Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Self-assessment: Two Stars and a Wish

One of my favourite methods of self-assessment is the "two stars and a wish" tool. The students reflect on their learning by writing two things that they have learned (stars) and one thing that they would like to know/be able to do (wish). It works well for younger and older children and provides interesting feedback for the teacher.

This is on sale in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for $1.50 (about €1.10). 

There are various combinations of each of the following:
*Black and white or colour
*A4 or A5
*Lined boxes or unlined boxes

Sunday, 27 July 2014

IB Bumper Poster Kit - World Flags Edition

Attention IB PYP teachers!

I have added a GIGANTIC poster kit to my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

It contains:
IB PYP Learner Profile Posters (World Flags Border)
IB PYP Attitudes Posters (World Flags Border)
IB PYP Transdisciplinary Skills Posters (World Flags Border)
IB PYP Transdisciplinary Themes Posters - with a display idea!
IB PYP Key Concepts Posters
*Where necessary, I have provided two versions with different spellings (British English and American English)

This set costs $10. If you were to buy each of the included items individually, it would set you back $12. So you can go and have an ice-cream with your spare change! ;)

If you think there are too many flags going on in this kit - please check out my other PYP bumper poster kit including the same items but with different, colourful backgrounds for each.

If you would prefer to buy the items individually, click on any of the images below:






To view all of my IB PYP-related resources, click here!

Friday, 25 July 2014

FREEBIE Friday: Peer-assessment sheet

It's the weekend! Want a freebie?

I've been working on some resources to create a reflection area in my classroom. I've decided to share this peer-assessment sheet with you. The file contains two versions - A4 and A5. 

This can be used at the end of paired-work or after a group task. The children can reflect on their partner noting if they:
-listened to them
-shared their ideas
-was helpful
-took turns
There is also space for them to reflect on how they could improve when working together.

You can download this freebie by clicking here or on the image above. This freebie is also available in my TPT store.
(If you don't already have membership on TPT, you'll need to register. Don't worry, it's free of charge, no strings attached!)

I'll add some more assessment tools in the coming weeks, including a mega-pack containing all of them! Stand by for that!

This post is part of Teaching Blog Addict's "Freebie Friday" collection. Click on the link below to view the rest of today's freebies!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

A Crucial Week is now on Facebook

Hi there! A Crucial Week is now on Facebook. If you'd like updates on some blog posts, additions to my TPT store, articles related to teaching or teaching humour, please like this page. I promise not to overload your news feed (and if I do, feel free to unlike the page!). I'll also be running a competition on my Facebook page with classroom resources as a prize.

This page should be useful to any teacher (I share general teaching resources) but it could be of particular interest to Irish primary school teachers and anybody working in an IB (PYP) school.

And remember, sharing is caring!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Pirate Classroom Decoration Set

Yaaaaaarrr! Ahoy me hearties! Any swashbuckling teachers out there who want to decorate their classroom pirate-style, you've come to the right place! I've just uploaded a pirate-themed classroom decoration kit to my TPT store. 

Page 3: "Welcome aboard our ship!" sign
4-10: Class calendar - days and numbers 1-31
11-12: Days of the week
13-15: "Yesterday was," "Today is" and "Tomorrow will be" signs
16-19: Months of the year
20-26: Word wall headers ("Word Wall" and each letter "Aa" "Bb")
27-33: Welcome banner (pennant-style)
34-37: Classroom management clip-chart
38-43: Table numbers (1-6)
44-50: How we go home (Header, After-school club, Day care, Walking, Bus, Bicycle, Car)
51-53: Blank labels (lined, not lined and circular)

Click on the image to go directly to the item's listing in the store. You'll have your classroom in shipshape in no time!

*This pirate-themed classroom management is part of the classroom decor kit. If you would just like this item, it is also on sale as a separate item.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Owl-themed classroom display kit

Good morning all!

