Tuesday, 31 July 2018

TPT Back to School Sale - at least 20% off everything in my store!

It's that time of the year again - online sales time!

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a site-wide sale on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd August. I'm having 20% off everything in my TPT store. In addition to that, TPT is offering another 5% off when you use the promotional code BTSFRESH at the checkout (Just make sure to select "Apply a Promo Code"). 

It starts at 4:01am GMT (Irish time!) on 1st August and finishes at 3:59am GMT in the early hours of 3rd August. However, I've decided to have 20% off everything in my store from now until the sale begins. 

I've created some new categories to help make browsing easier. The "Irish Classrooms" category is for anything that might be of interest to Irish teachers (and not stuff for international schools).
Then you'll also find these new custom categories on the top left:
Behaviour Management
MYP
PYP
Stationery

Happy shopping!

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Tutorial: Mirrored Lettering Using Old CDs

How's the weather where you are? It's absolutely pouring here and has been all day. What better excuse to get in a day of crafting! I had been trying to think of ways to display the word "reflect" or "reflective" for the reflection area of the classroom. I was thinking about having the writing on a mirror-like background or maybe making tin foil (aluminum) letters. Then it hit me, why not make the lettering from old CDs? I'm really happy with the finished result. Here's it turned out. Scroll down to find instructions for how to do it.



Resources needed: A computer and printer, paper, thick card, black marker, PVA glue, paintbrush, scissors, craft knife, old CDs/DVDs, boiling water, heatproof container, towel ...and a LOT of patience!

1. Soak some CDs/DVDs in boiling water for 10 minutes. This will soften them and make them easier to cut. I did two at a time so they didn't cool down too much.


2. Take the CDs out of the water and dry them off.

3. Cut the CDs into tiny shapes. I realised that these were much too big for my letters so I ended up cutting them much smaller.



You'll might also be able to pull apart the two layers. This makes cutting easier. I was able to snap some pieces. NOTE: Snapping is a bit risky - my eyes are lucky to have survived! :)

4. Print your lettering. I used the Franklin Gothic Heavy pre-installed font in PowerPoint (size 287). Glue the lettering to some thick card and cut it with a craft knife.


5. (Optional) Get a black permanent marker and colour the rough edges so you can't see the colour of the card.

6. Cover the letters with PVA glue, small sections at a time, and stick your CD pieces on with small spaces between them. When you're finished sticking on all of the pieces, add a layer of PVA glue over everything just to seal it all in properly. It will look cloudy at first but it will dry clear and your CD lettering will be nice and shiny!



Sunday, 22 July 2018

Free International Events Calendar 2018-2019

Hi all,


I recently put together a calendar with many celebrations during the 2018-2019 school year. It includes things like international events, major religious celebrations, commemoration days, World Book Day etc. Some of the events include links to websites about them. The calendar is editable so feel free to remove and add in what you like. Click here to download it for free from my TPT store.


Irish teachers, Ciara Brennan (AKA @PrimEdTeacher on Twitter) is compiling a list that includes lots of Irish-specific events like GAA matches, national science fairs, the Texaco art competition, etc. You will find these "Dates for Your Diary"published on the wonderful Seomra Ranga website in the near future.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Dip Starter Pack 2018-2019

As highly requested following feedback on my "Dip Tips" blog post, I created this Dip Starter Pack to save probationary teachers lots of time, effort and money. I've just updated it for the 2018-2019 school year. I've gone a bit overboard in buying shabby chic and bullet journal style clip art! You'll see that theme running through the pack! :)

Here's what's in the 170 page pack: 
(the preview picture below doesn't show everything! Scroll down to read the full contents.)


PLANNING RESOURCES:
  • 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 2018 - July 2019)
  • Editable international Events Calendar 2018-2019
  • A PDF copy of my "Dip Tips" blog post


ASSESSMENT RESOURCES:
  • 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


DISPLAY RESOURCES:
  • 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!): 
The dates in the preview are last year's but the actual file is updated for the 2017-2018 school year

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:


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 looked in my classroom last year!
         

Dip Tips (Updated July 2018)

(Updated: July 2018)

Hello there,

If you happen to be in a position to do your probationary year in Ireland or if you are just qualified, this may be of interest to you!

I am by no means an expert but this is some information and advice to give you the gist of how it runs going by my experience of doing the dip seven years ago.

Happy reading!

Where do I begin?
Once you are qualified and eligible to do the dip, you need to go to the Limerick Education Centre website. In the "probationary teachers" section, you will find information about the Droichead and traditional processes for getting "dipped" there or on the Teaching Council website. This document gives a handy overview of both.

What do they expect from me?
Have a look at the Appendix 1 (page 23) of the "Post Qualification Professional Practice Procedures and Criteria 2017/2018" document from the Teaching Council website. This gives an overview of the criteria you are expected to meet in the following areas:
  • Planning, preparation and recording of progress
  • Classroom management and organisation
  • Quality of teaching across curriculum areas
  • Quality of pupils’ learning in curriculum areas
Have you read it? See! That's not so scary now after all! Remember, the dip is not teaching practice. You cannot possibly maintain all-singing, all-dancing TP-style lessons on a long-term basis. TP was a 100m sprint, the dip is a marathon. Take it handy! (I really wish I could go back in time and give myself that advice!) Obviously you will need to do what is required to ensure that the children are learning in a positive environment and that you are covering the national curriculum but make sure you pace yourself.

