My Favourite Board Games to play with Pre-Schoolers and Infants

I have to admit that I have a bit of an obsession with board games. I always try to turn my lessons in school into games.

Why play board games?

From a cognitive perspective playing board games have a hugely positive impact on brain development. They help acquire logical and reasoning skills, boost critical thinking and spatial reasoning. Playing board games also support the learning of social and communication. They help improve verbal abilities and attention skills by encouraging a child concentrate and focus for longer periods of time. Games that involve dice develop mathematical skills such as 1-1 correspondence (I roll 2 on my dice and I count on 2 spaces). Did I also mention that it is a tonne of FUN!!!!

I thought that I’d share some of my favourites and a few recent purchases including one that is winging it’s way to me with Amazon.

My First Snakes and Ladders

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I don’t know how I survived so long without this one!!! It is for 3+years but suitable for all ages if you just want a quick game. It goes from 0-47. My First Snakes and Ladders has some really well thought out features. The squares on the board are huge! There are arrows to direct you on each level. The start and finish are obviously marked. I’d give this Marks and Spencers Game a 10/10 and I’m not that easily pleased.

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Just to note, I didn’t use the counters provided. I hate flat counters. I use the lids of Ella Organic Pouches. They come in an array of colours and are chunky enough for little hands to use.

Click here to purchase.

Plan Toys Mini Stacking Game; 4133

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This is a super fun mini-game that comes in a tin. It’s great to bring on a trip away, aeroplane, to a sleepover etc. Got to love small and portable. This game tests colour recognition and hand-eye coordination. You roll the coloured dice and place a counter of the corresponding colour on the tower. Great problem-solving skills promoted too. You need to work out what is the best counter to choose from the colour rolled and what way to place it.

This Plan Toys Stacking Game is part of a bigger series of Mini-Games and Toys that are perfect for throwing into your bag and can be played anywhere. I just know that I will end up purchasing the whole range. I purchased my Plan Toys Stacking Game from Babipur. Babipur is a fantastic website with tonnes of ethically manufactured toys and games.  I know that it can be daunting to purchase from a retailer that you haven’t heard of before. I have made many, many purchases from Babipur and I have never been disappointed.

Click here to purchase Plan Toys Mini-Stacking Game.

Little Circuit by Djeco 

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This game is beyond cute and a great way of teaching 1-1 correspondence. It is suitable from age 2 1/2 yrs to 5. I play it with a 2 1/2-year-old and it’s always a huge. hit.  You construct the game board for Little Circuit as if you are building a jigsaw. The counters are actual toy animals so they are easy to hold. It’s also a fun twist to have such large counters. You really do feel as if you are taking your animals for a walk.  You roll the coloured dice and move to the next square of that colour. If you roll a bee you move back and a flower allows you to move on.

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I purchased Little Circuit in an amazing shop called Pinocchio’s Toys & Gifts. It’s located on 2 Paul St, Cork, Ireland. It’s a street that runs parallel to Patrick’s Street. I am not joking when I say that I could happily spend my entire wage packet there! They have the most amazing wooden toys and a really good selection of DJECO toys. The staff are so friendly, helpful and knowledgable too. It’s a bit of a drive for me so I make it a “go to” destination before Christmas to stock up. You can find them on Facebook and on their website http://www.pinocchios.ie.

What are your favourite games? I’d love to hear. Leave me a message in the comments section.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Twinkl, Twinkl… You are a star!

I wanted to let you all know about my new BFF: Twinkl. I have become a huge fan over the last year for a number of reasons.

My school is reducing the number of textbooks that pupils use. YAH!!! I’m not a big fan of workbooks. I won’t go into that now as it would be a blog post in itself. The knock on effect of no textbooks is a greater need for hands on resources, good quality hands on resources.

I will walk you through my year with no textbook for S.E.S.E (Science, History, Geography). Well, those are prop heavy topics when you don’t have resources laid on with a textbook.

