Please, please, please vote for missmernagh.com!!!
Summer Reading: The Lighthouse Keeper Series of Books
A love of books is something that I hope to pass on to any child I teach. That being said, the amount of contact time that children have with their class teacher is limited. I hope that through blogging about books that you will know what to look out for on a visit to your local library or to the book shop. Reading to your child or providing books for him/her to read has the potential to influence their lives in such a positive way.
Take a moment to read this poem and ponder just how powerful reading can be!!!
The more you read,
The more you know.
The more you know,
The smarter you grow.
The smarter you grow,
The stronger your voice,
When speaking your mind
or making your choice.
Here is a really nice series of books that have a summer vibe about them. My class really, really enjoyed The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch. It is only one from an entire series of books by Ronda and David Armitage. They would make a lovely summer read!
Miss Mernagh 🙂
Memory Book to mark the end a another school year.
It is getting close to the end of the year and I thought that I would remind you all of the cute Memory Book that I created last year. It is a really great end of year activity and hopefully something that a parent would treasure.
It is a lovely way to help children reflect on their year in school. I have created pages that cover favourite subjects, friendship, maths, spelling, handprints, autographs, what I want to be when I grow up… The list goes on. It is a 12 page document.
Children love filling them in. They especially like gathering autographs from classmates. It tends be be a bit chaotic but a lot of fun 😉
Here is a sample page from my booklet:
click here to download a copy
I hope that you have fun completing my booklet. It is suitable for classroom, pre-school and home use. I can’t wait to begin making them next week. I hope you like it! Let me know what you think.
Miss Mernagh 🙂
Clipart by DJInkers
Handwriting Awards Certificate with Prim-Ed Merit Stickers
Calling all teachers who love to give out award certificates but are broke from buying them or printing them with coloured ink!!
I have created some cute Handwriting Award Certificates in the past and printed them onto coloured paper or card. They just never seem as appealing to me. They look a little cheap or something. I almost died when I saw these:
For 2.95 Euro you get 96 stickers. That’s a whole lot of awards people and at an absolute bargain basement price. Click here for a link.
Who knew that Prim-Ed sold stickers?! Was I living under a rock? Did you know? Break it to me gently if you did 😉 Incase you are only hearing about it now here is a link to their stickers page. Worth checking out. Click here for a link.
Anyway, these stickers inspired me to create a new certificate for Handwriting. I think that the merit sticker is just perfect. It makes the award look far more “formal” and “special”. Just the look I was going for. Click here to download your free Handwriting Award.
I will use these merit stickers for other forms of “extra specialness” in workbooks, reading logs, attendance awards etc. Did you notice the “Good Sport” award? Perfect for Sport’s Day or when a child shows good sportsmanly traits in P.E or in the yard.
I know that this award template can be used without the sticker but I think that 2.95 worth it for the effect. I don’t think that the photos do the stickers justice. The certificates really look like they have teacher’s seal of approval.
Miss Mernagh 🙂
p.s the cute page border is from http://www.mycutegraphics.com
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 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! 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. 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… 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. 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 .
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!
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!!!
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch is a wonderful story. If you happen to be visiting the library this week I would highly recommend it.
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.
We see a mother sharing some photos with her son:
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.
I hope that you like “You, Me and the Big Blue Sea” as much as my class and I do!
Miss Mernagh 🙂
p.s Clipart is from mycutegraphics.com
Monthly Maths: Sequencing and Ordinal Language
I am getting in nice and early with my Monthly Maths Topics and freebie! “High 5ing” myself for my efficiency 😉
You may have worked out that I have been teaching “Time” as a my maths topic for the last while. I have already blogged about Literacy tie-ins and created a Seasonal Poster freebie for you all.
Here are the curricular objective for Junior and Senior Infants that relate to sequencing and ordinal language:
Strand: Measures Unit: Time
- sequence daily events or stages in a story
Strand: Number Unit: Comparing and Ordering
- use the language of ordinal number: first, last
- use the language of ordinal number: first, second, third, last
Stand: Story Unit: Stories
- display storyline pictures showing episodes in sequence
- discuss the chronology of events (beginning, middle, end) in a story
One a side note, I actually cover “first, next, last” and “1st, 2nd and 3rd” with my Junior Infants. I don’t know of any 2 step sequencing resources. Everything I have purchased starts sat 3 step instructions and works up from there. We are teaching them to count to 1o and add to 5 so it really isn’t too hard!
This week I have been exploring sequencing and the language associated with it. I am pleased that my kiddos are doing so very well at it. I have a commercially purchased set of images called Sequence Rummy that gets used year after year. We sequence 2 step images using my pocket chart rather than playing it as a card game. Where would I be without my pockets charts, LOL! I purchased Sequence Rummy years ago and still love it. Here is a link. I have no idea where I purchased it from. If anyone knows where Trend Enterprise products can be purchased in Ireland please leave a comment below. I would love to source more of their products!
I also find this sequencing book indispensable. I love that it covers 3-scene, 4-scene, 6-scene and 8-scene sets of images. I have used the same book with Junior Infants and Senior Infants. It gives me the option of differentiating and giving children harder or easier sequencing activities depending on their ability levels. Again, I have had it for years and am not sure where I purchased it from. My name is taped to the from on what appears to be masking tape. I am guessing that I might have purchased it from a Rep visiting the school. Here is a link if you want to find out more information about it. Here is a link that shows you the entire Make and Take Sequencing Fun book.http://carsondellosa.secure.miisolutions.net/media/iwb/IHDPPlayerContent/804007/index.html#?page=60
I have created the following headings for use in my pocket chart and decided to share them with you. I have covered the following language:
- first, next, last
- an extra page of “last” headings for those of you doing more than 3-step sequencing
- 1st, 2nd, 3rd
- first, second, third
I kept the colouring of the headings consistent in the event that you wanted to use the written words and the numerical representations in one lesson. If any of you need 5th to 10th as a resource for 1st class please let me know and I can make them. I don’t actually need them so I did’t create them.
Miss Mernagh 🙂
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. 🙂
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!
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!
Click here to download my free season posters.
Miss Mernagh 🙂
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 €6.89 from book depository.com. Click here for a link.
Click here to visit my previous blog post on Jasper’s Beanstalk
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is an absolute classic. I am sure most if not all of you own this beauty!
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.
These are on my wish list 😉
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!
“On Monday, Cookie (the cat) fell in the toilet.” So what happens? Follow the Cookie’s escapades throughout the whole week to find out!
It costs €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”
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!’
It’s About Time costs€4.47. Click here for a link
Can you recommend any other books or resources? Please leave a comment if you do!
Substitute teacher essentials!!!
I am so excited to have Aishlín Brown as a Guest Blogger this week. She is the most “AMAZING” teacher. While I hate to be sick I can rest easy if I know that Aishlín is at the helm. She is 1 in a million. I know that she is just dying for a class of her very own. Principals out there take note!! I’d hire her in a heartbeat!!
Anyway, it’s over to Aishlín:
As a substitute teacher, I never know what school I will work in next, what class I will be teaching or what material I will be covering. Often, this is a really positive aspect of being a “sub”; your days are always different, exciting and challenging! At the same time, it can be difficult to teach amazing lessons in an unfamiliar classroom with no preparation time.
To help me with this, I have a few things that I always bring with me when I am subbing.
The foundation of my “kit” is a large and sturdy bag with lots of pockets. Mine is also unintentionally waterproof which has been useful this winter! In my bag I keep the things that I have found that I need on a regular basis. I will always have packets of reward stickers, my whistle, some post-its, tissues, hand sanitizer, a selection of children’s books, a book of quiz questions, some DVDs of Tom and Jerry for wet lunchtimes, a packet of Happy Birthday balloons, plain A4 paper and lots of children’s colouring pages.
My bag is from Tesco, they run a special on them every August/September for the back to school season!
If it is my first time meeting a junior class, I will also have my “treat bag”. This is a colourful bag that I fill with nice things from the “Euro shops” like pens, rubbers, bubbles, “slinkies”, whistles, stampers etc. When I meet a new class I always give out name labels. Children form the junior classes can pick something from my treat bag at the end of the day, as long as they have behaved well AND they still have their name label on them. This works really well as it gives you a good chance to actually learn the children’s names!
I always bring a large binder folder with me when subbing. In this folder, I keep photocopies of the paperwork that substitutes need to bring and sheets of printed name labels (for me and the children!).
Often, I sub for teachers who were not expecting to be absent so they have not left any plans for me to follow. I really like this as it allows for a little more creativity for me!
I have sections in my folder with lots of lesson ideas that require few or no resources. I divide these lessons into two categories (Junior Infants to Second class and Third class to Sixth class) so that I can always find something suitable. I have other sections dedicated to Art, PE and Drama that are full of activities that are adaptable for different classes. My favourite subject to teach is art, so I update this section all the time with seasonal projects.
My USB stick
This is by far the most useful thing that I carry with me. I have a huge 32GB USB stick that I keep all my interactive whiteboard presentations on. Every time that I prepare something for a class, it goes on my memory stick so that I can use it again. I file everything by subject so I can find things straight away. One of my favourites is a presentation of riddles and maths puzzles that the older classes love.
I make my presentations using Activinspire software or PowerPoint. For a substitute teacher, I would recommend using PowerPoint because lots of schools do not use Activinspire and you will not be able to open your presentations!
