Our school’s website has been updated. We hope that it will prove very useful for our students and parents who want information about the school. Many thanks to the parents who helped us put it together. Click on this link to find it.
We sent St. Patrick’s Day Greetings near…
to blogging friends in St. Peter’s Bray:
and far ….
all the way to Auroa School, in New Zealand
Click on this link to see what
Room One, Auroa School in New Zealand
had to say about the bits and bobs we sent them.
Below is Larry the Leprechaun in
St. Peter’s in Bray.
Why not leave a message for our blogging buddies
in Bray and New Zealand.
They are a friendly bunch and we know
they would LOVE to hear from you.
Larry the Leprechaun certainly
got around in the past week or so!
It was with a heavy heart we said good bye to Polly today.
It was great to meet her. She taught us a lot about Polar Bears,
why they are endangered and how we can help them.
Thank you to the boys and girls of 2nd Class, St. Peter’s, Bray
for sending her on a visit to us.
We are sending her back now and hope that she will arrive safely.
Mr Webb and Room One, Auroa School sent us a package. They asked us to take some photographs of the Pukeko, (their school mascot) around our school 🙂
The Pukeko arrived at St. Brigid’s School:
The Pukeko met our mascot ‘Brigid, the Biodiversity Bee’
and checked out some bird houses on our grounds:
and advised the students on their mental maths 😉
We were interested in this bird and looked it up online.
Mr Webb told us that the Pukeko mascot carries the tools that the students use in school. We are wondering what they might be! This reminds us that students in New Zealand appear to get a very practical education and learn lots of useful life skills.
Thank you again Mr. Webb and Room One, Auroa School.
Today was a grey day in Greystones.
Then the postman came
and brought with him
some sunshine from New Zealand.
Our old friend Mr. Webb
with whose class from Hamilton, Wellington, New Zealand
we did a lot of co-operative learning in 2013
has relocated to Auroa School, Taranaki, New Zealand.
Mr. Webb has a new class blog
It’s official ‘opening’ was Monday 3rd February 2014,
so it is brand new.
To mark this occasion, Mr. Webb
sent packages to a number of schools
all over the world.
So ours arrived today
and brightened our day.
So to Room One, Auroa School
and their teacher Mr. Webb,
we would like to say
We got this message from our good friends
in Melville Intermediate School, Hamilton, New Zealand.
This is our reply:
Most certainly we celebrate Halloween:D
In many ways the more recent additions to our traditions are influenced by the USA,
for example, as you say in your message, dressing up in costumes and going ‘trick or treating’.
However a celebration at this time of year
goes way back into the ‘mists of time’.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere
we needed something to cheer us up
as the cold, dark nights arrive,
so the Celts marked the end of Summer
and the start of the Winter months,
with a celebration called Samhain; ‘All Souls’.
It was said that the souls of those who had passed
into the next world came to visit at this time.
The celebration marked the end of Summer
and the start of the Winter months.
The time of the Celts in Ireland was 2000BC – 400AD.
Here are some Irish Halloween Traditions:
Traditionally for dinner there was ‘Colcannon’;
a plate of mashed potato, cabbage and onion.
Pennies were wrapped up in baking paper
and placed in the mash for children to find and keep!
The traditional Halloween cake is barmbrack which is a fruit cake.
Once again you would have to be careful eating this
or you would break your teeth
because there were ‘tokens’ hidden in it.
If you got the rag then the next year would be a poor one.
If you got the coin then you could look forward to a year of riches.
Finding the ring was said to predict an engagement.
If you wanted to find out who your future partner might be
you were advised to peel an apple in one go.
The single apple peel was then dropped on the floor
to show the initials of this mystery person.
The tradition of Jack O’Lanterns travelled from Ireland to the USA.
But originally the Irish carved out turnips.
When the Irish emigrated to America there was not a great supply of turnips
so pumpkins were used instead. Pumpkins are easier to carve than turnips too!
