Little Miss Teacher Blog

By Clara Fiorentini

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Busy busy busy!!!!

Hello everyone!!
Hope the first few days back at work weren't too manic!! And if like me, your week was absolutely bananas, well congrats on surviving it and making it to the weekend!! My latest post is on surviving a busy classroom and one of my favourite techniques for sharing my time in a non-stop, busy, action packed classroom!!

A productive classroom is generally a busy classroom, and with usually just one teacher to go around, it is often hard to share your time with everyone.......especially at the same time!!

I'm a big fan of station work, and I think it is definitely a  methodology that can be put in place in all just need to be willing to spend some time training your students into effective ways of working and behaving during station work! I find it essential to spend some small group time with your pupils, particularly during English, Maths or even Aistear...but sometimes this is virtually impossible....especially in a busy, bustling classroom! A solution I came into using while I work either one-to-one with a child or with a group is my 'oh-so-stylish' Busy Hat! Oh yes, who said the dressing up just had to be for playtime!!
 The children become aware that when I wear my Busy Hat, they are to avoid interrupting unless it is what they deem to be an 'emergency'!

We have a chant to go with the Busy Hat: "If teacher's busy hat you see, interrupt just for emergencies!"

You soon get over the mortification of wearing a daft hat in front of your works a treat!!!

For added effect in older classes and to suit your early finishers, it is always helpful to have some prompts/visual reminders in view so everyone has something to do if they finish their work before you are ready ...let's face it, there's always one!! In the senior classes I found having a notice/poster like this very useful as it keeps disruption to a minimum and keeps the atmosphere of productivity going strong!

Looking forward to seeing some pictures of your busy hats!!

Over & out!


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Feeling free to fidget!

Every classroom has children who fidget, and should that be such a bad thing?

Since forever, it has been the norm to prevent and discourage children from fidgeting and I would say 99% of us as teachers have corrected a child from fidgeting at some point! But it is worth considering our reactions to fidgeting when in fact studies have proven that some children actually concentrate better when allowed to fidget, particularly those with ADHD? If this is a comfort for certain children then I believe they should be allowed to do so in a calming way, resulting in minimal distraction for themselves and those around them.

In my classroom I like to have a selection of sensory objects that are perfect for fidgety fingers and bodies. I give them to certain children during seatwork, whole class instruction and assemblies. I find they work wonders and the difference in concentration of certain children is incredible!

We have a supply of sensory items in class, such as:

Koosh Balls Image result for koosh balls

Bendy Men Bendy Man Toy

Bug Massagers big bug massager,animal massager,animal bug massager,special needs massager,special needs bug massager,special needs ladybird massager,special needs toys

Bitty Bottom Cushions Image result for bitty bottom cushion

Yuk E Balls Image result for yuck e balls

These are all so reasonably priced too, check out for more ideas! I worked alongside a fabulous SNA last year who suggested purchasing some items from's catalogue, they have a fantastic range of materials... from stress balls, weighted cushions to swings! 

Personally I think even a small selection of fidget items are an extremely worthwhile investment for the school!

What are your opinions on fidgeting? I'd love to know how you all feel and how you all react to fidgeting during your teaching!


Monday, 17 August 2015

The Wonders of Rainbow Rice!

Do you ever get fed up of the sand pit?

Let’s face it, it gets so grimy and grubby so quickly, and quite honestly, so germy!

I find it’s nice to change up the sand area, particularly by using other materials that can act as a base for sensory work. 
Rice is a great alternative to sand! Better than plain, bland looking rice, there’s rainbow rice! It’s cheaper than sand and SO easy to make, not to mention so pleasing to the eye! I also find it lasts longer!

Here’s my recipe:

You will need:
-As much rice as desired!
-Ziplock bags (or a lunch box with a lid will suffice!)
-Food colouring
-Tinfoil / Trays

1.    Fill a ziplock bag ¾ full with rice.
2.   Add ¾ drops of food colouring.
3.   Add 1 tablespoon of water.
4.   Then, shake the life out of that bag!
5.   When all rice looks covered and coloured, spread out on tinfoil and allow to dry for 4-6hours!

Not only is this rainbow rice wonderful for sensory trays, it’s great for practising writing numbers and letters in on trays, using fingers or paintbrushes. The kids enjoy this as part of number / letter formation practice!

Have fun!! J


Sunday, 9 August 2015

Encourage Reading At Home!

Hello everyone!

As teachers, we can only do so much when it comes to encouraging reading. It can not be denied that when children are encouraged to read at home, it shows! Living in a world with so much technology and games consoles to contend with, reading becoming less and less of a go-to hobby. 

I like to give out packs for parents in September for encouraging learning at home....outside of homework! One of the things I include is a tip sheet for encouraging reading in the home. 

Hope it' of use!

Tips for encouraging reading at home

Reading at home is so important!
J Here are some tips for making your home a reading friendly environment J

1. Look for things your children might like to read. Use their interests and hobbies as starting points. Notice what attracts your children's attention, even if they only look at the pictures.

2. Leave all sorts of reading materials including books, magazines, and colourful catalogues around your home.

3. Let your children see you reading for pleasure in your spare time.

4. Take your children to the library regularly. Explore the children's section together.

5. Present reading as an activity with a purpose; a way to gather useful information for building a craft or reading a recipe for cooking.

6. Encourage older children to read to their younger brothers and sisters.

7. Play games that are reading-related.

8. Set aside a regular time for reading in your family. As little as 10 minutes of free reading a day can help improve your child's skills and habits.

9. Read aloud to your child. The pleasure of listening to you read, rather than struggling alone, can build enthusiasm for books and reading.

10. On gift-giving occasions, give books and magazines based on your child's interests.

11. Treat your children to an evening of entertainment featuring books! Too many regard reading as a serious activity. A joke book is always a good investment. 

12. Offer other special rewards to encourage your child's reading.  

15. Limit your children's TV viewing in an effort to make time for other activities, such as reading.  

16. Not all reading takes place between the covers of a book. Take advantage of spur-of-the-moment opportunities for reading – road signs, menus, posters!


Friday, 7 August 2015

Get your creative juices flowing!!

How are you fixed for art supplies??


I've recently just finished a CPD course on Art in the classroom, and I'm buzzing to get back and try some new ideas out. Although let's face it we can never have an excuse for not having art ideas with Pinterest around! #addictedtoPinterest

I'm a big fan of Aistear and forever championing it because, yes initially it's extra work, but it's SO worth it! 

However, getting your resources together can be a bit of a drag, particularly for Junk Art. Like how many egg cartons can you collect in a week?!

Fortunately I have a wonderful mother-in-law-to-be who collects all her recyclables for me which is such a help. Also I have boxes outside my classroom door, where parents can drop off cardboard, fabric, egg cartons, plastic tubs etc.

But there's just some things that are a little harder to get. There used to be a wonderful place in Derry called The Playhouse, where they used to stock all things recycled, spools, tubes, pipes....all sorts of arty wonderfulness! But it shut down a few years back. *Wipes tear from eye.*

However, I've recently discovered ReCreate in Ballymount, Dublin! What a place! They stock some of the most amazing items, all to be used for your own creative use!

There's a variety of memberships, at very reasonable costs, and you're free to go then and take what you need as you need it!

I HIGHLY recommend you check it out! 


Get those creative juices flowing!!



Thursday, 6 August 2015

Oodles of Noodles!!

Hi everyone.....and welcome to my new readers!

What are your thoughts on 'brain breaks'?

How do you re-energise and refresh your pupils in between lessons? 
We're all guilty of rushing on to the next lesson now and again but it can't be denied, 'brain breaks' are awesome and the quality of work your children produce afterwards is so much better. Studies prove that even just a minute of  physical exercise reinvigorates us and helps us focus, so having a supply of such 'brain breaks' at hand is essential!

My recommendation is 'Go Noodle' ... it was recommended to me this year and I think we used it every day without fail! We particularly enjoyed the Yoga and the Zumba exercises.... if anything watching 20 five year olds dancing in sync to Zumba songs is epic!

You can sign up for free and it logs your use and opens more levels for you as you progress!

Suitable for all ages, classroom / home!

Give it a go!


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Watch out facebook!

My facebook page is finally up and running, what a productive evening! 

Don't forget to like and share!



Summer Courses 2015 - CPD Days!

Have you signed up for your summer courses??

If not check out:
for a great variety of courses! 

ALSO if like myself you fancy more than just three course days, why not opt for their fab option of 2 for 3 offer! Doing three courses entitles you to FIVE, yes I repeat, FIVE course days! If you're not feeling that energetic, you can do two courses and get four course days!

Even if you just fancy doing one course, CPD College courses are worth the recommendation, you get a wealth of downloadable resources... ones that you will actually use! You can enrol with CPD College up until August 21st.

