Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Christmas Resources

Here are some of my new (and old) Christmas resources, most of which are free!

Click on each image to download the resource. 

An Nollaig Display Set

A set of display posters for the theme of Christmas.




  Christmas Narrative Writing Roll a Story

All you need to plan and write a festive narrative story.


An Nollaig Activity Sheets

Letter to Santa (in both English & Irish)

This creates a lovely display whether you do it in English or Irish.

  


Advent Calendar

This is a great way to choose little activities to do in the lead up to Christmas.




An Nollaig Wordsearch 



Christmas Recount Writing

This is one to save for after Christmas!



Sunday, 14 November 2021

Christmas Art Activities

 Here are a few Art ideas that I have used with my class over the past few years.

Foam Snowmen



They were great fun to make and the children loved decorating them. Read the step by step instructions here.

Sock Snowmen

These were probably my favourite Christmas activity to do. I have done these with a lot of classes over the years, and it is a nice one that they can keep year after year. 
  

You need:
  • white sock 
  • colourful sock (for hat & scarf)
  • buttons/pom poms for buttons
  • elastic band
  • Rice
  • googly eyes
  • Hot glue gun is very useful for this but you could also use PVA.

This video is worth watching as it shows step by step instructions.

3D Cribs

This is a great project for the week leading up to the Christmas holidays. Each student brought in a shoebox and we used templates from Monster Chest's TPT Store. You can paint the background or use coloured paper/tissue paper. 



Rudolph Baubles

This is a drawing and painting lesson with some construction of baubles too!

Firstly, we drew an outline of Rudolph from a template I drew on the board. Then we painted them, mixing different shades of brown. While they dried, we cut out 4 circles from different coloured paper. We folded each circle in half and glued one half of a circle to another, continuing until you had used 4 circles. This creates one bauble so repeat until you have 3 or 4 to hang from the antlers. You can also add a little glitter to Rudolph's nose. To finish, we backed them on red paper.



Clay Christmas Tree Decoration

Cookie cutters are really useful for this Art activity. Each student chose a shape they would like to make. They rolled out their clay and used the cookie cutters to create the shape. Some made little decorations for their Christmas Tree to give it more of a 3D effect. Using a straw, we put a hole in each decoration, so we could add a ribbon to hang it from the tree. Finally, we painted them!


Christmas Tree Scene (as seen on @artwithmslahart)

This is a lovely colourful art lesson. We drew lines lightly to outline the ground. We painted the sky and added some snowflakes.  While it dried, we used tissue paper to design our trees. We cut them out in triangular shapes and stuck them down.



Hopefully you might find an idea or two for this year. Feel free to add in your own favourites in the comments.



Monday, 13 September 2021

Incorporating Gaeilge into Movement Breaks

Daily movement breaks became embedded in our class schedule last year. Each day at 10 o'clock we went out for a quick movement break. We had a simple routine each day and also added in a few playground games. As the weeks went by, it was clear that it benefited all the students and helped them to focus when we returned to the classroom. 

Usually, I do Gaeilge straight after the movement break. So we started to incorporate some of our Gaeilge lesson into the movement break. The students loved it as it was more time outside in the fresh air and they didn't even realise the amount of learning taking place!

Here are a few ideas of games and activities you could use during movement breaks.

Cén t-am é a mhac tíre?

The Irish equivalent of What time is it Mr Wolf? This became a daily one as the students really liked it and they could certainly count to 12 by the end of the year! 

A great one to teach time in a fun practical way.



Rith

I didn't have a name for this one. All students line up in centre of pitch. I called out a question linked to the vocabulary and phrases we were learning for the week. For example 'An maith leat a bheith ag.....'

Children then run to one side of pitch if they like it and to the other side if they don't. To get back to the centre of the pitch for the next question, they have to answer the question correctly; 'Is maith liom a bheith ag..../ní maith liom a bheith ag...' It offers an opportunity to repeat phrases a lot and also hear their peers forming the sentence.

If the vocabulary was new, I would bring out the flashcards as a visual prompt to those who needed it.

Cars 

I shared this idea on Instagram at the start of the year. A quick and easy way to revise phrases and use them multiple times during a movement break.


Deir Ó Grádaigh

Again this can be adapted to most topics you are teaching in Irish.  You can also use call and response to get the children using the language. 'Bígí ag rith.....Tá mé ag rith'.


I am going to continue incorporating Gaeilge outdoors this year as it led to lots of Gaeilge neamhfhoirmiúil in a fun context.  If you have any other ideas for using Irish in movement breaks, leave a comment below!

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

World Bee Day Art

Tomorrow is World Bee Day but this art lesson could be nice to do anytime during the summer term.  Here is a step by step of how to do it, which you can use with your class. You could also add flowers to make it even more colourful!


Use bubble wrap to create the background on a sheet of white paper. Alternatively, children could cut out hexagons to make the background. Leave to dry.


Draw an outline of a bee and colour it in. 

Add eyes, wings etc.

If you want to make it moveable, then add a lollipop stick to the bee.

When the background has dried, cut a wiggly line to make a pathway for the bee.

Slide the bee into the cut line.

                                     

Back the background onto a coloured page and you have some buzzy art!

Tag @msfordesclassroom on social media if you give it a go!

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Sports Day Ideas (that are Covid friendly!)

 


In our school, Sports Day is one of the highlights of the year. So many activities and trips had to be shelved this year due to Covid but Sports Day can still happen with perhaps a little more consideration of the guidelines and plenty of sanitiser. Here are a couple of ideas that could be used and adapted this year.
 

Noughts & Crosses


Simply draw a 3 × 3 grid using chalk or use skipping ropes/hoola hoops. It is effectively x's and o's with beanbags.
Two teams have 4 beanbags each (e.g. 4 red and 4 blue) Like a relay, the first child in each team runs and places the beanbag in the grid. The next child can go when their teammate returns. When they have used the 4 beanbags, the next child runs and can move 1 of their coloured beanbags to try and get 3 in a row.  Continue until a team has 3 in a row.
 
*If you would rather not use beanbags, you could use plastic cups which can be easily cleaned.
 

Don't Drop the Ball!


This is a great team building activity. My dad was recruited to make these for me and they were great fun!
The idea is to have a pipe per child and they move from one point to another (e.g. aim is to drop the tennis ball into a bucket) without dropping the tennis ball. They also can't touch the ball once it is placed in the pipe. They need to keep moving to the end of the line once the tennis ball has left their pipe.  The first team to reach the end point/have the ball in the bucket wins.
 
*Easy to spray the pipes between each group.
 


Giant Obstacle Course


We do this every year as the final event in Sports Day. Usually 6th Class are team captains and it is a whole school event. You could still do it class by class this year. It is always a favourite, especially when we do the water relay with holes in the cups!!!
 
*With a little thought on the equipment used, it could easily be made Covid friendly.



Traditional Sports Day Races


Last but not least, most of the traditional sports day races can still take place. 
Ask the children to bring in and label their own spoon & potato for the egg and spoon race. Sprints and relays can still happen (maybe an elbow tap instead of a baton).
 
Another one we use in our school is the welly toss! Children can bring in their own or sanitiser and spray can be used.
 
Waddle like a duck: all children bend down on their hunkers and they waddle to the finish line. Extra points for quacking!!

Grand National hurdle jumps: set out some hurdles and the children put their acting skills to use to be the quickest/liveliest/funniest horse over the hurdles to the finish line!

I have also put together a list of Parachute Games that you can find by clicking on the image below.

Above all, I hope your school manages to have a fun Sports Day, centred around the children in your school!  

Add any other Sports Day ideas in the comments below.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

3 Time-Saving Tips for Teachers (Guest Blog Post by Ciara from Rahoo)

 

Ciara McGuane is the Summer Course Director for Rahoo.ie.

Her career highlights include being filmed by BBC London teaching in the classroom and guest-lecturing at the Institute of Education in London. She has worked as a teacher, school leader, teacher trainer and initial teacher training tutor prior to setting up Rahoo.

One of her favourite memories of teaching is when her class (with the help of kind colleagues!) organised a surprise engagement party for her and sung Bruno Mars “Just the Ways You Are” to her!

One of her most embarrassing moments is getting locked into the school building when working late in her NQT year, set off the alarm and had to squeeze under the big school gate and two women passing by had to drag her out! All caught on CCTV!

Ciara is passionate about teacher and student potential – and believes accessible, informal and enjoyable CPD is one of the best ways teachers can develop. She currently works with Rahoo and misses the classroom – she will be back someday soon!

She shares some insight into 3 time-saving tips for teachers:

 1.       Use a lesson planning framework

This is the ultimate tip in terms of stress-free lesson planning and halving your planning time! It creates total ease and flow for teachers and takes the hassle and the indecisiveness out of lesson planning and where to put activities.

According to Albert Einstein, “Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.” In order to achieve balance in lesson planning and in lessons themselves, it is best to have a system.

Of course, in teaching it is necessary to be flexible – as literally anything can happen to thwart your plans! Nevertheless, a system is solid and will help achieve consistency in the quality of lesson planning and lessons themselves. It doesn’t mean that all your lessons have to be the same, but by creating some sort of consistent approach, it will make the planning process flow easier.

I use the 4-Step Framework called KISS. This simple lesson planning process is explored in detail in Rahoo’s EPV Summer Course “Effective Lesson Planning”.

 2. Who are you spending time with?

 Whilst this may not necessarily be time-saving – it is time-preserving and management.

Be careful about who you choose to spend your time with – be conscious of staffroom politics, complaining and begrudgery that might negatively affect you in the moment, but also the rest of your day or week.

It is important to protect your time and energy. Teaching is a draining job – it saps your energy so make a conscious effort to gravitate towards people who lift you up.

    


 3.       Mark less, but better

 This is a huge bug bear of mine and something I come across regularly with teachers I work with. One of the biggest mistakes a teacher makes is thinking that ticking and flicking every page and signing their name is necessary and adequate marking. This is a huge drain on teacher time and resources.

If you are doing this, you need to reflect and ask yourself these questions:

What is the purpose of marking?

Who is it for?

The purpose of marking is for students to learn and improve from constructive feedback. The purpose of marking is also for the teacher to learn about how individual students are doing and if they need to tweak their teaching.

Marking is fundamentally for the students and their progress.



Please don’t fall into the trap of marking for the parents or principals. Many teacher tick and flick in books so that the parents or principals can see that they have looked at the page. Ticking and Flicking is NOT good quality feedback – it is not purposeful and it is a waste of your time.

It is better to choose a piece of work to mark – and mark that to a good standard using a feedback framework like two stars and a wish to provide constructive feedback to students.

There is a whole section on effective marking and feedback in the Work Smarter, Be Happier EPV Summer Course.

I hope you found these 3 time-saving tips useful – they are a snippet of what is shared in our EPV Summer Course “Work Smarter, Be Happier”. Please feel free to check it out HERE.

Thank you to Ms Forde for hosting this guest blog post!

 Le grá,

 Ciara,

Rahoo Summer Course Director

 

 

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Novel Suggestions

 I have put together the following novel suggestions based on responses from teachers on Instagram. They might come in useful throughout the year or in Term 3.









You can also find more novel ideas in this post.