I will give you a detailed example of how I created a unit based around minibeasts , Naturama and Twinkl resources.

I purchased Naturama on the advice of a colleague. Wow, what a book!!! Naturama is divided into the 4 Seasons. I based my minibeast and nature studies around the content  for each season. Basically, at the start of Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer I whipped out Naturama. We read about the signs of the season and then went hunting for them.

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Click here to see more about Naturama.

I found the most perfect resources from Twinkl to accompany and support this unit for the entire school year. I created a bulletin board that we could update as the season progressed. I hope that you like it!!!

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I apologise for the poor quality of this photo. My classroom is so bright that it was really difficult to get a photo where nothing was glaring!!!

I began by printing my Minibeast Investigation Lab sign. Too cute to pass up!! Then I printed an laminated a copy of high quality photos of minibeasts. I also printed and laminated a Minibeast Hunt Checklist and a Minibeast Description Word Mat. I now had everything I need to explore minibeasts the whole year through!

We read, for example, Autumn in Naturama. I pulled out the photos of the minibeasts mentioned in the chapter. We explored them using the Minibeast Description Word Mat. We researched and learned about those that were unfamiliar.  The following lesson we reviewed what we would be likely to find on our minibeast hunt, where we would find them etc. Then it was off for our Minbeast Hunt!!!

At the end of the Minibeast Hunt we pinned up the minibeasts that we had located and checked them off on our Minibeast Hunt Checklist. We pondred why we did not locate some of those mentioned in Naturama: our school environment didn’t have a pond etc.

Those resources remained on your notice board ready for revisiting at the beginning of the next season. The permanent display kept the topic alive in our minds. Kids would excitedly tell me about what they saw at home, in the park… eager to get another photo up on the display!!! Our rule was that it must be located in our school habitat. We often did multiple minibeast hunts per season to see if we could add more to our wall of fame!!!

With the passing season more photos and checklists would be placed on the display. The checklists allowed and indeed encouraged us to compare and contrast our season finds.

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I hope that you find this blog post useful and that it encourages you to get out there and hunt for minibeasts. These resources would be great in any classroom or indeed any home. I love that I could print and use actual photos instead of the usual clipart ones that are available.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

I was given access to TWINKL but all thoughts and opinons are my own.

Books for little ones this Christmas​: Primary School edition

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I will be reading this one to my class over the coming weeks. A nice introduction to Winter without the mention of the “C” word!.  It is beautifully illustrated and has an almost vintage feel about it. I have fallen in love…

“Deep in the woods on the coldest day of winter a little boy drops his mitten. And that lost mitten stretches and stretches — and stretches — to provide shelter for many woodland creatures. A Ukrainian folk tale.” Purchase it here. 

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A twist on the classic Gingerbread man tale. Seriously, how cute is the Gingerbread Baby? He stole my heart years ago. I actually purchased this tonight but as a board book this time. I can’t wait to read it to a certain someone!

“Remember how the Gingerbread Boy is eaten by the fox? Well, not this Gingerbread Baby in a delicious twist to a favorite old tale.It all begins when Matti opens the oven too soon and out jumps a cheeky little Gingerbread Bay. He leads Matti’s mother and father, the dog and the cat. And a whole colorful cast of characters on a rollicking chase through the village and into the forest, staying just out of reach, daring them to catch him along the way.But Matti’s not with them. He’s at home in the borders making what turns out to be a gingerbread house into which the Gingerbread Baby runs. Only Matti knows he is safely inside. And readers will too when they look under the lift-the-flap gingerbread house at the end of the story, and there he is!” Purchase it here.

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Please, please purchase this gem of a book if you live in Ireland. I have purchased some as Christmas gifts and have ordered one for my class too. It is so very rare to find a specifically  Irish nature book. The authors have just knocked this one out of the ballpark!!! Incredibly accurate and detailed illustrations. Just enough information and facts to get you started. The Irish Wildlife Trust receive a commission for each book sold. What a great cause. Purchase it here.

