School days: dealing with behaviour!

Behaviour is a MASSIVE thing in schools and it can be as small and as irritating as low level disruptions, to massive scary things like fights and bullying. It all affects the way classrooms work, how kids feel and the dynamics of a room. We all know, even those who aren’t teachers, that one person can change the entire dynamic of a room. All teachers will have that 1 child, that group of kids who change the entire mood of a classroom but it’s not always bad. Dealing with behaviour is one of those crucial things to make a classroom run smoothly.

Within the last year we had a total overhaul of our behaviour system, not for a specific reason but just because it was felt that we needed continuity across the classes and that this continuity would help massively. On the whole it is helping!

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We follow the ‘Its Good To Be Green’ system – kind of like traffic lights. Green – you’re good to go, Yellow – you have to be careful and Red – you’re in danger. Each classrom has a chart like the one above and each child has their own card.

Alongside the chart we have 5 rules which over arches many things in school and they are:

Be kind and treat everyone like you want to be treated
Listen with respect
Keep yourself and others safe
Be truthful
Take care of everything in our school – inside and out

When this new behaviour system was being created, we did in depth consultations with parents, children, teachers and governors and got everyone’s ideas. Once it was all collated these were the rules that we came up with. We have found that implementing these rules has helped massively. 
If children break 1 of the rules they get a “verbal warning” – this is shown by turning their card on its side. Should the child continue to break the rule or a different rule they then receive a yellow card (in which they replace their green card with a yellow card). If the child continues to break rules they then receive a red card – if children receive a red card a text is sent to their parents and they miss their next playtime. Should a child do something EXCEPTIONALbehaviour wise, not work wise – they can be awarded a platinum card – a text is sent to their parents and they receive a special award during achievement assembly. These cards have an impact on a class’ overall points for the week and these are all recorded in the class behaviour book. There are special rewards at lunchtime – staff can give out VIP passes to children who have behaved well at lunchtime, these children will then get to take a friend in first for lunch the next day!
Each day is a new start. Each day you start again at green, regardless of the card you had yesterday.
The kids, staff and parents all really have taken this behaviour system and ran with it and it is working. 
What behaviour systems do you use in school?
Can you remember what was used when you were in school?
What are you top tips for dealing with behaviour in school?
Let me know in the comments, or on twitter! I would love to collate a load of brilliant behaviour tips from you all! 
S x

S4S – Tropes I HATE

Hello Sunday, my old friend! 

A few weeks ago I talked about things that I loved about books, this week I’m going for the opposite… things that really grind on me. “Tropes” or themes in books which really irritate me, that I hate reading.

Six tropes I hate – or at least that annoy me!

  1. Good girl goes bad to be friends with the cool kids – NO. STOP.
  2. Good girl goes bad for the bad boy – AGAIN. STOP.
  3. Boy saves girl – girls do not need saved. We are badass and can save ourselves, should we need saved.
  4. Mental health is cured by girl/boy – this is a RAFT of issues.
  5. Love triangles – they don’t happen as often in real life as they do in books. Stop it.
  6. “Plain Jane” characters who get made over and suddenly become popular – OH GO AWAY.

Ha. Yes. Those things, yes they make books more interesting and sometimes can be quite a turning point in a book but they’re not necessary, always

What are your least favourite tropes?
Is there a kind of trope you think is used too often?
Do you agree with my selection?

Share your #SixforSunday on twitter or link me to your blog post! I would love to know the tropes you hate!

Til next week, 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Kristina Ohlsson

The Silver Boy: brilliant mystery, perfect for KS2 children!

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“But when Aladdin’s parents discover food is being stolen from their restaurant, he and his friends decide to investigate.
Soon, Aladdin notices a strange boy – dressed in short trousers, despite the freezing cold. But as hard as he tries to catch him, the boy always disappears – leaving no tracks in the fresh snow. Before long, Aladdin and his friends are pulled into a web of secrets and history, treasure and crime.
Can they uncover the mystery of the curious Silver Boy?”

The Silver Boy is a brilliant story about a young man (Aladdin – I couldn’t help but picture Disney’s Aladdin at times!) whose parents own a restuarant in a town in Sweden. Things are going missing from the restaurant and Aladdin makes it his mission, along with his friends, to figure out the culprit

There are some brilliant moments in this book. There’s some scary moments – one in particular with Aladdin in a dark room. There’s lovely friendship. There’s fearless children doing what children do… wreaking a bit of havoc in places. There’s Aladdin fighting for his parents and his friends. Brilliant little mystery. I devoured it quickly. It would be perfect for Year 4-6 kids. I think boys in particular would enjoy this book. I’m looking forward to putting this in the school library and see what my kids make of it!

I was sent this by my lovely book fairy Sarah, so thank you so much! I thoroughly enjoyed it! I’m looking forward to reading the first book that goes with this (I know, I didn’t know they were a kind of series).

