Have you made a simple, but useful discovery which saves time, quietens the class on a wet afternoon - or helps the children learn? Please share it with your colleagues. There's a free copy of Ted Wragg's Guide to Education for each tip published
* Circle time is a good way to develop children's self esteem, consideration for others and also help to release children's tensions.
Arrange the children in a circle and give them something special to hold, like a teddy or a magic crystal. Ask one of them: "What do I like about myself?" Then go around the circle asking each child the same question and then progress to them asking them what they don't like. This way the children often come up with things that helps the teacher find out if there is problem with any of them.
Next you can have a child sitting in what we call the "hot seat". Get the other children to say what they like about the child, such as he is kind, he shares things, and so on. This helps to develop a child's self-esteem Then play the "Today I feel happy because . . . game, making all the children in the circle say whey they feel happy or unhappy. This game can point out anything unkind that might be going on in the playground, like bullying which can perhaps be sorted out there and then.
Masks can be incorporated into circle time. Make them from papier mche using casserole lids as moulds. They should have a variety of facial expressions, happy, sad and so on. Put them in the middle of the circle and the child can choose which mask he wants to put on. Get him to say why he has chosen it. Because they can hide behind the mask it makes them speak out.
Barbara Pollard, Hawes Down Infant School, West Wickham, Bromley, Kent
Please send tips for Pass It On to Maureen McTaggart, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY.