Just one more request with regard to costumes next Friday – please, no clowns, creepy or otherwise! Some of the younger children are genuinely frightened of clowns in all guises.
Secondly, we had a discussion at our teachers’ meeting on the topic of homework. Thank you all for your support of your children and the school in this area.
Two things to bear in mind:
(1) all children from 1st class up are getting the chance to learn an instrument, to read music and to take part in a music group. It’s a fantastic opportunity for them, however it will only be successful for your child if s/he practises for 5 – 10 minutes every day, in addition to their regular school homework. Please do encourage this – it can be hard if your child isn’t making swift progress but slow, steady practice of even one tune really pays dividends. Some children try to pick out pop tunes etc on their instrument and this is also a great thing to encourage as it helps them to invest in their music studies. I heard a great rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Memory” from a 2nd Class recorder student yesterday!
(2) Several of the teachers are setting homework “projects” to be completed over a longer time-frame. Believe it or not, these are intended to be fun! However while the key idea is to put children in charge of their own learning and help them learn the skills associated with producing a sustained piece of work, some parental guidance / input is (probably) required and is (probably) best done by a parent rather than a creche – at the weekend if necessary. A few tips:
Spend a little time choosing which project to do and then stick with it.
Have a special stash of colouring pencils, markers, coloured paper, a scissors and glue which is only used for this kind of work.
Spend a little time planning how to do the project and breaking the work into steps. Eg. “On Monday let’s go for a walk and find a few different trees, and collect a few leaves. We’ll take some photos on our walk. On Tuesday we’ll draw the leaves. On Wednesday we’ll write labels for the leaves. On Thursday we’ll print off our photos and glue them into our project copy.”
Take photos of any activities, models, junk art etc.
Encourage your child to do as much of the work as possible himself / herself.
Discourage last-minute, hastily put together, lazy pieces of work. Ask your child: “Does this look like effort has gone into it?” If the teacher returns it and asks for it to be improved, discuss what would make the project better and what the child has learned for the next time. Project skills don’t come easily to all children but persistence will really pay off. When they’re writing their PHD theses they will thank us (I hope!).
Most of the project work that has come in has been very good, so thanks again for all your help.
We’d love to see a few more parent volunteers to help out with hearing reading. Even if you can only spare half an hour per week that would be three or four children getting some special attention. Unfortunately though we can only set this up if you are garda vetted. Hopefully more parents will get the good news soon – so far we have 31 mums and 18 dads vetted, thanks a million. Let me know if you are interested, and of course we are aware that many of you work full-time and cannot make this commitment.
Finally, this is a link to a great article from the Irish Times education page the other day. It sums up a lot of what we are trying to do in maths class. If the link doesn’t work (sorry, not very techie!) just google “Joe Humphreys so you think you’re bad at maths” and you should get it.