Thursday, 15 December 2011

Edublog Awards winners announced

Congrats to all the winners and runners up in the 2011 Edublog Awards. Thanks to all who voted for me too! Unfortunately I wasn't a finalist but I'm delighted to have been shortlisted. You can view the full list of winners and runners up here. There are some fantastic teaching resources on this list so it is a wonderful resource.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Edublog Awards: Last chance to vote

This post is short and sweet!

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm very happy to have been nominated for an Edublog Award in the Best Teacher Blog 2011 category. Voting for this will close at 23.59EST (That's 7.59pm for any Irish/UK followers!) tomorrow so if you enjoy reading my blog and would like to cast a vote, please do so! 

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Free downloads: Boggle board and target board

I put very simple Boggle and target boards on the whiteboard in my classroom for early finishers to use. I tried using a "busy folder" but I found that there was too much movement in the classroom and it was a massive waste of paper. Now the children have "busy copybooks" in which they can use the target/Boggle board to their hearts' content!

Here is the target board. Just download, print and laminate. Then write on it with a whiteboard marker and change the numbers each week.

Here are the letters and heading for the Boggle board if you want to download them. I printed the heading on coloured paper and printed, laminated and cut the letters. I put velcro squares on the letters so I can change them easily.

As you can see, my Boggle board is shamefully boring. I'm sure it could be made a lot more pretty so I'll leave it to your own creative devices to make it more aesthetically pl

Here is a fantastic sheet for the children to use (especially if they have a "busy folder" for early finishers) that I found on Create Teach Share. You could write your own letters onto this sheet and photocopy if you have an emergency substitute folder. 

Also, I've been nominated in the Best Teacher Blog category of the Edublog Awards 2011. If you read my blog and would like to vote for me, you can do so here. And if you REALLY like it, you can vote once a day! ;)

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Free Letter-writing rubric

I'm going to try using a rubric for self-assessment in English this week. I'm using it for a letter-writing lesson. Here's one I made for their first attempt. I'm hoping it's simple enough to explain easily. I hope that the children will enjoy giving themselves a concrete number score more than the usual "happy face/ neutral face / sad face" self-assessment sheets.

If you'd like to download this, click on the image below to download it from Google Docs.

Also, I'm delighted to have been nominated in the category of "best teacher blog 2011" in the Edublog Awards. Click here if you'd like to vote for me!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Edublogs awards - please vote for me!

Hi there readers,

I am honoured to have been shortlisted in the "Best Teacher Blog" category of the Edublogs Awards 2011. If you enjoy reading my blog, please vote for me at

I would be very much obliged!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Rainn agus amhráin

FAO Irish teachers, ever have trouble finding a rann or amhrán to fit your theme and age-level? Well look no further than this site. It has poems filed according to class level and theme, complete with pretty fonts and clipart. This is an excellent resource, well worth checking out!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Free resource: Fractions station teaching cards

I've been teaching fractions for the past fortnight to my senior class (10-12 years old). I decided to make Friday's lesson a little more fun with some station teaching. I have set up these stations to assess their understanding of comparing and ordering fractions, equivalent fractions, finding a fraction of a set and making a whole number using a given fraction.

Click on the image to view this pack in Google Docs.
It includes:

  • 8 station teaching cards
  • Blank answer sheets for the children
  • An answer sheet for the teacher

You will also need:

  • A jar
  • 25 marbles
  • At least 18 match sticks
  • 2 sets of fraction tiles
  • 5 plastic/card triangles
  • A computer (and download a free game - the link is on the teacher's answer sheet)


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Free energy resources from SEAI

A friend recently pointed me in the direction of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland website. They have a tonne of fantastic resources - books, worksheets, posters and lesson plans available - for free. They cover terms such as renewable energy, recycling, acid rain, etc. You can download a lot of these as PDFs here. There are some fantastic ideas for geography and science (and the ethical curriculum if you're in an Educate Together school) lessons including experiment sheets. This is definitely one to check out!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Edublogs Awards

I was delighted to see that I've been nominated for the Edublogs Awards (thank you!). These awards celebrate the use of ICT by for educational purposes. Nominations are open at the moment and will close this Friday, December 2nd.