Though the tradition of wearing costumes and ‘trick or treating’
seems to have been imported from the USA,
a tradition of wearing disguise also dates back to Celtic times.
By disguising themselves people superstitiously believed
that the souls who were visiting would leave them alone.
Halloween Games include ‘Snap Apple’.
An apple is suspended from a string and children are blindfolded.
The first child to get a decent bite of the apple gets to keep their prize.
A variation of this game involves hanging a bar of soap with the apple.
The risk was then that one would get a mouthful of soap instead of apple.
‘Bobbing for Apples’ can be played by placing apples in a basin of water
and trying to get a grip on the fruit!
The Halloween bonfire is another tradition
and a more modern addition is the use of fireworks,
though they are illegal in Ireland.
It is important to be safe on Halloween.
It may well be that Halloween is a Celtic Tradition from Europe
that travelled with the emigrants to the USA.
In the ‘New World’ these traditions took on a new lease of life
and were re-exported back to Ireland
repackaged perhaps in a more commercial way.
Thanking you for your continuing comments and interest in our blog
all the way from New Zealand 🙂
We wonder does New Zealand have a Halloween Tradition?
With every good wish …
‘If Only The Best Birds Sang’.
UPDATE1: If you click on the ‘KEEP READING’ button below, you can see Mr. Webb’s reply 🙂
UPDATE2: Thank you to Mr Webb who put a link about our blog
on Room 5 Melville’s page HERE.
This week I wrote about how Irish teachers
can find an audience for their class blogs.
and Part Two here.
Entering a competition like the Irish
Junior Spider Awards is a very valuable exercise
and one I would recommend.
Reviewing your class blog with the criteria
from the Junior Spider Awards in mind
is an excellent self improvement exercise.
In the same way the bi annual
can help you develop your blog
and put you in touch with schools
all over the globe.
It is conducted over ten weeks.
Here are the Frequently Asked Questions
about the Edublogs Student Blogging Challenge.
The next blogging Challenge is in September
and you can sign up now.
Last March there was only one Irish participant
and to date no one from Ireland has signed up this time.
Our experience was that as a result of participating
last March, we made contact with many schools from
all over USA, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Asking someone to do a simple ‘audit’ your blog.
is a simple but effective way of
discovering ways to improve your blog.
Ask your ‘auditor’, their first impressions,
what they found interesting
and what they found distracting?
You might observe them as they navigate your blog
and ask them how you might better it.
In this way you may get more insights as to how improvements might be made.
Yesterday I blogged about how Irish Class Blogs
can connect with a real audience
or by being listed on The Class Blogs Shed on The Literacy Shed.
Otherwise blogging can feel like a solitary experience.
Twitter is invaluable for making connections.
When you sign up to the aggregate blogs mentioned above,
each time you post, a tweet detailing this
appears on their twitter feed.
You might considered taking part in
Seomra Ranga’s Signs of Autumn
and Signs of Spring twitter projects.
devised by teachers Simon Lewis (Anseo.net),
which also gives class bloggers a great opportunity
to connect with other Irish class blogs.
You can contact Scoilnet, the Department of Education’s
‘portal for Irish Education’
and have your blog added to a substantial list of
Irish Schools That Blog.
Each week during the school term Scoilnet features
Click on this link to Scoilnet,
if you wish to submit your site for consideration
There is a final follow up article on this topic here.
With a school or class blog making connections is important.
That way your students have an authentic audience.
This is motivating and rewarding for them.
They will do their best work
when they know that they have a real audience.
Knowing one has an audience is motivating for the teacher too.
There are a number of excellent enterprises
which have been developed to promote
Irish educational or school blogs.
Sign up with them
and each time you post
your post will appear on their websites.
You could join EdBlogIE,
an aggregate blog devised by Nigel Lane
‘Your one-stop shop for Irish educational blogs’,
you can sign up for EdBlogIE here.
Nigel Lane and Simon Lewis set up Seas Suas
specifically for Irish Primary Schools.
You can add your blog to Seas Suas here.
