Posted in Maths Activities

Mastering Symmetry with Strange & Unique Creatures: A Review of the Must-Have Math Resource for 4th Grade Teachers

Math can be a challenging subject for some students, but with the right approach, it can also be a lot of fun. That’s why we’re excited to share this amazing math resource with you that is designed to help 4th graders improve their symmetry skills using strange and unique creatures.

Symmetry is important in math because it is used in many different areas of mathematics, such as geometry, trigonometry, algebra and physics. It helps students understand patterns and solve problems, as well as develop logical thinking and spatial awareness.

In addition to its mathematical applications, symmetry is also a fundamental concept in art, design and nature. Understanding symmetry helps children understand the world around them, it also helps develop logical and critical thinking skills as well as spatial awareness and visualization skills.

The resource, which is available on Teachers Pay Teachers, includes five different creatures, each with three levels of difficulty to challenge students of all abilities. The first level provides students with a completed drawing with a line of symmetry, and they are asked to color the creature symmetrically. This level is perfect for students who are new to symmetry and need a little extra guidance.

As students progress to the second level, things get a little more challenging. Half of the creature is partially drawn, and students need to complete the drawing and color it in symmetrically. To help them with this task, the second level also includes a grid to guide their symmetrical drawings. This level is perfect for students who are ready to take on a bit more of a challenge.

Finally, the third level includes just half the creature, and students must complete and color the other half symmetrically. This level is perfect for students who are confident in their symmetry skills and are ready for a real challenge.

With this activity, your students will have a blast practicing and mastering lines of symmetry through the exciting theme of strange creatures. The creatures are not only fun, but also a great way to help students understand the concept of symmetry in a visual way. So, if you’re looking for a fun and engaging way to help your 4th graders improve their symmetry skills, be sure to check out this amazing resource on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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Posted in Teacher Well-Being

The Power of Positive Thinking: Gratitude and Mindfulness in Managing Teacher Stress

As a teacher, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily stresses of the job: dealing with difficult students, managing a heavy workload, and constantly changing expectations. It can be easy to focus on the negative aspects of your job and forget the positive impact you have on your students and the difference you make in their lives. That’s why it’s essential to practice positive thinking and gratitude as a way to manage teacher stress.

The practice of gratitude involves actively focusing on the things in your life that you are thankful for. This can be as simple as writing down three things you are grateful for each day or taking a few moments at the end of the day to reflect on the positive aspects of your day. When you focus on the things you are grateful for, you start to shift your mindset from one of scarcity to one of abundance. This shift in mindset can have a powerful impact on your well-being and overall stress levels.

Keep a gratitude journal: Take a few minutes each day to write down things that you are grateful for. This can be as simple as a colleague who helped you out or a student who made you smile.

Practice affirmations: Start your day with positive affirmations such as “I am capable and strong” or “I am making a positive difference in my students’ lives.” Repeat these affirmations throughout the day to remind yourself of your strengths and capabilities.

Mindfulness is another powerful tool for managing stress. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment, without judgment. By being mindful, you can become more aware of your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. This awareness allows you to observe your thoughts and emotions, rather than getting caught up in them. This can be done through daily meditation or simple breathing exercises, which can help you to feel more centered and grounded.


Recognise small wins. It’s easy to focus on what’s not going well, but it’s important to also recognize small wins and successes. Whether it’s a student who finally understands a concept or a parent who expresses their appreciation, take a moment to celebrate these small wins.

Make time for hobbies and activities you enjoy. Whether it’s reading a book, going for a run or practicing a musical instrument, make time for activities you enjoy to disconnect from work and bring you joy.

It’s also important to remember that you are not alone in your struggles. Connect with others. Reach out to other teachers for support, whether it be through an online community or a local teacher’s group. Sharing your struggles and successes can help you feel less alone and more supported.

In conclusion, practicing positive thinking and gratitude, along with mindfulness and building a support network can be effective ways to manage teacher stress. It’s important to take care of yourself and focus on the positive aspects of your job, such as the relationships you have with your students and the difference you are making in their lives. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help and know that you are not alone in your struggles.

Posted in Interesting Facts, Poetry Writing Ideas, Writing Ideas

Five Reasons Why We Should Be Teaching Poetry In Schools

If you are not using poetry in your classroom on a regulat basis then this is the post for you!

Hopefully by the time you get to the end you will be energised to introduce more poetry activities to your children.

Poetry has a unique place in our curriculum.

It can be taught as part of reading, writing, and literacy lessons and it fits easily into classroom themes, projects, and celebrations.

Michael Rosen, poet and Children’s Laureate 2007-2009 said:

‘Teachers sometimes ask me, “What’s the best way to get children writing poems?” One of the first things I suggest is to create a poetry-friendly classroom. It’s about making a classroom a place where poems are welcome. It’s about pleasure, stimulation, feeling, curiosity, wonder and fun and children finding their own voice.’

Five Reasons You Should Be Teaching Poetry In Your Classroom

1. Speaking and Listening – poetry is a great way to build and develop the children’s speaking and listening skills.

When poems are shared in the classroom it is often a group or class activity that involves reading out loud.

It is an opportunity for you as the teacher to ask a variety of questions about the content of the poem, how it sounds, can they recognise any rhyming words and so on.

Here is a poem from our poet in residence, David Horner.

2. Literacy Skills – poetry is a wonderful tool that can use used to teach many literacy skills.

Poems can be used to teach phonics and letter sounds, sentence structure and grammar skills.

The teaching of poetry also helps build vocabulary as the children are exposed to new words.

This idea is all about tongue twisters.

3. Language Development – poetry encourages the children to play with language.

Poets craft sentences with imagination and precision.

They use sentence structure and grammar with precision and these are skills children can learn through listening to poetry and then writing their own.

This poem explores the Anglo-Saxon writing of kennings – in a fun way.

4. Inspiring Children To Write – through poetry, we can teach our children how to choose the right words to create particular images and effect.

By breaking poems down into their parts, children can learn a lot about how writing comes together.

Children learn how to follow a pattern and put words in a certain order.

Searching for these patterns in poems can be great fun and often inspire the children to want to try writing similar poems for themselves.

This video is taken from the National Poetry Day site.

5. Making Reading Manageable – most poems are manageable.

If you put to one side some of the longer narrative poems, most poetry is concise.

This makes it perfect for those children who are daunted by reading longer pieces of prose.

A Poet In Your Classroom

Here at Goodeyedeers, we have been creating resources for you to use in your classroom.

In these packages David Horner, our poet in residence here at Goodeyedeers, shares with you a typical session he did when he was working in schools across the country and abroad and shows you how to duplicate it in your classroom

Each resource contains:

  • Three animated videos where David reads out three of his poems using a number of unusual characters to help him!
  • Text of each of these poems for the children to have as they follow the readings.
  • Suggestions, in the Teachers’ Notes, as to how you might follow this first session up.
  • A PowerPoint containing a complete workshop lesson for you to do with the children to get them writing their own poetry.
  • A set of notes to accompany each of the slides that talk you through the lesson.

We have four packages altogether:

Here is the trailer for the Year 4 package.

How are you going to use poetry in your classroom?

Mike and David – Goodeyedeers

Check out David’s latest poetry book, ‘All Good Things’. 48 great poems + 10 QR codes which, when scanned, will take you to an animated video of David reading that poem.

Posted in Halloween Resources and Ideas, Writing Ideas, Writing Ideas and Resources

Writing Ideas for Teachers – Halloween Writing Prompts

A new series of posts for teachers looking for some picture writing prompts they can use in their classrooms.

In this post there are 10 scary pictures to fire up your children’s imagination this Halloween. They come in the form of a video and you can watch the film through and simply pause on the picture you want to use.

Halloween Writing

Check through these 10 pictures. Which ones are going to appeal most to your children?

  • Get the children to work in pairs and describe to each other what they can see in the picture.
  • Get them to ask each other questions such as – What’s happening? What might have happened leading up to this moment? What might happen next?
  • Encourage them to make notes; write down their ideas and then help one another to go back and improve the sentences they have written.
  • What are they going to write? Will it be a poem, a haiku or chinquapin poem; or maybe a short story of exactly 100 words or exactly six sentences; or maybe a newspaper report?

Whatever they do, I hope they have fun!

Extra!

Attached is a PDF of the 10 pictures in case you might like to download it, print off the pictures and then laminate, ready to be used again and again.

Writing Ideas For Teachers – A Quick Writing Lesson Using Vowels

Vanishing Tricks

A quick writing resource for teachers to use in their classroom. This idea is particularly aimed at children in KS2 or Grades 2-5.

Take a look the text below. It’s called vnng

vnng
Th dy s pst, th sn s st, nd th wht strs r n th sky; whl th lng grss wth
dw s wt, nd thrgh th r th bts nw fly

Can the children work out some of the words? It would be much easier to read if all the vowels hadn’t vanished! It shows how important vowels are. There are only five of them, but they do so much work: they appear in almost every word in the English language and they have to make 20 different sounds for us.

All those words make a four-line verse to a poem called ‘Evening’.The poem has six verses all together, made entirely of one-syllable words. Clever! 

Lines 1 and 3 and lines 2 and 4 rhyme. Can the children spot the line breaks? Get them to have a go at writing the verse out with all its vowels and in four rhymed lines. (It is printed at the foot of this page for you to check). The poem was written by Thomas Miller, a nineteenth century writer born in Lincolnshire, who left school aged just nine years. 

Something to try next

This is a good game to work on in a pair. It’s even better if you can get another pair to compete against!

  • The first thing to do is find a short poem, or one verse from a longer one to work on. You need 4–6 lines and the lines should end-rhyme – the rhyming words being the last word on each line. 
  • Copy out the chosen lines, with its title, leaving out all the vowels as you do so. And of course, write it as prose, with none of the poem’s line-breaks. Include all the punctuation. 
  • Each pair should have a different poem to copy and when they are all ready, swap papers to see who can correctly insert all the vowels and set the poem out in its proper lines. 

Have fun!

Answer:

Evening

The day is past, the sun is set,
     And the white stars are in the sky;
While the long grass with dew is wet,
     And through the air the bats now fly

This idea is taken From David Horner’s book, ‘Cracking English Grammar in KS2’. It contains 100+ creative games and writing activities..

Have you read David’s latest poetry book? It is called ‘All Good Things – A Book of Utterly Brilliant Poems’. It also contains 10 QR codes which, when scanned, will take you to fun, animated readings of some of the poems.

Posted in Halloween Resources and Ideas, Writing Ideas

Write Your Own Halloween Poems -Three Spine-Chilling Writing Ideas

Are you looking for inspiration to get your children writing some Halloween Poetry? We have some three spooktacular writing resources available in the Goodeyedeers Shop at TES or our TpT Store. Each one is packed with ideas to help you have a great lesson with your children this coming Halloween.

Halloween

Halloween is also known as All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a celebration observed every year on October 31 – the eve of the Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day, also known as All Saints’ Day. It is thought that it originates from the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain, meaning ‘Summer’s End’ which celebrated the end of harvest season.

Gaels (Gaelic speaking people from Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man) believed it was a time when the walls between our world and the next became thin, allowing spirits to pass through and come back to life on the day. Places were set at the dinner table to appease and welcome the spirits. Gaels would also offer food and drink, and light bonfires to ward off the evil spirits.

The carving of pumpkins originates from the Samhain festival, when Gaels would carve turnips to ward off spirits and stop fairies from settling in houses.

The phrase trick-or-treat was first used in America in 1927, with the traditions brought over to America by immigrants.

In Czechoslovakia, chairs for each deceased family member are placed by the fire on Halloween night alongside chairs for each living one.

In Austria some people leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before going to bed. It is believed this will welcome dead souls back to Earth.

