Dear parents and guardians,
Firstly I hope that you are all keeping well. I am sure everyone is practicing social distancing and is continuing with hand and respiratory hygiene- well done and keep it up!
You may have been completing some work with your children, and thank you for your continued effort and patience.
To help with the task of keeping the children active and productive (as well as keeping us all sane), I have included some resources and ideas – not to overwhelm you but for you to have a store of items to refer to over the coming weeks. Here are some tips you may find useful:
- Setting up a routine / basic timetable to put some structure on your day.
- Set clear expectations for children around work time, play time, free time, screen time, exercise, meals etc. Pick what interests your child and what skills you wish to either impart or develop. I suggest you use some of the resources here to fill other parts of your day. Netflix has good ideas for educational TV time. The art lists have good ideas for creative time. There is plenty of info on GAA training tips, relaxation tips, reading challenges, Lego projects, etc. Music practice is also an opportunity here. I have included some links to music sites- daily practice is not always required 🙂
- Keep the routine / timetable varied to ensure there is a healthy balance of movement and exercise in between quieter times and academic work. Make a personalised rubric with older children that is filled with challenges they choose with you. That should achieve buy in and motivate them. Built in motivators for work through this time might include screen time, baking, etc. Giving children an element of choice here will achieve the buy in you need to keep the children on task, so perhaps making a list of motivators or a choice board would be a useful initial activity to do. This can help maintain focus and redirect concentration.
- A family project to work on might be making a time capsule. This could take a week or two to complete. Decide as a family what to put into the capsule; newspaper articles, photos, letters, drawings, and so forth. Decorate the shoe box or whatever the capsule is made of, and eventually bury up in the attic to be opened in 10 years’ time. We are living through a strange period in history – to store evidence of these times will develop your child’s ability to process what is happening currently and will develop their skills as historians.
- Another family project can be systematically approached with grandparents – which will help with connecting with grandparents at this time of isolation. Telephone / Facetime / Skype connections will be the necessary tools here.
You know your child’s needs best, particularly if they have special needs. If you want any ideas for skill development e.g. Fine motors skills (pencil work/cutting/beads etc), dexterity, gross motor skills, emotional regulation, concentration etc. send an email to the school email address and I will try to get back to you with some suggestions.
So, to summarise:
* Set up a timetable
*Set up learning target/ expectations with your children by making a rubric (grid) of things they (and you) would like to achieve or learn – outside of schoolwork.
* Set up a choice board with rewards and motivators.
* Start your first family project – the time capsule
* Consult the websites below for ideas, activities, links to worksheets etc.
This is a strange time, but in it lies an opportunity to connect with our children in a way we have possibly craved for in the past. As a staff we will be working together on contingency plans if further school closure is announced. We will communicate the same to you as soon as possible.
Take care and if you need further assistance please contact the school email on firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be checking this daily from home and will endeavour to respond to you as quickly as possible.
Sample COVID-19 Daily Schedules
These are sample daily schedules that may help create routine for pupils during school closures.
Body and Mind
Stick on your favourite upbeat playlist and try out these exercises one after the other. To give yourself a bigger challenge, do each circuit twice or three times or more! Spotify is free to download and has lots of songs.
|Session 1 – 5 x 25
|Session 2 – legs moving
|Session 3 – up and down
Have a family disco – stick on your favourite tunes and bop around the room for 20 minutes!
Try out as many of these exercises outside (keeping social distance!) that you can and tell your teacher which ones you’ve done.
- Cycle your bike for 10 minutes
- Go for a walk
- Ride your scooter for 10 minutes
- Draw your own hopscotch with chalk and play
- Throw a ball against a wall and catch
- Create your own obstacle course
- Run for 5 minutes
- 10 minutes of free play outside
- If possible walk home from school one day
- Jump on your trampoline
- Walk your dog
- Bubble bashing – get someone to blow bubbles for you to try and burst all of them
- Do 3 laps of your house or up and down the hall 10 times
- Keepie uppies – how many can you do in a row?
- Skip sideways up and down the garden 5 times- be sure to check out Mark Mc Cabe on Facebook for tutorials that the girls have done as part of the skipping wokrshop. Now is a chance to perfect the skills!SkipnRope
Skype with a Relative
This can be a nice idea if you have a family member who may have to self-isolate or
who you may not be able to visit. It’s a way for children to use oral language and it might be a nice kind of game to play to keep boredom away.