My stamp is one of my newer purchases and it was inspired by Miss Mernagh who also has a similar one. It is a pre-inked stamp that says “Miss Brown says well done!” Younger classes (and sometimes older ones too!) become incredibly motivated to do great work when they know they could get “Miss Brown’s special stamp” on their work. It has definitely become a prized possession!
I ordered mine from https://www.thestickerfactory.co.uk/ and I delighted with their service and the quality of the product. I think my next purchase will be a date stamp which would be so handy for corrections!
It can be hard for some children to have a different teacher in their classroom, especially for the younger classes. Sometimes a child will have to take a break from an activity for a few minutes. When this happens, I like to use my “ink timer”. This is similar to an egg timer but it is filled with ink drops or “goo”. The child can turn this over and watch the ink/goo drizzle down into the lower chamber. This is very relaxing to watch and always calms the child down. The timer finishes after about five minutes and the child will be ready to return to their task. This is a wonderful resource that has never failed me!
I bought my first one on Ebay (search ooze timer or liquid timer) but Amazon also sell them. I found my ink timer by chance in The Art and Hobby Shop in The Jervis Centre in Dublin.
My music player
My last item that I want to mention is my Veho music player. It is a portable speaker that is about the size and weight of a large potato. I received this for Christmas a few years ago and I love it. It plays music from a micro SD card and it has really clear and loud sound: I have never turned the volume up fully on it!
I use it all the time whenever I need some music e.g. PE, art, drama, music, SPHE, the list goes on! It can also be connected to a laptop for those times when the interactive whiteboard speakers just will not work.
Ebay have a great selection of Veho portable speakers that are not very expensive. “Groupon” also often run promotions where they sell them at discounted prices.
When subbing I feel that preparation is key, but it is also really important to be able to adapt and improvise to handle any situation. These items really help me to do that.
I would love to hear some more ideas of resources for substitutes, if you have any nice ideas please leave them in the comments below!
Thank you so much for reading,
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!
I 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 Clipart 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.
2. Cut out the strips.
3. Staple the two strips together to make one long strip.
4. “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!
Miss Mernagh 🙂
Happy St. Patrick’s Day is pronounced: bann/ockt/tee nih fail/eh pawd/rig dee/iv
Monthly Maths: 5 Frame Dice Template
I purchased a set of Differentiated Instruction Cubes last year and am “IN LOVE” with them. In fact, I purchased a second set so that I have the potential to have one cube per group for maths activities.
Differentiated Instruction Cubes have 6 clear pockets that you can slip images and flashcards into. My 5 Frame Dice Template slips perfectly inside the pockets. Bring on the fun!
Here is an image of my 5 Frame Dice Template:
I also use them for literacy and Gaeilge but that’s another blog post of another day 😉 I am not sure that I can think of any other teaching resource that can be used in so many diverse ways. Perhaps my pocket charts?
I have programmed them with letters and we rolled CVC’s. As shown below. I have also programmed them with sight vocabulary.
Differentiated Instruction Cubes are €16.26 at Book Depository. Click here for a link.
I am currently teaching Junior Infants and we are exploring the numbers 0-5. As part of our Mental Mats and Number Analysis Programme we use 5 Frames. We are always working on “subtising” and visualising numbers. I have create lots of Subitising PowerPoint Presentations and some fun games. Those of you who follow me on Facebook have already seem some of them. We are so amazing at subitising 0-5 that we don’t even need to “touch count” the dots on the 5 Frames. We can already recognise them instantly. Love it!!!
It took a bit of messing around to get the sizing right but my persistence paid off. Voila, my 5 Frame Inserts for Differentiated Instruction Cubes:
Click here to download my 5 Frame Dice Template
I can hardly wait to start using them with Game boards. Now that we have covered Number 5 a whole new world of maths centre games opens out before us. We will be playing our very first game on Friday as part of our World Book Day Themed Activities. I just know that my class will go nuts for it! We will roll the 5 Frame Dice and colour. The first person to fill their board will be the winner. Make sure that you visit my Facebook Page of Friday for some photos.
If you don’t have Differentiated Instruction Cubes you can still use my 5 Frame Dice Templates. I used some Foam Shapes that I purchased in Mr. Price to create a Subitising Number Flash Game/ Concentration Game. I also have number words and dice images in the game.
For those of you who scratched your head at the mention of “Subitising” here are some screen shots of a fantastic article by the Winnepeg School Division 2005-2006. Click here to read more. Subitising is a hugely important maths skill and should be made a regular, by this I mean daily, maths activity. It’s so much fun and easy to do!
Miss Mernagh 🙂
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:
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.
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.
Miss Mernagh 🙂