Top Reads for Valentine’s Day

I thought that you might like to see my favourite books for Valentine’s Day. I have been busy updating my library and these are my latest purchases. You have just enough time to order them for your littles one’s Valentine gift so don’t delay…

The first is Love from the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. This book is just adorable.


This cute book explores what love means: ‘You are the cherry on my cake’

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‘You are the bees knees’


It’s a small book with lots of sentiments. It would be a lovely gift for a Grandparent either… Just saying…

Click here to purchase Love from The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

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I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld is another heart-warming  book. A real feel good factor. It just warms your hear to read. How wonderful to hear someone telling you that:

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‘I wish you more stories than stars’


It’s one for my top new finds. Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon and The Colour Monster make my current top 3 book purchases. Click here to purchase I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

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Love Monster is a slightly hairy monster trying to fit in with the cuddly residents of Cutesville. But as it turns out, it’s hard to fit in with the cute and the fluffy when you’re a googly-eyed monster. And so, Love Monster sets out to find someone who will love him just the way he is. His journey is not easy―he looks high, low, and even middle-ish. But as he soon finds out, in the blink of a googly eye, love can find you when you least expect it.

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I won’t spoil the ending for you…!!! It’s a great book to explore how we all need someone to love and that we should never give up on finding it. Click here to purchase Love Monster. 

I hope that you have found a book or two to add to your Valentine collection.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh

Platypus Reader Response Activity

I think that I might have Platypus, by Chris Riddell, for as long as I’ve been teaching. Well, maybe not quite that long but it’s a firm favourite.

“A big rock. Some slimy seaweed. An old shoe. None of these is quite what Platypus wants for his special collection. Then he finds a beautiful curly shell–perfect! But the next morning his curly shell is gone. Where can it be?
The star of a brand new series from acclaimed author-illustrator Chris Riddell, the thoughtful, lively, and always curious Platypus is a wonderful companion for every young child.”

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Platypus is just beyond adorable to read. I like to do so early in the year as it’s a very simple read and visiting the beach is not a dim and distant memory. It’s easier to make a “text to self-connection” to the beach in September than in December.

Now that I am teaching Senior Infants I have created a more text rich reader response activity to accompany our reading of Platypus by Chris Riddell. Platypus is a fan of collecting little trinkets and is looking to expand his collection. I have created two different reader response activities to accompany our reading of Platypus. Both involve making a “text to self-connection”. Here they are:

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Click here to download both

Platypus by Chris Riddell is a series of books. Unfortunately, I only own one. They only seem to be available on Amazon at the moment. Click here for a link. I’m a Book Depository kind of gal so I am a little bit disappointed by this. I’d really love to have the entire Platypus series.  I might have to bite the bullet and order them from Amazon. I know that they will be well worth it.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh

The Gingerbread Man Dolch Pre-Primer Game

Today’s post was heavily requested following the photos I uploaded to Facebook last week. It was a big hit with my kiddos so it should go down well with yours too 😉

I am always trying to create fun ways of learning/practicing Dolch Words. I will be teaching my class to read the Pre-Primer List:

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Click here to download the above sheet from

I created the Gingerbread Man game as we were reading it for our story that week. I try to theme teach where possible. I found some fabulous glittery pipe cleaners in the art section of Tesco. The red ones were just perfect for a mouth, after I cut each pipe cleaners into thirds. I also used buttons and mini pop-poms from Mr. Price to allow them to “build” their gingerbread man. I slipped 5 words and fox into my Carson-Dellosa Differentiated Instruction Cubes. Regular followers will be acquainted with my long running obsession with my Carson-Dellosa Differentiated Instruction Cubes! Once they had coloured in their Gingerbread Man, we were all set to play!

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They just roll the dice and read the word The first person to complete his/her Gingerbread Man shouts “Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!”. Rolling a fox is effectively “miss a turn” and the game rotates back the following direction. You should hear the groans and moans when the game swaps direction around the circle!!!

I create the Dolch Pre-Primer words and the Fox to exactly fit my Carson-Dellosa Differentiated Instruction Cubes. You could print multiple copies of the words,  place them face down and have pupils draw a card to play. I would highly recommend purchasing the cubes if you are a classroom teacher!

Here are some photos of the game being played last week I particularly like to one with the sad face. Clever, no?!

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Click here to download the Gingerbread Man sheet (available as colour and B&W)

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Click here to download the game cards for your Differentiated Instruction Cube:

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Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂


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!


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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!!!

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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.

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We see a mother sharing some photos with her son:

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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.

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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

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:

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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.

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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.

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Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