Review: Sounds in Focus: A whole school phonemic approach to spelling

I have been using the Senior Infants Sounds in Focus programme since September last year.It uses a phonemic approach to learning how to read, write and spell. The main skills that the programme utilises are: Identifying Sounds, Counting Sounds, Segmenting and Selecting Graphemes. Within the Teaching guide, there are many and numerous activities for oral language, listening, attention, speaking, questioning and photocopiable resources available online to download to your own device. Each class level has 36 units of work, designed to fit into the school year. Each unit is based on a specific phoneme(s), and with the teacher’s help and assistance, pupils explore the grapheme(s) that can be used to represent it. Each unit is given a thorough treatment in the Teacher Guide, which guides the teacher through a Monday-Friday schedule of work though...

What did you search for in December?

Every month we look back on the products you searched for. As it was December, there was no surprise what the top search item was - yes - Christmas! The word was searched 3 times more than any other search term. In the top 6 searches, variants such as Nollaig, An Nollaig and Christmas Activity Pack also had high search results. Randomly, the second and third most popular search terms were "hobbies" and "water" which goes to show not everyone is focused on Christmas! Éadaí and Aimsir were the other big hitters in December's searches. Sellers might be interested in some of the searches that achieved zero results. All but one were the names of stores. We are working on allowing teachers to search for their favourite stores but in the meantime, we'd recommend sellers add their store name in the description of their products. We would hope to...

Vocabulary Instruction Matters

There really is no getting away from it, vocabulary instruction matters and needs to be embedded into a balanced framework of literacy instruction. This means finding time in an already stretched teaching day. The research highlights the strong link between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension. According to Graves (2016) vocabulary knowledge in the early grades is a significant predictor of reading comprehension in the higher grades. The work you put into it in the early years is worthwhile. So how should explicit instruction look? Vocabulary instruction can be approached in different ways. For example, whole class teaching for approximately 10 minutes a day. Table 1 outlines a suggested instructional sequence for teaching individual word meanings across a week. If you are lucky enough to have on-going in-class support for literacy a...

Quick, purposeful ways to plan Literacy Lessons

Every month, one of our wonderful vendors writes us an article about an aspect of primary education that they are passionate about. This month we welcome Rebecca Jane Morrissey who runs the fantastic Rebecca.The.Irish.Teacher store. Here is her article on literacy ideas.   Quick, purposeful ways to plan Literacy Lessons Do you find that your writing lessons are taking you ages to plan? Are your children engaged and motivated by what they’re writing about? Well, if not, you’re not alone! Here I will share my top tips to plan for exciting writing lessons. Day One: The hook The hook can be as simple as an object to set the scene of what they will write about. For example, above is a “dragon egg” made from thumb tacks. This can be the starting point of your writing lesson to hook the children in to the topic that...

Review: STEM projects: Prim-Ed

Despite it not being mentioned in any of the curriculum subjects, STEM is everywhere! STEM stands for Science, technology, engineering and maths and it is a way that primary school teachers can integrate the subjects of science and maths using the skills of ed technology and engineering. I think teachers are interested in STEM and how it might look in the primary classroom. With this in mind, Prim-Ed have made a dinky, colourful box of STEM activities for all classes to use. I received an Infants’ box to review. Each box is made up of 4 different colour-coded sections. These are living Things; Energy and Forces; materials; and Earth and the Environment. We can see how SESE and the Ethical Education curriculum (taught in Educate Together schools) can be focussed on with these sections. The cards contain explanation on what STEM education...

What did you search for in October?

We hope you had a great first term. Every month we share our top search terms with you, which may help for inspiration if you are a seller. Here are October's: The top 5 searches for resources on Mash.ie this month were: Oiche Shamhna Halloween Bia New language curriculum Autumn The top two results are unsurprising. I guess this might be useful to any sellers for November to look out for special events that are coming up. Sellers might also be interested to note that again of the searches where there were no returns over 90% of them were store names. We're still working on allowing store names to be included in search results but in the meantime, it would be a very good idea for sellers to include their name and store name in the description of their products. The following terms were searched for with no results....

Making Verbs Fun

This month, we are delighted to welcome Michelle Moriarty as our featured seller with a very interesting article on how to make learning verbs fun. You can find Michelle's store here! I don’t know about you, but after ten years of teaching Irish verbs there are days where I really wonder if I managed to teach anything at all! I teach in a DEIS 2 school in Dublin. When I started here Irish was not a priority but in the last few years we have really tried to focus in on improving our school-wide standard. One of the areas I have been focused on at the senior end has been the dreaded Briathra na Gaeilge. Once we have identified the rules there’s the inevitable worksheets and exercises in the textbook. Kids get bored of these very quickly. So, I tried to find other ways to practice conjugating verbs – what games do we play in other...

TP’s, Dips and Tips!

Every month we give our blog over to one of our wonderful teacher sellers to give you some advice and tips for your classroom. Our October teacher is Kate Battle and she has very kindly written a piece giving some tips for new teachers. Please visit her store: KB's Classroom! Hi everyone, I’m Kate, and I’ve been a seller on Mash.ie for the past three years now (can’t believe it’s been that long myself) and I’m the girl behind ‘KB’s Classroom’! I’ve taught for over four years in a few different school types as both Class Teacher and SET Teacher. Although my products can be bought and used by any teacher, I believe my shop mainly caters for TP and Dip students as having gone through it all myself I felt I had an insight into what exactly helps students and NQTS and that for me was the idea of ready made lesson packs that...

What did you search for in September?

September is the busiest month on Mash.ie and a crazy month in real life! The top 5 searches for resources on Mash.ie this month were: mé féin (71 results) New language curriculum (128 results) Aistear (332 results) bia (87 results) bua na cainte (27 results) Sellers might be interested to note that of the searches where there were no returns over 90% of them were store names. We're going to work on allowing store names to be included in search results but in the meantime, it would be a very good idea for sellers to include their name and store name in the description of their products. The following terms were searched for with no results. sound town Aistear Breithlá bia naíonán shinsearacha chestnut tree Christmas Plays...

Review: The Maths Box: Early Years: Prim-Ed

I have been sent the Maths Box for Early Years to review. I am currently teaching Senior Infants and have had the last month to put the activities to use! First of all, let me explain the product for you. The Maths box is a colourful and robust box that contains 300 colourful cards to help support the teaching and learning of mathematical skills in the Infant Classes. It is not intended as an independent resource but more so teacher-led table or group. There are 4 copies of each of the 75 unique maths cards and I would be able to use a card per table if I had access to three other SET teachers. Therefore, this resource would be absolutely super for in-class support or a smaller withdrawal setting with the SET. Each card sets a challenge based on a maths curriculum objective. The photocopiable Teacher’s Guide that comes with it has a full...