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A big shout out to my dear friends Maria, Valeria and Hugo for introducing this to me. I have this on my literacy scheme for school. It’s a great way to open the topic of feelings and emotions. It’s a must for SPHE or indeed any home.

“One day, Colour Monster wakes up feeling very confused. His emotions are all over the place; he feels angry, happy, calm, sad and scared all at once! To help him, a little girl shows him what each feeling means through colour. A gentle exploration of feelings for young and old alike”. Purchase it here.

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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

Free Roll Say Keep Printable

I decided to “funk up” a very, very old favourite resource of mine: “Roll, Say, Keep”. “Roll Say Keep” is just one of those incredibly useful and versatile resources. All you need to play is a dice, relevant flashcards and a “Roll Say Keep” template per child.

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How to use “Roll Say Keep” in your classroom or home:

High Frequency word practice

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Phonics practice:

Here we were practicing phonemes and digraphs

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Here we were practicing “ee/ea” sounds

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Maths Facts:

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The list of uses for “Roll Say Keep” is pretty much endless!!!! My Differentiated Instruction Cubes are making another appearance in this blog post. They are one of my top 5 favourite teacher resources of all time. I swear that I’d be lost without them!!! You can purchase them here.

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I have inserted 5 Frame images in this instance to encourage “subitising” of number as well as literacy practice. Double whammy. Love it!!!

How to play:

Roll the dice and find the corresponding flashcards e.g Roll a 6 and you must read/answer the card in the number 6 dice box. If you can read/answer it you keep it.The card is removed from the gameboard and another placed in that box. The winner is the first to correctly win “X” number of flashcards. If the word/answer if unknown remove it from the board too and set aside for practice either/instruction.

You can download my free ‘Roll Say Keep’ template by clicking here: roll say keep.

 

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Gingerbread Man themed Differentiated Instruction Cube insert

Regular readers will know that I have something of an obsession with Differentiated Instruction Cubes. You will notice them popping up in my maths and phonics games. Differentiated Instruction Cubes are incredibly versatile. I have used them for all sorts of subjects across lots of different grade levels.

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If you don’t have Differentiated Instruction Cubes then I urge you to click here and purchase a set or two!!

I have created this free Gingerbread Man themed Differentiated Instruction Cube insert to liven up any or all of your maths games. It would be a super cute addition to my Christmas Themed Roll and Cover Game

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Click here to gingerbread man dice.

If you are a fan of the Gingerbread Man then you should consider visiting The Gingerbread Man Pre-Primer Game that I created last Christmas. It uses my Differentiated Instruction Cubes too.

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Click here to download The Gingerbread Man Pre-Primer Game.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Christmas Themed Roll and Cover Game

My approach to Christmas can be defined as “go big or go home”!!!! I just love to use my thematic planning to incorporate as much Christmas themed learning as possible. It really is the easiest approach as silly season begins. I am a HUGE fan of Roll and Cover Games. Obviously, Christmas Themed Roll and Cover Game is essential kit for me.

Roll and Cover Game have so many variations to how they can be played:

  • roll a dice
  • roll a numeral dice
  • roll two dice, add and cover that many images
  • using my differentiated learning cube I insert sight vocabulary. Roll a word. If you can read it you can cover an image.

Roll and Cover maths games have the added advantage of exposing children to Algebra/Patterning while also encouraging left-right, top-bottom orientation. You begin on the first Santa. The winner is the first to reach the Christmas Tree.

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Click here to download my  christmas themed roll and cover game

I hope that you have lots of fun playing this!!!!

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Christmas Resources for your Classroom

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!! I’ve had a few enquiries about Nativity Plays etc. With that in mind I have decided to blog about some of my favourite Christmas resources. I’m sure that they would make a fantastic addition to your classroom!!!

It’s Christmas David by David Shannen is one of my absolute favourite Christmas themed book. It is part of the “No David” series of books. Guaranteed to have your class rolling around the floor in hysterics. It’s the top of my “must buy” Christmas list. Click here to purchase It’s Christmas  David.

