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.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Magnetic Calendar

I bought this magnetic calendar in Smyths recently to use with some of the children I work with in. (This is NOT an ad, I purchased the product myself for under €20!) It comes with 82 magnets.

Personally, I am going to use with one particular child to develop a sense of time on a daily basis. There are lots of other ways you can integrate it into the classroom, particularly in the Infant level, or as a daily activity to do with an SNA or independently.  I have listed some ideas of how you can really get your moneys-worth with this resource! Feel free to add other ideas in the comments below.

Ordering the days/months of the year (Maths)

All of the months and days are provided and it would be a nice hands on activity to put them in order. You could separate the school days from the weekend. The months could be matched to the correct season. 
If the child is good at putting them in order, you could remove one of the magnetic days/months and see if they can figure out which one is missing.

These magnetic tiles could also be used instead of writing answers, if fine motor skills is an issue.

Oral Language

There is such scope for oral language development with this resource. As the children become used to it, it could be used as a stimulus for recording a child being a weather forecaster. The child could also be recorded saying their news using the activities as a prompt. This would be particularly nice for children who have an iPad, as it creates a nice link with home, when they can see these videos.
It provides some lovely opportunities for vocabulary and language development, even the temperature monitor has a range of words to describe the weather. 


If you wish, it could be a visual cue for a writing activity as it provides a lot of the language for the children. I really like to used it on the book creator apps on the iPad, incorporating I.T. The children can take photos of the calendar when they have it completed and write a sentence or two underneath. They can also record this sentence using the microphone on the iPad (more Oral Language).

Image result for book creator app


The digit tiles can be used in so many ways for maths as an alternative to writing. Here are just a few ways I use them:

  • ordering numbers smallest to largest or largest to smallest
  • making a number that teacher calls out
  • the number before/the number after
  • addition/subtraction sums
  • reading numbers, 1, 2, 3 or 4 digit numbers

Emotions/Feelings (SPHE)

I really like the emoji faces that are included and they can be used to discuss feelings/emotions with the children. There is a spare one that the children can add other emotions. They could also draw their own 'happy' or 'sad' faces. Using these they could create sentences (orally, using I.T. or writing), such as I am happy when.........

Visual Timetable

The calendar includes lots of extra curricular activities but you can always add your own and use the 'Activities' part as a visual timetable for the child.


The second part can be used as a whiteboard, if you lift off the clear film that holds the supplementary magnets. This is really useful for a child who finds it difficult to copy material from the board, as they can use the information on the daily calendar to write on the board underneath. I would put it on their table, but you could leave it hanging on the wall too.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Advent Calendar

I have done this activity with my class over the past few years in the lead up to the holidays.

Usually I do it as a whole class activity where the children each contribute to a day on the calendar. If you have more/less students, you can compile a large list together and then select your favourite ones to add to each date on the calendar. Each year the children really surprise me with some great ideas!

Each evening, the children try to complete one of the tasks and they colour each one as they complete it.

Some ideas that my students have come up with over the years include:

  • No electronics for the evening
  • Write a card to a relative
  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Spend 20 minutes reading
  • Make mum/dad a cup of tea
  • Do some exercise
  • Pay a compliment to someone 
  • Make a Christmas card for a classmate
  • Clean your room
  • Play a board game

You can download the resource by clicking on the image below!

Advent Calendar Worksheet

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Classroom Timeline (Recount Writing)

Last year, I started a classroom timeline with the children.

It tied in nicely in September with our Recount Writing genre.  We all planned out our piece of writing together first, with the children choosing 3 things they enjoyed doing in September.

I chose a few children to type up their work and we placed it under September with some pictures. It is a nice visual for them to remind them of all the work they have completed throughout the year.

We continued to add to it as the year progresses.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Oral Language Prompt Cards

I usually use these prompt cards during Station Teaching at an Oral Language Station. Generally, I will use one set per month to discuss a certain topic that might tie in with other subjects. However, they could also be used with the whole class.


It is a great way to practice turn taking skills with the children and also offers a great opportunity for quieter children to voice their opinion in a smaller group setting. I found the children really engaged well in the discussions and I had more time to listen to their ideas than in the whole class setting.

In Set A, there are 5 topics with 12 prompt cards in each. Set B also has 5 topics with 12 prompt cards. If you rather, you can also get all 10 in one bundle.

If you click on the images below you will be redirected to Teachers Pay Teachers where you can download them.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

'Complete the Picture' Art

This is a simple but effective art lesson that I have used for many themes. 
One year, I used photos I had taken with the children during a local trail and the children added in the details they remembered to complete the picture.

 I print out a picture or photo for the children and stick it on the page.
They use their imagination to complete their work of art. At the end I ask the children to chose a title for their art.  
Sometimes I use pastels or colouring pencils but just using pencils can also create a nice contrast.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

3, 2, 1...Blast Off! (Science Rockets)

Science Week is fast approaching and this year I am going to do something very similar to last year as the children really enjoyed it.

I had attended an excellent science course during the summer and got lots of new experiments and ideas. So last year, I decided to use rockets as my theme for science week.

Click here to download

Each day we constructed a different type of rocket so by Friday we had made 5 different rockets.

  • Mouse rocket
  • Straw rocket
  • Balloon rocket
  • Foam rocket
  • Fizzy rocket

I had 4th and 5th class last year so they also guided the younger classes to make some of the rockets once they had learned to do it. Two senior children worked with two children in the junior room to help them make the straw and mouse rocket. My class loved being the 'teachers'!

We also had rocket launches and races outside which the children really loved. It was one of my favourite science lessons as a teacher as all the children were excited to get involved and they had rockets to bring home at the end of the week.

I have put together a pack which contains detailed outlines of how to make the different rockets, prompt questions to challenge the children and get them thinking, an ideas page to integrate it with other subject areas as well as activity sheets for the children.

Just click on the image below to download it!

Happy Science Week everyone!

Here is a nice video that explains rocket launches and landings for children!