For those who have been following my blog, you'll know that I'm planning an owl-themed classroom. I put a lot of time into making resources for this. I've decided to sell a pack of my owl-themed display materials on Teachers Pay Teachers. It costs just $6 (which is in or around €4.40 for my Irish and other European followers).

The kit contains:

  • Page 3: "Welcome to our nest!" sign
  • 4-10: Class calendar - days and numbers 1-31 plus editable squares
  • 11-12: Days of the week
  • 13-15: "Yesterday was," "Today is" and "Tomorrow will be" signs
  • 16-19: Months of the year
  • 20-26: Word wall headers ("Word Wall" and each letter "Aa" "Bb")
  • 27-33: Welcome banner (pennant-style)
  • 34-37: Classroom management clip-chart
  • 38-43: Table numbers (1-6)
  • 44-50: How we go home (Header, After-school club, Day care, Walking, Bus, Bicycle, Car)
  • 51-53: Blank EDITABLE labels (lined, not lined and circular)

If you feel that's a bit pricey, why not think about buying my owl-themed behaviour management clip chart for $2 (about €1.50)? This is included in the decor kit so don't buy the two together! It's set on a colourful polkadot background and is embellished with bows and owls - very cute!

Clip charts are a great classroom management tool. Write the children's names on clothes pegs. Every child starts the day on the green section. Then, according to the choices they make and how they behave, the peg is moved up or down.

For any Irish teachers reading this, there's also a leagan Gaeilge (Irish version) of the clip chart. This costs the same amount (about €1.50). I don't know about you but I've definitely spent more on a pack of stickers!

Please check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store for more resources - including some free ones in English and in Irish! There are lots of other versions of clip charts there too!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Quick and easy self-assessment in the classroom

One of my aims for this coming school year is to provide more opportunities for the children to reflect on their learning and assess themselves. I'm working on creating a reflection area in the classroom.

This is the first item I have made for it. These are self-assessment posters. I'm going to staple the oval posters on a wide ribbon under the heading to create a hanging display. They would also work nicely on a bulletin board.

I chose 4 levels based on Marzano's Levels of Understanding:

4. I'm an expert! (I can help another person.)
3. I understand! (I don't need help!)
2. I kind of understand (but I need some help.)
1. I don't understand (I need help!)

I have also made two pupil self-assessment sheets based on the posters - one in colour and one in black and white for easy photocopying.

The posters and self-assessment sheets are available to download from my Teachers Pay Teachers store for $2.50. 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Self-assessment for fluency - free posters and reflection sheet

At the moment, I'm building a bank of self-assessment resources to create a reflection corner in my classroom. I came across this on Pinterest. It's a free set of posters and a self-assessment reflection sheet. The posters are very simple and are written in clear language. Thank you to Rachelle at What the Teacher Wants for creating it! She has also suggested an action to help to teach and remember these concepts. Click on the image to view the original post and download this freebie!

Now, there's one ready to go printable sorted - off you go!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Artist inspiration for lessons: Ben Heine Pencil Vs Camera

The art project, "Pencil Vs Camera" by Belgian artist, Ben Heine, just begs to be used as inspiration for art activities in the classroom. He has drawn pencil sketches and incorporated these into photographs to create an unusual effect. (If working with young children, just be careful as to which pieces you choose! Some may not be suitable for your classroom!)

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Paper Flower Tutorial - perfect for classrooms, home decor and hair accessories!

I went a bit mad last year making tissue paper flowers for my classroom. They're very simple to make and it they're a very pretty addition to display boards. These would also be very nice for a wedding, baby shower, house decoration or even to clip in your hair for a fancy event (just make sure not to let it get squished!)

You will need:

Step 1:
Cut out 8-10 rectangles the same size.

Step 2:
Fold the tissue paper into a fan. (ie. Make a small fold, turn over the paper, fold this back on itself, turn and repeat.)

Step 3:
Run your fingers over the fan several times to ensure the creases are well-set.

