Handwriting Awards Certificate with Prim-Ed Merit Stickers

Calling all teachers who love to give out award certificates but are broke from buying them or printing them with coloured ink!!

 I have created some cute Handwriting Award Certificates in the past and printed them onto coloured paper or card. They just never seem as appealing to me. They look a little cheap or something. I almost died when I saw these:



For 2.95 Euro you get 96 stickers. That’s a whole lot of awards people and at an absolute bargain basement price. Click here for a link.

Who knew that Prim-Ed sold stickers?! Was I living under a rock? Did you know? Break it to me gently if you did 😉 Incase you are only hearing about it now here is a link to their stickers page. Worth checking out. Click here for a link.

Anyway,  these stickers inspired me  to create a new certificate for Handwriting. I think that the merit sticker is just perfect. It makes the award look far more “formal” and “special”.  Just the look I was going for. Click here to download your free Handwriting Award.

Image 1 Image 2


I will use these merit stickers for other forms of  “extra specialness” in workbooks, reading logs, attendance awards etc. Did you notice the “Good Sport” award? Perfect for  Sport’s Day or when a child shows good sportsmanly traits in P.E or in the yard.

I know that this award template can be used without the sticker but I think that 2.95 worth it for the effect. I don’t think that the photos do the stickers justice. The certificates really look like they  have teacher’s seal of approval.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂


p.s the cute page border is from http://www.mycutegraphics.com


The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear

It’s that time of year again… Strawberry time!! I had a whole punnet to myself on my journey home. Never mind, they were 2 for 5Euro so I still had one to share with Ed. I won’t tell him if you won’t 😉 Speaking of strawberries, here is a brilliant, brilliant story: The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear   51QPZ986TFL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX385_SY500_CR,0,0,385,500_SH20_OU02_   The illustrations are just superb. The facial expression on the mouse conveys such emotion, don’t they? He is starting to look a little worried. LOL! 22072b little mouse4-thumb-400x257-44229 For those of you who don’t know, I come from the home of Irish strawberries, Wexford. We are renowned  for our strawberries and are very, very proud of that. I am so blessed to be able to purchase amazing strawberries at the exit of my school. It’s so hard to drive past them and not purchase a punnet or two. County_Wexford As a strawberry lover a book about a big, red, ripe strawberry is to hard to resist ! I can completely make a “text-to-self connection” with this book. How far would you go to hide the red ripe strawberry from a big hungry bear?! Pretty far I think…Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 08.34.44 Hmmm. Looks like I can make another “text-to -self connection”. I would completely give in and eat it. No bear is going to put me off eating a red, ripe strawberry. IMG_3817   Click here to purchase the book. Strawberries must be purchased separately and from a roadside seller! Here are some fun facts  to accompany your reading of The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear . Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 08.39.12

Click here for a link

I never knew that strawberries were a member of the rose family? I also adore roses! Incredible! I am fighting a battle with aphids at the moment who seem to love my roses as much as I do!!!

Calling all teachers:

If you don’t have it then you really should! I just love it! I attended a professional development workshop last year on storytelling and the whole workshop was based on this book. As you can see Book Depository have The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear in a large format book also, which is what I purchased. Click here to purchase  Do you have a favourite summer read? Please leave a comment and share with the rest of us if you do!   Have fun, Miss Mernagh 🙂

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch

With that blast of sunshine last week we were starting to get into Summer mode. Should have known that it wouldn’t last! Still, we can escape from all dreariness with the help of a good book. Speaking of good books, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch, is a great read!

Every day, Mr Grinling, the lighthouse keeper cleans and polishes his light to make sure it shines brightly at night. At lunchtime he tucks into a delicious and well-deserved lunch, prepared by his wife. But Mr Grinling isn’t the only one who enjoys the tasty food. Will Mrs Grinling think of a way to stop the greedy seagulls from stealing the lighthouse keeper’s lunch? Click here to purchase


I have created a free “The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch” Book Report for you all to use!


Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 16.45.08Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 16.45.15Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 16.45.23Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 16.45.31

Click here to download The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch Book Report

Here are a few snapshots of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch Book Reports that my class have been working on.

WARNING: Seriously Cute!!!