Here are my nominations for this year:

  • Best individual blog: The Inside Lane This is a fantastic blog promoting ICT and education by Nigel Lane. It's updated regularly with great resources and tips (even for those, like myself, who can be technologically-challenged at times!)
  • Best individual tweeter @simonmlewis - much inspiration and motivation has come from Simon Lewis. What an innovative man! I have gotten plenty of inspiration from his various projects (all worth checking out, be it humorous blog posts,, informative tweets etc.)
  • Best group blog: Irish Teacher Blogs It does what it says on the tin. It's great to have a constant stream of Irish educational blogs in the one place. Kudos to Nigel Lane on this one too.
  • Best ed tech / resource sharing blog: Step Into Second Grade with Miss Lemons Words can't describe how much time and effort this author has put into her blogging. She shares fantastic ideas and is a constant source of inspiration.
  • Best free web tool: Pinterest Although I haven't yet used it to its full potential, I have no doubt that I am soon to become a pinterest addict. It's a brilliant way to share resources/ideas in a visual way, through the use of online pinboards.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Free Water Resources

Found a link to this fantastic website on (another wonderful website!) for teaching about water conservation. It's an American site with a tonne of great lesson ideas and resources for all age levels from elementary to high school. It's definitely worth checking out as it can be linked in with many subjects.

Click here to go to the site!

Friday, 4 November 2011

3-2-1 assessment strategy (FREE!)

Here's an assessment tool that I often use for English and the S.E.S.E. subjects. Click on the image below to download it as a PDF in Google Docs.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

9 Commandments of the Staff Room

Something to brighten your day (as Tweeted by the good folk of the wonderful teacher resource site that is )...

The Nine Commandments of the Staff Room

And, as ever, clipart is from

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Airgead - luaschártaí agus pictiúir

FAO: Múinteoirí Éireannacha - seo iad pictiúir agus luaschártaí a bhaineann le hairgead. Déanfaidh mé póstaer mór leo chun an téama "ag siopadóireacht" a dhéanamh. 

B'fhéidir go mbeadh siad úsáideach don bunranganna chomh maith, chun ceachtanna mata le haghaidh airgid a bhaint amach.

Déan cliceáil ar an t-íomhá seo chun iad a íoslódáil ó Google Docs --> 

Friday, 28 October 2011

Making 3-D shapes with concrete materials

My class was learning about 3-D shapes in maths this week. Here's how we used chickpeas and cocktail sticks to create cubes, cuboids, triangular prisms, triangular-based pyramids and square-based pyramids. I have also seen this done with marshmallows (though, I feel this way, the children are less likely to eat the lesson materials!).

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Hallowe'en Carols

I heard about these fantastic carols today. They're a bunch of Christmas carols re-worded to fit the Hallowe'en theme. The children in my class (9-11 year olds) really enjoyed these. They found them hilarious. Click here to view the full lot.

This was the favourite:

Deck the halls with poison ivy,

fa la la la la, la la la la.

'Tis the season to be slimy,

fa la la la la, la la la la.

Don we now our strange apparel,

fa la la, la la la, la la la.

Troll the ancient Halloween carol,

fa la la la la, la la la la.

See the goblins rise before us,

fa la la la la, la la la la.

As we sing the Halloween chorus,

fa la la la la, la la la la.

Follow them as they ascend,

fa la la, la la la, la la la.

Join with all your loony friends,

fa la la la la, la la la la.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Celts - free station teaching resources

I created station teaching cards (and pupil answer sheets) about The Celts. Click here to download them from Google Drive.

Subject: History
Strand: Early people and ancient societies
Strand unit: Celts
Class: 5th/6th

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Buddhism resources

I've been teaching about Buddhism lately. Here are some of the resources/ideas that I have found useful:

  • My own introductory PowerPoint --> if you are a member of you can download it here
  • Worksheets, information and lesson activities on the BBC schools site
  • This fantastic site with step-by-step videos on how to make lotus flowers. See the picture of the finished product from my classroom below.
  • Buddhist meditation positions - lotus, half-lotus, sitting position, etc.
  • Examining features of artwork about Buddha and their meaning--> bumpy head, fat belly, position of hands, long ears

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Oíche Shamhna: Crosfhocal agus foclóir

Dia dhaoibh!

