What’s in my shopping cart?!

I know that it’s only the first day of summer but I’ve already started shopping and prepping for next year. I thought that you all might like to be kept in the loop!

The first thing that my work colleague and I ordered was more personalised stampers from www.superstickers.com. I have purchased from them before and just can’t say enough about them!!! I love their stampers and their stickers. The quality is amazing. The stamper ink doesn’t bleed through the page. They come in all sorts of designs and colours. I like the option to personalise a whole lot. They last really, really well. Get the picture? I love http://www.superstickers.com!!!

I always struggle with keeping up with absences in workbooks. I have the best on intentions to write “absent” on the relevant pages. It happens most of the time, well some of the time… Well, that’s all about to change!!! I created an Absent Stamper using http://www.superstickers.com. You can see the process below. I chose red ink to make it pop. I am hoping that my “Lucky Duck” will be in charge of the stamper. I am guessing that the average 6yr old will be highly motivated to stamp workbooks of those absent?! Time will tell but I’m optimistic.

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I am playing around with a few more stampers like this one:

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I think that it could be really useful too. I seem to write this phrase more than I would like to…

I also fancy ordering these ones:

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You’d almost think that this is a sponsored post for www.superstickers.com! It isn’t, I just really ¬†love their products. I take some photos when I place my final order.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh ūüôā

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh ūüôā

My Dyslexia Resource Kit

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I’ve had a few requests to fill you in on all of the resources I brought with me to my dyslexia talk. Here it goes people… I’m going to list them by table starting with the back left one:

I hope that you find this useful in your classroom/home. Leave a comment below if you have any resources that you think should be on my list!!!

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh ūüôā

Dyslexia Must Buy Resources

I was delighted to have the opportunity to hold a talk last night on Dyslexia. The Wexford Library Service have always been a great support and encourager mine. It was great to get to “talk” and demonstrate rather than just blogging. It was actually really, really hard to keep to time and I had 1.30hrs!!! There was just soon much to cover. I tried to have a good mix between understanding the neurobiology and what you can and should actually do in a classroom or home setting. I lugged as much as I could from my personal resources.

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Here are two of the key resources that any teacher or indeed parent should have. Knowledge is power. These little gems will be a great reference tool to add to your collection. I’ve had both of these for years and they are pretty wrecked from use. I really struggled to find a ‘clean page’ to photograph. By this I mean a page that didn’t look worn, ¬†selloptaped etc. I really, really use these: Jolly Phonics Word Book and Prim-Ed Spelling Essentials.

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The Jolly Phonics Word Book is a fantastic resource for phonetically regular word list. Here is a peak at the menu:

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I always keep my Jolly Phonics Word Book by my side for literacy lessons in class. I actually am the proud owner of two of these. I have a copy for home use as I find the Jolly Phonics Word Book so vital for my fortnightly planning and literacy schemes.

The¬†Jolly Phonics Word Book is¬†worth its weight in gold for your phonics lesson or indeed home practice to support classroom learning. It’s simply a compilation of word lists that correspond to the phonemes and digraphs (a.k.a “sounds”) taught in Jolly Phonics. It’s worth noting that¬†the¬†Jolly Phonics Word Book would be a great buy even if you are using an alternative phonics programme.

You will never again run out of or blank on words that contain the chosen sound. When you have 34 kids in your class and you are looking for a different word per child then this is “the bomb”.

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Click here to purchase the Jolly Phonics Word Book. It costs 3.47 Euro and the postage is free.

Prim-Ed Spelling Essentials is another god send for lesson planning. It’s more a great reference for lesson planning or homework support. It helps to explain all of the most common and important spelling patterns that we need to teach all readers but especially those with language processing difficulties such as Dyslexia.

Prim-Ed Spelling Essentials is a really easy to use reference tool for parents, teachers and kids. It is extremely comprehensive as you can see from the image of the index:

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Here is an even more detailed look inside the front cover of Prim-Ed Spelling Essentials:

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These spelling rules, taught in a multi-sensory and systematic way would make a huge impact on reading, writing and spelling.

As you can see, Prim-Ed Spelling Essentials, is like a dictionary for spelling rules. Find the rule in the index and refer to the relevant rule. This could be an indispensable reference tool for an older child to check if they are spelling a word correctly.  I think Prim-Ed Spelling Essentials would complement any instructional programme. I wore this book out when I was studying for my Masters in Special Education and tutoring children with Dyslexia.

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It’s hard to believe the price of this book. Prim-Ed Spelling Essentials is 2.99Euro!!! I know, it’s incredible!!! Click here to purchase from the Prim-Ed Website.

For less than 7.00Euro you can  have an amazing amount of information at your fingertips. I hope that you find these books as indispensable as I do.

Do you have an essential that you would like to recommend? Please leave a comment below or message me on Facebook. I’m always on the hunt for new resources.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh ūüôā

First Day at School Routine

I have received a number of emails and messages on Facebook about my “First Day at School” Routine. Drum ROLL‚Ķ Here it is!

Classroom Set-up

I begin by placing a toy on each table. I try to put out an appealing assortment. Some that girls might gravitate towards and some for boys. I only set up table top toys for the first day. The Farm Set is usually used with the mat that you can see on the floor. For that morning only it was placed on the table.

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I also like to create an ambience by playing some fun kids music in the background. I think that it feels more welcoming. Especially for the first few to arrive. It can be a little quiet and serious if not.

I also ensure that coat hooks are tagged and that I have sufficient space for lunchbox storage. I’m all about routine people, even on ESPECIALLY on¬†the first day. I feel that establishing routines from Day 1 gives my pupils a feeling of security and empowers them with independence. They will only need gently prompting the following day on where to put their lunchboxes etc.

I also have “Dropbox” on my windowsill ready for all of the notes and classroom expenses envelopes. I find it to be indispensable. The kids love popping notes, drawings etc. into Dropbox in the mornings. It also means that the likelihood of putting a note down somewhere and spending the next hour panicking about its wherebaouts ¬†is gone. If I see parents with envelope/notes I explain that we will be using Dropbox¬†and send them over to it

Here is a rather beat up Dropbox from the end of the last school year.

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I like to ‘Meet and Greet” each pupil, shaking hands, introducing myself and “stickering” them. Is “stickering” a verb? It really should be ūüėČ Our wonderful secretary, Shannen, always has a set of stickers ready for the first day or too. She’s the bomb!

After Mom and Dad have left

If the kiddos are settled I just let them continue playing while I empty school bags. I remove all books and any monies that I find. I will sort through these after school.

I introduce the class to “Whole Brain Thinking” and we practice ‘Class? Yes!” and “Look at your teacher when she speaks”. These are the two class rules and procedures that we will focus on for the coming days. If you are interested in learning more about Whole Brain Thinking then click here. I have used it for the past 2 years and love it!

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We also learn about “Teams/Groups”. I use Colours to distinguish between each group. If you look below you will see that I use coloured lanterns to distinguish groups. I call groups to ¬† ¬†hang up their coats, place lunch boxes on the shelf and to show them where the toilets. I also demonstrate our ‘Toilet Pass System’.

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Then we learn where to sit for ‘Floor Work’ and story time. This is how we will start our school day from now on. We read The Kissing Hand and met Chester.

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 14.59.22We then returned to our seats for our first piece of “work”. We had a Chester colouring sheet that read ‘Ask me to tell you about The Kissing Hand’. I thought that it might be useful for parents to chat about with their kids when they got home. I circulate and record who is right handed/left handed and who already has a well developed pencil grip.

After our colouring sheet we learned the “2 Little Feet” poem below. It will be one of our movement break activities for the year. Click here to download.

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Then we had our lunch and went out to play. When we returned from the yard I gave my class their gift of “Magic Play-doh”. Click here to learn about Magic Play-doh. It’s a really old blogpost. I seriously need to save up and buy a camera!!!

I then presented each child with a “Hoot Hoot Hurray'” certificate and we began packing to go home. Click here for ¬†a link to the Hoot Hoot Hurray Certificate.

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Reading back over this post it seems like we did very little but honestly, we were flat out. We were even 10min late going home!!!

I know that you will not be able to find the same stories and certificates by Monday morning. Pick your own favourite kids story and see if you can find a corresponding colouring sheet. That allow parents a window into the world of their child’s first day. “So tell me about The Kissing Hand!”. ¬†I would really encourage you to buy or create a certificate. Starting school is a huge milestone and should be celebrate. You certainly have time to make Magic Play-doh. It takes 4 min to make the doh and then a few more to roll into balls and add colouring. It’s great to see the excitement that it brings.

I hope that this helps all of you new Junior Infant/Kindergarten teachers out there. If you have any specific questions leave a comment below or visit missmernagh on Facebook.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh ūüôā

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. ūüôā

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!

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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!

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Click here to download my free season posters.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh ūüôā

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¬†‚ā¨6.89¬†from book depository.com. Click here for a link.

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

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

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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.

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Click here for a link

These are on my wish list ūüėČ

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!

‚ÄúOn Monday, Cookie (the cat) fell in the toilet.‚ÄĚ So what happens? Follow the Cookie‚Äôs escapades throughout the whole week to find out!

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It costs¬†‚ā¨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”

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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!’

 

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It’s About Time costs‚ā¨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.

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.

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2. Cut out the strips.

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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 ūüôā

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

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 ūüôāScreen 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 ūüôā 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.

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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.

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“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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā