Thursday, 28 July 2011

Top 5 oldies for freestyle dance

Have been crazy busy this week so am not up to my usual blogging tempo. Will be away for the weekend too so here's a quickie to keep things alive!

Here are my favourite songs from times gone by that instantly make me feel like getting up and dancing. These could be useful for a freestyle dancing warm-up/cool-down in P.E. class or for a class party.

  • Twist and Shout - The Beatles
  • Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley
  • Rock around the Clock - Bill Haley
  • ABC - The Jackson 5
  • Greased Lightning - John Travolta (from Grease) [make sure to get a censored version!]
For more ideas on songs (and simple dances), I posted about them here!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Giveaway: Orienteering cards

I'm giving away this orienteering pack to anybody who comments below to say that they already follow or have just become a follower of my blog (please leave your email address in the comment box!).

The orienteering set is very easy to use. Simply, draw out a map of the area in which the children will play, stick the code cards around the area (put the corresponding numbers on your map), divide the children into teams, give them a solution sheet, then sit back and relax until the children come back to you at the end of the activity to check their solutions against your teacher's solution card.

(Anybody who enters will also grab a copy of my Superlative Olympics cards)

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Rugby World Cup Resources (Free!)

The rugby world cup will take place in New Zealand from Sept 9th - Oct 23rd, 2011. There are some fantastic teaching resources available on the official RWC 2011 Site. 

Here's what's available on the site:

Student Activity SheetsA teaching unit of 20 social sciences activity sheets for
students to use to learn about their adopted team.
Fun PackA collection of fun activities for students to complete including puzzles, crosswords, word finds, a quiz and more!
Teacher ResourcesA resource pack containing background information about Rugby World Cup for teachers to use in their lesson planning.
Ruggerbee Colour SheetsA series of colouring-in sheets featuring the Ruggerbees,
each sporting the uniform and flag of their adopted country.
RWC 2011 Match SchedulePrint out this poster featuring the Ruggerbees for your classroom wall. Students can fill in the scores as the Tournament progresses

The "Student Activity Sheets" are my favourite part of the pack as they contain simple graphic organisers for structuring information about a country. These are great for geography lessons. I love the idea of 'adopting a team.' It also comes with a really cute certificate to give to the children, saying that they have adopted XYZ team.

Of course, with the games being held in New Zealand, what better country to choose as a theme for other lessons. Here are some ideas of things to do:
Maths: Data handling using scores from the world cup matches; currency
P.E.: Tag rugby
P.E./Music: Haka (Dance; exploring chants, rhythm)
Music: New Zealand national anthem (NZ has two national anthems, one written by an Irish person)
Geography: Maori culture
Art: Maori tattoos (draw on each other with facepaint, washable markers - watch out for any skin allergies!), Maori jewelry, design their own poster for the world cup, design a flag for New Zealand based on what they have learned
Science/Nature: Kiwi birds (national bird)
Drama: Explore the attitudes of locals as the world cup comes to their country; use a Maori legend as a stimulus.
English: NZ legend (here!); write a magazine article about New Zealand, come up with an advert to entice people to go to NZ
Gaeilge: An Haka Gaelach (If you are teaching in Ireland and would like the lyrics to this, just post a comment below with your email address and I'll send it to you!)

Friday, 22 July 2011

Giveaway: Shoe-themed mini unit

Mrs. Tabb at "Just Another Day in First Grade" is having a giveaway of a thematic mini-unit based on shoes. It's free if you blog about it up until this Sunday (24th July). Click on the picture above for the link.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Top 5 simple dances for P.E.

These dances are popular at camps. They're simple to teach, easy to remember and can be used again and again as a warm-up/cool-down.

Here is my top 5 (in no particular order!):

Macarena - Los Del Rio: Everybody knows this. It's really simple and will easily be picked up by children of any age. If you don't already know the moves, there's a video tutorial here!

Saturday Night - Whigfield: Again, this is a very simple dance. If you don't already know the moves, you can copy them from this video. It's probably easiest to see the dance from 1min7secs -> 1min17secs. The entire dance is literally those 10 secs of dance moves repeated for the entire song.

