after TinyPNG does their magic the size of my file is reduced by 72% and is now just 97 KB.

YAY! Success! Now I don't have any problems uploading my product image to my store.

File Image Size Tutorial by GradeONEderful.com

How Does it Work?

I'll be honest with you, I don't completely understand the mechanics of it. But here's a direct quote from TinyPNG:
TinyPNG uses smart lossy compression techniques to reduce the file size of your PNG files. By selectively decreasing the number of colors in the image, fewer bytes are required to store the data. The effect is nearly invisible but it makes a very large difference in file size!

Where Else Can You Use This?

The smaller the size of your image, the faster it will upload onto your blog. And the quicker the images upload, the faster your blog page uploads. It's super important to have a fast-loading page because that's one factor that improves your SEO.

If you have a wordpress blog then you can grab the TinyPNG plugin that will automatically do this for you, but blogspot blogs aren't so lucky. You'll need to manually resize your files as I described above. I do it all the time now for this blog because I like to add lots of images.

I hope this was helpful. Feel free to ask questions or let me know of other sites that do the same job.

Happy blogging!