Trainee Teacher Blog | Quarantine Activities for Children (and Parents!) who are sick of Quarantine Schooling

 

Calling all parents, guardians and other grown-ups with little people to entertain! I’m sure your little ones have received plenty of work from their schools to keep their little brains occupied and educated during this horrible time. That being said, all teachers (and especially trainees like myself) are aware of how hard it is to get children learning when they simply will not and cannot tolerate spending another second sat at a desk.
Luckily, writing and doing sums are only tiny parts of a child’s educational experience. There’s a whole host of things you can do with your little ones that feel fun and provide learning without feeling so stuffy and well, kind of dull. I’ve tried to compile a list below of a few things you could do with your child, or have them do independently if they are able.

 

  1. READ WITH YOUR CHILD. Even if they can read on their own. Even if they love books and would happily read a whole chapter book in one sitting on their own. Even if they seem a bit too old to be read to. It has been proven time and again that children get so much out of being read to and reading with/to an adult. For older children, you could even have a ‘quarantine book club’, where you both (or the whole family!) read a book and talk about it after you’ve both/all finish. Naturally this is easier if you have an e-reader or several copies of the same book, but if you’re reading the book together you only need one copy. Reading and talking about books is invaluable to childrens’ education, and something they’re expected to do right from the start of school in their guided reading sessions.

Free Children Reading Books, Download Free Clip Art, Free Clip Art ...

  1. Find fun and/or practical maths challenges. As adults, we use our mathematical skills every single day – whether we’re sorting money, measuring/weighing things for cooking, or even telling the time. Now would be a fantastic time to teach your little ones how to follow a recipe and weigh out ingredients, roleplay a shop to practice money skills, or teach them how to tell the time using an analogue clock (if you don’t have one there are tonnes online dedicated to help children learn the time – try this one)

 

  1. Educational games. There are countless educational games and printouts online. Never underestimate the power of times tables games, wordsearches, crosswords, sudoku and other word, maths or puzzle games. If you can play with them, or perhaps if they have a tech savvy grandparent or other family member, try Words with Friends or online Scrabble. You could even create your own version of Boggle – give your child a number of letters and a time in which they need to find as many words as they can. See if they can beat you!

 

  1. Art, music and fitness not only keep us entertained and busy during these times, but for children can be really important learning experiences. If there was ever a time to let them do that craft kit or get the messy paints out, it’s now. Cover a table (and possibly the surrounding floors!) in cut up bin bags and let your little artists release their creativity! Along the same vein, let them have a living room dance party! There are many videos of dance routines from the video game Just Dance on YouTube – get them to try and follow along to practice their rhythm, balance and I would say gross motor skills. For a more educational boogie, try BBC Super Movers but be warned – your kids will want to do the Money Jiggle every. single. day. Take comfort in the fact that KS1 teachers who use this really do feel your pain. For a more structured workout I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about Joe Wicks’ PE lessons.
girl in white long sleeve shirt holding paint brush

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

  1. Play to your kids’ strengths and interests. Does your child spend all day on video games? No problem. Love dinosaurs? Great! Can’t get enough of princesses? Lovely. Think about your kids’ interests, and find ways to get them doing educational and creative things based around these. If your child spends all day on Minecraft or playing Lego, give them a “commission” of something you want building – perhaps in exchange for a treat? They’ll use many skills and need to follow your specifications to build exactly what you want, and it’ll feel super fun.

 

  1. Roleplaying and make-believe. I’ve already mentioned roleplaying a shop, but there are many roleplaying scenarios you could create – and in fact your children are certain to have their own ideas about what they want to pretend today. If you’re letting them get arty, why not get them to make costumes or sets that they can play with? Even if they just write a sign that says “Princess Castle” or “Pirate Island” or even “Tesco”, it’s starting to get their imagination going. They can be anything, from magical creatures to explorers, and most children won’t need much prompting to disappear into their own world of imagination. Just be sure that if you’re roleplaying hairdressers that the scissors really are pretend!

 

  1. Scrapbooks or journals. If you’re worried that you’re not getting enough together to show school that they’re learning, consider getting your child to put together a scrapbook, diary or journal of all the things they get up to. Take plenty of pictures, keep artworks they do and even get them to draw pictures and write sentences to record what they’ve done that day. You could set them a small task to show what skills they’ve been building too – such as drawing a clock and asking them to write down what time it is.

 

For older children, they could write full diary entries and have a picture page to decorate next to them. Even if your child isn’t writing much, encourage them to use exciting language – even in KS1 they will be able to write an expanded noun phrase (adjective, adjective noun – for example, “big, red bus”) and come up with a lot of adjectives they could use as well as including thoughts and feelings.

