You know you are a teacher when…

No matter how much work you do, your to-do list never seems to get any shorter.

 

You can hold it for unnaturally long periods of time.

 

You can recite the exact number of school days left till the next school holiday.

 

You can be eating while running to do the photocopying, checking your mail, going to the toilet and putting up a display, all in 20 minutes.

 

You get excited with new stationery.

 

You spend all your money on school stuff.

 

You have mastered eating your whole lunch in less than 5 minutes.

 

You want to slap the next person who says, “You get the whole summer off”.

 

You have an uncontrollable urge to tell off other people’s children in public.

 

You are bossy.

 

You are asleep by 9pm on a Friday.

 

How many do you relate to? 

 

Till next time…

 

Top 5 Mother’s Day Craft Ideas

So with Mother’s Day coming up, let’s not miss an opportunity to do some arts and crafts at school! Mums will love to be remembered and shown how much they are loved with a lovely handmade gift. I’ve made a list of my top 5 picks from the internet, choose your favourite one and give it a go!

ONE:
Give your mum a heart-shaped Mother’s Day paper craft  via
Paper Chase your mum will love these pretty handmade works of art! 


TWO:
Tell your mum how much you love her with this cute puzzle craft made up of old puzzle pieces you may have via Misadventures of ya librarian.

 

THREE:
Why not make her these cute paper roll craft flowers? So easy to do via
Craft Ideas.

 

FOUR:
Try out this wonderful DIY pop up card for your mum via Red Ted Art. Follow their youtube channel for some great arts and crafts videos.

FIVE:
Try out this simple and cute flower bouquet for your mum! 

Which one is your favourite? 

Till next time…

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double down, Book 11

The eleventh book in the series Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney was published on the 1st November 2016.

The pressure’s really piling up on Greg Heffley. The only thing he’s good at is playing video games, but his parents want him to broaden his horizons by doing something—anything! He comes up with the idea of making a scary movie and become rich in the process. Is this a double good idea or one to cause his double trouble?

The characters are Greg, Manny, Rodrick, Mom, the pig and Dad. I loved them all except the pig who stole Gregory’ s candy. They made me feel proud and happy. There is a little bit of a mix in the story, like it is many small stories in one big one.

I loved reading it, so I’ve read it twice! 

My favourite part in the book was when Greg gets a piece of LEGO stuck on his elbow, so Maddox accuses him of stealing it. There was one scary bit where Rodrick bought a toy witch, for Halloween and when someone make a noise it would start laughing. It went off all the time, which really annoyed Dad, so he took the batteries out. It still went off.

I recommend this book since it is the newest in the series and is fun to read.

If you are a fan of the Wimpy Kid series, check out Jeff Kinney’s site for more! 

Search the blog for more book Wimpy kid reviews.

Till next time…

Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses

Straight from Greece, a PowerPoint created with images downloaded from the internet. It has been created with upper Key Stage 2 in mind, and the images have been chosen for today’s generation to relate to them. This can be used as an introduction to a lesson or a plenary.

Click on the images below, an example of its contents, to download the PowerPoint for free use for your classroom.

It includes the 12 gods of Olympus and Hades the god of the Underworld. It covers their weapons and symbols and introduces children to myths and how these characters were used to explain natural phenomena in ancient times.

 

  

  

I hope you find this helpful. Please leave a comment below if you did.

Till next time…

Teacher Diet

Teachers are such good planners and organisers, they take care of their students and spend their free time marking and thinking about their next great lesson. It does not come as a surprise when many teachers, myself included, often neglect themselves. Prioritising yourself is not egoistic, it down right necessary. Looking after yourself, both mentally and physically, should be every teachers guilt-free priority. Only then, will you be able to cater for your students in the utmost best way, performing even better as a professional.

This year, my New Year’s resolution was to improve my eating habits and become more active. I had nailed it a couple of years back, but unfortunately lost it down the track, once more. I vowed I would find that mojo again and lose some excess weight I’d put over the Christmas holidays. On a venture to reach my ideal weight, I have started being good. In fact, I’ve been more than good, I’ve been REALLY good. Before you continue reading, this is not for me to show off but to motivate you to be good, too! If I can do it, then so can you! Here‘s to all of us being good, support is the best way through tough times, and you know those times can be tough, especially when little cupcakes are lurking around that staffroom corner!

teacher-diet

I started by preparing my lunch for school, mainly on the weekends, as the weekdays can become ultra busy. Teachers are in a high, cognitively complex profession, so your brain and body need the right fuel for best performance. The busy life of a teacher can leave both food and fitness way at the bottom of that priority list, with top places being hijacked by marking and planning. Snacking on so called convenience foods that are high in saturated facts may seem like a quick fix at the time but is it really a good idea in the long run? We all know the answer to that question, it plain and simple, no!

So far here are the steps I have followed and they have led me to losing some pounds already! I’m by no means a doctor and this is not medical advice for losing weight, this is just my story of what I am doing. My motto is to keep my food clean, simple, sugar-free (that’s the hardest) and fresh. It is not a set diet and if anyone has any health issues they should consult their doctor before they take this on. This post is purely to support fellow teachers with a similar mindset.