An Dreoilín - Seán Monaghan: This is a modern take on a song in the Irish language (Gaeilge, for those of you not from here!). The name means "The Wren." It follows the same dance moves as Saturday Night (above). You can download the song from here.

Cha Cha Slide - DJ Casper (Mr. C. and The Slide Man: Again, this is one that I'd be surprised if you haven't heard. The dance moves follow the lyrics exactly. If you're not sure about any of it, have a look at the official video.

Shake a Tail Feather - Ray Charles: This is a really upbeat song from the movie, The Blues Brothers. The dance in the movie is a little complicated for classroom scenarios so I've shared the moves from a version I learned in my previous post. Click here to see it.

As I think of it, if you are teaching really young kids, this CD has some great songs where the actions follow the lyrics: "Ronno - Jump Start Action Songs"

I used some of the songs "Twist! Stop! Hop!" and "I Can Dance" with 5 and 6 year olds and they went down a treat!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

More freebies! Maths and Langauge task cards

Head on over to Yearn to Learn to see the marvellous 200-follower giveaway of a 48 card set of task cards. 5 will be available for those who enter. To see how to enter (there are three ways) just visit the blog here!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Team Building Linky Party: Class Crossword

This is based on an idea that Jodi from Clutter-Free Classroom had as a back to school activity. I think it would work great as a team-building/getting-to-know-your-class exercise at any time of the year.

Class crossword:
1. Ask the children to tell you one quirky fact about them (a special skill, a pet's name, their first memory, what they're afraid of... anything!)
2. Create a crossword (there are loads of free online crossword generators) with the children's names as the solutions and their quirky facts as the clues.
3. Make a copy for everybody in the class.
* It might be nice to include your own name in it and they could learn something quirky about their teacher too!

Simple as!

I posted this as part of the linky party at Yearn To Learn. Head on over there for more team-building activities.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

One to follow: Ladybug Teacher Files

I was delighted to hear that Kristen (Ladybug's Teacher Files) has reached an impressive 1000 followers.

Her blog is wonderful. It has loads of teacher-related treats - organisation tips, ideas, resources and technology tips. What more could you want?! It would quench the bloggy thirst of even the most serious teaching blog addict's wet dream! This was the first blog that really caught my eye and made me want to start my own teaching blog. It's got some great ideas and resources, is really easy to navigate and is easy on the eye too!

Kristen also runs the Ladybug Teaching Resources blog (click on the button to explore).

In order to celebrate the momentous occasion of surpassing 1,000 followers, Kristen is having a fantastic giveaway where followers and bloggers have the chance to win one of her AMAZING templates. If you would like to enter, just click on the link above!

Team Building Linky Party: People Bingo

This is a great ice-breaker for a new class and can be used as a get-to-know-each other activity.

Give each of the children a card with things written on it like "somebody who owns a dog," "someone with brown eyes," "someone who can play the guitar," etc,. in various boxes. There's a good example of a people bingo card on page 6 here (as below):

The children then have to walk around the room and find a different person's name to write in each box.

I posted this as part of the linky party at Yearn To Learn. Head on over there for more team-building activities.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Shake a Tail Feather Dance

If you're familiar with the movie, "The Blues Brothers" then you'll know this song. It's really upbeat and instantly likable. This is a dance I picked up while on an activity holiday as a teenager. It's really good fun and could be taught to any age level. 

We didn't have any specified dance for the first two verses to just make something up according to the ability levels of the kids. The chorus and bridge is very straightforward!

It may look a little complicated with all of my writing here but, when you get down to it, it's really simple!

Shake a Tail Feather - Ray Charles

Well I heard about the fellow you've been dancing with
All over the neighbourhood
So why didn't you ask me baby
Or didn't you think I could?

