We learned a lot about Georgian homes during distance learning, and since we came back to school. Over the past two weeks, we created some artwork inspired by Georgian homes.
On our first day back in the classroom, we did a quick recap on everything we learned during our weeks of distance learning. It was way more than anybody realised!!
We also gave some thought to which units we enjoyed the most, or found most interesting - and the pieces that we found less interesting or memorable.
We were able to revisit some of these topics in the fortnight after we came back to school.
During the month of February, we were learning all about migration, and specifically about Direct Provision here in Ireland.
As a class, we brainstormed some of the reasons why children don't like living in Direct Provision. Then we each wrote a letter to the Minister for Justice about it. Some of us chose to post our letters, others didn't.
Here are some excerpts from some of our letters. Later in February we did projects about other activists in Ireland, past and present.
As part of our distance learning in January, our focus in our Learn Together lessons has been on Children's Rights. We learned all about the UNCRC and the National Children's Strategy, both of which were designed to promote and protect children's rights.
We used padlet to record our thoughts on how life has improved for children in Ireland since the drawing up of the UNCRC and the establishment of the National Children's Strategy.
We will go on to learn about some children in Ireland whose rights are perhaps not being respected as well as they should be, as they and their families live in Direct Provision.
So we first needed to learn about Migration, push and pull factors, and what might cause children and their families to leave their home countries as Refugees. We used Jamboard to brainstorm our ideas on this.
This week, the children have been really busy at home coming up with all kinds of creative creations! They have been submitting them on Seesaw and we have enjoyed looking through them in class. Drawings, poetry, writing, origami, music, construction - it's been really impressive!
In school, we had our first foray into photography, as we used the classroom cameras for the first time. Needless to say, it was very exciting getting to take photographs, so we had 'free play' with the cameras - getting used to how to take and delete pictures. Over the coming weeks, we will develop our abilities with the cameras and ultimately photograph children from Junior Infants for a photography project.
This coming month, we will be focusing particularly hard on Maths - including playing lots of Maths games to improve our numeracy skills.
At home, it is so important that the children practice their tables every night. At this stage, many of the children have a reasonable recall of their times tables, but many of them could improve on their speed. Each Friday morning, we have a tables test, and I would love to see everybody improve on their personal best speed this month.
I find it is easiest for a child to improve their speed if they focus on one group of tables at a time - that is why we went back to x3 at the start of the year and we have built from there. If your child does not yet have all of the x3 tables on the tip of their tongue, please go back and start there with them again. Only when they have mastered x3, should you move on to x4.
There are some ideas on this page to support you and your child with practicing tables as often as possible.
Last week, we were lucky to have a virtual visit from a historian - Leon's Dad! Our focus this month was on Medieval history, and Leon's Dad Maciek knows lots about the time period, so he offered to have a Zoom call with us.
Before our call with Maciek, we did some reading and talking about Medieval times, so that we had a basic understanding. Maciek then brought the period to life for us, with a brief talk about some interesting aspects of life at that time.
He referred to a map of Europe quite frequently, as he explained what came before the Middle Ages, and the conquests that took place during the period - with special mentions for the Vikings and Normans.
We were so grateful to him, particularly for his patience in answering all of our questions! At first, we were a little shy, but once we got going, we had an endless supply of questions!
Thank you so much, Maciek, for sharing some of your knowledge with us. No doubt, we will be in touch with you again later in the year. We are so lucky to have an expert parent in our midst!
Last week was Science Week in our class. Tallaght Library usually offer for classes to visit them and take part in Science activities. This year, because of COVID, that wasn't an option. Instead, they put together packs to send out to teachers, and videos explaining the different experiments we could try.
The theme of the pack we got was 'Mysterious Microbes' - very apt as we were learning all about how easily viruses and bacteria can spread, how they multiply, and what we can do to try to protect ourselves.
We got a UV light, and used glow in the dark products to represent germs. In the above experiment, we mixed glow in the dark powder with moisturiser and rubbed it into our hands.
Later, we washed our hands as well as we could, and checked whether we had gotten rid of all the 'germs'/ glow powder.
We also checked whether we had contaminated some of our belongings with the 'germs'. This was really effective.
This year, we'll be using a portion of our Learn Together class time every week to work on our debating skills. Debates are a really useful way of practicing putting yourself in another person's shoes, as we are often called upon to argue a point that we really don't agree with.
There are a lot of other skills involved in debating - formulating logical, rational points; public speaking; listening to others' points; respectfully disagreeing with another person's point.
So far this year, we have been learning the basics of debating, and practicing those outside of a normal debate setting. We have come up with arguments for and against the following motions:
Children should have to do homework every day.
Children should be allowed to drive cars.
Primary School should be taught in the woods.
Every home should have a pet.
This week, we finally made the jump and had our first official debate. Two table groups debated against one another, and a third table group were the judges. The remaining children were a very supportive audience - we all understand how nerve-wracking it can be to stand up in front of a group of people and speak.
I am very proud of how our very first real debate went and look forward to building on this as the year goes on.
This week, we made the most of the fresh, autumn weather to do some practical learning for Science. In October, we will be learning about different types of plants, and we hope to be able to plant some spring bulbs to brighten up our school grounds early next year.
But before we could think about planting anything, we needed to make a start on the flower beds. During our time working from home, and then over the summer, the flower beds have started to look rather neglected. We got in there and got our hands dirty, and managed to thin out the weeds! Another couple of weeding sessions will be necessary to finish the job - hopefully the weather will cooperate!
In Maths, we've been learning all about time. For adults, it can be hard to remember a stage in our lives when reading the time seemed a magical mystery - but there are actually a lot of variables to remember when reading the time! Please support your child by checking the time with them throughout the day, and talking through the steps you have to take to successfully figure out what time it is!
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