Relief Teaching Ideas

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


Rotational Symmetry Names

Rotational Symmetry – the shape or image can be rotated and it still looks the same.

In this activity students create a picture that has rotational symmetry, using their name as their starting point.
It is a great activity to add to your relief teacher folder because it does not require any photocopying. The only materials needed are white paper & textas or coloured pencils to decorate.

Trim an A4 or A3 piece of paper to make a square. I folded one corner over to make a triangle & then trimmed off the extra bit on the end. When I opened up the triangle, a square was left.

Fold the piece of paper in half to make a rectangle.

Fold it in half again, to make a square.

Fold over one corner to make a triangle.

With lead pencil, write your name in block or bubble writing. When you are happy with it you can go over it with a black texta.


Unfold one of the triangles . Hold it up to the light or up on a window so you can see & trace the original name you drew. I drew my picture at night so I had to hold my paper up to a light. Very tricky! I used a pencil first, just in case i slipped!
Continue unfolding and tracing until you have completed all 8 triangles.
If you have miras available to use, that would make this step a lot easier! A Mira is a geometric tool that is reflective like a mirror but is also transparent, making it easy to see & copy down symmetrical pictures.




Add colour to your design. Make sure you colour each section of the triangles exactly the same!



All done! These look fantastic displayed on a classroom wall or used as a cover picture for student workbooks.


Egg Carton Shake Up!

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

-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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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….


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

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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:



Charlotte’s Web:

Times Table Facts:

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.

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

3. Fold each corner into the centre.


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




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


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



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


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



Done! And ready to play!



For some more ideas & free printable chatterboxes you can also check out this fantastic page:

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Hide & Seek Maths

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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Ascending & Descending Order

Here’s a great way for kids to visualize ascending & descending order, with the added bonus of some measuring practice thrown in!

-Have students cut straws into 10 pieces.
-Arrange 5 of these pieces in ascending order.
-The other 5 need to be arranged in descending order.
-Tape or glue the straw pieces to the paper.
– Students then use a ruler to measure the length of each straw. Record the lengths under each straw.



Jigsaw Pairs

zzjigsaw picture

There are so many things you could do with these! Here’s a few ideas:
– lower case/upper case letter matching
– sight words
– antonyms
– synonyms
– math sums
– shape names & pictures
– analogue/digital time
– subject area questions & answers

I’ve also handed out blank sheets of these to older kids to make up their own revision questions before a test. After writing the questions & answers on the pairs they cut them out, put the pieces into an envelope & swapped with another student to complete.

When making your own puzzles you can either add your own print using text boxes, print onto card & then cut out OR print them off blank & laminate so they can be changed to suit your needs. If you need more than 14 pairs you can print another sheet on different coloured card.

You could probably find some better quality jigsaw pairs than these ones I made using just Paint! But you are more than welcome to print them off onto some card & use if you would like to. 🙂

Click here to download & print:



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Heads or Tails – Partner Game


*Each pair will need a game board & 3 coins. Alternatively they could use 1 coin & 2 different coloured counters.

To start the game, each player places a coin on the star of the snake. The heads player places the coin heads side up. The tails player places the coin tails side up.

The heads player tosses a coin. If it is heads, they move the coin one space toward the head of the snake. If it is tails, they don’t move but the tails player moves their coin one space toward the tail.

Next, the tails player tosses a coin. If it is tails, they move their coin one space toward the tail of the snake. If it is heads, they don’t move but the heads player moves their coin one space toward the head of the snake.

Play continues back and forth until one of the players reaches either the head or the tail of the snake, winning the game.

Link to this Mathwire free printable game can be found here:

Click to access headsandtails.pdf

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Multiplication Houses


This Math Art activity is a creative way to help students practice their multiplication facts.

Students draw their house, cut out the windows & then glue onto another piece of paper. The answers are then written under the window flaps.

I used A4 paper for this example because that’s usually more readily available for a relief teacher. They are sturdier & look even better when made with A3 card!

To cut out the windows I slightly fold the paper, cut a small slit, unfold and then continue to cut the opening. Younger grades (years 3/4) may need your help with cutting the slits for the windows. There may be a few capable students who can also help their classmates out with this step.

Alternatively, and an easier option, is to cut out window shapes from another piece of paper and simply glue or tape the windows to the houses, so that they can still be lifted up to reveal the answers underneath.

After they finish making their houses, students can turn them into a game board!

– Place counters on each window.
– Students take turns choosing a multiplication question to answer.
– They can self check the answer by lifting the flap.
– If they are correct they can keep the counter. If not, they need to return the counter to the window & the next player takes a turn.

This idea is from a book I bought awhile ago called MathArt by Carolyn Ford Brunetto. It has so many great creative learning activities that link math with art.



Area Dice Game


A game for 2 or 3 players.
Each player chooses a colour pencil or texta they will use in the game.
Players take turns rolling the dice, using the numbers that they rolled to draw the perimeter of a rectangle or square & writing the area in the middle of the shape.
Game ends when players run out of room to draw.
Winner is the player who has used the largest area/most squares.

This game is an old favourite. I used to play it when I was at school!