Anger Control In The Classroom – How can you help?

Anger Control in the classroom - what do you do when your child is acting like a little, angry, toddler.
Anger Control in the classroom – what do you do when your child is acting like a little, angry, toddler.

Today we are looking at anger control in the classroom. Please leave a comment about your ways of resolving it. Children can feel anger in the classroom and teachers need to find ways of reducing and removing anger in their class.

The first is the classroom itself. Is the room too hot or too cold? The perfect all round temperature for happy children is 22c. At this perfect temperature children are at their happiest and most open to learning.

The next thing is too look at the walls of your classroom, are they to loud, active or busy. These can cause a child to get distracted. This then means they cannot fully follow a lesson. Frustration leads to anger.

Anger Control starts with who is sitting next to who.

The next is seating. Look at who triggers who in the classroom and give as much distance as you can between them. The fewer the triggers the better.

Then it comes to teacher awareness. Get out of that comfy chair and get moving around the class like a snake. Behaviour improves when the teacher is close up and watching all kids and their efforts like a hawk.

This also extends to break times. Make sure that break time squabbles and arguments are resolved quickly and not brought back into the classroom to blow up later.

Peace Out With Jamie really improved the atmosphere in my classroom.

My amazing discovery this year was a series of YouTube videos called Peace Out by Jamie. She is this awesome yoga / mindfulness teacher with a super relaxing voice I have timetables her into my day – 15 minutes per day, and it really does chill out a classroom after break and lunch. My children are now much more able to focus in the early afternoon than before.

Try a peace out video today.

Then it comes to the students themselves. They need to be taught anger management skills. These can involve breathing slowly, counting quietly or doing some alternative activity such as mindfulness colouring for a short period of time.

In addition, if the anger is related to achievement, these need to be addressed, such as targeting their basic English or maths skills. This is another reason I am a massive fan of Big Maths. The tests are broken into small achievable units, so children can constantly see their own improvements. They can also see where they can focus to help themselves get over that line of understanding.

In addition, anger from outside the classroom, is much harder to deal with. We have citizenship and PSHE lessons but I’ve never been convinced they have much of a lasting impact. You must remember that a teacher has only a mere 3-5% influence on a kid’s academic success. 70-80% is directly due to the ideas and attitudes of the parents. By the age of 4, the basic ideas of how a kid will live his or her life has already been laid out.

If is also worth chatting to the school child psychologist to see if they can intervene to help a child with their anger control issues.

Controlling your anger also applies to other teaching staff.

The ideas of anger control extend also to staff. There will be people who will just do annoying things. These can be the management, who are focusing on issues you are unaware of. Or fellow teachers who have their own agendas. The key here is communication. Keeping open, clear communication will keep the levels of anger at bay.

If you feel angry and have a quiet 5 minutes, there is a gun way of reducing your anger. Do the super hero pose. You simply stand in a locked toilet cubicle of an empty classroom, legs apart, hands on your waist. You try as much as you can to stand like superman or wonder woman. Apparently, when you stand like this, your brain releases a load of different hormones which actually get you calm and physically alert. You then go onto face your problems and resolve the issues.

The dangers of hiding who you are.

Different Teaching Styles – what works for you?

Different Teaching Styles - what works for you? Different teachers have different styles. You need to find out what works best for you.
Your teaching style is part of who you are.

Every teacher has their own teaching style. This is why I don’t like to do lesson observations, you are judging others on what you think is good teaching, compared to how you teach. As a book once said, no-one starts in teaching with the desire to be a poor teacher. This is why lesson observations don’t work. People simply don’t change their teaching styles very much. You can see see how your personality affects your whole outlook on teaching. It comes complete with a test!

You have those who like being in a chair to teach. You have those who believe a teacher should never sit down. My kids are very mobile, with carpet time, dancing and group activities on the floor. Also quiet desk time.

Your Teaching Style Matters To Your Kids

Teachers do need to keep a close eye on their kids. We have cameras in the classrooms now. So when a problem occurs, we can see where the teacher was. If you are on the phone, you are in trouble. Likewise, if you just sat there, you are in trouble. If you left your classroom for any reason, you’d be in serious trouble. The most observant teachers have the nicest classes kids know they cannot do anything too extreme.

