Making Hallowe’en More Inclusive

Not everyone celebrates Hallowe’en in Ireland. There are lots of faith groups, including many Christian faith groups, that do not celebrate the day. This is because Hallowe’en is a pagan festival.

Given that almost all schools in the country are not under the patronage of Paganism, it’s worth thinking about how one can make the day as inclusive as possible for everyone.

The one thing schools have in common, no matter what their ethos, is that on the final day of the autumn term, children and, often, the staff, like to dress up in costumes and play seasonal games.

In order to make the day more inclusive. Some schools rename the day to something like “Dress Up Day” or “Self-Expression Day.” While this might jar with you at first, ultimately, all you are doing is changing the name of the day to make it more inclusive. Teachers can still teach about Hallowe’en but it also gives them opportunities to teach children about other autumn festivals such as Sukkot, Samhain and Diwali.

Finding *exactly* what you need

A month into our new rebrand, we hope you have noticed how much faster and easier it is to find what you need on Mash. The first port of call for most Mash users is the big pink search bar at the top of the site. However, sometimes, you might not know exactly what you want and here is where the magic happens!

We have added some brand new categories: Events and Themes. You can find them by hovering over the Categories menu here:

Let’s try the theme Éadaí / Clothes. In this section, you’ll already find dozens of products – but how can you filter them down to what you want?

Look no further than the left hand side of the site and you’ll find filters to narrow down what you are looking for. There are popular tags, Curricular Areas, Type of Resource, and lots more. For example, I might want a Clothes Display for my classroom. In the filter bar if I tick “Posters”, my search is filtered down to fewer options.

There are lots of ways to find what you want on Mash quickly so get searching!

Getting to know our webinar guests

We can’t wait for our webinar next Thursday, 26th August, which will be streamed on YouTube and Facebook Live. We thought you might want to get to know our featured guests a little better. Each of our featured sellers will be giving away one of their products at the webinar. Find out what you could win!

My name is Adam Barrett and this will be my 3rd year teaching. I qualified from Mary Immaculate College in 2019 and worked as a Special Education Teacher for 2 years. This year I will be teaching 2nd class, and have a passion for all things inclusion and special education.

Adam is giving away his most popular resource: his SET teaching guide. 

The Primary Teacher Interview Consultancy was established to help teachers, at any stage of their career, in any educational setting, engage in interview preparation and guidance, to realise and achieve their full potential. The consultancy has many consultation plans which cater for those of all levels of experience and self-confidence within the area of teaching interviews.We are here to support you, through 1:1 consultations, webinars and mock interviews, to ensure that you achieve your goals. 

Maria is giving away her most popular resource, 30 buzzwords and what they mean:

Grace is a Mary Immaculate College graduate with three years of classroom experience. Her special interests are Gaeilge and supporting substitute teachers. Grace enjoys creating high quality and innovative resources to support her fellow teachers and has a wide array of products on her store Múinteoir Grace 💜

Grace is giving away her most popular resource this evening, it’s her Subbing Essential Toolkit

Claire is one of’s top rated sellers and focuses on providing extremely high-quality planning documents for primary teachers. She runs a Facebook and Instagram page, as well as a teaching blog. Claire has a decade of experience spanning mainstream, SET, EAL and management. She will be teaching an ASD class in September.

Claire is giving away her most downloaded product on to one lucky teacher. 

These are the Primary Language Curriculum PLC Fortnightly Plan Template and Sample for both English and Irish. The winner can choose their class level.  

Michelle Lyons-Doyle is an experienced autism class teacher and is also parent to an autistic child. She is passionate about special education and catering to the unique needs of autistic children. 

Michelle set up Star Star Autism as a page to share information and ideas with other teachers and SNAs, and to chronicle the ups and downs of life as a parent. 

Michelle is passionate about the need for a respectful, strengths-based approach in special education and believes that neurodiversity should be celebrated.

Michelle is giving away her most popular resource which is her Visual Schedule Symbol pack

Ciara is a Third Class teacher in an Educate Together school.  She has taught Senior Infants, First Class, Third Class and SET.  Ciara is passionate about inclusive, multicultural education and makes resources that help teachers to create a positive and welcoming learning space for all students.  

Ciara is giving away her most popular resource which are her conversation cards 

How Not To Get a Job Interview

Teaching jobs are getting more and more scarce every year in Ireland. The days when you could almost graduate, pick the school you wished to work in and gain a permanent position have all but disappeared. Nowadays, it seems that substituting and temporary positions are the norm for most teachers starting out. It appears that only the very lucky or well connected have chances of long term positions.

