January 11

Wanted… new reading corner cushions

Time for an upgrade for my reading corner/class library. I need some new cushions, chairs, beanbags etc, maybe to fit in with my jungle theme.

Here’s some inspiration:



The Library Store a79208931602e0779944a32bf11f16b4

These beanbags look great, but out of my budget at $133 each!  The map cushions look great as a set, found this on pinterest and the link no longer exists so no idea where to get them from or how much.



Love these animal cushions! Only 55 pounds (from the UK) for 10! I could almost justify buying them and having the send to Australia… depends on the postage. I used to have some of these animal fold up cushions, but they don’t last long in the classroom before you have to throw them out. Maybe time for some new ones?


There are other uses for the cushions/beanbags etc besides just for reading. I have some little stool/ottoman shapes that selected students can sit on when the rest of the class is on the floor, either to keep fidgety students more focused, to alleviate some of the crowding that goes on when you try to have up to 32 students on the ground, as a reward, to keep certain students away from each other, so shorter kids can see over the others’ heads. One of my ottoman’s got broken (well 2 out of 3 actually) last year while I was on leave – always happens then doesn’t it? So I need to look out for mini stools/ottomans as well as replacements.

You are also limited by the classroom size and space as to how many and what type of cushions, chairs etc you can accommodate. I love the idea of director chairs, fold up chairs and couches, but could never fit them in the classrooms we have at our school!

I have grand visions of palm trees and canopies for my jungle theme, like the classroom below, but we’ll see what we can fit, maybe just start with 4 cushion and my newly created jungle signs, see my teacherspayteachers store!

reading hut









January 7

A New Year

A fresh start! I think this is something all teachers love, the start of a new school year with a new class, sometimes even a new school and/or a new room!

Setting up things, I always have that “this year I will…’ voice in my head with everything from managing student behaviour to how I distribute the pens.

The summer break is the perfect time for teachers to recharge and consider new ideas for the new class, which in Australia arrives January 28th. A lot of looking at ideas on Pinterest too I think!

Some ideas I’m musing over:

A classroom decorating theme. Some of my posters and labels have been in use for over 10 years, so it’s time for an upgrade! Decided on a jungle / rainforest theme, which will incorporate quite nicely our class mascot Bosco the Proboscis monkey.

Managing the borrowing of classroom equipment. I spend a small fortune on pens, pencils and whiteboard markers (among other things) for students to use who constantly bring no equipment. It seems to vanish within a fortnight! I don’t want a system that will take forever to sort out or manage by me. I think the best option I have come up with is the popstick borrowing system. Each student gets 6 posticks with their names written on the end. Every time they borrow a ruler, pen, eraser, etc they have to put one of their popsticks in the container UNTIL the item is returned. Once returned, they remove their popstick. Students can keep their popsticks in their pencil cases or tote trays. Some will never use them, but have the option, some will use ALL 6 AT THE SAME TIME. This way I can track who hasn’t returned their items as their popstick will still be in the container.

I may even introduce some sort of consequence for those who consistently don’t return items (and with the popsticks I can tract WHO!). Maybe a ban from borrowing? Or lunchtime sharpening duty… We’ll see how successful it is!

New student packs! I saw this idea on the relief teaching ideas facebook page, its a step up from what I usually do. In my first ever year of teaching I got EIGHT new students. That taught me a lesson! From then on I always prepare more book covers (painted, contact, wrapping paper) just incase. Any title pages or colouring sheets always got copied 5 times extra and kept in one place in the classroom for those new students. Having it all in a plastic sleeve is a great idea.

new student

Managing work collection. I saw this idea on Pinterest (no surprises) originally from buzzfeed – a very simple basket idea to track who has and hasn’t handed in work. The trick will be emptying it regularly for reuse, or I may need several baskets!


work basket

There are other things I am considering (as I peruse Pinterest) but these are the ones I’m locking in for now.

What are your back to school new ideas for 2015?