The National Induction Programme for Teachers (NIPT)
As part of the traditional probationary process, you will be expected to complete the NIPT. This programme offers workshops with topics that are important for an NQT. They also give you an opportunity to meet others who are going through the probationary process. This is a plus for NQTs who are the only probationary teachers in their school.  Have a look at their website for lots of useful information and resources such as the planning toolkit, guidelines, planning templates for long-term plans, short-term plans, SEN planning, cuntais míosúla



What's next?
Now that you've applied to complete your probation, what can you do to prepare?

Get your planning in order: 
This is how I organised my paperwork. I had two folders divided into sections as follows:

(Again, remember to get guidelines and planning templates from teacherinduction.ie)

FOLDER 1: PLANNING FOLDER (with 5 sections)
1. Timetables (general class timetable, support teachers' timetables)
2. Current short-term (weekly) plans [Each weekend I would move these into section 3 and replace them with the new weekly plans]
3. Short-term plans (Weekly plans from past weeks, sub-divided by subject)
4. Long-term plans (termly plans)
5. Cuntais Míosúla (this is a monthly summary of what you have covered. You are legally required to do this. You should print one copy for this folder and send another to be filed in your school.)

FOLDER 2: ASSESSMENT FOLDER (2 sections)
1. General Class Records (e.g. MICRA/SIGMA results from the past year, any whole-group assessments, spelling test results, reading assessments and groups, etc.)
2. Pupil Profiles (sub-divided by child): IEPs, class tests, reading records, behaviour observation forms, carefully selected work samples, etc.

You can get some pretty editable or pre-made dip cover sheets in my TPT store for under a euro each!

When planning, make use of the fantastic online planning tool. It's much easier to copy and paste objectives from here than from the curriculum PDFs. If the INTO hasn't already sent you their 2018-2019 wall planner, you can download it for free from here.

Prepare your classroom:
A print-rich, inspiring classroom helps to create a positive learning environment. Refer to your classroom posters constantly. If you cannot do this, perhaps they are not as valuable as you may have thought! It's very likely that your inspector will ask the children about displays and posters. Make sure to display the children's work. A really useful way to display work is a wall like this - then you just peg up the work rather than fiddling with mountains of Blu-Tack! Obviously you will change displays according to topics on hand but here are some staples that could be of use all year around (click on each for an example to inspire you!):

General:
Number lines (age-specific)

Early primary specific:

Senior-specific:
Foghraíocht (pronunciation)

My favourite sources for display materials are:
Seomra Ranga (for resources as Gaeilge)
Sparklebox (especially for headings)


Have your children on board:
Get classroom management under control. It's very hard to teach anything if you cannot control the behaviour within the room. Try to strive for a balance where the children enjoy coming to school and are happy to share their ideas but that they treat you and their classmates respectfully. There are so many positive ways to go about this.

I used a token economy system during my dip year where they children got "Pirate Euro" notes for behaving well or really making an effort on a task. Together, we created a "rewards menu" and decided on appropriate prices. You can read about it here.

Currently I am using a clip chart system. You place all pegs on the middle section of the clip chart each morning and move them up or down according to their choices. Make your own, browse the net or have a look at the ones I have for sale here (in English and in Irish - people seem to have gone a bit crazy about the Star Wars ones this summer!).

Take up an after-school activity:
Do something that is not dip-related to avoid becoming a teaching-robot. Play sports, take up a new hobby or go for coffee/lunch dates (preferably with someone who does not want to listen to you ranting on about the dip!). Remember to keep a healthy work-life balance. Replacing an hour of tweaking resources (that were probably fine an hour ago) with an hour in the gym, an episode of Game of Thrones or a long bath will probably be of more benefit to you and your students. An energetic teacher with good planning and preparation is far more productive and happy than a zombie teacher with PERFECT resources. Now, if only I could turn back time and listen to my own advice a bit sooner!

Keep yourself in the know:

Regularly check sites such as the INTO, Teaching Council, NIPT as well as less formal sites like the Education Posts forum (great for finding answers to specific dip-related questions and crowd-sourcing ideas for themes, methodologies, etc.) and following teaching blogs. There are some fantastic Irish teaching pages you should add to your Facebook feed such as Anseo.netSeomra RangaRéalta RangaMúinteoir ValerieMs. Forde's ClassroomPrimary ArtArt with Ms. LahartIrish Primary Teacher, Infant Teaching IdeasClaire's Primary School ArtIrish Primary PE association and the INTO LGBT Teachers' Group. (Sorry if I've forgotten anyone!)   


I hope this has been of use to you. I welcome all feedback via comments below.








Also, if you've made it this far, I've created a 170-page Dip Starter Pack with planning and display resources and pretty stationery to help keep you organised. Click here to find out more!