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Teachers share their tips

Have you made a simple discovery which saves time, quietens the class on a wet afternoon, or simply helps children learn? Please share it with other TES readers

* Make it easier and quicker to get parents in for a chat by printing slips or postcards which simply say: "Please contact . . ." with tick boxes for different staff, ie secretary, head, class teacher followed by "about . . ." It's often better than a detailed letter, which will prepare parents for trouble.

* Fire or emergency evacuation drill is a very real test of children responding to adult staff. Practising the drill using different routes and different times can be a good problem-solving exercise for the children. It also gives them the chance to work on listening and quick response to instructions in less life-threatening situations, for instance, the aim of the next lesson.

* It's worth having the timetable for regular activities displayed clearly for the children to use. It helps them to get a sense of the routines and helps them develop some very important skills in terms of handling reading of a variety of information formats.

* Have you ever added up the time younger children have spent sitting on the floor in a day? If you put together the total of storytime, assembly, registration and other points in the day, the gluteus maximus may be being strained to the point of justified fidgeting.

* Hang the expense! A box of tissues on the desk is worth its weight in phlegm. Not only for concealing the evidence of the cold streaming from nasal Nigel, not only as a comforter for tearful Tara, but occasionally you just need something to hide behind in the classroom.

Jon O'Connor and colleagues at Parkside First School, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.

Please send tips for Pass It On to Maureen McTaggart, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY.Fax: 0171-782 3200.A free copy of Ted Wragg's Guide to Education for each tip published

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