HAVE A GOOD BREAKFAST: Investing in a juicer is one of the best investments I’ve made. I have been juicing every morning on any fruit and vegetable I can get my hands on.  I make the recipes as I go along and they usually taste surprisingly good – I highly recommend it. I complete breakfast with some protein, such as an egg on toast or some Greek yogurt and honey. This keeps me full till snack time.

DON’T SKIP SNACK:  This is when blood sugar levels usually go down and you head for that cupcake. Don’t do it! For snack I usually take a handful of nuts (full of protein and good fats) and a fruit. Fruits are the healthiest way to get a little sugar rush and to spike your sugar levels for a little extra energy. This will keep you full till lunch.

LUNCH: For lunch I take a packed lunch from home, usually with some leftovers from the previous day. A must is to prep a salad with it too. It’s so easy to neglect, but so important to include.

SNACK/DINNER: When I get home I will juice some more and I’f I’m still hungry I will have some soup, nuts and a yogurt or salad. I try not to eat after 7pm till the next day – some days this is easier than others.

I am now half-way towards my goal and happier. 🙂

Sending some teacher love out there to all my fellow colleagues fighting with those staffroom sweets. Be strong and resist and let’s get trim for the summer, together!

I would love to read your stories and thoughts! Leave a comment below.

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

Featured image cupcake from dreamstime.com images.

How to deal with a defiant toddler

The other day, I ran into my next door neighbour, a lovely lady with three adorable kids. After the first few minutes of social small talk she blurted out her immense exasperation with her two defying toddlers. She asked me, more rhetorically than literally, about what she could do, as losing her cool had not been helping the situation. Being a teacher of 20 years has equipped me with experience of handling young children, but not toddlers. What do you do when a toddler looks you in the eye and does something you have explicitly told them not to? Losing your temper is a justifiable reaction , but is it the best? This got me thinking and researching about writing this post. Read on for the best strategies to deal with a defying toddler.

how-to-deal-with-a-defiant-toddler

WHATEVER YOU DO DON’T LOSE YOUR COOL: You guessed it, all the research shows that you must not lose your cool. As soon as you do that, it’s game over. Defiant behaviour comes down to boundary testing and gaining power. Think of it as a power game, if you lose control the power is in your toddler’s hands, look at what their behaviour can do to you. The more they continue the more you lose it and boy does that feel good, they know how to control and manipulate you.

BE THE EXAMPLE: Children look to adults to model and copy behaviour patterns. If you get angry often, then chances are that your child will do the same. Model the behaviour you want your child to have when things go wrong, or when they get upset. Teach them strategies to calm themselves down, like counting or going somewhere by themselves until they are ready to return.

SET CONSEQUENCES FOR THEIR MISBEHAVIOUR:  There should be consequences for their behaviour, for example a time out system. Give them 2 chances to correct their behaviour and then give them time out. Have them sit alone for a few minutes, it needs to be something immediate and effective. Time out should be a minute for every year of their age.

BE SYSTEMATIC: Whatever you do, be systematic. Your child will know what to expect and will stop being defiant if they reach the same time out spot again and again, without you getting angry. Do not get into a long conversation about it and expect an apology. You are teaching your child about consequences, obedience and remorse in an effective calm manner. I repeat do not lose your cool.

PRAISE GOOD BEHAVIOUR: Just as misbehaviour should have consequences, so should good behaviour.  A reward is a consequence of good behaviour. Good behaviour should be rewarded with praise, affection or extra privileges. Every time your child reacts and responds in a good way, make sure you make them aware of it and praise them. Rewarding them in such a way  encourages more good behaviour.

These strategies are closely linked to the 1-2-3 Magic. I highly recommend that all parents read this book  ‘1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12‘ by Thomas W. Phelan, as it has foolproof strategies for dealing with misbehaving children.

I hope this post helps you. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below to let me know.

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

 

Benefits of learning joined-up handwriting

Is it important for young generations to learn how to join up their handwriting, especially in the age of iPhones and pads? I’m sure this question has crossed many pupils’ parents’ and teachers’ minds.

Evidence is mounting that putting pen to paper has benefits that typing cannot replace. – CursiveLogic

Benefits of Joined-up Handwriting

CURSIVE Vs JOINED-UP

Is there a difference between cursive and joined-up? According to Wikipedia, cursive is any style of penmanship in which some characters are written joined together in a flowing manner, generally for the purpose of making writing faster. Formal cursive is generally joined, but casual cursive (joined-up) is a combination of joins and pen lifts. So basically it is the same thing, the only difference is one joins up all the letters and the latter has some lifts of the pen.

CURSIVE Vs PRINT

According to neurologist William Klemm, the neurological benefits of writing by hand are compounded with cursive writing.  He states that cursive writing, compared to printing, is even more beneficial because the movement tasks are more demanding, the letters are less stereotypical.  Diane Montgomery posits that the connected letters and fluid motion of cursive handwriting are especially beneficial to students with disorders such as dyslexia and dysgraphia. Brain imaging studies show that cursive activates areas of the brain that do not participate in keyboarding.

