Handy Halloween Activities!

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You’ve made it. It’s nearly here. You can almost smell the Snazaroo face paint and cheap hairspray.

For some, it’s one of the highlights of the year. For others, don’t mention the war. Whatever your feelings are towards this ancient Celtic festival, there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s everywhere. This post is purely to help you “tick the box”. It’s not pretty. It’s not particularly creative. but you’re tired and it’s what you need right now!

Share it with your friends, tell your fave teachers to download these bits.

P.S. There’s only 9 weeks until Christmas

*I’m ducking for cover as I type that*

Animal skeletons

A good powerpoint that will provoke some chat and be of interest to many kids.

Animal Skeletons

 

Danse Macabre

Play Camille Saint-Saens’ famous piece for your class and use this powerpoint for some facts about the instruments and intentions of the composer!

Danse Macabre

 

Counting Dracula

One for the younger classes but you could change the numbers to adapt it for older kids. This activity featured in our free resource file given with all Maths Week purchases!

Counting Dracula (1st-2nd) (PDF)

Counting Dracula (1st-2nd) (Word Doc)

 

Have you entered our Facebook and Instagram giveaway!?

Winner will be picked on Wednesday 25th October to ensure the prize is delivered before the mid-term begins!

Enter on Facebook here

Enter on Instagram here

 

Making a Plan: Classroom Procedures

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A classroom that runs seamlessly is an instant indicator as to how hard that teacher is working. It is not something that comes easy. Many children crave routine and rules (to a certain extent!). They like to know what to expect when they arrive at their classroom door and enjoy being praised for complying with and taking on the responsibility of the routines.

A quick google of “Classroom Procedures” will immediately provide an array of images and ideas to provoke thought. Each teacher has their own preferences and what works for one will not necessarily work for another. Making a plan is the perfect example of “Tús maith, leath na hoibre”, once you have decided how you want your classroom to work, it’s a matter of instructing the children and reinforcing the procedures to ensure they are absorbed by the pupils.

Our 10-page plan will provoke your thoughts on how you want to manage your classroom. Stick it into your diary or folder to have it on hand and easily accessible for any substitutes throughout the year. It’s also ideal for job-sharers to ensure both teachers are singing from the same hymn sheet.

Our plan is currently available for FREE to customers who make a purchase on the site throughout the Back-to-School season!

What to Expect from an Incidental!

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The dreaded incidental. We call them “drive-bys” for a reason. They (the scary inspectors) arrive as an unpleasant surprise, select their target and do their worst. Ok, not really but the negative connotations are there for a reason! 

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Having had just one incidental visit from a Department Inspector in my years teaching, I found it to be an experience like that of a trip to the waxing salon. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but I wouldn’t be rushing back to go through it again. 

With the new language curriculum and talk of Droichead included in the ever-changing classroom, we are all curious to know “What do the inspectors want when they come for an incidental?” Are we putting time into the right areas or should we spend more time elsewhere? What paperwork is necessary these days?

I spoke to a senior class teacher in a single-stream, mixed school who recently had an incidental visit and asked the 20 questions we all want to know.

Q: When did the incidental take place?

A: The second week in September.

Q: How did he/she select classes?

A: She chose one class from the Junior end, Middle classes and one from the Senior classes. She did not go with principals suggestions.

Q: What classes did she visit?

A: Sen Infants, Fourth and Fifth

Q:How long did she stay in each class?

A: She spent the morning in Infants, between breaks in the Middle class and after big lunch, she went to the Senior class. She left the last classroom ten mins before home time. She met each teacher individually for feedback (10-15 mins approx)  However, she did not give feedback to all involved in Literacy Life-Off or station teaching, she only met the class teacher.

Q:Did she introduce herself to the kids?

A: Yes, she was  very friendly and pleasant. She had a little chat and banter with the children upon entering the classroom.

Q: What paperwork did she look for from you?

A: She asked for any planning to date, particularly long terms. I was not asked for fortnightly schemes or my daily diary which was on table. Fortnightly notes were in with Long Terms but she mentioned that she didn’t see it.

Q: Did she comment on the given paperwork?

A: She did not at the time but in the review afterwards she did, she was very positive.

Q: Did she request any particular lessons or did you stick to your timetable?

A: She specified that she wanted us to stick to timetable.

Q: Did she speak to the pupils throughout the lesson/at the end of the lesson?

A: She spoke to them at the beginning only.

Q: Did she look at sample of pupil work/copies/books?

A: Yes. She wanted a sample of copies from the class across Gaeilge, English and Maths. She asked that we select a strong, middle and weak child. She went through 9 copies in total from 3 children.

Q: Did she speak to you in a one to one basis after your lessons?

A: Yes, as mentioned she met with class teachers for feedback and reiew afterwards.

Q: Did she look at your roll book (if you have one?)

A: She did not ask me to see mine, but as it is not kept in the classroom I’m not sure if she asked the principal to see it.

Q: How was her demeanour?

A: She was professional, friendly and approachable. 

.Q: Did she look for anything different in these classes?

A: She had the same requirements in each class. Each teacher was asked for the same work samples from the pupils and their own paperwork.

Q: Was there anything that seemed of particular interest to her? (Any initiatives/programmes)

A: She was very keen to see our Literacy Lift Off and Station Teaching lessons. 

Q: Did she offer any advice/constructive criticism?

A: Yes, she gave constructive advice. She suggested a written activity at the end of the SESE lesson and a KWL chart before. 

Q: Did she refer to the new language curriculum?

A: Yes she spoke of it and how language is central to every lesson ie. SESE (which she observed)

Q: Did she look for your Child Protection Policy/Critical Incident Policy/Code of Behaviour?

A: Yes to all of the above.

Q: Did she tell you anything about a WSE/future visits?

A: She mentioned that we were not off the list because of the incidental visit.

Q: Anything else to add?

A: It was a very positive experience and nothing to be afraid of. Her needs seem to be language, differentiation and assessment. She looked at school standardised test results. She wanted to see in reception where the DLP and DPLP were clearly labelled for visitors. She checked that the Child Protection Policy was on display in each room.

Back to School To-Do List!

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It’s the 11th of August and whether we like it or not, the first day back to school is looming in our minds.

Some super-organised people may have the bulk of prep work done since June (such people are rarer than Mew Pokémon), some will head in a few days before the first day back and some will delay the inevitable until the first day back to school and get stuck in from then on.

Whether you’re the rare Pokémon teacher or still have it all left to do, you may be compiling a to-do list and a shopping list for supplies.

Spending hours on Pinterest will give you a lot of ideas and inspiration. However, it will also give you a lot of jobs for your to-do list, many of which will be unnecessary and not the best use of your time.

We want to enjoy the last few weeks of our holidays and yet, we want to start September as we mean to go on; organised, prepared and stress-free. 

So to help you with all of the above, we have a compiled a to-do list for you with, what we think, should be your priorities. Get this much done and you’ll be off to a great start!

BTS To-Do List!

Save the above image, screenshot it, email it to yourself or share it with friends on Facebook for easy-access when you decide to make a start!

 

  1. Clean classroom

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First things first, ensure you have a tidy desk! There will be so much stuff left (dumped) on your desk in the first few days that you’ll be constantly organising and tidying your desk. You don’t want to misplace permission slips, money or notes at this early stage of the year. Baskets and containers are quite cheap and great for organising flashcards and stationery.

2. Print Class list and Booklist

Print about 10 copies of your class list. If your school uses the software Aladdin, then there’s a very simple way of downloading your class list.

Arrange the children’s first names in alphabetical so you can quickly locate an individual if needs be. These lists are perfect for recording money, counting books and copies, taking attendance in the first few days and making quick notes. I like to collect all books and stack them in piles according to subject. I then go through the pile, ticking off each child’s name as I see their book, and can quickly see which children are missing books. The first few mornings can be chaotic with meeting parents and collecting money. If possible, send them to the school secretary with money as it saves you a job and the school office will have a cabinet or safe to lock money away securely.

Keeping a copy or two of the booklist may also come in useful. Some parents will have been away when they were given out earlier in the summer or lost theirs and will come to school without one or all of the books or materials listed. Don’t start off on a negative note with any parent if this is the case, for everybody’s sake and sanity! Politely hand them a copy of the booklist and ask them to get them as soon as possible.

3. Print Pupil Names on Labels

On the subject of books, print some sheets of labels so you have 4-5 labels for each child. Not all parents will labels the books and copies on the front and rather than send them home to be done (they may take days to come back!) you can stick labels on them immediately as you notice they are missing. Labels are also handy for the kids to wear while you learn names, for putting on coat hooks or jobs charts. Help me out with some labels!

4. Cover Display Boards

You may have some displays which stay up year-round. Always start afresh for your Arts and SESE boards. Cover them with fadeless paper and instantly clean up the walls of your classroom.

5. Purchase Diary and Plan your First Week

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The first week of school is often a time to try nice lessons with plenty of group work and discussion. You can learn a lot about your pupils in the first few days. Ensure you have your diary purchased and plan your lessons for the first few days (my personal fave are the not-so-cheap Ban.Do diaries as seen above!). Lessons will vary depending on the class level but if you’re stuck for ideas, let us know on info@molanoige.com, or any of our social media accounts and we’ll write a diary entry on this!

  1. Buy Stickers and Small Prizes

Establishing your rules and routines is vital in the weeks of September. Try to develop a relationship with each child, easier said than done I know but learning something (pet’s name, number of brothers/sisters, favourite cartoon) about each pupil will make a great start.

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Once upon a time the phrase “Don’t smile until Halloween” was suggested as a classroom management strategy. Times have changed and so has our style of teaching. Reward efforts made by pupils and positive behaviours with stickers and small prizes. These small tokens paired with affirmative feedback can have a great effect. Our Back-to-School Packs have everything you need to get set for September and are fantastic value at just €20! (Available in both English and as Gaeilge)