Thursday, 27 August 2020

Calm Classroom Ideas

 As we return to the classroom, it has never been as important to create a safe and calm learning environment for students and staff.

Here are a couple of ideas of things I use in the classroom to create a sense of calm!


A couple of years ago, I did a few great yoga workshops with Ciara Delaney from the IPPEA. She went through some lovely sequences of yoga that could be done in the class.

We also explored creating stories from the yoga poses. The children can also invent their own stories incorporating yoga poses for the class.

Here is an example of some free cards that you could use to get started and explore some sequences!

                                Yoga Cards and Posters - BUNDLE - Sets #1 and 2 - Savvy Apple

If you want to find little videos on yoga for children, have a look at Go Noodle and Cosmic Kids Yoga.

Relaxing Music 

Simply type this into Youtube and you will have loads of options to set a calm atmosphere in the class.

Mindful Colouring 

Play some relaxing music and get colouring, you can find thousands of these online. 

                            Colouring in Pages, Books & Sheets for Kids | Printable Colouring Pages

Mindfulness Programme

You could also follow a programme for Mindfulness. I bought the Mindfulness in the Classroom book by Michele Gallen a couple of years ago.  As I return to the classroom this year, I have it dusted off and have it ready to go. 

It does give you teacher homework  (you have to also do the lessons!)  A fabulous resource that contains everything you need to get started. (Click on photo for link).

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Tuesday, 11 August 2020

All About Me Sheet (FREEBIE!)

 On the first few days back to school, I always do a worksheet like this with the students. It is a great way for me to get to know the children and a nice activity to help them settle into your class.


We usually display them in the class for a bit and then I keep them in my folder so I can glance back every now and again!  I have included an English & Irish version so you can choose which you prefer (or do both!)

Click on the image below to download this freebie!

I hope it makes the first few days back to school a little earlier.

Here is another version I use with the older classes. Click on it to download.

See other back to school posts here.

Friday, 5 June 2020

Vanishing Ireland-a book with so many teaching possibilities!

I love picking up this book to flick through every now and again and read a story or two about the lives of Ireland's older generation.  There are so many amazing stories of Irish people, giving a little snippet of their lives, along with beautiful photographs.

When looking through it last year, I had an idea to use it during a team teaching lesson with a wonderful colleague of mine.

Our focus was to develop their ability to describe characters (for Narrative Writing), using photographs.  We were also giving them the opportunity to practise their comprehension strategies (which had been taught explicitly throughout the year).

To begin, my colleague read 'Old Danny Murphy' to the children, which had them mesmerised as she read it with such expression.

Then, we showed them one photo from the book on the visualiser and we modelled a character description together for the children.
Huge scope for Oral Language development here too!

What can you infer from the photo?

Following this, they split into groups to do a collaborative character description. Each group had a different photo.

To finish, each group described their character to the class, while showing their photo.  The observations and comments from the various groups were AMAZING....we were both blown away by the connections and inferences they made by looking at the smallest details of the photographs.  Leaving the textbook on the shelf and using a book I had found at home led to one of the most memorable lessons for me!

They enjoyed it so much that they wanted to write their character descriptions on their own writing frames the following day!

So if anyone has this book lying on a shelf at home, bring it in to your class someday as a stimulus for an Art lesson, to develop comprehension strategies, discuss how life in Ireland has changed or simply to read a page about one of these incredible individuals! The possibilities are endless!

Or have a look to see if you have other books lying around that have the potential to provide an interesting stimulus to a lesson.

Feel free to share your ideas below!

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Virtual School Tour Ideas (& Free Templates)

This is a blog post I didn't think I would ever be writing!

I am putting together some ideas of virtual tours that you may like to have a look at for your class.

If you find other good ideas, please send them on and I will add them in.
A positive to take from school closures is that we can literally go anywhere in the world for our school tour this year!

Titanic Belfast/ Cobh

They have put together an excellent tour with audio.  You can pick and choose which sections you would like to focus on with your class.  This is probably more suitable for the senior classes and is very easy to navigate. Click here to check it out yourself.

I really like that there are lots of fun activities and resources so you use it as a whole unit of learning before and after the virtual school tour.  There is huge scope for extending the learning with this tour. There are even some fun recipes to try out.

Tin Foil Boats - Titanic Belfast Activity
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You can also learn more about the Titanic through a virtual tour of the Titanic Experience Cobh.  It isn't as easy to navigate but it does have some excellent visuals of what life was like aboard the Titanic.

Dublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo are having virtual tours every Monday at 10am.

They also have a section on their website of pre-loaded videos that you could use with your class as a tour.

Dublin Zoo Website also has many activities and live web cam links (can be slow to load) that could be used as part of a tour.

You can check them out in more detail here.

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Alternatively, you could watch an episode of 'The Zoo' series on RTE Player and download the booklet that accompanies it from the Dublin Zoo Website.

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San Diego Zoo 

If you want to be really adventurous and bring your kids to another continent, then this would be another fabulous virtual tour.

Click on the image below, if you want to have a look around the huge amount of live cams, videos, activities and games.  The possibilities of this tour are endless, with some lovely Art suggestions and stories about the different animals.

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Viking & Medieval Dublin Tour

This website has some great videos that children can watch to get a sense of what life was like long ago.  It has a cool feature to see how Dublin changed over the years, by scrolling along the time line.
You can also compare it to present day, creating a nice visual for the children.

There are quizzes included to keep the children engaged in the various topics.

They even have a teacher tab, to show you how it links directly to the curriculum so it is easily one that could be used when we get back to classrooms!

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Ellis Island

This site has interactive maps of Ellis Island, stories from the children who emigrated to America and a virtual field trip of the island.

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It is probably suitable to upper primary levels.

National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian)

Unfortunately, there are limited virtual exhibitions on the Irish National Museum of Natural History website so I have linked this one instead, the Smithsonian.

There are different tours, but I chose the permanent exhibitions one.
You can take a virtual tour of the different floors of the museum. You could set up a trail for your own class to find things along the way to engage them.
While there are some useful resources under the 'Education' tab, it does take a bit of searching through!

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

This is a really good virtual tour around the World of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  You can spin the globe to find 30 places of interest, read about them and explore them visually. 

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Aquarium Tours

I have found 2 different websites that might be good for a virtual tour.

The first is Monterey Bay Aquarium, which has live web cams for the children to explore.  It also has Ocean Explorer booklets and games.

The other website is Georgia Aquarium.  It is similar in that it has live web cams of different sea creatures.  It has a section for home learning where children can learn about other topics each Friday, complete activity sheets and enter Art competitions.

Áras an Uachtaráin

There is a lovely 'Children's Section' on the official Áras an Uachtaráin website.  

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Here children can take a virtual tour of some rooms in the Áras.  They can also click on each of the guides shown below to learn more about the President, where he lives and the Phoenix Park.

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There is a quiz for students to take to to see what they can remember from the virtual tour.

The National Art Gallery

Some classes in my school did this a couple of weeks ago. They looked through some rooms in the National Gallery and chose their favourite painting, which they wrote a little about.
A view of the Grand Gallery from a staircase
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The National History Museum

You can go step by step through the floors of the museum to explore a huge variety of animals. I remember doing this tour myself when I was in 3rd Class (along with Dublin Zoo) after getting the train to Dublin!

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Cliste have put together some great resources to guide your class through the tour (Thanks to Galway Ed Centre webinar for highlighting this resource!)

Click on the image below to be directed to the website to have a look.

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The White House

For any children interested in exploring some of the White House, you can click here to explore the lavish rooms!

Virtual Tour Templates (FREEBIE!)

I have put these templates together as a free resource if you would like to download it to use with your students. Simply click on the image above to be redirected to download them (please think about rating them if you do!).

Galway Education Centre are also sharing ideas on how to plan an online tour for your students, if you want to register for a place.

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* Update
I did this webinar on the 28th May as they added extra dates and there were some great ideas on it. A lot are already mentioned above and I will share some new ideas here:

Create Your own Tour

You can choose where you want to go yourself and design your own tour for your students on Google Tour Creator.

The course facilitator has also put together lots of tours, which you can find here, if you want to check it out.


Education Through Creation put together a step by step guide to doing your virtual tour as a guest post, which you can find here!

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Easter Hunt

I have put this together for anyone who is currently unable to leave their homes due to COVID-19.

It is a set of clues that you could use for an Easter hunt which might add some fun to your day at home with your children.  You could also get them to come up with their own Easter Hunt clues.

The Clues:

 The Solutions & Instructions:

If you don't have access to a printer, you could write out the clues on a piece of paper or leave an object to find in the locations and simply read the next clue out loud to them, like I have done below!


Hope it comes in useful and is a bit of fun! If anyone is struggling to download the pictures above, contact me on Instagram/Facebook and I can email you a copy of them!

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

COVID-19 Daily Challenges

Each day, I am uploading a daily fun challenge for students on my Instagram & Facebook and I will attach them below each day also.  

I would love if you sent in some photos if your students/children complete them so the children can learn from each others ideas too!

If I can be of help in any way over the coming weeks, drop me a message on my Facebook or Instagram page.

Mind yourselves and each other!