Halloween Themed Data Handling

Do you love teaching Data Handling? I just ADORE it!!! It is one of my absolute favourite maths topics to explore. It is so much fun and serious cute too!

I always block my data handling and tie it into  fun, seasonal themes. I did a graph a week for the month of October on a Halloween Theme. We created  Halloween themed graphs about spiders, ghosts and bats.

It’s so much easier to get children buzzed up about data handling when you explore it thematically 🙂 I also feel that children understand more fully the use of graphs and graphing when it is linked to something meaningful in their own lives.  Because I am mildly OCD on linking lessons I also  try to tie my Data Handling into the story that we were reading for the week e.g. Aaaaargh Spiders and a graph about spiders.

Here are the Representing and Interpreting Data Curriculum Objectives for Junior Infants, Senior Infants and First Class:

  • represent and interpret data in two rows or columns using real objects, models and pictures

Below is my ghost themed pictogram freebie :

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Click here to download
Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 13.43.16  Click here to download

I simply cut out the title and stuck it to a sheet of poster paper. Pupils stick their ghost under the column that applies to them. My class seem to be particularly brave. Not one of them said that ghosts were creepy!! Mind you, I think that the ghosts above are particularly cute. They are from the Enlightened Elephant.

Data Handling naturally lends itself to making comparisons and naturally creates language rich Maths Talks. We stopped periodically to predict which column would win and why, what the difference was between columns, what difference one more vote would make to each side… Lots and lots of math talk was generated. I also love it when children spontaneously use maths language in their response. “I predict that creepy will win because it has more” or “I predict that cute can’t win now because only 2 children are left to vote and that’s not enough to win”. Talk like that just blows me away!!! Oh yeah, the use of the word “predict” ties in with the Reading Comprehension Strategies we are exploring.

I hope that you like my Ghost Themed Pictogram Freebie and manage to squeeze it in next week. It would make for a great maths lesson on the day of the holidays 😉

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Senior Infant Maths: revision of Sorting & Classifying

This sorting game is a fantastic way to review EMA strategies for Senior Infant Classes:

  • classify objects on the basis of one attribute, such as colour, shape, texture or size

It’s a great lesson opener or transition activity. Really simple, clear and child friendly. I like the fact that you can cover a huge variety of classifications and comparisons in one game. It covers: size, number, letters vs numbers, colours, shapes, spots vs stripes… I also like the way that it integrates letter sorting. Sneaky and clever at the same time!

It also covers “half” and “whole’ which are part of the 1st class maths curriculum:

  • establish and identify half of sets to 20

“Sort” does cover “odd” and “even” numbers but you can easily skip ahead if not applicable to your class grade.

If you are teaching Junior Infants or the parent of a Junior Infant child then I would encourage you to bookmark it. This sorting game would be fantastic for an end of year review/assessment.

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Click here to play

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Matching Socks Game

Here is a fantastic resource to demonstrate or have children engage in the Early Mathematical Activity Strands of Matching & Sorting. The objectives below are for both Junior and Senior Infants:


  • compare objects according to colour, size and design


  • match equivalent and non-equivalent sets using one-to-one correspondence

In the  “Sock Pairs Game” simply drag the matching socks to the basket. It is not as simple as it first seems. There are only subtle differences between some of the sock pairs. Children need to concentrate carefully when comparing socks to create a matching pair.

Sock Pairs is very simple and quick to play. It is a really good teaching tool to introduce children to the concepts of Comparing and Matching. It is also a great Oral Language Lesson as I ask my pupils to describe the socks that they are matching in terms of size, colour, and design. There is also a small amount of Algebra involved in the patterning of the socks: pink, blue, pink, blue…

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Click here to play

Why not get your pupils to bring in a pair of socks, mix them up in a laundry basket and have them match them. Who knew that doing the laundry could have such a profound effect on a child’s mathematical processes?!!!!

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Junior Infant Maths: Sorting & Classifying

Here is another fun Sesame Street game to help develop sorting and classifying skills. The Early Maths Strand (EMA) asks children in Junior and Senior Infants to:

  • classify objects on the basis of one attribute, such as colour, shape, texture or size

In “The Laundry Game” Elmo asks children to “sort” or collect his laundry according to colour and shape attributes e.g. the white socks or t-shirts with red circle on them. Children need to pay close attention to detail in order to find the correct items.

It is also a great way of including Oral Language in your maths lesson. Through the “Developing Cognitive Abilities through oral language”  strand unit children in Junior and Senior Infants are asked to:

  • focus on descriptive detail and begin to be explicit in relation to people, places, times, processes, events, colour, shape, size, position

I played “The Laundry Game”  it with my class the other day  and ticked both boxes in my schemes of work :). My class loved it. We will definitely be playing it again. Check out the underwear on the line. Hilarious…!

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Click here to play The Laundry Game

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

11 Ways a Parent Can Help with Maths

I came across this really interesting poster online and felt compelled to post it for you to read! It is one of the best summaries that I have seen.

How many of these 11 Ways a Parent Can Help with Maths are you using already?! I especially love the closing statement 😉 Point out ways that maths is part of real life!!! Isn’t that why we teach maths anyway? It should never be seen as something that belongs between the pages of a textbook. Maths is all around and a hugely important life skill. Just a thought….


Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Junior Infant Maths: sorting & classifying

I am so excited to be teaching Junior Infants again! Junior Infant maths is so much fun. Next week we will be exploring the Early Maths Activities Strand (EMA) of Classifying. We will learn to:

  • classify objects on the basis of one attribute, such as colour, shape, texture or size
  • identify the complement of a set (i.e. elements not in a set or the “odd one out”)

We will be making closed sets where the teacher defines the sorts and gives the category by which the items will be sorted. Once children are familiar with the concept of classifying objects we will move onto open sets. Children will decide for themselves how to sort the objects in front of them. This encourages divergent thinking, problem solving and logical thinking.

When teaching all maths topics is it crucially important that we move from the concrete to the abstract. Children need to have lots and lots of hands-on -experience physically sorting counters, bottle tops, buttons, counters, animals, transport items… The list goes on…

Here are a few ways that you could suggest if you are making closed sets:

  • by colour (red set, green set and yellow set or  red things and things that are not red)
  • by size ( big and small, big animals and small animals, small red car and small green cars)
  • things I eat and things I play with
  • thing we find in the sky, on land, in the sea.
  • zoo animals and farm animals
  • spotty socks, stripy socks, plain socks or my socks and Mom’s socks (help with the laundry anyone?!!!!)

There are a staggering number of ways that things can be sorted into sets. Sometimes children amaze me with the classifications that they create during open sets. Often they see ways of sorting that I had never thought of!

Here is a really fun Sesame Street game that encourages children to sort animals by colour, big/small, long ears/short ears… It’s called Zoe’s Pet Shelter

Can you guess the rules for the set below?!!!

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Click here to play Zoe’s Pet Shelter!

I am crossing my fingers and toes that my school laptop will be replaced by Monday so that I can play these with my class. It completely died on Friday afternoon and I am frantic. I use my Interactive Whiteboard all the time. Last year it was out of use for a few months when the bulb went. Then my laptop went shortly after the bulb was replaced. The computer memory was wiped and returned to me minus my work!! I have way, way too much to back it up on a USB! Now its gone again one day into the new school year! I am cracking up!!  Sorry for the rant. It might not have fixed the computer but it sure make me feel better?! Anyone else in the same boat?

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Even more Roll and Cover Games!

I have been asked to create some Roll and Cover Games that are in full colour. It seems that lots of you have colour printers at your disposal. Lucky you! I am still living in black and white land with my printer at home and at work.

Here are some Roll and Cover Games that are full of colour and summer fun!

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                                                                                                                                                    Click here to download

  (scroll down past the B&W ones to find the images above)

I hope that you have lots of fun playing  my Roll and Colour Games. Any requests? What theme are you using this year? Please leave a comment below!

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

ps: the cute bee and apple graphics are from DJInkers.com