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Cool ideas observed in the classroom!

During my time as an OT, I’ve been to some classes where nothing grabs my attention in being “extraordinary”. Then there are times where I see these ideas that I think, “hey! I can totally see myself implementing these into my classroom!” After a few photos and notes; this is what I’ve found so far.

Helping Hands:


This is geared more towards a primary class. I loved this idea because the students loved to follow their roles and they are very adamant about which job belongs to whom. The jobs are valid for one week and must rotate in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. Some jobs include: calendar, books, shoes, chairs, lights, floor, attendance, collector, handouts etc. (basically whatever you want in your classroom)

Class Management: 


I thought these were great ways to get the attention of the class. They are fun and different to add variety to your everyday.

Organizing folder:





This is a great way for students to organize their writing. They learn to transfer their work from ideas, to work in process, and the edited draft. Of course the slots can be modified however you see fit. You can add any important information that you might want your students to know or use as a tool while writing.

Leaving the Classroom Tracker:

This is great for primary classes, instead of having a “sign-out” book.


You can modify any of these to fit the needs of your classroom!



More Quick Fillers!

Guess Who

It is like the board game Guess Who. You divide the group into two teams sitting in neatly set up rows of chairs. One person from each team is picked to guess who the judge has in mind from the other team. (The judges must write the name down as proof.)

The pickers switch off asking yes or no questions (i.e. does he wear glasses). Any one who doesn’t fit in with the answer must sit down until the picker guesses who.

That team gets a point and two new people are picked and you do it all over again.


One person sits a little ways away from the group, not looking at the group. You pick someone to say “Hello,” and the person’s name. Suggest that they use a different voice. The person then has to try to figure out who was greeting them.

Hot Seat

*Have one person sit facing the group. (This person is in the “hot seat.”) The teacher will write a vocabulary word on a piece of paper and hold it up behind the contestant in the hot seat for everyone to see. Then the group has to try and get the hot seat contestant to guess the word by giving hints and clues.* Spelling Word Practice

That’s Not Funny!

One student sits in a chair in front of the class and the students have to try to make that student laugh without speaking. The teacher can time each student to see who can last the longest.


This is like one of those story-building games, only it’s all about building an image. Nothing changes or moves. I like to play it with my eyes closed because it’s easier to build the image.

It’s called “Polaroid” because the image develops, like a Polaroid picture.

One player starts with anything, like, “a penny.” Someone else adds a detail the he or she actually imagines when picturing a penny – a 1978 penny. The next player adds yet another detail. “On a red checkered table cloth.” Again, the direction here is not to tell a story, not to try to be cute, but simply to say what you’re seeing.

Question Game

1. Arrange the group in a circle.
2. In order, each person asks an open-ended (can’t be answered with “yes” or “no”) question to the person to their left.
3. Instruct everyone to remember the question that they asked and the answer they gave to the question they were asked.  Those are now the only 2 phrases each person is allowed to say.
4. Instruct everyone to get up and sit next to someone new in the circle.
5. Then you will go around the circle and people will ask their original questions, and give their original answers, regardless of their question.

Check out more here! Rainy Day Activities!



Quick Fillers (for those rainy days/extra time)

Since I started supply teaching I noticed that fillers and quick activities are a necessity for any day to calm down students, to get them energized, to burn extra energy…anything really!

I searched on a camping website and found these interesting activities. They can be modified in any way to fit your classroom needs!

Huckle Buckle

1. Everyone finds a partner**.
2. Have the partners split up and stand across from each other. The groups will form two lines about 20m apart.
3. The leader or counselor will say “huckle buckle knees”, for example, and the partners will run towards each other and touch knees.
4. The last partnership to do it is out.
5. Continue by calling out other body parts (hands, backs, hips) and combinations (elbow to shoulder). Sometimes the leader can say “huckle buckle *body part* ” and the partners must go back to back, link arms at the elbows and sit down.
6. Continue until there is one winning partnership.**Can be modified –everyone is single and finds a different partner each action

Dead Beaver

This is a fabulous game to play to calm everyone down, on a rainy day or to keep children occupied if a certain camp leader needs a quick break.Have the children find a spot in the room/field away from everyone else, and lie down. When the camp leader says “dead beaver” everyone is to lie still and remain as quiet as possible. The last person to move/give up wins.

To make the game more interesting stick stickers to the camper’s faces, make silly noises or talk about something ridiculous very loudly to yourself or another camp leader.

Back Words

Divide the group into teams of 5 people each with pencil and paper. Call out a word which has four or more letters. Each team writes the word vertically down the left side of the paper, and on the right side write the word vertically backwards. Then they have to fill in between the letters to form new words.

Air Pong

Form two teams each at opposite ends of a table with hands held behind their backs. A ping pong ball is placed in the middle and the teams will try to blow the ball off of the other teams side of the table. If the ball falls off the side of the table it gets placed back in the middle and play resumes.

 In My Grandmother’s Attic

The first player says, “In my grandmother’s attic, I found (name something that starts with “A”).The next player says the same phrase, the object beginning with the “A,” and then something that begins with a “B.”Continue this way, each player reciting the previous items and adding another, all the way through the alphabet to “Z.”