Well I know that the boogaloo is out of sight
but the shingaling's the thing tonight
But if that was you and me a now baby
I would have shown you how to do it right
Do it right (U-huh)
Do it right
Do it right
Do it right
Do it right
Aaah (bend forward and roll arms in a roly-poly fashion, as you do this bend your knees to end in a crouched position)

Twist it, (jump up from the crouched position with your hands in the air)
Shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it baby (Do a jive-style, shake of the hips/elbows/feet)
Hey we gonna loop de loop (Place your right hand in a thumbs-down position, with the thumb resting on the centre of your head and turn 180 degrees anticlockwise)
Shake it out baby (Mime as if you're surfing)
Hey we gonna loop de li (Place your left hand in a thumbs-down position, with the thumb resting on the centre of your head and turn 180 degrees clockwise)
Bend over let me see ya shake your tailfeather (jump turn 90 degrees anticlockwise, bend over and place your hands behind your back, palms upwards with your wrists by your bum, wiggling your fingers)
Bend over let me see ya shake your tailfeather (jump turn 180 degrees anticlockwise with your hands in the same position)
Come on let me see ya shake your tailfeather  (jump turn 180 degrees anticlockwise with your hands in the same position)
Come on let me see ya shake your tailfeather (Roar out "360!" and get everybody to try to do a full 360 degree jump)
Aaah (bend forward and roll arms in a roly-poly fashion, as you do this bend your knees to end in a crouched position)

(repeat the "Twist it..... --> shake a tail feather" section)

Come on, come on baby
Come on, yeah, come on babe, alright

Do the twist (twist)
Do the fly (flap imaginary wings)
Do the swim (mime swimming)
And do the bird (flap imaginary wings)
Well do the duck (crouch low and bend hands up to armpits, then do a duck waddle)
Aaah, and do the monkey (lift arms and scratch armpits)
Hey hey, watusi
And, ah, what about the frug (do the real frug or else mime being a frog - the kids won't know any different!)
Do the mashed potato (see the real mashed potato or else mime mashing potatoes on your head while turning around in a circle)
What about the boogaloo (do some real boogaloo moves or else pretend that they're saying "bowl of fruit" and cup your hands around your elbows, lift arms to one side and hold)
Oh, the bony moronie (throw in a 60s-style cheesy move here)
Come on let's do the twist (twist!)

Aaah (bend forward and roll arms in a roly-poly fashion, as you do this bend your knees to end in a crouched position)

Twist it, (jump up from the crouched position with your hands in the air)
Shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it baby (Do a jive-style, shake of the hips/elbows/feet)
Shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it baby (Do a jive-style, shake of the hips/elbows/feet)

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Superlative Olympics - freebies!

Here's my first ever freebie giveaway. I've created a pack to use for superlative olympics. This is useful for teaching comparatives and superlatives (e.g. big, bigger, biggest). It is particularly good for younger classes but could also be used for any age level as a team-building P.E.-type activity or during a party/fun day. I have used it while working in summer camps.

It's pretty simple to organise and play.
1. Divide the class into teams.
2. Ask each team to come up with a team name and a chant (there will be points going for the best chant).
3. Explain that they will have to nominate one person for each of the individual events (e.g. highest jump, longest hair, best cartwheel). Every team member must have at least two turns. Give out the "Children's Sheets" and allow them to select their nominees.
4. Use the cards to introduce each event (particularly if you are doing this event as part of TEFL). For each event:
  • Hold up the card and announce the name of the event
  • Line up the nominees and ask them to perform/present
  • Announce the winners by very clearly demonstrating the use of comparatives and superlatives, e.g. "Sarah's hair is LONG, Katie's hair is LONGER buuuuut Melanie's hair is the LONGEST"
  • Mark the scores on the "Superlative Olympics Scoring Sheet"
At the end of the games, tot up the scores and announce the winners. Don't forget that there are also bonus points going for the best team spirit. (This is noted in the sheet given to the children. Keep reminding them about this the whole way through the game to keep enthusiasm levels high.)

Now onto the freebies...
What's in the pack:
Superlative Olympics Children's Sheet (for nominating), Superlative Olympics Scoring Sheet (does exactly what it says on the tin) and 20 Superlative Olympics Event Cards
How do I get it?
Simply click here to download it for free from Google Docs.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Cheap rewards for good behaviour

If you're willing to spend a little bit of money on having a treasure chest/ mystery box full of prizes, or to use them for a raffle, then here are some relatively cheap ideas for prizes:
  • Stationary - notebooks, pencils, drawing pads, colouring pencils, pencil grips
  • Glitter glue
  • Stampers
  • Woolly octopus - find instructions on how to make it here
  • Ping pong balls/ tennis balls/ cheap soccer ball
  • Hair accessories
  • Silly Bandz (you can get them quite cheaply on eBay)
  • Magnets
  • Joke shop prizes - fake spiders, whoopee cushion, etc.
  • Flag - sports team/ country
  • Single tubs of playdoh (buy a multi-pack but use individual tubs as prizes)
  • Matchbox cars
  • Keyrings (keychains)
  • Crazy straws
  • Bubbles
  • Balloons
  • Handmade beanbags/hackey sacks (I'll post instructions on how to make them soon) 

And if you're willing to splash out a little bit for some extra-special prizes:
  • Gift certificate for local bookshop/ sports shop/ movie rental shop
  • Book
  • Sports equipment, e.g. hula hoops, bean bags, skipping rope
  • Lunch box / water bottle from a popular TV show
Here are some display ideas for the prizes. Either have the prizes on display so that the children can simply choose, or do it lucky-dip style, wrap the prizes and hide them amongst polystyrene balls.

Mystery boxes are fairly cheap and cheerful - simple to make and design as you wish. You can buy inflatable pirate chests for around €20 on eBay. You could also use a giant cup-style trophy (If you're Irish, you could make a massive Sam Maguire replica!)

If you have any more ideas for cheap rewards, please post a comment below! :)
For more ideas on classroom management, head on over to Miss Kindergarten's Classroom Management Linky Party by clicking the button below.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Free rewards for good behaviour

Following a quick search of behaviour management websites, here's a list of some FREE rewards for individuals and groups...

Free rewards for individuals:
  • 5 minute walk break
  • 5 minutes computer time
  • Sit with a friend
  • Homework voucher
  • Swap own chair for comfier one
  • A mystery prize posted to them
  • Reading to/being class assistant for a younger class
  • 10 minutes reading from the library
  • Being first (in line to go out, to present something, to have a go in PE, choose art supplies, etc.)
  • Choosing a class activity
  • Free choice time at the end of the day
  • Good phonecall/note/certificate home
  • Free ticket for parent to a school event
  • Draw a picture to illustrate a class book as the teacher reads
  • Have a positive visit to the principal
  • Keep a stuffed animal on their desk for a day
  • Operate the remote if using a PowerPoint in a lesson
  • Teach the class a favourite game
  • Take home a class book/game for a night
  • Write with a special pen for the day
  • Sit on the class cushion for a class/morning/day/week (buy a really tacky, sequined one!)

Free rewards for groups:
  • Game of charades/hangman
  • No homework
  • Eating lunch outdoors
  • Holding class outside
  • Listening to music while working
  • Dancing to a song
  • Free choice time at the end of the day
  • A book read aloud to the class by the teacher
For more ideas on classroom management, head on over to Miss Kindergarten's Classroom Management Linky Party by clicking the button below.

Classroom jobs linky party

I'm posting this as part of Mel's (@ Mrs. Dillard 1st Grade) first linky party.

One of the great things about working as a substitute teacher is that you get to see some great ideas for organisation, classroom management, lessons, displays, etc.

