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…

 

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!

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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.

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: 

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

Back to school after the winter break

Getting back into the school routine can be tough for both pupils and teachers. Everyone is used to sleeping in, getting to bed late and doing what they like, so adjusting to the school routine may take some time. What can you do for adjusting back to school? Read on to find out more.

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Some teachers feel that they should avoid diving straight into schoolwork after the break. I’m a firm believer of the opposite. Years of teaching experience has proven that  the sooner you get everyone back into their routine, the better. Trying to ease in by prolonging the break with irrelevant fun activities will only make it harder for everyone to adjust and will delay the delivery of the curriculum, aiding to stress and anxiety toward the end.

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Children associate their school day to a particular routine and will be expecting that upon their return. Try to keep as close to it as possible as it will aid to their sense of familiarity and security, helping them to learn and perform well. Re-igniting the teacher-pupil bond, is necessary after the winter break. Discussing how the pupils spent their winter break and sharing experiences helps create bonding within the classroom setting. It also gives the teacher added information about their pupils’ psychology and will help them read between the lines, if needed. I always like to start the day, sharing such experiences and allowing everyone to voice what they would like to share, making them feel listened to and respected.

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Planning a little fun activity during the day to welcome them back to school, such as a little fun New Year’s resolution worksheets, goes down well to break up lesson intensity. The winter break return is the perfect time to teach children to reflect upon the past year and to make positive changes for the new year. Brainstorming a few resolutions as a class, can give children some ideas about making ones for themselves. Work from this, will also make a good display for the new year, now that your classroom will have been stripped from all the colourf Christmas displays.

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Winter break was a time for rest and relaxation, now it’s back to school time and time for some work, work, work. Be considerate and flexible, some children may need more time to adjusting. Work well and hard because those who work hard, do well!

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Wishing you all a great start to the second term! 

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

Credits for featured image http://www.uhd.edu

‘Bear’ Necessities for Teachers

Saved you a Spot recommends keeping a few essential things on hand to make your teacher life easier. For all you honey-bear-teachers out there, below you will find the simple, ‘bear’ necessities, that no teacher can go without! 🐻🐻🐻

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🐻 Water

water-bottle-png-pictureThe essence of life and the best way to keep your body and throat hydrated so as to avoid viruses clinging onto a dry throat. WHO is guilty of not drinking enough?? I sure am! Luckily, our new coffee delivery comes with a free water bottle which is bright and colourful and helps me remember to stay hydrated! Download a free app on your phone for water reminders, if you forget to keep  hydrated.

 

🐻 Coffee

coffee-pics-9All teachers at some point  in the day may feel tired. To help them get through that dip, we call on caffeine to save the day! Coffee will keep you alert and help you get everything done faster and more efficiently, till it begins to wear off… Then, I hope you are back at home and unwinding after a long day’s work.

 

🐻 Laminating pouches

JFK Binding

JFK Binding

My newfound addiction; one just can never buy enough. With all these new  readily available resources you can find online, laminating makes so much sense to make them durable! Posters and displays also look more professional and effective when laminated. Off to buy some more, straight after this post, as our school supply is way too limited.

 

🐻 Teacher planner

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I feel utterly lost without my Teacher Planner. I need it by me at all times. In schools things are constantly changing and writing everything down helps keep you on track. Get my Teacher Planner for free by clicking HERE.

🐻 Shoes

The Cornerstone

The Cornerstone

Many people think that teaching is a sitting down job, that all you do is sit down and the children come to you. Allow me tell you it is NOT. Teachers are constantly on their feet, walking around. Shoes need to be comfortable and practical. I have so many nice pairs of shoes that unfortunately my feet won’t allow me to wear to work, so I end up with putting on what I call ‘teacher shoes’, and my man calls ‘granny shoes’. What kind of shoes do you wear to work?

 

🐻 Colourful pens

ABSFreePic

ABSFreePic

I just love colourful pens!! Everything just takes on a new look when you write in colour. I have so many, yet I still manage to lose them; I am constantly looking for a pen to write with. Luckily, I found a way to always keep some with me, when I have my teacher planner. I bought this mini pencil case, which fits beautifully into the binder rings.

 

🐻 Hand Sanitizer

Livestrong.comThis is a must for all teachers to have on their desk. No amount of hand sanitizer will take the place of a good old hand was with warm soap and water, but it can help kill of some germs. Teachers come in contacts with so many individuals and it is important for them to use it to kill off unwanted germs because a trip to the WC is not the easiest of things to do with a class full of children.

 

🐻 To-do Lists

img_0080Download this fantastic To-do list from Erica Bohrer at Teachers Pay Teachers. I love this particular one because it can be customized and used time and time again. I have laminated it and use post-it’s for each section. It is a must in my teacher planner, I highly recommend it.