In Germany, people hide their knives to make sure none of the returning spirits are harmed – or seek to harm them! 

Writing Halloween Haiku

This PowerPoint lesson (TES or TpT) starts by explaining what a Haiku poem is and then has the children recognising and counting syllables. Haiku are three-lined, unrhymed poems, with a syllable count of 5 – 7 – 5.

The children have a chance to complete some half-finished Haiku. This can be done as a whole class, in pairs or groups or individually.

Finally, the children are given some picture prompts to help get them started on writing their own spine-chilling Halloween Haiku.

Haiku Poems for Halloween

Writing Halloween Cinquain

In this PowerPoint lesson (TES or TpT) the children are introduced to cinquain poetry and how it is made up of five unrhymed lines and a syllable count 2-4-6-8-2.

This form of poetry is said to have been invented by an American poet called Adelaide Crapsey.

The lesson takes them through some half-finished examples which the children work together to finish before going off and writing some of their own.

Halloween Poems

Writing Halloween Cinquains

In this PowerPoint lesson (TES or TpT) the children find out what a Kenning is and its origins in Anglo-Saxon times.

Kennings were so popular in Anglo Saxon poetry that around a third of Beowulf, the best known Anglo Saxon poem, is comprised of them. And ‘Beowulf’ is itself a kenning, meaning ‘bee-wolf,’ or bear (since bears are famous for robbing bees of their honey).

The ‘scop’, or poet, of Anglo Saxon times relied to a great extent on the metaphor to describe everyday objects in a colourful language. The type of metaphor that he used, known as the kenning, was a compound composed of two words which became the formula for a specific object.

The first kennings used by the ‘scops’ were comparatively simple in structure: they expressed a single idea or thought and were compounds usually composed of two words. Examples of these simple kennings are ‘sun table – the sky’ and ‘battle serpent – arrow’.

They are then shown how to write some modern Halloween Kennings which they then put into couplets to create their blood-curdling Halloween poems.

Writing Blood-Curdling Kennings Poems for Halloween

Happy Halloween from Mike and David at Goodeyedeers.

Have you tried David’s new poetry book? It’s called ‘All God Things – A Book of Utterly Brilliant Poems for Children’.

There are over 40 poems in the book and 10 of them contain QR codes somewhere on the page. These QR codes will take you to an animated video reading of that poem!

Check out our TpT Store below for more great teaching resources.

Writing Ideas For Teachers – A Quick Writing Lesson Using Adjectives & Nouns

Name That Band

Get the children to imagine they have heard a brand-new pop band. They sound great, they look great, their songs are great – they will be great! The only thing they don’t have is a great band name.

This is where The children come in: the band has asked if they can to come up with some possible names for them.

They need 13 names altogether to choose one from. This is the pattern they have given you:


The + adjective + noun

The adjective and noun must follow the sequence A-B, C-D, E-F, G-H, etc. as in the extract  below, all the way to Y-Z.

The Aeronautical Bananas
The Curious Demons
The Electric Feathers

The band want a very unusual name for themselves, so the children need to do their very best to find the weirdest, most unlikely pairings of adjective and nouns they can. Encourage them to be different!

Have fun!

This idea is taken From David Horner’s book, ‘Cracking Creative Writing’. It contains 100+ activities to inspire children to write creatively and independently.

Have you read David’s latest poetry book? It is called ‘All Good Things – A Book of Utterly Brilliant Poems’. It also contains 10 QR codes which, when scanned, will take you to fun, animated readings of some of the poems.

Writing Ideas For Teachers – A Quick Writing Lesson Using Collective Nouns

Here is a quick writing idea to try out with your class all about collective nouns.

Explain to the children that a  collective noun is the term we use for a group of things. For example, a flock of sheep, a bunch of flowers, a class of students.

Here are some rarer ones they might not know:

a tissue of lies,
a hand of bananas,
a murder of crows,
an ambush of tigers,
a blessing of unicorns,
a kingdom of rats

Search the Internet for lots more.

