Every month we display the top 5 keywords that you searched for on Mash.ie. Here they are in order:
- Summer (146 searches – 118 results)
- Report Comments (132 / 7)
- Caitheamh Aimsire (108 / 68)
- Siopadoireacht (87 / 44)
- ASD (57 / 107)
Every month we display the top 5 keywords that you searched for on Mash.ie. Here they are in order:
Our final guest blogger of the year is Múinteoir Grace. In this article she talks about thematic teaching.
My name is Grace and you may know me as Múinteoir Grace from my Mash.ie store https://mash.ie/store/gracewithloveresources/
Today I wish to share my love for animals and appreciation for thematic teaching in education with you readers. Thematic instruction is an educational methodology whereby a teacher plans their lessons centred around a common concept/ topic. Examples of themes suitable for primary school children include myself and my family, school, sports, food, animals, toys etc. The Irish Primary Curriculum strongly advocates an integrative approach to learning especially to reinforce learning for younger children.
Oral language, reading, writing and vocabulary development are essential skills for life-long learning. By teaching thematically great opportunities are created for children to reinforce, repurpose and recycle the new words they learn. Thematic lessons that are taught in a fun and engaging manner will stimulate the children’s curiosity and passion for learning.
Positive Classroom Atmosphere
Thematic instruction facilitates fun learning experiences for children such as the use of technology, collaborative learning and play-based education. This contributes to increased student morale and a classroom culture with children who are active agents in their own learning. Teaching and learning are never dull due to variety, which of course is the spice of life.
Animal Themed Unit
There is an Animal Themed Unit available in my Mash store that will save teachers hours of planning. The content involved was taught to first class but is easily manipulated to suit older and younger children. The unit is ready to go with a weekly scheme for English covering oral language, reading, spellings, free writing and handwriting. It also includes a weekly Gaeilge Bia scheme, a Visual Art Lesson on Constructing Spiders, a Geography Lesson on the Zoo, an SPHE Lesson on Taking Care of Pets, a Science Lesson on Animals and Hibernation, a Drama Lesson on Three Little Pigs, a Music Lesson on Carnival of the Animals and a PE lesson covering animal themed games. Each plan contains clear objectives, an introduction, development, conclusion, plus differentiation and assessment strategies. The unit was commented on as excellent by an Inspector.
Love for Animals
Animals are a huge passion of mine and I have used this fun theme with many classes during my teaching career to date. This topic has always went down a storm with children of all ages as they tend to form a real emotional connection with animals and therefore are highly engaged in the stories and learning activities. Younger children love The Very Hungry Caterpillar Story and my Owl Babies English Lesson Pack whilst older classes adore The Boy Who Cried Wolf Oral Language lesson.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed my teaching tips and will find my resources useful, creative and rewarding.
You could win a copy of Lizzie and the Birds worth €100 by simply entering your email address at the bottom of this review. The competition is for a 10-pack of readers and a Teacher’s Guide. A big thanks to Joanna for reviewing this series for Mash.ie. A random entry will be selected on 26th May 2019.
Lizzie and the Birds is a really well-thought out literacy programme which ticks all the boxes of the new Primary Language Curriculum. This programme is clearly written by teachers for teachers. It lends itself to plentiful opportunities for cross-curricular lesson integration while developing the key literacy skills in an integrated and meaningful manner.
The scheme is based around a little girl called Lizzie who has moved to a new house with her Dad. Lizzie befriends a diverse flock of birds and the story lures us into their adventures together. The explosion of colour in the illustrations along with the variety of characters in the birds, draw the children into Lizzie’s world and kept them engaged throughout the story.
The scheme is organised into a teachers book and a pupil book. The pupil book is a high quality picture book while the teachers manual is laid out into eighteen lesson plans. Each lesson plan ties into a double page spread matching the pupils book. Each spread visually details Lizzie’s thoughts and escapades through pictures and text. Each lesson plan provides ideas and scaffolds to provide children with ‘low floor and high ceiling’ activities encompassing all of the strands and elements of the PLC. For example, one lesson plan covers elements from the Oral Language (e.g.oral descriptions), Reading (e.g. predictions, questioning) and Writing(e.g. adjectives, sentence structure) strands.
The children in my class thoroughly enjoyed the adventure of Lizzie and her new friends. In oral language development, the playful use of figurative language and the rich level of vocabulary really provided very meaningful and plentiful vocabulary lessons in our room over the last number of weeks. With regard to reading, we consolidated the skills we have been building upon from the Building Bridges programme.In Writers Workshop, we based a number of lessons around the descriptive language and use of adjectives, along with focusing on direct and indirect speech. Overall, my class and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Lizzie and her birds.
