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!

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!

Special Days, Events and Celebrations in October!

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We made it through September! Before you read any further, give yourself a big bualadh bos. It was difficult, yes. It was exhausting, yes. It was fun, no! But we made it out the other side and with all the Back to School Packs we sold, I think there should be a lot of classes out there towing the line with the promise of a prize from the teacher’s bosca. The last two months for us have been very busy and we’d like to say a big thank you to each and everyone of you who purchased a little something from our siopa. Our pupil rewards and teacher resources have been flying out the door and we are expecting deliveries of new stock this week so stay tuned for the new additions!

For now, we will take you through this busy month with a quick peek at the some of the special days, events and celebrations that October has to offer!

Space Week: October 3rd to 8th

Ireland’s newest STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Week will undoubtedly have many fans in your class. The website boasts many activities for classrooms with plenty of opportunities to get involved. The week is run in parallel with World Space Week so there’e no excuse but to get out your moonboots and tinfoil hat. 

 

World Teachers’ Day, Wednesday 5th October

Our day has come! A chance to put the feet up on the desk, have lunch served to you and a break from the tapping “Teacher, teacher, teacher”……ok maybe not but it’s a day to celebrate the profession we have chosen. Tell your class about a teacher that made a positive impact on your life, share some rice cripy buns with your pupils or read some of Roald Dahl’s “Matilda” to the class with special attention to Miss Honey and of course, the Trunchbull. Finally, give yourself a pat on the back for making it through September and for getting up everyday to guide, support and inspire the next generation.

Products which may be of interest:

National Tree Day, Thursday 6th October

A popular day now well established in our calendars, National Tree Day takes place in the middle of a very busy week this year! There are plenty of resources online for primary teachers looking to mark this special day. Coillte and Planet Ark have some really worthwhile activities. Your SESE section in your cuntas míosúil will be jam packed if you manage to cover Space Week and Tree Day this year!

Products which may be of interest:

Maths Week, Saturday 15th- Sunday 23rd October

A now key event in our school calendars, Maths Week has grown in popularity each year. Again, there are numerous events to get involved in but you can also integrate it into your already prepped lessons for that week. Get your class to open their “Maths Eyes” (use props if available in the younger classes!) and take notice of the maths that surrounds us. Ask a parent or member of the local community to come in and share with the class how they use maths in their workplace. Take a photograph of your shopping receipt and work through it with the class (remove the prescribed alcohol from the receipt!). 

We will have many of our Maths prizes and resources on promotion throughout the month so keep an eye out for them!

Products which may be of interest:

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Monday 17th October

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed every year since 1993, when the United Nations General Assembly, designated this day to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries. Poverty eradication remains at the core of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the development of the new Sustainable Development Goals. 

Halloween, Monday 31st October

So this celebration needs no introduction or explanation. We’ll all be covering “Oíche Shamhna” lessons for the weeks leading up to the mid-term. I have used the same resources for years in different classes and just adjusted them to suit the needs and abilities of the kids at that particular level. 

Here are some ideas* for your planning:

pumpkin-cuteA Halloween cauldron filled with creepy critters is the centerpiece of this math activity, which works well at a learning center or work table. Find a large pot (such as a plastic cauldron you might find at a party or craft store). Fill the pot with an assortment of small plastic Halloween toys, such as plastic spiders, ghosts, pumpkins, eyeballs, and snakes. You’ll also need a dipper, such as a soup ladle, for students to scoop up the critters. Place the pot of critters on a table. Next to the pot, provide pattern “recipes” written on index cards. A sample recipe follows.

Spider Stew

Take two scoops of critters. Then make this pattern: 2 spiders, 2 ghosts, 1 snake Repeat the pattern three times, adding one more scoop if necessary.

Encourage students to invent new patterns, then write their own recipes on index cards and challenge other students to follow them. Students can also use the pot of critters to sort the contents in different ways, or create picture or object graphs that show how many different kinds of critters are in the pot. For a language arts connection, have students scoop a small number of critters from the pot and write a short story about the creatures.

pumpkin-cutePumpkin Patch Bulletin Board

This activity is a great way to begin the month of October. At the beginning of the month, print some copies of a pimpkin outline. Write a math fact that represents each day of the month on each of the pumpkins, or assign each student in the class a different day of the month to come up with the fact for that day. (For example, you can write the math fact 12 – 11 for October 1, 9 – 7 for October 2, 0 + 3 for October 3, and so on. Write the answer for each equation on the back of the pumpkin. Staple the pumpkins to the bulletin board in random order. Use green construction paper vines and leaves to turn the board into a pumpkin patch, if you wish.

Each day in October, challenge students to identify the pumpkin that correctly represents that day. (On Mondays, you might wish to include the weekend days, too.) Ask students to write their choices on slips of paper and place them in a box or plastic pumpkin that you pass around. Invite the student who wrote the math fact for that day to turn over the correct pumpkin. Review the box of guesses to see who guessed correctly.

Here are some other ways to use the pumpkin patch:

Each day, challenge students to come up with additional facts that equal that day’s date.

At the end of the month, have students harvest the pumpkins and try to arrange them in sequence from 1–31.

Invite students to count pumpkins by twos or fives. How many groups of each are there? How many extra pumpkins are there?

If you enjoyed this post, then please share the love! If you didn’t enjoy it, then please give us another chance! Check out our other diary entries here 🙂

 

 

 

*Ideas sourced from Scholastic Teaching Resource book entitled “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.

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!

 

 

 

 



Back to School Packs are here!

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With just two weeks to go until we embark on the return to school, it is the perfect time to start selling our Back to School Packs. Last year, we sent our packs to thousands of schools around the country to help teachers get set for September.

Why were they our bestselling product for 2015-2016?  The answer is simple: Amazing products at incredible value.

We got a lot of positive feedback from teachers and principals, who were just delighted to get teaching resources and pupil prizes with just one purchase. We also got some queries about featuring other products in the pack. We have taken all the feedback and queries on board when creating this year’s pack, some products feature again with some new products being added to the pack. 

The RRP for this year’s pack is €35.15, the total cost of buying all the products individually, but we are putting them together for you for just €20

Packs will go on sale at 9am on Monday 15th August, get yours and then get back to relaxing on one of our last FREE MONDAYS!

Buy Now!

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)