Great news about learning multiplication tables from @magicalmaths


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Learning Tables, The Importance of Learning Tables, Times Tables | Posted on August 28, 2014

climbing the dunes
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: edward musiak via Compfight

As the school year begins children in 3rd Class

will begin ‘climbing the table mountain’

and children in 4th will begin revising

the multiplication tables they learned in 3rd.


Good news from @magicalmaths who

shared this encouraging video on Twitter.

When I tell you the video is called

“How to Easily Memorize the Multiplication Table”

hopefully you will feel encouraged.


Scroll down this link and click on the You Tube video

by Professor Arthur Benjamin.

He cleverly reduces 100 number facts

of multiplication tables 1-10,

to just three.

Now, isn’t that good news !


Perks of being a Teacher – Part One


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Perks of being a Teacher | Posted on August 24, 2014

I am really looking forward to going back to school.

As a Teacher I get to work in great company.

Soon this blog will be repopulated with creative

and lovely student work instead of my own.


As I was tidying up I found a poem

a student composed. Working with children is affirming

and that is one of the perks of teaching:

Flat Sea
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Matt Hobbs via Compfight

If Teacher was… by Jessica


If Teacher was a sound

she would be the sound of the sea,

because she is calm.


If she was a colour

she would be bright yellow

because she is very bright.


She is sunny weather.


She is fruit and veg

because she has it for lunch.


She is a gazelle

because she leaps for joy.


She is a red rose

because she is lovely.

Thank you Teacher.


No one had ever compared me to a gazelle before ;)


This poem was written using an idea

we had learned about in class;

‘The Furniture Game from Sandy Brownjohn’s book,

‘Does It Have To Rhyme?’ (Hodder & Stoughton, 1980)


Here is a funny poem; ‘Prayer of a Teacher‘,

written by Stephanie W, another talented

student I was lucky enough to have in my class.

This one was written twenty one years ago.

Perks of being a Teacher: Part Two


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Perks of being a Teacher | Posted on August 24, 2014

Here is something else a student

did that I have treasured.

Róise is in the Senior Classes now,

but she gave me this at the end of First Class.



This picture is titled ‘Teacher as a Princess’.

Nobody had ever called me that before ;)

Perks of being a Teacher: Part Three.


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Perks of being a Teacher | Posted on August 24, 2014

Ryan gave me this beautiful bowl that he had made himself.



If you look a bit closer you can see

what a well made and sturdy bowl it is.



It takes pride of place with many items

that students have made for me over the years.



This pebble from Greystones beach was given to me

twenty five years ago by a student called Aislinn.

It would fit in the palm of your hand.

Aislinn R. was in Third Class at the time.

The stone is beautifully painted and varnished.

It sits on my mantlepiece and has followed me

through three house moves.

Aislinn of course is a grown up lady now.


These are some of the perks of being a teacher.

First Day: Menu of Activities in Class: Junior Infants


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in First Day: Junior Infants | Posted on August 23, 2014

First day at school
Photo Credit: Mark McQuade via Compfight

I see a lot of visitors to this blog are using the keywords

‘first day back’, so I thought I’d pop up the menu of activities

I use for my first day back with Junior Infants.


Some suggestions for First Day with Junior Infants.

The following has worked for me.

There is a lot there but that’s because it’s a menu.

Usually our first day would end at twelve.

But what actually happens may vary

depending on the children’s receptiveness.

Where I feel I’m losing the children’s attention,

I change activity and/or burst into song!


Free Play:

As the children come in I encourage them

to settle down to one of five activities.

For example:

1. Building a zoo for the zoo animals

2. Mobilo

3. Lego, playmat and cars

4. Playdoh and mats

5. Colouring

I have a music cd playing softly in the background.

Play-doh Pato
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: lgh75 via Compfight

Given it is early days I can be fairly flexible

and allow a certain amount of ‘roaming’.

I’d intend to encourage the children

to stay at an activity from next week.


For children that are restless;

They can draw a picture or read a book in the library.

Taking in the sun...
Photo Credit: Nomadic Lass via Compfight

If a child is crying, I try to distract them.

I have furry toys that I give to them ‘to be their friend’.

Often other children will reassure them.

If all else fails I find that opening their school bag

and talking them through the nice lunch their grown up

has made for them, usually cheers them up.


After twenty minutes to a half an hour this first day

it would be ‘Time for school to start properly’

but first it is ‘Tidy Up Time’;

I make a big promotion out of this because,

it is the start of teaching the children this routine;

to tidy up, for the year ahead.

I encourage them and praise the children who

are tidying up lavishly.


When it is done I thank the children for

sharing, taking turns and tidying up. I say;

‘ Give yourself a pat on the back.

Give yourself a pat on the head.

Say;’ I’ve done a very good job.’

Heart Candle
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Robert Fornal via Compfight

Then we say our Morning Prayer;

We light a candle to remind the children

that God Our Father in Heaven is always with them.

‘Father in heaven. You love me.

You are with me night and day.

I want to love you always

in all I do and say.

I’ll try to please you Father.

Please help me during the day. Amen.’

I invite a few children to say a simple prayer;

along the lines of ‘God bless …’

I do this by getting the children

to ‘model’ their prayers on mine.

I’ll reward a co-operative child

by asking them to blow out the candle.

good morning
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Pliketi Plok via Compfight

Then we have our Morning Sing-Song!

For this we move to the ‘story mat’.

We sing a selection from;

e.g. Good Morning Song

or Good morning

(to the air of If You’re Happy and You Know It)


Good morning, (first name and last name).

How are you?

Good morning, (first name and last name).

How are you?

Good morning, (first name and last name)

Good morning, (first name and last name)

Good morning, (first name and last name).

How are you?

*If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands

*The More We Get Together the Happier We’ll Be

I have posted ones you may not be familiar with as videos,

but on that first day I would make very little use of video

as I would be establishing my relationship

as Teacher with the children.

Day 29. Street Photography (1 of 7)
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Clifton Johnston via Compfight

Then I call the roll. Once again I am establishing a routine.

To encourage the children to give me their attention

I say:

‘This is my quiet time.

My hands are quiet.

My feet and quiet.

My lips are quiet’.

I teach the children to listen for their name

and answer ‘Anseo’.


More routines follow:

I talk to the children about using the bathroom .

There is no need to ask Teacher because

they are big children now.


I remind them about closing the door,

flushing the toilet and washing their hands.

I explain the reasons for this.

Alphabet Blocks
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight

Then I tell them its time for ‘Real’ Work.

We begin by singing the traditional Alphabet Song;

We work on the first letter ‘a’.

Any children’s names beginning with ‘a’


* From ‘Jolly Phonics’

‘A makes the ‘Ah’ sound like an ant ticking your arm’.

I show the children the associated action.


Some teachers may prefer to follow the Jolly Phonics

sequence of teaching s,a,t as the first three letters to learn.

I prefer to teach the children alphabetical order.

I feel it is a life skill that is slow to develop otherwise.

Mo's scissors
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Ken Douglas via Compfight

* Handout. Three circles.

We are going to make an ant.

I have cut out three circles for each child.

I regard cutting out as a very useful skill,

but for this week, I’ll do the cutting out

for the children in advance.


We’ll stick these down on a sheet of paper.

I’ll ask the children what is missing?

(Six legs, two antennae).

I’ll ask them what colour are they going to colour the ant?

Has anybody ever seen an ant?


What was it doing?

What do we know about ants?

How many legs have they? (6)

eye contact
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Kenji Oka via Compfight

There are lots of poems about ants.

Check out Can Teach’s website.


To differentiate for the children who love learning

about nature, I’ll explain that ants have three parts

to their bodies; head – thorax – stomach. 


Work in Irish and Maths will once again give the children

an opportunity to move around the class.

But we’d start out back on the story mat

perhaps sitting in a circle.

Achieving this is another routine

that will need to be taught.

