Little Miss Teacher Blog

By Clara Fiorentini

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Animal Themed Maths Activities for the Infant Classes

We're going to be going animal mad next week with maths. I'm forever making maths games. We have a maths games station going most days, the kiddos take it so seriously and love when a new game comes into the mix. So in preparation for the week ahead I have lots of fun, easy-to-make, 'animal themed' maths activities all ready to go. (If we're being particular, there's insects too!)
If you're feeling energetic these activities are all easily made but if you want to save yourself the bother, I've stuck a copy of each of them up for download for anyone who would like a copy.

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Kimmy shimmy, there's free resources!

All have a similar procedure, roll the dice, count and draw. Incorporating counting, number value, pencil grip, drawing fine motor skills etc, etc, etc! Print, laminate, grab some dice and whiteboard markers and you're ready to roll! And if there's a queue for the laminator? Pop them inside a poly pocket and it does the same job!

1. Zebra Stripes
Roll the dice, count and draw the stripes on the Zebra.

2. Giraffe Spots
Roll the dice, count and draw the spots on the Giraffe.

3. Hedgehog Spikes
Roll the dice, count and draw the spikes on the Hedgehog.

4. Ladybird Spots
Roll the dice, count and draw the spots on the ladybird.

5. Caterpillar Feet
Roll the dice, count and draw the feet on the caterpillar.

Download a FREE copy of all these resources.

**Don't have a account? Fear not. Drop an email to and I'll send you a PDF copy.**

Each game can be used independently, in pairs or in teams. Spice it up and throw a timer into the mix to ensure they don't become the never ending game of life!

Looking to integrate? Here are some stories you could link to these activities:
The Bad Tempered Ladybird
Dear Zoo
How the Zebra got it's Stripes
The Zebra and the Giraffe
Giraffe's Can't Dance
Georgina the Giraffe
The Very Lazy Ladybird
What the Ladybird Heard
The Very Helpful Hedgehog
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Crunching Munching Caterpillar
Caterpillar Dreams

Plenty to keep everyone busy, learning and engaged.


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Summer Term Activities

Summer Term is fast approaching. The season of school tours, standardised tests (shudder) and sunshine is on the horizon.

This morning, I've been busy pinning some nice summer term activities to my Summer Term Teaching Ideas Pinterest Board. You've got to love Pinterest!

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Anyhow all the pinning reminded me of some of my summer term bits & bobs so I thought I'd throw them up here for you. Sure who doesn't love a few free, ready-made resources?

The Many Pieces of Me - FREE DOWNLOAD

Summer Symmetry Drawing Activities - FREE DOWNLOAD

End of Year Activity Pack (6th Class) -  FREE DOWNLOAD

End of Year Activities (Senior Classes) - FREE DOWNLOAD

Collection of Wordsearches (5th/6th Class) -  FREE DOWNLOAD

Looking back at my year & My Summer Bucket List (4th-6th Class) - FREE DOWNLOAD

Summer Activity Pages (Infant Classes) - FREE DOWNLOAD

If you know anyone who might find these handy, then tag them on FB!

Now, back to enjoying the Easter break!


Monday, 17 April 2017

SURVIVAL GUIDE - Incoming Infant Induction Days

It's really hard to believe we're at that time of year again where we are preparing for the visits of the incoming infants.

I hadn't actually thought about it too much at all until I had an influx of emails and queries last week about preparing for meeting your new infants for the first time!

I had the ultimate fear the first time I was preparing for an infant induction day - I hadn't a clue what to expect. I was petrified that it would be chaos - but it was absolutely fine. We're so lucky in our school that the incoming Juniors only visit for an hour, I was amazed to learn of how other schools have them in for a half day, or even a full day - what?!?!?!

 Regardless of the length of their visit, here are my suggestions for how to make your infant induction day go as smoothly as possible.

1. Name Tags

Have your list of names ready to go on a roll of labels. You'll need it for identifying each little visitor and it's an easy way of tracking who turned up and who didn't.

2. Roaming Play
You want their visit to be a happy & positive one. You also want the classroom to be inviting and welcoming. I usually have some Nursery Rhymes or Disney Music playing (not too loudly) in the background and have some stations set up for them to play at. For example:

  • Playdough - a nice calm, quiet place to start for anyone who wants a relaxed beginning to the visit. The playdough is also a nice release for anyone who wants to squeeze out any little stresses!
  • Construction (Lego / Building Blocks) - always an attractive option.
  • Colouring Table - It's always nice to have some new crayons / twistables  markers ready for use on the induction day. I like to print off some pictures of popular crazes of the time - Anything Disney, Minions, Paw Patrol, PJ Masks & Minecraft seem to be big with my kiddos at the moment! The colouring table has always gone down well over the past few years.
  • Animals / Small World - The Dolls House, Cars & Toy Animals are always a good idea - I know often we say 'less is more' but on a day like this, having plenty of options is a better option, than expecting too much of the little visitors in terms of sharing etc.
  • Library Books - having quiet spaces like the class library or book nook is always a nice option too.  

I like to let them explore, roam from station to station if they wish. It's a nice way of observing their interactions with others and getting a chance to get around and have a little chat with each. it allows them to become familiar with the surroundings of the classroom and get a feel for all the fun things that will be there when they come back in September.

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Look at all the fun things to do here!!

3. Scribble
Have a notepad / clipboard & paper on hand for the duration. I like to try and have a little chat with each and try and find out something about each - be it their favourite toy / colour /how many siblings they have. It's another good way of finding out who has been at playschool / Montessori etc. Take notes and you can use these in September when they come to school. They'll just love how you 'remembered' things about them.

4. Have Back-Up
Ask your Principal for some support from other staff members for the visit. This will be a busy and potentially chaotic period so the more adults you have to assist the better. We usually have the HSCL teacher, a Learning Support teacher and an SNA to help out and if things are going well they can slip out again if they're not needed.

5. Expect tears

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Don't panic! It's pretty much guaranteed. There will be a few tears - but it's no biggy! Think of how intimidating it is for a little human coming into a noisy, busy, unfamiliar environment like a classroom. In the event that there are a few tears, it's always a good idea not to get too close or imposing - you don't want to be the person they associate with fear or panic. If Mum or Dad are there, they'll be well able to handle any little hiccups. Our HSCL teacher usually has tea & coffee for the parents across the hall which allows the children to have a little independent time in the room, but if there's a few nerves, I wouldn't be shooing people out to induce further trauma. There's no need.

6. Go with the flow
Don't expect too much. If they're happy and content playing, I wouldn't be rushing to interrupt this. However, if you think they're going to be willing, maybe you could have the mats ready and gather everyone around you for some Nursery Rhymes and a story. If you have staff helping, you could maybe ask them to get the toys cleared away so your tables are free for the next activity (time willing). If time is on your side and they are visiting for longer than an hour, maybe you could do a little colouring exercise related to the rhymes or story. It's also nice to have something to take home and stick up on the fridge.

7. Take-home treat
Now this is totally optional but when the little ones are leaving after their visit, I like to give to give them a little token to take home. A ziplock bag with some soil, a flower pot and a  sunflower seed. I staple on a little message with instructions of how to plant it, care for it and document it's progress. It makes for a nice conversation starter on the first day back and I'm always amazed at how many photos, drawings and stories I get in September. Simple, but effective! There's a picture of last year's here on my Instagram. Bubbles are a nice little treat either!

8. Smile
Smile and be you. Be the lovely, welcoming person you would like to meet if you were a little infant visiting their school for the first time. And if you don't stick to that lovely big plan you made and all is going well -  then what the heck odds!
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Best of luck,


Monday, 10 April 2017

Fun with Frogs

In the infants classes Frogs are always a fun theme, be it for counting, Science, music - whatever!

The past week was frog mad in our room.

One of the nicest activities we did though was a morning of Frog Painting.

I had images of frogs from a display last year and we shared them out and examined each. We discussed what each frog looked like, how it differed from other images. We looked for patterns, speckles, spots and most importantly tones. We had a selection of green paint with some brown, black and white for mixing. Then I let them just go for it.

(FYI - If you have a Twinkl account I downloaded a frog outline from Twinkl which saved my wonky drawing skills from making an appearance - they actually have it as a full frog colour mixing activity pack!)

When I came to this little frog I foolishly asked, 'Eh why is he painted black, has he no speckles?' I was quite swiftly told, 'No teacher, this is a bull frog!' Haha! Never underestimate a Junior Infant!