The scheme itself is a beautiful resource to work with and fits well with the requirements of the PLC. I will use the programme again as I feel it is easily adaptable to any of the middle class groupings i.e. 1st – 3rd Class.
You can buy Lizzie and Birds from Prim-Ed by clicking here.
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 if you have the supplies at hand, they’ll soon learn that you’re not going to allow any time to be wasted in that way!
Paperwork: IEPs are often the first thing we think about when in SEN – nowadays they’re commonly referred to as School Support Plans. IEPs/School Support Plans are often overwhelming when you’re expected to make several of them at the start of the school year, especially when you’re new to SEN, you just don’t know where to start. It is not uncommon to be expected to devise an IEP for a child you’ve only taken a few times and don’t really know yet. Often, there are numerous targets you would like the child to meet, but you must limit them to about five targets, keeping them short and realistic. Remember that parents read and sign the IEPs so make sure the targets are simple enough for someone who doesn’t work in education to understand – this is a great opportunity to talk to parents about the things they can do at home to help their child achieve their targets. There are plenty of sample IEPs on my page to give you some ideas. I even have an IEP template on my page with advice and recommendations to guide you through the IEP writing process.
IEP template with recommendations: https://mash.ie/product/iep-template-with-recommendations-examples/
Pack of sample IEPs: https://mash.ie/product/pack-of-sample-ieps/
Non-academic groups: Speaking to other teachers in SEN, I found that this was a common area that teachers struggled with. There’s no set curriculum to follow for areas like social skills like there is for literacy and maths and of course, every child has a different reason for being in a social skills group. Before we get into the “heavier” side to social skills (e.g. emotions/feelings etc.) we need to get to know the children to build a trusting relationship within the group; through board games, general conversation about themselves using simple ‘getting to know you’ games etc. which are available on my page:
‘Finish the sentence’ cards to help children develop self-awareness and generate talk about emotions/feelings: https://mash.ie/product/sphe-social-skills-finish-the-sentences/
Getting to know you cards with easy to answer questions about themselves: https://mash.ie/product/social-skills-sphe-getting-to-know-you-questions/
I also have a yearly plan for social skills which may be useful in helping with your planning or to just give you ideas on what to do: https://mash.ie/product/social-skills-plans-covering-8-months/
I have also put together the most important things you’ll need for SEN in one huge pack which you may find useful: https://mash.ie/product/sen-pack/
Being in support is rewarding in its own way and the variety in terms of class ranges will keep you on your toes. There is a lot of unfamiliar paperwork and organisation involved with SEN but you learn these things along the way. I honestly believe that being in support will make you a better teacher, heightening your awareness of all the needs in your class when you’re back in the classroom.
Thanks for reading this article and use code SEN20 for 20% off all products on my page!
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 with you all.
The first thing I do to promote positive behaviour in the classroom, is observe the children while they play and work in the morning for the first half an hour. That way, I can identify what type of support is needed. Obviously, as teachers, we would like to use just social praise, but sometimes this just isn’t enough.
I like to use group reward systems, rewarding quiet work, helpful partners, tables that follow directions, and the groups who put up their hands to ask for a question. At the end of the week then, the group with the most points gets some kind of rewards; getting to pick their toy for playtime, a jelly, or something that interests the children. I find these work well to keep the groups on track, and encourage all children to try their best.
However, there is always at least one child who finds these group rules difficult, and so, the children who are trying their best often don’t get rewarded. That is why I think it is extremely important to also have some individual rewards in place. I pick a ‘wonderful writer’ each day, who has tried hard with their work and their writing, and I write their name up on the sign I have on the board. These resources are available on my Mash.ie store now!
They love their name being written on the wonderful writer sign, and take great pride in their work. The rest of the class try hard to get their name on the board the next day too.
With the junior classes, I find that rewarding a ‘star walker’ when the children are walking in their line around the school, really helps to keep the children focused and quiet. I pick the ‘star walker’ when we get back to class. They get their name on the ‘star walker’ poster, and also get a sticker.
I always try to reinforce the positive behaviour I see in my classroom, and tend to ignore (as long as it is safe to do so) the not so positive behaviour. This way, the children know what is expected of them, and try their best to get praise, their name on a poster, or a sticker throughout the week.
Resource Available: https://mash.ie/product/promoting-positive-behaviour/
Coupon code: PositiveBehaviour for 50% off