Girl in Green--Happy to the Max
Photo Credit: Ken Bosma via Compfight

Gaeilge; Bainim úsáid as an cd: Amhráin Do Pháistí;

Gníomhamhráin m.s.

1. Buail do Bhosa

2. Buail Bos

3. Timpeall Timpeall

These are action songs and we will be active.

10 Green Bottles
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Paul Duncan via Compfight

Maths; Number and Action Songs;

The Ants Go Marching One by One

Five currant buns,

Five green bottles,

Five fat sausages,

Five in in the bed,

Five little ducks went swimming one day.

I get great co-operation if I ask five children who are attentive

to be the buns or the sausages.

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Sydney Wired via Compfight

Music; To settle the children I might play

‘The Magic Tambourine’

where the children pass tambourine around silently.


When it is time for lunch we’ll say this prayer;

Bless us o Lord as we sit together.

Bless the food we eat today.

Bless the hands that make the food.

Bless us o Lord. Amen.

Preschooler Bento #34: June 26, 2008
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Wendy Copley via Compfight

Once again give yourself time to establish a routine:

Opening bottles and boxes.

Encouraging the children to do this themselves.

Talking about healthy lunches and the reasons for these.


Lining up for the yard also takes time.

There are some lovely ideas here

about how to encourage children to

walk in and out of the classroom safely.

Yard time; Checking every one has someone

to play with and is included.

Photo Credit: Chris Dodson via Compfight

Then it is time for the Prayer after Meals;

Thank you God for the food we have eaten.

Thank you God for all out friends.

Thank you God for everything.

Thank you God. Amen.

Photo Credit: USAG- Humphreys via Compfight


Children are once again asked to sit on story mat.

I always read a story that I know well and that I love.

Knowing the story well means you can carry on

no matter what happens on this first day with Infants.

Loving it means that you will get this across to the children

and they will be enthusiastic about it too.


I favour ‘Going Fishing’ from My Naughty Little Sister Stories

by Dorothy Edwards

Other teachers recommend ‘The Kissing Hand’ by Audrey Penn

or ‘Harry and the Dinosaurs go to School’ by Ian Whybrow 

which deal specifically with separation and starting school

but I know my choice of book will work for me.

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Chris via Compfight

I have songs on standby just in case I need to get

the children back all singing off the same hymn sheet.

They include:

* Head and shoulders, knees and toes.

(We vary it, singing it in slow motion,

very fast, or pointing to the wrong parts of the body.)

* Old Mc Donald had a farm. We the ‘usual suspects’

and also ants ( with a tickle tickle here etc.)

As a variation, (that the children find funny)

Get the dog to moo – the duck to bark etc. etc.

* The Wheels on the Bus.


Towards the day we’d have a conversational round.

I’d ask the children:

What is the best thing about school?

What new friend did you make today? 

What are you looking forward to doing tomorrow in school? 

When it is time to getting ready for hometime,

again one is establishing routines.

Give this time.

Encourage the children to tidy up after themselves.

You can make this into a game.

Children are capable of helping you,

but you might use the following tricks!

Say to them ‘What clever child can count to three?’

Then ask them to pick up three things off the floor

and put them in the right place!

Tell them you are having a treasure hunt.

e.g. If you spy a red pencil on the floor

that hasn’t been picked up say

‘Who can find me a …red pencil and put it on their desk?’


Then establish another routine by asking them to

‘Stand behind your chairs, and we’ll say our prayers!’

One Step at a Time
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Jonathan Adami via Compfight

This is the Evening Prayer;

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 send your light. Amen.


* Draw a magic circle in the yard and ask the children to stand in it

until they are collected by their parent or minder.

Be sure to make eye contact with each adult collecting

and not let child off without a grown up.

Seafront evening
Photo Credit: Les Chatfield via Compfight

The day is over.

Give YOURSELF a pat on the back.

YOU did a good job.

Take a deep breath.

Finish the tidy up.

You have to do it all again tomorrow :)

Four animated #GoogleDoodles that have classroom potential.


