Sunday, 9 December 2012

One to follow: Nollaig

I've previously posted about my love of the wonderful Seomra Ranga site, on which many of my classroom resources were found! 

Once again, Seomra Ranga's sister site, Nollaig Shona (that means "Merry Christmas" to any non-Irish people reading this!) is back in full swing for the festive season. There, you'll find plenty of printables, PowerPoints, quizzes, links to other online resources, Christmas craft ideas, lined paper and much more! You can download some quality resources as Gaeilge. For anyone out there who's not from Ireland, don't be misguided. Most of the resources are in English or universal!

Here are some of my favourites from the site:

Letter to Santa vocabulary flashcards.

The gazillion Christmas-themed lined pages for creative writing.

The "If You Don't Believe You Don't Receive" poster for children who may be inclined to voice suspicions which are best not heard by all pupils. 

Christmas Origami including Santa Claus, a reindeer, a bell, a Christmas wreath and a star.

Also, if you're a fan of either of these sites, please click here to vote for Seomra Ranga in the Best Individual Blog category of the Edublog Awards. Today is the last day to vote and it only takes a minute to do so!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Subtraction Loop Cards FREEBIE

Hi all,

Apologies for not having posted as regularly as I used to. I find I'm spreading work between my school computer and my work computer and don't seem to think about uploading things as much. Also, as my current unit of inquiry is very specific to the local area, I don't really see the point in posting the resources as I can't imagine most of them will be of use to any of you!

Anyway, here's a nice little freebie to tide you over for a while. It's a subtraction loop game similar to the addition one I posted previously. I have a "How Fast Can You Go?" chart on the wall to accompany it. I blu-tack an A4 page to it each week to record their best times. It's been 12 weeks and the children love it. In fact, they get quite upset if we don't get around to this on a given day! 

Just click here or on the image below to download from Google Drive.

Monday, 12 November 2012

KWL chart headings freebie

I often use KWL charts to start a topic. They're really useful AfL (assessment for learning) tools. They also give you an idea of what parts of a topic interest the child and are a good way to summarise at the end. I tend to write these on A3 paper. I've made these A4 headings to go on top. Click on the image below to download from Google Drive.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Hallowe'en Magic Square Freebie

Thank you to Heather Whetham from "HoJo's Teaching Adventures" for introducing me to the concept of magic squares. I had never used these for teaching before and she has shown how versatile they can be in teaching vocabulary or maths facts. Her Hallowe'en themed magic squares are a great way of revising Hallowe'en vocabulary. You can download them for free from here TPT store. 

Heather also has some fantastic maths magic squares up for grabs on her TPT store. I tried a sample one out with a child in my class and he really enjoyed it. It's a useful early finisher task and it's designed so that it's very easy to spot the correct solution.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Picasso style monsters - including free PowerPoint tutorial

Thanks to Mr. Denis Moynihan of Greenlanes N.S. for sharing his class' artwork. They created these Picasso style monsters following a tutorial by the wonderful Mrs. Picasso (of Mrs. Picasso's Art Room). Some of them have put me ill at ease about going to bed tonight! 

They're not too difficult to make. I think children of all ages would really like make these and there's tonnes of room for creativity.

Mr. Moynihan has been extremely generous and has offered to share his a PowerPoint he made to accompany this lesson. You can download it from here.

Click here to view the rest of the blog and pick up some great lesson ideas.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

100 Followers Celebration on Reading With Mrs. D

Mrs. D at Reading with Mrs. D. is having a 100 followers celebration. As part of this, she will feature 10 bloggers who post about the celebration and link up (click on the image to do so yourself). In these features, she will highlight five resources/ideas on these blogs. On the day of the last feature, she will post ten freebies that aren't in her Teachers Pay Teachers store yet. 

Best of luck to Mrs. D. in her endeavours!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Healthy Holiday Brochure Template

Over the past few weeks, the children in my class have been learning about the topic "Healthy Body, Healthy Mind." As this is the last week of our unit, I thought it would be nice for the children to make a booklet to show their learning about all aspects covered. 

