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This month:cheap and cheerful

Build up your own collection of historical artefacts by visiting car boot sales and antique fairs. Always say the item you purchase is for school and you may be given a discount. Collect artefacts from various time periods and have your own timeline resources, or buy unusual pieces and develop children's questioning skills.

For small glue pots, complete with lids, ask your local film developer for used film canisters.

Should you and your children discover a mistake in a reading or library book, get them to write a letter of complaint to the publisher - more often than not they will respond with a letter and free books!

When you're loaded down with work and happen to come across a competition or a flyer for children in a magazine, give it as a meaningful piece of homework. Your pupils may even win a prize for you.

To get a free supply of book jackets and posters, ask you local bookshop or library.

When children need to actout the subtraction problem in numeracy, use empty, fun-size Smarties boxes. These are not only good for decomposition work, but can be filled with 10 centimetre cubes.

Visit a DIY store and buy A4 pieces of textured glass (such as those with leaves or bubbles). When you have protected the edges with electrical tape, it is great for rubbing and providing a background for children's work.

Find at least one thing a lesson to make the children (and yourself) laugh.

When a child doesn't answer, count silently to 10. They will answer - they know you will wait and expect a reply.

By Sharon Flowers and Petra Hamill, Bramingham primary school, Luton

We will pay pound;30 for each tip that we publish. Send brief ideas for teaching, admin or how to cope in school to TES Primary, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX, or e-mail

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