October Thematic Plan

As October draws ever close and with Halloween right around the corner it’s almost time for one of my favourite children’s books Room on the Broom.

Room on the broom is an ideal picture book for October and it can be integrated into an autumn theme across many curricular areas.

There are many activities for English for infants and even First Class for anyone in a multi-class setting.

As a classroom resource I love the interactive CD that comes with the picture book. You can find it on amazon here. The cd plays the story on the computer and there are also games you can play. It also contains the Room on the Broom Song which we learned in Music.

I created a story sack for Room on the Broom which was sent home with a different child each night. It contained the story book with audio cd, again from amazon, finger puppets and an art activity to create a wand. The children got to read the story at home with their parents and retell it with the finger puppets.

You could also incorporate Room on the Broom into your Aistear areas. Read my blog post on Room on the Broom here.

My thematic plan for October which includes suggested activities for discrete lessons along with links for resources and activity ideas is now available on Mash.ie




More Maths Games

A few weeks ago I spotted sets of dominoes and cards in EuroGiant.
Here are some simple games to play with dominoes and cards in Infants.


I have a number of these sets in the classroom. One game the children played was ‘Who has more?’.

Take all the dominoes out and place them face down, children take turns to turn one over each and count the dots on their domino. Whoever has the most dots gets to keep both dominoes. Play continues until there are no more dominoes left.

To extend this game you could turn over two dominoes each, or in senior classes you could multiply the number of dots on one side by the other.

Some card games that I play with my infants were:

Sums to 5,6,7,8,9,10 (depending on what story we were covering in class).

Take out all picture cards and cards higher than the story you are covering (ie. take out 8,9 and 10 if you are covering story of 7). Give the children 8 cards each, if you are covering story of 10 in the class, the children must make ten using the cards. I allow them to use any number of cards, it really encourages problem solving. We use the Ace card as 1 for this game. Once they have checked the cards they have been given, take turns to take one card each from the remaining pile, each time checking can you make 10. Once you make 10 these cards are put face up on the desk beside the child. Play continues until there are no more cards left and no more ways to make 10.

A similar game can be played with a concentration style approach. Taking out the extra cards place the remaining cards face down. Children take turns to turn two over and try to make a set number, story of 7,8 etc. Play continues until there are no more cards/matches.

Finally, another card game that the children may be familiar with is Go Fish. However this time the children are given a set target.

I really enjoyed playing these games with my infants. Sometimes they can surprise you when playing these games. They learn to problem solve quickly.

If you have any questions on the above games, please send me a PM or an email.


Ready Set Go – Games

Apologies for the lack of posts recently but I have been really busy with planning and organising for my Senior Classes.

Having attended workshops for the Ready Set Go Programme, here are some games that you can play in both Juniors and Seniors.

Here is the set card I use for both Junior and Senior Infants.

2016-09-21Ask the children to make sets of a particular number on the  set card.

You can also use this card when partitioning to show the story of number, give the children five cubes and a lollipop stick and they move the cubes to either side of the lollipop to show the different ways to make 5.

Children in Junior infants and the beginning of Senior Infants can use the 5 frame.

2016-09-21-3This template is best used in A4 format.

The children have 5 cubes, ask them to initially show you 4,5,3, etc. Over the course of the term ask the class to show you the number that comes after 2,3 etc. The children can also play this game with their partner, or if you have multi class the Seniors can act as múinteoir with the Juniors.

A similar game can be played in Senior Infants and in the early days of First Class with the 10 frame.


The smaller 5 frame cards can be played as whole class activity or with a partner. It is similar to the large 5 frame ‘show me’ game. You flash the card for 3-4 seconds and then ask different questions. To begin with you could ask what number is this? as the term progresses you can ask what comes next? what comes before this number? Once you have completed the story of 5, you can ask how many more do I need to make 5.

There are small 10 frame cards for Senior infants, you can also ask the same questions for Senior Infants.


Finally I found it useful to have digit cards in the children’s maths pack. They could give their partner a number to create sets of that amount on their set card. They could also make a number line on their desk.

In Senior Infants I played the tower game which illustrates more or less. Children have a set of cards each face down, each player turns over one card and builds a tower of cubes to match. They then compare and see who has more, who has the taller tower. That child wins. They dismantle their tower and play again.



All of the above templates are included in my Ready Set Go Printables Pack on Mash.ie

5th and 6th: Around my classroom

So you may know I have made the big move to the Senior Classes and what a change it is!

I have spent the last two weeks getting to know my class and setting it up. So here is a guided tour of my room.


 I love this display from tpet.co.uk. I ordered it on their site and it was delivered in just over a week. It came printed and laminated and ready to stick on the display board.

Alternatively, you could download and print yourself. It is perfect for wet days when the class are indoors. They have a timer on the maths trolley that they can use and they play both the letters and numbers game.

You may have seen from previous posts that I enjoy teaching Science too! This is my Science area.

The boxes are arranged one per group and contain all the group will need for the different experiments. I also downloaded this display from Twinkl.co.uk which outlines the different steps to an investigation. The boxes contain an IKEA frame and on one side it has these steps again along with information on a particular scientist on the other. I gave the class a project for September to research and write a report on one of the scientists mentioned. Feedback is good so far!

Classroom management can be a tricky one in the Senior Classes, but my class are really responding to the set up at the moment. I have set the class up on Class Dojo where they can earn points. I have a special tub in the class which contains a range of prizes gathered over the Summer from Dealz, Mr. Price, Euro Giant and Tiger. Once they reach 50 points on Class Dojo, they can cash out for a prize. I’ve also printed small cards for extra class dojo points, this helps to remind me to add points to their profiles and also to encourage some children to earn a few extra points throughout the day.


I have one further prize box which is Teacher’s prizes, the children can earn these by solving conundrums in Countdown or winning different games in the class. The majority of these prizes came from Mol an Oige. 

I will add more photos from around my classroom soon.

If you have any questions about the items mentioned above, please send me an email or a PM.


Stations and timetabling in Infants

In my previous posts I have suggested stations for literacy as a morning activity.

However, morning activities should not be limited to just literacy stations. For one term I alternated my stations each morning between English stations and Maths stations. My literacy stations consisted of fine motor for Junior infants and handwriting or sight words for Senior Infants.

For Maths, Junior infants copied pictures using pattern blocks. Pictures for pattern blocks can be downloaded for free here.

Senior infants worked on copying and extending patterns using a variety of materials. I made my own pattern cards using the materials in the classroom, putting them on white paper and photographing the pattern before printing and laminating. In this way I could create my own differentiated pattern cards depending on the needs of my class.

For timetabling purposes, I added Literacy/Numeracy stations to my timetable first thing in the morning. This was in addition to my discrete lessons in English and Maths.

For English lessons during the week we did handwriting every day and I alternated between Jolly Phonics and my reading scheme each day, with 3 Jolly Phonics lessons one week and 2 the next and vice versa. In Senior Infants I had one or two writing activities too, these were largely based on Aistear and were generally after the oral language lessons on the topic.

In Maths, as suggested in Ready Set Go, I did three days of number and two on topics such as length, weight etc. I generally did two days of number together then topic, number and topic to end the week. It worked well in helping to assess the children and see could they remember the story of number we had covered early in the week.

I hope to do a blog post later in the week that focuses on Ready Set Go games and activities and how to use the Ready Set Go Printable pack in my Mash.ie store.

Have a great week everyone!


Euro Giant

While catching up with a good friend today. We popped into the local Euro Giant! They had lots of ideas for prizes for infant classes, along with simple suggestions for classroom organisation. Have a look below

A selection of prizes suitable for Junior classes.

In my infant classroom I had a writing area with lots of different pens, pencils and markers. My class really liked using these pens. dsc_0562



I really like this set for Maths. The dominoes are great for subitising as part of Ready Set Go. I use the cards for games when teaching the story of a particular number.

Finally my favourite purchase of the day were these tubs. They are invaluable in the classroom. My main use in the infant class was for Maths games. I stored counters and dice in the tubs, but when the children were playing the games I asked them to leave the dice in the tubs and shake the tubs and put them down on the table to read the dice. This way dice are not lost under units of furniture around the room. These tubs are available in different colours too! I used different colours to store pegs on my maths trolley and other maths resources.

I got this new tubs for Science in my Senior Classes but I will update you on these as I use them!

As always if you have any questions on the above items, send me an email or a PM.



Science and Maths in 5th & 6th Class

Life in the Senior Classes is definitely a huge change for me, here are some Science and Maths ideas that I have implemented in my room.

I have always had a keen interest in Science, I have participated in the Primary Science and Maths Awards for a number of years too. This year I want to focus on the steps to investigations and encourage the class to come up with their own ideas to investigate.

dsc05191This week I started the Strand Unit Properties and Characteristics of Materials. Each group was given one of these boxes, it contained a material, along with a whiteboard and marker. Each group was asked to describe the material, identify its source and uses and to record their answers on the whiteboard. The materials included straw, wool, air, sand, iron filings (in a container) and a plastic lid. Once we had class discussion we then played a guessing game. It was great for oral language too.

I used the IKEA frames to create a prompt card for Science. On one side there is a Scientist, each group has a different scientist. It then makes it easier for groups to report back. This is an idea I got from my science course with Una Leader from Lifetime Lab. On the other side of the frame I have a prompt card with steps for an investigation. This will also act as a writing aid when writing up the experiments.

I started procedural writing in English also, and it integrates well with writing up science experiments.

I have decided on my timetable to have 15 minutes a week of brain teasers and problem solving. Today we used Brain Snack which the class loved, it does get you thinking. I then decided to put one Brain Snack card on the maths board each week along with a blank sheet of paper. The children can take a guess at what the answer could be and write it on the sheet. Next week I’ll check the answers and one lucky person will win a small prize.

Today we also worked in groups to come up with their own word problems. The numbers used in the word problem had to be within 100 and it also had to have a fractions, decimals or percentages element in the question. It was a great way to encourage problem solving and using mathematical language based on the topics covered in Maths today.

It has been a busy week and it’s only Wednesday.



Aistear: Peace at Last

After chatting to the Senior Infant today, we looked at the book Peace at Last to introduce the topic for Aistear for September. This story is a nice topic to use with a broad home topic in Aistear, which is ideal when introducing it to your class.

In socio-dramatic you could have the home corner, the children could be in role as the characters in the story.

In small world the dolls house would be the main focus as the house in the story.

In construction the children could make the house from the story or other items from the story.

In Art the children could paint pictures of their houses.

In Sand the children could find sequence cards for the story and put them in order.

Display resources and other printable resources to support this topic can be found here.

I have made a story sack for this topic also, it included the story book, character cut outs and bingo cards as the main activity. The story sack task card along with the planning frame for this topic will be available on Mash.ie soon.



Literacy stations in Senior Infants

In the morning time, I organised some activities that focused on fine motor and literacy for my Senior Infants. This post is about some activities that could be used in station teaching also.

I use Word Attack Pack with my Senior Infants for Dolch Words. Everything you need is available to print in this pack from assessment for learning to flashcards and assessment of learning. I begin with the pre-primer assessment for each child, highlighting the words they know. That will give me an idea where each child should start in the pack. Each child then works on 10 words over a week or a fortnight. They get their own set of flashcards for home use and a copy of the roll say keep game. In school I have my own laminated copies of the game and I have colour coded all the words so that the children can play the game with their partner in the mornings. By colour coding it makes it easier to monitor where the different children are. I also use the reading ladders in the pack daily and the children get to colour the words they know.

I have also bought games such as Sight Word Bingo from learning resources to use with different groups. I also like the game Headbandz, Tesco also have their own version of this game. The children would need some guidance for this on asking questions and specific language they may need to know. I have been known to sit at the top of my room with a headbandz on when introducing the game to model the langauge!!

Finally, one of my favourite resources that I found on Amazon is Sentifix! This is a great option for 1st class also. It can be used to teach sentence structure and grammar. In the box there are lots of picture cards and cubes. The cubes are colour coded for nouns, verbs etc. The children choose a picture card and then get to make sentences using the cubes. I used this later on in the year and some children copied the sentence into their copybook. While it’s more the later end of Senior Infants, it could be used all the way through First Class. I couldn’t find the resource on amazon but there is some available on Ebay.

These are some of the literacy activities for Senior Infants that I liked to use. If you have any questions about any of these ideas please send me an email or PM.



Planning for the Week Ahead

Having watched the All Ireland Final you know it’s back to school time.

This will be the first full week for me and for many of my followers too. While the first few days are great for settling in this week should be about establishing routines with the children.

An important routine for infants is the morning routine, whether you have free play in the morning, fine motor activities or you want to get started straight away, this week is important to establish this routine. I found that by not having free play in the morning children were coming in on time. Often with free play in the morning the children were often slower to arrive. I tried to begin with fine motor activities for Juniors and word games for Seniors so they were engaged in activities from the start of the day.

This is also an ideal week to introduce responsibilities in the class, I had job tags on lanyards for the children to wear. There were different tags for group leaders, teacher’s helper and of course line leader. The children loved the lanyards and felt so important when they got to wear them.

If you have Junior Infants it can be nice to bring them on a tour of the school and arrange for them to meet some of the staff en route. This depends on your school of course. I liked to being my class on walk and then when we returned to class we drew a picture of the different people we met along the way. If you have multiclass infants then the Senior Infants could be the tour guides.

Finally, this is probably a week when you introduce your Aistear topic to Senior Infants, spend some time establishing the play areas with them and how they must stay in the area for the day. If the class are familiar with Aistear they will be anxious to begin it again, but if it is new to you and the class, take this week to establish your routine, the plan, play and review process and the areas. I like to keep my Aistear groups different to their table groups as it allows them to work with more of their peers in different settings.

Best of luck to everyone setting up Aistear this week! I will miss it with my Senior Classes.

If you have any questions feel free to email me or send me a PM.