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 email@example.com
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.
Mr Ryan's class are in full flow as they trot around the footprints in our backyard every day. Inspired by the Daily Mile Initiative, our track consists of .25 of a kilometer of painted footprints.
And instead of running a mile, the boys take four laps to run at least one kilometre every day. Walking is permitted too of course!
The main thing is to get out there and have fun!
We hoisted the Daily Mile Flag yesterday along with Olivia Bennett, Board of Management representative and Cilles Athletic Club member. Olivia is a veteran of four marathons and presented each boy with lovely medals from Cilles for all their regular running efforts.
Also in our photos is Mrs Eimíle Byrne, Assistant Principal, who led this initiative from 2018. We have lots of keen runners in our school but also a commitment to fitness for everyone.
Let's keep moving!
Best of luck to Andrey in the European Chess Championships! Andrey won the Leinster League this year and of course the finals will be played online for the year that's in it!
Indeed, our Chess Room lies silent this year as we stick with the rules which keep us safe.
But we're looking forward to scenes like this again in 2021 when Andrey and his companions can join in the fun, strategic thinking and concentration which this great game demands.
Best of luck in the European Finals Andrey!
The European Chess Final is over and Andrey came 19th out of 72 competitors! Well done Andrey on a magnificent performance. Now, all we need is to get the whole school back playing chess again!
This season of Advent is the time for waiting. We await the celebration of Jesus's birth on 25th December and all of the joy, sharing and giving that goes with that.
In preparation for that, our school is happily festooned with our Christmas art and decorations.
And we are also preparing little celebrations of the season in every classroom. Normally we would have our very popular Christmas Fair and also our Christmas Concert at this time of the year. Instead, we will share mini concerts, projects and plays online with parents via Google Classroom and See Saw.
But we are eagerly looking forward to Christmas too. Our celebrations will be quieter this year but all the sweeter for us getting to the end of this term safely. We are so grateful to be together here in school, grateful for parents respecting the rules which keep us safe, and to our boys and our staff who have whole heartedly adapted to the new routines demanded of them.
Let's wait now, prepare for a great Christmas and keep one another safe.
Ghosts and ghouls, spidermen and spacemen stalked the grounds of our school today. We even spotted an Irish Mammy with her wooden spoon! Yes, at last mid term mayhem has arrived, Hallowe'en is around the corner, and, after several weeks of sanitizing, staying safe, getting reaquainted with old classmates and new routines, the boys were ready to have fun!
We're all just so grateful to be back together again. Grateful for time together with our friends, for the learning each day brings and for all that we have.
We're grateful for Claire and Pat and all the extra work they have taken on this term to keep our school super clean.
And grateful for Brian for all his work indoors and out!
Happy Hallowe'en All! Have a Great Break!
Last Thursday was one very happy day. After our prolonged school closure we finally got to reopen our school to our pupils!
It's been a mammoth task. Alongside all the usual preparation for the year-staff recruitment, new enrolments, and building maintenance - August 2020 brought a whole new raft of issues to ensure the safest possible reopening of our school.
And thanks to the dedication of our Board of Management, our teachers, SNAs, our cleaning staff and our great school community, we got here!
Welcome back everyone!
In advance of the big day, our staff have thoroughly discussed the Department of Education Covid 19 Response Plan. We all worked together to ensure our classroom layouts have been reconfigured to maximize social distancing. And children are being encouraged now to keep their distance as much as possible.
New signage has been placed all around our school and in the school grounds. And the children have been GREAT at following the rules.
We are reminding parents that the rules are for them too! Please keep your 2 metre distance from others when you are on our school grounds. Do NOT stop to talk-just keep moving.
LOTS of time has been given to revising the rules for handwashing and handsanitizing, along with practising a good cough etiquette.
And every class stay with their own class or bubble for the entire school day.
Children are discouraged from sharing pencils, erasers and other items and really have roped in well with the new guidelines.
We are really fortunate of course, to have a great new building and spacious play areas which allow for maximum social distancing between classes.
It hasn't all been plain sailing though... the inclement weather threw in an added challenge on Thursday, traffic was chaotic and there was some confusion as to which child was on which bus. But Friday ran much more smoothly.
If drivers could exit left only when leaving the school grounds it would be a big help!
The children will be taken inside the basketball court for collection and walked to their designated class station in the court so please do not congregate in front of the school at 2pm or 3pm
But most people have been superb and as keen as we are to keep the rules which help us stay open.
My thanks to those who have advised the school that they are keeping their children out while they safely isolate having returned from a country which is not in the green zone. And my thanks to all for their patience and understanding as we adapt to a whole new way of being as a school.
Please give your son time to settle in. Visitors are not allowed in to meet with anyone without a prior appointment and forgotten items must be left in the Drop Box at the school's front door.
Most people have managed to adapt to our staggered system of arrival at school. Times are allotted according to the first letter of surnames;
A-E arriving at 8.50
F-L at 9:00
M-Z at 9:10
Break times have had to be staggered too, to minimize contact between classes in our school yard.
Our Junior Infants have arrived from 10:00-12:00 each morning and will continue to do so until Friday 4th Sept.
Our pupils have been wonderful. They're here to learn. Let's work together to keep them at school!
We're delighted to have Mrs Lohan and Ms Kerr working together this year with one of our Senior Infant classes. Please show your son this slideshow and video clip as it will explain our both teachers will work together with them this year and help ease them back into school on August 27th.