Step 4:
Fold your fan in half as shown in the picture on the right.

Step 5:
Tie some string around the crease that you have just created.

Step 6:
Snip the both ends of the tissue in a pointed or curved shape. This will give the petal shape.

 Step 7:
Hold the fan by the string and open out one half.

Step 8:
Pull the top layer of tissue up towards the centre.

Step 9:
Pull the tissue layers up, one by one.

Step 10:
Spread out the fan and separate the layers on the other side. Then, play around with the layers to fluff it out and make sure the petals look even.

Here are some pictures of how I have used tissue paper flowers at home, at school and in my hair.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Owl About Me freebie from Classroom Freebies

I stumbled across this "Owl About Me" freebie from Diane at Classroom Freebies. It's a very cute owl template. It has 8 boxes in which the children write information about themselves. The key for these is on a coloured owl which can be placed in the middle of the display. This would be a lovely activity for the first week back at school, particularly if your classroom is owl-themed.

Friday, 11 July 2014

The owl-themed crafting continues - paper lantern owl display

As you've probably noticed from my previous post, I've gone a little owl-mad this summer. Taking inspiration from Pinterest, I decided to make a 3-D sign for my reading corner. 

Quite often, when I make something crafty, it doesn't turn out exactly how I planned it. This was one of those occasions. The phrase "Pinterest fail" (if you haven't already Googled that term, you're in for a treat!) kept springing to mind. 

Originally I had planned to use 4 owls - 2 multicoloured and 2 blue, reading "We love to read!" - but one just wouldn't work. It ripped, it fell out of shape and ended up being a horrible patchwork thing full of staples, glue and tape. Eventually, I threw it in the bin - a much better place for it! Now, my 3-piece owl display reads "We love books." 
Please ignore the drippy glue. It will dry in clear!

I've learned from my mistakes and offer these tips for future paper-lantern-crafters!

  • Make sure the lantern is made from strong paper that won't rip if pulled firmly.

  • Get the type of lanterns that have a plastic or metal piece running from top to bottom to hold its shape; otherwise you'll end up with a saggy, rugby-ball shape after some time!

  • If it's really not working, bin it and start again!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Summer crafting, owl-themed!

I must confess. I have been making things for my classroom already. I saw some cute mixed pattern owls on Pinterest about two years ago and had forgotten about them. I was reminded again when I found this patterned paper in Tiger a few months back. I bought it on impulse and put it in my wardrobe for a summer project. 

Being in Ireland with most people my age long-gone from the town, what better way to pass some time than making some owls?

Here's what I did:

I've been making and downloading lots of owl-themed things for my classroom. I thought it'd be better to cut out  lots of display materials when I'm watching TV or sitting in the sunshine rather than when I'm focused on planning at the start of the school year. Watch this space for more owl-themed resources!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Tiger: Stationary Heaven for teachers, parents and crafty types!

Being a self-declared stationary and craft supply addict, I often get jealous, reading American teaching blogs. They seem to have so many places to buy stationary at incredibly cheap prices. I found it very difficult to find affordable materials when I moved to Italy. Then, last year, a Tiger Store opened in my city and my crafting life changed. I will warn you in advance, the Penney's/Primark Effect may take a hold of you and you will leave the shop with your arms full every time!

The shop has all sorts of things. It reminds me of a pound shop but the items are much better quality and, most importantly, oh so cute! In there, you'll find craft supplies, fancy dress items, toys, cosmetics, bicycle accessories, kitchen things and much more.

Irish teachers, there are 10 shops in the country.
Other readers, they have 317 shops across 21 countries.

You're welcome (for the wonders you'll buy) and I'm sorry (for your new addiction)!

Look at all that ribbon!

This would be great for a reading corner. I think it costs about €15.

Storage boxes galore:

These big foam dice are great for maths activities and classroom games.

And I couldn't resist these watermelon flip flops!