Little Miss Teacher Blog

By Clara Fiorentini

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

It's all about The Vets

 We are having an absolute ball with 'The Vets'. The children are so into it!

Now, may I state, at our Vets we welcome all animals great or small, wild or domestic, safari or farm - all are welcome! I like to let the children add to their play with items from home - it also saves on the amount of resources you need to store and get a hold of! The Vets is ideal for this. The children are loving bringing in their teddies and toys to be treated at our clinic - it's also encouraging some really lovely instances of sharing too.


Each of my colleagues know that I'm forever hoarding cardboard boxes. Literally a day doesn't pass when I've found another to add to my pile! However, plenty of them are being put to use this month. Perfect little pens for our patients.

Also, do you have a shredder nearby in the school? The shredded paper is ideal for lining the pens and cages to keep the animals dry and warm.

Our X-ray Area is a very busy place. Every visit seems to entail an X-ray "just to be on the safe side". Having a few pictures around are good stimuli too.


An array of equipment is needed by each vet, especially bandages and injections...and not forgetting the flea spray ......their idea not mine!!

Twinkl have a great little pack of visuals and vocabulary cards on the Vet, always handy to have. Why reinvent the wheel?

Plenty of opportunity to practice their writing at the reception desk - we have to sign in and list the type of pet we've brought, on arrival.

As always, we've plenty of books carefully placed around our play area for anyone who is looking for information, inspiration of just a little quiet time.

What about the other stations?

Construction - We got a fabulous delivery of Giant Polydron last month and it is going down a treat. One of the construction challenges this week has be building pens to fit our animals or varying sizes. Allows for lots of problem solving, team work and oral language.
Image result for giant polydron

Playdough - Our playdough station has been building CVC words with the playdough and moulding animals.

Sand - Playing with our Small World Animals in the Sand Pit.

**Speaking of Small World, I'm thrilled to now have 'The Happy Architect' set in our toy collection. These are incredible, all wooden so durable and effective. And don't get me started on the little figurines! Language opportunities galore! I got mine from Nexus toys.**

Water - Fishing for magnetic letters and 'goldfish' with CVC words and sight words on them.

Creative / Junk Art - We're doing a variety of Scissor skills, Independent Junk Art Crafts & Spring Animals Art.

Games - We're incorporating some Maths games some mornings too. The ones we are using this month all have an animal theme. These are just packs I've collected over the past few years from the likes of Twinkl, Sparklebox and the 'Ready Set Go' programme.  All the hours spent laminating and chopping are worth it when you have a nice big box of Maths Games at hand.


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Time for a theme

Hi everyone,

So you may have noticed that January was a particularly quiet month on the blog for me! Between being unwell for a few weeks and getting back to work and focusing on my Juniors for that time, I wasn't left with much time to spare!

However, I'm back and have so much content to share with you over the next few weeks so stay tuned!

Firstly however, this week I had the absolute pleasure of working with some of the students in Marino Institute of Education, and what a great experience it was. So many enthusiastic young trainee teachers, with some really great ideas to offer! The schools they well be working with in their upcoming placements are very lucky!

So back to it! I've had so many messages, PMs emails and DMs about themes for Teaching Practice and where to start!

The world is your oyster  when picking a theme, but my advice is try to thinking a little outside the box...pick it for the right reasons. How will your theme be exciting, inspiring and motivational for you AND the learners?

My advice for picking a theme:

-Don't pick a theme just because you're interested in it - what about your learners' interests?
-Obvious isn't always best; broaden your searches! Just because it's Spring Time doesn't mean that it automatically has to be your theme! Zzzzzzz!!
-Consider the time of year.
-Have you asked your pupils what their interests are? What might they like to learn about?
-Make sure it's informed by the Curriculum. Make sure your objectives are in line with it!
-Make sure it's interesting, meaningful and worth learning about.
-How can you make it fun?
-Make sure it has plenty of scope for cross-curricular learning.

Sometimes maybe using a general idea like Spring is a good springboard to start for brainstorming for a more unique theme! Don't be afraid to try something that you might have once regarded as a 'sub-theme' - whose to say it can't be a theme itself? Get your paper out and get brainstorming. Why not try the I.P.O.P technique for planning?

Stories as themes
Have you ever considered using a story as your theme for learning? When so much valuable learning opportunities can stem from a story, what's stopping you?

You could base your whole year around a selection of stories as your themes, that's what I've been doing mostly this year and it leaves so much scope for cross-curricular integration and sub-themes.

Sample story based theme framework:

I've chosen my theme, now what?

1. Content
2. What activities lend themselves to this theme?
3. All activities planned developmentally appropriate?
4. Will it last? What mileage will you get out of it?
5. Are all activities planned meaningful and worthwhile?
6. What resources will I need?
7. How will I evaluate the success?

There are so many advantages to adopting a thematic approach to teaching and learning but sure we'll get into that another day!

Best of luck to everyone heading out on placement, make the most of it!

Possible Themes

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