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Google Doodles | Posted on August 19, 2014

a second opening in the clouds...!!! / une deuxième percée dans les nuages...!!! :)))
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Denis Collette via Compfight

The Google Doodle on August 4th was

was an interactive animation celebrating

John Venn’s famous Venn Diagrams.

I look forward to using this Google Doodle in class.


Always on the lookout for teaching resources,

I took a look at other Google Doodles to see

if there were others with a potential for learning.


These are what I found:

1. Claude Debussy’s birthday 

featuring his beautiful compostition

‘Clair De Lune’.


2. Earth Day includes a sight seeing check list.

This Google Doodle would be useful for

encouraging observation skills.

e.g. Can your students spot

the six animals that feature?

In what order do the seasons occur?

In what order does the weather come?


3. Art Clokey’s 90th birthday This animation also

has potential for developing observation skills.

How many balls of plasticene are there?

What colour are they?

What happens when you click on the wooden block?

You could try these questions as Gaeilge freisin.


4. The Google Doodle for the 

200th Anniversary of Grimms Fairy Tales 

tells the story of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’.

Once again there is potential for telling

the story as Gaeilge.


There are other interactive Google Doodles here. 

Children enjoy animations and this year

I hope to teach them how to do make simple

animations using Scratch.  

So seeing these clever animations should be motivating.


I look forward to other great interactive

Google Doodles coming our way.

Recommended Website (4th-6th class): ‘Colours in Motion’


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Art: Digital, Art: Paint and Colour, Language Development - Oral | Posted on August 17, 2014

Life is a precious gift. Don't waste it being unhappy, dissatisfied, or anything else you can be
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: @Doug88888 via Compfight

If covering the topic of colour in class,

this website has great potential

for encouraging learning and discussion.


It is called Colours in Motion 

and was created by Maria Claudia Cortes


It is interactive and animated

and deals with the symbolism of colour.

There are also opportunities

to experiment with digital art.



Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Educational Websites, Poetry | Posted on August 14, 2014

chasing shadows . . .
Photo Credit: David Robert Bliwas via Compfight

I discovered this website recently.

It’s a beta site and still being developed and is called.

Children’s Poetry


I used it to look up one of our favourite children’s writers.

We find the work of Allan Ahlberg inspirational.


On this site you can hear poets reading their work.  

They also introduce their poems,

giving a little background,

which adds to one’s enjoyment of the poem. 


Introducing his poem ‘Please Mrs. Butler’,

Allan Alberg explains that its link with

the ‘psychological state of teachers’

and all the questions they get asked!


There is also a video interview with each poet.

Click on this link for Allan Alberg’s.

Watching this would be inspiring 

for aspiring poets.


I hope this website goes from strength to strength.

Content that may be useful for Teacher Planning (1st/2nd Class approximately)


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Teacher Planning | Posted on August 8, 2014

About to fly away. By Thomas Tolkien
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Thomas Tolkien via Compfight

This blog was originally set up as a class blog for 2nd class,

here in Ireland, so a lot of the content reflects that.

I have since moved to Learning Support and so

the content can relate to classes Senior Infants to 6th.


I see that, at the moment many of the visitors to this blog

seem to be teachers preparing for school in September,

so here are some links to content that may be useful.


You can use the print facility at the bottom of any post

by clicking the printer icon. There is an option there which

you may find useful which remove images from these posts

before printing.


The Arts.

Plans for Art – 1st /2nd Class

A Menu of Art Activities


Plans for Music – 1st/2nd Class

A Menu of Music Activities


First Communion Preparation

Tips for Teachers teaching a First Communion Class for the 1st time

Preparing for 1st Holy Communion – Practical Tips: Part One

Preparing for 1st Holy Communion – Practical Tips: Part Two

Preparing for 1st Holy Communion – Practical Tips: Part Three



Cnuasach dánta : about forty poems as Gaeilge

with photographs to explain their meaning.

Cnuasach de Sheanfhocail Éagsúla:

approximately twenty proverbs as Gaeilge.



A short piece on number in Maths.

Some thoughts on learning Tables.



Here is how I taught Reading and Spelling



Finally this is the Homework Policy that I used.

