Little Miss Teacher Blog

By Clara Fiorentini

Friday, 26 January 2018

Grandparents Day 2018

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Next week, part of Catholic Schools week in Ireland focuses on Grandparents.  In Ireland, we are so fortunate that many Grandparents play a vital role in the lives of thousands of young children. Regardless of the ethos of your school, Grandparent's Day is always a nice one to celebrate. Importantly, it can tie in with many curricular areas outside of Religious Education also. In fact, I'm tying it in with our Valentines content this year and all things 'love' is going to be family and friend orientated; starting firstly with our Grandparents.

It's a special topic and a really lovely chance to celebrate Grandparents near, far, present or no longer with us. It is a nice opportunity for exploring diversity, cultures and differing family traditions. What's more, plenty of pupil led learning, talk & discussion and creativity. Heck, I'm so passionate about the role grandparents have to play in the development of their grandchildren, that I did my thesis on The Role of Grandparents in Children's Literature! But that's a story for another day!

Obviously sensitivity will be required in some instances but this is always something to consider when learning about families. 

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Activities for Grandparents Day:

Junior Classes

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  • Grandparent & Child Arts & Crafts - why not invite them in?
  • Paired Reading with Grandparents in the school library.
  • My Grandparent(s) & I - Drawing pictures and writing a little sentence about them.
  • Grandparents help us grow - Drawing or painting nice flowers to go with the heading.
  • "I love you to pieces" - Make a lovely heart collage with paper strips.
  • Handprint activities are always nice for keepsake crafts when it comes to the Infant classes. Why not make a handprint heart with their two little hands and accompany them with a nice rhyme or poem:

"Side by side or far apart,
My Grandparents are always in my heart."
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"Grandparents have ears that always listen,
Arms that always hug and hold,
Love that's never ending,
And a heart that is made of gold."
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"Ten little fingers and all their little parts, 
Show how I much I love my grandparents with all my little heart."

  • Read some nice picture books & stories about Grandparents:

Image result for childrens books about grandparents Related image Image result for childrens books about grandparents
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Senior Classes

  • Interview with a Grandparent - could be done at home or school! Lovely opportunity for learning about the past.
  • Top 10 Reasons why my grandparent(s) are #1
  • Arts & Crafts: World's Best Grandparent Award - making rosettes & badges or even certificates
  • Composing Poetry about Grandparent(s) - Acrostic, regular or limericks; poetry writing is always a lovely creative writing activity, especially if you're going to gift it to someone.
  • Grandparent & Child Arts & Crafts - why not invite them in?
  • Reading extracts from stories that focus on Grandparents e.g. Supergran, Gangsta Granny, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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  • Persuasive Writing : Grandparents are special because....
  • Creating Grandparents Day Greeting Cards
  • Make a school memory Tree for Grandparents who are no longer with us
  • Compose a recipe for wonderful Grandparents
  • My Favourite Memory with my Grandparents
  • My Granny / Grandad Factfile
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Just a few ideas! After a very busy but productive January, I'm looking forward to cracking on with the next month of Spring loaded, colourful, cheery content; and who knows maybe the weather will follow suit. I don't know about you guys, but I'm officially fed up of boots, wooly jumpers and freezing yard duty!


Sunday, 21 January 2018

5 Great Twinkl Resources for Infant Teachers

Hi everyone,

Here are 5 of the most frequently used Twinkl Resources in my classroom:

1. Aistear Group Display Posters

If you follow the Aistear Framework or even just incorporate play based learning into your day, these are very handy for your rota display.

Aistear Group Display Posters - groups, signs, display, role play, activities, areas, classroom, class, messy, independent, fun, games,

2. Editable Placemats

I've been using these religiously for the past three years. They're brilliant because they're editable, they have the alphabet, keywords, number-lines and the days of the week. Therefore the kids are referencing to them throughout the day.

Keywords Placemats Editable - foundation stage keywords, key stage 1 key words, high frequency words, placemat, desk mat

3. Phoneme Photo Cards

These CVC Word Phoneme Photo Cards are a great resource, especially for when the little ones begin sounding out their spelling. I always begin using these after Christmas with Junior Infants, they're great for one-to-one work, pair work or even early finishers at the busy station. Mine are laminated and the children either write on them with whiteboard markers or use magnetic letters to build the words.