Here are some class jobs that I've seen along my travels:

  • Equipment managers
  • Door keeper
  • Messenger (takes notes to the office/ other classrooms)
  • Shelf/Bookcase organiser
  • Playground pals (in older classes, these must look out for the younger children in the yard)
  • Distributors (Give out books/sheets)
  • Collectors (Collect books/sheets)
  • Bell (in many Irish schools, somebody has to ring the hand-held bell for breaks!)
  • Time keeper (for timed activities)
  • Environmental officer (takes care of recycling bins)
  • Substitute (stands in when anybody is absent)
  • Post master (collects the school post and distributes to the teachers)
  • Roll book couriers (take the roll book to the next classroom)
  • MC (greets and introduces guests to the classroom)
  • Closet/cloakroom monitor (makes sure that all coats are hung up properly)
  • IT technician (turns on/off lights, computer, etc. at the start and end of the day)
  • Doorman/doorwoman

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Birthday Freebies

I'm just a newbie to this blogging thing but I'm really liking the benefits of sharing (and receiving) ideas. There are some wonderful birthday ideas (in a pack) from Donna at "Peace, Love and Learning" over here!

If you're a blogger, repost a link to Donna's blog and post a comment underneath with your email address - she'll send the entire pack to you!

Go raibh míle maith agat!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

How to make a woolly octopus

I'm not sure where I learned how to make these but it's something I really enjoyed to do as a child.

These are great to make with a class... or else, keep it a secret and make some to use as rewards for positive behaviour.

What you need:
  • Scissors
  • Wool
  • Book
  • Googly eyes (and glue if they're not self-adhesive)
  • An elastic band
Step 1:
Wrap the wool around the book 60 times.
Step 2:
Put and elastic band tightly around the wool, about a third of the way down. Then tightly tie some wool (of the same colour) just above the band. Remove the elastic band. Do the same a few centimetres from the top. 

Step 3:
Snip the loops at the top and bottom. (You should now have 120 strands of wool at the bottom.)
 Step 4:
Take 15 strands of wool and plait to form a leg. Repeat this to create 7 more legs.

Step 5:
Add the eyes et voilà!

There are plenty of ways to make different versions of these. You could sew on different facial expressions with another colour of wool or felt, make them with two or more colours of wool make mini ones or HUGE ones... the possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Behaviour Management Scheme: Pirate Money

This is an idea that I have used on T.P. (Teaching Practice). It's a simple token economy scheme in which the children receive rewards for good behaviour. I used these pirate Euro notes (seeing as I'm in Ireland, I didn't want to use the dollar templates that I found online). I also incorporated an outline of a map of Ireland. I didn't want to use any template that was online as unique ones can't be laundered as easily!

Here's how I made the template using Microsoft Powerpoint:
1. I started off with a simple rectangle outline.
2. Next I added two rectangles for the purple strips. (and formated the fill to textured purple)
3. I then inserted an oval in the centre and pasted a pirate logo in the middle of it.
4. I pasted a picture of a map of Ireland on the right (and faded it) and a random symbol on the left.
5. I then used text boxes to add the text and numbers. (Make sure to right-click on these boxes and click on "send to front."
(if you wish to make €5, €10 etc., just change the numbers in your text boxes and print on different coloured paper).

I then printed them on coloured paper, cut them out, laminated them and trimmed them to size.

Children were given a Pirate Euro as a reward for good behaviour, as an incentive to have the tidiest desk or to be the best co-operators in group work. At the end of each week I had a raffle for inexpensive prizes such as pretty stationary, small packets of Haribos, cheap little toys etc. If I was doing this in a classroom where I was teaching long-term, then I'd probably only have a raffle once a month. They could buy raffle tickets with their pirate money. They also had the option of buying a voucher to swap their wooden chair for a more comfortable, cushioned chair (referred to below as the 'computer chair') or a voucher to sit next to a friend. I displayed the reward options on this reward menu:

I also printed this menu on coloured paper and then laminated it. The children really liked the idea of choosing their own rewards and saving up for the more "expensive" rewards. 

There are other cheap/free things that could be added to a rewards menu. I kept it simple with just three rewards. (If anybody reading this has other ideas for rewards that could be added to a menu, please comment!)

This was posted as part of Miss Kindergarten's Classroom Management Linky Party. Click on the button above to view her blog and links to other great classroom management ideas!