Little Miss Teacher Blog

By Clara Fiorentini

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Christmas Giveaway

My Christmas Giveaway is live on my Facebook page. Make sure to enter to be in with a chance of winning all these lovely bits and pieces!

I've been sure to include a few of my favourites!

Best of luck,


Providing Reading Experiences To Inspire Critical Thinking

At our Primary Language Curriculum inservice we were reminded about approaching reading time with an eye to triggering the critical thinking of your students. Despite how it sounds, this is possibly one of the most simple reading methodologies to use! All you do is read the story. No embellishing the process with questioning - just read!

So yesterday I read a story, 'The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water' (a favourite of mine) without asking any questions. Without looking for any predictions. Without looking for any feedback throughout. NOTHING!
I never saw 28 little faces so engaged. There wasn't a peep from cover to cover..... apart from the odd 'ooooh' or gasp! Afterwards, all I said was, "I would love you to tell me about your favourite part." We passed our speaking object around and everyone described their favourite part. I couldn't believe how many different parts they noticed and preferred - much more than usual! The amount of detail the children took in without me interrupting or pointing out things throughout the story was incredible.

Sometimes we can get carried away with our predictions, questioning and spontaneous assessment. Putting the children in control of their own thinking and letting the reading experience just flow can produce even more fruitful oral language experiences, confidence and discussions. To see what your class will surprise you with is really worth it.

We then drew pictures about what we loved most, and they said it all. A picture really does paint a thousand words.


Have you read "The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water"? I love it. Such a clever little picture book, sure to go down a treat with your class.

I'm giving a copy of this book away tonight in my Christmas Giveaway so keep an eye out for that when it's live!


Sunday, 11 December 2016

Combining Physical Education & Literacy

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In the world we live in, we all know that P.E. is of huge importance in school. Not only does it enhance concentration and behaviour but even more seriously, for many children it can be their only stints of proper movement and exercise all week, and had we more time in the teaching week, it's definitely something that I would like to see increased in terms of time allocation. One curricular area which is really very frequently taught in isolation however, is P.E. We go out, we do our activities and back in we go and on to the next part of the day. However, Physical Education is something that can actually be quite easily integrated into other areas of the curriculum , particularly literacy.
Physical Education, in fact, is a subject that we can use as a wonderful, ready made stimulus for literacy. The experiences are easily to relate to because the children have taken part (or will be directly involved) and it can present students with another incentive to make their efforts in P.E more meaningful.

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How can I combine P.E and literacy?


  • Procedural Writing
  • Report Writing
  • Recounts
  • Reviews
  • Poetry
  • How I feel... - why not use this as an introduction and closure exercise, how I feel before and how I feel after. Ties in nicely with self assessment too.
  • PE Cartoons - drawing scenes, story mapping, writing dialogue
  • Mind Mapping / Brainstorms
  • Self Assessment activities
  • Creative Writing - why not invent your own games? 
  • Promote/Encourage use of descriptive language

Oral Language

  • Talk time
PE can be a great opportunity for oral language development. Perhaps, you're walking laps, jogging - why make the children do it in isolation? Pair them up, encourage them to chat with the partner. Maybe challenge them to talk about something in particular for a given time. It's a nice way of encouraging the children to break out of their comfort zones and talk to someone different that they usually would. This could also be an activity of particular benefit if you have any EAL pupils.

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  • Team Games
There are so many great team / buddy games that are ideal for encouraging the development of oral language. One in particular is 'Blindfold Buddies'. Put the children into pairs, one is blindfolded and the other must guide them around an obstacle course or path using only their voice to help and give instructions and directions.

  • Pair, share & review - a nice form of self assessment with a peer.
  • Debating
  • Reinforcement of vocabulary
  • Recounts
  • Reviews


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Literacy and P.E - Image source: PE Central
  • Reading about various sports / games. 
  • Reading sports reports in newspapers.
  • Reading instructions - why not let your class set up or carry out some games by themselves. For example, this year, one of our activities for the 1916 commemorations was learning how to play games that children in that era would have played.
  • Providing opportunities to read the written work of  peers about P.E. activities / games.
  • Reading Poetry about sports / PE. For example, 'Gym Class' by Neal Levin.
  • Familiarisation with thematic vocabulary.
  • Scavenger hunts - depending on the age of your students, think letter / sight word hunt for the infants, puzzles or riddles for older classes - endless options!
These are but a few of the ways you can incorporate literacy into your instruction of P.E, and vice versa.

If you've any other ideas you would like to share, be sure to let me know.


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Keeping germs at bay in school

When you're in an environment that's as hectic as school, the last thing you need to be doing is worrying about germs or dare I say it, getting sick!
However, with the weather being so changeable at the moment, it's almost impossible to avoid germs - especially when the school environment is the perfect breeding ground! They're everywhere! In what other walk of life are you sneezed on, spluttered on and poked with the same fingers that have just been in a nose? Yikes! We're remarkable human beings really, to be are still standing at all!

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Tips for reducing germs / spread of germs at school:

1. Use disinfectant wipes a few times a week on your surfaces. Remember it's not just the kiddies touching those tables - it's you, their books, bags...everything!
Don't stop at just the tables. If your students share pencils, twistables, crayons, give them a wipe down too. Believe it or not, pens and pencils can hoard all sorts of germs like E.coli, Streptococcus, Salmonella and Impetigo! While you're at it, it's always a good ideas wiping down keyboards, interactive whiteboards, light switches, door handles too.

If you prefer using natural cleaning materials, here's a link to some nice natural disinfectant ideas.

2. Use a handwashing timer. Have a hand washing routine. We sing "I'm washing my hands" to the tune of Happy Birthday, twice. This ensures that a decent amount of washing is done, each time a child needs to wash his/her hands.

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3. The vomiting bug comes is cycles, especially at this time of year. Inform parents, if their child has been sick in the morning, don't send them in! It;s not fair on the child, the rest of the class, or you! Trust me, a few years back, I gave myself a Gastric Hernia after catching the bug twice in a month and ended up needing major surgery and missing 10 weeks of work! And they say teaching is easy?

4. Wash the toys. Lego bricks, teddies, cushions, maths equipment....all can go through the washing machine or dishwasher. A cycle once or twice a term will do them no harm!

**Caution......This next tip may make you rethink your handbag choice for school!!!**
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5. Keep bags off the floor. ESPECIALLY your handbag! Keeping bags on pegs or on the back of chairs is much more hygienic than on the floor. Believe it or not school bags, bases of handbags and reuseable shopping bags can hold more germs than the average toilet flush. Encouraging washing school bags regularly is always a good idea!

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6. Protect your throat. Drinking plenty of water is obviously vital for protecting our throats, but adding some lemon makes it all the more powerful! Lemon is a natural antiseptic and is great for warding off sore throats. I swear by it.

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Burn Olbas Oil to kill germs at school -
7. Do you have a little oil burner? Olbas Oil is be a great way of cleaning the air and a great decongestant, giving the classroom a lovely scent in the process. Obviously, keep it well out of reach of students!

Do you have any germ hacks you use? Be sure to share!


Thursday, 1 December 2016

Christmas Crafts & Ideas

Hi everyone!

Can you actually believe that it's December? Christmas FM is back, Larry Gogan played 2fm's first Christmas song of the year today, it's staff party season - all in all lots to be cheery about! Despite the mayhem that month of December brings at school, between the Nativities, Carol Services and Fairs, it's a month which allows for lots of lovely arts, crafts and classroom festivities!

Here's a few which we've done already:

Candy Canes - Pattern Making - ties in nicely with infant maths, though you could add in more colours & patterns for other classes/ability groups!

"I had a lick of a peppermint stick, and oh it tasted yummy!
It used to be on the Christmas Tree but now it's in my tummy!"

It's always nice to have a little Christmas keepsake, especially from infants. My mum still has a little Santa I made from a toilet roll tube in Junior Infants, sitting on our Christmas tree every year. The poor guy is likely to disentegrate some of these years, but still it's a lovely little keepsake.

Yesterday we made these little Santa Decorations. Simple and cute. Handprints, googly eyes, sharpie mouths and a bit of ribbon! Ready to go home and hang on the tree tomorrow!

Santa Claus - Handprint Keepsake - Little Miss Teacher
Looking for poetry and rhymes about Santa? There's lots here -----> Christmas Rhymes
We also made some Rudolf pictures.  Had I put the flash on the camera you would be able to see the little antler details they added!

Tomorrow, I'm looking forward to seeing the reactions when they realise 'Santa's Nice List' is hanging on our door! I got the little foam figurines and border sticker rolls in Dealz.

The 'Santa's Nice List' will go well with Twinkl's Santa Cam, you can find it here:

I've also made a board on Pinterest with lots of other fun Christmas crafts and ideas for the classroom.

Ohhh I'm feeling the festive spirit in the air already!

Friday tomorrow, folks, nearly there!


Monday, 28 November 2016

More Winter Art Ideas

Hello everyone,

Here are a few snaps of some of  our Winter Art:

We were working on Winter Trees and Polar Bear silhouettes.

Again, similar to our Autumn Trees, I just let them go for it with their trees, just this time, we painted on some nice blue card for a wintery feel. The next day we finger printed on some snow flakes and a sprinkling of glitter for added sparkle.

Next up was our Polar Bear silhouettes. We've had a bear theme for the month of December and the little ones loved learning about Polar Bears. The initial plan was to use white and print with blue paint, a little like this idea from Pinterest.

Image from

However, after another brilliant brainwave from one of our SNA's who is way more artistic than me, was to get the children to use a variety of colours and create a Northern Light effect. Genius!

So swiping and mixing a variety of colours of their own choice was so much more effective. Here's the end result.

If you've any nice Winter art ideas you want to share, feel free!


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Seasonal Surprises - Gingerbread Playdough

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Hello everyone and happy Thursday! What a busy but fast week!

Thought I'd share something fun which we're using tomorrow, something I made in a fit of seasonal spontaneity this afternoon!

Gingerbread scented playdough. Can I just stress, this smells aaaammmmaaaazzzziiiinnnngggg! I love adding scents and flavours to playdough, the children love it, it is a lovely sensory treat and the added bonus is that it makes the classroom smell great too!

We've been doing a little work on The Gingerbread Man so making Gingerbread men at the playdough table was always going to happen and what better way than to actually let the children get a whiff of what The Gingerbread Man would have actually smelled like.

Image result for aldi ground ginger   Image result for aldi ground cinnamon

Here's the recipe:

  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of Cream of Tartar
  • 1.5 cups of boiling water (add gradually, you mightn't need it all!)
  • 1 tablespoon of ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
  • a few drops of Glycerine (not essential, it's just an option to make your playdough shiny!)
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Someone messaged me recently about Cream of Tartar, it can be hard to find and expensive in the likes of Tesco, so I stock up whenever I see it in Aldi. At only 75c a tub there, it's a bargain!

Let me know if you try it.


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Teachers - 10 things to be thankful for

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Had a hectic day? Questioning life? Nativity Play driving you loco? It's days like these that you need to pour a strong coffee with all the sugar, push alllllllll work to the side and switch off! The correcting can wait until tomorrow. There is no guilt like teacher guilt and sometimes we need to make sure we don't let ourselves become consumed by it. Leave the day behind you and start afresh.

As mad your day may have been, when you begin to descend back to Earth, it's impossible to ignore that there are always a million reasons to still be thankful that you are a teacher. Many say teaching is a thankless job. It's not. Yes, some days may be horrendous but someone will have appreciated your effort and someone will have been thankful!

I had a crazy day. It was busy, interrupted, mixed up and noisy - one of those days where very little on my 'To do' list got ticked off! Despite facing a ghastly dose of traffic on the journey home, it actually left me plenty of time to mull things over and remember so many little aspects of my career that I'm thankful for.

Here's a few:

1. I have 28 kids without actually having kids! They're mine. For five and a half hours a day!

2. Knowing that the tiniest, little bit of praise can make a child's day. Think of  that feeling when you see their face light up with pride.

3. Your recycling bin takes much longer to fill because you bring all egg cartons, cardboard, plastic pots and punnets in to school. Thank you Junk Art. Winning!

4. No day is ever the same. (Please God, don't let me have a day like today again for a while though!!)

5. You get to read your favourite books and stories. Passing on the love of a story and characters to another generation. Magic.

6. Tea. I'm thankful for all the tea. Especially with this weather! (It's the little things in life.)

7. There is no welcome like the welcome of 28 Juniors every morning. Those happy little faces, genuinely excited to see you. Priceless.

8. The lightbulb moment. When a student 'gets it'. When the penny drops. Mission accomplished. Hands down, best teacher feeling, ever.

9 Your colleagues. If you're like myself and lucky to work alongside a fabulous group of people, then that's definitely a huge bonus. Mutual support and teamwork, makes school life a lot easier!

10. You are making a difference. Sometimes those little structured five hours are the only structure a child may have in that entire day. You are providing that structure, that security, that safety.

There is not one person in this entire world who could possibly love their job every living breathing minute of the day. I'm thankful I survived today and that my mother in law has the best supplied sweetie drawer in the country, for today I telling myself that I've earned all the calories!

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Happy Thanksgiving to all Little Miss Teacher's followers stateside!


Sunday, 20 November 2016

Angelic Art

Angel Art - Festive Ideas - Little Miss Teacher

With five weeks to Christmas I think I'm safe to be starting the Festive Art! On Friday we made our Angels which tied in nicely with a bit of Religion too.

It's hard to avoid the occasional bit of hand-print art with the babies, and when they're cute like this, I don't mind doing it now and again!

Hand printing - Angel Art - Festive Ideas - Little Miss Teacher

Angel Art - Festive Ideas - Little Miss Teacher

Although at 1.30pm on Friday when I was cleaning up glitter, I was questioning my sanity! I always say glitter is a good idea....but maybe not on a Friday afternoon!

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