- Play 20 questions – take turns in thinking of an object and the other person can only ask questions which have a yes or no answer.
- A-Z – Pick a topic and take turns in naming something beginning with A then B then C and see if you can get to Z Without skipping any letters.
- The Big Interview – child prepares 10 questions they’d like to know about the relative and then asks them
- More ideas here: https://www.fluentu.com/blog/educator-english/esl-vocabulary-games/
Even if you can’t speak Irish, there are some great ways to pick up some vocabulary. One really easy activity is to pick a topic, for example: food, household objects, colours, and so on, then write down 20 words associated with that topic in a list. Next go to https://www.focloir.ie/en/ and translate the words. The great thing is that almost every word on the website has an audio recording of it so you can listen to how to pronounce the words! As a family, you could try and learn a few words every day!
For more advanced speakers, how about doing any of the tasks in the grid through Irish? The news is probably the easiest one to do as Gaeilge.
Another idea is to sign up to https://www.duolingo.com/course/ga/en/Learn-Irish to learn some Irish – 5 to 10 minutes a day and who knows how fluent you’ll be when you get back!
The Daily News
This task can be done with any age from Junior Infants to 6th class. It can be done in a number of ways but here is a suggestion for 2 different age groups:
|Infants to 1st Class
|2nd Class Upwards
| Child writes/types their news as well as news happening outside the world.
You can create your own little newsroom on the kitchen table or you can use Green Screen apps on an iPad and record your child reading their news.
You can send it to loved ones to keep in touch.
Read a Book with a Parent
Snuggle up on the couch and spend ten minutes reading for no other reason than the joy of reading a book. Of course, there are loads of benefits to reading every day but what a nice time to drop everything for a short time.
Make your family tree with your child. You can do this digitally or by hand and you can go back as far as you want!
These instructions are for these projects:
- The History of my Family An extension of the Family Tree Project – tell us m about your family
- Peace What does peace mean to you? How will we get there?
- Who is your favourite artist? Tell us something about your favourite artist – A singer? A painter? A poet?
- My Holiday Tell us about your last holiday
A Sketch A Day
If you have a copybook or sketchpad, this would be useful but you don’t really need anything except paper and a pencil. Your job is to create one sketch a day for the duration of the project. The only catch is you have to pick a theme. Choose from:
- Healthy Foods
- Happy Things
- Things that need batteries
- Famous People
- Objects that are usually red
Learn a musical instrument
Do you have a musical instrument at home? If not, it’s not too expensive to get yourself a tin whistle, recorder or even a ukulele. It’s never been easier to learn with loads of apps and websites to bring you along the way.
Tin Whistle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdUH1QZvEm8
Piano / Keyboard: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJOfTzSYW-9q2WSmGH1CNjmP3–2qaXN5
Making a puppet show can be a fun way to spend some time and there’s lots of different ways to do it now.
- Make a sock puppet – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-mfUBQE3_s
- Make finger puppets – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eq370x_lvo
- Make an online Puppet Show – Puppet Pals App
The main thing is to write the scripts and record them! If you have a puppet show stage, great; if not, use a table to hide underneath!
Set up a Mathletics account and play for 5-10 minutes. https://www.mathletics.eu
Patterns are everywhere – some of them simple like the sequence of a traffic light and some of them are really difficult like the swirls on a snail’s shell. Your job is to make a pattern using any medium you want. You could knit a scarf in 2 different colours or you could build a tower using Lego with different patterned levels. You could even write a long sequence of numbers that follow a pattern.
Websites for Literacy
Online Resources to Keep Young Writers Creating!
Friends of Fighting Words are offering the following to keep young minds engaged during the school closure period:
– Story prompts from Sarah Webb and Museum of Literature Ireland: Sarah Webb/Museum of Literature: Story prompts – https://twitter.com/sarahwebbishere/status/1238521677467791361
– The Animation Challenge for Kids from Jane Lee of Fighting Words Cork – a daily challenge using free animation software:
– Kaleidoscope Family Festival have launched HomeClub, starting March 16th: https://www.facebook.com/kaleidoscopeireland/
– Author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers plans to read and discuss his work each weekday: https://twitter.com/OliverJeffers/status/1239069008378220546
– Your local library is (virtually) open! For example, check out story time with Stillorgan Library in Dublin: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=729321630932405