Occasionally parents ask for more homework

and these are the suggestions I make.





Useful Visualization of Prime & Composite Numbers on


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Maths: Number | Posted on August 7, 2014

This has been a good week for finding resources on the internet

for teaching maths. On Monday the Google Doodle celebrating

the birthday of John Venn featured an interactive animation which

I thought would be very useful to introduce students to

Venn Diagrams and specifically to

illustrate the intersection of two sets.

You can see that here.

Today on the @WeAreTeachers twitter feed I came across

the visually arresting Animated numbers on 

which one could use to help students visualize 

prime and composite numbers.


These patterns are quite mesmerizing and demonstrate

the beauty of maths. I would use it to help students learn

about factors and to understand the difference between

prime and composite number.  


I might also use it occasionally as a ‘drill’ where the student

would call out ‘prime’ or ‘composite’ so as to become familiar

with these words themselves.


I would also be interested in their hypnotic or soporific effects ;)

#GoogleDoodles: Introducing Venn Diagrams: A gift for teachers from Google!


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Language Development - Oral, Maths: Venn Diagrams | Posted on August 4, 2014

Do you get it? probably by @DaveWalker
Photo Credit: Duncan Hull via Compfight

Today’s Google Doodle is a gift to teachers who would like

to introduce their students in an interactive way to

the wonderful invention of John Venn; Venn Diagrams.


Click here to see the inventive animation

that the designer Mike Dutton has come up with.


As a primary teacher I could also see great potential

in today’s Google Doodle, for language development.

I will be saving this to my favourites and look forward

to using this with my classes in September :)

Thank you Google. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Recommended: ‘Please Mrs. Butler’, a collection of poems about school by Allan Ahlberg


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Allan Ahlberg, Poetry, Teacher Reading | Posted on August 4, 2014

BeFunky_Room 6 10 March 2010 029.jpg

One book I wouldn’t be without is ‘Please Mrs. Butler’,

a collection of poems on the theme of school by Allan Ahlberg.

Children readily identify with the poems in this book

and each year, ‘Please Mrs. Butler’ quickly becomes

a class favourite.


When I reach for it to pick it up and read from it,

the class immediately look expectant and interested.

Often too, classes will ask me to read from it.

‘Please Mrs. Butler’ has contributed to

some of the best times I have ever spent in class.


As well as the title poem ‘Please Mrs. Butler’,

other favourites include:

* As I was coming to school Teacher

* Excuses

* When I was young

* Scissors

* Supply Teacher

* and Complaint.


Children enjoy the written work

that follows on from these poems.

Click here to see a class poem inspired

by Allan Ahlberg’s poem ‘Excuses’.


Scroll down this link from and you will see

an abundance of videos which feature

Allan Alhberg reading and explaining his poetry.

The introduction he gives really add to

our understanding and enjoyment of his poems.

This videos are on Vimeo, which unlike YouTube

is not blocked in Irish schools



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

August brings the sheaves of corn,

Then the harvest home is borne.

Bringing in the sheaves - Tana Torajah
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Ross Thomson via Compfight

from ‘The Garden Year’ by Sarah Coleridge

Guest Post: A Dad’s Poem


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Poetry | Posted on July 30, 2014



The sun swings like a golf ball

High into the sky; and drops light down

Over the school.


The grown ups and little ones scurry

About as if powered by the ESB

Meals crinkled into tuck boxes

Breakfast rammed down. Milk spilled.


The little ones power ahead

Parents shouting ‘stop’ near edge

The black tar!!


Round the corner like

Something familiar on a dark night

School looms large

The little ones have reached their quest

The teacher leads like the

hunts woman.


Bugle sounds; tally ho; hey go

And the stair is charged.

They arrive; bags down

Lessons learnt; play yard



Food found. Chat swirls

Around. Byes complete

The day; the little ones

Unwind themselves to

Home, like a spool of string

Ending in stop; now relax

Into a ball!!

by A.K

If you enjoyed this poem you may enjoy

A student’s poem about Teacher from 1993.

#BlogAwardsIE: Nominated in the Blog Awards Ireland 2014


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Blog Awards Ireland, Congratulations and Well Done! | Posted on July 30, 2014

Photo Credit: *Light Painting* via Compfight

Blog Awards Ireland works to celebrate

the very best in Irish blogging’. 


We were excited and delighted to hear

that our blog ‘If Only The Best Birds Sang’

appears on the ‘long list’ of nominations for 

Best Education Blog. We are there among

some very distinguished company.


Blog awards are encouraging for those who blog.

Our blog benefits from participating in this award,

just like in the past when we were involved in the

Eircom Junior Spiders Awards 

and Edublogs Awards 2013  


These competition encourage us to look at our blog

and think about how it could be improved.

For example we have worked hard on navigation

to make our blog more visitor friendly.  


What we like best about these awards is

that it helps us to connect more with others

beyond our own class and the school.


We hope that it may bring us more visitors.

We like visitors and we also like visiting other blogs.

We get great ideas from them about features,

designs and blogging tools we could use.


We look forward to checking out the other blogs

in the Blog Awards Ireland competition. If you are

a visitor to our blog, we would love to hear from you.

‘Self Esteem: A Classroom Affair, 101* Ways to Help Children Like Themselves’ by Michele&Craig Borba


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Teacher Reading | Posted on July 24, 2014

During two months of the summer

my students are on holidays,

so I am without

my many talented writers and artists

and their contributions to this blog

until September.

For this reason I have to

think of other kinds of posts.

On other blogs I have seen

teachers writing about books

that they have found useful in school.

This is a book that has influenced

my teaching:


This is my well worn copy!


I bought ‘Self Esteem: A Classroom Affair,

101* Ways to Help Children Like Themselves’

by Michele and Craig Borba

in 1980, as a student teacher.

It was an unusual book for its time 

full of ideas for developing

a child’s self esteem.

At the time, it seems to me school

was much more about developing

a child academically;

their cognitive rather than

their ‘affective’ learning.


It was to be 1983 for example

before Howard Gardner published 

his theory of ‘multiple intelligences’. 

(Gardner, Howard (1983), 

Frames of Mind:

The Theory of Multiple Intelligences,

Basic Books, NY)


Gardner proposed that people do not

have just a intellectual ability, but have

many different intelligences

including intrapersonal

which would exist within the mind

and thus relate to the ‘affective’, 

to moods, feelings, and attitudes.


I feel this book

‘Self Esteem: A Classroom Affair’

was before its time, with contents like:

‘Teach Children to Praise Themselves’ and

‘Helping Children to See Their Progress.


I have used many

of the activities in this book

repeatedly over the course

of my teaching career.

Just in case I ever ran out of ideas

there was always Volume 2:


It was in this book that I first learnt about

‘bibliotherapy’ i.e. the judicious use of books

as therapy for children.


In this modern age Dr. Michele Borba

is still dispensing ‘words of wisdom’.

You can read more of these here.

Learning to Code using ‘Scratch’ – A Progress Report


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Coding: Scratch | Posted on July 21, 2014

Scratch Cat
Photo Credit: andresmh via Compfight

Earlier this month I started to learn how to code.

I posted some links then I thought might be useful.

I took advice and decided it would be better

to start with learning ‘Scratch’

as my objective is to be able to

teach coding to my students.

Scratch seems to have excellent possibilities

for the primary classroom.


On Education Posts Message Board,

I got some very useful recommendations

and so started with the Lesson Plans on


A kind young relative took pity on me

and gave me her copy of ‘Scratch2Scratch’

I supplemented this learning

with a variety of videos here and here.


I also spent some time doing

‘An Hour of Code’ on

This first hour is straightforward enough

but it revises some of the basics.

I could also see that students would

enjoy the puzzles presented during the ‘hour’.


I am very taken with the potential

of ‘Scratch’ in the classroom.

However, though I would feel confident

enough now to introduce ‘Scratch’

to class and to stay perhaps

just a step ahead of my students,

for me as a learner, it is early days yet.