**PS...Their Jolly Music Course comes with a copy of the Jolly Music Teacher's Manual and six CDs.. would tie in nicely if your school uses the Jolly Phonics scheme!**

Teachers of Instagram!

Our Instgram page is live and kicking!

Follow Little Miss Teacher for ideas and inspiraton @ !


Hello all ! 

Firstly, apologies for disappearing off the face of the earth for the past while, I haven't lost the buzz for blogging, I just had a hectic few weeks of family life and wedding planning but its all good, I'm back and most importantly I have made time!!! I also bought a notebook last month when I hadn't time blog and scribbled down all the little ideas that were whirring through my my little teacher head, why is it that even when on holidays we can't switch off? I mean, I was shopping for decor for my wedding and I was getting sidetracked looking at things that would be good for my classroom!!

I can't believe we're into August already, and yes once again I haven't started my CPD courses until now! However, I know I say every year, "I must do a face-to-face course next year" but what do you know, I signed up for 3 online courses this morning. *hangs head in shame* But to be honest it's kind of hard to pass up on , I've used their courses for the past few summers, and they have an amazing deal, get two courses for the price of three....and that also adds up to not three, not four, but FIVE course days....those will come in seriously handy for me come wedding season (21 weeks, but who's counting?!)  

So my courses are Jolly Music, The Eye of the Artist and Getting Active with PE - three random choices but lets face it we can never have enough ideas! I'll review them when I'm finalllllly finished them!

Don't forget to follow my Instagram for more updates, ideas and motivational quotes (let's face it we all need them from time to time!) :-)

Over & Out!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

My First Blog Post!!

Hi everyone,

Eeeeek! So I'm finally typing up my first blog post after months of procrastinating! What an unfamiliar feeling this is!
I've decided to start off by keeping things simple - mainly until I get more clued in with how all the functions on this blog even work... for example I just logged out and it took me nearly half an hour to find my way back in (*hangs head in shame*).

So here are my current Top 5 recommended teaching websites for downloading or using handy *free* day to day resources...quite frankly each play their own significant little parts in making my teaching life a little easier.

5. Seomra Ranga -

Seomra Ranga is an Irish teacher's website. It can appear a little dated when you visit the site initially however it is worth having a hunt through the different sections as they have some very useful worksheets and activities for free download. I recently discovered some great early reading activities for my infants. We're at the stage where we know our phonics but the peg games I downloaded from Seomra Ranga are great for practicing sound recognition and pronunciation. They have sections for every class and it's worth having a hunt through each!

4. SparkleBox - 

I can't imagine there are many teachers in the UK and Ireland who aren't familiar with Sparklebox. I know it is unavailable in some schools due to our browser safety settings but it's totally worth bringing the laptop or memory key home every so often to stock up on their *FREE* downloadable resources. Most of their material is aimed at the younger end of the school, they have fabulous material for literacy, phonics, maths and fairy tales. However they also have some lovely topic packs for History, Geography and Science which I made great use of when I taught 4th, 5th and 6th class. If, like myself, you're a self confessed laminating addict (and proud) this site is wonderful as it has enough labels and classroom management materials for you to deck out the whole classroom. I particularly love their Subject Banners, which are a lovely feature to add to your bulletin boards. SparkleBox also has some lovely SEN resources and also even has some Irish display materials which are often hard to come by.

3. Teacher's Pet - 

Teacher's Pet is another teacher resource site rich in display materials. It's easy to navigate and has it's own search system which allows for quick searching. This site has lots of lovely themed writing templates which I regularly make use of. The site has a variety of free and paid resources.  

2. Twinkl -

Twinkl claims to have 216,000 exclusive resources available on their website. Now before you get too excited, they are not all free! But those that are, are great. Twinkl is a site that I find the resources are updated a lot, they are constantly adding to their resource bank. For me, Twinkl is great for downloading resources for my role play areas for structure play / Aistear. You need to log in to download items and the different groups, gold, platinum or free are well highlighted.

1. Starfall - 

This year I moved all the way down from 6th class to infants, literally jumped from 12-13 year olds down to the babies! What a shock to the system that was! Naturally I went into full scale panic! My best friend teaches in a Junior School and she recommended Starfall to me, and boy am I grateful! IT is a fabulous site, particularly for learning to read. The section 'Learning to Read' is something I have been using four days a week since February. The stories focus greatly on CVC words and each story has a game and a little video to support the content being taught in each story. My class love them and I find the stories definitely enhance literacy retention. Definitely worth checking out!

I could list more, but these are definitely the websites that I would use almost every week. 

Happy surfing!

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