A-Z of indoor activities!

Good morning!

Today is something a little bit different!

Today I’m sharing my A-Z of things to do indoors – this could be something for kids to tick off doing in the coming weeks! It could be something for parents to look at using with their kids for when they seem to be bored. I’ve included a pdf at the bottom of this blog post if you wanted to print off the list and tick it off!

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A – Alphabet games

There are loads of different games you can play with the alphabet: play one of the well known ones or come up with your own one! Get your children to make up the rules and have a lot of fun!

B – Board games

We all know we have board games in a box or a cupboard somewhere that we forget about and that come out at Christmas. Now is the perfect time to get them out. Introduce your children to a new one, or even make your own board game!

C – Colouring in

Good old colouring in! Can always be relied on.

D – Dance party

Put on some music and get your children to have a dance around. Dancing is brilliant for your mood!

E – Exercise

Get moving! Whether that’s going for a walk, doing some short Youtube videos or playing different games, don’t forget to keep moving!

F – Fancy dress/fashion show

Tell your children they’re putting on a fashion show. They have to get dressed up for different things (going to meet the queen, going to the park, a fancy dress party) and then get them to have a fashion show in your house!

G – Gadget time

Give your children some time on their gadget (whatever it is they have!).

H – Help around the house

Ask your children to help you doing jobs around the house. They could collect the bins, bring down the washing, make their beds, open the curtains: whatever it is, get your children to help you around the house (it’ll save you from doing it and gives them a sense of responsibility!)

I – Play i-spy

We all know how to play i-Spy! There’s loads of games like iSpy that you can play with your children. It’ll keep them thinking. You could play the colour version, the standard letter version or your very own version!

J – Jigsaws

Every house has jigsaws that (like the board games) get forgotten about. Jigsaws are great for children’s brain – doing them practises a lot of skills! Get out the jigsaws and get playing.

K – Kitchen time

Take your children into the kitchen and teach them how to cook something or get them to help you cooking. Kids love getting into the kitchen! Plus, there’s lots of different skills needed in the kitchen!

L – Learn something new

It might be a new language, a new dance, a new anything – learning new things is crucial! Try and get your children learning something new every day – it’s what they’d be doing at school.

M – Play make believe

Let your kids use their imaginations. Give them a cardboard box and tell them to turn it into whatever they want. A kids imagination is so important! Let them be silly!

N – Watch Newsround

Keep your children up to speed with what’s happening in the world in a way which is accessible for them. Newsround is a brilliant source of news for children. Talk to your children about what they saw and how they feel.

O – Build an obstacle course

Indoor or outdoor (if you have a space) an obstacle course can be a brilliant thing that keeps kids entertained for ages! They don’t need much, if anything to create an obstacle course!

P – Write a letter to a home penpal

Asking children to write a letter to someone far away might be a little bit tricky, but ask them to write a secret letter to someone in the house to leave around and let the person find it and they’d be all about it!

Q – Quiz time

Ask children to create their own quiz, or come up with a quiz for your children to do! A brilliant way to keep children’s brains ticking over. You can find loads online if you don’t want to come up with your own!

R – Reading

READ READ READ. Read together. Read to your children. Get them to read to you. Read quietly, read loudly, read in silly voices, read in silence. Just read. Read. Read.

S – Scavenger hunt

Hide something in one of the rooms of your house (or in the living room) and tell your children they have to go and find it. Either give them clues or tell them they have to find it. You could play hot and cold (hot being close and cold being nowhere near)

T – Tent building or fort building

Who doesn’t love a fort? All you need is a blanket, 2 different places to drape it from and voila! You have a fort. They could take their books, their colouring or their gadgets into their fort.

U – Use your brain

If your child has access to different Maths or spelling games (either from school or online), then give them time to do these things. If you’d like recommendations, let me know!

V – Visit a museum (virtually)

There’s loads of different museums, aquariums and zoos that you can visit virtually. Check out the websites for the different places and find out lots about different animals, history and geography!

W – Writing

Writing anything, anything at all, will be brilliant! Get them to write diaries, poems, stories, book reviews… whatever they want!

X – X marks the spot

Create your very own treasure maps – this is a super easy and fun activity to do with your children!

Y – Yoga

Do a bit of yoga. Brilliant for developing strength and balance. Loads of different videos on Youtube to help!

Z – Zzzzzzzzz

Have a nap or some quiet time. Time to be quiet is just as important as noisy time!

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If you found this blog post useful, let me know! I’d love to do more things like this. These different activities are available to download below:

A-Z of Indoor activities (Black and white)

A-Z of Indoor activities (Colour)

S x

Letters to… teachers up and down the land

Hello fellow teachers all over the world!

Hi, I’m Steph. You might never have visited my blog before, but rest assured you are most welcome here.

There’s a lot going on in the world at the minute, isn’t there? It’s all a bit crazy and a bit sad and a bit scary. On both a global scale and a smaller scale.

I’m a teacher, who right now doesn’t have a class to teach, day in and day out and that’s weird. It’s sad. It’s scary. It’s all of these different emotions in one and I know I’m not the only one thinking and feeling them. There are teachers all over who are sharing these same feelings. You might be one of them. You might not. You might know someone who is feeling these things.

I think I’m going to find it a struggle over the coming weeks and months. I’m someone who very much loves my job and it’s a massive part of my identity. It took me a long time to get here and now that it’s been taken away from me (on the most part), I’m feeling a little bit lost. This time “off” will prove to be a challenge for me. One I’m sure I will rise to. One I’m sure we all will.

I will be going in to school when it is my turn on the rota to look after the children of the key workers and that makes me feel like I have a purpose. These children and their parents are important. This country needs us to do our bit, when and where we can, to look after the people who are looking after us. If you can’t go into school for whatever reason, please don’t feel guilty. You’re helping us to look after the children by keeping yourself safe. You are first and foremost the priority.

I miss my kids. It’s only been what 2 days of not teaching them? And those 2 days were weekend days. But they didn’t feel like normal weekend days. They both dragged on forever. The thought of waking up every morning not having to get up with my alarm, go into my classroom, see their smiling faces and not having all of the fun and frustrations that we have is really quite sad. There were some of my kids I didn’t see at all last week. I saw some of them every day. We might not get the chance to see these kids for a few weeks or a few months. That sucks. But it’s to keep us all safe.

I’m a Year 6 teacher and it’s all a little surreal to think that the next time my kids are in school will be when they go to secondary school. I taught this class when they were in Year 5 (they were my NQT class) and then I got the chance to teach them again this year. I moved in to Year 6 in January and thought I’d get the chance to take them all the way to the end. There’s a part of me, and a part of some of you I guess, that feels like that opportunity has been snatched away from me unfairly. I know this is selfish and it’s not something that can be helped, but it’s still something I feel. 

As a school, we posted home learning packs on our website, and I’m going to be using our class blog to keep in touch with my kids. It’s going to be a surreal few weeks and months, and we need to try and make sure that we remain kind. We need to try our hardest to not judge others based on what they’re doing: we’re a profession of the most passionate and caring people in the world. We need to do what is best for our own little school communities. Whatever that looks like, do it. Whether you’ve been setting online work, you’ve put stuff on your website, or you’re going to be doing remote learning by video, just do whatever it is that you think is the best thing for your kids and your school community.

I’m all for calling out bad practise, but do it in a respectful way. Teachers get enough grief from the media and from people not in our little bubble that we don’t need people inside our bubble giving each other grief. If you see someone doing something that you don’t agree with, open up a respectful conversation and ask them about it. Try not to point the finger. There’s nothing worse than accusations. Some teachers will have leadership teams who are making questionable choices and don’t feel like they can say something. We need to support each other, not just shout. 

Please remember to stay safe and be kind. We are all going through a very strange time at the minute. We will all be feeling very differently about what is going on. Some people, like me, will feel lost and purposeless at times, whereas others may find this time refreshing. We need to do what we can to look after the world: that’s the big wide world and the little world in which you live – yourself (first and foremost), your family and your school community. 

