That Blank Look

It’s 8:30am and you have just walked through the school office, picked up your information for the day, and are about to get your head around what class you’re teaching today. You walk into the room and look down to find nothing left for you! Now as a teacher it is expected that you can pull teaching ideas out of nowhere – and yes we all usually can. But what about those times where your mind goes clear and you have that blank look on your face?

Here are some of my ideas that I’ve used, which can be adapted and differentiated across all Primary year levels.

Happy teaching – and don’t stress – you’ll be GREAT!


KEYS / PADLOCK: I carried these around with me and they were great writing prompts for students in all grades!

  • Introduction – Show the item and pass around to students to get a better look. Then brainstorm on the board different story ideas. E.g. For the padlock they could be on a quest to find the key to open it or the combination. Their story could be about how they found the padlock. Maybe they were guarding it? Was the padlock theirs or someone else’s? The list is endless.
  • Middle – Students then go to their tables and have to develop their own story. Depending on the year level talk about literary elements for that area of the curriculum. For younger levels get them to write a small amount and illustrate. For Foundation they could draw an illustration or a series of pictures about their story. For older year levels students could focus on the elements of a story and character building, descriptive language and interesting paragraphs to capture the readers attention.
  • End – Finish the lesson off by either sharing a few stories with the class or in small groups.


STORY BOOK: Try and have a picture story with fairly complex illustrations in your CRT kit. This will help you if you ever have to teach art and is a great activity that doesn’t require complex equipment.

  • Introduction – Read the story to students and discuss the elements of a story. Talk about why the author may have wanted to write it and illustrate the story like that. Point out the different techniques and details used by the illustrator.
  • Middle – Ask students to continue the story for one more page. They need to think about what would happen next if it continued, and most of all, what type of illustration would it have. Using a plain piece of paper and any type of drawing and writing materials (younger years don’t have to write), students spend time creating their version of the books ending.
  • End – Choose a few and read them out to the class in conjunction with the book itself. Ask that particular student why they chose to draw and write what they did.


MOVEMENT: This was a really fun activity to do with the students I taught, and was great for all ages! Essentially the lesson was about how our bodies can move and what we can do with them in light of performing arts and music. It’s always great to have some music on your phone in case the room has an auxiliary cable, that way you can add a musical element whenever you think it is appropriate.

  • Introduction – Get the students standing and do some stretches to loosen them up. Highlight the use of our bodies and how they move. Discuss how moving our bodies takes a lot of control and strength.
  • Middle – Break students into groups of eight and explain that everyone will have time to ‘recreate’ certain things set by the teacher. E.g. A television (Students have to talk and work together to make a human television). Other ideas include a school bus, a couch, a chair, a DVD case, a picture, a bicycle, a car, a Christmas scene etc.
  • End – Play relaxing music while students lie on the ground with their eyes closed. Speak softly over them and help them to relax and release any tension. They can imagine themselves in a place that relaxes them.