Book Review by Samira Ashraf- 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Mindfulness In The Classroom

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Note: This is a book review written by Samira Ashraf who is a Curriculum Leader of Psychology, Mindfulness Lead and Teacher of RMS. You can follow her on Twitter @mindfulmiss1 .

Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzzword, not just in education but also in health care and the business world too. With the current focus on mental health and well being many schools are turning to mindfulness as a method to support their students. Within my own setting I am offering mindfulness to students across the school to support their wellbeing with positive feedback from pupils.
Tammie Prince has shown how easy it is to weave these mindful activities into your everyday classroom. Jam packed with, usually short and easy to prepare techniques, a wide variety of methods, such as breathing, guided meditations, active meditations etc.. The different activities will cater for different students and personalities. The use of quotes with each idea shows that Tammie has included tried and tested techniques within her own practice.
The calm down and relax techniques are particularly useful for students who need help to manage their stress, anxieties and worries and are simple but effective. My favourite technique that I use with Secondary level students is the Starfish hand meditation, a fantastic method to help with test/exam nerves.
The techniques that Tammie shares are not just useful for primary age but can also be adapted for KS3/4 and even 5. The teachers tips for each idea shows how versatile and adaptable each method is followed by further extension activities.
What is really useful is the Teacher’s mindfulness section, especially the mindful reflection. This book is not just for the students but it shows that we can all use these techniques to manage our own work/life stressors. I shall be sharing these techniques with our staff who would like to explore mindfulness personally or with their classes.

100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Mindfulness in the Classroom is written by Tammie Prince and published by Bloomsbury. You can find more information on the book and where you can order the book here.

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Book Review- 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Homework by Jenna Lucas

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Bloomsbury continues to add quality resources to their ever expanding education division with a book by Jenna Lucas in the #100Ideas series. The ageless topic of  homework is one that schools have been grappling with for many years. Parents hate it because it can be a fight at home and teachers hate it as it takes even more time to chase after it or mark it. As a Headteacher, I am constantly having to reflect on and balance the needs of all.

100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Homework is a little gem of a book that makes homework a practical, engaging activity for the whole family. Thus, homework doesn’t become a fight ending in tears but a fun exploration of the home and local environment that develops lifelong skills and embeds school learning experiences after school hours.

The book is divided into several sections: Student 5 a day, Literacy, Maths, Science, Topics, The arts, The outdoors, Technology, Finding out and Learning nuggets. Each with a wealth of ideas, teaching tips and bonus ideas.

While all the sections have quick and easily accessible homework ideas, I am particularly impressed with the Student 5 a day section with its emphasis on child wellbeing and development of very mindful skills. My favourite is Idea # 1- Student 5 a day!

Another bonus of the ideas is that most require little or no marking! Also, the Teaching Tips really do make it clear how to get the most out of the work the children produce.

The homework ideas can equally be good for in class activities and lessons allowing for great diversity in the use of the book.

Conclusion:
This is a great book for a teacher to have in her/his arsenal of resources to support the creative planning of teaching and learning.

To find out what Jenna says about her book, watch this video of my short interview with her recently at Bloomsbury offices.

You can follow Jenna on Twitter @JennaLucas81 and you can purchase her book on Bloomsbury here or on Amazon here.