Relief Teaching Ideas

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


Spelling Scribble

Here’s an easy way for students to practice their spelling words. Have them draw a big scribble on their page – remind them to leave big spaces in their scribble! Using coloured pencils, they can then fill the spaces with their words.

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Recycling Bread Tags

We’ve been collecting bread tags for colour sorting & craft (we’re big on recycling/reusing.) It didn’t take long to build up quite a collection!

My little boy loves sorting through them, lining them up & putting them into little containers, shaking them up!

As we were playing with them on the weekend, I started thinking of other ways to use them, especially in the classroom…


– Clip onto popsticks for sight word or place value practice
– Thread onto pipe cleaners to make a counting bracelet
– Create funny faces or creatures

I just used permanent markers to write on the tags. Super simple & easy to do!

Does anyone else have an interesting way to reuse bread tags?

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Making Reading Connections

Have I mentioned my love for Post-its yet? Love them and so do kids! They can be a great motivational tool in the classroom. Here’s a way you can use them to make sure students are engaged during silent reading time.

During silent reading time hand students post-it notes. Explain that reading is thinking & good readers make connections with what they are reading.

While they read they need to jot down either:
– text to text connections (this reminds me of a book or character called…… because …..)
– text to self connections they can make (something similar happened to me…I know someone who reminds of…I have a dog just like….)

At the end of silent reading time they can share with the rest of the class any connections they made with their books.

You can leave this chart up in your room for students to continually add to it throughout the term.


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Ouch! Stories


Using bandaids as a writing prompt…

Kids love to talk about skinned knees, bruises, stitches & broken bones. They also love bandaids -I’m not sure why!

Have students write about a time that they hurt themselves.
– Where were they?
– What were they doing?
– How did they get hurt?
– What were their injuries?
– Who helped them?

Hand out an assortment of bandaids. You can get all sorts of colours, shapes, even patterned bandaids now! The students can use the bandaids to help illustrate what happened.

I originally saw this bandaid picture on Pinterest but unfortunately there was no link to share. If anyone knows the original source please let me know & I will link back to them.

This writing activity lends itself well to discussions about people in our community who can help us when we get hurt. You can also discuss with the class what they should do if they get hurt or if they see someone get hurt.

Books that I think would also match up with this activity include:

“Boo Hoo Bird” by Jeremy Tankard
“Ouch! I Need a Plaster” by Nick Sharratt
“Charlie is Broken”
“Ouch!”by Ragnhild Scamell
“Ouch! Jack & Jill” by Sharon Coan


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Paper Elephant Craft

“Too Many Elephants in This House” CLEVER CRAFT

The Children’s Book Council of Australia will be announcing the Books of the Year next month.
On the Early Childhood shortlist is the fun picture book “Too Many Elephants in This House” by Ursula Dubosarsky & Andrew Joyner.

You can view the book here:

While searching for an elephant craft to go with this book I found this YouTube clip (link below) of a super cute elephant craft. You only need paper, glue, scissors & either googly eyes or a black texta to draw eyes.
Love it!

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Shower Curtain Game Board

I love using plastic curtains or tablecloths in the classroom because they are so easy to set up, move around & store! I’ve used them for bulletin boards, to section off areas like a reading corner, to cover tables for messy work & also to make giant game boards.

Game boards can be easily folded up & stored away in your relief teaching bag!

To make the game board:
– Buy a cheap, light coloured shower curtain. This one was only $5 from The Reject Shop.
– Draw a 7×4 grid with a thick black marker. I just followed the fold lines, I didn’t use a ruler.
– Cut clear, plastic sleeve protectors in half.
– Tape the plastic sleeves in each rectangle.
– Cut A4 sized paper in half & write your review questions, math problems or sight words on the bits of paper.
– Place them in the plastic sleeves.

To play:
– Have a container of counters by the game mat.
– Students take turns throwing or rolling a counter onto the grid.
– Whichever square it lands on they need to answer the question (if it’s a sight word they need to read it or put it into a sentence).
– If they get it correct they get to keep the counter. If they get it wrong the counter stays in that square.
– If a player gets a question correct they get to keep their counter plus any other counters that have been left in that square.
– Students count up how many counters they have at the end of the game. Whoever has the most counters wins!

– Colour code the cards (these can be in rows or all mixed up.)
Green = easy question = 1 point
Yellow = medium question = 2 points
Red = hard question = 3 points

– Divide class either in half or into 3 groups. Have the groups line up in front of the grid.
– Students take turns throwing a beanbag onto the grid. They answer the question & if they get it correct they get the corresponding amount of points for their team. Keep a tally on the whiteboard. If they don’t get the question correct they don’t get any points.
-Once everyone has gone through two or three times, tally up the points. The team with the highest score wins!


These are so versatile! I’ve only listed two ideas but you could do so much more. It’s up to you how you want to play & what skills you want your students to practice.

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One Word

This is a great filler activity if you have a few minutes until the bell goes. It also helps students practice story telling, their oral language and logical thinking.

-Students sit in a circle or, if they’re at their desks, determine which order they’ll be going in.
– Each person says one word and the next person adds to it, and so on and so on, and it turns into a story.
– For example, Grace says “The,” Sam says “mouse,” and Tom says “tiptoed.”

It’s a simple concept but it requires that everyone pays attention, so that they follow the story, and don’t say a word that doesn’t fit in or make sense.
This game can go for as long or as short as you like! For an added challenge you can set a topic, setting, theme or genre. (Eg: A mystery, set at the zoo, involving monkeys.)
If it gets too silly you can start the game over.