Girls Secret Diary / Journal For Children: Great little Diaries ...

  1. Storytelling and engaging with stories. This links with both number 1 and number 6. Children by nature love imagination and storytelling, and so getting them to write their own stories and engage with others is so beneficial. By engaging with stories, I don’t just mean reading and being read to/with (although as I mentioned at the top, PLEASE DO THIS). Podcasts, audiobooks, streamed plays, even films and tv shows are all stories. If you wanted to get really teachery, you could read/listen to/watch a story in some form and ask your child what they think will happen next. Most children would be able to guess, some even effectively writing a story straight away. You could then help them to write a paragraph, comic strip or even a short story about what might happen next.

 

  1. Ask your child what they want to do. In terms of teaching, you are in the relatively unique position of being able to cater to your individual child. As a trainee teacher, I would love to be able to come up with activities that excite and engage every single pupil for every single minute of the day; unfortunately that’s not really possible when you have 30 childrens’ needs to cater to and a National Curriculum to follow. If you want to give your child some guidance, you could give them several options of tasks and get them to pick which one they want to do or what order they want to do them in.

 

  1. Give them a reason for doing things. Children need to know why they have to do things. If your child knows why they’re doing something, they’ll be far more willing to do the thing. Try getting them to write a letter to a grandparent or family member, or write a story for a younger sibling (or pet!). This also links in to number 2 – if your child is weighing ingredients to go into their dinner (or better, dessert) they will be far more willing to be accurate and work it out than if they’re just looking at a picture of a scale on a piece of paper. If you need to know when it’s half past two, they’ll be more motivated to keep their eyes on the clock.

 

  1. Do things in short bursts. I’m slightly ashamed to say that if children are really struggling to focus in class, the easiest way I’ve found to get them to focus is to bribe them with a time limit and a treat, i.e. If you do this thing in this amount of time, you can have 5 minutes of Super Movers/watch a TV show/play in the garden/have a treat snack etc. (of course Super Movers is the only one I use in class, but house points aren’t really useful in well, a house!)

    Remember that children have much shorter attention spans than adults – there is nothing wrong with letting them do things in short bursts. In fact, many adults use the Pomodoro method of study/productivity; whereby you work solidly for x amount of time then have a short break and repeat for an hour, then take a longer break.

 

Last but not least….

 

  1. DON’T PANIC. Also read with your children. But mostly don’t panic. You’ve got this, don’t worry – whatever happens, your children will be fine. They learn a lot even from everyday life (yes, that totally means you can get them doing housework as part of their schooling). We’re in a very weird situation right now and every reasonable teacher in the country knows that you’re doing your very best.

Don't Panic and Carry a Towel" Greeting Card by Zorava | Redbubble

If you’d like to see some resources from me, I would be happy to compile some worksheets, activities, games etc. to help you keep your little ones learning and entertained. Stay posted!

See you soon,

Roisin (Miss H)


Catching up with Myself |4 in 1 Reviews

I have not read many books this year. As a result, I thought I’d catch up with myself a bit and review every book I’ve read this year in one post….all 4 of them. For some context, my reading time is pretty much limited to my hour lunch break at work, and the occasional time on the weekend. I should read more often, but currently that’s the amount I can manage and I feel like that’s okay.

Read More


Book Review | Urge To Kill *Spoilers*

I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

Urge to Kill, if you couldn’t guess by the name, is a crime/thriller novel. Set in my own town of Warwick, the novel follows newlywed DI Matt Turrell as he tries to keep up with a killer getting ever-closer to home. The novel also follows the killer, Clive Draper, as he draws in victims and makes his way to his ultimate target.

Read More


New Year, New New Year Blog Post | 2019 Intentions

Happy New Year! Yes, I know I’m 12 days late (and counting – it is the 12th of January as I write this) but it’s still a new year. As is cliché traditional for many bloggers, I figured I’d just write a quick post about a few of my intentions for the new year. I feel like rather than having big sweeping resolutions, I’ve got smaller goals and goals that are either achievable or have to happen eventually. It feels good to organise things I want to achieve in my head, even if they don’t all happen in this year. So, without further ado – my goals for 2019:

Read More


Reader vs Book: The Very Hard Book™

 

ashamed.gif

Like with ‘If on a Winter’s Night’, I’ll always come crawling back to this little blog. Eventually. 

If you’re a big reader, like me, then you’ll know this feeling. You pick up the book, only to put it down unfinished after a few chapters. You pick it up again a while later, determined to finish this time…only to put it down yet again. A third time, this time you’ll do it. Then you remember why you put it down twice before.

That book for me is Italo Calvino’s ‘If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller’. I like metafiction. I like the concept, and the plot. Much of the book has me reading along happily, but I am still finding it a challenge to get through. It could be me, it could be Calvino – or maybe it’s a bit of both.

