Learning at Home

Posted on Friday, March 13, 2020

Yesterday was a very unusal day for all of us at Eyrecourt NS. While we had been expecting school closures we did not expect it so suddenly. We sent home work with the children but as you can imagine it was quite rushed. In this post I will give some more advice and tips and over the coming weeks add any further interesting links.

1. Keep a routine with the children. We talked yesterday to them about doing school work on school days. Set aside some time, put on a stopwatch and clear all distractions. Try and base it around school times. We advised the children to record in their homework diary each day what they did. It will give them a sense of acomplishment.

2. This is the time to get your child reading!
Unfortunately libraries have closed also but there are so many books waiting to be read at home. Library members have free access to Borrowbox .  It has audio and ebooks available. It works like the library, you have to wait sometimes until a book is returned. 
Audio books are excellent for our weak readers. In the senior room it's great for the weak readers to have a book read to them while reading the physical book in front of them. For the very weak readers who cannot read those books, it's great for their self-esteem to listen to the story and know the same stories as their classmates. 
Audible is an app from Amazon which has every (or practically) every book. I would highly recommend it for our middle and senior pupils, particularly the weak readers. The first month is free and you can cancel any time. 
For our younger pupils, Oxford Owl is an excellent site. It has the books of the Oxford reading tree. The books are animated and read aloud and there are many exercises and activities for each book. 
Reading is everything for pupils, take this time to get all the family reading- comics, books, newspapers, biographies, receipes, letters, it's all reading!

3. Tables
Practice tables at every opportunity. For the younger pupils addition and subtraction, the story of 10. 3rd class upwards practice multiplication. There are so many apps and games online, I will list some over the next few days. 

  • A nice simple way to practice is to get a deck of cards.
  • Remove the Aces, Jacks, Queens and King.
  • Shuffle and divide the cards between two players.  
  • Each player reveals their top card. e.g. 4 and 6
  • Whoever is first to give the answer (24 for multiply or 10 for addition) keeps the two cards.
  • Game ends when the the cards are used up and the winner is the person with the most cards.

This post will be added to over the coming weeks. For today (Friday March 13th) it is probably a bit of a novelty. We are actually on a long weekend until Tuesday, so from Wednesday onwards try using the tips above to get a stucture and routine. This is a chance for children to experience a different way of learning, to explore their interests more and learn at their own pace. If we can develop a love of learning, a love of reading and tables fluency we would achieve a lot on these weeks at home!

Have a check of this post over the next few weeks as we will add sites and tips over time.
I hope this helps and that you all keep well over the coming weeks.
Kind regards,
√Čilis Treacy

Printables, Colouring, Busy work
Twinkl is a site we use quite a bit in our teaching. In the senior room I use it mostly for displays and powepoints, sometimes worksheets. In the junior room however it is invaluable for worksheets. Ms McGrath gave quite a bit of work but if you are running low, log into this site and search e.g. "letter F phonics" and you will find lots of printables.   It covers every subject but I would see it most valuable for parents of the junior room who are looking for more colouring or letter/number formation worksheets.                               
www.twinkl.ie/offer Code: IRLTWINKLHELPS  Twinkl now have packs for each class level put together for learning from home during Covid-19. All work can be done independantly.

  • Physical books are of course the best to begin with
  • Get children to read to their younger brothers and sisters
  • Read together with your child, every second page
  • Get the whole family reading for DEAR (Drop everything and read) set a timer for 15 mins and turn off the radios, TV and phone. 
  • Ask your child to read out the recipe, the instructions on a packet for cooking or decorating, an article from the newspaper or any other real life reading. 
  • Borrowbox the free library app can be joined now without having to go to the library to register. If you have any problems registering call Eyrecourt or Ballinasloe libraries as some staff are still working behind the scenes. 
  • Borrowbox is not the only free service offered. Parents might enjoy the access to magazines and newspapers offered as well. Click here
  • Library staff are still working in many of the large libraries. They are hosting videos with storytelling and book related crafts. Follow Libraries Ireland on facebook to see these videos shared.
  • David Walliams is reading one of his stories every day at 11am. Here is the link
  • Audible is free for the first month and is also allowing extra books to be downloaded for free. 
  • Oxford Owl is a brilliant resource for primary school. Highly recommend. 
  • Epic! is a lovely site, also available as an app. It has a huge range of books, comics, audio books and read-to-me stories.  Great for every primary school level.  I note in particular for the senior end all the biographies which some of the reluctant readers really enjoy. Parents can set up an account and the pupils of the junior and senior room have accounts set up by their teachers. 
  • Readtheory.org this site focuses on comprehension. Very suitable for 3rd class upwards. It has a test at the start and the child works through short passages answering questions. Register through the parent side.
  • Keeping a diary. Look at the Duchas site, our diaries from this time could become artifacts! This can be done with any age. Get a copybook, fill it in each day with what is happening. Infants can draw pictures and parents can put the caption underneath. Notices or artifacts can be stuck in also. 

  • I use the site Ask About Ireland a lot in the senior classroom. It's a nice easy to read site and has lovely History and Geography pages.
  • On the Dublin Zoo website, they have three webcams that show you inside the African Savanna, the penguin enclosure and where the elephants live.
    The best times to see the elephants are at 10.30am and 12.30pm, while the penguins have feeding time at 2.30pm! Here is the link to the webcams   They have also produced some nice activity packs for the animal lovers in your house. Click here
  • Scoilnet is our Department of Education resource site. It has many topical theme pages and I use it a lot in the senior classroom for SESE and themes.

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