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Can you recommend any other mystery books?
What are your favourite kids mystery books?

I’m always on the look out for kids lit recommendations! Let me know in the comments or on twitter (@eenalol).

S x

BOOKBLOG: Emery Lord

The Names They Gave Us: filled with faith, tears and friendshipImage result for the names they gave us

“Everything is going right for Lucy Hansson, until her mom’s cancer reappears. Just like that, Lucy breaks with all the constants in her life: her do-good boyfriend, her steady faith, even her longtime summer church camp job.
Instead, Lucy lands at a camp for kids who have been through tough times. As a counselor, Lucy is in over her head and longs to be with her parents across the lake. But that’s before she gets to know her coworkers, who are as loving and unafraid as she so desperately wants to be.
It’s not just new friends that Lucy discovers at camp—more than one old secret is revealed along the way. In fact, maybe there’s much more to her family and her faith than Lucy ever realized.”

Lucy is a young lady who is struggling with her faith, her boyfriend, her home town and her mam’s illness. Everything seems to be piling on top of her and it makes her question everything. Lucy usually spends summers helping at her mam and dad’s summer camp, but this year her mam has a new idea: for Lucy to go help at the other summer camp over the lake. Unlike her parent’s camp: it’s not a religious camp, it’s a camp for troubled kids. It’s here that Lucy finds a lot out about herself, about life and about love, in all its kinds.

I’m sometimes hesitant with books about faith, as they can be written in the wrong manner, with the wrong message but this one was incredible. I know a lot of people are put off by books with religion, featuring characters who are religious and that’s a shame, because this one is wonderful. The story looks at Lucy and her faith and how it’s impacted by everything in her life. Her faith isn’t the be all and end all of this story but it’s an important undertone. Her faith is part of her and so it should be part of her story. It becomes something she struggles with but is always something she is dedicated to. It plays a big part in her relationship with her boyfriend Lucas, who is an equally religious young man who eventually ends up not understanding Lucy’s questioning of her faith. 

Lucy’s adventure in Rising Sun Camp introduces her to some incredible characters, some tough challenges and some kids who help to make her the person she becomes. She deals with children she’s never had to before, camp activities that she wouldn’t normally. She’s thrust into an environment that she’s never been in before. She meets friends that are probably some of the best she will ever have. There’s romance. A beautifully written romance, which starts as a friendship and grows. I loved watching the evolution of this relationship. It made my heart so happy.

Obviously, it’s not all happy. Lucy’s mam is poorly. She’s away from her family. She’s questioning her faith. She’s not sure who she is. She’s not sure what she’s doing. I finished this book with a lot of tears, but with a full heart. It is a beautifully written tale of friendship, love and faith

I was very lucky to receive a proof of this from the publishers and I am so grateful! Having read When We Collided, another book by this wonderful author, I knew I needed to get my hands on it!

Have you read The Names They Gave Us?
What’s your take on books with religious themes?
Have you read When We Collided?
BOOK BLOG: Emery Lord

Let me know what you think on twitter, or in the comments! 

S x

Book snatching?!

Hello, tis Wednesday guest blog time again! This time you are very lucky to be in the hands of my lovely Irish friend Aoife, blogger extraordinaire over at Pretty Purple Polka Dots and Twitterer to the max at @PrettyPPD (you should probably follow her, it’s a good idea kids). 
She’s going to talk to you all about the books on my shelves that she wants to get her hands on! 
Without further ado…
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Steph and I are in a vicious cycle where we recommend each other books and then probably never end up actually reading them. This time, it’s time to break the chain and actually read something she has.

I took a peek at Steph’s (well stocked) personal library and picked out five tomes I’d love to get my hands on. All I have to do is turn up at her place and demand them. Simple.

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Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick
 
I love Anna Kendrick  – she’s hilarious in Pitch Perfect, and when I found out she was releasing a book I knew I had to get my hands on it.
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Flawed – Cecelia Ahern
 
I love Cecelia’s more grown up work and I’d really love to give her YA fiction a go.

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The Graces – Laure Eve
This was read by my book club in Dublin and they all loved it. I missed the meeting because I was in Wales at the time doing an MA, so I think I have a little catching up to do.
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The Scarecrow trilogy – Melinda Salisbury

Steph has been singing the praises of this series for months, so I’m really tempted. This is one that’s going straight on my TBR.

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Silence is Goldfish – Annabel Pitcher
 
Cheating a little – Steph actually sent me this book a few months ago. 
 