Here is my template for you to download for free from Google Drive. Just click here or on the image. The children will design their own cover page and then I have made templates for a menu, exercise and relaxing pages. There is also an "advice" page for children to add in any other things that they have learned about keeping healthy.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Alphabetising resources

I'm currently introducing my class to the concept of alphabetising books in libraries according to authors' surnames. I found some nice cut and stick alphabetical ordering activities on Donna 

I wanted something that specifically related to ordering books in a library. Of course we will go to our own school library to do it practically but we're going to use this sheet to practice. It's a template of a bookshelf. The children have to cut out the labels for the book spines and glue them on in alphabetical order.

Click here or on the image on the left to download from Google Drive.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

One to follow: Anseo a Mhuinteoir

Hellie at Anseo a Mhuinteoir is my latest recommendation for blogs to follow. She is currently hosting a series of guest posts entitled "How I Learn." Here, anybody is free to submit their thoughts on how they go about learning. The teacher side of me finds it really interesting to read about different learning styles while the reading addict side of me loves seeing the different ways that people approach a post on the same topic.  You can view my "How I Learn Post" by clicking here.

As you're at it (if you haven't already done so), check out the rest of Hellie's blog. She started writing this blog as a trainee teacher and continued on into her qualified teaching life. Hellie also tweets regularly as @AnseoAMuinteoir with lots of interesting education-related (not to mention baking-themed) things.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Skip counting rap (poster freebie)

I found this skip counting rap on the Education Posts forum and made a poster for it. I don't know who originally posted it so I can't credit the author. Thank you, whoever you are! I just took the verses relating to counting in 2s, 5s and 10s as that's my teaching focus this week. I got the lovely chevron background for free from Natalie at Doodle Craft. 

Download the poster for free from Google Drive (it's going to take a while to start saying that instead of Google Docs!) by clicking here or on the image below. 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Heart and lungs resources - all free of course!

Last week, as part of the "Healthy Body, Healthy Mind" unit, my children were learning about the heart and lungs and how to keep them healthy. I found some nice resources for the interactive whiteboard and other activities related to the topic and thought I'd share them with you. I used these resources with children around 7-8 years of age.

Finding the heart using a stethoscope on the interactive whiteboard: This one is a great way of remembering the location of the heart. They move the stethoscope about until they can hear the heart beating. 

The children did an experiment to see the effect of exercise on their hearts. This involved sitting, standing, running/dancing and hopping. Of course they loved this! Click here or on the image below to download my heart investigation sheet.

After having experimented on themselves, they then had a go at changing Ruby's heart rate in this fantastic game from the BBC Schools website. It was a great assessment tool. I asked them to make Ruby's heart rate go up/down a little or a lot.

I found a huge selection of heart-related resources on the American Heart Association website. They have heart lesson plans divided up by subject and age level. Here, I came across this join the dots activity where the children follow the route of blood through the heart.

After this, we moved  on to learning about the lungs. Mr. Hardy's simple flash animation shows the movements in the respiratory system very clearly.  Having watched this, we then set out to make models of the lungs. I followed these instructions except we used plasticine instead of clay. 

At the end of the lesson, the children watched this video to summarise. Again, there is a simple animation with commentary (not in the clearest English though!). This provided more detail in a visual way.

The children also designed anti-smoking posters. I found it very difficult to find classroom resources relating to the dangers of smoking that would be suitable for children who are that young. Quite a lot of the posters, videos, etc. were very gruesome. I thought this was a nice little animation to show how smoking affects the teeth, lungs, heart and brain in a not-so-gruesome manner. One word of warning - the brain is a bit scary!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Blag iontach ó dalta meánscoile

Thug múinteoir meánscoile, Maighréad Ní Iarlaithe, an nasc seo domsa. Is blag lánghaeilge é, scríofa le  Sionainn Ní Ghreacháin, déagóir ó Luimneach. Tá cuma proifisiúnaigh ar an mblag seo. Mar seo, tá sé dochreidte nach bhfuil an t-údar ach cúig bliana déag d'aois!

Tá Paisean le hAghaidh Faisin lán le moltaí faoi stíleanna gruaige, brógaí, cláracha teilifíse agus a domhain féin. Tá leathanach Facebook ceangailte leis comh mhaith.

Is áis iontach é an blog seo do dhéagóirí chun an teanga a léamh i slí suimiúil. Níl sé éasca píosaí léitheoireachta nua-aimseartha atá oiriúnach do dhaltaithe méanscoile a fháil. Mar sin, is blag leithleach amach is amach é!

A Shionainn, maith thú!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Free addition facts loop games

I have found loop games great for developing mental maths abilities.They take away from the monotony of learning tables by heart. The children all have to co-operate in order to complete the loop/chain game. When you take note of the speed, children generally love to try and beat their best time. 

This year I'm only have 6 children in my class. I made these loop cards with this class in mind. Each child will have two cards each and I will have the start card. In this way, they can practice the addition facts from +1 to +12 of any given number. If you have a class of 24 to 26 children, they can all have one card each. You could also split the class into two teams and see who can finish the loop/chain faster.

These are very simple addition cards. Previously I have made loops with 24 cards and with double digit addition, subtraction, multiplication and division for larger classes with more children. 

I have double checked each card for mistakes but I'm still not confident that they are perfect. If anybody notices one, please let me know and I will update them!

Click here or on the image to download from Google Docs.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Healthy teeth and bones assessment sheet

Bone clipart source

My class is exploring a "healthy body, healthy mind" unit this side of the mid-term. Last week we covered teeth and this week we were looking at the skeleton. I'm going to do a quick assessment tomorrow to see how much they know about keeping their teeth and bones healthy.

Click here to view/download that assessment sheet.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Question prompt posters - English and Irish versions

I originally shared these posters as Gaeilge (in Irish) during the last school year. As I'm now teaching children with English as a second language, I decided to create an English version of the same. Click on the image below to download these who, what, when, where, etc. posters.

...and for anyone who wishes to get the Gaeilge version, click on the following image.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Skeleton lesson ideas

I apologise for my very inconsistent blogging patterns! I'm still very busy with a new job and country so it's hard to find time. Lots of things that I took for granted in Ireland (driving to work, knowing where to buy household things, speaking the same language, much less bureaucracy) make everything a little more time-consuming. That said, I'm delighted with the sunshine, the views of the ancient city, being in the city centre and listening to and seeing Italians everywhere!

Anyway, I just thought I'd share this link. My class will be looking at the skeleton this coming week and, when searching for the classic "Them Bones, Them Bones Need Calcium" advertisement, I found this series of lessons. They're really fun, creative and integrate lots of subjects.

I also found this cute video called "The Skeleton Dance" (AKA Dem Bones) and of course, all 90s children from Ireland and the UK will remember the strange wooden man dancing and singing, "Them Bones, Them Bones Need Calcium!"

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Before and after classroom pics

Hi there,

It has been quite a week! I moved from Ireland to Italy 8 days ago. I've hit a couple of speedbumps (which are to be expected when you move to a new country, particularly when you don't speak their language very well) but so far I'm enjoying the experience. This week I've been getting my classroom ready. I'm quite proud of my Angry Birds display (see previous post for a close up). The rest is at least more colourful. I hope to decorate it a lot more with the children's work as the term goes by. It's definitely a work in progress!

Here are a few before and after photos of my classroom for anybody who's interested. 

A dopo!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Appeal to the children's techie sides - Pinterest finds

I found these two techie-themed displays on Pinterest. 

A fantastic iPhone display for classroom jobs by Sheila at Room 13...

... and an Angry verbs display.

I was then inspired to make an Angry Birds-style display for my room. I settled on an "Our Golden Rules" display. I have yet to add the golden eggs (the children will make these next week). Stay tuned for the finished product!

Friday, 24 August 2012

How I plan on decorating my classroom FOR FREE

I've been getting a few bits and bobs ready for the new school year. I've spent hours ogling over some amazingly decorated classrooms. Here are some free materials for displays that I'm planning on putting in my room. (Obviously, free to me doesn't include the cost of paper and laminating sheets!)

1. Birthday months display: 

I got these cute party hats from Jennifer Squires' TPT store and changed the font to black and Comic Sans MS.

