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

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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 🙂