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“The bestselling star of NO, DAVID! turns Christmas traditions upside down with laugh-aloud humor. Readers of all ages will vividly remember trying to peek at hidden gift packages; writing scrolls of wish lists to Santa; and struggling to behave at formal Christmas dinner parties. Always in the background, we know Santa Claus is watching, soon to decide if David deserves a shiny new fire truck or a lump of coal under the tree. From playing with delicate ornaments to standing in an endlessly long line for Santa, here are common Christmas activities–but with David’s naughty trimmings. A surefire hit that is destined to be an annual classic.”

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If you would like to tie It’s Christmas David into your Writer’s Workshop or Aistear theme then this printable might be right up your alley!

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Click here to download

Christmas: A language theme for the Early Years by Prim-Ed. I find in very, very useful to have  Christmas themed  copymasters to dip into. There is something about this time of year that sends teachers running to the photocopier at short notice… Perhaps it’s just me? It always seems that the last few weeks are a  bit disrupted: church services, nativity shows, visits  from Santa…

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I recently added the following to my arsenal: Christmas: a language theme for the early years is a fantastic resource for Senior-First class. It says 5-6yrs on the cover but I feel that most activities are a little too challenging for most Junior’s at this time of year. If you teach Senior -1st then the book would be a good value investment. They would really be able to sink their teeth into the creative writing aspects of the book. It would be a great resource for Literacy Lift Off or Aistear either.

Here are a few sample pages from Christmas: a language theme for the early years:

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Click here to purchase Christmas: a language theme for the early years

If you purchase by midnight tonight, 30th November you can avail of Prim-Ed’s Cyber Monday deal. Don’t forget to use the code: Black40!!!

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I find myself using even more stickers than usual at this time of the year. I find it very hard  impossible to resist Christmas themed stickers!!

While you are adding the Christmas Prim-Ed book to your shopping cart why not pick up some stickers too? Prim-Ed may not spring to mind when you think of stickers. They have really diversified their sticker collection this year and are well worth a purchase.

They have some super cute Christmas themed ones.  I could easily stock up for the rest of the year and avail of their free shipping for over 25Euro.

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Click here to explore Prim-Ed’s sticker range. 

The Gingerbread Man is a timely read and always plays a big role in my thematic planning for Christmas. Here a lovely Maths themed unit for you to spruce up your Gingerbread Man unit with.  The printables that come with it are just darling! The Mailbox have it nailed!

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Click here for a link.

Colouring Sheets are another vital survival tool for the month of December. I never seem to want to use the ones that I downloaded last year. Anyone else have the same affliction?!  Here are a few to add to your collection if you are itching for some new ones! These are from Oriental Trading. How I wish that they had a European base so I didn’t have to deal with importation taxes….

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Click here for a link to Oriental Trading Learning Christmas Themed colouring sheets. 

I hope that you all find something nice to update your Christmas themed units with.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh

Christmas Stocking Fillers: Storybooks for 5-8yr olds

Here are two amazing Chapter Book Series for you to consider as stocking fillers. Remember, it’s equally as important to read to your child as it is for him/her to read to you. It exposes children to language that is beyond their capacity to read themselves. Modelling reading also acts as a support and encouragement to your child to read.

Junie B. Jones is a fantastic series of Chapter Books to get your littles ones hooked on reading. There are soon many books it this series. I love when you can get a kid hooked on a “series” of books. It takes the guess work our of “what will we read next?”. It’s worth noting that Junie B. Jones is available as box sets too.

“Barbara Park’s New York Times bestselling chapter book series, Junie B. Jones, is a classroom favorite and has been keeping kids laughing—and reading—for more than twenty years. Over 60 million copies in print and now with a bright new look for a new generation!”

