At the beginning of the year I made Quiet Critters to use in the classroom. The students love them! I only bring them out sparingly, and only during those times when students need to be working quietly by themselves. Quiet Critters live in a soundproof jar and only come out when it's quiet. Loud noises hurt their ears, but whispering is ok. They love to sit on students' desks to watch and learn from the students. They don't mind being patted but they get scared if anyone picks them up or tries to play with them. When I take them out of the jar I place them on the top left hand side of the desk. If the student is too loud or starts to play with them, the Quiet Critter gets moved to the other side of their desk. If they continue to be loud they go back into their jar.
I love using catalogues in the classroom. There are so many different activities you can use them for. One idea is to have students create a Christmas shopping list for their family or friends. Ask students to bring in their junk mail or ask your local stores if you could have a pile of their catalogues for your classroom. Give students a budget ($200 is a good amount) and have students imagine what they would buy for their family members if they were given this amount of money. They can then go through the catalogues to choose items for each family member, cutting, pasting & calculating the cost, and how much change they would receive at the end. Challenge them to try to get as close to the set amount as possible, without going over! Early finishers could then create a wish list of their own.
Relief Teacher Tip I keep a post it note in the inside cover of the books that I read to classes. I record which classes I've read the book to & which ones I've done an activity with the book too. It's an easy way to keep track of which classes you've done what with! I also have a checklist of activities and classes, that I keep in my folder. The post it notes are just a quick way to check when I'm choosing books to pack for the day!