🐻 Post-its

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Reminders, reminders, reminders. Teaching has an ever-evolving schedule. No matter how prepared you thing you are, something will always change the last minute. Post-its are life savers for any teacher as they can be stuck anywhere and then just thrown away without leaving a trace.

 

🐻 Paper clips

WanzijiaThe way we teach today has resulted in a tonne load of photocopying. Personally, I have photocopying coming out of my ears! What would I do without these beautiful metallic wonders? Paper clips for organizing papers and keeping you sane.

These are my teacher essentials, what are some of yours?

Leave a comment below to share your ‘bear’ necessities! 🐻🐻🐻

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

Teachers, shouldn’t feel guilty for not working over Christmas

A new study published by the Guardian, found that not working over the holidays is critical for teachers to avoid burnout. So no more guilt trips, teachers! Research has got your back! Read on to find out more.

Teachers, shouldn't feel guilty for not working over Christmas

Time off allows teachers to “restore their emotional energy”, as stated in the report. Research carried out by academics at City University, London, found that teachers who continued to work at the same pace, during the holidays were less likely to cope with the demands of the new term, upon returning to school.

On the contrary, those who put the marking aside and took that time to look after themselves, connect with others and doing what makes them happy, showed improvement in their mental health and well-being. It’s important for teachers to unwind and realise that we’re also human and pick a few things you’d like to accomplish over the break.

Ta da! There you have it in a nutshell, backed up by research. Teachers, don’t feel guilty for not doing a myriad of things over the holidays – not sure if blogging counts! It’s far better to do things that take your mind off your job. If you really must, prioritise and keep it to doing the most essential things. Your self, colleagues and pupils will thank you in the long run.

So…put down that marking and go and enjoy your life! It won’t be long before you and I are under that tight schedule again!

See you all at ‘Guilt-free Central’ where we can take the train to Relaxation! 🙂

Wishing you all Happy Holidays!! ❤

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

Student Christmas Gifts!

It’s that time of the year, Christmas!!

The holidays are near and both pupils and teachers can’t wait to get their well-earned rest. Many teachers choose to give their students gifts for the holidays.

This year, I made my students little Christmas goodie bags. If you like them and would like to make some for your class, read on to see how to make them, for a cute cost-effective gift.

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To make these super, cute goodie bags for your beloved students, here is a list of what you will need:
  • tinsel
  • Christmas decoration
  • sweets of your choice
  • bookmark (Click to be directed to the TpT store)
  • bag topper (Click to be directed to the TpT store)
  • plastic bag (I used an Ikea one)

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    Attach your chosen Christmas decoration to the bookmark. Place all the above into the bag and secure with the bag topper! YES, it’s that simple!
    Let me know how it goes!

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    Happy Holidays to you all! 

    Till next time…
    Peppi Orfanogianni

    Credits to: Tammy’s Toolbox for the amazing bag toppers and First Class in 4th Grade for the fabulous winter bookmarks!

History Day: The Stone Age

Following the English National Curriculum in history, we have been learning about the Stone Age. We have looked at how the Stone Age was a time in history where early humans used tools and weapons made out of stone, going back 3.4 million years ago. The Stone Age itself is divided into three periods: the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic.

The Paleolithic period lasted from the first use of stones until the end of the last Ice Age. The Mesolithic period followed on from the last Ice Age to the start of farming, and the Neolithic period lasted from the start of farming to the first use of metal. The term ‘lithic’ comes from the Greek word ‘lithos’ meaning stone. We looked at photos of real artefacts and settlements found, dating back to the Stone Age as well as some photographs of amazing cave paintings. We had a great discussion about the colours they used as well as the type of paintings they created. We were all fascinated by them.

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Our ‘History Day’ followed on from our lesson on cave paintings. The children walked around the school and gathered: twigs, leaves, berries, flowers, olives, soil, anything that could be of use for them to recreate their own ‘cave paintings’ in their art blocks. The children made their own paintbrushes with the materials they collected and let their imaginations run wild, back to the Stone Age, producing some amazing results. It was an incredibly creative, fun day where children were allowed freedom to express themselves through Mother Nature.
Here are some photos from that day:
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From an educators point of view, when children are allowed such freedom in a structured environment, they never seize to amaze with the creativeness they show. A parent said “My child has not stopped talking about History Day, I wish more lessons could be as fun as this for the children.” The children themselves thoroughly enjoyed this day and some said that it was their best day ever.

It was such a successful day, that I could not refrain from sharing it.

So the challenge is on! How can all learning be as fun as this?

All knowledge is connected to all other knowledge. The fun is making the connections! – Arthur Aufderheide

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni