Quiet Critters - supply teacher aid by Sarah Heron

These Quiet Critters, made by Sarah Heron, 'live' in a transparent jar/container/empty fish tank somewhere visible to the children. They are afraid of noise so they only come out when it's quiet! Each child working quietly is awarded a Critter and the Critter is placed next to their workspace. All the other children try desperately hard to get one too, so it works wonders for noise levels! Quiet Critters help establish expectations in a fun and engaging way and makes them perfect for supply teachers working with an unfamiliar class.

Quiet Critters Giveaway

Sarah is a former primary school teacher who has taught for many years across both key stages and within both the independent and state sectors. Sarah has experience in leading English, PSHE, Science and DT and has enjoyed mentoring several trainees across the years. She believes children don't learn 'in little boxes' and prefers to teach in a cross-curricular way and her great passion is to inspire a love of learning in all her pupils. Through a creative and fun approach to her teaching Sarah set high expectations of her pupils and always sought to motivate them in a number of ways. Quiet Critters was one such approach which Sarah found to be particularly effective in motivating pupils to work quietly, particularly during independent writing tasks. "The children would ask if the Critters were coming out today," Sarah told me, " it was then that I knew I had them eating out of the palm of my hand! The children even began to strive to receive a particular Critter as they are all different. They would have favourites. The children named some of them also, and we often used them in Circle Time to describe feelings or in language work to develop vocabulary or use of adjectives to describe each character!" 

Quiet Critters are available in assorted colours and designs. Prices start at £10 for a class set of 30. Smaller and larger quantities available by request. Extra large Critters also available for table/group incentives - quietest table, best teamwork etc. For more information about these Quiet Critters or if you have any questions contact Sarah at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Supply Teacher Network - Testimonial

Supply Teacher CommunityI have a love/hate relationship with supply. I love how much stuff I have experienced, the things I’ve seen, the people I have worked with, and the children! I’m friends with teachers who have been in the same school since they graduated and they have not had the same full career I have had!

I hate the inconsistency. The schools, Heads, ethos and routines are different. Some places love your diversity and others see you as ‘just a supply teacher’. I didn’t know what I would get from one school to another. Some schools had assigned cups, chairs and car parking spaces! I’d sit quietly to one side, listening as the other teachers discussed the children in school. I never met another supply teacher or discussed my concerns with anyone.

I fell upon Supply Teacher Network and was relieved to find people like me having the same issues, living the same situations. It’s not just me then! I have felt so much better since finding it and am able to go somewhere I can openly discuss my thoughts and feelings. I get support, inspiration and can have a laugh too.

I have had real lows while being a teacher which has made me feel like giving up. I think if I hadn’t found this site a few months ago I may have given in but I’m still standing. Thanks Sharon and everyone who likes and comments on my posts J

Caught you being good!

Caught you being good cardsMany of you know Amy, one of my admin elves in the Supply Teacher Network. Here's one of the many things she's been doing in her spare time! 

Amy's Caught you being good! cards

Long ago in a land far away 
A supply teacher was finishing her day, 
The students had been good 
Not at all bored 
She decided they needed a reward,

Alas the merit system was out of bounds 
And the nice TA could not be found. 
She wracked her brain 
and stretched her mind 
And finally Caught you being good! cards were designed!

So if you need a physical card to show 
just how much your child can glow 
buy a pack of cards 
or three, 
good for you and good for me!

A brand new box of 50 'Caught you being good' business card size reward cards. These cards have been designed and brought into production by Amy after using them with students. They feature a chalkboard style background with chalkboard style writing in different colours for the message. 

Perfect as a physical representation of praise, for supply teachers unable to access the schools reward system, childminders, babysitters or for parents to use with their children.  The back is plain to allow notes to be written. The cards come in a small box for ease of transport.

I have a pack here for review and they're brilliant.  My 5 year old son is desperate to 'win' one, but I'm not cracking until after Christmas now, not while I have Father Christmas as a bribe for good behaviour already!  I'd like to wait until he's forgotten about them, and then surprise him with one every now and then.  He loves collecting 'house points' at school, and he's going to love collecting these too... I think I'll give him the empty box, and so he can watch it fill up again and I'm planning on writing the date and reason on the back of the card so we can look through them all when he's been awarded them all... I will aim for one a week, and that'll take us nicely up to Christmas, when we can, after reviewing them, send them up the chimney to Father Christmas as 'evidence' of him having been good all year! 

Love more stickers for your little wise owls?

