Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Editable Behaviour Management Tools

Hello there,

I hope you're surviving back to school season!

I've made some behaviour management tools, designed for one-on-one use with a child to tackle challenging behaviours by setting goals and reflecting on their behaviour. They are editable PowerPoint files so you can modify text, images, tables, etc. to suit your child's needs. 

There are a few different themes. Each set contains:

  • instructions
  • a behaviour frequency record
  • an example of a completed behaviour frequency record
  • 2 fully editable charts
  • 2 editable token sheets
  • a cover sheet and goal-setting/reflection sheet to make a personalised behaviour record book
Click on the images below to grab them from my TPT store for just $2 (roughly €1.70).

Thursday, 24 August 2017

DIY Pom Pom and Tassel Garland (with tutorials)

Well hello there,

Unfortunately I have an affliction. The first things I purchased as soon as I landed in Ireland for a visit home were three balls of wool! I wanted to make a tassel garland for my teacher notice board and these colours were very me. (The first thing I bought in my hometown were matching packs of tissue paper; more on that to follow!)

I saw a video on how to make little pom poms using a fork. Then I decided that I'd decorate my garland with both pom poms and tassels. Here's how it looked in my classroom. (Note the tissue paper flowers!)

And here are tutorials on how I made them.


Mini Pom Poms:
You will need: wool, scissors, fork
1. Wrap the wool around the fork lots of times. Make sure not to go too close to the tips of the fork and also to leave space so you can see the holes.
2. Cut a short length of wool and thread it through the middle hole in the fork. Tie it in a loose knot. Slide the wool off the fork, pull the wool tighter and tie two knots.
3. Snip the loops all around the edge of the pom pom.
4. Give the pom pom a "haircut" to tidy up any scraggly bits.
5. Fluff it out et volià! 

You will need: Wool, scissors, a thin box or book
1. Wrap the wool around the book or thin box several times. (I did it 30 times.)
2. Slide the wool off the box.
3. Cut a short length of wool and place it a third / a quarter of the way down the wool (depending on how you want your tassel to look).
4. Tie that strand tightly.
5. Snip the middle of the longer loops. Give it a quick "haircut" to even up the length of the strands.
6. Pull one end of the strand used in step 4 through the loops at the top and then tie it on top. 

I've also previously written a blog tutorial on how to make the paper flowers. Click here to view it!

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Dip Starter Pack Giveaway

Following lots of positive feedback on my "Dip Tips" blog post, I've created a Dip Starter Pack. I've been working very hard these summer holidays to save probationary teachers lots of time, effort and money. I've also gone a bit overboard in buying shabby chic and bullet journal style clip art! You'll see that theme running through the pack! :)

To celebrate back to school season, I'm having a giveaway on the A Crucial Week Facebook page. If you want to win a pack, pop over there. Scroll down to see what's in the pack - many of the parts are available individually and lots are suitable for non-dip teachers!

Here's what's in the 169 page pack: 
(the preview picture below doesn't show everything! Scroll down to read the full contents.)

  • Example short-term (weekly) plans
  • Example long-term (termly) plans
  • Example cuntais míosúla
  • 9 cover sheets for your planning and assessment folders
  • Weekly planning checklists (3 sheets, one per term)
  • Editable checklists and information sheets (e.g. homework record, information for substitute teachers, birthday record, etc.)
  • Teacher calendar sheets (August 2017 - June 2018)
  • Editable international Events Calendar 2017-2018
  • A PDF copy of my "Dip Tips" blog post

  • Superhero-themed behaviour management tools including an editable token chart, token sheets, an editable behaviour record cover, goal-setting/reflection sheets, a behaviour frequency record with an example and instructions)
  • Two Stars and a Wish self-assessment sheets
  • Self-assessment display based on Marzano's Levels of Understanding
  • Self-assessment sheet based on Marzano's Levels of Understanding

  • Laethanta na Seachtaine display
  • Dathanna display
  • Prionta sa Timpeallacht (28 flashcards, 4 posters)
  • Na h-Ábhair Scoile circular display
  • Visual timetable pack (with editable cards)
  • WALT and WILF signs (for sharing objectives and assessment criteria)

Many of these resources are available individually (paid/free) in my TPT store. The total of the paid resources is $18.50. This bundle allows you to save $6.50 as it's priced at $12 (that's roughly €10). The example weeklies, termlies and cuntais míosúla are not sold separately. Those are a bonus just for this bundle! So, in summary, for a tenner (not a massive investment!) you'll get 169 pages of example plans, planning and assessment templates and classroom displays. 

Here's a closer look at just some of the things that are inside. Click on the images if you'd like to purchase these separately! Many are suitable for non-dip-doing teachers too!

These calendar sheets (not just for dip teachers!):

 These bullet-journal inspired, washi-tape filled checklists to help you keep track of your planning (and fulfill your pretty stationery needs!):

These editable sheets for your teacher folder including a birthday tracker, editable information sheets for substitute teachers, lots of editable checklists that you could use for homework, phonics, spelling test records, recording specific objectives. (Again, not just for the dip!):


These pretty dip folder cover sheets (9 of them in total!). I also have editable versions in different styles for anybody not doing the dip:

These superhero-themed behaviour management tools for tackling individual children's behaviour. This pack includes a fully editable behaviour chart with editable tokens, a behaviour frequency record with an example and instructions and a cover sheet and goal-setting/reflection sheet to make a behaviour record book (FYI, my dip inspector loved seeing that record book!):

This prionta sa timpeallacht pack that contains 28 flashcards and 4 posters:

This dathanna display:

These visual timetable cards (includes editable cards):

 These circular chalkboard-style subject posters as Gaeilge:

This self-assessment chart based on Marzano's Levels of Understanding (with corresponding self-assessment sheets): Here's how it looks in my classroom!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Children's books with strong female characters

If you're thinking about stocking up your school/class library, be sure to include some books that have strong female role models. Here are my top picks!