All of these collective nouns – and many, many more – were invented in the past. Now it is the children’s turn. You are going to get them to make up some new collective nouns.

How many can they invent? Get them to write down lots to start with – quickly. Then look back through them all and choose the best ones. Keep between eight and ten.

To get them started, here are six nouns:pirates, drink cans, snails ambulances computer games dentists

Invent a collective noun to describe a group of any of them.

Have fun!

This idea is taken From David Horner’s book, ‘Cracking Creative Writing’. It contains 100+ activities to inspire children to write creatively and independently.

Posted in Writing Ideas

How To Write a Song With Young Children

Imagine writing a song with a group of young children?

In this short video we will talk you through a great lesson for you to try out with your reception children.

The whole class will work together to create an entertaining song they can then perform to others.

They are going to love it!

Lesson Video

We hope you enjoyed that.

How To Write A Song With Reception Children

It is the first of a number of short videos we will be putting up on the Goodeyedeers Blog packed with writing ideas for you to try out with your children.

David and Mike from Goodeyedeers.

Visit the Goodeyedeers Shop at TES
Posted in Writing Ideas

Poetry Resources and Ideas for Teachers – If The World Was Crazy, What Might It Look Like?

Want to bring poetry into the classroom but not quite sure where to start? Teachers: you’ve come to the right place! In this post, we are going to look at a poem by Shel Silverstein and give some ideas as to how it might be used.

This gives the children a chance to read some excellent poetry and then study it in detail and use what they discover to write poems of their own.

Shel Silverstein

For over 30 years Shel Silverstein was Mr Children’s Poetry in the United States, where his books sold in their millions.

What marks his work out is that, as well as writing the poems, he illustrated them, thus giving the pages of his books a wonderfully complete feel.

Check out some of his books, including, A Light In the Attic and  Falling Up and his last one, Where The Sidewalk Ends.

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7 Ideas For The Classroom 

All the ideas suggested here are ones that David Horner, from Goodeyedeers, has tried and tested with children in many different schools.

The poem we are going to look at is called, ‘If The World Was Crazy’ and is taken from Shel Silverstein’s book, Where The Sidewalk Ends. 

Shel Silverstein's poem - 'If The World Was Crazy'

Here are David’s  ideas on how you might use this poem with your children:

  1. This poem needs to be read aloud – and more than once – for children to pick up both its clever details and its direct rhythms.
  2. Get the children to prepare a reading for performance. You might even want to create an animated version of the reading as in this example.
  3. Cover the final word in each pair of lines. Be ready for the children to give you some inspired alternatives! Can they be even crazier than Shel’s?
  4. See if you can change some of the original content to invent new elements of the crazy world, e.g. you might alter lines 2-4 of verse 3 to:

I’d fly on my duvet and sleep in my shoe
I’d run under water and float in the air
I’d climb up the bathtub and wash on the stair

  1. Give individual children or small groups just one verse to work on to discover just how many contradictions the poem includes. They can then report back so that a final total can be established.
  2. As an alternative, count how many different things Shel wants to do in his crazy world. The grammatical focus here is the poem’s verbs.
  3. While a rhyme scheme is hard to imitate, the poem’s crazy contents are not. Ask for unrhymed poems either featuring a Fantastic Factory or some Crazy Clothes in which the items produced or worn are made of impossible materials eg:

A motor car of chocolate
A bobble hat knitted from daydreams

Have fun and let us know how you got on in your Crazy World!

More Ideas

It’s also worth looking at the Shel Silverstein web page where there a number of learning resources you can download. I particularly liked some of his simple animations.

And Finally…

Continuing the theme of ‘nonsense’ one of our most popular resources in The Goodeyedeers Shop is ‘Jabberwocky – Rewriting A Classic Poem’ where the children are given a strategy for turning this nonsensical poem into one that makes sense – well almost!

Mike and David – Goodeyedeers

Check out our shop at TES below for more great teaching resources.

A link to The Goodeyedeers Shop at TES Resources

Check out our TpT Store below for more great teaching resources.