Surviving Supervision!

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It’s officially winter.

Yes in Ireland, we often experience the four seasons in one day but we’re at the stage of the year where we are guaranteed two things, it’s going to be cold and it’s going to be wet. For many working people, this is an inconvenience as their car is a little cold when commuting to work in the morning and the settings for the workplace heating are up for debate each day. Now for teachers, it’s so much worse. We battke elements to and from work as well as the thrilling thirty or so minutes  during the working day where we get to patrol the playground and dodge soccer balls, skipping ropes and airborne children. In order to survive the concrete jungle of chaos, each teacher should be equipped with a travel mug of something hot and more importantluy, a good yard coat. Some like to keep a coat in their classroom that is only used for yard purposes, it hangs on the same hook and is available for hire to forgetful teachers. Others wear their coat of the day on the yard and wrap up with warm accessories. Then there’s the minority, those lads and ladies who somehow manage to look stylish while navigating through the bedlam.

We have pulled some styles together for you to browse through, collated to form the 4 Ps! Each one comes with its own advantages and is sure to get a compliment from a keen 1st classer. “I like your coat teacher :-)”

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No matter how small or eager to please they are, a compliment is a compliment!

Scroll on down to see our Ps of choice. The Parka, The Puffa, The Professional and The Pretty. So which one are you?

Browse the boards below, all info is linked on the individual pieces 🙂

The Parka

 

The Puffa

 

The Professional

 

The Pretty

 

For the Ceann!

 

Bits and Bobs

 

For the Boys!

 

Halloween Costumes for Teachers 2016!

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With one week to go until Halloween holidays, it is time to wrap up the first half our toughest term. Many schools will be celebrating in style and to help you, we have trawled through the internet’s finest costume sites and chosen some we think you might like 🙂

The Typical Teacher Costume

Aka “the safe option”! Something you can buy online, will be comfortable-ish to wear and provides an opportunity for the kids to learn something new.

Where’s Wally?

An oldie but a goodie.

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Harry Potter

Instantly recognisable and can be worn over regular clothes.

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Crayola Crayon

Can be done as an individual or group costume.

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Cat in the Hat

Easy enough to assemble with materials from the classroom.

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Minion

Pupils will love this but not for the shrinking violet!

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The Originals

Not something you see every year, these will surely go down a treat with your pupils!

Three Blind Mice

Perfect for a trio that want something funny yet easy!

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Ruled page

Maybe for the teacher at the senior end of the school who is blue in the face from reminding pupils to rule their copies!?

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Pokeball

Simple yet very effective. Kids would absolutely love this!

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Guess Who?

Not a complicated one to make and very effective if you rope in a partner!

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A Tad Topical

These 2016 inspired costumes are relevant and provide an opportunity for discussion.

Ghostbusters

The movie was released during the summer but always a good Halloween option!

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Tiger

2016 saw the numbers of tiger increasing for the first time in over a century. Fantastic news. Share it with your class!

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For the Creative Kind

Ideal for those of you with an an over-flowing art press and time on your hands!

Gumball machine

10 packs of pompoms and a glue gun should sort you!

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Tetris

Ok, you need a group for this one. Don’t go solo!

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Google Map Pointer

Perfect for those who want to avoid coloured hairspray and facepaint!

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Whatever you decide to go for,  hope you have a fun-filled and safe Halloween!

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.

A Review from Irish Primary Teacher!

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We sent some of our prizes to the very lovely “Irish Primary Teacher” recently to see what she thought and she very kindly shared them on her website www.irishprimaryteacher.ie

See below how she rated them!

 


Prizes from Mol an Óige

I was delighted to receive some prizes and certificates from Mol an Óige yesterday.

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Mol an Óige has a huge range of stickers, pencils, badges, bookmarks, certificates, rulers, reward charts, stampers, wristbands, erasers – everything you need for stocking up your prize box! Last year I waited until after the Easter holidays before using prizes as one of the rewards when the children reached 10 points on Class Dojo. They were so excited to find something they liked from the Prize Box – the pencils, erasers and wristbands were their favourites and they got so excited to see a sticker on their copies when I thought their work was really brilliant! The prizes above will be perfect for the resource room this year.

Stickers

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The first stickers are about speaking, taking turns and talking quietly while the next set are focused on listening. The third set are about working hard while the fourth set have different praise – eating my lunch, spelling, numbers, putting my hand up etc. these will be targets for some of the children I’ll be working with this year so these stickers will be perfect!

Certificates

I used these a lot last year and the children were so excited bringing them home to their parents. They are perfect to use when a child reaches a target/ works extremely hard all day/ week.

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Sticker Collector – Bookmarks

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These come in a pack of 20 and are currently only 2 euro! Check them out here!

There are so many uses for these ‘sticker collector’ bookmarks. Children could earn stickers for

  • behaviour
  • reading books
  • tables (multiplication/division)
  • targets

I think I’ll use these initially for reading – when the child reads 10 books they get a ‘Reading Achievement Pencil’

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Or when the child knows how to spell all the Dolch list words they get a ‘Super Speller’ pencil.

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Or when the child knows their times tables – they get a times tables pencil!

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I had a few packs of pencils in the prize box from Mol an Óige last year and they were really popular. The children loved the vibrant colours of the ‘Reading Achievement’ pencils and the pencils were excellent quality – they didn’t break after 1/2 uses!

If a target is behaviour – then these badges would be a perfect prize when the child has earned 10 stickers.

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Overall I think the prizes from Mol an Óige are brilliant and theres lots of bargains and offers!

Say No to BTS Fear!

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The 1st of September is only getting closer and Back to School season is in full swing. It’s everywhere you look; on television ads, shop windows, it was even mentioned in the Rose of Tralee (but then again a large number of Roses were teachers, I think it’s the law at this stage). 

To help you get set for September, we have a to-do list for you, which directs you to the important jobs to be completed. Mentally, we have probably all counted the number of sleeps we have left. I start back on Monday 29th so Sunday will be spent doing the things I have to do e.g. organising clothes, food shopping for lunch for the week and talking about getting an early night (which 100% will not happen). One thing that will happen is, the fear. Not the alochol related fear, this one brings all sorts of tremors and sweats. I’ll ask strange questions of myself: “What did I do for the last 9 weeks? Why didn’t I read more books? How do I even set an alarm?” It will start Friday morning and stay until Monday morning when I start the shower.

To help both you and I stave off the inevitable fear, below is a bucket-list of nice stuff you will want to do before we head back. By going through this list and ticking off some of the points, you might feel a little happier knowing you had a summer well spent. It will bring the last 9 weeks to a sweet end and ensure you start September with a smile on your face!

If you decide to get involved, please let us know! Use the hastag #saynotoBTSfear or tag us on any our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts. Or snap us! “molanoige”

1.Bake

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Your definition and my definition of baking are probably very different. As much as I love a cupcake, the mess in creating a just-about-edible batch is too much for me. Cleaning up flour and spilled sprinkles takes the fun out of it so I like to stick with an old reliable…The Rice Crispy Bun!

Whatever you decide to bake/make, it should be an enjoyable experience involving music playing in the background, licking the spoon and the end result being a treat to have that night with a cup of tea. Heaven!

2. Pamper

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My Saturday night! Similar to the baking above, it can be as basic or extravagant as you like. Run a warm bath, throw on a face mask and paint your nails. The effects will be long-lasting and sure to promise a great night’s sleep.

Bring your relaxed body to the couch, open a bar of chocolate and watch a movie, something easy to follow or an old favourite.

3. Afternoon Tea

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One for the group of girls. The perfect activity for the afternoon you want to get dressed up. You will always find somewhere last-minute and it’s a great chance to catch up on all the summer holiday chat before work starts again. If there are small people that like running around to consider, then host your own! Triangle sandwiches, queen cakes and a pot of tea will be plenty. Splash out on a bottle of something sparkly if you want to really impress.

4. Lunch for One

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An important one. You will be so busy for the next few weeks with after-school meetings and school work in the evenings that this quiet alone time will be well worth it. Avoid large coffee chains, go somewhere small and quaint with a magazine. The pre-packed sandwiches in the well-known coffee spots cannot be good for the mind!

5. Buy Flowers and a Candle

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Treat this as the prescription you have to fill! You will really appreciate fresh flowers in your kitchen and the warm scent of a new candle when you return from work tired. Light the candle a half hour before bedtime and it will ensure you get to sleep at a reasonable hour!

6. Go for a Walk

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Exactly as it says above. Go to a place you haven’t been in a while or somewhere new and stretch the legs. You won’t need your lycra shorts or ankle weights, just get some fresh air into your lungs and a break for the brain. Check out our beautiful town of Killaloe the image above, the perfect excuse to get and about!