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Here is an example of the antics that lay ahead is you purchase/borrow Junie B. Jones:

“Meet the World’s Funniest Kindergartner—Junie B. Jones! In the second Junie B. Jones book, it’s pooey on B-A-B-I-E-S until Junie B. finds out that her new dumb old baby brother is a big fat deal. Her two bestest friends are giving her everything they own just to see him. And guess what else? Maybe she can bring him to school on Pet Day.”

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Click here for a link to Book Depository to see the entire series of books.

Junie B. Jones has they cutest website for her fans! Check out Junie B. Jones by clicking here.

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Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown is another one of my favourite Chapter Books. It your child is not familiar with Flat Stanley it’s imperative that you purchase this book first: Flat Stanley. It explains how Stanley came to be “flat”. All other books can be read in any order of your choosing.

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There are lots of books in the Flat Stanley series with more due to be release. Again, Flat Stanley is available as a box set too. As he’s been around for a while your local library might be a good place to start. Click here to visit book depository to see the entire series.

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Flat Stanley is also available in an easier to read format for younger/emerging readers.

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Flat Stanley is available in the Level 2 “I Can Read!” series:

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Here is a peak inside Level 2 “I Can Read!” series to see if it is a good fit for your child”

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Again, book depository has lots and lots of these available. Click here.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Beginner Phonics for Parents and NQT’s (Part 4)

As promised here is the next checklist to add to your Jolly Phonics collection. This Jolly Phonics checklist features the sounds in sets 3 & 4 of Jolly Phonics sounds.

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Click here to download my Jolly Phonics Checklist.

This Jolly Phonics checklist can be used in 2 ways:

  • What sound is this? (pointing to a phoneme/sound)
  • Can you show me “huh”?

I have also created a record sheet to accompany my Jolly Phonics checklist:

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Click here to download my Jolly Phonics Checklist.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Christmas Stocking Fillers: Storybooks for 3-4 yr olds

My first choice shouldn’t come as a surprise to my regular readers!!!! If you don’t already own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom then I only have one question for you “WHY NOT?!!!”.  Please click on the link NOW and make your purchase!!!! Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is my absolute favourite book of all time. Ok, that’s my sales pitch done. I’ll let the images below do the rest  🙂

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“In this lively alphabet rhyme, the letters of the alphabet race up the cocunut tree. Will there be enough room? Oh, no – Chicka Chicka Boom! Boom! A told B, and B told C, I’ll meet you at the top of the coconut tree. In this lively alphabet rhyme, all the letters of the alphabet race each other up the cocunut tree. Will there be enough room? Oh, no – Chicka Chicka Boom! Boom! The well-known authors of “Barn Dance” and “Knots on a Counting Rope” have created a rhythmic alphabet chant that rolls along on waves of fun. Lois Ehlert’s rainbow of bright, bold, cheerful colors makes the merry parade of letters unforgettable.”

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Coming in a number 2 is “Where is the Green Sheep”. Many thanks to my good friend, Brooke, for gifting me this one. Click here to purchase from Book Depository.

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“There are red sheep and blue sheep, wind sheep and wave sheep, scared sheep and brave sheep, but “where” is the green sheep? The search is on in this cozy, sheep-filled story from acclaimed author Mem Fox and popular Australian cartoonist Judy Horacek. Complete with sleepy rhymes and bright illustrations, this book is sure to delight children of all ages, from the very young to those just beginning to read.”

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I also have a this cute, fluffy, green sheep to accompany the story.  It would be a lovely stocking filler to accompany the story book! Click here to purchase from Book Depository.

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Coming in a number 3 is “How do Dinosaurs Count to Ten?”. This is a really lovely way to introduce your child to counting from 1-10. It’s chock block with dinosaurs making it, dare I say it, “boy friendly”. I’m by no means implying that girls won’t like this book. They certainly will. It can, however, be tricky to find books that entice boys to read. This one certainly will. Hope I’m not in trouble with this one!!! Click here to purchase from Book Depository.