Do teachers in your school have a clear favourite in the classroom?

This also reflects on favouritism in the classroom. In my classroom, I don’t think I have any favourites. They are all pretty much equal to me. It is tough going to make sure both the high fliers and lowest achieving children all get the support they need. In other, classes the favoured children become a mean in-group. I then roll in the bring them into line outside the classroom. Kids need and love rules.

Your teaching relationship should extend to your on-duty patrolling the corridors style. Teachers who want to be friends with the in-crowd take their eye off the ball and miss problems lurking in the corners. You need to be everywhere, seeing everything, a bit like a teacher version of elf on the shelf.

The area I am always working on is time management and organisation. This year I tried to run a 100% declutter Feng Shui style classroom. A place which was ordered and work like. However, itsnot my strong point. However, with better organization’s such as better places to store books, things have improved..

Teaching Styles extend to how you treat your students’ work books.

Another area I have really focused on this term is book presentation. My books are now dated, underlined and the writing styles have improved. In other classes, there are books with no dates, which makes tracking children’s work against the planning nigh on impossible.

There is also the level of interaction with the parents. I am happy to be a bit parents-lite as long as the kid is doing as expected. Others write huge long daily emails to their parents.

There is also a wide range of styles in expectations. You have some teachers (me included) who think healthy competition in class drives forward results. Others feel competition isn’t good for kids and feel it judges kids. What do you think?

Another teaching style is how much drama enters the classroom. For some teachers, being dramatic and creative is the sign of great teaching , for others it is merely a distraction. I do love being able to follow a book to the letter and getting everything done to a plan someone else has written, which is why I love Rising Stars Maths so much. I find focused work keeps kids calm and disciplined to a greater extent than letting their creativity go riot all the time .

What are the future ways of teaching?

However, I don’t think teachers will be replaced anytime soon by physical robots, though online elements might make over certain areas. I watch the videos of kids with Robot teachers and think, I’m sure those classes would push the limits beyond breaking point. You would still need a physical person in the room to maintain order. The robot pupil ide however was cool. The kid is somewhere else but still listens in on a real lesson. However, it could be easily abused by less than pleasant hacker folks I guess.

An interesting issue with most International Teachers is they are international teachers for a reason. They want to see the world and regularly enjoy new cultures. This means they will only be with a school for short periods of time and there is little tracking of child achievement over the years with one teacher. The plus being that they do bring in a wide range of teaching styles picked up from around the world.

The answer is there is no perfect teaching style as it is a combination of style, ability and personality which dictates the success of your classroom please comment below on what teaching styles you most and least like. However, trying to fit into school’s current ethos and style is far better than breaking out on your own.

When you are a peacock teacher, surrounded by penguins

Also making sure you don’t become a dramatic look at me teacher as these folks do tend to fail faster than most as after a while you look and see all the faults in another teacher you’d never bother to see.

Rising Stars Maths outdoes other Maths Schemes.

Let me explain to how I ended up using Rising Stars Maths as my main primary Maths curriculum. I have learnt a lot about teaching maths over the year. I want to share what I know with you.

In my earliest days worked with CIMT. This scheme is great for anyone looking for a straight forward teaching course to boost kids learning at home. One school told me this. Despite me using this scheme, which worked wonders… there is more to teaching than a class with academic success. To this day, I found an odd sentiment for a school to have…

I converted a lot of different Government sample lesson plans and then a major UK education publishers lesson plans. I neatly converted these into Autumn, Spring and Summer PowerPoint lessons, which I now present on this site.

Still everything was really academic, then I tried the Nelson maths schemes and Hamilton maths. To get all the teaching done, I admit I focused on the daily worksheet tasks more than it was good to do.

Why I use the Rising Stars Maths Curriculum in the classroom.

Then I ‘saw the light’ and moved over to Rising Stars Maths and I am a 100 % convert. This is a simply wonderful maths scheme, which mixes academic thinking, with hands on thinking, games and talking pages all together. This is the book where my most able and least able, with different amounts of support can reach the same end point.