UPDATE: Finding Code Club excellent:

both systematic and interesting. 


Update: Our Local Hero: Simon Fitzmaurice


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in A Local Hero, Our Town | Posted on July 18, 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.


All going according to plan

he begins making his movie

‘My Name Is Emily’

in August 2014.


Here in Greystones

he is our Local Hero.


Poems in the English Language


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Poetry | Posted on July 17, 2014

Moonlight song-ata - FP Explore
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: winterofdiscontent via Compfight

We have done a lot of work with poems in English too.

We have learnt some.

We have found pictures to illustrate some

and we have written some ourselves.

You can find them on this link here.

Cnuasach Dánta


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Dánta, Gaeilge | Posted on July 17, 2014

Photo Credit: mozzercork via Compfight

For quite some time now we have been

collecting Irish poems in class.

We have been illustrating what they mean

with photographs


Click on this link to find about three dozen ‘dánta as Gaeilge’ .


We hope that our choice of photos

explain what the poems are about.

We had fun choosing them.


We used the Edublogs plug-in

By checking the license for each photo we use

we can make sure that we are observing copyright laws.

This is important to us. 

How to help your child over the summer… and beyond


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Information Letters for Parents | Posted on July 12, 2014

All My Reasons
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight

Dear Parent,

This time last year, I put up three posts

which were very popular:

1. Helping your child with Reading

2. Helping your child with Maths


3. How to help your child’s

‘higher order learning’

using Bloom’s Taxonomy


4. To these I am adding a recent post about coding

if your child is interested in learning how to code.

‘I would like to learn to code’ – Some useful websites


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Coding, Coding: Javascript, Coding: Scratch | Posted on July 7, 2014

15 on this grid

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: the55 via Compfight

This summer I would like to learn to code

with a view to teaching it in class next year.

I know many students are interested

in coding too.


Here are four websites I think may be useful.

1. Code Monster gives children an introduction to

Javascript programming:

Code Monster from


2. Scratch is a programming language 

created specially for 8-to-16-year-olds.

I like the look of Scratch as it is very visual

and so may suit visual learners.

It made up of bricks that you drag

to the workspace in order to animate sprites.


3. Scratch was built to program, however

you might like to try Tynker 

which was designed to teach programming

through a series of lessons.

Edited to add: you would have to pay

to use Tynker.


4. Then there is Codeacademy.

It offers free coding classes in Javascript

and a number of other programming languages.

It is a friendly website

which has sent me encouraging emails

ever since I joined.


I hope you find this list useful.

If you have any advice for those

of us setting out to learn how to code,

please leave a comment.


Update: How did I get on?

Well you can see how far

I had got in a fortnight here. 

More updates to follow :)


School Calendar 2014 – 2015


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in School Calendar | Posted on July 7, 2014

 Yesterday is History, Tomorrow a


First Term  
School  Re-opens Monday 1st September 2014
Mid Term Break School will close on Fri 24th October & re-open Monday 3rd Nov 2014
Christmas Holidays School will close on Fri 19th Dec & re-open Monday 5th January 2015
Second Term  
Mid Term Break School will close on Fri 13th Feb & re-open Monday 23rd Feb 2015
St. Patrick’s Weekend School closed Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th March 2015
Easter Holidays School will close on Fri 27th March & re-open on Monday 13th April 2015*
Third Term  
May Bank Holiday School closed Monday 4th May 2015
June Bank Holiday School closed Monday 1st June 2015
School Closes School closes for Summer Holidays on Tuesday 30th June 2015

A really useful ‘Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check Template’ from


Posted by merrybeau | Posted in Spelling | Posted on July 2, 2014

extra credit
Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks via Compfight

OUR spelling improved this year

thanks to a really useful

‘Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check Template’


Students really liked using it

and found it very helpful.

It REALLY worked for us.



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

Hot July brings cooling showers,

Apricots and gillyflowers.

Bunch of Wallflowers
Photo Credit: Eroua Photography via Compfight

from ‘The Garden Year’ by Sarah Coleridge


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