Sunday, 22 July 2018

Free International Events Calendar 2018-2019

Hi all,

I recently put together a calendar with many celebrations during the 2018-2019 school year. It includes things like international events, major religious celebrations, commemoration days, World Book Day etc. Some of the events include links to websites about them. The calendar is editable so feel free to remove and add in what you like. Click here to download it for free from my TPT store.

Irish teachers, Ciara Brennan (AKA @PrimEdTeacher on Twitter) is compiling a list that includes lots of Irish-specific events like GAA matches, national science fairs, the Texaco art competition, etc. You will find these "Dates for Your Diary"published on the wonderful Seomra Ranga website in the near future.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Dip Starter Pack 2018-2019

As highly requested following feedback on my "Dip Tips" blog post, I created this Dip Starter Pack to save probationary teachers lots of time, effort and money. I've just updated it for the 2018-2019 school year. I've gone a bit overboard in buying shabby chic and bullet journal style clip art! You'll see that theme running through the pack! :)

Here's what's in the 170 page pack: 
(the preview picture below doesn't show everything! Scroll down to read the full contents.)

  • Example short-term (weekly) plans
  • Example long-term (termly) plans
  • Example cuntais míosúla
  • 9 cover sheets for your planning and assessment folders
  • Weekly planning checklists (3 sheets, one per term)
  • Editable checklists and information sheets (e.g. homework record, information for substitute teachers, birthday record, etc.)
  • Teacher calendar sheets (August 2018 - July 2019)
  • Editable international Events Calendar 2018-2019
  • A PDF copy of my "Dip Tips" blog post

  • Superhero-themed behaviour management tools including an editable token chart, token sheets, an editable behaviour record cover, goal-setting/reflection sheets, a behaviour frequency record with an example and instructions)
  • Two Stars and a Wish self-assessment sheets
  • Self-assessment display based on Marzano's Levels of Understanding
  • Self-assessment sheet based on Marzano's Levels of Understanding

  • Laethanta na Seachtaine display
  • Dathanna display
  • Prionta sa Timpeallacht (28 flashcards, 4 posters)
  • Na h-Ábhair Scoile circular display
  • Visual timetable pack (with editable cards)
  • WALT and WILF signs (for sharing objectives and assessment criteria)

Many of these resources are available individually (paid/free) in my TPT store. The total of the paid resources is $18.50. This bundle allows you to save $6.50 as it's priced at $12 (that's roughly €10). The example weeklies, termlies and cuntais míosúla are not sold separately. Those are a bonus just for this bundle! So, in summary, for a tenner (not a massive investment!) you'll get 169 pages of example plans, planning and assessment templates and classroom displays. 

Here's a closer look at just some of the things that are inside. Click on the images if you'd like to purchase these separately! Many are suitable for non-dip-doing teachers too!

These calendar sheets (not just for dip teachers!):

These bullet-journal inspired, washi-tape filled checklists to help you keep track of your planning (and fulfill your pretty stationery needs!): 
The dates in the preview are last year's but the actual file is updated for the 2017-2018 school year

These editable sheets for your teacher folder including a birthday tracker, editable information sheets for substitute teachers, lots of editable checklists that you could use for homework, phonics, spelling test records, recording specific objectives. (Again, not just for the dip!):


These pretty dip folder cover sheets (9 of them in total!). I also have editable versions in different styles for anybody not doing the dip:

These superhero-themed behaviour management tools for tackling individual children's behaviour. This pack includes a fully editable behaviour chart with editable tokens, a behaviour frequency record with an example and instructions and a cover sheet and goal-setting/reflection sheet to make a behaviour record book (FYI, my dip inspector loved seeing that record book!):

This prionta sa timpeallacht pack that contains 28 flashcards and 4 posters:

These visual timetable cards (includes editable cards):

 These circular chalkboard-style subject posters as Gaeilge:

This self-assessment chart based on Marzano's Levels of Understanding (with corresponding self-assessment sheets): Here's how it looked in my classroom last year!

Dip Tips (Updated July 2018)

(Updated: July 2018)

Hello there,

If you happen to be in a position to do your probationary year in Ireland or if you are just qualified, this may be of interest to you!

I am by no means an expert but this is some information and advice to give you the gist of how it runs going by my experience of doing the dip seven years ago.

Happy reading!

Where do I begin?
Once you are qualified and eligible to do the dip, you need to go to the Limerick Education Centre website. In the "probationary teachers" section, you will find information about the Droichead and traditional processes for getting "dipped" there or on the Teaching Council website. This document gives a handy overview of both.

What do they expect from me?
Have a look at the Appendix 1 (page 23) of the "Post Qualification Professional Practice Procedures and Criteria 2017/2018" document from the Teaching Council website. This gives an overview of the criteria you are expected to meet in the following areas:
  • Planning, preparation and recording of progress
  • Classroom management and organisation
  • Quality of teaching across curriculum areas
  • Quality of pupils’ learning in curriculum areas
Have you read it? See! That's not so scary now after all! Remember, the dip is not teaching practice. You cannot possibly maintain all-singing, all-dancing TP-style lessons on a long-term basis. TP was a 100m sprint, the dip is a marathon. Take it handy! (I really wish I could go back in time and give myself that advice!) Obviously you will need to do what is required to ensure that the children are learning in a positive environment and that you are covering the national curriculum but make sure you pace yourself.