If anyone is in need of someone to chat to, my DMs and my email is always open. It is so important that people feel like they can have someone to talk to. I’m here to celebrate the happy, comfort the sadness or even talk school. I don’t mind. Just never feel alone,

Love, a somewhat lost and a little bit sad,

Steph xxx

Home learning PE recommendations

Hello!

I don’t normally post at 7pm, but I’ve been working on a little something for the school website in light of school closures.

I wanted to create something for our school website for recommendations for parents to use to support their children being active and staying healthy in the coming weeks. It’s a collection of recommended websites and youtube channels that I’d recommend/I’ve seen other people recommend, so I’m sure there’s other documents very similar (or better). It’s nothing revolutionary, but I figured as I was making it that I would share it with you all in case it was useful to parents, teachers, leaders… whoever might find it of use!

Stay activwe

Feel free to download and use!

Home Learning Stay Active PDF

Let’s remember to be kind of stick together in the coming weeks and months of uncertainty. 

S x

World Book Day: what’s the big fuss?

What’s the big fuss?

WHAT’S THE BIG FUSS?

WHAT’S THE BIG FUSS?

I’ll tell you what the big fuss is: 

Tomorrow, we have one of my favourite days of the year: World Book Day. World Book Day is a celebration of everything bookish. It’s getting people together to celebrate books. It’s a chance to read new books; chat about old books; discover new favourite characters; learn new ways to listen and hear others’ stories. World Book Day is a day for us all to go YAY BOOKS and it actually mean something. It’s a day for us booknerds to be around everyone else and just to SPEW everything bookish at them. It’s a chance for teachers to celebrate being bookish teachers. It’s a chance for the world to see that books, stories, characters are important. It’s a chance for us, as a community (regardless how big that is), to just revel in the beauty of books. 

I love World Book Day. Not for the dressing up: I’m not a fan of dressing up personally. I just feel like a bit of a dick dressing up, but that’s just me. I’m not here to talk about whether schools should encourage children to dress up or not; whatever works for your community is what you should do. If there’s one thing I think schools should be doing on World Book Day, they should be celebrating books. They should be celebrating reading and stories. Picture books, novels, wordless books, non-fiction, poetry, newspapers, graphic novels: whatever it is, celebrate it. Show children that books are brilliant; show children that books can open their minds to others. Show children that books are necessary. Show children that books can teach them things that we can’t always teach them. Show children that reading is fun.

For all I’m not a fan of dreessing up, I will always try to get involved! 

(The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the little boy from Lost and Found; Stitch Head)

This year, I’m going as the Rainbow Fish.

I work in a school where World Book Day is a day of bookish fun. We start the day with a parade of our costumes and the best dressed/most creative costumes in each class get a book. Then the children are put into mixed groups (Nursery-Y2 and Y3-Y6) and they take part in a carousel of activities for the entire day (KS2) or the afternoon (EYFS/KS1) which celebrate the joyousness of books. 

In previous years, we’ve had book quizzes, French story time, a reading cafe, bookmark creating, books and music, trailer making for their favourite books, sandwich creating for the Tiger Who Came To Tea and so many other different activities. 

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This year, I’m doing poetry with KS2. I’m going to read A Little Bit Brave (which is a gorgeous picture book if you’ve not read it!) and get them to come up with a poem about what it means to be brave. I can’t wait to see what they come up with. We have planned for every class to go down to Waterstones to spend their token on the £1 books (I did this last year with my class and it was one of my favourite days of the year!) We’re actually having a reading MONTH in my school this year… which obviously delights me! 

However you choose to celebrate World Book Day, whatever your opinion is of dressing up, remember to share your favourite books with the people around you. Tell your favourite author/illustrator you think their books are great. Whether you’re in an office, or lucky enough to share the day with kids like me, talk to people about books: your favourites, the ones you didn’t like, the ones you just read, what you’re excited to read. Let’s get the world sharing stories! 

I am team World Book Day is great. I’d love it if you were too! 

Tell me all about how you plan on spending tomorrow! 

S x

 

Books and my classroom…

Why do you love books so much?

