Halloween Lesson Ideas

Hi everyone, we are almost at midterm. Apologies for lack of posts but I am just back to work after a recent injury.

I thought I would compile a list of lesson ideas to link with a Halloween theme. These ideas could be adapted and used across all the classes.

English:

Big Book: Room on the Broom. I love this story book and there are lots of opportunities to link with rhyming, phonics and writing activities.

In procedure writing you could compile a book of different recipes for witches.

If you are covering Narrative Writing you could give the class a story starter and ask them to finish the story. You might like some ideas from this site.

Gaeilge:

Many schemes include a section on Oíche Shamhna. Twinkl also have some lovely printable activities and resources too.

History:

Within the Feasts and Festivals Strand you could explore the meaning of Halloween and learn about some traditional games and activities. Invite the children to ask an older relative about their experience of Halloween as a child.

Geography:

Look at Halloween traditions across the world.

Science:

Making slime is also a popular experiment at Halloween. I also like the Spooky Chromatography lessons from Scien-tastic. Find out more on her site here.

SPHE:

I also like to focus on fire safety at this stage of the year as the children will be out and about and may be near bonfires. I like the Be Safe Resources for ideas for lessons on fire safety. This was available from Mary I in Limerick. Four younger classes check out these Fireman Sam resources here.

Art:

There are lots of ideas for Art ideas with a spooky Halloween theme. If you wanted to link with an artist look at The Scream by Edward Munch. This is more suitable for Senior Classes and can be explored using a variety of media such as paint and pastels.

Music and Dance:

There are lots of songs to link Music and Dance for Halloween, for younger classes you might like the Monster Mash. There are other videos on YouTube from Just Dance that link with this song. A song I hope to cover with my class is Thriller. I found a nice dance routine to link with the song here.

I hope these ideas help you to plan a spooktacular week with your class.

A.M.

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Maths Week 2017

Are you getting ready for Maths Week next week?

Here are some ideas for all classes:

Begin each morning with a Maths Puzzle that the children can solve throughout the day. It could be a Brain Snack card from Prim Ed or to guess which shape is part of your set. That way you can continue your Maths activities throughout the day.

Attribute Blocks:

I love using these in my class. You can explore simple problem solving with all classes using these blocks. Each shape has four attributes shape, colour, size and thickness. In Infants you will need a set card and a pack of these shapes. Pick one attribute to begin with. Have other shapes in a bag. Ask one child to take out a shape and tell the class the four attributes. If one matches your chosen attribute you can put it in your set on the card. If it doesn’t match put it outside the set. The game continues until one child or the class guess what your attribute is.

To play this game with older children choose more attributes together. Once a shapes is chosen tell the class the number of matching attributes but keep them guessing as to the shape. Further games to play with attribute blocks can be found here.

Online Puzzles:

There are lots of online sites to use. I like Math Playground. It has lots of different sections which are suitable for all classes. I like IXL which will allow free practice daily, however you need subscription to record individual students’ progress.

Linking Math and Science:

Take the Junior Classes on a nature walk and collect leaves and conkers. The children can then sort the leaves by colour and create  pictogram.

You could also look at the different coats they wear to school. Children could make their own sets and create more pictograms.

Senior Classes could design Maths Trails for the other classes. Explore the school environment with the class and identify lines, angles, shapes and colour in the school grounds.

There are lots more activities on Maths Week.

Feel free to share your Maths Week ideas.

A.M.

Junior Entrepreneur Programme

Last year I participated in the Junior Entrepreneur Programme with my 5th & 6th Class. Having loved mini-company in Transition Year myself I was eager to see what this entailed for 5th & 6th.

Having signed up online and completing an online module about the course, we were ready to start and my JEP pack arrived in the post. It contains everything you will need for the programme including a copy of the worksheets for each pupil. You start by exploring what an entrepreneur is and recognising entrepreneurs in your local area (Geog). We then looked at the qualities an entrepreneur needs (SPHE).

Children were then invited to come up with their own product idea that could be made within our school. They then presented them to their group and groups had to negotiate one product for Dragons Den. This was great fun and allowed other members of staff to become involved. Each group presented their idea to the dragons, they had to prepare presentations (ICT & English Writing) and a sample product and the dragons could then ask questions or seek clarification. The Winning Idea became our Big Idea!!

One of the dragons was an entrepreneur himself who then returned to chat to the class about his own business and his role as an entrepreneur. The class loved this, they got to hear specific terms relating to marketing and finance and also got the opportunity to seek advice about their own product.

The class then split into groups focusing on finance, market research, production, story telling and sales. Each member of the class had to identify their personal strengths and strengths of their peers which would be important in the different teams.

Next we conducted market research, probably one of the best ways to explore data, tally graphs and pie charts in 5th & 6th as it was all real life and relevant to them if they wanted to increase their profit margin. We created an online survey for parents (English Writing) and a small survey in other classes. Groups were then given the time to analyse the research.

Next step was finance, where to get the money.As a group we agreed to look at the idea of a loan from the principal. The project managers agreed to schedule a meeting with her and discuss financing our project. With some negotiations we agreed on a 12.5% return on our Sales. (Again percentages and fractions were not an issue as it was all relevant to them).

Once we reached an agreement it was time to begin taking orders and going into production. This was very exciting and our character trait of perseverance was put to the test as our Showcase day loomed. But we got there and the class were delighted to watch the sales go and the profits come in.

We then put our profits towards the cost of our school tour.

Sounds like a lot but over the course of the programme it was spread out apart from production but that was due to the high volume of orders.

As a teacher was I stressed?
At times, yes, but my class and I, along with support from some staff members, really worked hard as a group to get there.

Was it worth it?
Definitely, my class really bonded throughout the project and became a much more cohesive group. I was totally new to this age group last year but JEP definitely helped me to get to know my class and to build positive relationships and atmosphere in the classroom. Their knowledge and language relating to business and marketing was amazing at the end too. They were overheard discussing their marketing strategy on the way home from school.

Did it take up lots of classroom time?
Not really, it can be integrated across so many curricular areas easily and I changed my timetable slightly to allow for set JEP time (20 mins) each week.It did mean taking a few mins here and there from other subjects. But it also avoided lots of chats in the middle of other lessons. I also explained to the class about using their own time wisely, over time team meetings were scheduled out on yard at break times.

Would I sign up again?
I hope to. Leaving out the stress and panic of the production stage I really enjoyed it! I learned so much from it too that I can change and apply to the next project.

Any tips?
Keep on top of your JEP folder, encourage the class to take as much responsibility as they can. They will rise to the challenge. Have a camera to hand to document everything. My storytelling team documented the project using video clips and slideshows. Have fun.

If you have any questions on JEP send me a PM.

More information and to sign up now can be found on their site.

A.M.

Artist of the Month: Lucian Freud

My previous post on Kandinsky was very popular among my followers so here is another Artist to focus on.

When we think of the strand of Drawing we often think of portraits. Lucian Freud has many different portraits which allow the older classes to look at the detail and use of shading.

A nice idea is to have the children draw their own self portrait in Junior Infants and repeat the activity in Sixth Class for display at their Graduation.

I covered this topic and artist over the course of the month. Initially I gave the class no guidance and I got them to draw their own self-portrait and then the person opposite them. We then looked at the work of Freud and discussed the detail.

I found this great video on YouTube and the following week we watched the video and discussed the location of different features and where to start their portrait. I left the video on a loop and the class worked on another portrait.

The next week we discussed the video and watched it again. They got to draw the person opposite them again and then compared the two drawings.

The final week we discussed the work of Freud again and they drew their self-portrait which I kept for Graduation.

This activity is also suitable for Middle Classes.

A.M.

Space Week

Space Week begins on 4th October.

This blog post contains lots of ideas suitable for any class to link with Space Week.

For Infants you might like to cover Space as your topic in Aistear. In role play you could create a space station, small world could also be a space station. In construction you could build rockets, I particularly like the giant polydrons when making rockets. Other ideas for Space as an Aistear topic can be found here.

If Space is not your current Aistear topic there are lots of nice ideas to link with Space Week. While you can explore the planets and learn the names of them you can also explore Space travel. A great experiment to demonstrate to the junior classes is the rocket launch using a film canister and an effervescent tablet (Vitamin C). Click here to find the instructions.

In Junior or Middle Classes you could explore rocket launches using balloons. The children could compare the type of balloon they use to decide which is the best one to launch. Click here for more information.

Other rocket launches suitable for Middle and Senior Classes are the foam rockets from Primary Science. There are lots of opportunities to integrate maths in this experiment, comparing the angle of elevation to the distance travelled.

To explore Planets I like the scale model of the solar system. I used home-made play-doh as you will need a substantial amount if you want to cover it with the class. This experiment makes a scale model of the solar system which older classes might find quite interesting.

Similarly this activity creates a pocket sized solar system and shows the children the location of the planets in comparison to the sun and each other. A receipt roll is ideal for this activity.

Other Space Week resources can be found on Space Week, SFI and Primary Science!

Have fun!

A.M.