• Dec 112013

Sparky’s Creative Christmas Links!

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It occurred to us the other day that if you’re not on Twitter, you miss out on a lot of links people share. Even if you’re on Twitter, if you log on at the wrong time you may not get to see them either… So, here are a few bits and bobs we’ve garnered with a Christmas theme. Our experience is of hectic school life in the run-up to Christmas (specifically as Music Co-ordinator, endless carol practices and choir trips to supermarkets!), so here are some little ideas for any snatched spare moments you might get with your class between now and then. If you get any more, feel free to share them in the comments below.

1. Star Wars Snowflakes

In a great twist on usual snowflake patterns, designer Anthony Herrera has made 13 freely-downloadable PDF templates for his Star Wars snowflakes. Not 100% sure how achievable these will be without a craft knife, but might be worth taking a look (for yourself, if not your class!).

2. It’s A Wonderful Job

A seasonal reminder from Tom Bennett that we are links in a chain and, sometimes, taking a moment to consider that can be quite uplifting.

3. NO MAN

This is a really well-written piece about the most famous Christmas football match in history. Can see History teachers using this as well as English teachers as a hook into a poetry / prose activity.

4. The Way Of The Revision Ninja

We’ve had some revision tips cards printed up, giving advice and motivation to your students. The response we’ve had to these has been great and we’ve almost sold out of our first batch (mainly to secondary year groups, but some primary classes too). If you’re a secondary teacher who wants to provide valuable revision advice with a lively slant, do take a look. Your students deserve something with spark! Order before Christmas and you’ll get them cheaper. Our introductory offer ends then. You can find out more here or by watching this…

5. Origami Penguins

Origami plus penguins. What’s not to like? (baby penguins work well to accompany them)

6. Bethlehem Cards

If you’re stuck for Christmas art ideas, here’s something we’ve used in the past to good effect. It works really well if you’ve got paint rollers and quite thick, inky paint. We’ve tried to replicate it using a graphics program below, but nothing’s ever as good as the real thing…

Step One: Paint or print an abstract background with blocks of colour. Always done it with warm colours, but blues/purples might work just as well.

Step Two: Use a black marker to draw the edges of buildings/windows/minarets. Again, stick to the abstract. Keep it simple. Hint at shapes without actually providing the detail.

Step Three: Use the classic white paint, chalk and smudgy finger combo to create the star of Bethlehem.

7. For The Man Who Hated Christmas

Bear with this video. The actors come across a little corny at times, but stick with it — it’s worth it. Is this something you could use in class? Can imagine schools doing something similar or, at the very least, use the video to encourage thinking of others this time of year.

8. The Twelve Days Of Christmas

If you’ve never done a maths investigation into The Twelve Days Of Christmas, we’d thoroughly recommend it. It brings into play Pascal’s Triangle and all sorts of patterns along the way. We’ve prepared the resources for you, you just have to download them (for free) and teach the lesson. Here they are.

Thankyou!

From all of us at Sparky Teaching, we hope you manage to get to the end of next week without a sore throat or burning out (in our experience, the cold always decided to strike on Day 1 of the holiday). And then, we trust that you have a great break and time to enjoy your family, friends and the real meaning of Christmas. In a folder, here at Sparky HQ we have some songs we’ve written on the real meaning of Christmas for use in primary schools, but they’ll have to wait for another year.

Thank you for your support in 2013. From gentle beginnings in 2009, we’ve slowly grown and enjoyed more and more of your encouragement. Someone emailed us today and mentioned the words “You held my hand during my PGCE”. Those words, and words like them, are so encouraging. Never met the guy who wrote it and never knew we’d had that effect. Nice to hear, though. We don’t know how helpful we are unless you say and it’s great to know that there are lots of teachers who share the same ethos.

2014 promises to be an interesting year. At the end of May, we’re having a book published — 365 Things To Make You Go “Hmmm…” which will be like the website but better! Between now and the end of 2013, there’s the small matter of finishing the manuscript, though. Better get to it…

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