Personally, I don’t have much time for reading; I try to do it on my lunch breaks, but I am exhausted lately so that doesn’t happen as frequently as I’d like. As for Calvino, he’s a man of many words. Many, many, many words. He could be describing putting his socks on and make it last 6 pages. His prose is good, don’t get me wrong, but the superfluous rambling narrative voice isn’t the most engaging while you’re just trying to eat your sandwich and have some time away from screens.

This book is a big challenge. I have an English degree and review books on here for fun (admittedly very erratically!) and it’s a challenge, but I will finish it. I am coming for you and your needlessly long prose, Calvino! Look out for the review – even if it takes 6000 years.

See you soon,

Ro x

Follow Us:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Bloglovin’


Creative Writing – Valentine’s Edition!

So I’ve challenged myself to write something every day for Lent – this is yesterday’s Valentine’s Day special! Technically I wrote this a few days ago, but it counts. I won’t be posting everything I write, but I hope to get at least a few posts written as well as creative pieces. Enjoy! ~R

‘Hello?’ She threw her keys into the tray, pulling off her scarf. Josie, the elderly mongrel she’d adopted the year before came lumbering in to greet her. She bent down and ruffled the wiry fur on Josie’s head, scratching behind her upright ears.

‘Where’s daddy, Josie?’

Josie yawned, trundling back to her bed, pushed up against the living room radiator. May shook her head and stood up straight, hearing typing coming from the office. She rolled her eyes. Working over, again. She hung her coat up and headed towards the noise, pulling her shoes off on the way.

 

‘Does it ever end?’ She smirked, leaning against the doorframe. Oscar looked up, still typing. He smiled shyly, amber eyes guilty as he shrugged.

‘I won’t be long, just finishing off some forward planning.’

‘And how far in advance is this planning?’

‘Babe, you know the more I do now the bett-‘ May came up behind him, chin pressing into his shoulder as she peered at the screen.

‘Two months?! Oscar, this can wait. You’ve done so much already this week! You need a break.’

‘I’m nearly finished.’

‘That’s not good enough Oscar, you’re exhausted. Come on, save it and turn off. I’ll run you a bath.’

‘There’s not much left to do, I really won’t be long.’

‘Nope.’

‘May, what are you-‘ She sat on his lap, saving his work and shutting the lid of his laptop.

‘I said enough, Oscar.’

‘I can’t believe you!’

‘It’s for your own good, now come on.’ She took his hand, trying to pull him out of the swivel chair. He resisted, holding on to the chair tightly with his other hand. She raised her eyebrow, trying not to smile.

‘Fine, have it your way.’ She grabbed the sides of the chair and pulled, rolling him towards the door. He couldn’t help but burst into laughter, grabbing the doorframe. She fell back as he stopped the chair. He grinned at her, a mischievous glint in his eye. He leaned forward.

‘Nice try.’ He kissed her as she picked herself up, glaring at him.

‘I’m trying to help you.’ She stood up, crossing her arms.

‘I know.’ He stood up. ‘I suppose I can call it a day.’

There it is! Let me know what you thought in the comments. 

See you soon,

Signature Jan 2018

Follow Me:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Bloglovin’
Pinterest




Supermassive Book Haul!

You know the feeling. You’re on Amazon and put a book in your basket. Just one. Your recommendations show another one that sounds interesting… plus one you’ve been meaning to read for ages is on sale, and….the next day a large box turns up at your door bursting at the seams with new reads.

So this isn’t really supermassive, I just liked the word play. I got 9 books recently; a few at a charity shop, and the rest on Amazon (I’m not wading in on that debate, of course I support indies but I don’t have any independent bookshops near me. It would be the dream to open one, though). I got some that I know will be absolutely brilliant, and some I’ve never heard of; some classics and some contemporary. I think I got a pretty good mix and I’m excited to get to reading!

So far I’ve only read one of them. Seeing them all in front of me made it so hard to choose which one to read first, so I did the only logical thing… numbered them all and used a random number generator to make the choice for me.

That choice was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. You have no idea how many people have nagged me to read this. Published in 2003, I’ve been told to read this since about 2006. I spotted this in a charity shop and knew I had to finally pick it up. I’ll review it at a later date, but I certainly don’t regret reading it.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

My current read is the first in Maya Angelou’s autobiographical series. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings depicts Angelou’s early years in 1930s/40s Arkansas. I’m about half way through and am really enjoying learning about such a remarkable, strong woman. Again, I don’t want to review it right now (especially as I haven’t finished it) but it’s a winner so far.