Chuir mé crosfhocal agus PowerPoint le foclóir a bhaineann le Oíche Shamhna ar

Bainigí taitneamh as!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

One to follow:

And I'm back, though I doubt I'll be posting as regularly as before. The workload required for doing the diploma in primary education is tough. That, combined with being new to having my own class is all pretty overwhelming.

Anyway, today's post is to highlight the fantastic website that is 

It's a recently re-vamped, Irish website that's really useful for thematic planning. Once you sign up (for free), you can add and download resources. In the teaching world, sharing resources is hugely important. Teachers can learn from one another and ignite a spark of creativity in each other. Definitely check this out. I will be posting links to some of my resources that are now on this site.

So why not up your teaching karma and upload some of your resources now? ...What goes around comes around!

Monday, 26 September 2011

New Zealand Station Teaching Pack

Here's a pack of 8 station teaching cards for learning about New Zealand. They're aimed at senior primary school level and would be best suited for Irish primary school teachers.


Friday, 23 September 2011

Looking and responding to portraits

A very happy Friday to you!

Here are some discussion questions I use for looking and responding at art. This one is specifically about portraits and prompts discussion on the colours, lines and shapes. It's very useful for small groups to discuss famous artists' work.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

UN International Day of Peace - Sept 21st

Tomorrow is the U.N. International Day of Peace. This is a lovely slideshow of images to the music of John Lennon's, "Imagine" which I'm going to use in school tomorrow.

I'm also going to ask the children to pick their favourite of these quotes about peace and will create a display with these:

"Peace is possible; when there is Peace is each of us." — Mr. Kamran, MARS Organization, Pakistan

"Peace begins with a smile." — Mother Teresa

"There is no such thing as a good war and there is no such thing as a bad peace." — Benjamin Franklin

"Peace is its own reward." — Mahatma Gandhi

"Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace." — Buddha

Monday, 19 September 2011

Facebook style "Mé Féin" worksheet

This facebook-style worksheet was inspired by Mrs. Tabb from Just Another Day in First Grade. Click on her button to check out her blog. She has fantastic ideas!  

Below is my version of "fifthclassbook" (i.e. Facebook) for use under the téama, mé féin. (For those of you who're not Irish but are curious, this means the theme "myself.")

Click on the image below to view/download in Google Docs.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Substitute Teacher Information Pack - free download

Hi there, 
Having walked into classrooms as a substitute teacher and not had a CLUE of what to do, I thought I'd put together a little information pack for substitute teachers. It looks like a lot of writing (for you, as the teacher) and reading (for the sub) but it could be extremely helpful in putting them at ease. 

Click on the image below to view/download in Google Docs.

If you want me to e-mail you the original, editable PowerPoint version, just leave a comment below with your e-mail address and I'll send it on in a jiffy!

All clipart is from

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

CSI-Themed Science Lesson

I found this lesson on the Discovery Education website and adapted it a little bit. I have previously used this lesson with 10-12 year olds and it went down a treat. It's great to see their surprise when carrying out the experiment, not knowing what reaction to expect as they mix substances!

Here is the original idea from Discovery Education and below are my adapted PowerPoint and the investigation sheets.

Materials needed:
plastic cups, vinegar, water, plastic spoons, labels, PowerPoint presentation (click on the image above to download), CSI video clip, investigation sheets, bags of cornflour, bags of baking soda, newspaper (the tables WILL get wet!), video about arson dogs (extension activity)
Each pair of children will need:

  • 4 cups {two with vinegar, two with water (labelled)}
  • 2 spoons
  • One small bag of cornflour (labelled "Substance 1")
  • One small bag of baking soda (labelled "Substance 2")
  • Newspaper
  • 2 investigation sheets

Click on the image above to view / download in Google Docs
1. Play a clip from CSI (make sure it's not too gory!). If you want to be really cheesy, ask the children to come up with cheesy Horatio-style one-liners or give them a pair of sunglasses to imitate his signature move. Lead a discussion on forensic science.
2. Present the children with the crime scenario on the PowerPoint.
3. Split the class into pairs and follow the organisational procedures as outlined on the PowerPoint for the distribution of materials.
4. Allow the children to carry out the experiment, step by step, as outlined on the PowerPoint.
5. Ensure that investigation sheets are filled in and tidy materials away.
6. Recap on the evidence (as per the PowerPoint) and ask the children to draw conclusions based on this and their investigation sheets. Ask for a show of "Thumbs up/ thumbs down" to show who they think is guilty.
EXTENSION ACTIVITY: If time permits, show a video about arson dogs (plenty of clips on YouTube) and discuss their work.