I have split my class of 8 into 3 different groups. I have one child who struggles Year 1 maths doing the Year 1 scheme, I have a second group who are completing all the tasks at a reasonable rate and I have a high flyers group which simply devours the maths we do and want to have even more maths.

The room is full of hands on resources. I now use hundred squares, multiplication squares. I also use a poker set as this contains counters, cards and a fancy green mat for group work and baking trays of all sizes. The trays are great as they have dips in them, so the beans (magic beans of course, according to the lid) don’t fall out.

Rising Stars Maths scheme is the only one we could find which which has 1/2 termly test running along side it. It is great way of assessing the kids . Just don’t lose the book… I was the last one to use it when a book vanished… on the Rising Stars site the test book costs 100 pounds but on, I bought it for 60 pound, including international postage… which of course means it is worth looking at Amazon for other Rising Star deals. However, when it comes to buying enoughbooksfor a whole school, Rising Stars does offer an amazing deal plus sometimes decent discounts.

How do I use the Big Maths Scheme in my classroom?

On top of this, I also have fallen in love with Big Maths. A friend’s son did it every Friday as a test. There are 20 levels and 10 versions of each test. I have put my kids on an accelerated version. We do a test every day. I give them 2 minutes rather than 1 minute with the understanding those who get to level 20 repeat the tests again with a 1 minute limit.

My Year 3 class do work incredibly hard on these lessons. They actively choose additional maths drill worksheets to reach their goal. We recently did a head to head with some older classes, who had never done this scheme. My class are faster mathematicians. I am amazed and so proud of them. The rest of the school will implement the scheme after Christmas. Try it today and you won’t look back

When we did the tests, the children clearly had made excellent progress and are proud of their achievements.

Preparing School Holiday Activities

What school holiday activities do your children do? I was puzzling over this question when I discovered this site .. and had a wonderful idea. Children could actively read books and still complete tasks around Maths.

Preparing School Holiday Activities

My son comes home from his Romanian state school with a ton of intensive maths work to do along with a Christmas gift activity book or three, all of which need completing.. up until now, I haven’t given any homework as I thought parents wanted to spend quality time with their kids. Family time is a key part of a child’s education. Indeed, while I am personally responsible for 3% of a child’s educational success, their parents make up 80% of their future success.

School Holiday Activities Don’t Need To Be Book Based.

Children could practice their maths skills by being actively useful in the kitchen, weighing and measuring ingredients. They can work with money and control a budget for buying 5 gifts for the family. And the journal write up all their ideas in the process.

On top of this, set your class the challenge of being kind to one person a day – for a whole year! Every day the children need to take an active decision to be kind and do one act of kindness a day and then write about it.

A Daily Act Of Kindess Can Change A Child’s Life

It is the writing about it that really helps children. They get to remember the good they have done and relive it. This, over time, simply becomes a great habit for them.

As you can see, school holiday activities don’t need to be based on worksheets or workbooks to be effective. Indeed, getting a child to change their attitude to life and those around them could be a more effective use of their time anyway. Happy children also do better at school and in society in general. And being kind does not involve money, only themselves.

Preparing Your Christmas Show As A Teaching Tool.

Christmas Show
This is the ultimate school Christmas show – a man can dream!

How do you go about preparing for your Christmas show? My show was yesterday and it wasn’t my finest moment. In the classroom my kids were awesome, totally amazing and I felt on top of the world. I followed on from a great Year 1 show and of course the first graders came off stage feeling great and excited. However as I started, there was still a wave of noise from the theatre and beyond, so my kids had to concentrate extra hard and were distracted saying that, they did So a sterling piece of work and I was proud of them.

However when you look at how much work it takes to get a child from a non English speaking September child to a all singing all dancing, don’t look at the script child in December, during the process you wonder, or at least I do, but then realize that Yes it is.

It took me years to work out the benefits of the Christmas show over other lost topics, as of course in a busy timetable, you can’t cover everything and a Christmas show However the Christmas show does cover a huge range of essential skills, just in a different way. These include drama, public speaking, poetry and art.

What music to use in a Christmas Show?

This then leads me into music. This year I experimentally abandoned YouTube in my show . A bit radical, I know. I think next time I will return to having a YouTude vocal prompt in the background to help them keep focused on the words and to cover the silences.

I did find an excellent way of generating school shows – apart from this year, I have always used BBC school radio as my main teaching resource. The music section is especially good. They provide whole half hour music lessons online.

Then come the debate about the end of show gifts. I read this interesting article – teachers don’t need gifts, just a thank-you and while gifts are great and my son now has a collection of my gifts on his desk, a thank you is all I need. All I want to know is that the parents are happy with their child’s progress. In the modern declutter and save the world thinking view point, as long as I can eat it or use it in the classroom then it is enough.

How much should a teacher be on stage in a Christmas Play?

Then comes the next great debate. How much should teachers be on stage? If they have a great musical talent or dance talent, can they share it onstage or not? I would love other peoples ideas on this issue.

And finally, when it is all done, due to modern data protection laws, nothing should be put online anyway as the songs are copyrighted, so can’t be publically performed, some kids have parents who never want their kids faces online and the vast majority of the video footage on a phone is never seen again… I am as guilty as the next person on this.

So after losing huge chunks of curriculum time, lost chances of filming it all, avoided too many religious messages, what do you get out of it? While you are here, you might also like these motivational maths posters.

A wonderful set of childhood memories, a class which has learnt their lines and will always have flashbacks to the two motivational poems you have devoted a term to and a nice ending to the term. So sit back, relax and know that it will be alright on the night. No-one else will see have the problems you saw in your show and smile.

unsplash-logoSamuel Fyfe

Big Maths – My Mathematical Advances This Year

Big Maths - Children love Mathematical advances
Find Out How Big Maths Has Helped My Class

I love teaching with Big Maths. I have been busy changing the way we teach maths in the classroom at my school. We have tried all sorts of curriculum and finally found a total winner! We are making the changes to become more inline with COBIS expectations and can already see, after a term of intensive maths teaching, the difference

We are avid fans of Rising Stars maths, complete with the optional Rising stars half term tests.

What Maths Curriculum Schemes Have We Used?

We first tried Nelson maths but the level of differentiation was dire. There was also very little hands on Maths happening there.

We then tried Hamilton maths, a scheme I loved but as there were no books, a huge photocopy bill followed as other staff didn’t follow a paperless way of working and printed out every page and worksheet, on top of which, there is no sternly assessment papers to go with it. We tried to use White Rose assessments but they don’t follow the same curriculum so it wasnt perfect.

White Rose has let all my students get to the end of the course pretty much the same time (I have 2 groups, the more independent and those needing a little more support), all of them love maths.

On top of which, I use Big Maths. I have completely misused this scheme and it works for me. We have a daily 2 minute test using it rather than a weekly test, and my kids love it. Indeed the kids demand extra worksheets to focus on getting their maths skills to such a fine level that they can beat the test.

I have a class of 8, three are special needs with learning difficulties ranging from severe to moderate, all have English as a second language, with 3 coming in in September with almost zero English. So getting the right curriculum is essential for me.

Everyone is on their own Big Maths level, but we all celebrate every one else’s successes as it motivates the class to all work harder.

Big Maths Helped Me Realize I need to Use More Hands On Resources

In addition, my class is now awash with items to help count, counters beans, buttons and the unit and 10 rods.

I also invested in baking trays with dips in them as you can put one bean in each section to add and subtract. I also tried doing it with baking trays, but with much less success.

We also, when I have time to make them, look at my YouTube channel to try to solve the daily maths puzzles I am making for them. It is a lot of fun for them to watch and I am all for that!

As for the best apps and online support I have used for teaching, the app ‘King of Maths’ was the first I used with my own kid.

What other resources do I use?

Also I highly recommend Khan Academy which has lots of really cool maths lessons, ideas and support.

I have also used which has loads and loads of great resources. It is my daily go to for teaching in the classroom it has lots of great resources for everything. It is quite ironic that I make money selling teaching resources online at, but this isn’t where I personally go for resources.

Teaching maths has become fun again. My kids are happy. Their Rising star activities are well paced and if they needed extra homework , there is homework at the back of the teachers guide for them to do.

