Monday, 16 September 2019

Sense-ible Spellings

This year some of the classes are following an individual spelling programme.  It will be based on unknown basic sight words, Brendan Culligan's corewords and the children's own personal choices.  These are the blank copies that we use to record their spellings each week.

To help with their spellings, I created these spelling boxes for them to practice.  They are made from old biscuit tins.  The base contains play sand and the lid holds the magnetic letters.  They can be stacked and stored easily when we are finished by popping the lid back on.

The children love them and are keen to use them each day! 

Other strategies we use are:

  • spelling out loud as they trace the letters on their hand 
  • writing on the whiteboards as they spell them 
  • writing a word on another child's back and they have to guess which word it is!

Feel free to comment below with other spelling suggestions.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Recount Writing Resources

I use the following resources to structure how I teach the genre of recount writing with my class.
This year, I am working as a Special Education Teacher but many of the templates will be useful to help children to sequence their ideas before writing.  
Simply click on each image below to access the resource.

Display Posters 

The poster set includes how to structure a recount, the types of recounts and some useful connectives they can incorporate into their writing.  I display this in the classroom for the students and add their samples of recount writing to the display board.

Planning Templates

There are 4 different planning templates included to suit the needs of the children, giving them the opportunity to get their thoughts together before writing a recount.  


These can be downloaded for free on my TPT store, by clicking on the image below.  I usually stick them into the copies and the children can use them to self-assess any piece of recount writing they complete.

Recount Writing can be linked nicely to a classroom timeline of events that occurred throughout the year.  Read more about this here.

Check out other posts on writing genres by clicking the link below.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Lollipop Stick Questions

I made these to use with some of the children I work with this year.

Rather than writing answers to questions based on a text, we will use these sometimes.  I made them thanks to posters from A Crucial Week, which I laminated and popped onto jumbo lollipop sticks.

I like to turn them upside down and allow the child to choose one.  I then use the question word to ask them a question based on the text we have read.  The children love to take on the role of the teacher and ask the questions too!

They could easily be used to discuss pictures too.

Example Questions:

- Who helped with the costumes?
- When was the concert on?
- Where do you think the children are?
- What is your favourite costume in the picture?
- Why do you like this costume?

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Maths Problem Solving

Problem Solving is probably the one area in Maths that is challenging for many students. 

Using a strategy to break down the problem can be helpful to students.  In our school, we use the 'RUDE' Approach to problem solving, which is outlined in the images below.

I have also made smaller desk topper versions for the children as a reference point.  It includes some mathematical language that often appears in problems, as well as a multiplication grid.

Some schools follow the 'CUBES' Approach. Display posters and a desk topper for this is also available, just click on each picture to be redirected to download.

I like to encourage the children to make a note of any useful mathematical language that will help them with problem solving in the future.  I usually put it inside their Maths book.  Click on the image to download it for free.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

App Alert: Borrow Box

This app allows you to download books from your library for free from your home!

I only came across this app lately and it is suitable for students and teachers alike.  I have used it during the summer to download and read some books.

What you need:

A library card Device to download the app

What I like about it:

-It is free! (new books can be expensive) -Saves trips to the library (handy for busy parents) -Option to download 5 books and 5 audio books at a time (I like the audio option for some children who may be reluctant readers or just like to listen to a story sometimes).
-You can select a filter for 'Children' or search a specific title.

It is definitely one I will be recommending to some parents in September who want to encourage their children to read more.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The A to Z Project

A couple of years I decided to do an A to Z project with my class. Each week they completed a project based on a letter of the alphabet. Each student presented their project on Friday for the class. Sometimes I chose the topic for the children. For example, we were learning about Ireland, so the children researched a county for the letter C.

They also did some group projects. When learning about Europe, the children researched Germany and France in groups. It helped to improve their teamwork skills and organisational skills as they needed to make sure they had focused on different areas such as food, sport, landmarks.

We also did some practical hands on projects such as teepees for the letter T and bridges for B (click here to find out more about this project). I photographed the children's work and printed it for their scrapbooks where they had their A to Z projects stuck in. 

Project work proved very beneficial to the children as they they has the opportunity to learn a lot from each other, improve their presentation skills and organisational skills (as they have the week to complete the project). Also it gave them the opportunity to improve their ICT skills, giving them the choice to type their projects.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Mental Maths Lollipop Sticks

This year I am working in Special Education, helping some children with Maths.
I find the lollipop strategy useful to revise and consolidate topics that have been covered already.

How it works:

Each time we complete a topic, I write it on a lollipop stick and add it to the jar.
Each day at the start of our Maths session, the children pick one of the lollipop sticks.
I ask them 10 questions based on the topic.
The children try to figure them out mentally, but they sometimes use a mini whiteboard.  I also use visuals, if it supports the child. e.g. using dienes blocks for place value

Not only does it constantly revise what they have learned, which is beneficial for all children, it also shows me if we need to go back over a topic.  It is also a great way to revise the Maths language, as you can see in the sample questions below.

It could also be used a classroom just as easy.....give each child one question based on the topic or use mini whiteboards and they can all do the same 10 questions.

Here are some of the topics we have included to date.

(Time, Division, 2D Shapes, Lucky Dip*, Place Value, Fractions, Decimals & Percentages, Lines & Angles, Times Tables)

Lucky Dip*: I ask a random choice of questions from all the topics we have covered!

Here are a sample list of questions I ask the children in some of the topics.


What is 3 x 4?
What is the product of 5 and 6?
Can you think of the factors of 24?
7 times 7 is.....
Count in 5's up to 60
List the first 5 multiples of 6.

Fractions, Decimals and Percentages

What is half of 30?
What is 1/4 as a decimal?
Give an equivalent fraction for 1/5.
What is 50% of 10?
Write 4 2/4 as an improper fraction.

Target Number

Check out sample questions for that here.