Our April Assembly was held outdoors in glorious summer sunshine. We had three separate assemblies for the Infants, Junior and Senior end of the school. We spoke about the importance of really trying hard with our work and with our fitness and also about the importance of encouraging one another.
Two boys from each class received an award, one for Effort and one for Kindness.
Our next Assembly will be at the end of May. And we will have our ever popular Student of the Year awards at the end of June.
Our school chaplain Fr Joseph Apust called in to see our Communion and Confirmation classes on Friday. It's great to have our outdoor classroom space for these visits. The boys had lots of questions of course and were delighted to chat about what they are learning in preparation for receiving the Sacraments.
Many of our families have gone through the doors of Crumlin Children's Hospital and their children have benefitted from the treatment and care their children have received there. Parent, Joe Hammel, is expressing his gratitude in a very special way by running 10kilometres every day for a year. Joe hopes to raise €40,000 for the hospital and as his Just Giving Page shows, he's well on his way to meeting that target.
We're delighted to virtually run with Joe by have our classes run ten kilometres around our yard. We're
We are so lucky with our outdoor spaces in and around our school! And our courtyard is one of those spaces getting lots of use nowadays.
Mrs Lohan and Ms Kerr's Senior Infants class enjoyed their Easter party there yesterday. What a happy bunch of party goers they are!
And, later in the afternoon, Ms Gerrard popped in to say hello to her Fifth Class boys. Mrs Deirdre Daly is teaching the class while Ms Gerrard is on maternity leave. We wish Ms Gerrard all the best!
We have been working on a project entitled "Our Best for Heritage" with four other European schools. The project was due to end in summer 2020 but has been extended-thanks to Covid, to lockdowns and to the Erasmus programme!
In our recent Erasmus project meeting we enjoyed a tour of Vilnius, a presentation on amber and a trip to Brú no Boinne-all from the comfort of our own homes! Yes, the was a very special get together with students and teachers from the schools in Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic and our own school getting together via Zoom.
See can you spot some of our Erasmus club members from last year in the presentation on Newgrange!
Our next trip is to the Czech Republic in May. We will have meetings with our own Erasmus club after Easter to prepare for the virtual trip.
Working together with our European friends is now virtually easy!
Did we ever imagine that there would be days like this?
Half of our school are at home, the other half in school. It's been great having the Junior end of our school back in. Gliondar Mara paved the way with their arrival on the 22nd Feb and now we've a week down for our other Junior Classes.
And it was time to meet and greet the Senior end of the school on Friday.
Almost two hundred pupils and staff tuned in to last Friday's Virtual Assembly. The theme of the assembly was our school motto "Ár ndícheall í gcónaí" reflecting our commitment to always try our best.
And the stars of this assembly certainly pulled out all the stops to give of their best!
We met Joseph's pet hamster, Albert Einstein and heard about his Dad's great daily runs for charity.
We were entertained with jokes by Tyler and head of his super February 100 km challenge.
Nathan read his poem about Lockdown. While Anthony inspired us all with his skill with the Rubrik's cube, Arlo read from his book about animal evolution. Piotr told us about his adventures with Rock Art, Ali talked about his amazing art work and Cillian spoke resolutely about his empowering beliefs.
And we ended the Assembly with the very catchy Lockdown Song, composed, sung and strummed on the ukelele by Harry!
It certainly was an amazing assembly and a great way of connecting with all those lads who are working hard on their skills and hobbies at home.
This time of school closure is a very very challenging one for pupils, parents and staff.
Our recent school survey of parents showed just that. We've had a phenomenal response to the survey with 232 responses to it.
Our two platforms for online learning, Google Classroom and SeeSaw have got a big 'thumbs up' from most parents. Neither platform can fully replace the in school experience for the children, of course but we are pretty relieved to have had them up and running from last term.
The biggest challenge for our parents is trying the balance working from home and working in the home with the new demands now faced with children trying to keep up with their learning.
That said, 40% of our parents reported that the children attended to their school assignments for two hours or more. And 40% of the children worked for one to two hours per day, with the remaining children working for less than an hour.
Zoom is the flavour of the month when it comes to improving class connection. We had just started up our Zoom check ins for every class when the survey was presented and there is a great response to the children seeing one another on Zoom.
Some parents mentioned the possibility of Zoom lessons. We are guided by best practice on this and that shows that pre recorded lessons are preferable to live lessons as they can be replayed for anyone having difficulty with new concepts, can be accessed any time and not everyone can be present for live lessons so they would miss out.
Google Classroom and See Saw allow for audio and video lessons and feedback. This ability to engage directly with each child and to give feedback on assignments is a critical part of keeping him motivated and learning. And something that most parents rated as very important to their children. And that's very true!
It's been a challenging time for sure but the end is in sight.
Meanwhile, it would be great to have as many pupils on board for the Zoom check-ins! Please check your Aladdin notifications for times. And remind your son of the rules of engagement as in the infographic above!
Keep sending your comments and queries via Google Classroom or See Saw or to firstname.lastname@example.org
It's great to see all the boys work on Google Classroom and See Saw. But it comes with HUGE input and effort from their parents and guardians. These surely are challenging times and we all have to manage a wide variety of challenges.
The National Educational Psychological Service have a range of resources which you can access here.
They also have a five minute long webinar to guide you through these resources.
A Whistle-stop Tour of NEPS Resources for Covid-19
Their advice for dealing with challenging times is I think, helpful for all of us:
That's the advice from the psychologists. But many of our kids know it can also be helpful to express their feelings about any challenge by putting pen to paper.
Here is an inspiring poem written by Nathan from Ms Colleran's Fifth Class with a little help from his Mam, Dorothy! Wise words run in the family!
I had all these words but they were all in a muddle.
So I asked my Mam for help cause she loves doing a puzzle!
March 2020 the country shut down, everyone's lives turned upside down.
It began with the shops and schools told to close, as the number of cases rose and rose.
Restrictions in place, we’re told ‘Stay at home’, some people are left all on their own.
Family days out are all in the past, 5K limit ...how long will it last?
Parents working from home and finding it tough, feeling they're doing not quite enough.
Schooling from home it’s just not the same, I feel like we’re all trapped in a video game.
Football’s the sport I miss the most. I can't wait to kick the ball between the two posts.
It feels so long since I've seen my friends, I can’t wait to see them once lockdown ends.
Aunts and Uncles, Grandparents and Cousins, hugs and kisses will be given in dozens.
Lockdown is hard for us ALL you’ll agree, I can’t wait to welcome the day the world is Covid FREE.
The Blackmore family got busy over lockdown with this project. It's a model of the crannóg in Cragganowen in Co Clare.
Crannógs were man made islands usually built on lakes and on which people built their houses during the Iron Age.
The Blackmores went to an incredible amount of detail with their model with both boys and their Dad involved in modelling various aspects of the build. Boats and beds were made from márla, the base from two pieces of timber and fire cement. Locally collected branches became trees. They even fashioned an ancient oven or fulacht fia was out of the sand and PVA surface, and a spit.
And all those woven fences demanded a huge level of patience and dexterity, as did the look out tower.
Best of all, the Crannóg has been presented to our school by the Blackmores.
We are delighted to have this model for our school. It has pride of place in our library at the moment and will be a treasure and an information point for many years to come.
Thanks to the Blackmores for their very kind donation!
The boys in Mr Duffy's class are all making their Christmas cards for residents in Moorehall Nursing home. They're enjoying colouring their cards and also writing to let the recipients know just about what life is like for a typical eight year old these days.
Yes, the cards will be quarantined before reaching the residents. And the hope is to build on the connection between the generations-we have so much to learn from one another.
Meet the boomwhackers! The boys in Ms McWeeney's class are making music together. Each length of pipe is tuned to a particular note in the scale. The trick is to whack it hard- and at the right time!
Ready boys? "Joy to the World...."
Hurrah for footpaths! We can walk down to our parish church now! On this crisp winter's morning we enjoyed our 2.48 km ramble past the old red brick school and met Mornington playgroup on their morning walk!
We got a glimpse of Beaulieu House on the other side of the River Boyne and passing Mornington Park, Donacarney Woods and Glen Boann we finally arrived at the Star of the Sea Church.
The boys went to see the crib there and to look around the church itself. They met another surprise visitor on their way-long time veteran of Donacarney school caretaking staff Patricia Black.
All agreed that it was a tour worth taking. And yes, that footpaths can keep us all connected.