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“The bestselling, award-winning team of Yolen and Teague present their beloved dinosaurs in a new format with this fun, read-aloud board book that teaches young children to count from one to ten! Come along for some BIG fun as your favorite dinosaurs delight young readers with their playful antics. How do dinosaurs count to ten? Over and over and over again! This brand new board book format brings the gigantic humor of bestselling, award-winning team Jane Yolen and Mark Teague to the youngest readers, helping them learn to count from one to ten with a simple, rhyming text and laugh-out-loud illustrations!”

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Coming in a number 4 is Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear? by Eric Carle. Eric Carle is best known for “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?”. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear? is a twist on the later book. It has lots of interesting animals that you child may be a little less familiar with. If your kid loves Brown Bear then this one is sure to be a hit too.

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“Zoo animals from polar bear to walrus make their distinctive sounds for each other, while children imitate the sounds for the zookeeper.”Click her to purchase from Book Depository. Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 21.40.04

Coming in a number 5 is Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell. Martin Waddell wrote the much loved story “Owl Babies”. Click here to purchase from Book Depository.

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Martin Waddell’s uplifting modern fable and Helen Oxenbury’s humor and pathos make this a very special collaboration. Farmer Duck isn’t your average duck. This duck cooks and cleans, tends the fields, and cares for the other animals on the farm all because the owner of the farm is too lazy to do these things himself. But when Farmer Duck finally collapses from exhaustion, the farmyard animals come to the rescue with a simple but heroic plan.”

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I hope that you have all managed to find a storybook to add a Christmas Stocking! Check back next week for even more reads. This time I will be focusing on 5yrs+. I will also do a blog post on my favourite Christmas Themed books.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Beginner Phonics for Parents and N.Q.T’s (Part 3)

Jolly Phonics has a very specific order for the introduction of sounds:

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To make life easier for testing in a classroom or indeed home setting I have created the following:

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Click here to download my Jolly Phonics checklist 

This Jolly Phonics checklist features the sounds in set 1 and set 2 of Jolly Phonics sounds. This Jolly Phonics checklist can be used in 2 ways:

  • What sound is this? (pointing to a phoneme/sound)
  • Can you show me “huh”?

I have also created a record sheet to accompany my Jolly Phonics checklist:

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Click here to download my Record Sheet that accompanies my Jolly Phonics Checklist.

Check back over the coming weeks to download the rest of the set!!!

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

p.s: clipart is Djinkers

Beginner Phonics for Parents and N.Q.T’s (Part 2)

Here is another fantastic phonics resource: Phoneme Pop. Again, it will be useful for those of you that are not familiar with phonetic pronunciations.

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Simply click on a level of your choice. You will be told which “phoneme” you are targeting. It’s “c” in the example below.

Jargon Buster: a phoneme is the smallest, distinct, unit of sound. Basically every letter sound in the alphabet

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Unfortunately, Phoneme Pop doesn’t follow the Jolly Phonics teaching order. It does, however, include digraphs.

Jargon Buster: Digraphs are actually pretty simple to understand. Thank of it this way: 2 letters that come together to make one sound.

Let’s look at this in greater detail, taking 2 “phonemes” (individual letter sounds)

  •  s  and h
  • The phoneme s makes a “ssss”sound as in snake
  • The phoneme h makes a “huh” sound as in hug
  • When these 2 letters are combined they make one sound “shhhhhhhh”e.g shop, ship, rush…. Sh is a digraph.

You can see that Digraphs are introduced from Set 3 on:

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Click here to play Phoneme Pop.

BHave fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Beginner Phonics for Parents and N.Q.T’s (Part 1)

If you have a child who has begun school or you are a NQT charged with a Junior Infant class then this is for you! Nothing raises more questions and queries than phonics in Term 1!! Parents are, quite rightly, anxious/motivated to support phonics learning. The major stumbling block seems to be pronunciation. Many of you did not learn to read through a “phonics” method and feel a little lost. Have no fear, your new best friend is here…

I wanted to share a fabulous website with you for alphabet names and phonics. I used this site everyday when teaching Junior Infants. Starfall.com is simply an amazing and free phonics resource that should be part of your repertoire! If are a parent who is unsure of phonetic sounds then you can click and play too. Try and keep a sound grouping ahead of your child so that you can support him/her.

I love that Starfall.com puts you in control. You can decide what letter to practice from A-Z. This is particularly useful as many phonics schemes, including Jolly Phonics, introduce phonetic sounds in a non-alphabetical order. Jolly Phonics introduces, for example, s a t i p n as the first group of letter.

For those of you following Jolly Phonics the image below shows the order of introduction. Click here for a link the the Jolly Phonics website for further information.

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Starfall.com is very kid friendly as it is super easy to navigate and use.You child needs to click on anything that “sparkles”. Your child will then hear the phonetic sound that the letter makes. Don’t forget to click on the image presented too. Starfall.com has games at the end of some of the letter segments. I really, really wish that they had games for each letter. Perhaps Starfall.com is  listening and will make my dreams come true

For those of you new to teaching Infants or parent’s of Junior Infants this website is sure to be invaluable as the year progresses! Click here to play and learn with Starfall.com

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Do you GoNoodle?!!!

I have a confession to make:

Hi, my name is Miss Mernagh and I am addicted to GoNoodle!!!!

I have been meaning to blog about Gonoodle for the longest time. It keeps slipping off my radar as I “tell” every teacher I meet about it. Of course, I don’t have the please of meeting all of my readers in person so here it goes…

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GoNoodle is the most amazing website for brain breaks/activity breaks for kids! You just need an email address to register. It really couldn’t be easier. It’s perfect for classroom and home use so I would urge you all to sign up if you haven’t already done so. Click here for a link

You can have multiple GoNoodle accounts. This would be very handy if you have are in Learning Support etc. as you can have an account per child/grouping.

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To begin with you get to select your own Avatar or “Champ”. Here is my current one. Allow me to introduce you to my current one. Say “Hi” to Flo You 🙂

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You can see how many activities you have completed (1 in this case) and how many more are left on this level (9 in this case). At the end of the level your Champ is transformed… It’s always a hit with the kids!! When your champ is maxed out you get a certificate!!!

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Here is how I like to choose a Champ and integrate the process with Maths. I love, love, love integration!!! I select 2 Champs for the kiddos to vote on. I give each kid an Unifix cube. We use these cubes to vote for our preferred champ. This allows me to tie the process into ‘Representing and Interpreting Data’. We “predict” at intervals which Champ might win based on the tower of cubes that has “more”. I’m sure you get it so I won’t drone on…

Here is the curriculum objectives it meets:

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Once you are up and running there are tonnes and tonnes of activity/brain breaks to choose from. I love how GoNoodle have categorised them for ease of use. Not alone can you search by grade/class level but you can choose activity types too. 

Here are just a few of the categories you can choose from:

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I have lots of favourites stored for ease of use. Here are some of my favourites from last year. Check them out: 

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I also love that GoNoodle show you how long each activity will take. It’s a life saver when you are short on time or have time to fill before another class etc. I love to use GoNoodle for P.E warm-up activities before  we hit the hall. It’s an absolute life saver on a rainy day when the kiddos are trapped inside. They would be a great addition to an Active School programme if you are working towards your flag. 

Here is one for them 🙂

The more activities completed the more your Champ grows and changes. You will see lots of changes in your kids too. I was amazed at how much GoNoodle improved concentration, balance, coordination and following instructions!

Don’t forget to check out the stretching and calming section too. It’s a great lead into SPHE or even R.E  when you want to calm the atmosphere before you begin.

Oh, before I go… Lots of Irish schools have YouTube blocked. Have no fear, GoNoodle has lots and lots of activities that will stream for classroom use here.

Parents, don’t forget to sign up your kiddos too! GoNoodle is great for rainy Saturday’s and playdates too!!!!

Last chance for that link!

Have fun and don’t forget to GoNoodle!!!

Miss Mernagh 🙂