Image 3 Image Image 1 Image 2

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch is a wonderful story. If you happen to be visiting the library this week I would highly recommend it.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

You, Me and the Big Blue Sea

You, Me and the Big Blue Sea is a beautifully illustrated Irish publication. Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick takes us back in time to the 19th Century in this adventure filled voyage on The Colander.

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 15.37.12

We see a mother sharing some photos with her son:

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 15.37.22

On each two page spread, she remembers things they did, saw, and heard, followed by “But you were only a baby. You wouldn’t remember.” Keen and careful observation of the illustration reveals that Baby see more than his Mom or Aunt Alice sees! He sees he young stowaway in a lifeboat, a man falling overboard, a man falling from the ship’s mast, the Captain asleep at the wheel,  the whale outside the cabin porthole, and even the eventual fate of the Colander.

You, Me and the Big Blue Sea is a perfect book to explore Building Bridges Comprehension Strategies. We have explored predicting, inferring, visualising and making connections. My class just loved it! We also:

  • added sound effects
  • explored “thought tracking” and inferred what the Baby and other characters might say
  • made Text-to-Self Connections: some us have taken the ferry from Rosslare
  • made Text-t0-Text Connections: we read another book about the sea called Platypus
  • made Text-to-World Connections: the ship in the story reminded some of us of Dunbrody Ship, New Ross

You, Me and the Big Blue Sea is also a wonderful portrayal of 19th Century life and fashion. I really wanted to explore this aspect of the book with my class but felt that the images were too small. I could hardly believe my luck when I stumbled on Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick’s own website. It contains a number of illustrations from the book. I used these images to create a very basic PowerPoint Presentation that I intend to use as part of a History Lesson next week. These larger illustrations will be perfect for this! Click here to download.

I have also created this fun Reader Response sheet that encourages children to look very carefully at the illustrations and to consider the story from the perspective of the Baby rather than Mom or Aunt Alice.

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 16.17.18

Click here to download

I hope that you like “You, Me and the Big Blue Sea” as much as my class and I do!

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

p.s Clipart is from mycutegraphics.com

Monthly Maths: Sequencing and Ordinal Language

I am getting in nice and early with my Monthly Maths Topics and freebie! “High 5ing” myself for my efficiency 😉

You may have worked out that I have been teaching “Time” as a my maths topic for the last while. I have already blogged about Literacy tie-ins and created a Seasonal Poster freebie for you all.

Here are the curricular objective for Junior and Senior Infants that relate to sequencing and ordinal language:


Strand: Measures  Unit: Time

  • sequence daily events or stages in a story

Strand: Number  Unit: Comparing and Ordering

  • use the language of ordinal number: first, last
  • use the language of ordinal number: first, second, third, last


Stand: Story Unit: Stories

  • display storyline pictures showing episodes in sequence
  • discuss the chronology of events (beginning, middle, end) in a story

One a side note, I actually cover “first, next, last” and “1st, 2nd and 3rd” with my Junior Infants. I don’t know of any 2 step sequencing resources. Everything I have purchased starts sat 3 step instructions and works up from there. We are teaching them to count to 1o and add to 5 so it really isn’t too hard!

This week I have been exploring sequencing and the language associated with it. I am pleased that my kiddos are doing so very well at it. I have a commercially purchased set of images called Sequence Rummy that gets used year after year. We sequence 2 step images using my pocket chart rather than playing it as a card game. Where would I be without my pockets charts, LOL!  I purchased Sequence Rummy years ago and still love it. Here is a link. I have no idea where I purchased it from. If anyone knows where Trend Enterprise products can be purchased in Ireland please leave a comment below. I would  love to source more of their products!

T24011LRGI also find this  sequencing book indispensable. I  love that it covers 3-scene, 4-scene, 6-scene and 8-scene sets of images. I have used the same book with Junior Infants and Senior Infants. It gives me the option of differentiating and giving children harder or easier sequencing activities depending on their ability levels. Again, I have had it for years and am not sure where I purchased it from. My name is taped to the from on what appears to be masking tape. I am guessing that I might have purchased it from a Rep visiting the school. Here is a link if you want to find out more information about it. Here is a link that shows you the entire Make and Take Sequencing Fun book.http://carsondellosa.secure.miisolutions.net/media/iwb/IHDPPlayerContent/804007/index.html#?page=60


I have created the following headings for use in my pocket chart and decided to share them with you. I have covered the following language:

  • first, next, last
  • an extra page of “last” headings for those of you doing more than 3-step sequencing
  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd
  • first, second, third

