Online Games to practise: The Order of the Letters of the Alphabet


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Alphabet | Posted on October 19, 2014

Dorothy Whidden alphabet illustration
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Crossett Library via Compfight

Learning Planet’s ‘ABC Order’.

‘Alphabet Games’ from Play Kids

#codeweekEU Making Progress with


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Coding, Coding: Scratch | Posted on October 16, 2014

In the past few weeks we have been working our way through ‘s Courses for Elementary Students. 

We are doing Course Two.

As we build on our skills the things

we can do get more and more interesting.

We can find activities that suit our interests.

Bruno enjoys art and Alex prefers creating games.

Click on the screens to see the games and artwork in action.

Then click ‘run’.

And in this game, after ‘run’, click the screen again! 


UPDATE: A Local Hero, Simon Fitzmaurice


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in A Local Hero, Our Town | Posted on October 15, 2014

My Name is Emily

Simon is a Dad in our school.

He wrote a wonderful script

for our Christmas pageant.


Five years ago Simon started

to write a movie.

It is called ‘My Name is Emily’.


He began writing it with a pen

or typing on a keyboard.


Because he has motor neuron disease

he finished it using

a special “eye gaze” computer

that allows him to type

by looking at letters on a screen.


In November 2013

we wrote about how he was

fundraising to make a movie.

You can read more

of his inspiring story here.


Since then Simon has written

a book called:

‘It’s Not Yet Dark’.

He has been on TV and on

the radio and in the newspapers.


He began making his movie

‘My Name is Emily’

in early September, 2014.

He is now more than half way

through shooting it.


We are excited because Evanna Lynch, the

wonderful actress, who played Luna Lovegood in the

‘Harry Potter’ movies is playing the part of Emily.

Here in Greystones Simon Fitzmaurice is our Local Hero.

This is the last week of shooting the movie.

We think Simon’s work shows

us that you can do anything

you set your mind to.


#mathsweek – Useful online Maths Activities: 2nd to Seniors approximately.


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Maths | Posted on October 15, 2014

Scroll down this link to see the Maths Websites we use in class

to supplement our learning.

Photo Credit: marcello via Compfight

Prayer Service : All Souls


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Prayer Service | Posted on October 14, 2014

light is life
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: eNriKeFot☮ via Compfight

Good morning & welcome to the school hall on this special day

when we remember the people we love who have gone home to God.


Sign of the Cross x3

(God came down…In the name of the Father… As Gaeilge)


Candle Prayer; ‘Chase away the darkness.

Fill the world with light,

be a little candle flame and shine out bright’.

First song: This little light of mine.


Why do we light a candle?

To remind us that God our Father in Heaven is always with us.

Song; If I go climbing/rowing/swimming/ driving/ flying/ sleeping


Now it is time to say GOOD MORNING

to God our Father in Heaven

and to remember how much he loves us.


Father in Heaven, you love me…

I’ll try to please you Father. That is not always easy.

But if we do make mistakes and are sorry in our hearts,

then God our Father in Heaven will always forgive us.


So let’s say SORRY to God

O my God I thank you for loving me.

I am sorry for all my sins,

for not loving others and not loving you.

Help me to live like Jesus and not sin again. Amen


And now it is time to say THANKS to God

God our Father I come to say,

thank you for your love today.

Thank you for my family and all the friends you give to me.

Guard me in the dark of night and in the morning,

please send your light. Amen.


What day is it? Month?

Next month: November is the month of the holy souls

and we believe that just as Jesus died and rose again

to share new life with God Our Father in Heaven;

so too are all our loved ones happily living their new life with God


Good News! The Bible tells us there will be no more tears in heaven.

Those who have gone to heaven will never be hungry or thirsty

because God is there and he minds them.

one in a million
Photo Credit: jenny downing via Compfight

Jesus tells us not to worry.

He says if God looks after the flowers in the fields

and the birds in the trees so well,

surely he will look after us even better.

He says the flowers in the fields don’t worry

so why should we.

Song; The Flowers in the Fields


Even though we cannot see the people we love

who are in Heaven,

we remember them.

We have photos to help us remember,

and memorial cards, we light candles.

When my Granny died I planted lots and lots of bulbs

and every spring when they flower I think of her.

Now I need some helpers to help me plant some bulbs.


Here is a prayer to say:

God through your goodness

we have these little bulbs to plant.

God we ask you to care for these daffodil bulbs

and help them to grow.