2. My own question prompt posters:

3. Footprint number line:

I plan on sticking this number line on the ground for maths activities. I downloaded this for free from Twinkl.

4. Clock labels:

I got these clock minute labels from the incredible Amy Lemons (Step into Second Grade). Click here to download in Google Docs.

5. My I.B. learner profile posters

These outline the 10 aspects of learners in the I.B. programme with brief, simple descriptions on each. You can download the whole display, heading included for free here.

6. Rockstar themed clip chart

Abby at The Inspired Apple has made this AMAZING rockstar-themed clip chart. It's a really visual classroom management tool. You can download the labels here and an explanation of how it works here. She also has loads of rockstar-themed signs here. 


I still haven't decided if I'm going to use the following resource this year. I think the maths language may be a bit too challenging for the age-level I'm teaching. Anyway, I couldn't resist sharing it as it's an absolute gem!

These are alphabet posters but all of the examples are maths vocabulary, making them less baby-ish and suitable for older age levels. They're really bright and colourful and the clipart is really child-friendly and cutesy. A huge word of thanks to Bridget Clabby (Little Lovely Leaders) for designing and sharing these for free here.


For more free resources for decorating your classroom prior to term, have a visit to my Classroom Décor FREEBIE linky party.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Teacher Week: Technology Tip Tuesday

I'm posting this as part of Teacher Week on Blog Hoppin'. Last year, a lot of resources that I made and downloaded for class were in PowerPoint format. I found that I often ended up stationary at my desk so that I could change between slides. I'm not the sort of person who likes to stay in the same spot for too long, especially while teaching and trying to keep an eye on the giddy children at the back of the room! So this is my simple technology tip for PowerPoint users, get a clicker/pointer like this!

This little baby didn't set me back too much money-wise (hint: have a look around for cheaper prices. I got mine on Amazon at a good price.) but it made such a difference to me in the classroom. It's great to be able to flick back and forth between slides and use the laser pointer to highlight certain parts.

 I found lots of uses for it after a few weeks --> highlighting pronunciation of certain letters/words in Irish poems, flicking between paintings when making comparisons in art, getting the children to use the laser to point out certain aspects of a picture/the answer to a question (this was hugely popular with my 10-12 year olds!) and of course, good ol' flicking back and forth between slides in a PowerPoint presentation. The best part was that I was able to do all of these things from any corner of the classroom, allowing me to prowl roam around the place!

For more technology tips, head over to Blog Hoppin' where you'll find a tonne of links at the bottom of the post.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

IB Learner Profile Posters

NOTE: I have made newer versions including the new terminology, "courageous" and "global thinkers" here and here.

I'm very excited to be starting work shortly in Italy. I'm trying to get a few things together to stick on my classroom walls. 

My school follows the IB (International Baccalaureate) programme. So today, I decided to make posters to show the elements in the IB learner profile. After much humming and hawing, I settled on brightly coloured leopard print backgrounds. (I'd like to credit this source for the descriptions - I used some of theirs directly and worded others my own way.)I also included a brief description of what these meant. Click on the image below to download the full IB learner profile display for free from Google Docs. 

I want to say a massive thank you to Phillip Martin for providing such child-friendly clipart. You may have noticed that I have a bit of an addiction to his creations. His clip art is free to use (for non-profit purposes!).

Also, I'm currently holding a linky party for resources like this - instant, printable, FREE displays for teachers to decorate in their classrooms prior to term. If you have any links to free resources that fit the above description, please submit!

Friday, 17 August 2012

One to follow:

As the new school year approaches, I know that many teachers are looking at doing some substitution work (hopefully only for a short while!). If you are one of these people, Deirdre at runs a fantastic website that you should definitely check out. There, you'll find a blog with lesson ideas, a Delicious account with links (well-organised by category), detailed information on what you need to know if you are a first-time sub and lots of helpful tips for jobseeking and interviews. 

Have a look at her September checklist here.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Classroom Décor FREEBIE linky party

Greetings all! 

I'm delighted to be back blogging after a well-needed summer break. This year I'm faced with a lot of excitement and challenges as I will begin teaching in a new country, with a new age level and an entirely new school system. I hope to continue blogging - my resources will now be designed for 7-year old ESL (English as a Second Language) pupils. I hope that they will prove useful for somebody out there! 

 One of the challenges I'm facing at the moment is how I want to decorate my classroom. There are some outstandingly creative themed classrooms out there. Have a look at Miss Nelson's Before and After linky party to see some ridiculously talented teachers' rooms.

I've been looking around for ready-made resources to stick on the wall in preparation for day 1 of term. Unfortunately, most of what's out there at the moment is TPT sales. Though many of these resources are fantastic, it'd be nice to get some resources that teachers are sharing for free. Hence, this linky party is for teachers to share FREE resources that others can use to decorate their classroom.

FAO bloggers. I'd really appreciate if you could give this linky party a mention on your own blog!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Versatile Blogger Nominations

Mrs. D. at "Reading with Mrs. D." has kindly nominated me for a "Versatile Blogger" award - thank you! Now it's my turn to nominate other bloggers for the same and share some good karma!

There are 7 rules to follow when receiving this award.

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Include a link to their site.
3. Include the award image in your post.
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
6. When nominating, include a link to their site.
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.

7 random facts about me:
1. My favourite colour is purple.
2. I'm left-handed.
3. I have difficulty in telling left from right quickly.
4. I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
5. I'm in love with Italy, so much so that I'm moving there for 2 years.
6. I cry at soppy things in movies and T.V. programmes, even in comedies. I'm a total sap that way!
7. I aim to finish writing a book or play in my lifetime.

Here are my 15 nominations:

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Goodbye for now!

My busy year as an NQT has recently come to an end. Luckily for me, I'm heading abroad as a TEFL teacher for the summer. Thus, I won't be able to update this blog. I've decided that I won't post again until the new school year at the earliest. I've really enjoyed posting here so I hope that I'll have the motivation to relapse into my blogging addiction again in a few months.

I hope anybody who reads this blog has found it to be useful. Thanks for checking it out and thanks especially to those who have left such lovely comments. 

Have a great summer and I hope to (virtually) meet you again in the new school year!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Share your class blog with Seas Suas

Seas Suas is a new website created by Simon Lewis and Nigel Lane. It has been designed to collate lots of school and class blogs from Irish primary schools. It then links the blog posts according to categories.

It's very simple to get involved:
1. Go to Add Our School and sign your school/class up (it’s free!).
2. Continue to make blog posts as normal on your school/class blog.
3. Seas Suas will keep an eye on your blog and when one one your posts falls into one of our categories, your post will appear on Seas Suas, linked back to your blog.

It's a great way of giving your class/school a voice and having an Irish audience here it. If you have a school/class blog, check it out for yourself and think about getting involved!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Class Blog Spotlight: St. Mary's Rathmines

I came across this blog from form 4'  at the junior school in St. Mary's College, Rathmines. It's an interesting one as it is shared between this school and another in Spain. 

It's clear that both teachers and classes put lots of work into this group blog. It's great to see lots of PowerPoints made by the children featured on this site. Some of my favourites are the "get well soon" messages to one of the pupils.

There are also PowerPoint presentations that the children made on topics they have covered in class that would be of interest to pupils in Spain. This is a great way for children to use their IT skills and for their teacher to assess their learning in an enjoyable manner.

I love how this blog has a mix of cultures with both classes describing their schools, their interests and their school trips. It's a brilliant way for children to learn about another country and to think more about their own culture.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Report writing self-assessment rubric

I've been terrible for updating this blog lately. Very busy last few weeks! Here's a report writing self-assessment rubric that I used recently. Click here to download.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Project work: Making homework easier

I have found that a great thing to do for homework is to set a weekly research project. I try to keep them quite general so that the children can pick what they choose. It makes for much more interesting reading material when correcting their work. I lay each project out with 4 sections. The children are given the task sheet on Monday and then do one section per night. It also means that you only have to correct this work on Friday, rather than flicking through copybooks daily. I find that the children really engage with these projects too as it's all their own work and on a topic of their choice.

Click here to download the task sheet for studying a country of their choice. 
(Thanks to Phillip Martin @ for the free clipart)