I love these and they really seem to amaze other teachers! They make a great gift for teachers too. They work by punching a small hole and then folding paper back through itself to bind sheets together. Never run out of staples again and never worry about an errant staple accidentally jabbing one of your children! I often let my class use my staplers to fold over an A4 sheet and seal it up to make an envelope or a pouch.
NOTE: These staplers work best for stapling a few sheets of paper together, they don’t work well for making thicker booklets.
This is the first year I’ve given some of my pupils retractable pencils and it’s really made a big difference to their handwriting. I found this worked really well with the pupils I had this year who were digging too hard into the paper like they were doing some type of engraving!
My goodness, I love these foam dice! They can be used by your class all at the same time without a load of clattering noises piercing your ears! I do LOADS of dice games in Maths and these dice fit the bill perfectly. Consider some ten-sided dice to stretch higher-achieving children.
This was a new buy for me this year which I put in my challenge area. I modelled it with some of the children and they really took to it! The basic idea of the game is that you pull out a couple of yellow cards and a blue card and use this to write a story, adding further cards for inspiration as you go. The children in my class now write spontaneous stories on whiteboards or scrap paper all the time!
Every day after lunch I read a poem to my class and these are the books that can’t be beat! There’s Please Mrs Butler, The Day I Fell Down The Toilet and Michael Rosen’s Book of Silly Poems (though note a lot of the poems aren’t by him, he just collected them here). Also there’s I Like This Poem which is brilliant and has all the classic poems grouped by ages; my class won an award for their recitation of ‘Outdoor Song’ from this book.
Another way to get the children discussing stories and generating ideas. Children roll the dice and then integrate whatever they have rolled on the dice into a story. This can just be verbal or written on a whiteboard. A challenge area favourite!
This is one of my top recommends for Year 2 teachers. The story is based on more and more people getting involved in a chain which, you guessed it, means some great opportunities for commas in a list sentences! This will mean nothing if you aren’t a Year 2 teacher but it’s one of the Greater Depth statements to be covered in the Interim Assessment Framework at Year 2. Also there’s lots of reference to “the farmer’s wife” which can be used to work in possessive apostrophes, another Greater Depth statement! It’s also great for expanded noun phrases as you can have your class change the vegetable in their own version of the story and have things like “The Awfully Smelly Carrot”.
Another challenge area favourite! Wipe-clean puzzles which my children love to challenge themselves with.
Quite an unknown Dahl story but great fun. It centres around tiny people who live in the woods inside trees who are called Minpins. We read the story as a class, then the children investigate our local area and see if they can find Minpins. Wouldn’t you know it, they do! The Minpins then leave the children a letter saying they’re thinking of moving on to somewhere safer/quieter and the children have to write letters back convincing the Minpins to stay, particularly by saying how they can help out the Minpins. A really good piece of extended writing that the children I’ve taught always thoroughly enjoy. This year I went all out and took a picture of the children’s letters and printed out tiny versions. The children coloured bright envelopes and put their letters inside and we left them out in the woods near our school. The next day I went out with my iPad and filmed myself ‘discovering’ that the letters had been moved and opened! The reaction from the children was amazing. I ‘found’ a final letter where the Minpins said that they’d decided to stay! HUZZAH!
I got a roll of this stuff last year and it’s great! It’s held in place by static so you can put it on the walls or on glass or wherever! I put five sheets together and made an interactive English display where I write vocabulary children need in their writing, using a different pen colour depending on what type of word it is (noun, verb etc). Always gets mentioned if someone new comes into my classroom.
I use this, a bell, hand claps, all sorts of things to signal I want the attention of everyone in the class. Follow the link and I think they have a package deal on Amazon of a hand clapper, a horn and something else.
Very versatile. You can put in cards with sounds you are doing, or numbers (numerals or words), or you can move this up and put a different plenary question in each pocket and use this to ask a random review question at the end of the lesson like ‘what is the most important thing you learned in this lesson?’ or ‘can you link what you have learned today to something you already knew? How is it the same? How is it different?’.
This is a great way to make whiteboard pens last longer. These are refill pots (the one pictured is for blue pens as that’s what my school uses on whiteboards to be dyslexia-friendly) that you stand a pen in and leave overnight to suck up the ink, ready for further use.
Teachers don’t get much free time to do further reading, but I highly, highly recommend this book to you if you do want to improve your practice and are looking for new ideas. It’s scientifically-based and focuses not on merely good but THE BEST things to do in your teaching. This has been one of the books that has had the biggest impact on improving the way I teach, along with reading about Kagan Cooperative Learning.
Growth mindset is the ‘in thing’ at the moment in primary schools in the UK which I think is a great idea. If you haven’t heard of it, you NEED to buy this book. Again, this is a concept which has had a huge positive impact on the way I teach.