I would love to know from other teachers what resources they use for an effective lesson. What websites am I missing? How can I make things even better?

How can you identify a giver in your school?

A Giver is part of the life blood of any school - discover ways of helping your givers to give even more in the school.
Are you are Giver or Taker?

Recently I listened to an interesting talk Are you a giver or a taker? and it was amazing.

I then looked at my school. The vast majority of my school are givers. You can spot a giver just by asking one question at their interview.

You ask, “Tell me one time you have helped someone?”. If they talk about helping only people higher up the ladder, they are takers.

If they talk about helping others to climb up to their own level, then they are a giver. Givers are the most productive and least productive in your school. This is because they get and share ideas from everywhere but they can be overstretched and stressed by trying to help everyone.

Giver Taker Video in Full

How do new Givers and Takers on a staff operate?

A new taker is popular for a short while then left alone and so does not add much to a school’s community. Givers help takers until they see that their help is not willingly reciprocated.

I’ve seen this time and again in schools. If a giver needs to cover a class, the other teachers rally around to help. If a taker needs to cover a class, there will be little extra help.

Schools need to find ways of helping givers while removing takers. I love the Eden Garden management scheme – negative, unhelpful staff are removed, allowing them to be replaced by new staff. This works in the tourist industry, but not in schools as then who covers the class? Givers need to be given more support and non contact times to develop their creative ways and more time to work with other givers to make a wonderfully dynamic school.

The takers need to be given a chance to shine, more professional development but if their taking ways are so innate to them, quietly let go at the end of the year.

How can Givers be helped in a school?

Helping givers can happen in a huge number of ways. They could be remained to use their computers more effectively. This let’s them build up and extend their digital community and boost the name of the school further afield.

Also the ‘Giver style’ students need to get extra support and help to develop this wonderful character trait further. This can be through PSHE lessons and extra curricular clubs. These are the pupils you want to get into leadership and management positions in the future.

Likewise if you feel you are the only giver in a school of takers, I am sorry to say the news is bad for you. You can’t change a whole school ethos by your own example and will be used and abused by the takers looking for someone to do their work for them. It is far better, and mentally healthier to move on. Find a school which matches your own ethos and character.

And interesting point I have noticed is a school reflects the character of the senior management team. This is only because everyone likes to hire people who are similar to them. If your school is run by givers, then most of the staff will be givers, apart from the occasional one which slips under the net. Likewise, if your school is run by takers, a far more stressful place to work, then givers will be the minority and run ragged by the takers. These schools of well as they get their goals achieved. The question is at what cost?

Awesome people – Appreciate them today!

Awesome people are all around you - appreciate what people bring into your life.
Are you awesome? Of course you are!

Every day I am surrounded by awesome people I have trained my class to believe that on the school entry form is box their parents need to tick…

Is your kid awesome? Yes / no

I explain I only accept awesome kids – and for me all my students are awesome. They believe (because i tell them daily) that we are the best class on the planet. The children have come to believe this and so are living up to my expectations .

This also works about 50% of the time for teachers. However, I discovered my style of I trust you so won’t double check proves to fail after a while as teachers put things off, cut corners and do it their own way .. which I then need to explain away to my big bosses, so stick with you are awesome to little folk!

My deputy head, Nikki is totally awesome. We really co-head as she has skills which compliment mine while we both find creative solutions to the daily role of keeping a school ticking over on it’s all four cylinders while also both being 100% full classroom teachers, which means you need to be extra awesome. Here is a 5 day challenge to find real happiness – try to do it with your class.

Where are the awesome people in your life?

In addition of course, I have an amazing level of support at home. I am surrounded by awesome people. My wife is always on the move. She gets cars fixed, food made, companies shut down (I set one up for tax purposes and now can’t close it due to weird Romanian laws), my grandmother makes sure everything runs well and is kept spotless. As for my son, of course he is awesome, he is my boy!

However, knowing no-one is perfect, but loving them for their imperfections, even awesome people, will make your life easier. This also goes for the kids in your class. Sure you will always have a little Mr or Miss Perfect, who makes your life easier, but as a teacher, you need to make every kid feel loved. If every kid feels loved and wanted, despite their imperfections and possibly rough upbringing, you will get so much more out of every lesson. Try to say something nice to a kid who you normally frown at and see the change.