CVC Words Photo Frame Phoneme Cards - CVC Words Phoneme Frames - CVC, CVC word, three phoneme words, phoneme frame, phoneme, phonemes, Seg

4. I Spy - Oral Language Activities

There are lots of different 'I Spy' resources on Twinkl but this is the one I use the most. My class has a high percentage of EAL pupils so we need a lot of Oral Language resources and 'I spy' activities like these are great. Printed or shown on the IWB there's so much scope for learning and language. They also have several 'as Gaeilge' too.

I Spy with My Little Eye Activity - I spy with my little eye, I spy, activities, games, class games, class actvities, I spy worksheet, I spy game sheet

5. Name 5 Things

Again, another resource which supports lots of lovely thinking, conversation and language work. These Name 5 Things cards are nice for one-to-one work, group work or even whole class challenges. Sometimes little challenges like these are a nice alternative form of homework too.

Name 5 Things Categories Card Game - sort, match, SEN, games

If you've been following me for a while you'll know well that I've been using Twinkl for years and it's  generally my go-to for quick, ready made, printable resources. Do you have any Twinkl resources that you particularly love? Be sure to share!

*Images from Twinkl*

 'Twinkl have given me a free subscription in return for my review - but all thoughts and opinion are my own.' 

Saturday, 20 January 2018

5 Trusty Transitions

Hi everyone,

Belated Happy New Year. I can't believe that I haven't written a proper blog post in nearly 3 months, For those of you who don't know already, I promise, I have a valid reason for my absence and abandonment of LMT. Much to my relief, in November I was delighted to discover that I wasn't in fact slowly dying from exhaustion but in fact another little being was simply draining all my energy! Baby Bowes will be joining us in July and we couldn't be more excited!

Anyway, back to the topic!
I've been replying to a lot of messages and emails over the past few days all with a similar theme - lesson transitions! It's mostly from student teachers preparing for placement, however I thought I'd just put some of my favourites into a post while I was at it!

Effective transitions for all class groups:

1. Movement Breaks
After a heavy subject or topic it's only natural that children need to move and exert some energy. The easiest thing to do is just some physical movement. My go to is usually but it depends if that's what your class respond to. Some regular exercise can be as handy as anything. Why not have a little list on your board or even a movement break tub where the children can pick some exercises themselves. Here's a nice little idea from "intheautismclassroom"
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2. Bubbles
Blowing bubbles is always a therapeutic and calming activity. A student on placement with me once kept a little tub of bubbles on her desk and a hardworking student from the previous lesson got to come up and blow some bubbles around the room. Always a nice incentive for good work!
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3. Poems & Songs
I think you've fully accepted you're a teacher when you just break into song and rhyme throughout the day without even noticing. Especially with the babies, I find myself constantly singing and chanting at them rather than always speaking. Rhymes and songs are natural transitions and I always like to have a few funny ones for them on hand to get everyone's attention. Tongues Twisters are always a nice one too! 
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Check out this website, 'Everything Mom' for 50 fun Tongue Twisters ready to go! 

3. Peer Chat
If you have particularly chatty class why not let them chat? In between lessons or activities, set the timer and let them have the chat time on countdown. If you want to be particular about the topic of convo then why not give them a chat challenge, e.g. 5 Things I love to eat... etc.

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4. Breathing Exercises
Sometimes you just need to stop and take a breather. I always find some nice, calm moments breathing are as an effective transition as any. I stick on some nice classical music and we just breathe & stretch for a few moments. It's also a nice way of incorporating some little mindful moments into your day.
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5. Still Waters
The Still Waters game is always a nice one for a transition and a great way of ensuring everyone is engage. You simply begin with "1,2,3 - 3,2,1 Still Waters has begun!" Ask your class to freeze like ice-cubes and remain silent. The aim is you time the children to see how long they can remain still and silent. The teacher holds their closed fist in the air and every time they see someone move or talk, they put a finger up.  Once teacher's five fingers are up, the game is over and you can check the timer to see how long they lasted, It's nice to record the scores on a little patch of the board and see if they can beat their time they next day. 
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This is only but a few of all the possible transitions out there, if you've any interesting ones that you find work really well with your class, be sure to share!

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