Several books I bought are classics. They’re books I’ve meant to read and should have read before but haven’t. If you’re looking to get into some classics I would recommend looking on Amazon around now; they seem to be selling them cheap around this time, presumably for students. Be warned that your recs will include GCSE/A level study books for the popular ones, though!

Mrs Dalloway

Mrs Dalloway.jpg

I’ve been told to read Virginia Woolf for years. Several people have been surprised that I’ve never read any of her work, so when I found this gorgeous copy of Mrs Dalloway in Oxfam I knew I had to pick it up.

The Great Gatsby

Okay, confession time. I did start to read it as a teenager, but I didn’t really engage with it. We’d watched a film adaptation in my GCSE English class but didn’t actually study it. When I say we watched the film adaptation, not that anyone at that age paid a whole lot of attention. I had very little idea of what it was /actually/ about, so when I tried reading it I got distracted easily and I don’t think I actually finished. That is to say, I don’t actually remember. I know how important the book is though, and adult me is ready to give it a second chance. I’m also loving retro fashion at the moment so some 20s vibes would be cool.

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

I feel like this and Gatsby are both texts everyone in the country seems to have studied at school…except me. I don’t really know what this is about but I know that I’m bored of getting funny looks for being the English grad who’s never read Steinbeck!

Nineteen Eighty-Four

One classic (or, modern classic at least) I have read is Animal Farm. I’ve wanted to read Nineteen Eighty-Four for a long time and so seeing it on my recommendations and on sale felt like a bit of a sign.

Now, The Handmaid’s Tale isn’t exactly a classic yet, but I have a feeling that’s where it’s heading. Another I’ve been nagged and nagged to read, this was another on sale that I had to get. I can’t wait to read it (then binge the TV show). I loved Atwood’s narrative voice in The Blind Assassin and it’s almost certain I’ll love The Handmaid’s Tale, perhaps even more.

The last two books I got recently are ones I’d not actually heard of.

The Blue Manuscript is a book surrounding an Islamic treasure of the same name, a fictionalised version of the Blue Qu’ran – an ancient text from the 9th/10th century, likely created in North Africa. As we all know, I’m a bit of a history buff, but I don’t know much about Islamic history. This is fiction, but I’m excited to learn about the truth behind the novel as much as I am about reading the novel itself.

The Blue Manuscript.jpg

The Lost Dog is a novel set in both present-day Australia and mid-20C India. The protagonist Tom Loxley is writing a book on Henry James (AKA my first Victorian Literature love) when his dog goes missing. Historical setting, Henry James AND dogs? It’s like this book was made for me.

That’s my haul, y’all! What’s on your TBR? Done any big book buys lately? Any recommendations for the next time I go on a binge?

See you soon,

New Signature

Last Post: Dilemma of the ‘Did Not Finish’ | Book Blogger Problems!

Follow Me:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Bloglovin’
Pinterest


Dilemma of the ‘Did Not Finish’ | Book Blogger Problems!

So lately I’ve not been having the best luck with books.  Over the last few weeks I have picked up two books that I’ve not been able to get into, which poses somewhat of a problem for me. The first book was an ARC, requested via NetGalley. I haven’t reviewed this for one simple reason – I haven’t finished it.

The plot sounded brilliant, right up my street – a museum setting, a powerful female protagonist, a mystery to be solved. On trying to read the book, however, I just couldn’t get into it. The writing was difficult to engage with and the characters just turned out to be annoying. I put it down and instead picked up Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad; at 110 pages long I figured I could finish it in a few days and try again with the other book. Here I am two weeks later still struggling with it. (I must admit that I did put it down to read How to Stop Time before publication day.) It’s an important classic and shows imperialist British views wonderfully, but Christ is the protagonist boring. He drones on and on and on about nothing, with some racism thrown in for good measure, in long rambling paragraphs leading nowhere. Now I’m a lover and writer of literary realism, so long rambling paragraphs leading nowhere are kind of my thing, but must be engaging. I find myself opening the book and being unsure if I’m on the right page because it feels like I’ve read it all already.

As a reviewer, I feel like I have a duty to finish these books even though I’m not enjoying them. I can’t only post good reviews to have a well-rounded blog. As a writer, I feel as though it is insulting to accept an ARC from a writer who has clearly worked so hard on their book only to not even finish it, even if my review wouldn’t be great. As a person who unfortunately doesn’t get paid to read books all day (the dream!), though, I don’t feel like have enough time to put energy into books I’m not getting on with. So the question is:

Do I stay or do I go now?

What do you think – do I have a duty as a reviewer to stick it out and finish these books, or should I just move on to the next one on the pile? Help!

See you soon,

signature

Last Post: Review (not) Wednesday | ARC Review – How to Stop Time

Follow Me:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Bloglovin’
Pinterest