God with the work of our hands

we have planted these bulbs.

Keep these bulbs safe.

Watch over them through the dark of winter,

until the light of Spring shines again Amen


Now try this one;

The little bulbs are now fast asleep

safe in the earth they lie

The children have covered them over

and said little brown bulbs goodbye

The bulbs are asleep,

but the sunshine and rain will help them

wake up to new life in spring.


Even though we cannot see the people

we love who are in Heaven,

we remember them.

We know they are with us always.

They never go far away.

They are our friends in heaven, there to help us.

We can be happy, remembering that

and remembering them.

So let’s finish with a happy song.


Final song: Jesus is my friend

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: mclcbooks via Compfight

#MathsWeek: Engaging with a Maths Rich Environment: Angles & Scooter Stunts


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Maths, Real Life Maths | Posted on October 14, 2014

Timing, and a whole lot of Luck
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen via Compfight

5th Class are learning about angles.

We were using protractors

and learning that a right angle is

ninety degrees.


Teacher thought there would be

a lot of work to do learning about angles.

But it turned out many of the students

knew a great deal about angles already.

This is because of stunts they can do

on their scooters and skateboards.


Cian knows about scooter stunts.

Here is what he said.

‘The ‘ollie’ is important to learn.


It needs a lot of practice.


1. Place your feet firmly on the deck of the scooter.


2. Pull the handle bars up.


3. Follow with your feet.


4. Bring your feet up to your chest.


5. Land smoothly.


Try not to put your foot down. It looks cooler that way.


The ’180′ or half spin is a  way of turning
without really moving the handle bars.
First you will need to ‘ollie’ high
and then swing your body round 180 degrees,
bringing the scooter round. 


The ’360 ‘is a full spin or rotation. It needs a lot of practice.  
It is important to get speed and height when doing this move.’


And there’s more. We learned: 


‘The 270-degree spin is three quarters of a full rotation.


The 540-degree spin is one and a half full rotations.


The 720-degree spin is two spins or rotations.


The 900-degree spin is two and a half full rotations.


The 1080-degree spin is three full rotation.


‘All these stunts are just about possible. It’s all about practice.

Try these stunts over and over again.

Balance and skill will come over time so just keep practising.

It will take a while to master each stunt

but keep setting yourself targets and eventually

you will get there.’


You can see some simple scooter tricks here.


Most importantly Cian says:

‘Be safe. Always wear your helmet, elbow and knee pads’.

#Mathsweek: A Bedtime Story? What about some Bedtime Maths?


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Maths | Posted on October 13, 2014

Bedtime Story
Photo Credit: futurestreet via Compfight

An article about Bedtime Maths

Bedtime Maths – The Website

Food for thought!

It might be worth trying.

#Mathsweek Treat: A Party for Smarties


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Maths, Maths: Computation, Maths: Data, Maths: Estimation, Maths: Fractions, Maths: Shape | Posted on October 10, 2014

A Party for ‘Smarties’

Smarties by Quimby on Flickr

These parties are great fun,

but students have to work for their reward!

I plan to have mine on Friday at the end of Maths Week


You will need a small box of mini ‘smarties’ 

(66kcal per box) for each child in the class. 

I usually buy two multipacks containing 20 boxes approximately.

I time this lesson for just after the children’s own lunchtime.


It is important to check if any child is allergic to chocolate.

They can have jellies instead perhaps.


Before the children can eat the sweets

they have to do some work.


Here are some suggestions:

You might want to use just SOME of them!

The activities chosen will depend on the age of the children.


General Observation

Look at the box

Can you find the list of ingredients?

How many ingredients are there?

What are they?

Are you surprised by any of the ingredients?

What do you think red cabbage is used for?

What other ingredients give the colours do you think?

What do you think the beeswax does?

Did you know spirulina is a seaweed?

It gives a blue colour.

There is information on the back of the bag

about other natural colouring used.


What percentage of these sweets is milk chocolate?

What percentage is the rest of the ingredients?

Who is the manufacturer of these sweets?



What shape is it? (cuboid)

How many faces has it? (6)

How many edges? (12)

How many corners? (8)


Open up the box.

What shapes can you find?

How many rectangles are there?



Pour out the contents.

Are the colours of the contents similar to the colours on the box?

How does the size compare?


Estimate the number of sweets in your box.

Now count them.

How close was your estimate?

How many sweets does each child have?

Are there the same number in each box?

Why do you think this happens?


Who had the most sweets in their box?

Who had the least?


Can you work out the average number of sweets in each box?


There are approximately 20 boxes of sweets in each minipack.

Can you estimate how many sweets are in a full minipack?


With a younger class you can practise

adding and taking away using the sweets.


There is also potential for talking about

- tens and units

- and sharing/division.



Count the different colours.

How many colours are there?

How many yellow sweets have you in your box.

How many red? pink? orange? green? purple etc.

Lay them out like a pictogram.

Smarties Graph #3
Smarties Graph #3 by Sneeu on Flickr

Which is the most common colour in each child’s box?

Which is the most common colour in all the boxes?


The children can create patterns

and pictures with the contents of their box.


And that’s not all!


A Lesson on Probability from



Fractions on



If your class can resist eating the sweets

for this length of time you can talk about

- the five senses:




sound (of the sweets rattling in the box)

and smell (there isn’t one.. initially at any rate!)


- Words to describe the

sensation of the sweets dissolving

or crunching in the mouth.




Sometimes too there are jokes or riddles

on the back of the box.


Music Potential for work on ‘composition’

using voice and sweets in their box

as a percussion instrument.



You could also talk about

the journey the sweets will make

through the digestive system.

and the job saliva does in the digestion process

How long can you make a sweet last in your mouth?


Mindful of healthy eating concerns

I restrict giving out sweets to twice in the year:


Maths Week when the class earn a ‘Party for ‘Smarties”

as ‘Golden Time’ for hard work and good behaviour.


We will also have a pirate themed treasure hunt

in the Summer term where the ‘treasure’ will be edible.

‘All you need is love,

but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt’.

Charles M. Schulz

Response to Writing Prompt: What happened to Happy Humpty?


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Children's Writing | Posted on October 9, 2014

Kind hearted Kyle, had given the

Humpty Dumpty story a happy ending

and the Fire Service a starring role:

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Reginald Rachuba via Compfight

Happy Humpty had a world record to break,

climbing the highest wall.

He climbed the wall.

Humpty fell off.

Everyone stared at Humpty.

Suddenly the firemen came

and rescued Humpty.

A ‘Storify’ about Blogging Buddies: Class ‏‏5/6 Clark/Smith


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Blogging Buddies | Posted on October 8, 2014

One of the things we love about blogging is the friends we make.

Alex and Bruno have just begun to code using Scratch.

This week they got great encouragement from a 5th/6th grade

class from Hobart, in Tasmania: 5/6 Clark/Smith.


They are further along in their coding than us.

They are doing really interesting projects using Scratch.

Click on this link and see the great work they are doing.


Below is a Storify of the conversation we had with them

Bruno and Alex were amazed and encouraged

to get a message from a class that live 17,739 km away!

This is the first time we used Storify. It was easy and it was fun.

#anfomhar – ‘Autumn in Wicklow’ – A Slideshow


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in The World Around Us, Twitter Project | Posted on October 8, 2014

We are participating in the annual

‘Signs of Autumn Project’ on Twitter,

organised by Seomra Ranga.

You can read more about it here.

Today Tulga, Sean and Diya went on a nature walk.

We took photos, drew pictures and made a slideshow.

‘Uses for a Pet Alligator’ by Saoirse, Harri and Kaylah (4th Class)


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Children's Writing | Posted on October 8, 2014

American Alligator
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Pandiyan V via Compfight

If I had a pet alligator,

he could be a guard dog.

He could protect me against bullies.

He would be a good hoover

or a waste disposal unit.

I could ride on his back.

He could cut the grass.

Countdown to Halloween: Poetry & a Story online (for Junior Infants to Second approximately)


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Halloween | Posted on October 7, 2014

Thirteen school days left until we get our

holidays for Halloween. Unlucky for some!

However we get great mileage

out of this pagan festival in school !


Click here for ten poems in English

and two in Irish on the theme of Halloween.

Premade BG 96
Photo Credit: Brenda Clarke via Compfight

Children may also enjoy this story: 




‘The King Who Loved Money & The Queen Who Loved Honey’: A Story by Beth (1st class)


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Children's Work, Children's Writing, Genres; Narrative | Posted on October 7, 2014

Mme Ail & Mlle Miel
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Lynn Gardner via Compfight

Once upon a time there was a King and a Queen. 

The King loved money and the Queen loved honey.

She had ten pots of honey and he had ten pots of money.


One day the Queen asked the King to buy

ONE HUNDRED pots of honey.

‘OK, then.’ The King did just that but then

all of his money was gone.

The King was sad, but the Queen was happy.


Then the Queen had an idea.

The King opened a shop to sell honey.

So then he had lots of money again.

And they both lived happily, ever after.

Update: #Scratch using


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Art: Digital, Coding, Coding: Scratch | Posted on October 3, 2014

‘Scratch’ and are generating

a lot of excitement among students.

Bruno and Alex from sixth class have

been coding for a VERY short while.

If you click on the link in the tweets on this post,

you will see the digital art being created.

You can also see the code the students wrote.

We look forward to learning much, much more.

In response to writing prompt: ‘Local housing shortage! Family moves into giant shoe’.


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Children's Writing, Writing Prompt | Posted on October 3, 2014

schoen pag 6
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: janwillemsen via Compfight

‘Once upon a time there was this person

and he was very silly.

He loved money but he had none

because he bought a mansion

and that’s why he had no money.

So he and his family had to move

into a giant shoe!’


This story by Daniel in 1st Class,

made Teacher smile.

He seems to have summed up the

rise and fall of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ here.

Perhaps he will be an economist when

he grows up. Well done Daniel.

Phonics Fun: Online games that teach the Magic ‘e’


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Phonics, Spelling | Posted on October 3, 2014

E's e collection
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Abbey Hendrickson via Compfight

Senior Infants and First Class are learning about Magic ‘e’.

They know Magic ‘e’ makes

the first vowel in a word call out its name.

So ‘pet’ changes into ‘Pete.’ That’s magic!


Magic ‘e’ is sometimes called Silent ‘e’ or Bossy ‘e.’

These online activities and games

help us learn about Magic ‘e’.

There are ‘click and drag’ activities

on Smart and


If you like rescuing princesses as much as we do

you will enjoy the adventure game on 

and learn about Magic ‘e’ at the same time.

This was our favourite and if you play it

we are sure you will see why.


Finally Learn English Kids has a story

that uses ‘Magic ‘e’ words

and it is followed by game


These activities make learning fun.

Do you know any online games that teach

the ‘Magic ‘e’?

We would love to hear about them if you do.

Resources Online: Learning about Tutankhamun (2nd – 6th class approximately)


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Educational Websites, History Projects, Virtual Tours | Posted on October 2, 2014

Replica of King Tutankhamun's Mummy Case at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Mary Harrsch via Compfight

Third Class are learning about Tutankhamun in school.

He was nicknamed the ‘Boy King’.

He became Pharoah of Egypt when he was eight or nine.

We found these websites helpful when we were learning about him.

These pages from Woodlands – Junior School, Kent 

are detailed and interesting. There are lots of pictures.

We enjoyed writing our names in hieroglyphics here.


You can see a virtual tour of Tutankhamun’s tomb

on either of these sites: 

National Geographic and King Tut

The first one is photographic and the second is an animations.

Which one do you prefer?


Finally there is a  Pyramid Challenge from BBC Schools 

for more senior students.

Update: #Scratch: – Beyond an Hour of Code


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Coding, Coding: Scratch | Posted on October 1, 2014

We are back at school a month.

Learning Scratch is really taking off.


Learning to program is proving to be a collaborative task

that involves a lot of thought and problem solving.


We have completed’s ‘An Hour of Code’

and have started’s ‘Beyond an Hour of Code’.


Today we were artists and our activity involved

calculating distances and angles. We had a good time.

It was fun and we were learning.



Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Language Development - Oral, Poetry, The Seasons, Writing Prompt | Posted on October 1, 2014


Photo Credit: Biodiversity Heritage Library via Compfight

Fresh October brings the pheasants,

Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

Chestnut Street
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Harold Neal via Compfight

from ‘The Garden Year’ by Sarah Coleridge

Student Favourite: ‘Teach Your Monster To Read’: Online games that teach synthetic phonics


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Phonics | Posted on September 25, 2014

Meanwhile down in Senior Infants and First Class,

the students are working hard on their phonics.


The activities on the cleverly named website

Teach Your Monster To Read‘ 

complement the synthetic phonics that the children

are learning in class.


The children enjoy the games and are learning

to read at the same time.


Why not try ‘Teach Your Monster To Read’ at home !

And if the novelty ever wears off there are some

more reading games to choose from here.

Student Favourite: An Hour of Code from


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Learning to Code | Posted on September 25, 2014

time flies
Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker via Compfight

Some of our students are learning to code.

