23rd October 2020
I have to start the newsletter with the sad news of the passing of Rita Brennan's mother Peggy last Monday. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hAnam dílis. I don’t think there is ever a good time to lose a loved one but I think we would all agree that the current climate makes it more difficult than ever before. We as a staff would love to have been able to show our support to Rita, in a more physical way but unfortunately that was not possible. She returned today because she wanted to see the children before the break. After mid term we look forward to having the opportunity to support her in the same way she has supported us all in the 27 years that she has been teaching here.
This news and the move to level 5 across the country has left everyone a little flat. I’m sure you felt that in your own homes as the restrictions mean it is hard for everyone but extremely difficult for a lot of our families especially those who work in areas that have been forced to close their doors.
In this week’s staff meeting I have never seen the entire staff so tired. It has been an opening half term like no other and I can’t begin to praise the commitment of the parent body and the entire staff who have kept everything as normal as possible within the school and to do it all with smiles on their faces. I feel privileged to work with such an amazing group of people. I had a long conversation with our inspector Peadar Ó Muirí this week. He was primarily interested in how our health and safety protocols were working and asking if we needed any support but he was also very impressed with the level of work that was happening in every classroom in the school. This is a credit to the children and their love of learning, to the parents who foster it and to the teachers who continue with and build on all of the effort that has gone before.
As we head into the darker days it is worth holding on to that light within the children themselves. This will pass. Today’s Junior Infant assembly gave us all a lift and reminded me of the power of children to see the positives and revel in them. It’s a little Halloween story be careful, it might give you a fright! https://youtu.be/NYEfuAmf7nk
As is often the case we have improved the sound but the image quality is not great. We will keep trying.
I would like to say thank you as I have noticed an increase in the parents who pick up and go at home time. The evidence from the department shows that the infection rate within primary schools is low further emphasising that we the adults are the biggest problem. We need to keep our distance from each other while we wait and wear masks when guaranteeing that distance isn’t possible.
I was having a discussion the other day about whether the resources being deployed to keep everyone at home would be better targeted at protecting the vulnerable and allowing everyone else to continue living as normal. I can’t argue with the sentiment but I hope and believe that in all the countries who are facing the same problems as we are here in Ireland that someone wiser than me had the same idea and realised that it wouldn’t work.
Whether you personally agree or disagree with the government’s policy this is the route they have chosen and it won’t work unless we all work together. If you have a better idea, pass it on to your local TD but in the meantime let’s keep our distance, wash our hands and wear our masks.
For the next week I am going to miss listening to the buzz around the school of the children beginning to put their sounds together and start the amazing journey of reading. The sounds of laughter coming from the classes as they discuss what has been happening in a book they read. The beautiful sounds of a class singing together and the excited sounds of pods as they engage in group learning. I hope you enjoy the break in routine that comes from having your children at home. Ranelagh is blessed with so much that is within 5km from home, the walk to Poolbeg lighthouse would be my favourite. I hope that the weather allows us all to get out and enjoy what is on our doorsteps even if we can’t knock on them as would normally have. I set the children the challenge of finding somewhere to go within 5kn that they have never been before.
The PA had the wonderful idea of running the Readathon over the break as an alternative to screen time. Sponsorship forms are in the school bags. There was more information about this in last week’s newsletter. If you’ve deleted it, it’s available on our website. Don’t be alarmed but when you go looking for the form you may find some school books. I don’t see it happening but just in case; the teachers have sent home a small number of books that would help if the Department of Education changed their mind about closing schools to mirror what is happening in Northern Ireland.
To give yourself a lift this Friday here are photos and videos of our mini parade. We wanted to see each other’s costumes. Some parents happened to be out and watched from Ranelagh Road. The gardaí who were helping us cross the roads really enjoyed it as did we.
This image is apparently going around WhatsApp. Great to see WhatsApp being used to make people smile.
Happy Halloween everybody.
This week we finished our novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. It was a brilliant book with a very sad ending but it was still very good and we really enjoyed it. Hopefully we will watch the movie on Friday.
Wednesday wasn't all fun and games because we had a fire...drill. It was ok though because it was just a practice and we were told beforehand so we were well prepared.
We continued our science project this week. The whole class are working on their videos at this stage and one or two pods have the finished product sent to Ms.Grennan. We are so excited to watch all of them.
We did some cool art using sponge painting techniques and painted spider webs for Halloween.
By Zain and Max.
This Week we finished Long Division in Maths. It was a hard topic but we enjoyed it and we are happy that we have the hang of it now.
In Art we made Halloween art using paper plates. Ms. Nic A’Bhaird let us do what we wanted as long as it was spooky for Halloween. There were loads of lovely ideas like ghosts, spooky silhouettes, pumpkins and more. You can see these in the picture below.
In English and Science we learned all about life cycles. We read about the life cycle of a Salamander and wrote our own explanation piece on the life cycle of a Frog, including diagrams.