Both these sites do an excellent job of
showcasing the blogs of Irish educators
and provide a very valuable service.
Further afield Rob Smith from
the inspiring Literacy Shed invites
teachers to submit a link to their blog
to add to a list of on Class Blogs Shed.
As of today there are only six Irish blogs on this list.
Add yours and fly the flag for Ireland.
Part Two of this article is here.
Making Connections is a comprehension strategy
we use in school when we read.
It is good to make connections
in other subject areas too.
Like New Zealand we have two languages here in Ireland:
our native language (called Irish/Gaelic/Gaeilge).
and our adopted language, English.
Irish is taught in schools.
Teachers have used the popularity
of the haka from New Zealand
to teach Irish:
Take a look at this great video is from
a 6th class in Balbriggan ETNS.
Uillinn dheas, uillinn chlé
(right elbow, left elbow)
Buail do chos, buail do chos
(stamp your feet, stamp your feet)
Gualainn dheas, gualainn chlé
(right shoulder, left shoulder)
Bualadh bos, bualadh bos
(clap hands, clap hands)
Lámha ar na glúine
(hands on knees)
(bend down, bend down)
Lámha in airde
(rise up, rise up)
Síos ar na glúine
(down on your knees)
Lámha sna cluasa
(hands in ears)
Bualadh bos, bualadh bos
(clap hands, clap hands)
Léimigí suas….. AAAAAAA!
(Jump in the air)
– by Dominic ó Braonáin
The older children in our school are familar
with the song from New Zealand
In Senior Classes they learn how to
play this tune on the recorder.
The tune of Pokarekare Ana
is used in Ireland for a hymn to Mary:
‘A Mhuire Mathair’
Other connections: Both countries are islands
and have a strong connection with the sea.
Both New Zealand and Ireland
are green and beautiful.
Family is important.
Both countries have an interest
in the sport of rugby.
The New Zealand rugby team
are good ambassadors for New Zealand.
We see in films like ‘The Hobbit’
that New Zealand is very beautiful.
Making connections makes the world go round!
Today 2nd Class Room 6 talked about
the Advantages and Disadvantages
of having a Classroom Blog
These are the advantages
We enjoy having a classroom blog.
Senan called it our ‘digital diary’.
Parents, families and friends at home
and abroad can see what we do in school.
Children who are absent from school
can check up on what we are doing.
We feel good seeing our work online,
We have made friends
with students in other schools
and other countries through our blog.
We had fun preparing to enter
the Eircom Junior Spiders Awards 2013:
Mega Spiders: School Blog.
We talked about the disadvantages
of having a classroom blog
and we agreed that
there are NO disadvantages 🙂
Making connections is a recurring theme in class 🙂
We make connections as a comprehension strategy in reading.
But ‘making connections’ has come to have a new meaning
now that we are blogging.
Here are some of our more recent connections:
Today we received a message from
Mr. Webb’s Room 5 Class
in Melville Intermediate School, Hamilton,
We were …
“Thanks so much for your audioboo
that was played today twice to our students.
They loved it, but they weren’t the first to do so,
Mr Webb, played it in the staff room
and we had a crowd of teachers that were listening to it.
The Room Five students loved hearing your voices
and the facts and information about
where you are in Ireland.
We are going to do a display about it next week
that includes the information
so that anyone who visits our classroom can see it,
and we have already had people from all over the
world watch what are are doing.
Next week in class we are going to speak Gaelic
from the phrases and words that you left for us
and we are going to look for more information
and we will post it on our class page,
so thank you so much again and have a great next few days.
(It is the weekend here in New Zealand,
we are half a day ahead of the rest of the world!)
Mr Webb and Room Five, Melville Intermediate School,
Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand.”
We first made acquaintance with
Mr. Webb’s Class
Classrooms are very different places in this 21st Century.
In the past children have done projects on other countries.
2nd Class, Room 6 are learning about New Zealand.
But this is different to other years where information
came from books and the internet.
We are hearing about New Zealand from
Mr.Webb’s students in Y7/8, Room 5,
Melville Intermediate School,
Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand.
They in turn are learning about Ireland.
These students have just returned from their Summer holidays 😉
They brainstormed what they knew about Ireland and we replied.
We were very impressed that students as far away as New Zealand
knew as much as they did about our small island.
This is what they knew and what we said.
1. Dublin is the capital of Ireland.
Yes that is true.
We live to the south of Dublin.
On the train, it is approximately an hour away.
2. You can kiss the Blarney stone in Ireland and it gives you good luck.
Yes you can kiss the Blarney stone
but rather than make you lucky,
doing this makes you ‘chatty,’ a good talker.
This is a tradition and many tourists include
‘kissing the Blarney Stone’ in their trip to Ireland.
The children in 2nd Class Room 6 are already blessed
with this gift of being talkative
It is not easy to kiss the Blarney stone.
One has to ‘bend over backwards’.
Long ago, tourists were held by the ankles
and lowered head first over the battlements
of the Blarney Castle.
Nowadays there is a ‘safer way’ to do this.
But the stone is down a ‘drop’ behind you.
We think perhaps that people get so nervous doing this
that they ‘babble’ and talk a lot afterwards out of fright.
3. Our collaborators from Melville School
knew that Irish Dancing is popular :
We are fond of Irish dancing.
We have dance class in school,
for a half an hour every Monday.
Included in the lesson is Irish dancing.
Damien from Melville School described
Irish dancing accurately.
Traditionally too, Irish dancers just moved their legs very rapidly
and kept their arms stiffly down by their sides.
This has changed in the last ten years,
with the popularity of a show called ‘Riverdance’.
The traditional rules of the dance have been broken
but we think that the end result is a better dance.
4. Ireland has a lot of pubs
Sadly this is a view people have of Ireland.
The Irish are very friendly and sociable.
They like to get together to talk.
We used have a lot of pubs,
but many have gone out of business.
The government passed a ‘No drinking and driving’ law
and also a ‘No smoking in public places’ law.
This means people don’t go to the pubs as much.
5. Potatoes has something to do with Ireland
Potatoes were to Ireland as rice was to China
but this has changed too.
When our grandparents were at school,
all the children would have eaten potatoes
each day for their dinner.
We had a show of hands today
and less than half of the children
had eaten potatoes or chips the previous day.
6. The Titanic was built in Ireland.
Indeed the Titanic was built in Ireland.
Levi’s (from Melville) Nan came to Ireland on holiday.
She certainly travelled a long way.
We remembered the tragedy of the Titanic
especially last year as it was 100 years since it happened.
7. Fairies and Leprechauns are creatures from Ireland.
This is a funny one
We’ll get back to our new friend from New Zealand on this.
These are the facts we found out we knew about New Zealand
after a brainstorming session.
1. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand.
(Thanks to JC for this information)
2. The New Zealand rugby team are the best rugby players in the world.
They are a competitive, strong and brave team.
3. The only famous person we could think of from New Zealand
is the rugby player Sonny Bill Williams. (Thanks to Cian for this information)
4. We have seen the ‘haka’ before rugby matches.
We heard it was a war chant to scare the enemy long ago.
We are big fans of the ‘haka’
5. Kiwi fruit comes from New Zealand
and it is also the name of a flightless bird.
6. English is spoken in New Zealand!
7. Hobbits live in New Zealand.
We has said the our friends in New Zealand
that we would appreciate their help to advise us
if we have got anything wrong!
Teacher will also fill us in on some of the gaps in our knowledge.
As part of this project we are going to learn the ‘haka’ from the link above.
From doing this collaboration 2nd Class Room 6
have learned two very interesting things already.
When we have our Christmas holidays,
students in New Zealand begin their Summer holidays.
We learned that time wise, New Zealand
is thirteen hours ahead of the time here in Ireland.
We are finding this collaboration very interesting
and we are learning a lot.