7. Catch up with Friends and Family

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There will always be someone that you didn’t get a chance to see over the holidays despite numerous promises and best wishes from both sides. Text the friend you haven’t seen and arrange a quick cup of coffee. Don’t think about it, just do it! It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, bite the bullet and meet up and you’ll feel so much better. Make sure you have checked in with all family as weekends might be busy for the next while.

8. Sleep Late

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Some of you will have this down to a tee already! Simply, stay in bed. Even if you’re awake and twiddling your thumbs, just stay there! Have smallies running around? Bring them in with some sort of distraction for an extra 30 minutes and….stay in bed! 

9. Online Shopping

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If you read our diary entry from last week, you’ll be educated on this already. Whether it’s a new outfit, candle or Back to School Pack, buy yourself something new. Yes, you might have been good to yourself over the holidays but it’s called retail “therapy” for a reason. You’re worth it!

 

Back to School Clothes Shopping!

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Going back to school means early mornings, school lunches and the familiar feeling of exhaustion bearing down on you. But that’s not where the fun stops! The best part of going back to school is shopping for a new wardrobe. Due to our less than generous salary (which we won’t get into now) we don’t have the luxury of hiring a personal shopper and filling the boot of the car with perfectly boxed dresses and neatly folded pants.

At this time of year, “Back to School” or “Back to College” articles and posts are two a penny. How is this one different? It’s written by a teacher for teachers! As a teacher, when shopping for school clothes, I look for items that I can mix and match to make various outfits and that are comfortable to wear while standing/bending/kneeling all day. I like to layer pieces as the temperature change between when I leave my house at 7.30am and walk out of school in the late afternoon is often drastic! Irish weather (which we won’t get into now) can be unpredictable. Lastly, I like to have something in casual and formal dress codes, to wear depending on my schedule or even my mood!

Laid out below is a typical busy week in school with various demands placed on the teacher. There are outfit suggestions, all chosen from online high-street shops so purchasing  is accessible for everybody, affordable and on trend. Have a browse and let us know what you think!

Click the images to find out where each item was found and how much it costs!

 

Monday:

Monday is always a busy day in the Primary Classroom. Spellings are introduced, topics are explored for the first time and songs are taught. This ensures the teacher is on her feet all day, dancing for the attention of the pupils and bending down to help where needed. I have chosen a comfortable outfit for this Monday. The jeggings are soft and stretchy. The jumper is comfy and cosy and most importantly, the shoes are flat. I applaud those of you with the incredible ability to wear heels to school!

 

Tuesday:

This is the day you have a parent-teacher meeting, IEP or visitor to the classroom. If you like a more formal style, then this is the one for you. I give you the LBD! This dress will be a staple in your wardrobe for years with its appropriate length and cute capped sleeves. Also, a bargain at €33! The brogues are defintiely a “love them or hate them” item but a comfortable yet stylish option! And of course, that handbag will fit your lunchbox, diary and big bunch of keys with plenty of space left.

 

Wednesday:

PE day! With the increasing number of initiatives focusing on children’s physical health and well-being paired with a great push by coaches to get their sport into schools, many teachers are left with little PE time to instruct and manage. However, even if is this case for you, supervision duties and general classroom management, often call for a more relaxed and loose-fitting outfit. These straight leg pants are perfect for those looking to be comfortable yet maintain a professional style. The adidas trainers could be paired with jeggings another day, with the print making them very on trend.

 

Thursday:

Thursday for me always means on thing, Art! Love it or loathe it, we have to get stuck in and probably get dirty. I keep an apron in my classroom for all art lessons, regardless of the materials being used. Cleaning paint trays, cutting clay or collecting scraps are all tasks that require physical energy and exertion. The loose cream top is perfect to keep you calm and cool with the choker adding a current twist. Topshop have a great reputation when it comes to jeans. This “Joni” style in khaki could be put with black footwear and accessories for a very different look.

 

Friday:

School assemblies and performances are not at the top of every teacher’s “Things I Love About My Job” list. Some feel the pressure of creating a dramatic or musical event is too much while others love the opportunity to be creative. Like it or not, the pupils are not the only ones on stage and under the spotlight! Make the most of this extra attention and wear something fancy. I love this navy top as it’s quite simple yet the frill detail makes it pretty. The skirt is a thick fabric which won’t budge and the chain headwrap will work with all hairstyles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would you like to get set for September!? Check out our Back to School Pack now!