Be grateful for awesome people – the key to your own happiness

Unexpected Twists In Life – Go with the flow.

Unexpected Twists in life is what makes it all so special

Unexpected Twists in life lead you to places you need to go but never knew it! Life is full of surprises. Many great, many not so happy. However the key is to be prepared for as many as you can, while going with the flow with the rest.

How can you teach Grit to children?

We teach children about grit and perseverance but what about being a teacher, how you show grit in the classroom? How long do you keep going? I have spent my career trying to build up safety nets and business ideas, many have worked for a while then stopped working. Normally it’s due to a mix of Google changing its search engine rules and other teachers creating something better than what I thought about.

I know speed a lot of time listening to Inspirational Teacher talks and these talks will prepare you for the future, whatever happens.

I’ve been lucky in finding new jobs and I put this down to luck and constantly training and following up new ideas. However, now I have found my perfect job in my perfect school at Maria International school of Bucharest. I hope I don’t need to move on again… but if I do, I will be ready.

How Do I Prepare For Unexpected Twists In Life?

I am now spending my time trying to build up my blogging site, my YouTube site and developing new teaching resources for my teacher website. Why? All because I was told a long time ago that you should always have at least 5 income streams. This is a constant task as things which were easy to do, such as writing ebooks on Amazon, become more difficult or impossible.

Likewise when you lose a great teacher at school, you need to develop a new way of teaching and supporting your staff. You need to accept that great teachers move on, while poor quality teachers need a push, throughout my career I’ve been both types of teacher … to be honest, I am sure most teachers have been in this position.

When your staff suffers a loss, how are the staff protected from more work or a knock to their self esteem? Teachers are stressed enough, So make sure everyone has support. It is easy to get so bogged down that no-one notices.

How To Keep Happy In a Tough Job Or School…

Likewise, loss of friends often happens when you are at your lowest ebb. There is a great solution to this. I did a 30 happiness course. For 30 days you write down three things which you are grateful for, then do and write down one nice thing you have done for someone else and one letter, one 5 minute praise to another staff member, message or phone call to the person you haven’t spoken to in ages and voila in a month you free happy, thankful and your social network is ticking over in a really nice way, as I said – Unexpected Twists in life lead you to places you need to go but never knew it! Take this wonderful 5 day challenge – you will never look at life the same again – Try and see!

Nothing Is Out of Reach – Believe!

Nothing Is Out of Reach
Nothing is out of your reach – you just need to find a new way of getting there.

Every day I dream of new things. Currently I dream of getting 1000 subscribers on YouTube.I have learnt nothing in life is out of reach. I went out and got a PhD as people had always questioned my academic skills. I then went off to become a fun loving primary school teacher.I would really recommend anyone to use Big Maths (all the worksheets you need can be found here.My class has always struggled with maths. Fitting mental maths into an already packed curriculum is tough. However I took the CLIC challenges and set them as a daily 2 minute maths test, set to each child’s own level, so they are only competing against themselves.

Nothing is out of reach – even becoming great at maths!

The results after just a couple of weeks is amazing ! Kids who have never shown any interest in maths remind me that I haven’t given them yet their daily 2 minute test. A friend of mine in the reception class found even 4 to 5 year olds love these tests.Likewise, nothing is out of reach for a teacher, it just requires creativity such as sharing and selling your own teaching resources on or giving yourself addition training at MOOC list .You can find the time while on the bus, during professional non contact times or any other free moments you have. Educational training is always moving on, and you need to keep up with it.

Here is what I do in my professional development times, I learn how to make educational videos. Remember, nothing is out of your reach, if you try . The big issue is simply find something which really fires you up. My niece is fired up over saving the planet and while I don’t personally agree with her ideas and methods – I love to see she is dreaming big. I am on the other side of the coin, I don’t think there is anything we can do to stop the oncoming train wreck, and so I am focusing on getting ready, preparing my gardening skills and buying and restoring land, ready for tough times ahead. Who is right, only time will tell. In reality, we are both doing the best we can.