If spending valuable time producing a "cloze" piece for your current topic, instead of handing it out for the children to fill in, give it to them encased in a "sticky" (plastic wrapping). They can then write out the whole piece carefully as a handwriting exercise, as well as carrying out the cloze procedure. (For non-primary teachers, "cloze" is a standard procedure where crucial words are taken out of a piece of text, for children to fill in the blanks, to show they have understood the passage.) At the end of the session you will still have a set of pristine sheets to be filed away for future use. This will save photocopying costs and time.
Celia Raven Ipplepen Primary School, Devon
Younger children have difficulty understanding punctuation and, because they are not very critical of themselves, find it hard to revise their own work. One way to get them into the habit of self-editing and help sharpen their punctuation skills is to ask them to read through their work, either aloud to the class or to an editing partner. Very soon they get the idea that when they stop at a natural breathing space in a piece of prose or poetry, it means that either a comma or a full stop is needed.
Sandra Woodman Tyning Hengrove School, Bristol.
When your class is glueing, painting or doing messy work, newspaper on the tables is often not enough. I put an open magazine in front of each pupil for them to work on and, as each page gets sticky, I simply turn over to a clean one. At the end of the session you can throw the magazine away and the newspaper is still clean.
Christina Bowskill Supply teacher in Brighton.
* 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: each successful tipster wins either a free copy of Ted Wragg's Guide to Education or Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley's Children Just Like Me. Indicate your choice on your submitted tips when you send them to Maureen McTaggart at The TES, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. Fax: 0181 782 3200