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 17.34.11 Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 17.34.21

Click here to download

I kept the colouring of the headings consistent in the event that you wanted to use the written words and the numerical representations in one lesson. If any of you need 5th to 10th as a resource for 1st class please let me know and I can make them. I don’t actually need them so I did’t create them.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Monthly Maths: Time and Seasons

I am exploring the topic of “Time” with my class at the moment. It is such a fun topic. We are really enjoying our sequencing activities. 🙂

Here are the objectives that we will cover during the year:

  • develop an understanding of the concept of time through the use of appropriate vocabulary
  • sequence daily events or stages in a story
  • read time in one-hour intervals (Senior Infants)

Obviously, some aspects of time must be taught and reinforced on a daily basis over a long period e.g the days of the week, the months of the year, seasons…

I have a cute pocket chart and flashcards that we use on a daily basis to document “today” and “tomorrow”. I have recently made the jump to including “yesterday”. I like my pupils to be very confident with the sequence of the days of the week before we start going backwards. If you do it too early I swear that the two hemispheres of their brains do a loop the loop!


Knowing what “season” it is seems to be a bit tricker. Possibly because I am not the best at remembering to stress it. My fault entirely. I am on a mission to change this (with only a few days left in Spring ;)). I thought that I would share my new Season posters with you. I think that they are pretty cute. Cute season posters are  just what I need to keep me on track!

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 19.43.38

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 19.44.43Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 19.45.39Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 19.45.46
Click here to download my free season posters.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Monthly Maths: It’s all about time

I mentioned before that I am trying to purchase books this year that have a “maths” component to them.  As I will be teaching a unit on Time when we return to school after Easter I have been exploring some possible literature tie-ins.

Here are those that I already own and use:

Jasper’s Beanstalk is a fantastic book. It integrated the days of the week and the process of growing a plant from seed. It’s good for literacy, maths and SESE. This book will sure work hard in your classroom/home!

It costs €6.89 from book depository.com. Click here for a link.

Click here to visit my previous blog post on Jasper’s Beanstalk

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 18.52.03

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is an absolute classic. I am sure most if not all of you own this beauty!

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 10.40.57

Click here to purchase

Here is a free sheet that includes all of the images that you need to re-tell or sequence The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Enlarge it to A3 and you really have something to work with.

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 10.41.49

Click here for a link

These are on my wish list 😉

Cookie’s Week by Cindy Ward and Tomie dePoala is a sweet story about a cat, Cookie, who gets up to antics every day of the week!

“On Monday, Cookie (the cat) fell in the toilet.” So what happens? Follow the Cookie’s escapades throughout the whole week to find out!

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 10.44.20

It costs €4.19. Click here to purchase.

Here is another Eric Carle classic. I can’t believe that I don’t already own it! It would make a fantastic book for Teaching Practice. I even discovered a song to accompany it!

“String beans, spaghetti, ZOOOOP, roast beef, fresh fish, chicken and ice cream are the delicious fare during the week in this popular children’s song. Until Sunday. Then, all the world’s children are invited to come together and share in the meal”

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 10.49.26

Here is a little video so that you can hear the “Today is Monday”. I have to admit that I didn’t know there was such a thing! Am I losing touch?! Did you know about it?

Here are the actions:

If you want to purchase the song in iTunes here is the link

It’sAbout Time is from the MathStart series of books. I absolutely want all of the MathsStart Level 1 books for my classroom. They look amazing and are really well prices.

‘It’s About Time. . .. . . to wake up.. . . to learn, to play, to read.. . . to cuddle up in the blankets and to dream.A twenty-four — hour day is full of great things to do!’


Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 11.00.50

It’s About Time costs€4.47. Click here for a link

Can you recommend any other books or resources? Please leave a comment if you do!

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh.

Substitute teacher essentials!!!

I am so excited to have Aishlín Brown as a Guest Blogger this week. She is the most “AMAZING” teacher. While I hate to be sick I can rest easy if I know that Aishlín is at the helm. She is 1 in a million. I know that she is just dying for a class of her very own. Principals out there take note!! I’d hire her in a heartbeat!!


Anyway, it’s over to Aishlín:

As a substitute teacher, I never know what school I will work in next, what class I will be teaching or what material I will be covering. Often, this is a really positive aspect of being a “sub”; your days are always different, exciting and challenging! At the same time, it can be difficult to teach amazing lessons in an unfamiliar classroom with no preparation time.

To help me with this, I have a few things that I always bring with me when I am subbing.

My bag

The foundation of my “kit” is a large and sturdy bag with lots of pockets. Mine is also unintentionally waterproof which has been useful this winter! In my bag I keep the things that I have found that I need on a regular basis. I will always have packets of reward stickers, my whistle, some post-its, tissues, hand sanitizer, a selection of children’s books, a book of quiz questions, some DVDs of Tom and Jerry for wet lunchtimes, a packet of Happy Birthday balloons, plain A4 paper and lots of children’s colouring pages.

Image 7

My bag is from Tesco, they run a special on them every August/September for the back to school season!

If it is my first time meeting a junior class, I will also have my “treat bag”. This is a colourful bag that I fill with nice things from the “Euro shops” like pens, rubbers, bubbles, “slinkies”, whistles, stampers etc. When I meet a new class I always give out name labels. Children form the junior classes can pick something from my treat bag at the end of the day, as long as they have behaved well AND they still have their name label on them. This works really well as it gives you a good chance to actually learn the children’s names!

My folder

I always bring a large binder folder with me when subbing. In this folder, I keep photocopies of the paperwork that substitutes need to bring and sheets of printed name labels (for me and the children!).

Image 6

Often, I sub for teachers who were not expecting to be absent so they have not left any plans for me to follow. I really like this as it allows for a little more creativity for me!

I have sections in my folder with lots of lesson ideas that require few or no resources. I divide these lessons into two categories (Junior Infants to Second class and Third class to Sixth class) so that I can always find something suitable. I have other sections dedicated to Art, PE and Drama that are full of activities that are adaptable for different classes. My favourite subject to teach is art, so I update this section all the time with seasonal projects.

My USB stick

This is by far the most useful thing that I carry with me. I have a huge 32GB USB stick that I keep all my interactive whiteboard presentations on. Every time that I prepare something for a class, it goes on my memory stick so that I can use it again. I file everything by subject so I can find things straight away. One of my favourites is a presentation of riddles and maths puzzles that the older classes love.

I make my presentations using Activinspire software or PowerPoint. For a substitute teacher, I would recommend using PowerPoint because lots of schools do not use Activinspire and you will not be able to open your presentations!

My stamp

My stamp is one of my newer purchases and it was inspired by Miss Mernagh who also has a similar one. It is a pre-inked stamp that says “Miss Brown says well done!” Younger classes (and sometimes older ones too!) become incredibly motivated to do great work when they know they could get “Miss Brown’s special stamp” on their work. It has definitely become a prized possession!

Image 1

I ordered mine from https://www.thestickerfactory.co.uk/ and I delighted with their service and the quality of the product. I think my next purchase will be a date stamp which would be so handy for corrections!

My timer

It can be hard for some children to have a different teacher in their classroom, especially for the younger classes. Sometimes a child will have to take a break from an activity for a few minutes. When this happens, I like to use my “ink timer”. This is similar to an egg timer but it is filled with ink drops or “goo”. The child can turn this over and watch the ink/goo drizzle down into the lower chamber. This is very relaxing to watch and always calms the child down. The timer finishes after about five minutes and the child will be ready to return to their task. This is a wonderful resource that has never failed me!

I bought my first one on Ebay (search ooze timer or liquid timer) but Amazon also sell them. I found my ink timer by chance in The Art and Hobby Shop in The Jervis Centre in Dublin.

Image 5

My music player

My last item that I want to mention is my Veho music player. It is a portable speaker that is about the size and weight of a large potato. I received this for Christmas a few years ago and I love it. It plays music from a micro SD card and it has really clear and loud sound: I have never turned the volume up fully on it!

I use it all the time whenever I need some music e.g. PE, art, drama, music, SPHE, the list goes on!  It can also be connected to a laptop for those times when the interactive whiteboard speakers just will not work.

Image 3

Ebay have a great selection of Veho portable speakers that are not very expensive. “Groupon” also often run promotions where they sell them at discounted prices.

When subbing I feel that preparation is key, but it is also really important to be able to adapt and improvise to handle any situation. These items really help me to do that.

I would love to hear some more ideas of resources for substitutes, if you have any nice ideas please leave them in the comments below!

