Having been a, supply teaching, visitor to many local schools I have often relied on tales and stories to break the ice.
The class I am teaching is not my class and I do not know them. They are the experts to the school routines and are not afraid to tell you what you should and should not do as well as point out when you make a mistake.
I can, often, never know where I will be teaching next; what age group; or even what I will be asked to teach, as a result I have to be adaptable and flexible.
The children also know when they can get away with a bit more and can push or test the boundaries.
So I began telling stories. Of course I started with a couple of good books I knew. I now know these books inside out; back to front and off by heart! But I also found telling a few real stories in between helped too. It gave good eye-contact and I could adapt these tales to be as long or short as time allowed.
I began by telling the children how I secretly played with my Lego when not in school. They loved this idea.
I would tell them that my ear-rings were my guardian angels and that they would be smiling at the class in case I become too serious and forget to smile.
I then named the ear-rings after my children; Tom and Elly. Of course Elly was on the left as she was left-handed.
The story has grown and grown but most importantly it breaks the ice.
It is amazing how many months, sometimes even years, I re-visit a school and the children remember me as the ‘Lego Lady’. I don’t mind this as they then remember not only that I play with Lego but that I write books about buses, have two children whose names they remember but that I also wear a badge with my name on it!
Oh and they remember the sun clap
But that's another story!