Starting off in SEN

Hi everyone, I’m Grace and I’m currently teaching 4th class. Before this, I was in SEN and sometimes felt overwhelmed with the paperwork requirements, so I’m going to share a few tips I think might be helpful for those starting out in SEN! Basic organisation: First things first, have a folder dedicated to every child stored in the same place every day in your room – this will make storage a lot easier and quicker as opposed to fumbling around with worksheets. Allow the children themselves to be responsible for the taking out and putting back of their folders, as well as keeping them tidy! Have a well-stocked room in terms of having spare stationery. Of course, this is important in any classroom, but time slots are so limited in support that there’s no time for the children (or teacher!) to procrastinate by going back for a pencil, but...

Promoting Positive Behaviour

This month, we're delighted to welcome one of our sellers, PrimaryTeachersIreland, to write a guest blog about Promoting Positive Behaviour. There's a coupon at the end of the blog post for anyone who wishes to check out her store. Promoting positive behaviour in the classroom is one of my favourite parts of teaching. As a former teacher in a special needs setting, I have used many different forms of positive behaviour promotion, and was happy to learn that they transferred over into the mainstream setting as well. Over the last few months, I have been subbing in different schools, and in different class levels, opening my eyes to a world of ideas and experiences. It’s not easy going into a new class every day, and trying to have control over the children in front of you. I picked up some handy tips along the way that I would like to share...

Review: Science: A STEM approach (Prim-Ed)

Science: A STEM Approach is a series of copymaster books that runs from Infants class to Sixth Class. It uses a STEM project(more about that later) to support the Science curriculum. Each book is divided into four sections-Living things, Energy and forces, Materials and Earth and the environment so it can also support integration of the geography curriculum as well. What is STEM? STEM is the buzz word currently, especially with the Department of Education despite the fact STEM is not a curriculum subject! STEM is the integration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts using project based and cooperative learning. Breakdown of the units Each of the four units detailed above is broken down further into lessons, summative assessment test with teacher notes and a STEM project. Science: A STEM approach...

Using Musical Instruments in the Classroom

This month we welcome one of our sellers Shane Mc Kenna from Dabbledoo Music. You can find Dabbledoo Music's Mash Store here. The first time you hand out instruments to a room full of eight year olds is a scary moment. The noise levels start to rise. One child is putting every ounce of strength and concentration into banging that cymbal as loud as possible. Another puts their triangle down to covers their ears. You are in the middle of it all handing out shakers and trying to keep control. This was my first experience anyway. I had studied music education for secondary school and then a Masters in music technology, so it had been a while since I'd been in a classroom and I had never attempted to give a full class an instrument! My Masters thesis was about new types of music notation for education and use in the classroom...

What did you search for in January

Every month we summarise the most popular searches on For sellers, this can be useful to know what potential customers may be looking for. Gaeilge themes seemed to be a focus for January with most of the top 5 searches falling into this category:
  1. Éadaí
  2. Caitheamh Aimsire
  3. An Aimsir
  4. Sa Bhaile
  5. Spring
Again, the searches that got no results were made up mostly of store names. We're nearly ready to address this issue but it was interesting to see some of the other searches that got no responses:
  1. The built environment (11 searches)
  2. Ethiopia (10)
  3. Busy Board (6)
  4. St Brigids Day (5)
The final one above is interesting in so far as it is a misspelling of the festival.

Making your English lessons to-the-point

This month we're delighted to welcome this guest post from Ben Pyne from To The Point Passages.  Like many teachers around the country, I found myself trawling through the internet one Sunday evening looking for interesting, worthwhile English activities. Two hours later and I had found ...very little. Yes, there are some valuable reading comprehensions out there, however I found that many lack real learning focus. I would agree that there is value in almost any kind of reading (I often recommend to parents to allow children read appropriate magazine and newspaper articles), however I wanted something more than just a passage to 'keep the class busy'. I wanted a clear focus on what they would learn from each specific piece. I hoped to find a set of comprehensions that would include questions encompassing each of the important aspects of...

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...