However, before getting near a job, obviously you need an interview! Getting a job interview is also getting harder than ever before. With many schools now allowing teachers to apply for jobs electronically, this means that it is easier and cheaper to apply for many more positions. It also means that schools are getting a lot more applications than normal.

Getting an interview means that you are getting a chance for a job so how do you rise above the other applications to get an interview? There are a number of places that will give you hints and tips, but here are some things to do to ensure you don’t get an interview.

1. Make spelling or grammar errors

Even one error in your application can file an otherwise amazing application into the shredder. While not every interview panel will mind the odd typo, some are unapologetic about throwing away applications with even one error. The theory is that if one is going to be careless in a job application, they will be careless in their job.

2. Make a template then send it to every school

As teachers are sending hundreds of applications, it is often tempting to make a template application and send the same one to every school. This can backfire very easily. In order to make a good template, you’re going to have to generalise the answers to a lot of the questions. Therefore, you’re not going to say anything specific about any school you’re applying for. Worse yet, it seems that there are templates out there in the world of forums and web chats that are borrowed and copied and pasted and sent to loads of schools. In any batch of 100 CVs, there are probably 50 others like it.

3. Write to the wrong person

If you’re putting in a cover letter, be sure that you address the person properly. Here are some real examples I have heard or come across:

  • Dear Reverend Chairperson – to a chairperson who is not a priest
  • Dear Sir/Madame – to a priest. (As of yet, I don’t think there are many madame priests)
  • Dear Mary – to anyone not called Mary!

4. Talk about the wrong faith 

This is probably to do with the fact that the majority of schools are under the patron of the Catholic church. However, if you’re applying for a job in a school that isn’t of a Catholic ethos, while it is admirable that you have claimed to be passionate about Catholic teachings, most of these schools see that you’ve just copied from a template and your application is likely to go into the bin.

5. Don’t read the advertisement properly

You’d be surprised how many applications come in the wrong form to schools. For example, some schools this year only accepted applications via email but still received lots of envelopes, much of which didn’t get opened. However, if you check out the advertisements on Education Posts, often a school will add a few lines to applicants asking for particular things or perhaps asking not to include certain items. If you don’t follow these instructions, you might be missing out on a school that might have wanted you.

6. Make sure your only hobbies are reading and socialising

Schools like teachers to be able to do other things other than teaching. For example, if you’re a grade 8 pianist, you could be gold dust to a school who have just lost their only teacher who could play the piano. Perhaps a school has lost their GAA coach to greener pastures and are desperately looking for a former under-14  GAA player of the year who continues to coach kids at weekends. Who knows, there may be a school who want to set up a computer club and you might just have designed web pages for your mum’s online business? All your hobbies might be relevant to a school so put them in and show how you could be used in your school.

7. Have a level 1 certificate in any sport from college and nothing else

You more than likely have a Grade 1 certificate in coaching some sport. I’m afraid that all your friends in college did the same. You’re going to have to stand out more in an application so add some details. For example, talk about what you did to get the certificate and how you’ve put it into practice. Whilst on the subject, try to get a few qualifications outside college to boost your application. Perhaps you’ve done a First Aid course or an interesting (certified) evening course?

8. Be Bland

“From your web site I can see that your school is an inclusive, welcoming and enjoyable place to work in.   This is an atmosphere that would suit someone like me.” These sentences could be about any school (with a web site). To an interview panel, it translates as: “I have merely copied and pasted the same applications over and over again. I don’t even know what school this piece of paper is going to.” Be specific about why you want to work in a school. Tell them why you want to move to their school or how you admire something that they are known for. This might take time but it may pay off in the end.

9. Photocopy your applications badly

If you really feel you have the best template application and you’re going to send it to schools, you’re going to be using a photocopier if you’re posting applications. Whatever you do, make sure your application doesn’t look like it’s been photocopied. Fingerprints, coffee stains and other smudges do nothing to make your application stand out in a good way. Some people send applications on different kinds of paper, which is risky but sometimes effective. While it goes without saying a loud pink paper with glittery writing isn’t going to go down well, a muted cream or off-white good quality paper might make a panel member look twice at the application.

10. Handwrite your letter of application

For some odd reason, there was a rumour going around that teachers should handwrite their cover letter to show off their teacher writing. The problem is that it is very hard to write a handwritten letter well and conventions differ greatly from a printed letter. While that doesn’t seem to be a problem, the difficulty is that most people can’t remember the correct way to write a handwritten letter these days and this can lead to all sorts of confusions. A final reason to avoid handwriting letters is that when you’re handwriting 200 cover letters, even the best handwriting becomes scrawly eventually.

Of course, the best way not to get a job interview is not to apply for jobs! I always recommend that teachers put a lot of effort into the schools they would most prefer to work in. Five really good applications, I believe, are better than hundreds of templated photocopies.