We thought ‘An Hour of Code’ from

might be a good place to start.

It has turned out to be a Student Favourite.

Perhaps you might like to try this at home.

‘If Only the Best Birds Sang’: #BlogAwardsie 2014 Finalists


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Blog Awards Ireland | Posted on September 24, 2014

blog awards ireland

We are ‘excited and delighted’ to be finalists in Blog Awards Ireland.

We find ourselves in the company of blogs that we greatly admire. is a magazine style web site valued by teachers

for its information and opinion type pieces by Simon Lewis.

In particular, teacher has found Simon’s reviews 

of new technology more than useful. 

In addition he also has an uncanny knack of being able 

to accurately predict the future of ICT in classrooms in Ireland.


Then there is Evelyn O’Connor’s Leaving Cert .

This invaluable resource for all

Junior and Leaving Certificate English students 

and their teachers too I suspect. A source of advice

and information for students in a year when many of them

must feel caught between a rock and a hard place.


Finalists, the Youth Media Team are a group of teenagers

who attend and report on educational conferences in Ireland.

Their reports, in the form of lively interviews, blogs and tweets

provide a youthful and informed perspective on education

and educationalists in Ireland.


We are delighted that the list of finalists include another

Wicklow Primary School, our friends from St. Peter’s Bray Blog.

This blog showcases the wonderful work of students and teachers.

We particularly like their use of podcasts and vines.

The podcasts give the students a voice.

The vines really bring their blog to life.

They remind us of the animated photographs

in Harry Potter.

But that is not all.

You can see these finalists along

with three other excellent blogs;

‘Fractus Learning’, 

‘My College Advice’

and ‘Dr. How Science Wows’ here:

Education Blog Finalists 2014  


In other news we are happy to report that Seomra Ranga 

the creator, collector and archivist of teacher resources

here in Ireland has reached the quarter finals of 

Web Awards 2014 in the category of Education and Third Level.


All this has happened in a week when we reached

a total of 40,000 visitors

and we published our 800th post.

(You have just read it!)

Virtual Tours: ‘No Permission Slip Needed!’


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Anne Frank, Great Wall of China, National Tree Day, National Tree Week, Virtual Tours, Websites for Teachers | Posted on September 23, 2014

There is no need for a permission slip

and no end to the places a class can go on a virtual tour.


There are many virtual tours on the world wide web.

Not all of them have potential for classroom learning.


I chose three that I thought were interesting.

Take a look and see what you think

about their potential for classroom use.

Great Wall of China
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Sanjay P. K. via Compfight

Virtual Tour of The Great Wall of China


Anne Frank Huis
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Henrik Johansson via Compfight

Behind the Bookcase: Anne Frank’s House


October Light
Photo Credit: Pavel P. via Compfight

A Trip to the Forest

This one might be useful

on National Tree Day, 9th October.


Before using these in class I would suggest

getting very familiar with the navigation involved in each.


How fortunate we are to be teaching

and learning in schools in the 21st Century!

We have come a long way from ‘chalk and talk’.

Three 1st Class Stories from First Class


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Children's Work, Children's Writing | Posted on September 18, 2014

A Story by Kyle

Once upon a time there lived two Kyles.

Those two Kyles went to school together.

The two Kyles were at the same table

and at Phonics Blast.

The two Kyles were very funny.

Shannon liked us and Lizzie did as well.

P.S. This is a TRUE story :)

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: PC – My Shots@Photography via Compfight

 Lizzie’s Story

Once upon a time, there were three little girls and their Mom.

One day, there was a a storm.

They lived in a cottage in a wood, far off from a farm.

The storm blew.

A tree that the little girls climbed on every day fell down.

Their cottage fell down.

They couldn’t live anywhere.

They went looking for somewhere else to live.

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: gilles chiroleu via Compfight

The Very, Very Messy Ladybird, by Sofia

Once upon a time there lived a very, very messy ladybird.

Her name was Messy Maggy.

Everyone called her that because her house was always messy.

Her house always had cobwebs in corners.

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Stephen Lee via Compfight

 and muddy foot prints up the stairs and dust everywhere.

One day all of her friends made a plan.

They all said she needed help to tidy.

So one night all of her friends went to her house

and while Messy Maggy was asleep each one of them had a job.

Magic Matilda hoovered.

Violetta Valentina dusted and beautiful Beth mopped.

‘Team work,’ they all said.

pink dreams tea party
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: tambra via Compfight


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