Thank you so much for reading,




Free St. Patrick’s Day Headband printables!!!

I just love this St. Patrick’s Day hat, don’t you? I updated my tried and tested one with some new DJ Inkers Clip art and it is now even cuter than ever! Kids get such a blast out of  having a rainbow over their head. We always wear them to Assembly to celebrate Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish Week) and sing a little song. It really is the most adorable sight that you have ever seen!

hatI have included all the necessary clip art in my download: shamrocks, rainbow, Leprechauns and a pot of gold. It’s kinda hard to see, but there is the obligatory “pot of gold” at the other side of the rainbow. Click here to download!

st-paddys-day-hat fullscreen-capture-10032011-201057-bmpfullscreen-capture-10032011-201129-bmpClipart by DJInkers

Print my download onto an A4 sheet of white card (Card is essential for your rainbow to remain upright).

A sheet of A3 coloured card, glue, scissors, a stapler, a ruler,  crayons and creativity are the only other things you need.

1. Measure out the strips for your headband.


2. Cut out the strips.


3. Staple the two strips together to make one long strip.

headband4. “Wrap” it around your child’s head to get the circumference right.

5. Have your budding artist colour in all the necessary clip art and glue them to the band. I find stapling the rainbow works better than glue or tape.

That’s it, guys. I hope that you have lots of fun making and wearing my design.

*Beannachtaí na Feile Pádraig daoibh!

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Happy St. Patrick’s Day is pronounced:  bann/ockt/tee nih fail/eh pawd/rig dee/iv

Maths Lesson for Who Sank the boat?

Who Sank the Boat? is just a fantastic resource for maths and science lessons! It is a no brainer for integrating “prediction” as a comprehension strategy. We follow Building Bridges of Understanding and have termly strategies to teach and revise.


I integrated “predicting” and Data Handling for this fun opening activity to Who Sank the Boat? In Junior Infants we are asked to:

  • represent and interpret a set of simple mathematical data using real objects, models and pictures
  • sort and classify sets of objects by one criterion
  • match sets, equal and unequal

Firstly, I displayed the prediction chart below:

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 19.37.03

Secondly, I asked my pupils to “predict” who might sink the boat. They then completed the following sheet. Because my kiddos are still learning to write I had labels for them to choose from and glue on the line.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 19.36.53

Click here to download Prediction Sheets.

Finally, we recorded our predictions and created a graph using Unifix cubes and larger images of the animals. Click here to download images.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 19.36.36

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Who Sank the Boat?

I am making it my mission of 2014 to source some great stories that will supplement maths/science learning.  This beauty recently arrived in the post and I was chomping at the bit to use it!


“Beside the sea, there once lived a cow, a donkey, a sheep, a pig, and a tiny little mouse. One warm, sunny morning–for no particular reason–they decided to go for a row in the bay.”Do you know who sank the boat?


I love the “open ended” way in which the story is presented. Click here to purchase!

Shame that I have already completed my Maths Unit on weight.  It would be a great way to combine weight with sinking & floating. I should jot that down for next year!!!

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Free Valentine Printable

As you have probably already worked out I tend to “theme” teach. Every story on our literacy scheme for February has a “love” theme to it.

On my suggestion  Aoife and I spent a lot of time way back in August searching our  book shelves for stories relating to lots and lots of themes. She assures me that she did not think me mad, but I am not sure! It was, however, time well spent. Our Literacy Scheme has been a huge success. Each week there is a different story that is ‘integrated’ into as many aspect of learning as possible.

I am not sure which one of us found this beauty, Love is a Handful of Honey. Could it be that it was languishing unnoticed in my room? Hardly!!!


Love is a Handful of Honey is a wonderful rhyming story where a young bear discovers that love can be found in everything you do — from the time you wake and jump from your bed, until the time you snuggle and hug and say good night. It is a very nice price at 4.80 Euro. Click here to purchase

With Valentine’s Day only around the corner I thought that you might like cute printable. It was created as  a Reader Response Sheet to “Love is is a Handful of Honey”. It would be a perfect “gift” for a parent as an alternative to a traditional Valentine Card.

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 21.39.59

Click here to download

Have a lovely week,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Maths Journal for Mental Maths

I have had a great response to my “Maths Journal” photos on my Facebook page and on Twitter. In response to lots of questions I have decided to write a blog post in it!

Maths Journals are a wonderful teaching and assessment resource to have in your classrooms. They cost almost nothing and do not take very much time at all. I have used them with both Junior and Senior Infants in the past. I am currently teaching Junior Infants and we have started journaling. I am a huge advocate of challenging children with mental maths and oral maths problems. I mean why else do we need to learn maths if not to use it in our everyday lives!

How to Maths Journal:

Each child needs:

  • blank copy, non-lined type, per child
  • optional Maths Journal cover
  • glue
  • mental maths challenges
  • a 5 minute timer

How do I start?:

From their very first maths class my class are exposed to problem solving and mental/oral maths challenges. It is just a normal part of our day. I “maths talk” and show children how a problem can be solved while illustrating it it on my whiteboard or with manipulatives. I ask for children to suggest and model how they would solve a problem. By the time we come to our “Maths Journal” enteries my class have already developed problem solving skills.

About 2 weeks before children are given their journals I begin to work more formal on recording their answers. I write a question on the board  and “maths talk” what I would do. Demonstrating how to illustrate and record my answer. I try to do this daily during that two week preparation period.

One their first day with their Maths Journal I explain my expectations and the practicality of where they glue the question and how long they have to answer the question. What are my expectations?

  1. That children try to complete these challenges in 5 minutes.
  2. That they focus on the maths rather than the colouring. Its about good maths thinking rather than beautiful drawings.
  3. That it is a maths challenge so they will probably have to write a number to show their answer. That they do not look at another child’s work and if they do to remember that there are often multiple ways of solving a problem so both of them can be correct even if they look different 😉
  4. That the task is completed without talking to their friends about it. It is their challenge to solve

I will sometimes read the question and sometimes not, depending on the age of the children and their literacy levels.  That is as much help as my pupils are given. I ensure that the prompts relate to an aspect of the curriculum that we are currently studying or have already studied. Therefore the challenge should not required modelling. That is the beauty of these journals, I can see thought processes, strenghts and weaknesses at a glance. To my mind they are worth their weight in gold! I used handout last year and regretted it. It is so much better to have a running record.

Here are the Maths Journal covers that I designed for this year:

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 19.06.28

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 19.06.21

Click here to download

Here is a photo of what they look like in real life:

maths journal cover ImageHere are some images of our very first journal entry. It was a revision page for the Number 3. I told my class that there was a “secret number” on their prompt. That number would tell them how many apples to draw. They had to draw that many apples, number them and colour them.
Image 1Image 3Then I set my 5 minute timer and wait to see how they would solve the problem. Click here for a link to the timer.
Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 19.07.28

That is pretty much it! I aim to complete a minimum of 2 entries per week. In an ideal world I would favour daily entries. With severe curriculum overload those 5 mins/day can be very, very elusive!!!

To encourage you to give it a whirl here is a Junior Infant, a Senior Infant and a 1st Class prompt 😉 Click here to download

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

My Top 5 Teacher Resources!

This post is especially for Aishlin who requested it forever ago. Sorry for the wait. I hope that it was worth it!

I think that this has been one of the toughest posts to write. I have sooooo many favourite things. All of the items shown are reasonably priced and are used frequently,  by this I mean daily or almost weekly, in my classroom. The would be a great starting for for any NQT.

  1. Jolly Phonics Word Book.  This is literally list after list of words sorted by group, initial consonant blends, final consonant blends, digraphs and tricky words. I would be completely lost without it. In fact, I am the proud owner of 2 copies just incase one went missing!!!  Sometimes it can be hard to think of 10 or 20 words that contain “oi” or “ai”. It’s great to be able to just open an book as see lots and lots of examples. It is an absolute bargain at 3Euro including postage! Click here to purchase your own copy of Jolly Phonics Word Book!phonic-word-bookjolly-phonics-word-book-inside-page-1
  2.  Pocket Charts!! I recently purchased this very one to add to my growing collection! It is sooooooo useful. I currently have HFW word flashcards in it. I can take them down to use them and just pop them back. So simple, no messing with blu-tac or thumb tacks. It is pretty light so I have been able to attach it to my noticeboard with just thumb tacks. My “other half” at work, Aoife, recently acquired one for her classroom too and loves it.  It’s great having a double stream because I have a buddy to plan with. So much more fun! Pocket Charts would be great in a “Sub tub” for those of you subbing.  You can just take it down when you are going home. I also use one for my Focus Wall. Click here to visit the page. Click here to purchase  your own pocket chart. It costs 18.93 including postage.
  3. 9781609962289I use this smaller one for my Classroom Management.  It is actually a Daily Schedule Pocket chart that I have re-purposed for my own use. Click here to purchase a Daily Schedule Pocket Chart. It costs 10.03 including postage. It is much, much smaller than it seems. I will take a photo of mine tomorrow and post it on my Facebook page. You will get a better sense of its scale and how I use it. It would be great for displaying the names of helpers and classroom jobs too. 9780545114981My positive behaviour programme is based on 3 different types of frogs: happy frog, uh-uh frog and sad frog. Children start the day on happy frog and stay there by making positive behaviour choices.I simple stuck the laminated frog onto the pocket chart with blu-tac. The name cards are laminated and are an absolute breeze to move up and down, if necessary, on this pocket chart. It is an absolute life saver!!
  4. Two Sided Counters and 5/10 Frames. Possibly the greatest find of 2013!!! How did I survive so long without them?!!!Two-sided counters come as a pack of 200 and cost 9.73 including postage. Click here to purchase . Anyone who has taught composing/decomposing of numbers a.k.a combining/partitioning to 30+ kids knows how “hellish” it is to have the right  quantity and colour of counters. You also spend way to much time talking about the colour of the cubes to use. Ring any bells? This becomes a greater focus than the actual combing and partitioning.                                                                
    Now we just count out  a defined number of counters eg 5  and flip them as necessary. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. And, oh yeah, the kids can actually do combining and partitioning without me dictating the colours to them.
    10345DDI like to Play “spill the beans when teaching combining and partitioning . Give each child an empty plastic cup. Place the desired number of counters inside,  shake and spill. Teacher: What way did you make 5?   Child 1:  2 yellow and 3 red. 2+3 makes 5. Child 2:  1 yellow and 4 red. 1 +4 makes 5  Child 3:  5 yellow and 0 red. 5 +0 makes 5.  I also use them on 5 frames/10 frames and for patterning. They fit perfectly on the 10 frames that I created. Click here for a free download. I will be uploading the Monster 5 Frame Board in the coming weeks too 🙂Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 18.11.57
  5. Listening Comprehension (Lower) by Prim-Ed. This was one of the 1st purchases I ever made as a teacher and I still use it 10 years on! Simply read the detailed instructions twice and then allow children time to respond on their worksheet. It is just a brilliant resource. When I taught Senior Infants I created a booklet per child and  completed one activity per day for the first week in school. It is a great way to reinforce and encourage good listening skills at the beginning of a school year. “Listen to your teacher when she speaks” is one of my class rules.  Listening is a ‘skill’ that young children need to be assisted in developing. This book is great for that. It also shows me who recognises their colours, understands ordinal language, positional language and can write their own name clearly. It’s a great beginning of the year assessment.Prim-Ed Listening Comprehension also has a few sheets that I saved for seasonally appropriate times of year: skeleton,  Snowman, Easter Bunny and Sandcastle.Prim-Ed Listening Comprehension (Lower) is 14.95 and can be used from Infants to 1st or 2nd class. Click here to purchase.Image 2
  6. Image 3Image 4Behaviour Punch Cards. I know that lots of people are using Classdojo but I am still happy with my regular ol’ punch cards 🙂 I have had so much hardship with school laptops in the past few years, not to mention the endless wait for replacement bulbs for interactive whiteboard!  What would happen to my classroom management if I couldn’t access the programme?!For this reason I prefer my classroom management to be based on cardboard and a puncher.I use the Behaviour Punch Cards along side “smiley’s” and “frowney’s” for a whole class programme. It sounds kinda complicated but I assure you it isn’t. Perhaps it could be another post?! Anyway, I always feel for the “good kids”, you know the one for are always doing their best and keeping the rules, what is the gain for them? Poor behaviour by other class members can mean that they miss out. What’s the advantage to being perpetually good when  it’s only the “chatty” kids gets a prize for not talking!!!If you remain on “Happy Frog” in my classroom you are entitled to get your card punched at the end of each school day. Once you earn 20 punches you get to choose one of the prizes listed on my Prize menu. This is additional to any Golden Time etc. earned by the class. This is an individual prize that each child earns for himself/herself.The great thing about it is “eventually” everyone reaches 20. Even the “chatty” kid.  The closer they get to 20 the more motivated they are to get their card punched.