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls (by Elena Favilli):
One of the children in my class (a 7 year old) brought in this bestseller for Show and Tell this year. She spoke about it with such enthusiasm and many of the others in the class said that they have the same book and love it too. The book features famous, inspirational women from Queen Elizabeth to Serena Williams and many more strong role-models in between.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World: (by Rachel Ignotofsky):
Another bestseller, this book tells the stories of influential women in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) world. It is beautifully illustrated and very informative. Since its release it has received rave reviews from parents and teachers.

Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World (by Ann Shen):
In a similar fashion to Elena Favilli's "Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls", this book tells the story of many influential women throughout history such as Amelia Earhart, Cleopatra, Marie Curie and even Joan Jett, the godmother of punk. Again this is beautifully illustrated and presented in a way that is accessible to many age levels (though it may need to be read aloud to younger children).

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World (by Kate Pankhurst):
This one is much more child friendly in terms of layout and illustrations than the above situations. The text is laid out in smaller chunks making it less intimidating to younger eyes! It has been tried and tested by several parents and teachers and it has been enjoyed by children as young as 4 or 5. This book features bright, engaging pages about strong female characters such as Anne Frank, Coco Chanel and Rosa Parks.

.....Aaaaaaand here are a few more for you to check out:
"Matilda" by Roald Dahl
"Pippi Longstocking" series by Astrid Lindgren
"Ronia the Robber's Daughter" by Astrid Lindgren
"The Princess in Black" series by Shannon and Dean Hale
"Zita the Spacegirl" series by Ben Hatke
"Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell

Be sure to check out the jam-packed website, "A Mighty Girl" and The Guardian's list of 10 books featuring empowering female characters for lots more ideas!

Monday, 14 August 2017

Flash Freebie: Editable Folder Covers

Good morning!

I'm very excited to announce that I'm hosting a "Flash Freebie" giveaway today and tomorrow. For 48 hours only, these beautiful, editable folder covers will be free to download from my TPT store. When the 48 hours are up, the covers will cost $1 each. The Flash Freebie will run from 8:00GMT on Monday 14th August to 8:00GMT on Wednesday, 16th August. Of course, if you have the file, you can edit the text as you like - perhaps you want to use it as your own planning folder, maybe you want to create sections for your dip folder, or perhaps you want to use it for something that's not school related. The choice is yours! Click on the images below to go to the one you wish to download (or download them all!).

Quick note: I used a font called Billabong. As these are editable you'll have to choose your own fonts. If you want to know how to download pretty fonts, check out my tutorial.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Back to School Freebies 2017

Hi all,

Here at A Crucial Week lots of free resources have been shared over the years. Here are some of my favourite back to school freebies for you to download!


As posted about last month, here is an editable international events calendar to help you to get organised!

I've used these parent reminder sheets the last two years and many parents have said that they find them very useful. This editable file contains 6 different colour versions of two different styles. If you don't want to waste ink printing them, you can always just save it as a PDF and email the file to the parents.

These question word posters allow for the children to help to create the classroom decor (which means a free lesson idea too!). I got the children in my class to write answers to each question in the blank space. You could also ask your students to write examples of questions that have the given word.

These welcome posters are available for free in my TPT store as Gaeilge or in English.

These WALT and WILF posters are great for sticking on your board to share lesson objectives or assessment criteria.

This poster is for a behaviour management technique that we have used for a number of years at my school. Each child's name is put in a cup. Every break time, you choose a name and secretly watch that child in the line. If they behave well, they get to put a star on a chart. If not, we don't tell them who the secret walker was but we explain why that person didn't get a star. I usually print the children's names on an A3 sheet to make the star chart and put the above poster on top.

A handy back to school/early finisher game that can be done individually or in small groups is Boggle. We often do it as a whole group activity in my classroom and try to beat our record. This version involves using bottle tops to make the letters. Read about how I use it and get the freebie in my blog post about it.

Want your class to love you instantly? Allow them to use fidget spinners in class, guided by these station cards. (If you're ready for this at the start of the school year, I commend you!)

When the children are doing collaborative tasks at the start of the school year, get them into the habit of reflecting on their behaviour. Here is a free reflection sheet to assess their peers. 

And here are some posters as Gaeilge from long, long ago!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Desk tidy made from old colouring pencils


After having some old colouring pencils pile up in a basket in my classroom, I decided I wanted to do something crafty with them. Naturally, a quick Pinterest search was in order and I really liked the idea of using them to make little containers for the sharpeners and erasers on the desks in my classroom. My colleagues were very forthcoming following my email request for pencils that were too short to use so I built up quite a few in the last month of school. 

I thought these would take a lot longer to make but the longest part was sorting the pencils into different coloured piles. After that it was quite quick, hot-gluing them on to plastic raspberry containers. I decided not to make them all the same length and I like the effect of having some shorter and some longer pencils in there. 

Here are a few pics of how I made them:

The longest part - sorting the colours!

The surprisingly quick gluing part!
(TIP: Put greaseproof paper on the surface where you use the hot glue gun - it peels off really easily and doesn't get too messy and sticky!)

Two of the finished containers!