In Drama we made an abstract piece representing the life cycle of a frog (or other animal of our choice). As we knew all about it from English. For each stage in the cycle (egg, tadpole, froglet and frog) we did a movement and made a sound to represent it. Some groups included narrators.
In Music we learned about visual scores; this is where instead of writing notes on paper you draw pictures symbolising what to do/play. We made our own visual scores for our frog’s life cycle piece from Drama.
We have had a really nice week and we are looking forward to our Halloween Party on Friday!
By: Sam and Caoilinn
We were doing fractions this week for math and it was a big challenge for lots of us.
In science we made lava lamps and studied magnetism.
For art we did a big poster of a house/town in our pods. We did a project on Ancient Greece. The project topics range from the Olympics, Greek City States and Greek gods and goddesses.
We made mini ‘How to’ books on something of our choice. I (Oscar) did how to play video games.
For friendship circles we have been talking about how to be better friends and including people.
We did a new thing called zones of regulation. Zones are where we put our number on a piece of fabric. Red is for if we are mad/annoyed. Green is if you are feeling good or happy. Yellow is for if you are feeling like you can’t contain yourself and blue is if you are feeling sad/sick/tired.
For mindfulness we have been working on our breathing and our emotions. We played Cat and Mouse in PE. The aim is to capture the other player’s tails.
By Oscar and Sally
During Forest School this week, we made spider webs in one group and in the other group we played a game called Caterpillar and Meet the tree. You can see Meet the Tree being played in the picture below.
Everyone is very excited about Halloween. In class we have made hanging spider webs, spooky pictures and window monsters. We are planning a class party.
Some people have been picked as kindness monitors in the class. They look for people being kind and we celebrate that. They also look to support people who are being unkind to others.
In Maths we have been learning about fractions. It was Maths week last week and we did a lesson on The Vitruvian Man. Ask us what we found out.
Excitement has been building this week in the lead up to Halloween.
We have been learning about the History of Halloween, and how this old festival is celebrated around the world. Our favourite fact is that in Ireland turnips were carved until they discovered pumpkins in America. The Irish for Halloween is Oíche Shamhna, and Trick or Treat is Bob nó Breab.
We have been playing a chance game called “pig “on the board. It’s really fun.
Our Dia de Los Muertes skulls are amazing and have really set the scene for Halloween fun!
I wish you all a fantastic mid-term break and remember to stay safe.
Everyone has been very busy in Rang a hAon this week getting ready for Halloween. The class have been making lots of Halloween inspired art and have been learning about different Halloween traditions from around the world. Ben and Riad told us about how Halloween is celebrated in New York and Hubert told us about how Halloween is celebrated in China. The class even made their own Sugar Skull masks.
Sophie is this week's classroom correspondent! "We made pumpkins, it was really fun. We are going to have a Halloween party on Friday and we are allowed to dress up. We are practicing our numbers on the whiteboards. We are getting lots of reading time and lots of P.E., I really love P.E.! I hope we all get a guinea pig at the end of the year!".
We have had lots of fun this week in Senior Infants. We are all really excited about Halloween and have loved hanging up the halloween decorations in the classroom. We have enjoyed doing Halloween art this week as well as playing some Maths Halloween dice games! We went to Dartmouth square on Wednesday and had so much fun playing in the Autumn leaves together. We are all looking forward to Mid-Term next week. Have a lovely break everyone!
Our favourite thing this week was throwing leaves, putting leaves on each other, playing in the fort and having leaf fights! There are so many leaves on the ground. We learned that the little cup that holds an acorn is called a cupule. Aoife O'Brien liked playing in a small World. We made a haunted house with the dolls house. Mani like playing in the Witches' Kitchen. He was making spells and potions. Alice liked pouring paint onto the pumpkins and then painting them with rollers and sponges. Leda's favourite Aistear activity was Junk art and the Witches’ Kitchen. We made a haunted castle. We have been learning the Hairy Scary Castle and we are performing it for the assembly on Friday.
Halloween has changed out of all recognition in the last 40 years. The retail sector have thoroughly embraced it and are ever present in trying to convince us to consume more and more each year. Thankfully we’re not quite as bad as the US, where according to The National Retail Federation, they spent $490 million last year… on Halloween pet costumes alone!
Rather than buying Halloween costumes, try raiding your wardrobe instead. Or try charity or vintage shops for inspiration. In any case, you may well have costumes from last year that you can put a new spin on.
Try making your own decorations from materials you may already have:
Bats made from cut and painted egg cartons.
‘Head in a Jar’ made from a photo printout and a large glass jar.
Luminaries made from punched tin cans and night lights.
Gravestones made from painted cereal or pizza boxes.
A Hanging Ghost made from an old sheet or net curtains.
A ‘Monster’ Front Door made using paper plates, coloured paper and masking tape.
After scooping out those pumpkins, please don’t throw away the inside. Try your hand cooking with it:
And please compost your pumpkin after Halloween if possible.
Have a great Halloween,
The Green-Schools Committee
I would love to get through the year without giving away your children’s clothes. The two jackets to the right have been hanging around a couple of weeks now. I’d love to find a home for them.