Relief Teaching Ideas

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


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Mixed Up Fairy Tale Writing Prompt

I was inspired to create this FREE Mixed Up Fairy Tale Writing Prompt after reading ‘The Great Fairy Tale Disaster’ by David Conway.
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In this book the Big Bad Wolf is fed up with blowing down houses. So off he goes in search of a new fairy tale to be in. Wearing the ball gown in Cinderella does not work and is embarrassing. Climbing up the beanstalk and seeing the giant scared the wolf, and getting kissed by the prince in Sleeping Beauty is not for the wolf at all. As the wolf runs from page to page the whole book of fairy tales becomes a great mixed up mess.

With this writing prompt, students roll a die four times. The first roll will decide their main character, the second the other characters, the third decides the setting and the fourth the problem of the story. Students then create a story with their rolls! You can either display this table on a smartboard or data projector, or photocopy the blackline master to hand out to students.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mixed-Up-Fairy-Tale-Writing-Prompt-814252
fairytale prompt

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The Terrible Suitcase Activity

BOOK WEEK Activity
The Terrible Suitcase by Emma Allen has been nominated for Early Childhood Book of the Year.

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Here’s an idea to do after reading the book.

Students can make a suitcase with some coloured & white A4 paper, scissors & glue. Inside have them write or draw what they would pack if they were going into space. Instead of “The Terrible Suitcase”, they can give their suitcase a different name & write it on the front.

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After they finish you can play the “I’m Going Into Space” game.

Quick Game – I’m Going Into Space

Packed up a little early? Have a spare 5 minutes? Here’s a game that requires no equipment & can be adapted to suit the class.

Tell the students that you’re going into space. You have an empty rocket that has room to fit them all but they need to bring something special on board if they want to be allowed to come along.
This something special fits a special rule, that you have predetermined, but cannot reveal. They need to guess what it is!

Some Example Rules:
– needs to start with the letter ‘D’ “Can I bring dog?” “Yes you can come in my rocket into space.”
“Can I bring icecream?” “Oh! I love icecream! But no, you cannot come in my rocket!”)
– needs to start with the same letter as their first name
– has a double letter in the word
– has only 3 letters
– is something you can eat

If they get stuck you may need to give them a few examples of what they CAN bring, to see if they can work out the pattern.


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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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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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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.