Aoife

Pretty Purple Polka Dots
@PrettyPPD 
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Thank you so much Aoife! Consider these books on their way to you once they’ve been read! 
S x

BOOKBLOG: Julie Israel

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index: a gorgeous tale of love and memory

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“It’s been sixty-five days since the accident that killed Juniper’s sister, and ripped Juniper’s world apart.
Then she finds the love letter: written by Camilla on the day of the accident, addressed mysteriously to “You,” but never sent. Desperate to learn You’s identity and deliver the message, Juniper starts to investigate.
Until she loses something. A card from her Happiness Index: a ritual started by sunny Camie for logging positives each day. It’s what’s been holding Juniper together since her death – but a lost card only widens the hole she left behind. And this particular card contains Juniper’s own dark secret: a memory she can’t let anyone else find out.
The search for You and her card take Juniper to even less expected places, and as she connects with those whose secrets she upturns in the effort, she may just find the means to make peace with her own.”

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index tells the tale of Juniper, a teenager struggling with losing her sister and trying to keep the memory of her sister alive. She finds a letter in her sister’s bag which is addressed to a mysterious “You” and Juniper makes it her mission to find out who “You” is and why her sister kept it a secret from her. Along the way Juniper thinks she’s losing some of the people who mean the most to her – her parents, her closest friends – and meets some incredible people who she needs as much as they need her – new friends, teachers who support her. Throughout you get Juniper’s take on the day through narrative and her index cards – she rates the day and talks about the positive and the negatives

I really, really loved this book. I devoured it in 2 days. It’s a brilliant story all about keeping the memory of someone you’ve lost without losing yourself in guilt and blame. Juniper had to learn how to fall in love with the present with part of her life missing. She has to learn that some things aren’t her fault, nor can she change them – this journey was so lovely. This book does a brilliant job telling the story of finding someone else’s lost love whilst honouring past memories and current friends and ultimately finding yourself. The mixture of loss, guilt, friendship, love, kissing, dumpster diving and acceptance was spot on for me. 

Juniper’s struggle with grief is one in which she throws herself at this project – to find “You” and to “save” he people around her. Her parents are struggling. The portrayal of her mam and dad’s grieving were touching. Seeing the change in them from the beginning of the book to the end was moving; it made me cry. Juniper starts the book with very few friends, but gains friends in the strangest of ways – she has good intentions but they end up biting her in the nose. She’s a loveable main character. I liked her straight away: she seemed honest and trust-worthy despite the fact she’s hiding a secret, despite the fact she’s living her life with blame and guilt hanging over her head. There’s the loveable rogue, Brand, who helps Juniper in more ways that she could ever have imagined. I really felt for Brand. He’s going through some things himself but helps. Juniper’s bunch of friends enrich this book, with her friend Lauren playing an exceptional role, much to mine and Juniper’s surprise.

Please, go out and get your hands on this book. It’s SO gorgeous. I loved it. Every second.

I was sent this by the gorgeous book fairies over at Puffin books, so thank you so much! 

Have you read Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index?
What did you think?

Let me know what you thought in the comments or on twitter. I want to talk about this book with EVERYONE. It is such a great book!

S x

Back to school

Here we go, the final half term of the school year and the final half term of being a HLTA. From September I will officially be a trainee teacher. That’s pretty scary to say the least. Am I ready for it? I think yes. I’m probably NOT but I’m ready to do the thing I love doing all the time. To think this time next year I’ll be qualified or almost qualified scares the life out of me. But I can’t wait. 

I’ve had a glorious half term of reading and not doing much else – there’s a blog post coming up in the next week of how many books I read over half term and it’s the most I’ve ever read. However, I needed to switch off. I’ve had a stressful 2 years of uni and work on top of each other, so to have a half term where I had no uni work has been lovely. I’ve been able to be a person. Yes I should’ve done more school work than I have but yknow what? Sometimes a girl needs a break. And I had mine. I feel so much better for it. I feel like I’ve been off for ages. I don’t normally handle holidays this well. Ask anyone I work with, or my family, and you’ll find out that holidays make me feel at a loss, I’m never quite sure what to do with myself, but this holidays I have read, spent time with my family and just relaxed

What does this half term have in store for me? 

The last half term in schools is always the MOST manic. It’s when everything happens. At my school we have a Year 6 residential to the Lakes TODAY, for 2 nights; there’s 2 sports days, EYFS/KS1 and KS2, which are held at the bowling green up from school; achievement assemblies; MY GRADUATION (how scary); a whole school beach trip; a possible trip with my Y4s on a train (AM I A FOOL FOR TRYING THIS?); running Newspaper Club as well as Out of School Club. ALL OF THE THINGS. Along with the things like reports, decisions about next year and all those school things. 

I’m looking forward to this final half term, as manic and mad as it might be, Summer 2 is one of those half terms where you have to just take the bull by the horns and run with it. 6 weeks of busy, pulling together the year. I am not ready for this year to be over though, I’ve had a lovely year.

What does this half term have in store for you?
Is Summer 2 a busy half term for you?

