Relief Teaching Ideas

Sharing ideas to help make relief teaching fun, enjoyable, and meaningful.


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STOP – Class Noise Warning System

When children are working & they don’t have to be silent but you don’t want the noise levels to get too loud try this tip.
Write STOP on the board in large letters.
Every time the noise levels get too loud, wipe one of the letters off. Once all the letters are rubbed off the class has to work silently!


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Egg Carton Shake Up!

Here’s a fun way for kids to practice their math facts & also reuse egg cartons!*

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-To prepare the egg carton, simply number the bottom of each space 1-12.
-Pop two counters into the egg carton.
-In pairs (or even groups of 3 or 4) students take turns shaking the egg carton.
– They then place the egg carton right side up & open it to see where the counters ended up.
– On a sheet of paper record the numbers the counters are on, multiplying them for their score.
– Add scores as they go.
– First player to 200 (or whatever number you set) is the winner!

*Remember to check for egg allergies in the class before using egg cartons.


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Curious Ferdinand & His Magic Spectacles by Anna Fienberg

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‘The Magnificent Nose & Other Marvels’ by Anna Fienberg is a compilation of stories about five children who each have some sort of remarkable gift. One of my university lecturers introduced me to this book. I loved it so much, I went & bought a copy of it that same week & have used it with a wide range of year levels since.

One of the stories is about a little boy named Ferdinand. He comes across a pair of magic spectacles that give him the remarkable ability to see the inner workings of people’s bodies & what is ailing or hurting them. Things like broken bones, fevers or even an inflamed appendix. He ends up helping the Prime Minister, who has an itchy ear & brain, when he sees & removes a spider from his ear!

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After reading the story brainstorm with the class other powers a magical set of spectacles could give them.
Do they:
– Turn invisible?
– Fly?
– Read minds?
– Talk to animals?

Hand out these ‘Crazy Glasses’ templates from Picklebums.
http://picklebums.com/2013/07/10/free-printable-crazy-glasses/

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The students can then decorate & make up a pair of their own magic spectacles, just like Ferdinand’s.

What special powers do their glasses give them?
Use these glasses as a writing prompt for students to write their own adventure.


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Simon Says Draw!

This is a great listening & giving instructions activity. It’s also a bit of fun. 🙂
Without letting the students see your work, draw and call out instructions for them to copy. Try to make some instructions more specific than others. Also throw in a few instructions that don’t begin with ‘Simon Says’ to see how carefully the students are listening!

Eg – Simon says draw a large blue rectangle
– Simon Says to draw eyes towards the top of the rectangle
– Draw a yellow oval in the bottom right hand corner of the rectangle
– Simon says to draw orange spikes coming out from the top of the rectangle
– Simon says to draw a green triangle in the centre of the rectangle

When you’ve finished your drawing get everyone to reveal their pictures.

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Who had the same picture?
Who didn’t?
Discuss which instructions were the easier or hardest to follow & why.

This can also be done as a partner barrier game or in small groups.


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9 Times Table Trick

This is one of my favourite times table strategies to teach kids. They get so excited when they see how it works!

– Have your hands out in front of you.
– Mentally number them 1-10, from left to right.
– Whichever number you are multiplying 9 by, place that finger down.
Eg. For 3 x 9 put your left hand middle finger down.
– How many fingers are to the left of the finger you placed down? How many are to the right? Put those 2 numbers side by side & that’s your answer!
Eg. For 3 x 9, the left middle finger is down. There are 2 fingers to the left, 7 to the right. 3 x 9 = 27

I tried to take photos to demonstrate this but it was a bit tricky by myself! Instead I searched & found this great link & photo for you to check out….

http://www.cometogetherkids.com/2012/01/cool-9-times-tables-trick.html?m=1

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Hope this little trick helps your students learn their 9 times tables!


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Pac Man

This is a simple game to revise facts. It can be used for any subject & doesn’t require any equipment!

1. Students spread around the room.
2. Teacher calls out a question.
3. Students put their hands up if they know the answer.
4. The first hand up to get it right moves one step closer to the nearest person standing next to them (or they can move away from someone!)
The goal is to tap the others on the shoulder and get them out of the game.
5.Teacher continues to call out questions.
6. The last person standing wins.

Some ideas for this game:
– times tables
– math facts
– spelling
– vocabulary definitions
– geography questions
– foreign language practice (eg: say the word in English, who knows how to say it in Japanese?)
– revision of a health, science or social studies unit


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Reading Across the Universe – Book Report

This year’s Book Week theme is ‘Reading Across the Universe.’

Here is a rocket themed book report outline that you can print & photocopy for your students.

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I recommend enlarging to A3 size because the rocket is on the small size! You can also cut the rocket out, add some cellophane or steamers to the bottom to make flames & then create a bulletin board display with stars, the moon & planets! The stars could be book recommendations students write for their peers.