100 stickers for £3.99, inc. P&P

Stickers for the classroom

Please add delivery address to PayPal notes upon purchase.

 

 

Teachit Geography – Product Review by Sarah

TeachIt GeographyThis is site is aimed at Key Stage 3 (KS3) to Key Stage Five (KS5) Geography teachers. The site is split into the different Key Stages and then subdivided into the curriculum areas within each Key Stage. 

The resources are clearly labelled and are available as interactives, PowerPoints, word documents and all are available as free PDFs. Some have all formats available, some only have one or two. PDF files (not adaptable) are free to use by everyone whereas the other formats are only available to subscribers and can be adapted. It took me a while to work out which were the free resources and which were available only to the subscribers as it is written in smaller italics under the name of the resource. This could do with being clearer as there is nothing worse than finding that perfect resource only to find it is not available to you on a free membership. 

Once you have a list of resources up you have the facility to filter your search down by adding dates they were added, keywords and file type. This can save you some vital time looking for a resource in a certain format and prevent you from trawling through a huge list of irrelevant resources. At present there are not too many resources on the site so this feature would not be used much. However, once the number of resources increases I can see this being a valuable tool.

There is a folder for you to store any resources that you feel would be useful in the future. This is only available if you have a paid Individual or Department subscription to the site. This is a handy tool and saves you having to search through the site again to find things. The folder works like folders in Word, you can create more folders within the main folder to be super organised if you wish. The Department subscription allows access to the shared folders of all the teachers on the same subscription plan.

TeachIt Geography

The site has a selection of interactive games on various topics, including Hangman which can be set up with a list of geography related words, that would complement a lesson and reinforce the lesson's learning objective in a fun interactive way. These resource are included in the subscription price. It is necessary to play with the resources before using them in a classroom, you cannot just put them on and go! I found the Magnet one confusing on the free sample and the ready-made ones, with no way of knowing if the answers were correct. With a paid subscription you can however create your own. The Matching resource was again confusing, and I could not get it to work. The sequencing you can do, but again, no way of checking your answers on the ready made ones which is a shame. Creating your own allows you to put the option there for students to check their work, but would require time and effort plus knowledge of what they are studying to make these up in advance. *1

Snap and Hexbusters (take on Blockbusters) have a taster sample on the free subscription, with Hexbusters especially, requiring you to have the knowledge to know if the answer to the question is correct or not. *2

The resources can all be used and completed in a lesson so are ideal if no planning has been left but you know the topic being studied. Some require prior knowledge on the topic / a brief explanation of the terms, but others can be used as a complete stand alone session.

The 'What's New?" Section is a useful tool to make use of, including a calendar of events relevant to teaching - World Science Day, Anti Bullying week, Black History month etc. Not related to Geography but ideal to bear in mind for a more cross curriculum approach. The news section is full of education related news items currently relevant within education and good for keeping your own knowledge and understanding relevant.

Overall the site is easy to navigate and I can see once more resources become available on it it will become a handy resource for Geography teachers both permanent or on supply. 

 

About:

Teachit Geography publishes Geography resources for KS3–5 that teachers have made for their own classes.  Those resources are edited by teachers and published every week on the website for other teachers to use.  They are available free to all as PDFs, and in adaptable formats for subscribers.  The resources include worksheets, spreadsheets, PowerPoints and interactive activities.

The resources on Teachit Geography were ‘Highly Commended’ by the Geographical Association in 2013.  The judges commented on the quality and high standard of the engaging and relevant secondary classroom materials.  The Twitter account was also included on a list of the best Geography-teaching tweeters by the Guardian earlier this year.

The secondary Geography curriculum never stands still and they are continuing to publish specially commissioned resources to reflect recent changes to KS3.  Similarly, topical resources are published regularly linked to British and international news articles to support teachers.  A recent addition has been the ‘Geography in the news’ blog, which is proving very popular.

TeachIt Geography is part of the TeachIt family, which now boasts nine online resource libraries.

*1 Note on these from TeachIt: "These are generally used on an IWB where the class/teacher agree/disagree with the answers.  If they are used by an individual, the intention is for the end result to be printed out and checked. On Matching we’re now adding an instruction to this interactive to tell the user to move the tiles on the right hand side up and down by dragging and dropping to match the keyword/definition correctly. "

*2 Note from TeachIt: "Hexbusters does provide the answers: the sequencing interactive does allow you to check your answers, but only once 50% of the answers (or a percentage you set) are correct." 

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