The National Induction Programme for Teachers (NIPT)
As part of the traditional probationary process, you will be expected to complete the NIPT. This programme offers workshops with topics that are important for an NQT. They also give you an opportunity to meet others who are going through the probationary process. This is a plus for NQTs who are the only probationary teachers in their school.  Have a look at their website for lots of useful information and resources such as the planning toolkit, guidelines, planning templates for long-term plans, short-term plans, SEN planning, cuntais míosúla

What's next?
Now that you've applied to complete your probation, what can you do to prepare?

Get your planning in order: 
This is how I organised my paperwork. I had two folders divided into sections as follows:

(Again, remember to get guidelines and planning templates from

FOLDER 1: PLANNING FOLDER (with 5 sections)
1. Timetables (general class timetable, support teachers' timetables)
2. Current short-term (weekly) plans [Each weekend I would move these into section 3 and replace them with the new weekly plans]
3. Short-term plans (Weekly plans from past weeks, sub-divided by subject)
4. Long-term plans (termly plans)
5. Cuntais Míosúla (this is a monthly summary of what you have covered. You are legally required to do this. You should print one copy for this folder and send another to be filed in your school.)

1. General Class Records (e.g. MICRA/SIGMA results from the past year, any whole-group assessments, spelling test results, reading assessments and groups, etc.)
2. Pupil Profiles (sub-divided by child): IEPs, class tests, reading records, behaviour observation forms, carefully selected work samples, etc.

You can get some pretty editable or pre-made dip cover sheets in my TPT store for under a euro each!

When planning, make use of the fantastic online planning tool. It's much easier to copy and paste objectives from here than from the curriculum PDFs. If the INTO hasn't already sent you their 2018-2019 wall planner, you can download it for free from here.

Prepare your classroom:
A print-rich, inspiring classroom helps to create a positive learning environment. Refer to your classroom posters constantly. If you cannot do this, perhaps they are not as valuable as you may have thought! It's very likely that your inspector will ask the children about displays and posters. Make sure to display the children's work. A really useful way to display work is a wall like this - then you just peg up the work rather than fiddling with mountains of Blu-Tack! Obviously you will change displays according to topics on hand but here are some staples that could be of use all year around (click on each for an example to inspire you!):

Number lines (age-specific)

Early primary specific:

Foghraíocht (pronunciation)

My favourite sources for display materials are:
Seomra Ranga (for resources as Gaeilge)
Sparklebox (especially for headings)

Have your children on board:
Get classroom management under control. It's very hard to teach anything if you cannot control the behaviour within the room. Try to strive for a balance where the children enjoy coming to school and are happy to share their ideas but that they treat you and their classmates respectfully. There are so many positive ways to go about this.

I used a token economy system during my dip year where they children got "Pirate Euro" notes for behaving well or really making an effort on a task. Together, we created a "rewards menu" and decided on appropriate prices. You can read about it here.

Currently I am using a clip chart system. You place all pegs on the middle section of the clip chart each morning and move them up or down according to their choices. Make your own, browse the net or have a look at the ones I have for sale here (in English and in Irish - people seem to have gone a bit crazy about the Star Wars ones this summer!).

Take up an after-school activity:
Do something that is not dip-related to avoid becoming a teaching-robot. Play sports, take up a new hobby or go for coffee/lunch dates (preferably with someone who does not want to listen to you ranting on about the dip!). Remember to keep a healthy work-life balance. Replacing an hour of tweaking resources (that were probably fine an hour ago) with an hour in the gym, an episode of Game of Thrones or a long bath will probably be of more benefit to you and your students. An energetic teacher with good planning and preparation is far more productive and happy than a zombie teacher with PERFECT resources. Now, if only I could turn back time and listen to my own advice a bit sooner!

Keep yourself in the know:

Regularly check sites such as the INTO, Teaching Council, NIPT as well as less formal sites like the Education Posts forum (great for finding answers to specific dip-related questions and crowd-sourcing ideas for themes, methodologies, etc.) and following teaching blogs. There are some fantastic Irish teaching pages you should add to your Facebook feed such as Anseo.netSeomra RangaRéalta RangaMúinteoir ValerieMs. Forde's ClassroomPrimary ArtArt with Ms. LahartIrish Primary Teacher, Infant Teaching IdeasClaire's Primary School ArtIrish Primary PE association and the INTO LGBT Teachers' Group. (Sorry if I've forgotten anyone!)   

I hope this has been of use to you. I welcome all feedback via comments below.

Also, if you've made it this far, I've created a 170-page Dip Starter Pack with planning and display resources and pretty stationery to help keep you organised. Click here to find out more!

