Getting Started – Great School Projects

The way you measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Issue No. 95 – 14th September 2010

Welcome to Kidz Newz especially to all new subscribers.  Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children. You are receiving this because you have attended one of my workshops, purchased a book, or you have requested to be on the mailing list. Thank you. Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to. Feedback is welcome.

New Classes

If you live in Perth, Western Australia, I am starting up Kidz-Fiz-Biz classes in 4th term at Ocean Reef. If you know of any parents of young children in the area, please tell them about these classes and ask them to get in touch with me. I have had so many requests over the years to start them up again that finally I have relented. Renae Bedells will be the teacher-in-charge, although I will get the ball rolling (if you’ll pardon the pun).

Employment Opportunity

Looking for a part-time teaching opportunity? Love working with children? Love teaching music and movement? I am looking for people to train to run Kidz-Fiz-Biz classes. I have had 25 years in this industry (23 specifically with children) and want to start up classes again due to ongoing demand. Good income and lots of fun. If this is something of interest to you now or in the future, please contact me at or phone 0410 642 781.

Getting Started – Great School Projects

I realise it is not the start of the school year, but you might like to make a note of these tips for next time. I found them while trawling the Teachers’ Networking Group on LinkedIn. The question asked was ‘Can anyone give advice for a creative and rewarding project for the first few days of school?’

Here are some ideas listed which I’m sure you could adopt or modify as appropriate, depending on the age of the children in your class. Some of the ideas are more ice-breakers than projects as such, but you could extend them into projects.

Elyse Halperin says – Something I did in a teacher workshop for “breaking the ice” might be a good idea. Give everyone a list of questions, i.e. what do you like to do in your spare time? who is your favourite actor? Each student walks around the room and shares the questions with as many people as he/she can find in a set amount of time. Both get a chance to answer. Then come back into a group and discuss what it was like actually getting to know a “new friend”. You could make it a game where the person who connects with the most people gets some sort of recognition or small reward.

For younger children, have them bring in a family picture and then write a small biography to go with it. Children share them with the class. Student’s share what they liked or found special about each child’s presentation. This could go into a math lesson where you graph similar or same details students present and stress similarities among the class.

Another good technique I observed in an elementary class was where the teacher had a compliment chart. Every time someone gave someone else a compliment or positive feedback, she put a check [that’s a tick for those of us who speak British English] up on the board. If someone was rude or nasty to another student, she took it off. At the end of the day or week, the class could earn a small treat for the amount of compliments: free time, popcorn party.

Bailey Earith says – Try this art writing prompt: Have students cut out and collage magazine pictures and words that describe their goals for the school year (friends, sports, grades, subjects, milestones, family). They can stop with the project or continue as a writing or oral presentation. This project helps set a positive mindset for the year ans works well with all grade levels.

Cheska Lorena says – Make a paper community quilt out of post-it-notes or larger index cards where students draw or make a mosaic about their personal learning goals for the school year, their dreams for their future, or a biography about themselves. Put the individual squares together to make the quilt and cover a classroom wall or space in the hallway outside your room to serve as a community builder and reminder for the students to work hard throughout the year.

I really like Cheska’s idea, especially if the ‘quilt’ were a design itself and especially if each card was a different colour or series of colours to create the desired image. I have taken part in a similar project using fabric – teaching the children maths concepts as well as fine-motor skills, art & craft and co-operation, via quilting. A group of mums brought in their sewing machines so the children could join the squares together and see how quilts get made. The finished product went on the school wall.

It reminds me of my visit to China in May this year when I visited the Beijing Zoo. On a wall in the panda display there was a selection of wall tiles (small ones like the ones on your bathroom wall – about 12cm square), each one of which had been hand-painted by the primary school child. On it they had written about the Olympics and cheering the teams – most of it was graphic, with few or no words. It was inspirational. It had been compiled for display in time for the Beijing Olympics.

I hope these ideas inspire you. And who says such projects have to be start-of-school-year projects? Anytime sounds like a good time to me.

Quotes of the Week

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ~ William Arthur Ward



TEACHER: “Can anybody give an example of COINCIDENCE?”
JOHNNY: “Sir, my Mother and Father got married on the same day, same time.”

TEACHER: “Now, Sam, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?”
SAM: “No sir, I don’t have to, my Mom is a good cook.”

TEACHER: “John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?”
JOHN: “You told me to do it without using tables.”

TEACHER: “Glenn, how do you spell ‘crocodile’?”
TEACHER: “No, that’s wrong.”
GLENN: “Maybe it’s wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.”

TEACHER: “Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn’t have ten years ago.”

TEACHER: “Glen, why do you always get so dirty?”
GLEN: “Well, I’m a lot closer to the ground than you are.”

TEACHER: “Clyde, your composition on ‘My Dog’ is exactly the same as your brother’s. Did you copy his?”
CLYDE: “No, sir. It’s the same dog.”


“I have bought a lot of resources but there is nothing on the market in Australia quite like your work. Thanks and congratulations.” ~ Anne Vans-Colina

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892, Australia
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E:

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Until next time … continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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