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I have made two basic outlines. One with lines that could be used for ‘beginning, middle & end’ summaries or to write about the setting, characters, problem & resolution of a story. The other I have left blank spaces for students to simply draw and label characters, setting & a favourite part of the story.

rocket book report

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rocket book report junior

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Using Chatterboxes as a Revision Tool

I used to love making these as a kid! They have a few different names (cootie catcher, fortune teller) but I’ve always known them as chatterboxes.

They are a fun toy but can also be a great way for students to practice math facts, sight words, spelling & vocabulary, revise a unit of work, test their comprehension of a text or even provide a story starter.

I have a book of multiplication chatterboxes that are photocopiable. However, as a relief teacher, you don’t always have access to a photocopier. Instead it is easy enough for students to make their own. Plus, I think students are more likely to remember the facts they are practicing if they actually write them out themselves!

Here’s one I made to revise Australian capital cities:

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Charlotte’s Web:

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Times Table Facts:

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Just in case you can’t remember how to make them, here’s a quick tutorial:

1. Fold over the corner of a an A4 piece of paper to make a large triangle. Cut off the rectangle bit on the side & put into the scrap paper box.

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2. Open up the piece of paper & fold over the other corner to make a triangle. Open up again to reveal these creases.

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3. Fold each corner into the centre.

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4. Turn the paper over and then fold the corners into the centre again.

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5. Cut down the centre of each of the 4 triangle flaps, to create 8 smaller flaps.

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6. Flatten all the flaps down and fold the paper in half.

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7. Place your thumbs and forefingers in the four openings. Push open and then in towards the centre to manipulate into shape.

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8. Flatten again, to write out facts or questions.

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Done! And ready to play!

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For some more ideas & free printable chatterboxes you can also check out this fantastic page:
http://www.teachjunkie.com/holidays/winter/christmas/17-quick-cootie-catcher-printables-lesson-plans/


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Hide & Seek Maths

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Here is an activity that’s easy to set up, can be adapted for different age levels & that kids enjoy because they get to move around!

Number Post-It notes and write a different math question on each one. These can be simple math fact questions, lines to measure with a ruler, pictures of 2D and 3D shapes, word problems, or any other type questions you want the students to practice.

Hide the Post-it notes around the room – under desks & chairs, under the whiteboard ruler, on a bookshelf, camouflaged amongst wall displays.

Give kids a numbered answer sheet and clip boards. See if they can find and solve all of the problems!


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School Holiday Sharing

When students return from vacation they are often asked to share what they have been up to during their break from school. Here are a few ideas of how they can do this:

Two Stars & A Wish

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http://acrucialweek.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/two-stars-and-wish-freebie.html?m=1

This FREE printable can be used by students to share two great things about their holidays & one thing they wish they had been able to do.
You can also use this for students to self assess their work, to review an excursion or another special event, or to fill out about a book they’ve read.
I’ve used this type of sheet many times before, however this one is a lot prettier than the one I used to use!
You can also have students divide their page in three & draw their own stars & wish, instead of photocopying. 🙂

Holiday Postcard

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http://blog.melissaanddoug.com/2013/06/24/summer-postcard-pen-pal-projects/

Print out for students to illustrate & write about what they did on the school holidays.
If they didn’t go anywhere, what did they do at home or vacation care? Read, watch movies, visit friends?

News Report

Have students write a newspaper article about an event that happened during the holidays. It can be a sports report (a game they played or went to see), a movie or book review, a travel report, or something exciting that occurred (a new baby sister, a missing toy that was found, a new pet).
You can then collate the articles to create a class newspaper to keep & display in your class library. You could even print off a copy for each student!

Alternatively, have students create news reports to record using on the iPad. Collate to create a TV news episode for the class to view.

Partner News Sharing

A twist on traditional news sharing:
After a long weekend or the school holidays, many students return wanting to share what they did during their break.

Here’s an idea to ensure that all students are engaged in the news sharing.
– Pair students up
– One partner shares for 1 minute* while the other listens carefully.
– Swap roles so the other person can share for 1 minute.
– Bring the class together & then choose students to share what their PARTNER did on the weekend.
– Check in with their partner to see if they remembered the details correctly!

*I find even the most reluctant sharers are willing to have a go when they hear they only have to talk for 1 minute!

Fact or Fiction?

A writing task for after holidays or a long weekend!

Students are often asked to write a recount of what they did on the weekend or during their holidays.
Here’s an idea to motivate those students who complain that they never have anything to write about!!

– Have students choose between writing what they really did or be creative and make something up!
– They need to include the who, what, when, where & why of a normal recount.
– If they are writing a fictional piece they can either make it sound believable (eg I went to the zoo with my family & we had a picnic lunch) OR they can be a little silly with it (I went to the moon with my pet iguana & we ate purple twisties).
– After students write their piece they can either illustrate or write another recount (the opposite of what they chose first).
– Students can then read out their recounts for the other students & teacher to guess whether their recount is FACT or FICTION.