Saturday, 28 April 2018

FIFA World Cup 2018 Teaching Resources

Summer 2018 is fast approaching which means that the FIFA World Cup is on it's way. It's taking place from 14th June - 15th July. If you want to follow it with your class, download this free A3 wall planner where you can mark in the scores:


I've also created a pack with over 100 pages of teaching resources, posters, flashcards, worksheets, sample lesson plans, lesson ideas, bunting, word searches etc. The lesson plans and related resources are most suitable for upper/middle primary school. 

The full contents are:
  • 2 title posters (FIFA World Cup)
  • Groups posters
  • Flashcards with names of each participating country
  • Sweepstake kit
  • Bunting for the children to colour
  • Table quiz questions and answer sheet
  • Maths lesson plan, worksheets and self-assessment sheet
  • English lesson plan and prompt cards
  • PE lesson plan and station teaching cards
  • Science lesson plan
  • Geography lesson plan and project template
  • Visual arts lesson plans and ideas
  • Drama lesson plan and related resource materials
  • Music lesson plan and related resource materials
  • Flag hunt sheet and solution sheet
  • 2 differentiated word searches with solution sheets
Here's an idea of some of the contents:

Some things to note:
-The geography project is in the same format as that of my Rugby World Cup 2015/UEFA Euros 2016 resource packs
-Some of the objectives in the lesson plans include objectives from the Irish primary school curriculum. These should be easily adaptable to any primary school curriculum. These are the same lesson plans as in my UEFA Euro 2016 pack.

If you're interested in this pack, you can get it for $3.50 (about €3.20) from my TPT store.

If you're an Irish teacher - there's also a separate pack with a leagan Gaeilge (Irish language version) of the posters, flashcards, bunting, project template and sweepstake kit available on its own for $2 (approx €1.85) or as a 166 page bumper pack with this English-language pack for $4 (approx €3.65). See the preview below for some of the contents.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Safer Internet Day - Fake News Teaching Resources

Well hello there! Safer Internet 2018 is coming up on Tuesday, 6th February 2018. I thought "fake news" would be a fun theme to work with this year. I've put together these "Real or fake news?" resources to use with our older primary school children. If you want to use them, click here or on the image to the left to download the resources (photo prompts, response sheets and lesson plan) for free from Google Drive.

I've made them so you can print the photo prompts and use the QR codes on tablets to access or, alternatively, you can share the PDF digitally with your children and they can click directly on the links.


Thursday, 28 September 2017

Show and Tell for teachers too?

Hi all,

You may have noticed that the blog has been very quiet lately. Naturally, September has been very busy at school and I've had other priorities personally. One of these has been trying to do more art/crafts and have less screentime! As you can see, it's working!

Do you do Show and Tell in your school? We do and it's such a wonderful time of the week. The children love to share things that are special to them. I can understand people being against teachers joining in as they see it as a time where the children really take the lead. However, I've found it beneficial to join in and bring in my own item for Show and Tell every now and then. Here's why!

Firstly,  it's a great way to model the things you expect to see - eye-contact, speaking slowly, clearly and audibly (!), body language. 

Secondly, the children love to see a little insight into the teacher being "human!" This might afford them the opportunity to see a part of your life that would never crop up in class otherwise.

Thirdly, you can model your own achievements and how you have worked towards a goal. Maybe you've run a race and show them your medal. You can explain how much hard work went in to earning that. Perhaps you tell them about a new class you've tried and how you were nervous to try a new thing but you're glad you did.

Tomorrow I'm bringing in something I've been working on since going back to school - handwriting practice! I've been trying to teach myself calligraphy using brush pens. I'm currently on day 28 of practice and there has been a huge improvement. I thought this would be something nice to share with the children as many of them might feel inspired to work hard on improving their handwriting "just like Miss Downing" or maybe see that adults also have to work to achieve results! 

In case, you're curious, here's day 1 and day 28 of practice!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

IB PYP Unit of Inquiry Bulletin Board Display Kit

Well hello there! If you've seen my classroom reveal post, you'll know that I've added lots more information about my unit of inquiry to the central display board. Here it is:

I've created a display kit that I can use throughout the year and just switch in and out the necessary attitudes, Learner Profile attributes, key concepts, etc. I spent a lot of time making this and now have a kit that you can purchase from my TPT store. Here's a preview of what's in it. Scroll down below the picture to read about the full contents!

The kit contains headings (bunting-style) for:

  • Lines of Inquiry
  • Key Concepts
  • Transdisciplinary Theme
  • Central Idea
  • Learner Profile
  • PYP Attitudes

There are flashcards for each of the 6 Transdisciplinary Themes (both versions of organise/organize are included).

There are also mini posters of the key concepts, Learner Profile attributes and PYP attitudes. The clip art on these is the same as some of my other PYP resources. As everybody's central ideas and lines of inquiry are different, I haven't included a template for these.

If you are interested in purchasing this kit, pop over to my TPT store!

Here are some more pics of how they look printed and laminated!