Coming Soon: Back to School Webinar

We’re delighted to be running a Back to School Webinar near the end of August.

Last year we held two super webinars for teachers heading back to school. The first was centred around COVID19 mitigation measures and what teachers could expect. The second was all about infant education.

The webinar will take place on 26th August from 7:30pm. It will consist of 3 parts with 6 of our top sellers chatting with the Mash Team about everything from Special Education Teaching to setting up a Side Hustle as a teacher.

Why not save the date on your calendar here:

Numicon At Home Kit

I recently purchased this kit for use at home. We have a nearly seven year old who seems fascinated with number and learning his multiplication tables presently so I thought I would make good on this interest!

The Numicon model is used in many classrooms in Ireland. It is primarily used in the Infant classes but can be used at any age or setting. Numicon aims to give children a positive experience with early number, number ideas and number relationships. My boy really enjoyed simply playing and interacting with the numicon shapes and building different structures with them. For that alone, they are great play tool! But, they are also based on pedagogy of learning maths and work really well with helping children visualise what a number looks like in objects which in turn impacts on future use with number sense and mental maths.

What I really liked about this kit is that all the resources come in a draw-string material bag and a Book of activities which are essential for parents that are not teachers. It also comes with the basic set of 32 Numicon Shapes, 32 Numicon Pegs, Feely Bag, Numicon Zig Zag Book, 3 Threading Laces, Baseboard, 2 Picture Baseboard Overlays and 0-10 Numeral Cards.

I really liked the Numicon at home kit. It does what it says and will be a great investment for your home or SET setting.

Numicon At Home kit retails for €69.99 and is available from all good educational stockists. I purchased this product myself. This is not an advertisement. 

Something BIG is coming to Mash

Just wanted to let you know that some big changes are coming to

Over the coming days, we’ll be transforming our site with a whole new look and feel, changes that will not only make it easier to find the educational resources you’re looking for, but also see exactly what you’re getting. And by adding some new payment options and improving security, we’ll be making our check-out experience much more convenient too.

However, there is a small downside. To make these improvements, we need to take Mash offline for 2 days and you won’t be able to buy any products from us during this time.

To minimise disruption, we’ve scheduled the changes to occur from 13th to 14th July, our least busy summer holiday period, so on the off chance you’re looking for educational resources during this time, we apologise for any inconvenience.

We promise the changes will definitely be worth the wait, so please bear with us, we’ll be back up and running by the 14th July.

Euro 2021 Sensory Football Match

With Euro 2021 underway, I thought I’d share a few ideas of how to bring the game into the classroom with a virtual sensory football match.

Re-creating a football game is an excellent way for sensory explorers to learn about the game of football and other cultures.

This activity can be done using any combination of teams. For the purpose of this post, I have chosen Italy vs Spain.

Gathering Props

Audio Clips/Recordings of the Italian & Spanish National Anthems and of a Football Crowd

(These can be recorded and then played back via a Talking Tile/BIGMack /Dictaphone/Phone or iPad App or through your whiteboard, you will find free donwloadable audio clips on the internet)

Smells & Tastes of Italy

Basil Leaves, Fresh Parsley, Dried Pasta, Pizza, Garlic (bulb, flakes, powder or infused in food: garlic bread/crackers) Dried coffee beans/granules (decaffeinated), Ice-Cream.

Smells & Tastes of Spain

Olives, Dried Rice/Rice Pudding (Paella), ‘Sangria’ (non-alcoholic fruit juice), Tortillas, Peppers, Spanish Omelette.

Table Football Game

Fans (Hand-held/Battery), Penne Pasta/Straws, Ping Pong Ball/Polystyrene Ball/Pom-Pom, Football ‘Net’ (this can either be drawn on the able with chalk or you could use small fishing nets held by the ‘goal keepers’ at either end of the table)


Whistle, Party Blower


Football Scarves/Shorts/Shirt, Flags (these can be printed off the internet or drawn – the students could create their won flags prior to the match) Bam Bams/Thunderstix/Boom Sticks/Horn/Drum/Clappers, Oranges/Satsumas /Juice, Trophy (Gold Coins/Stickers)



  1. Explore the football kit with the option for the sensory explorers to wear during the match.

  2. Divide the sensory explorers into two groups of football supporters, Italian and Spanish.

  3. Present each group with their countries flag to wave as they listen to the audio recording of the National Anthem in turn. (Option to ‘play’ along to the anthem using musical instruments)

  4. Explore the smells and tastes of each country.

  5. Build anticipation skills counting backwards from 3 to 1 giving the cue for the sensory explorers to blow their whistles/party blowers to signal the start of the match.