I love how the little ones are now at the stage where I can trust them to cut out their pictures and not totally butcher them, so when their frogs were dry that's exactly what they did - yes a few frogs toes were lost to this activity but that's just life in the infant classroom haha!

Stories about Frogs:

There are so many lovely picture books and stories about frogs. Here are a few of my favourites!

The Life Cycle of the Frog

If you're teaching the life cycle of the frog to your class and your school has access to YouTube, here's a handy video which my little ones loved.

Rhymes & Poems

There's a plethora of poems and rhymes about frogs out there but you can never have enough to hand - especially if you're trying to avoid death by 'Five Green & Speckled Frogs'....shudder! I've got to the stage where I actually can't sing it anymore.

*Free* Maths Games

We all know that we can never have enough Maths games so I've uploaded two handy little frog themed counting games and you can download them both for free. Print as many as you like, laminate and get out your dice. Be sure to send me a wee picture if you use them! I've used them with my Juniors over the past three years and they always go down a treat.

Free Download - Feed the Frog Game

Free Download - Lily Pad Leap Game

If like myself you're off for Easter, have a lovely break and if you're not, stay strong, holidays are coming!


Sunday, 2 April 2017

Coffee Shop Role Play Area

So the next month of role play is going to be a little different. I've been trying to let the children be more in control of the decision making with their play this year. Last month they chose the Vets, this month it's going to be the Coffee Shop! *Claps hands in glee!!*

So, naturally, this has only encouraged me to drink even more coffee than usual and sample even more coffee shops in Dublin....just so I have plenty of cups of course. All for the play. Any excuse! And my very lovely colleagues have been keeping their cups for us too.

Now, it's very basic so far, but everything there has been the suggestions of the children.

We have some instructions for the baristas - little discreet reading opportunities. The signs I edited on a handy website called  Festisite. Our banner is from Twinkl Create.

The kiddos thought bringing in their aprons would be useful for working behind the counter!

Tea & Coffee ready to go! (Lidl's finest!)

They also suggested cookies - we've gone with laminated cookies because, well, because!

Cups & lids at the ready!

What else are we doing?

Playdough - We're going to experiment with Coffee, Tea & Chocolate scented playdough recipes. I'm going to integrate some Maths into our playdough table. Making amounts of cookies etc.

Water Play - Mainly capacity but we're also going to have a few days of messy play with tea bags & coffee. Fun galore!

Junk Art - Coffee cup creations.
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Other learning:

Gaeilge - Ag Siopadóireacht - focus on the story 'Ag Siopadóireacht le Mamaí'. We've been trying to use a little more Gaeilge Neamhfhóirimiúl in our play ever since Seachtain Na Gaeilge so the coffee shop will be a good place for this!

Maths - We're delving into addition now so we'll be having lots of coffee shop related addition activities.

Parent & Child - We're going to have a mug decorating afternoon towards the end of the month and invite the parents in to help. We're just finished a slot of Paired Reading and the children just adore having their parents & grandparents in the classroom.

Should be a fun few weeks!


Saturday, 1 April 2017

One book, two books, three books, more!!

Hello fellow book-lovers!

Any of you who have been following my blog for a while now will know I'm addicted to buying picture books. Between The Book People and any bookshop I pass on my travels, it's ridiculous! But, sure, there's worse habits to have!
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 I get asked a lot about books and ways to incorporate them so I thought I'd best share these three gorgeous picture books I picked up last week.

 Have you any little culprits who play the 'I'm bored' card? Well this might be the story for them. Bored Bill the dog is miserable and mopey until he ends up in space and suddenly realises that life at home wasn't so boring after all!

 'Hoppity Skip Little Chick' is literally adorable. The story follows a curious little chick on a lively adventure around his farmyard. If you have a farm theme at the moment or are learning about farmyard animals this story would tie in nicely. It could even be extended with some sequencing activities or mapping for SESE.

'Hungry Harry' went down a treat with my class. This is a lovely, little story about a little frog looking for his lunch but it's proving much harder than he expected. We're learning about frogs and this story tied in nicely. It also lead to some really great critical thinking opportunities for the children and some fabulous discussions. 

Have you used these texts in school before? Be sure to let me know!


Incase you're looking for them:

I got each of these in The Works in the Omni in Santry - all three for €8. But here's some links if you want to get them online:
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