Screen shot 2013-06-15 at 9.00.37 PM

All you need is coloured card, a Sharpie to write their names and a puncher. It’s a single hole puncher that you need to purchase and they are not very expensive. I found on online for 4euro. I think that I bought me in Tesco? Not expensive at any rate.


“Google” the  phrase ” free behavior punch car printables” to find lots of versions for download. Notice that I it is the American spelling of “behavior” rather than “behaviour” that I used. If you are having any difficulties send me an email. I have one saved but I don’t know the original source 🙂

I hope that you found my Top 5 Teacher Resources useful. The total cost of my top 5 Teacher resources is 60.63 Euro. I know that they are so much more valuable than that to me. There is not one of these items that I could last a week without, perhaps even a day! Regardless of whether you teach Junior Infants, Senior Infants or even 1st class all of these items will be useful and worthwhile purchases. They are also all very small and portable for those of you who are working as substitute teachers.

I feel another ” Top 5 Teacher Resources” will be blogged about very soon. Thanks to Aishlin for requesting this. Keep your requests and comments coming. What would make it into your Top 5? Leave a comment below or on my Facebook Page.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Oral Language Resources that I use and love

I have had some questions about the Oral Language Schemes that I use so I thought that I would put together a small post about it. I just love, love, love getting comments and questions from you all. It is great to be able to blog about things that you are interested in and have questions about so keep them coming!

Here are the 4  Oral Language resources that I use and love, especially the last two!!:

  • Chatterbox 1, EDCO
  • Now You’re Talking, CJ Fallons
  • Talking Tables Chatter Box Kids Trivia, Talking Tables
  • Prim-Ed Listening Comprehension (Lower)

Image 1

Here is a peak inside of “Now you’re talking” by CJ Fallon:

Image 2

It is very nicely laid out and very user friendly. The objectives are very clearly marked and there are lots of ideas in each section. The downside is that lots of the book refers to the Starways Characters and Posters from their old reading scheme. I still have most of the posters so it’s not too much of hassle to use. Still, it’s a great resources and I am happy to continue using it.

I think that most of you are familiar with Chatterbox. This is still available for purchase according to the EDCO Price list that I just opened online. Again, very user friendly with lots of lessons to choose from. It is better than “Now you’re talking” in the sense that it does not refer to any particular literacy scheme so no posters or books are needed to supplement it. It looks a little dull but the games and activities held inside are certainly of a good standard and cover all of the necessary objectives. It is available at a cost of 27.95 and is worth purchasing if you don’t already have it.

I find that Oral Language Schemes can be a little, well…boring at times. It often seems to me that the topics are “serious” and children need to have a “worthy” conversation on the assigned topic. Sure, the above mentioned schemes have some fun games but I have never witnessed children rolling around my room in hysterics or whooping for joy when I read out the topic card. That was until I found this beauty!!! I found Chatter Box Kids Talk  in Paperchase in Chiswick while on my Summer holidays two years ago. It was on a bottom shelf and I almost missed what turned out to be the bargain of the century!


Just look at how much it cost!!

Image 3

I loved using this when I had Senior Infants. We had so much fun chatting  and laughing about the topics. I love that they are a bit “zany” and unpredictable. I always make children give the reasons “why” the made their choice. I feel that ‘Think, Pair, Share” works very well as a methodology for these cards.  You close your eyes and think about your answer, you talk to your partner, then you share your partners response and not your own. I like that there is a responsibility on partner to listen carefully and report accurately. No half-hearted listening will apply here!

listening comprehension lower

Prim-Ed have an absolutely fantastic Listening Comprehension book for 14.95 that I use every year. Click here for a link. I forgot to take a photograph from my book so here is one from their website. Each child gets a copy of the Lion and then completes the verbal instructions given by you. There is a record sheet provided for you to keep score is necessary. This was one of my “go to” resources for the beginning of the year when I taught Senior Infants. We completed one a day for the month of September to promote good listening skills. It’s worth purchasing if you don’t already have it. I intend on using it during the final term with my Junior Infants.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 19.48.39

Is anyone using some other resources that they just love? Please leave a comment and let us all in on the secret 😉 Any one using the new Wonderland Oral Language Scheme? Curious to hear about it if you are!

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