Doctor and Virus

The leader chooses one camper to be the doctor.The doctor has to turn their back to the group or leave the area while the leader chooses another camper to be the virus.The campers (except for the doctor) are assembled in the same area and told to walk around and shake each other’s hands. As the virus is shaking hands they must randomly scratch the palm of another camper’s hand.

The scratched camper continues to shake 3-5 more hands then sits down (or lays down and plays ‘dead’). The doctor has three guesses to discover who the virus is.


Start with a ball or a rolled up sock or bandana. One person (the flinch master) stands in the middle of a circle created by everyone else (group size is n/a). The people making up the circle should stand about 8-10 feet away from the flinch master. The flinch master tosses the ball, or sock or whatever to each person in the circle in no particular order. This is an elimination game, in order to get the people out the flinch master tries to get them to flinch by pump-faking a throw. The people in the circle stand with their arms crossed over their chest and are eliminated if they flinch when the ball is not thrown to them or if they drop the ball. The ball must be thrown underhand and people playing will determine if a dropped pass is a good throw or not. The last person standing becomes the new flinch master.

Food, Friends and Fireworks

1. Begin by introducing the motions:
Food- rub your belly and say “mmmmm”
Friends- hold out both arms wide and say “heeeeyyyy”
Fireworks- clap both hands over your head and then say “shhhhhhhh” as you slowly lower your arms to your sides.
Ask everyone to find a partner. They stand back to back.
2. Tell them that they are going to try to match one of the three motions with their partner. There is no talking or planning!!
3. Count to three and say “Go!”
4. Both partners turn and face each other and immediately make the motion and sound that they had chosen.
5. If the pair match, they give a resounding “Yes!” and pump their fist in the air. If they do not match they say “D’Oh” and lightly bump themselves on the head.
Try it again with the same partner or have everyone switch partners and see if a match can be created with someone new.

— K


Interviews…. the dreaded, scary, nerve-wrecking experiences we must all face!

I recently had an interview for OT at the school board I would love to work at. I was totally shocked when I saw that the caller ID on my phone read out Peel District School Board. I never thought that I would be given an opportunity to ‘wow’ the judges so soon after I graduated; but alas my chance came!

I was given so many different tips and tricks from so many different people who had interviews. I heard that the questions would be timed, the interviewers sat very close to you, and that there would be a written component in the beginning. Having all these tips helped me by relieving some of the surprises that I would face during the process. I thought I would share some knowledge with you!

When I first arrived to the interview, I was surprised at how many other candidates were there; I was also surprised at the amount of people that I knew from my classes and practicums. When they finally called the 8:30am people in the classroom to write the written test, I was beyond surprised at how many people were actually there for the interview. There were people scheduled for 8, 830, and 9 am as far as I could see.

Next came the written test, consisting of one question explaining that one of your students came back from recess complaining that another student had kicked her three times in the stomach. How would YOU handle the situation??

I later found out that the purpose of this test is to assess your language proficiency.

After this test we went back into the waiting area to wait for our names to be called. I got called in by a VP and a principal and they DID sit awfully close to me. They told me to relax, not to be nervous; and they gave me a binder which had the questions in it and told me I could use it if I needed it.

Here are the questions in no particular order (because I can’t remember the order)

1. Class management –> talk about how you would handle a class and examples of your class management experiences.

2. Diversity–> talk about how you have demonstrated diversity in your practice and how you would do it in your own class

3. What is unique about you that you can bring to a school ? How have you shown this? –>talk about a quality you have that you have used to enhance a class (ie creative, dancer, drama, singing, music, athletic etc)

4. Describe a lesson/unit plan that was successful and how do you know it was successful–> explain with examples and details.

5. A question about assessment & evaluation–> give different examples and show differentiated assessments for all needs

6. Accommodations and Modifications–> give a lot of examples of how you did this!!

MOST IMPORTANTLY: smile, breathe, talk with confidence, take your time, and use genuine examples, they can feel your enthusiasm and passion in your face and body language!

Hope if you get a call you can be prepared!!!!




So How Do You Manage Your Classroom When You Don’t Punish?

Very insightful and effective!

Pernille Ripp

image from etsy

Following the debate over public behavior charts, many people wondered what they could do in its place to still keep students engaged and on track?  I referred to a few posts but then realized that I did not have just one post that laid out exactly what I do in my own room, tips and ideas are in many different places.  And then I realized, I don’t really have one system because my approach changes every year depending on the needs of the students and the type of community we strive to make.  And yet, there are threads that run through every year with my students of what we do.

  • I don’t set the rules.  The students know how to do school, in fact, by 5th grade they are experts at it.  So instead of me telling them what the rules of the room is, I…

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The Differentiation Band-aid

This blog post I found is very interesting and enlightening!

The Differentiation Band-aid 


Awhile back I came across this blog post and thought it was a genius idea for demonstrating differentiation. It is also a great way to introduce the idea that every student is different and every student has different needs. It is very important that your students understand that they are a community and they need to support each member in their community in order for it to grow and be successful all year.

— K