Let me know in the comments or talk to me on Twitter (@eenalol), I love knowing what’s coming up for everyone! Tweachers are some of my favourite people!

S x

S4S – Covers

Hello! It’s Sunday already, woah how?!

This week’s theme is:

Six types of book cover I love

I talked about covers I love on Thursday, so here are the 6 types of books that will make me pick them up!

  1. Books with gold on the cover (Hello AQKOT, BBT)
  2. Simple covers
  3. Rainbow covers (Think Becoming Betty, Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index)
  4. Dark, mysterious covers (Sin Eater’s Daughter, hello)
  5. Covers with beautiful spines/pages (Wing Jones, sprayed edges, come at me)
  6. Anything with a hint of magic on the cover! (Paper Magician, The Night Circus)

There you go, if any or many of these things are on your cover… you can guarantee I’ll pick it up. I love the books. OK?

What makes you want to pick up a book?
What attracts you, like a magpie, to a book?
Do you agree with my choices?

Let me know your #SixforSunday on twitter, or link me up on your blog! 

S x

 

Disney villains

Here we go with the 3rd and final post of the Disney week! Thanks so much to Andrew for having me along to discuss Disney villains as part of his Disney weekend! 

Now for me, I always struggle with this “Favourite Disney villains” thing: am I meant to talk about the ones I like the most? The ones I think are the most evil? WHO KNOWS. I have gone for the ones, in my eyes who are the MOST evil. The ones I wouldn’t like to mess with. The ones who scare me the most. 

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Jafar (Aladdin): he terrifies me. I remember watching Aladdin when I was younger and thinking this man was the most horrible man ever. He’s evil, conniving and power hungry. He betrays the Sultan and holds Jasmine against her will. I’ve ALWAYS thought he’s one of the scariest

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Gaston (Beauty and the Beast): you all know how I feel about Gaston. I think he’s mean. I think he’s repulsive. He’s narcissistic and self-obsessed. He’s Machiavellian. He’s just wicked. I don’t think he’s the Disney villain who has DONE the worst things, but he’s certainly one of the ones that repulses me the most. 

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Randall (Monsters Inc): probably a surprising one to have on the list, but he creeps me out. He’s horrible to Mike and Sully. He’s a cheat. He can turn invisible (which is always a bit weird) and he’s quite sneaky. Plus, he has ALL THOSE TEETH. I’m not a fan. He gives me the creeps.

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Scar (The Lion King): I can’t mention Disney villains who I’m scared of the most without mentioning Scar. He kills his own brother (spoiler alert, ha) and then takes over his pride. That’s just another level of evil. Plus he’s mean to Simba. He just has that evil look about him. And ‘Be Prepared‘ is one of those Disney songs that just gives me the creeps.

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Sheriff of Nottingham (Robin Hood): I hate him so much. He preys on vulnerable people and takes advantage of people. He’s the direct opposite of Robin Hood – and I love Robin Hood. The scenes of him collecting taxes break my heart, especially when they’re in the church. He’s just such an EVIL person. And look at him. He’s horrid.

Honourable mentions: (dishonourable?!)

  • Mother Gothel – Tangled
  • Hades – Hercules (his sassiness stops me hating him totally)
  • Maleficent
  • Ursula – The Little Mermaid 

So there we go! My favourite (or least favourite, IDK HOW TO WORK THIS) Disney villains. I can honestly say all of these I dislike, but I think Jafar and Gaston are up there for me. 

Who are your most hated villains?
What makes a good villain to you?

S x

Favourite covers

A while back I was wondering about what makes a “good” cover of a book. What makes people want to pick up a book? Why do we choose certain covers over others? (I know, I know, we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover but shush, we all do it. I am guilty of it to the highest extent. I will buy a book in its prettier cover… sue me). So I asked the lovely people on Twitter to help me out to see their responses and man did I get a good response. I posted this message:

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And I got an AWFUL lot of responses. I thought I’d share some of them with you (I couldn’t share them all, you’d be here forever!)

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I need this book in my life. LOOK AT IT.

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*heart eyes*

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Mikayla knows whats up. Good Queen Mel fan there, like me.

Some other favourites from the people. So much love. (click to make them bigger)

If you’d like to see the original tweet and all the responses then clickity, click, click. Thank you so much to everyone who did reply! 

From all of these, I think there is no answer to what makes a GOOD cover, as always it’s down to personal preference. Here are some of my faves…

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I have read 7 of these, the other 3… I am DYING to read.

How about you? 
What makes a “good” cover to you?
What makes you want to pick up a book? 
Are you, like me, a fan of a beautiful cover on a book?

Let me know on twitter or in the comments, I’d love to see some more beautiful covers! I may do a MG version of this post too, because there are some GORGEOUS MG covers out there!

S x