  6. Play the audio clip of the crowd cheering.

  7. Begin your game of table football by placing the ping pong ball/polystyrene ball/pom pom in the centre of the table.

  8. Sensory explorers move the ‘ball’ by directing their fans or blowng through straws/ penne pasta. Alternatively they could flick the ‘ball’ using their fingers/hands.

  9. When a goal is scored pass the Bam Bams/Thunderstix/Boom Sticks/Horn/Drum/Clappers for exploration.

  10. Play the game either on a timer or until everyone has had a turn on the ball then break for half time to enjoy a tasty segment of orange/satsuma or drink of juice.

  11. Switch ends of the table then play the second half of the game.

  12. The winning team have their National Anthem played as they collect their ‘trophy’ (this can be made from a cardboard cut-out covered in foil or a reward such as a gold coin, sticker, certificate or other motivating/rewarding item.


For more sensory ideas and inspiration, visit the website

Your questions, queries, comments and feedback are always welcome!






Journey into Space – A Rhyming Multisensory Story & Exploration of the Solar System Video

I was delighted to have been invited to present at the Sensory Festival hosted by Richard Hirstwood earlier this month.

I was asked to present a video of one of my stories and I chose one of my favourites,  ‘Journey into Space – A Rhyming Multisensory Story & Exploration of the Solar System’

I thought it might be interesting to share the link with you in this post as it will give an insight in how I like to tell my multisensory stories and tips of sourcing props, delivery and extension activities.

To celebrate this story, I am offering the story at a discounted price of 3.49 euros (normal price 5.80 euros) until 30th June 2021.

Here is the link to the story

Table of Contents:

Buckle Up! Story Prop Checklist
How to Tell a Multisensory Story
Journey Into Space A Multisensory Story
Developing Comprehension & Understanding
Story Map
Space Sounds  (Listening Game)
How to Make a Space Themed Sensory Bag
How to Make a Space Themed Sensory Bin
Space Relaxation  – A Guided Relaxation Space Adventure!
Create an Astronaut Role Play Area
Galaxy Art
The Space Lab
Space Design & Technology
Q & A

Your questions, queries, comments and feedback are always welcome!

Happy Exploring!


June Teaching Calendar – Ideas and Inspiration


June 1st – 30th    Pride Month

June 7 – June 13 National growing for Well-being Week

Encouraging people to get growing to promote physical and mental health, connect with nature, learn new skills, reduce anxiety, acquire new skills and enjoy the outdoors.

Classroom Ideas

  • Plant a wildflower garden.

  • Plant herbs on a windowsill.

  • Make a ‘vegetable scraps’ garden.

  • Start a compost heap.

June 11th – July 11th Euro 2021

  • Learn football skills.

  • Play a football themed listening game (click the link to learn more about listening games) Suggested sounds: Referee whistle, crowd cheering, football being kicked, vuvuzela/thunderstick/horn/hand clappers.

June 12 – June 18 Drowning Prevention Week

  • Talk about the dangers of water and how to enjoy water safely

June 13th Cupcake Day to raise money for Alzheimers.

  • Enjoy making or decorating a cupcake.

  • Hold a cupcake sale.

  • Hold your own ‘Bake Off’ competition.

June 14th18th Healthy Eating Week

  • Explore new foods.

  • Themed Sensory Food Tasting Session. Theme your foods (e.g. ‘Green’ food tasting (celery, peas, lettuce, avocado, mint, cucumber, grapes)

  • Discuss the benefits of healthy eating

June 19th – 25th National School Sport Week

  • Try a new sport!

  • Hold a Sports Day

June 20th Fathers Day

  • Have you made your cards yet?

June 21st World Music Day

  • Explore instruments from around the world. (if you do not have access to these instruments then the internet has a host of free audio clips)

  • Create an orchestra. Have students taking it in turns to ‘conduct’.

  • Listen to a piece of world music.

June 21st World Yoga Day

  • Get stretching! Even 5 minutes a day is beneficial.

June 21st World Giraffe Day

  • Play an audio clip of the ‘humming’ noise a giraffe makes. Can the sensory explorer imitate the sound? Record their voice and play it back.

  • Explore Self-Expression through movement.Watch footage of a giraffe. Can the sensory explorer lope and gallop like a giraffe?

June 26th – Jul 18th Tour de France

  • Get on your bikes .

  • Explore all things French! (Music, food, dance and of course, Towers!)

June 28th – July 11th Wimbledon

  • Play tennis.

  • Enjoy strawberries and cream!

Bought to you by Rhyming Multisensory Stories

Connecting Individuals with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities to LIterature, Topic and Culture