Well that’s a loaded question and a half. It’s a question my children (despite the fact I’ve taught them for 2 years now) have asked me. It’s a question my colleagues have asked me. I don’t have ONE answer for them. I don’t have one blanket answer. I probably give a different answer every single time I answer that question and that’s OK. The reason I love reading and books is deeper than just one reason.

Reading and in particular encouraging children to read for pleasure is a BIG part of my motivation and identity as a teacher. I know a lot of teachers in my twitter bubble would also say this, but I also know there are teachers who wouldn’t say this. I definitely identify as a reading teacher. A teacher who reads. My Year 5 classroom had a dedicated reading area because I think it’s important that children see that I am a reader just as much as they are. However, when I moved into my Year 6 classroom, there wasn’t a reading area as such (because for all it’s a wonderfully big classroom and I’m VERY blessed to have it there isn’t really space for book shelves), so I made one. And I very much loved it.

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Every week, there’s a new ‘Miss Elliott’s Recommended Read’ and one of my boys in particular is always the first one to take this book then return it! Yes, there are a multitude of different coloured stars to match whatever colour the covers of the books are… don’t judge me! I like things to look aesthetically pleasing haha. So far, my recommended reads have been:

  • Crater Lake by Jennifer Killick
  • Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray
  • There May Be A Castle by Piers Torday
  • The Somerset Tsunami by Emma Carroll 
  • Cogheart by Peter Bunzl

I love leaving a book out on the recommended read spot because it gives children a starting point if they’re a bit intimidated by the selection!

READING AREA

Also in my reading corner are these two books. The brown one says ‘Miss Elliott’s Recommended Reads’ on the outside and the ‘Reading Journal’ is for them. Inside my recommended reading book is just that: my reviews of some of the books I’ve read lately. It was something I saw on twitter and then I decided to magpie. It’s great for the kids who are undecided, but trust my reading tastes! The ‘Reading Journal’ is their chance to shine and do just that: recommend books to their friends. The Reading Journal has just recently taken off as it took one or two children writing in it before they weren’t afraid to! I think it’s so important to get children talking about the books they recommend. (Letters from the Lighthouse was our whole class read last half term and I was super lucky to have 15 copies! The kids ADORED it!)

I also have these baskets which are jam packed FULL of high quality and wonderful stories. Any of the books I get sent normally end up in my classroom first and then they go into the school library for the rest of school to enjoy them – that’s adults and children alike! There’s a lot of books in these baskets that will stay in Year 6 because I either bought them or I know my kids will love them! A lot of these books have been read by multiple children and some of them are falling apart already! But that’s the sign of a well-loved book in my classroom! Some of the firm faves from these baskets include:

  • Wildspark by Vashti Hardy
  • Patina/Sunny/Ghost (not pictured because someone’s reading it) by Jason Reynolds
  • Pages and Co by Anna James
  • The Storm Keeper’s Island/The Lost Tide WQarriors by Catherine Doyle
  • High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson
  • Who Let The Gods Out series by Maz Evans

I decided to subscribe to First News this year just to give a bit of variety in my reading area and I have to say, my Year 6s are very taken by the newspaper! My Year 5s also loved them, but my Y6s are very partial to a bit of newspaper reading in our reading time! There’s never many left on the table when we are reading. There’s also this little box of postcards/bookmarks for my kids – if publishers ever send me postcards or bookmarks, they go in here for my kids to have a look at/use! We’re keen users of bookmarks and postcards as bookmarks!

And that’s it! A whistlestop tour of my reading area as it is at the minute. I’m a massive lover of books (if you hadn’t guessed) and getting my children access to new, high-quality books is so important to me. I love that being a blogger helps me to do this, but I’d do it even if I weren’t a blogger… I daren’t tell you all how much money I spend monthly on books!

Have you got a reading area in your classroom?
Is there anything else you’d like to see from my classroom?

Speak to you all soon!

S x

BOOK BLOG: We Are Artists

We Are Artists: a gorgeous exploration of the life and work of 15 female artists from around the world.

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We Are Artists places the spotlight on women painters, sculptors, printmakers, illustrators, designers, and craftswomen who created monumental artwork, often against daunting odds. The book includes reproductions of modern and contemporary artwork by Frida Kahlo, Yayoi Kusama, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alma Thomas, and Kenojuak Ashevak, to name a few. Through their personal stories, readers will learn about the art movements each artist worked in and the influence they exerted on both the art world and society as a whole.”

I received this book in the post this week from the absolute wonders over at Thames and Hudson and I can see SO MUCH coming from this book that my brain is BRIMMING with ideas! 

We Are Artists is a gorgeous exploration of 15 different female artists from around the world, their art and their work. I’ll be honest, art is not my strong point, but learning about inspiring and innovative women is something that I am VERY PASSIONATE about. This book is jam packed with information and it’s all beautifully presented – there’s nothing worse than a boring inside to a non-fiction book. 

Something I love (and learned though reading this book) about this book is that it puts the spotlight on not just painters but printmakers, illustrators, designers and craftswomen alike who are often missed out of history/art history books. I’ll be honest there’s one or two of the women who I hadn’t heard of/didn’t know a lot about in this book, so naturally they were the pages I started with. I think it’s really important to expose children to as many different types of artist as possible because for some children artists are only people who sit at an easel and paint! 

For each artist, you get a gorgeous portrait, a quote from them and then a few pages all about their lives. Through each of the biographies of these incredibly inspiring women, you get pictures of their artwork along with dates. The information is written in a way which tells you what the women had to go through, but in a sensitive and carefully crafted manner. (If it’s not already clear, I’m a massive fan of a biography and this book makes me so happy as a teacher and a reader).

Some of my favourite quotes from these women:

‘If you’re not afraid, how can you really be brave?’ (Tove Jansson)

‘Not all of us are painters but we are all artists. Each time we fit things together we are crezating’ (Corita Kent)

‘My art is not my career, it is myself’ (Amrita Sher-Gil)

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Something else I loved about this book is that at the back there is a glossary of terms. For me, as an inexperienced and unconfident art teacher, this was so helpful. You can never stop learning in the world. Every day is a learning day in my life. The definitions are all really child friendly too and I think this is great – kids can take this book and just get on with reading it. 

SO… if you’re looking for an incredible piece of non-fiction about wonderful women who have made a stamp in art history, you should probably consider giving this a check out. 

Who is your favourite artist?
What kind of art is your favourite?
Do you have a secret bookish passion?

Talk to me in the comments! A massive thank you to the publishers, Thames and Hudson, for sending me a copy of this book. You guys are amazing: inspiring a new generation of artists! 

S x 

A-Z of Back to School (part 2)

Hello everyone!

Last week, I posted the first half of my A-Z of Back to School post and this week it’s time for the end of that post! I had such a lovely reception to last week’s post, so I hope you all enjoy this one just as much. (I’m well aware we are WELL into the swing of things, but I really wanted to share these!)

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Here we go…

N – Noticing change

Now, this could be anything from how much taller your class from last year seem to be, to changes around school. There’s always a lot of things that change over the SUmmer (it’s 6 weeks – you’d expect some things to change!)

O – Overpreparing and not needing it

I don’t know if this is just me, or if it’s everyone. I always overprepare for that first week. I have so many activities ready to go, but then I end up not needing them. I think it’s hard to pitch things at first, so there’s always too much to do and that’s OK. I have an activity that I’m still waiting to do 3 weeks on (it’s not an essential activity, just something a little fun).

P – Picture books aren’t just for EYFS

One of the things I love doing the most is using picture books to inspire writing. As a Year 5 teacher, this may be looked upon with scorn, but there’s a fair few of my writing units based on picture books. I use them not just for writing, but for inspiration for everything. I think people can forget that within picture books there are some amazing stories. I think picture books should have a place in every classroom up and down the land, no matter how old the class are!

Q – Quick toilet breaks

Man… going to the toilet whenever you please is such a luxury that Summer Holiday Me doesn’t realise. Those first few weeks back are all about retraining your bladder to only go to the toilet at break time/lunch time and after school. It’s a real thing.

