STEM Projects for wet days!

Well its another glorious morning here. Glorious, that is, for ducks and such but not for the rest of us. Cabin fever is setting in already and its only 10am!

I think that today would be the perfect day for some STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths) activities, don’t you? (Science Technology Engineering Maths). The following activities involve supplies that are cheap and readily available.  They are great fun and guaranteed to give those brain cells a workout !

Homemade Play-dough

This is always a great hit with my kiddos at school. It’s cheap and easy to make too.

150 g (6 oz) plain white flour
– 300 ml (1/2 pint) hot water with a few drops of food dye
– 75 g (3 oz) salt
– 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
– 2 tsp cream of tartar (Found in the baking section alongside baking powder. Cheap and last forever)

Put all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

Pour in the hot water/food colouring.

Stir until the mixture thickens and becomes a ball of dough. ( I pour in the hot water and stir it a few time until it cools a little and then pass it over to the kids to do the rest ;) )

Remove the dough and roll/kneed/squish/smush until it is smooth and ready to play with.

Scrape out the dough, allow it to cool a little, and knead it until all ingredients are evenly distributed and you’re left with a smooth ball of dough.

If the dough is a little hard add a tiny drop of water until the desired consistency is achieved.

If the dough is too sticky add a little more flour.

Now that you have your play-dough why not use it to encourage some STEM

Make 3-d geometric shapes with play-dough and cocktail sticks/bamboo skewers (cut the sharp ends off for smaller kids)

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Click here for a link

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Click here for a link

Play-dough fun with straws and cocktails sticks:

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Click here for a link

Make a play-dough boat:

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Click here for a link

These STEM activities should keep your little ones entertained and challenged over the next few hours.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh :)

Teacher “must have manuals” for the next school year.

I thought it timely to sit down and blog about some of my favourite resources. Some are old favourites that have been indispensable over the years. Some are new finds that I wanted to share. So, without further adieu here we go!…

  1. Prim-Ed New Wave Pre-writing patterns  (ISBN 9781846546365). Click here for a link. Finally, a stand alone pre-writing workbook. I am so tried of Junior Infant writing workbooks that have a few token pre-writing pages. Pre-writing skills should not be rushed! Well done to Prim-Ed for producing this fine publication.Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 16.51.32 Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 16.51.16 Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 16.51.02 Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 16.51.43
  2. Prim-EdListening Comprehension Lower  (ISBN 9781864000382). Click here for a link. This has been a favourite of mine for years and years. Its suitable for Junior-1st. I’ve even used it “as gaeilige” with older kids. A real must have in my opinion.

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3. Jolly Music: The Music Handbook: Beginners.  Click here to learn more about Jolly Music.  I would highly recommend the Jolly music Course on offer with CPD Colleges. It is fully accredited and approved for EPV Days. I learned an amazing amount from it. It is the most enjoyable summer course that I have taken. Click here to learn more about the CPD course. My class are literally jumping for joy these days when I ask them if they want to do some music! They absolutely love the programme and are learning so much about musical literacy. It is just incredible. I wouldn’t be without this book! Here is a short clip showing how the programme works:

4. Developing Fundamental Movement Skills by Sport New Zealand. This back to basics PE programme is fantastic! This is my second year using it. It matches really nicely with Irish curricular objectives :). Did I also mention that its a free download?!!!! Seriously, you need to nab this one! Click here for a link to Developing Fundamental Movement Skills. It covers most objectives as laid down the Gymnastics, Dance, Athletics and Games strands of the P.E Curriculum. Here is a list of what is covered by the programme.

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I hope that you found this blog post useful. I am always curious about the resources used by other teachers!

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh :)

Pocket It template for Combining and Partitioning Number

I posted some photos during the week of my Pocket It template on my Facebook Page. Please hop on over and give me a “like” if you haven’t already done so. I often post photos of what is happening in my classroom on this page. It’s a great way to see what I am up to on an almost daily basis.

Here are some of those photos:

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I use my Pocket It template for Combining/Composing and Partitioning/Decomposing number. Apologies for the duplication of maths terms in the previous sentence. I am conscious that  different terms are used in different parts of the world. Here in Ireland we use the terms Composing and Decomposing. It seems that the U.S and Australia use the tees Combining and Partitioning. I thought I would use both terms as I like to be inclusive :)!

