Get them to write biographical articles about each other. Take in a few magazine articles as examples. Discuss them and talk about the questions the children can ask one another. In twos or threes they interview each other and take rough notes. The teacher can correct spellings at this stage. Then get the children to think up a headline, write up the interview neatly, and draw a picture of their partner to go with it. This can be developed into a drama follow-up where the children perform a TV or radio interview in front of the class.
u Use a game to sort out who is really listening. Give them a tick list of, say, fruits. Mention these fruits at intervals through the lesson. The children have to tick them off.
u To quieten a class use a visual signal picked up from Brownies where Brown Owl holds up three fingers. I use crossed fingers or, with little ones, a finger over the mouth. They all have to copy. The nearest ones do it first and the rest of the class follows.
u To get children to tidy up quickly, tell them exactly how long they've got. For example, "I want everything put away by the time I've counted down from 15."
Elizabeth Hanley Supply teacher from Kincardineshire.
Send your tips to Maureen McTaggart at The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY.