Sunday, 29 May 2016

How to use a class/school Twitter account in primary school

Hello there! 

I've been thinking of starting a school / class Twitter account in the next school year. Many schools have them and it has so many benefits. Children can interact with other classes, all over the world. They can share what they are learning to keep their parents in the loop. They can share work that they are proud of with the whole world. Obviously, you need to be very careful to seek permission from your principal and all parents. You may be allowed to share images/videos of the children. However, if you are not, it's still possible to share photos of their work or their reactions to something they are learning about.

I want to share some fantastic examples of Twitter accounts from Irish schools and how they have used this medium in a variety of ways. Firstly, I can't start off without asking you to follow @mrsbellsclass and their teacher (and edtech guru herself) Mary Jo Bell @7MJB. Her senior infants class is very well connected. They often share what they are learning and I particularly like how they interact with other schools. Here's an example of how they are learning a little more about a school in Texas. Also, you have to check out the adorable nuacht recordings they have shared using Voki. Here's a lovely example of Jamie's nuacht. It's such a great way to improve confidence and work on oral language skills. This would also be fantastic in English and particularly useful for children who have English as a second language.

Twitter is also a great way for classes, nationally and internationally, to tweet about the same topic. Two examples of this are schools sharing #tablestips or taking Spring pictures using the hashtag #antearrach


...and here you can see how Mr O'Callaghan's 6th class @MrOCallaghanWNS shared these lovely posters about the universal topic of internet safety on Safer Internet Day.

Initiatives like #MathsEyes @Maths_Eyes are great to get children thinking outside the box and looking out for practical applications of their learning in everyday contexts.

Mr. Moynihan's class @mrmoysclassglns and Ms Sullivan 4th @msmcormack4th have good examples of how they share what's going on day to day. The children in Mr. Moynihan's class often tweet about something they've enjoyed learning or share pictures of their work.

And, of course, in the midst of following these blogs, you're bound to stumble upon teaching ideas that interest you. As I'm very interested in using ICT in education, I loved stumbling across this video of these junior infants @naionainGUF15 using Bee Bots to code and seeing how Miss Ward's class @misswardsclass were doing an assessment using Kahoot!


If you know of any other great class / school Twitter accounts, please comment below or tweet @ACrucialWeek and let us know why you like them.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Area and Perimeter FREEBIES

Hi there,

Just a quick couple of freebies for you. The first is this area and perimeter poster. Click here to download it for free from Google Drive.

The second is a set of area and perimeter challenge cards. Give each child / group 12 squares of card and have them try to make shapes with the given area and perimeter on the cards. Click here to download the cards for free from Google Drive.

That's all folks!

Saturday, 21 May 2016

UEFA Euro 2016 Teaching Resource Pack

"The Euros" i.e. UEFA Euro 2016 Competition is on it's way. It's taking place from 10th June - 10th July. If you want to follow it with your class, download this free A3 wall planner where you can mark in the scores:


I've also created a pack with 90 pages of teaching resources, posters, flashcards, worksheets, sample lesson plans, lesson ideas, bunting, word searches etc. The lesson plans and related resources are most suitable for upper/middle primary school. 

The full contents are:
  • 2 title posters (UEFA Euro 2016)
  • Groups posters
  • Flashcards with names of each participating country
  • Sweepstake kit
  • Bunting for the children to colour
  • Table quiz questions and answer sheet
  • Maths lesson plan, worksheets and self-assessment sheet
  • English lesson plan and prompt cards
  • PE lesson plan and station teaching cards
  • Science lesson plan
  • Geography lesson plan and project template
  • Visual arts lesson plans and ideas
  • Drama lesson plan and related resource materials
  • Music lesson plan and related resource materials
  • Flag hunt sheet and solution sheet
  • 2 differentiated word searches with solution sheets
Here's an idea of some of the contents:

Some things to note:
-The geography project is in the same format as that of my Rugby World Cup 2015 resource pack
-Some of the objectives in the lesson plans include objectives from the Irish primary school curriculum. These should be easily adaptable to any primary school curriculum

If you're interested in this pack, you can get it for $3.50 (about €3.20) from my TPT store.

If you're an Irish teacher - there's also a separate pack with a leagan Gaeilge (Irish language version) of the posters, flashcards, bunting, project template and sweepstake kit available on its own for $2 (approx €1.85) or as a 138 page bumper pack with this English-language pack for $4 (approx €3.65). 

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Boosting staff morale in your school

Often, staff rapport in schools can be neglected due to short breaks and busy schedules. Sometimes teachers are too busy trying to get everything done that thinking about their well-being is not on their agenda. However, happier teachers lead to happier schools. Here are some suggestions of how to create a more positive atmosphere amongst staff.

Sign up for a free health and well-being seminar
Irish teachers, check out the free seminars on Teachers can sign up for these courses at their local education centre free of charge. For those of you who can't attend, the PDST has also shared the booklets that accompany these workshops.

Make a compliment box for your staff room
This is a lovely thing to do with the children in your class but it also works really well with staff. I set up a compliment box in our staff room last year and it worked a treat. Here's how to do it:
1. Get an old box, stick a "Compliment Box" label on it and write some ideas of sentence starters on it like "Remember that time when...." "I really like how you..." "I admire the way you..."
2.Put envelopes (one for each staff member) in the box along with slips of paper, markers, pens, pencils and scissors.
3. Send an email with instructions that the box will be in the staff room the following Monday for a week. They can write compliments for as many staff as they like. Under no circumstances is anybody allowed to read what is already in somebody else's envelope. 
4. On Friday afternoon, seal the envelopes and deliver them to the teachers.
Lots of people came to me last year and said that it really gave them a lift. The things that were written in the envelopes were a mixture of heartfelt messages from close colleagues, surprise compliments from mystery staff members and some silly memories and jokes thrown in for good measure.

Try this 30 day happy teacher challenge from Presto Plans
Hop over to the blog to download this printable for free. It includes things to minimise your own stress levels and to be nice to your colleagues! 

Made by Presto Plans
Make a staff meeting more sociable: Let them eat cake!
Ask staff to bring in some treats to share on an INSET day or just before a staff meeting and spend 20 minutes indulging and having a chat. The sugar hit can really cheer people up, particularly if the meeting is at the end of a school day.

Count down:
In my school we sometimes put countdowns on the board in the staff room - usually to the next long weekend / holiday! Currently there's a "... days until the next Game of Thrones" episode. It's very satisfying watching the numbers get lower and lower and can be a good starting point for conversations between staff who don't know each other very well.
image source
Share those memes!
Did you see a blog post / meme about teaching that gave you a laugh? Why not print it off and stick it on the staff board? Somebody else might appreciate it!
image source: Buzzfeed

And remember... don't just think it, say it!
Did you just walk past a beautiful display of children's work? Turn back and tell the teacher (and students) what you think of it. Did you hear a student say something positive about what they were doing in class? Tell the teacher how enthusiastic they were.