Although teachers are not in
school at the moment the majority will still be thinking at times about their
classroom organisation and how they can encourage pupils to be more independent
in their learning. Any teacher will tell you that classroom organisation is
vital to promote good behaviour and to encourage independent learning of the children
in the class.
The resources that the pupils will
need for their everyday tasks such as pencils, pens and erasers should ideally
be in a container on the table so that the pupils will not need to get out of
their seats to get this equipment. It is also useful to have spelling lists or
dictionaries on the tables to encourage children to use them independently when
carrying out writing tasks.
During mathematics lessons pupils
should be able to choose the learning aids that they need to complete the task
as this part of building up their mathematical skills. Counting apparatus such
as string beads and addition and multiplication grids should be easily
available in labelled drawers so that they are ready for children to use them
when they need to.
Many schools still have a library
area where pupils can find a book with information on a particular topic they
are studying and of course pupils now can use laptops and tablets for
Often teachers will say one of the
hardest parts of their job is dealing with the parents. The parents are
obviously protective and want the best for their child, but the teacher often
has 30 pupils that all need to be given a fair chance and have opportunities.
Some parents can become quite pushy when their child starts school and they can
often make the job of the teacher very hard.
As a teacher it is important to
try and get parents on side. Make sure that you are approachable and willing to
listen to parents concerns. It may be that you need to designate a day or time
of day for this to be done. Make sure that you communicate with the child’s
parent’s not just on negative issues but also when a child has done
particularly well or being extra helpful etc.
Parents evening is a chance to
really talk one on one with the parents about any concerns you have or areas
that you think would benefit the child if practised at home such as reading or
spellings. Make sure that if you are going to say something negative about a
child that you have examples that you can tell or show the parents so it is
clear as to what took place.
In the last couple of weeks of the
summer holidays most teachers turn their thoughts to getting the classroom
ready for the pupils to return to school. Hopefully before the holiday the
classroom walls will have been cleared of the previous terms work and the
backing paper will have been put up ready for the new term. The topics for the
autumn term will have already been decided on the school’s long term curriculum
plan so it is a good idea to put up some of the titles on the boards and perhaps
a few questions that could spark the children’s imagination. For example, if
the topic is Space questions such as which planet is the largest/smallest, how
far away is the sun and why is the sky blue could all prompt children to seek
out the answers. Another useful thing to do at the start of a topic is to
introduce topic words and have them displayed in the classroom so for a space
topic words such as universe, galaxy, planet and solar system could be used.
It is a valuable resource to have
a mathematics display board set up in the classroom with prompts that the
pupils will find useful such as number bonds and multiplication facts. This
should be updated regularly to tie in with the mathematics topic that the
pupils are working on at that time.
Now that the summer holidays are
upon us some parents are eager to encourage their children to continue with
some academic learning during the six week break as children can regress during
this time. The activities that are presented to the child should however be fun
so that they engage fully.
Mathematical skills can easily be
taught at home using everyday objects found in the kitchen for example an
obvious resource would be a set of weighing scales. Your child could weigh
different items and order them according to their weight whereas an older child
could convert the weights from metric to imperial or work out the cost per
kilogram given a price for an item. Capacity is often difficult to teach in a
school setting but at home playing with sand and water gives an ideal chance to
practise these skills. Baking activities also provide many opportunities to
measure out quantities and work out timings.
Loose change can be used to teach
many concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and
decimals. Real life problems can be discussed for example if the child has a
certain amount of pocket money each week how long will it take them to save
enough to buy something they want? With a bit of imagination, the activities
can be made fun and interesting.
The nightmare of shoe shopping
Parents will soon be faced with a
big challenge that is buying school shoes for their offspring. For parents with
one child, it is bad enough but for those with more than one child it can be a
very stressful experience to say the least.
The problem that parents face is
trying to choose shoes that will be hardwearing but that fit correctly and that
are also liked by their child. The dilemma is whether to choose cheaper shoes
and replace them more often or pay more in the hope that the shoes will last
longer and stay looking good.
Obviously the main point is that the
shoes fit correctly and so it is important that you have your child’s feet
measured, not just the length but also the width to ensure that there is enough
growing room in them. Many shops have a gauge that can be used to measure
children’s feet, but usually only specialist shoe shops offer shoes of varying
Choosing the style of shoe will
depend on the child as you will find that some styles fit better than others
but generally lace up, buckle or Velcro fastenings are better for younger
children as they hold better on their feet than slip on styles. A treat after
shoe shopping may make the experience less painful for parent and child.
For some children literacy and
specifically writing fills them with dread and the thought of writing a story
causes a great deal of anxiety to them. This may be for a number of reasons
such as fear of spelling the words correctly, fine motor skills issues that
make it physically difficult to write or struggling for ideas, whichever of
these reasons is causing the pupil to be reluctant to write it is the teacher’s
job to try to help and support these children so that they can become confident
writers in the future.
Motivating children to want to
write is a key principle here and different stimuli work for different
children. It is thought that boy writers are more inclined to prefer
non-fiction writing such as instructions or reports and girl writers are more
motivated to write stories however this is a generalisation and is not always
the case. Boys may be motivated to write a story if it is an adventure story or
if it is set out as a graphic novel or cartoon strip and girls may enjoy
writing a non-fiction booklet about a topic that interests them.
Once a suitable purpose for
writing has been established many children will overcome other issues as long
as they are given praise and encouragement for their efforts along the way.