HANDWRITING Vs QUALITY OF COMPOSITION

Researchers Steve Graham and Tanya Santangelo found that teaching handwriting is strongly correlated to the improvement in the quality of writing, not just the legibility of the handwriting, but the quality of the composition. Fluent handwriting allows the student to freely concentrate on higher level skills needed for good writing and to write at a much faster speed.

Do you think handwriting should have a slot in the taught curriculum?

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

Sources: 

Children and Lies

Most parents like to think of their children as angels. “My child never lies,” is a statement that is reiterated and believed by many parents. It usually comes as a huge surprise when parents discover that their children are after all human and do lie. It is within human nature to lie, and research shows that lying even to one’s parents, is a natural and important part of growing up. However at what point is lying a normal part of the growing up process and when is there a need to show concern.

children-and-lies

Arnold Goldberg, a professor of psychiatry at Rush Medical College in Chicago says that “Lying is as much a part of normal growth and development as telling the truth, the ability to lie is a human achievement, one of those achievements that tends to set them apart from all other species.”

Psychiatrists see lying as pathological when it is so destructive it affects the liar’s life and those to whom they lie, writes Daniel Goldman in his New York Times post, Lies Can Point to Mental Disorders or Signal Normal Growth.

Research shows that infants start misleading their parents very early in life. Infants mislead their parents through fake cries, concealing mistakes, and pretending to be injured, just to name a few.

Between the ages of two to three, children start lying when they break established rules and by age five children get quite adept at being able to successfully lie to others. Not only are children predisposed to using deception, but more often than not, children learn this behaviour at home and socialising with others.

Children watch their parents lie and they are explicitly taught to lie by their parents; what we call white lies. It is a social skill that has to be mastered, for positive social interaction, as it is intrinsically linked with good manners and a good upbringing.

According to Daniel Goldman, children lie for the same reasons adults do: to avoid punishment, get something they want or make excuses for themselves. However, preteen-agers usually have not yet learned to tell the white lies of adults, which work as social lubricants or to soothe another’s feelings, researchers say. Those with higher IQs are more likely to use deception.

 

 

As children grow up, deceptive behavior tends to get worse, especially during the teenage years, when children are trying to assert their independence. To make matters more complicated, teenagers tend to put rewards ahead of risks, causing them to act more carelessly and often more deceptively than adults would like.

While there is no one full proof method to deal with lying, if you discover that your child is lying stay calm. Talk to your child about the underlying issue and try to get the whole picture, remind them that you value honesty in your relationship with them. Have consequences that correspond with the child’s age and type of lie. On the other hand, if you are dealing with a child who lies even when there is no reason to lie, or a child who is constantly putting themselves at risk, seeking out professional help may be the wisest course of action.

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

Further resources: Children and Lying

Mary Poppins Costume

Teacher dress up ideas for any occasion! This is a great idea for Halloween, Book Week, Carnival or a Fancy Dress Party! Who doesn’t love Mary Poppins? Practically perfect in every way, here is my version of Mary Poppins, Peppi Poppins!


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This costume is so easy to make, if you are a teacher, I’m sure will have most of these items of clothing in your closet already.

You will need: a blazer, a skirt, a white shirt, black tights and heels. You will notice in the film that she has many outfits so you have a choice with what look you want to go for. I went for the blue attire she wears.

I  purchased a red bow-tie and a really cheap hat, on which I stuck some plastic flowers on with a glue gun. I got the mini pomegranates from the tree and painted them red with nail polish, then stuck them on, too.

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I also bought the umbrella for  4 euro and rummaged through my wardrobe to find a fitting bag. Luckily, I had one; forgotten, at the bottom of my cupboard!

The make-up is supercalifragalisticespialidociously simple: red lipstick, rosy cheeks and some brown eyeshadow…and there you go! A Mary Poppins outfit in tip top time!

Below are some more photos of Mary Poppins with some friends and her class.

Matilda and Poppins

Mary Poppins with her class

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

The importance of hugging your kids

Hugging is SO incredibly powerful, it’s not just beneficial for kids, but for all ages. Whether you’re wrapped up in the arms of your beloved, greeting a friend or saying goodbye, hugs have a way of making us feel special, protected and loved. This simple gesture can do wonders for our well-being and the emotional development of our young ones. Below, are just a few of the many benefits hugging our loved ones gives – be it a bear hug, a cuddle or a warm embrace.

hugging

  • It makes children comfortable with receiving and showing affection toward others
  • It increases good chemicals in the brain which in turn lower stress, promote healing, lower
    blood pressure and make us feel happy
  • It’s a way to communicate love and affection without words
  • It can be a good exercise, rocking, carrying and holding your kids
  • It promotes bonding
  • It creates a healthy sense of personal boundaries
  • It encourages calmness and relaxation
  • It improves immune functions and sleep patterns
  • It lowers anxiety and stress
  • It reduces discomfort from teething, congestion, colic and emotional stress
  • It strengthens the digestive, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems

Research shows that adults need an average of 5 hugs a day. So what are you waiting for? Start those hugs! Just make sure the person on the receiving end is as eager to get them the person giving them. ❤

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

Special thanks to R. Centeno for the featured image photo.