If you're Irish:
Subject: Science
Strand: Materials
Strand Unit: Materials and change
Oral language developed through discussion
Drama - based on crime-solving

Monday, 12 September 2011

Class Dojo Behaviour Management System

I found a great review on the Seomra Ranga blog. It's about an interactive classroom managment tool called Class Dojo. 

This system is designed for use on an interactive whiteboard. Each child in the class chooses an avatar and then the teacher can add or take away points based on certain criteria. The reasons for adding/subtracting points can be customised so, for example, you could award a point to Pupil X and it would say "1 point earned for being mannerly." You can clear the counters so it's back to zero when you please so it's ideal for daily/weekly/monthly targets.

The author of the review, Nigel Lane made a video walkthrough of the main features of ClassDojo. I've posted it below for your viewing pleasure!

Click here to read the full review.

Click here to visit the ClassDojo site.

Friday, 9 September 2011

More rugby resources (FREE)

I've got World Cup fever! Rugby World Cup that is. It's kicking off as I post with New Zealand's All Blacks taking on Tonga in Auckland.

Here are some simple P.E. activities from the IRFU (Irish Rugby Football Union) website. They're suitable for a variety of ages and you don't have to be a rugby expert by any means!

If you're interested in more free resources relating to the world cup, have a look at my previous post which also contains ideas for thematic planning about New Zealand!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Rugby World Cup FREEBIES

I posted about this in July but now I felt it would be a good idea to re-post as the world cup begins tomorrow.

The rugby world cup will take place in New Zealand until Oct 23rd, 2011. There are some fantastic teaching resources available on the official RWC 2011 Site. 

Here's what's available on the site:

Student Activity SheetsA teaching unit of 20 social sciences activity sheets for
students to use to learn about their adopted team.
Fun PackA collection of fun activities for students to complete including puzzles, crosswords, word finds, a quiz and more!
Teacher ResourcesA resource pack containing background information about Rugby World Cup for teachers to use in their lesson planning.
Ruggerbee Colour SheetsA series of colouring-in sheets featuring the Ruggerbees,
each sporting the uniform and flag of their adopted country.
RWC 2011 Match SchedulePrint out this poster featuring the Ruggerbees for your classroom wall. Students can fill in the scores as the Tournament progresses

The "Student Activity Sheets" are my favourite part of the pack as they contain simple graphic organisers for structuring information about a country. These are great for geography lessons. I love the idea of 'adopting a team.' It also comes with a really cute certificate to give to the children, saying that they have adopted XYZ team.

Of course, with the games being held in New Zealand, what better country to choose as a theme for other lessons. Here are some ideas of things to do:
Maths: Data handling using scores from the world cup matches; currency
P.E.: Tag rugby (There are some fantastic ideas on coaching tag rugby here)
P.E./Music: Haka (Dance; exploring chants, rhythm)
Music: New Zealand national anthem (NZ has two national anthems, one written by an Irish person)
Geography: Maori culture
Art: Maori tattoos (draw on each other with facepaint, washable markers - watch out for any skin allergies!), Maori jewelry, design their own poster for the world cup, design a flag for New Zealand based on what they have learned
Science/Nature: Kiwi birds (national bird)
Drama: Explore the attitudes of locals as the world cup comes to their country; use a Maori legend as a stimulus.
English: NZ legend (here!); write a magazine article about New Zealand, come up with an advert to entice people to go to NZ
Gaeilge: An Haka Gaelach (If you are teaching in Ireland and would like the lyrics to this, just post a comment below with your email address and I'll send it to you!)

Monday, 5 September 2011

Shape & space memory game FREEBIE

Today's freebie could be used to integrate maths and P.E. It's a memory game that involves plenty of running so it could be useful as a warm-up/cool down in a P.E. lesson. Here's how it works:

To prepare: 
Print out these templates (click here to view/download in Google Docs) on four different colours of paper. Each set needs 32 shapes (one with an "x," one without). Laminate them so they'll last for a long time!

To set the game up:
Place four cones in a line as the starting point for four teams.
Lay out 8 hula hoops in a giant semi-circle in front of the starting cones.
Place two shapes of each colour (WITH "x"s) in each hoop.
Place the copies of the shapes (WITHOUT "x"s) in a pile beside the starting cones

How the game runs:
1. Divide the children into 4 groups and assign a colour to each group.
2. Each group stands in a line behind the starting cone.
3. The first person takes a shape and has to run around and find the matching shape of the same colour. They then run back and show it to you. When you confirm that they're identical shapes, they place the shapes in front of their cone.
4. The next person may then go.
(As it's a sort of relay, only four people should be running at any one time.)
The first team to line up the matching shapes in front of their cone (all "x"s in one line, all plain shapes in another line, with matching shapes side-by-side) are the winners.

If you're Irish:
Subject: Maths
Strand: Shape and space
Strand Unit: 2-D shapes
Integration: P.E.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Reminder: Assessment Linky Party

Hello there, followers and stumblers,
Just a reminder that I am hosting an assessment linky party. There, you can share ideas for how to assess children, formally, informally and in a variety of other ways. There are only 11 days left before submissions end so, hop on over there and join in if you have something to share! :)

Here's what my entry was: Two Stars and a Wish:

Two Stars is very simple to use. The children write down two things (stars) they learned about the topic they're covering and one thing (wish) they would like to find out about it. It usually leads to some very interesting "wishes" so be prepared to be surprised!

Click on the image above to view in Google Docs.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

GIVEAWAY: PE and fun games station teaching cards

Hello followers, blog-stalkers and new readers alike!

Earlier this week I shared a freebie of station teaching cards for 6 throwing activities

Today I'm giving away a bigger pack of station teaching cards, some of which could be used for a P.E. lesson, others of which aren't really P.E. related but are fun nonetheless. They might be useful as part of a fun day. I've given tips on how to run it smoothly with a large group of children. Or you could just pick a few and do it more simply. Either way, click on the image below to open in Google Docs. Enjoy!

Monday, 29 August 2011

PE freebie: Station teaching cards- Throwing

Everyone loves a freebie. Here's a station teaching pack to brighten up your day. It's based on 6 throwing activities for a simple, easy to run P.E. lesson. Just click on the image below to view, save and download in Google Docs.

I'll have a full set of P.E. and fun games station cards in the next week so keep an eye on this blog.

6 throwing activity cards
Equipment list
Scoring sheet

If you're Irish:
Subject: P.E.
Strand: Athletics
Strand unit: Throwing
Integration: Maths - multiplication and addition (calculating scores)

Friday, 26 August 2011

FAO Irish Teachers: An t-Am Luaschártaí

As with my other posts this week, this is linked to Blog Hoppin's Teacher Week 2011 (click on the image above for full details).

Today is Free For All Friday in which I have to post a link to a free printable. So here you have it:

This is one for my Irish followers. Just a simple thing that you can put in any classroom as "prionta sa timpeallacht." Simply print out these flashcards on coloured (that's why they're not in order) or white paper, cut, laminate, trim and stick up around your clock.

Click on the image below to download these flashcards from Google Docs:

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Teacher Week 2011: Three for Thursday

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm taking part in Teacher Week 2011 over at Blog Hoppin.' Today's theme is very straightforward, "Three for Thursday" where I have to link to my favourite font, blog and online resources. Here goes:

Favourite font: Smiley Monster

Favourite blog: Denise's Yearn To Learn - great resources; lots of really creative, often simple (yet effective!) ideas; tonnes of freebies and giveaways. Definitely one to check out!

Favourite online resource: 
[This one was hard for me as there are so many great resources online. Rather than pick just one post from one blog, I'm going to choose a website that has provided me with endless ideas/inspiration in times of creative-block.] 

This is the message board on the Irish education website, I find it really useful for sharing ideas. People on there are helpful and always point you in the right direction. Plus, being Irish, it relates directly to the curriculum I teach (as opposed to the ideas from other countries that don't quite match our's).