R – Reading a whole new bunch of books

Another lovely thing about getting into a new year and a new class is that their tastes might be entirely different to the class you just had. My new class love a scary story, whereas my class last year weren’t that keen on them (or at least never expressed that they were). I’m loving finding new books and new authors that I’ve never really delved into before.

S – Stationery

WELL YES. Do I need to explain this one? I love a bit of stationery and a new year is the PERFECT excuse to have to get some new stationery. I think teachers fall into 2 categories with stationery: obsessed or non-plussed. I am definitely the former. Even as a child, there was nothing more exciting than going to Stationery Box and Woolworths (man, I miss those places) and getting my pens, pencils, rubbers and stuff for the year ahead. Stationery, like books, is just one of my loves!

T – Turning the alarm back on

BOOOOO. This is always the worst. You’ve had 6 weeks of not having to get up via an alarm (or however long you’ve had without an alarm) and now here we are, alarm time again. It’s not fun at first getting up to the sound of your alarm… *weep*

U – Using my favourite stories again

I can’t wait to get to use my favourite stories again. I’ve just done a unit of writing with The Day the Crayons Quit; we’re moving on to doing Journey by Aaron Becker next. I bloody love being a teacher and using books. It’s something I could rabbit on about for words and words.

V – Venturing into the unknown

This year I have more responsibility than I have done in previous years and that’s a new thing for me. I don’t really know what to expect. It’s my first year as a qualified teacher when we are expecting Ofsted, which is again something I’ve never experienced before. These things are all TERRIFYING and thrilling… most of the time.

W – Working differently

I think as every year passes there’s things that I’ll start doing differently. For all I’ve worked in school for 10 years now, I’ve only been a qualified teacher for 1. I passed my NQT year this Summer and I’m an RQT this year. I think with a new bunch of kids, a new bunch of responsibilities and a new outlook on teaching (and its politics), I’ve got a few things I’m changing.

X – EXtra responsibility

Lol, I’ve mentioned this 3 times in succession now! So, I’m PE lead, MFL lead, Library lead and one of school’s Maths Mastery lead teachers. That’s a lot to have on my plate, but you know what? I’m someone who loves a bit of responsibility. I love a challenge. Don’t get me wrong, there’s days I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed and worried that I’m not going to do a good enough job, but I know that I’ll put my heart and soul into these roles. If I’m not the right person for the job, then I’m sure I’ll find that out too!

Y – Yes, Miss!

It’s those lightbulb moments that make this all a bit more bearable on the days when it’s just a challenge. I love watching a child who DOESN’T understand something just click and when they do get it, there’s the inevitable “YESSS” moment. That’s always a lush lush touch.

Z – Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Getting back into work is EXHAUSTING. I love my job; I work with an incredible bunch of people; my kids are wonderful, but my lord is it exhausting. Going from living life at your own pace to having to be FULL ON is a lot. So yes, I’m tired. I’m always tired ha! (I imagine you’re either exhausted or have had enough of hearing about being back to school now, so congrats for getting through this post ha!)

And there we go! My whole A-Z of being back at school. I really enjoyed doing this! I hope you enjoyed reading this!

Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know the A-Z of… I might make this into a series!

See you tomorrow!

S x

A-Z of Back to School (Part 1)

Hello there! Friends, teachers, non-teachers, educators, non-educators, readers and everyone!

Today, I’m coming to you with something a bit different. Something a bit serious, a bit fun and a dive into the world of teaching. As you may know (if you’re new around here, hello, come say hello to me!), I’m a teacher and as it’s September, it’s back to school season. Yes, we’re 2 weeks into the term now, but hey ho, this post is better late than never, right?

I stole this idea from someone on twitter (I don’t remember who it was! If it was you, let me know) and it was great fun trying to fill in the A-Z of back to school while I was flapping on a train a few weeks back. So here goes…

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A – Anxiety

Being off for 6 weeks and then going back to work is a scary thought. I can’t lie and tell you that I wasn’t anxious about going back to work because I was. I’ve had a few ridiculously anxious days since being back too.

B – Bye Bye NQT Year!

When you qualify as a teacher, you have to get through your NQT year (Newly Qualified Teacher). It’s a good year where you get loads of extra support and more time than “regular teachers” out of class to use to help you keep progressing as a teacher. It’s a scary year being an NQT, but it’s a great learning curve! I passed my NQT year which was a PROPER lush feeling!

C – Chatting about Summer

YEP. That first week that’s all you talk about: what you got up to, what you didn’t get up to, how your Summer went. To be honest, after the first 3 conversations, I’m over it hah!

D – Deleting emails

This might sound like a funny one, but deleting the emails you’re sent over the Summer from companies is a proper delight. I love a good clear out!

E – Excitement

Along with the anxiety, there’s a whole load of excitement. A new bunch of kids, a whole new bunch of responsibilities and a new outlook on things. Sometimes you need to step back to see the wonderful things and then dive back in. We also got a library over the holidays which is WONDERFUL.

F – Friendships

Working in a school is like working in a microcosm of the real world – there’s people you’re really close to, there’s people you only speak to at certain times, there’s people you don’t really speak to. One of the things that keeps me going is the friends I have at school. I’m really bloody lucky to have the colleagues I have. Some of my best friends in the world are the people I work with. Friendships make my job so much easier!

G – Getting to know a whole new crew

Having a whole new 30 children to get to know is a daunting prospect. If I think of how well I knew my class from last year, I think to myself “there is no way I’ll know a class that well” but I will. I know I will. I can’t wait to get to know this new class – they’re very different from my class last year!

H – Having routine back in my life

You all know that I love a bit of routine in my life. I talked about it in a blog post during the Summer. Having the holidays and there being no routine messes with my head, so having routine back in my life is SO SO lush. As much as getting up when it’s dark is SHITTY, it’s nice to be back into a routine.

I – Imposter syndrome

I could go on about this for words and words. I think imposter syndrome is something most people feel at some time in their lives. I have days where I think I feel like I’m just “playing” teachers and someone is going to come along and take this all away from me. Or when someone emails me and I’m the one who is in charge of that thing… like… CLEARLY A FAKER HERE. Ha.

J – Juggling 72934745639 things at once

Teachers have many hats that they wear during the week and it’s sometimes hard to keep all of those things afloat at once! There’s SO MANY THINGS that need to be done and prioritising is SO BLOODY important! I’ve learned that and I’m learning that some things don’t NEED to be done.

K – Knowing I’m chasing my dream

Many many moons ago, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I think I was about 8 when I knew I wanted to be a teacher. It took me an awfully long time to get there, but it was something I never gave up on, even when I went off path slightly. I think if you’ve got a dream you want to follow bad enough, you’ll get there. Never give up on that. Knowing that I’m living out the one thing that I’ve wanted for all of these years is still quite surreal.

L – Lost PE kits/jumpers

THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE LBR. Please label everything ever. This makes it so much easier to give it back to the rightful owner. “Miss, I’ve lost my jumper/PE kit/pencil” is one of my least favourite things to hear ha!

M – Mourning the departure of Summer

I can love my job but also be SAD that the Summer holidays is over. Getting up when my body is ready, making plans with my friends to see them DURING THE DAY and just reading all of the books is SUCH a lovely way to spend my time that not being able to do that anymore is SAD TIMES. But also, I love my job.

OK. Well we’ve made it to the middle of the alphabet! Come back next week for the rest of the alphabet!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this installment of “A-Z of Back to School.” It was certainly a lot of fun to write! Share your thoughts in the comments: I’d love to know what you thought!

See you tomorrow!

S x

What we’re reading!

Hello!

How are you all?

Today, I thought I would share some pictures of the books my class are reading… cause they’re all reading some absolute corkers.

Starting this academic year, I really wanted to get my kids excited about books and about reading. I’m such an advocate for reading for pleasure that I want my kids to know that they can enjoy reading and that it doesn’t always have to be something they’re tested on… they just get to enjoy what they’re reading.

We did a whole hour about our reading habits and our reading identities where they got to tell me about their own reading preferences, which I found really interesting. Learning so much about these new little people of mine really gave me the chance to recommend books that I knew would be right for them!

I was DELIGHTED with the range of books that they chose from my shelves. There’s some of my absolute favourite books of recent years in these piles. There’s all sorts of representation in these books. There’s stories these children might never have come across. A lot of these books are my own copies (as in they don’t belong in the school library) and it gives me such joy to know that I’ve read these books and that I can talk to the kids about these books if they want to.

I love that there’s such a mix of books in these piles. There’s well known authors and there’s indie authors. There’s an anthology of stories among some incredible stand alones. There’s 2 children starting off the Perfect series (which is a series that I adore) and there’s some books I’ve wanted to give to children in so so long. There’s a non-fiction book in among fiction books (which fills me with delight!)

My classroom is definitely the “reading classroom”. It’s where you’ll find all of the books (except the library). That’s something I’m really proud of. I’m a reader through and through and if I can help just one child find their love of reading then I’ve done my job!

Our class reader, which was voted for by the children on transition day is The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone. As I have an audible account, we’re actually listening to it on audiobook and I’m really enjoying that! It’s read so brilliantly by the narrator and it’s giving me an extra bit of time to enjoy reading and listening alongside them.

Image result for the dreamsnatcher

As well as general reading, I always try and theme my Writing lessons around a book (I just think it gives everything a lot more purpose). We started the year with a letter to ourselves, so I thought we would continue with letter writing in a fun way. We’re going for letters to complain and using the amazing The Day The Crayons Quit as our model text/inspiration. A lot of people will frown at me using this text in Year 5, but I think it is PERFECT.

Image result for the day the crayons quit

I could ramble on for hours about the love I have for reading and the importance of reading for pleasure, but I won’t ramble on (if you’d like me to, then by all means let me know in the comments because that’s something I can talk about for words and words… it’s what I did my dissertation on!)

Let me know if you’d like any more tales from the classroom and I could probably make it into a series! Leave me some questions if you have any!

Speak soon,

S x

BLOG TOUR: A Planet Full of Plastics

Today, I come to you sharing ‘A Planet Full of Plastics’ by Neal Layton. I was invited to be on the blog tour and I was thrilled as this is something we have been thinking about this year in school and my class and I did a whole unit of work around plastic pollution in the seas.

A Planet Full of Plastic is a wonderful picture book and is perfect for
readers who love nature and want to help the environment.

Everything is made of stuff. Some things are made of paper, like this book. And some things are made of PLASTIC. If you look around you, plastic is everywhere. Even in places where it’s not meant to be. If it drops to the ground, it doesn’t rot away – it sticks around for ever.

Our world is drowning in plastic, and it’s a big problem. Award-winning author-illustrator Neal Layton is here to explain where plastic comes from, why it doesn’t biodegrade, and why that’s dangerous for animals and humans alike. But he’s also FULL of ideas for how you can help! From giving up straws in juice cartons to recycling all we can and taking part in a beach clean, A Planet Full of Plastic will get young readers excited about how they can make a difference to keep Planet Earth happy.

I know a lot of schools who are taking plastic and recycling very seriously, and with a very quick browse of the internet, there are some wonderful and inventive ways to reuse plastic in an art lesson. Some schools take an even wider scape and use plastic as an art tool to create a whole school display.

None of the following images are my own: I am in awe of these creations and credit goes to the original creators (I wish I had the origin of all of these pictures, but I just have them saved in my ‘inspiration bank’ for lessons)

There are some amazing displays from teachers on Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram and some of them are pure envy. There are so many ways we can recycle and reuse plastic/other materials in the classroom. We all love a bit of junk modelling and it’s important to talk to children about the importance of recycling and reusing materials so they don’t end up polluting our lands and seas.

I can’t wait to use this book and some of these amazing ideas with my class next year to create some recycled art ourselves!

Massive thank you to Hachette Kids for inviting me to be in this blog tour!

Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour!

Plastics Blog Tour (3)

S x