My photos generated some requests for the Pocket It template. It seems that when I originally created it I inadvertently forgot to save the copyright information for the clipart :(. I searched my computer and the internet, but alas they exact images eluded me…

I hate to disappoint so I created a new version of Pocket It, complete with copyright information. So… Here it is…

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I hope that you will love this version too! Click here to download Pocket It.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh :)

Dolch Word Cut-out sheets

I am a HUGE advocate of teaching emerging readers Dolch Words. As you all know, I am a massive advocate of phonics, but only as part of balanced approach to literacy instruction. Sure, kids need to learn the “code” behind our language so that they can “sound out” unfamiliar words. We also want to develop fluent readers, however, and not the have him/her sound out every word on the page. To do this we need to build up a “Lexicon” or library of words that children instantly recognise and read. Sight words account for a large percentage (up to 75%) of the words used in beginning children’s print materials.
Dolch words offer serious bang for your buck in this regard. There are 220 words in the carefully graded list. (adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, pronouns, and verbs) along with a supplementary list of 95 simple nouns. Ideally, all young readers should learn these words by sight.
I teach the Pre-Primer level to my Junior Infant pupils. We are making pretty good progress if I do say so myself :) I create the following format of worksheet for the first 16 words:

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I am sure that  some of you might find these Dolch Word Cut-out sheets useful with your class or indeed your own child. Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. Would you like to see more of these Dolch Word Cut-out sheets for the remaining Pre-Primer words? Would some of you prefer Comic Sans as a font? We teach pre-cursive so these worksheets are perfect for my kiddos. Anyway, let me know your thoughts.

Please click here to dolch word cut out worksheets of Dolch Word Cut-out sheets. Apologies for the typo in the earlier version.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh :)

More Easter Egg Hunt Printables

Last year I used a different format for our Easter Egg Hunt and it worked WAY, WAY, WAY better. For obvious reasons we will be using the same format this year. Intrigued…? Well then read on!

We held our Easter Egg Hunt inside the school building as we were effectively a building site on the outside. Hiding treats amid the rubble and diggers didn’t seem like such a great idea. As a Green School, we didn’t particularly like having to wrap each treat in a plastic bag before hiding it in the garden. We did so for hygiene reasons but wrestled with the waste that it generated. Finally we had children with dietary needs/allergies that could not eat chocolate. We did not want them finding and munching on eggs. So here was my super-duper plan!

I created blank name tags. I created 2 tags per child. The Students’ Council stuck these tags all around the school. Some were under benches, others on the floor, others still on skirting boards… You get the general idea. Tags were low and accessible to our kiddos. Each child needed to find the 2 tags with his/her name on it. Once found, they cashed them in for treats. This allowed us to ensure that those with dietary needs only got what they could eat. The Easter Egg Hunt also took a lot longer and seemed to be much more enjoyable. The treats we provided were: Easter Themed Rice Krispie Buns, these had jelly beans on top and  easter themed chocolate lollipops. I almost forgot, we gave out ‘Bunny Tail” marshmallows to buzz them up before they started their hunt.

Please click here for your own Easter Egg Hunt Printable name-tags.

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Don’t forget to download and print my free Easter Egg Hunt Printables too.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh :)

Easter Themed Maths Journal Prompts

I really like using seasonal themes and real-life experiences to bring maths to life. Here are some free  Easter Maths Journal Prompts that you can use this week.

You can see that the first two require more a little more thought and logical processing. I don’t expect all of my kiddos to fly through these ones. I like to use mind benders to challenge children to problem solve using know information to deduce the unknown. These would be great for Senior Infants too!

The final two prompts relate to the topic of Weight. We are exploring that in class at the moment so the prompt is perfectly timed for us.

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I hope that your class/child enjoys these Maths challenges. I can’t wait to start using these Easter Themed Maths Journal Prompts with my class tomorrow. We have already glued in the Easter Bunny prompt so we will hit the ground running tomorrow!

Click here to download my Easter Themed Maths Journal Prompts

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh :)