Sunday, 24 April 2016

Foil Embossing Art Lesson

I've had so many questions about the foil embossing lesson over on my twitter page.
 I said it'd probably be easier to write a blog post rather than keep repeating myself! 

This art went down a STORM both online and in school! 
It worked excellently with sixth class, but I can't see why it wouldn't be possible with a crafty fifth! 
It's simple and looks great! 

Step one: 
Get some old cardboard boxes.  Cut out the main panels.

Step 2: 
Draw out a pattern or picture of your choice with pencil.

Step 3: 
Using PVA glue paste down the wool on top of your pattern. (Don't be afraid to use lots of glue!)
Leave this to dry overnight.

Step 4: 
Cut out a large piece of tin foil slightly larger than the piece of card you've been working on.
Loosely place it down on top of the card. Press it down into the corners.

Step 5: 
Colour with markers! (Sharpies work best!)

A beautiful piece of art for all to admire! 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Maths: Data Investigation in 6th Class

Data is always a fun unit to complete at the start of the year in maths.
However, I sometimes think we underestimate the children's knowledge and understanding of graphs and charts.  We also need to show them the importance of 'interpreting charts' and how to 'read between the lines'.

On the sixth class curriculum the children are introduced to 'trend graphs'.
Some key teaching points are:

  • The names of both the axes and how to label them
  • The significance of a title
  • How to space the graph evenly (Consistency)
  • Using a ruler! 
In groups the children worked on devising their own research questions and carrying out some investigations.  The children had to gather their raw data and represent it using a variety of tables and graphs. 

I created this worksheet to help the guide the children in their work. 
Get it for free here : Data Investigation


The children then presented their findings to the class. 

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Start of Year Activities for 6th Class

A new year, a new class and the familiar fumble to try and root out last years start of year activities! 

In this post I've decided to compile some resources I've found useful and which I will be using again this year. 

If you've any more to add feel free to comment. 

Here are a number of activity sheets I use on the first day of school and they're all free! 

This is a brilliant little activity booklet.  It has a number of activities in it on getting to know each other, creating a summer image, etc. 
You can pick and choose what works best for you and your class. 
The main activity I'll be taking from this is the 'Class Contract'.  Here the children write down three goals for the year ahead and sign it. 
I like to hold onto this and revisit it in the new year and at the end of the school year. 
I always think its always a good start to be positive and set some goals. I usually use this worksheet after we have discussed the rules for the year ahead. 

This is another great activity to help to get to know the children in the style of a Facebook profile. 

And for a bit of gaeilge! 
This is also in the style of a Facebook profile on the topic of 'me fein'.  
Emer at 'A Crucial Week' has created this for a fifth class, but its also a fantastic first day activity to get the children thinking 'gaeilge'.  

Here's another little activity I've created to help me get to know more about the students.  I like to put this into my assessment folder at the start of the year. 
It helps me see areas the students feel they have strengths or difficulty.  It also helps me understand how they learn. 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Reflection Rubric / Self-Assessment for Project Work

Self assessment and reflection are big buzzwords at the moment.
After completion of a project or a unit of work its important that the children reflect on what they learned, what went well and what didn't go so well.

Rubrics are a good way to prompt and scaffold reflection.

Here is a rubric I've created to help the student reflect on their contributions to the group/project.
It may not be necessary to give this reflection at the end of every project, but now and again it's a good idea for students to consider

  • how well they are working as part of a team 
  • and what they need to work on in future projects

Here's a screenshot of the attached rubric.

Link to Reflection Rubric PDF 

Let me know if you give it a shot and how it goes for you! :)


Monday, 20 April 2015

World War One Unit of Work

Check out some of these activities we completed as part of a unit of work on World War One.

Project Work: Children worked in groups on a topic or question of interest associated with WWI.  Some children had some very interesting contributions from grandparents or memorabilia from great grandparents involvement in the War.

These were presented as posters or scrapbooks.
Here are some photos from the groups working on their project.
Some groups also incorporated drama or freeze frames.

Each group reviewed all the presentations and wrote down an interesting fact from each one.  
I will post the project/review sheet I used in my next post! 
This is a great way to ensure the class remain on task during the project work and presentations. 


As part of our art work the children created poppies using pastels and chalks.  
This was our display: 


There is some fantastic world war one poetry which generates some interesting discussion and debates.  

Two of the most interesting we studied were: The Call by Jessie Pope 
and Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen.  
The first explores recruitment for the army and the false hopes and dreams which were portrayed to lure young men to the ranks. 
The second explores the harsh reality of war. 
It's a wonderful activity to explore and compare the tone, imagery and message of both. 

The Call by Jessie Pope (1914)

Who's for the trench—
 Are you, my laddie?
 Who'll follow French—
 Will you, my laddie?
 Who's fretting to begin,
 Who's going out to win?
 And who wants to save his skin—
 Do you, my laddie?

Who's for the khaki suit—
 Are you, my laddie?
 Who longs to charge and shoot—
 Do you, my laddie?
 Who's keen on getting fit,
 Who means to show his grit,
 And who'd rather wait a bit—
 Would you, my laddie?

Who'll earn the Empire's thanks—
 Will you, my laddie?
 Who'll swell the victor's ranks—
 Will you, my laddie?
 When that procession comes,
 Banners and rolling drums—
 Who'll stand and bite his thumbs—
 Will you, my laddie?

“Dulce et Decorum est”

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep.  Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod.  All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! GAS!  Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime…
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, -
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie:  Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.                                              
~ Wilfred Owen

Radio Advertisement/Oral Language

Write a speech recruiting members to the World War Cause. 
Alternatively create a recruitment poster. 

If you've any more ideas you could add, please feel free to comment below. 


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Percentages Teaching Activities & Strategies

January has been one hectic month in school and with my Masters, so apologies for the lack of blogging!

In this post I would like to share some fun activities which will help the children understand percentages.  For me, the children's ability to easily see the links between fractions, decimals and percentages is hugely important.

Here I have compiled some activities I used to help the children become comfortable with conversion between fractions, decimals and percentages.

With every new topic I work on in maths, we always begin with a brainstorm!
The children simply jot down ANY ideas or thoughts which come to mind when a certain word is mentioned.  I welcome ALL contributions, sometimes asking the children to elaborate on their connection a little further if at first it is a little vague.  I jot all ideas on the board and the class are encouraged to keep building on what has already been found.  This leads to great conversation and activation of prior knowledge! It sometimes amazes me what the children already know!

Fractions, Percentages & Decimals Number Line
Here the children work in pairs.  I gave them a decimal and challenged them represent the decimal in as many ways as possible.  This could also include pictorial representations, words, numbers, etc.

After children completed this activity we hung them on a number line and ordered them from the smallest to the largest.

Percentage Dominos
This is brilliant!  A great game to get the children on the floor and get them matching fractions, decimals and percentages.  The exact one I used seems to have been removed - it had visual images of fractions which needed to be matched with percentages.  However, while this isn't link isn't the same, its another great game along similar lines.

Online Shopping!
What child in sixth class doesn't like shopping!
We pretended that there was an online sale in River Island with a 30% discount (  The children were then allowed €80 to purchase as many items on sale as they could to create an outfit! (Jack Wills is another popular website with the boys especially -
If you don't have access to an iPad or laptop, take a screen shot of some of the clothes and photocopy it.  This works equally well!
There are a number of questions here which could be asked for further extension work :
- How much was the original outfit?
- How much money did you save?
- How much money had you left over?

Children can go further with this creating a word document showing all their outfit and purchases for €80.  A definite winner and excellent opportunity for maths vocabulary!

Who said working with percentages had to be tedious? Percentages are all around us, therefore its important to make the children aware of just how relevant in our day to day lives they really are.
For example, after any tests which we now do, I ask the children to calculate their percentage mark.

The class really enjoyed this activity and almost forgot that it was maths.
There are so many simple things we can do as teachers to promote a love of maths often right in front of us!

If you have any more ideas for fun or practical ideas for teaching percentages, I would be delighted to   add them to this list!

Yvonne :)

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

3D Cubist Foil Art

I swear this is a display that has gotten so many compliments!
If you're looking for a show stopper... this is it AND it's so easy!

All you need are cardboard boxes (thick ones - not the cereal box card as this is too thin).  I used the wrapping I got from book depository orders.  This was the ideal thickness.  Alternatively you could use foam sheets from an art and craft shop.

Prior to beginning the lesson I had a "looking and responding" session examining some Cubist art pieces, particularly those by Picasso.  We focussed on the three dimensional nature of the art and the use of strong bold lines.   We discussed reactions to the art, what the children liked and disliked.
This was also a good way to help kick start the children's thinking about what they would like to create for their piece of art.

The children began with a rectangular piece of base cardboard.
They then start cutting out pieces of card and sticking them down to their base to 'build up' their picture, creating a 3D effect.
The more the picture is 'built up', the greater the effect.

After completing the picture, cover the whole thing with PVA glue.  Cover with a piece of tin foil, shiny side up.

To add a rustic effect add some black paint in places and rub it in using some wire scrubs (the ones you use for the sink work great!)

Some fabulous artwork for all to admire! :)

Let me know how you get on!