Casual Relief Teaching Helpful Tips, Forms & Checklists

Just a quick post to let everyone know that I’ve just uploaded a new product to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store – ‘Casual Relief Teaching – Tips, Helpful Forms & Checklists’.


These forms and checklists are all resources that I have used myself, and I find them really helpful in keeping me organised. I hope that you find them just as useful!

Number Sense Craftivity

- Students trace their hands, cut out & glue down onto A3 paper, except for the fingers!

They can then make sums to 10 by folding the fingers down & counting, and recording the sums underneath.

Older students can use this craft to learn the 9 times table finger trick!

Fold down the finger that you are multiplying 9 by (e.g. For 6×9 you would fold down the 6th finger). Count how many fingers are to the left of that folded down finger (5) & how many are to the right of that finger (4). That is your answer! 6 x 9 = 54!


I originally saw this idea on this page: but I didn’t have a cricut machine to make the hands.

Instead the kids trace their own hands to work with. I also decided to get them to record their sums underneath as a way to consolidate their learning.

Liebster Award – My Nominations

Yesterday I posted about being nominated for a Liebster Award by Mel the Literacy Coach. Today I’m completing the 2nd part of the requirements.

3. Nominate 10 blogs with 300 followers or less.
4. Give your nominees 10 questions to answer.

I really like this part because it gives me a chance to give a shout out to some fantastic blogs I’ve discovered recently. I have found inspiration, clever ideas, funny stories, and witty writing amongst this list of bloggers. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

The 10 blogs that I have nominated are:
A Primary School Teacher
You Clever Monkey
Teaching & Learning in the Primary Classroom
Mrs Poultney’s Ponderings
Mrs Whary – The Teaching Fairy
Smartchick Teacher’s Blog
My Mum the Teacher
Little Green Teacher
Focus on Math

(I apologise if some of these blogs have more than 300 followers! I looked at their pages, but it was hard to determine how many people subscribed to some of them!)

…and the 10 questions I’m asking them:

1. What made you start blogging?
2. Which do you prefer…. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other?
3. Did you have a favourite teacher? Tell me about them. (Totally copied this from Mel’s questions. I loved this question!)
4. If you could teach any year level, any subject, what would it be?
5. What’s your best tip for a new teacher?
6. How did you learn how to blog/set up your own page?
7. How often do you post on your blog?
8. What has been your most popular blog post you’ve ever published?
9. What is YOUR favourite post you’ve ever written? (Please provide links!)
10. By this time, next year, where do you hope to be? What do you want to have accomplished?

I look forward to reading the responses! Please leave a link in the comments so we can easily find them. :)

Liebster Award – A Little Bit About Me

Thank you so much to Mel, from Mel the Literacy Coach, for nominating me for a Liebster Award!!! A Liebster Award is a blogging award, given by fellow bloggers. It’s a great way to learn more about each other, build community, and help spread the word about lesser known, and up & coming blogs.

I was so surprised & very excited to get her message. I’m not sure if you could even classify me as a blogger! I’m still very much a beginner at running a blog & Facebook page. Some things I love, like building a wonderful community of teachers who share so many great ideas. Other things, like trying to figure out WordPress themes, not so much!

I’m hoping that this year I’ll be able to spend more time, & maybe even a little bit of money, to make this blog into the page that I have imagined & hoped it to be.

Back to the award! Reading through Mel’s post, I saw that there are some guidelines to follow.

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog
2. Answer the 10 questions sent to you as part of the nomination.
3. Nominate 10 blogs with 300 followers or less.
4. Give your nominees 10 questions to answer.

I’ve covered number one, so straight onto number two…


How many people are living in your house? Who are they?
There are 3 of us. My husband, my little boy, and me!

Do you have any pets? Tell me about them.
Nope! Not even one! We used to have fish but unfortunately they didn’t survive when we moved house last year. :/

What do you do when you are not blogging? (work or play)
I’m a stay at home mum, with a bit of relief teaching on the side! When I’m not working on my page, I’m at the playground, swimming at the beach, playing rubbish trucks, creating with play dough/craft supplies/blocks/Lego, or outside kicking the soccer ball or cooking up a storm in the cubby kitchen, with my almost 3 year old.

Did you have a favourite teacher? Tell me about them.
I had a few that were pretty special.
- My year 6 teacher, Miss Cameron, for creating a fun learning environment. She was enthusiastic, caring, funny, but still ran a tight ship!
- Mr Knott, my high school History teacher, for making our learning relevant, explaining things so well, & making history one of my favourite subjects that I studied at school.
- Mrs Jinman, the strictest teacher I ever had! She was my year 12 English literature & was a TOUGH marker. I learnt so much from her. Essay structure & exam preparation in particular! She also taught drama so brought a theatrical spin to teaching English Lit; Macbeth was a highlight!

I never realised until writing this, but my favourite teachers were some of the strictest I had. I don’t know what that means. Perhaps it highlights how much I like order & routines?!? I also liked the creativity & passion for their subjects that each teacher brought to their lessons.

What is your favourite picture book? (every adult should have one, but if you have to – think back to when you were little)
Wanted: The Perfect Pet – I love this simple story of a little boy looking for his perfect pet & a lonely duck, searching for a friend. The illustrations are gorgeous too!

What are you wearing right now?
Nothing too fancy. It’s really hot today so shorts & a top. I’ll be changing into bathers soon & heading to the beach!

Where do you usually write your blog posts (in bed/ at a desk/ on the back porch etc)?
I usually write up posts on my phone, whenever or wherever I can squeeze it in, during my day. I’ll do 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there, until it’s ready to publish.

No matter who we are, we all have a ‘go to’ movie. We have a movie we watch when we are in bed with the flu, or we had a rough week and need to hide away. We watch it on our holidays, just because we can and we can quote mundane dialogue from it. What’s your ‘go to’ movie and Why?
Old School – 16 Candles
Every 80′s cliche in one movie. What’s not to love?!

New Favourite – Pitch Perfect
When I’m looking for a laugh, this is the perfect movie. I love Rebel Wilson in this movie!

You learn something new everyday! What have you learned this week?
I learned that you don’t pick rockmelons, you wait until they fall off of the vine. That’s how you know they’re ripe!

Tell me a Joke! It can be as silly as you like (Christmas Bon Bon Jokes are the best!) OR you can tell me a long serious story with a surprise punchline. Just keep it clean.
I’m not very good at remembering jokes, and even worse at telling them!
How’s this….?
There’s two fish in a tank, and one says ”How do you drive this thing?”


So there you have it! A little bit about me!
Tomorrow I’ll post the 10 blogs that I’ve nominated & the questions I’d like them to answer.

Thanks again to Mel for the nomination!


Classroom Photos

I used to love setting up my room at the beginning of the year; I was refreshed after holidays, full of new ideas, and ready for a new school year!
I would scour the Internet, looking for inspiration to turn my classroom into a place that both the students & I would love to spend our days in. A classroom that was colourful, without being too zany, a classroom that showcased the students’ work, and also inspired them, and a classroom that was organised and made sense to everyone who worked in it.
Before Pinterest I used to print off classroom photos I found on the Internet & make up a folder of things I wanted to try. Now it’s so much easier with Pinterest. I’ve become slightly obsessed with clicking that little red ‘pin it’ button!
While searching for photos I did notice that there weren’t a huge amount of Australian classrooms represented. I was planning on posting some photos from my own collection (I used to take photos of all my classroom displays), however I’ve been searching for them for the past few weeks and don’t know where my album is! It seems to have vanished when we moved house last year. If I come across my photos I’ll add them to this post.
In the meantime I put a call out on my Facebook page, asking anyone who was interested to email me photos of their classrooms.
Here are the photos I have already received:

First we have Aymie’s bright and colourful room. Aymie is a graduate teacher who is working in a Catholic school in Brisbane. I love how she has used the rug and the ABC giant jigsaw to mark out her mat areas. I also like how she has displayed her books facing out in her reading corner, and the material she has draped on the ceiling. She’s made it look so inviting!
Next is Emily’s reading corner, based on Dr Seuss’ ‘Cat in the Hat’. What an amazing little corner she has created here! There’s so much I love about it; the cushions, the quote on the wall, the different levelled blocks to sit on, the turning book stand, the truffula trees, the round window! All great!
Marni transformed these old, daggy bookshelves into bright & cheerful additions to her classroom. I would love these in my book corner!
This is Annette’s birthday wall display for her year 1 class. I love how she has used ribbon to create a cupcake stand for the cupcake months to be arranged on!
Rhiahn sent these photos in of her classroom’s transformation from storage space to fun & inviting kindy room!
It started like this…
Slowly being transformed…
Adding some colourful charts to the walls…
I love the ‘Under the Sea’ theme she’s chosen to decorate her room. The material draped across the ceiling to look like waves is an eye catching idea. Since taking this photo, she’s also thrown some shells up onto the fabric…
She is planning on adding photos of her students to the flowers in this display…
Names of students will be put on these envelopes so when they do any work they will go to their name pocket and grab an already printed name tag! She will move names around the poster too so students have to look for their name. Great idea!
Reading/quiet area to the left and morning circle time to the right!
Home corner area…
Work area…
Another ocean themed room! This time it’s Desiree’s year 2 room. She has painted this fantastic mural to add colour to her classroom wall. I’m sure her students will love it!
Katie sent in her photos of her home office. She is a Social Science high school teacher and until she gets a contract she will be relief teaching. She was unable to stick anything to the walls so instead hung some of her posters from string strung up between the bookshelves. To make her pin up board more interesting she covered it with a fun printed material she found at IKEA. Love it! She says she still needs to hang her notice board & add a few more things but I think it’s already looking like a neat, well organised, light filled place to work!
Bel sent in this photo of how she has organised all of her relief teaching resources in the boot of her car.
She has two suspension filing boxes with activities sorted into stages and KLAs, a wicker basket of books she can read and another with resource books, and a big red plastic basket filled with art activities.
You can’t see them in the picture, but she also has a little red container with laminated fast finisher activities and another with laminated game ideas for both in the classroom and outside.
I love how organised & prepared she is!
Next we have Lynne giving us a classroom tour of her year 3/4 room…
Hi Lynne!
This comfy looking chair was a gift from a wonderful school family.
This is the front of her room. As an aide for 17 years and now a qualified teacher she has seen many rooms. She says that she particularly thinks about setting up students with ASD for success. That means to keep things nice and ordered, have clear direction and include lots of visuals. Every child benefits from this approach!
This is a close up of her visual timetable that she has on her smaller whiteboard.
Her theme is ‘Doing Your Best…You Are Already Superstars!’
This area will be used to display the students’ work. She wants the students to feel excited and proud of their work so she designed a wall that has a showcase theme. This will also fit in with the celebrations unit they will be doing. The wall is 9 metres wide, with a 3 metre drop. It was covered in a white fabric first & then black pleats were arranged across the top and pretend curtains on the side. The whole wall only cost $55 to cover because she went to a fabric wholesale factory. Clever thinking!
Even the bin area is designed around learning – reuse/recycle, sustainability and the global effect of our choices.

Finally, we have the lovely Rebecca from ‘Musical Experiences for Children’ who posted a link to an album of photos from when she taught kindy. She has so many inspiring early childhood ideas. Check them out here:

Thank you to everyone who sent their photos in! If you would like to add your photos to this collection, please email them to

Book Recommendations

You know it’s been too long between posts when you struggle to remember your password & how to upload a document!
As the year finished up, I slowed down adding posts to this page but I’m back again. This one is something I’ve been wanting to do since I started Relief Teaching Ideas. Start a list of book recommendations, made by teachers, for teachers!
I love books! So much in fact, that at one point I considered opening my own little book store. The economic realities of such a venture stopped me. I’m always looking for new books to add to my own private collection though.
On my Facebook page we often have people asking for book recommendations. Thank you to all of those who contributed their favourite books that they like to use in the classroom. I’ve started compiling people’s answers, adding them to some of my own, and now have this document to share. It is still very much a work in progress. There are so many more books that can be added and more learning opportunities that can be inspired by these pieces of literature! Ideally, I would love to have activities typed out for each book. Time prevents me from doing so now, but I hope to continue to add to this document throughout the year.
I have both a PDF & Word version for you to download & use as you wish. With the Word version you can add to it & make it your own.

Book Recommendations Word
Book Recommendations PDF

book title

Disclaimer: These are recommendations only. It is important to read these books first yourself, to determine if the content is appropriate for the needs of your students and your lesson objectives. The age recommendations are only a guide. I sometimes use junior picture books for older grades too, depending on the lesson’s objective.

Who Stole the Cookie?

Fun Circle Game! “Who took the cookie from the cookie jar?”

I used to love playing this when I was at school.

- Have a set of cards made up – all are blank except for one that has a cookie drawn or printed on it.
- Have students sit in a circle & hand out cards, face down, so no one knows who has the cookie card.
- Get the kids to start a beat by clapping their hands & then their legs (hands, legs, hands, legs). Once in unison start the song…

“Teacher: Who took the cookie from the cookie jar?
Lisa took the cookie from the cookie jar.

Lisa: Who me? (She will turn her card over, it’s blank)

Class: Yes you.

Lisa: Couldn’t be.

Class: Then who took the cookie from the cookie jar?

Lisa: Johnny took the cookie from the cookie jar.

Johnny: Who me? (Checks card & discovers he has the cookie*)

Class: Yes you.

Johnny: Yes! I took the cookie from the cookie jar!

*Keep the song going until the person who has the cookie card is revealed!