Relief Teaching Ideas

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

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Secret Spelling

Instead of getting students to write the usual sentences to practice their spelling, have them try Secret Spelling!
Students write out a sentence but use white crayon for their spelling words.
They can then get a partner to colour over the white spaces in texta to reveal the hidden spelling words.
Simple, easy & fun!


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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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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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.

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Junk Mail Cut Outs

I like the idea of the whole class or small groups working together, searching, cutting & then pasting to create class displays.

Draw up a big letter or number, or write the focus topic in the centre of a large piece of paper. Hand out magazines* & have the students search, cut & glue onto the chart.

You could get the kids to hunt for:
Words that have a particular sound in them
Colours (create a rainbow display)
Punctuation marks (!?,”;)
Synonyms for “said”
Conjunctions/joining words (and, but, when, or, so…)

*Just a note about using magazines in the classroom….Try to avoid gossip or fashion magazines because they often have inappropriate content for little ones! Most junk mail, travel, food & house magazines are safe though.


Paper Bag Books

I have seen some great paper bag books floating around Pinterest. Unfortunately, in Australia, it is very hard to find the type of paper bags that you need for this project, especially for a reasonable price!

I decided to try to make my own version with the typical Home Brand style paper bags that you can buy at the grocery store. It is a simpler version but I’m still pretty happy with how they turned out!

Basically, a paper bag book is a book made from paper bags! You stack the paper bags on top of each other & staple or bind the closed off ends of the bags together. You can then decorate, draw & write on the paper bag pages. Alternatively you can glue paper onto the pages to write & draw on. Pretty simple, huh?

You can then place card/paper inserts, or other flat objects like photos, paper cut outs, postcards, etc, into the open part of the bag. You can attach smaller pieces to string or popsticks & then sticky tape the string to the inside of the bag so you don’t lose them.












They are so versatile. They can be used to present work or projects, to record trips or excursions, or to review a unit of work. They can be adapted to suit all ages too!

More paper bag book ideas:
– All About Me (Place photos or special items, like 1st birthday cards, in the pockets.)
– Alphabet or Number Books
– Poetry
– Holiday Journal (Photos, ticket stubs, postcards, pamphlets can go into the pockets)
– Highlights of Grade __
– Revision or project for science, health or Society & Environment topics (eg: Australian States & their flags and emblems)
– Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift book
– Book Reports
– LOTE (eg: Items of clothes in Japanese – in the pockets put paper clothes to dress a paper doll that’s attached to the book)

Insert Ideas:
– Moving eyes on a popstick (cut out eye holes & draw eyes on a popstick that you can put in the bag insert & move around)
– Turning wheel with a window cut out of the paper bag page to show the different pictures you’ve drawn on the wheel
– Characters attached to string that can be pulled out from a pocket
– Answers to questions that you’ve written on the outer part of the bag
– Ribbons or coloured in masking tape tags sticking out of the edges to help pull inserts out

If you can find the American style paper bags that can be opened up to have sides & a bottom then you can make some pretty special looking books.

I would love to try some of the ideas found on these pages too:!)&m=1