Many activities in our school take place outside the actual classroom. On this page we compile information on such activities. We are extremely lucky in SSP to have an indoor hall. We certainly make the most of this facility.
Extending classroom spaces
In a slow process we have gradually extended the spaces used for various activities to extend into the formerly unused corridors between classrooms. The result is stunning. A great range of activities can happen here, with or without immediate adult support. Examples documented here include printing, making pancakes, lego and table football.
A recent addition to the equipment was donated to us by Tom when he left SSP last summer. His racing track now functions as a welcome device for experiments about speed and gravity …
There are also two reading corners with a couch, a bench and well-equipped bookshelves. The entire set-up is also very well used at break times when it rains and the children can’t go out on the yard.
The Outdoor Chemistry Lab Volcano Experience …
Mixing magic potions, stuff that bubbles up, bubbles over, erupts like a volcano. Here we go. All done just outside the classroom door in our Outdoor Chemistry Lab:
Playing School in School
Our Chill Room is a fabulous resource for all sorts of drama and play-acting. When children play school in school, there is at first sight a peculiar note about it. But at second sight, this is a pretty good way of learning. The (slightly) older children take on the role of the teacher, teaching the (slightly) younger ones, and thereby reinforcing their own knowledge.
Sometimes it is even possible for an adult to join in and reverse roles – even if it can lead to some serious corrections when the teacher has to point out that the work is not neat enough …
That the ability to read and write is a basic cultural skill to get on in society is widely accepted. Accordingly we see the acquisition of literacy skills as a hugely important part of the schooling experience of children. This is not to say that children cannot learn to read and write outside of school, too, in fact many do. For the children as SSP we try to establish a climate where reading is an enjoyable activity, where books are cherished and valued as an attractive way to spend time.
Children at SSP find numerous opportunities during the day to simply “disappear” in a book. And there are lots of spaces in the school that are deliberately designed as comfortable reading spaces. They may not look like a traditional classroom setting, but their effect on the children is indisputable: they enjoy reading; on their own, or with their friends.
Tasting the world
Farhio and Hodan brought in food from their home country Somalia recently. That was a fabulous idea. We set up a table in Carmel’s classroom for a joint meal and explored Somalia through our taste buds … delicious.
And just as delicious was the treat that Aya brought in a few days later. Ever tried Iraqi food? If not, here is a mouthwatering impression …
Concepts are the key to understanding maths. A concept that we looked at recently is the idea of symmetry: whatever happens to be on one side of an axis is reproduced as a mirror image on the other side of the axis.
The older children use the hall to practically experiment with the concept of symmetry.
Work in progress … and the finished product:
And then we also transfer the concept into other modes of presentation:
A welcome opportunity to indulge in another hands-on adventure with eggs, flour, sugar, oil and electricity is Pancake Tuesday. It may look a bit provisional but it tasted absolutely superb.
Cake Sale and Jumble Sale
Deirdre’s class organised a cake sale and jumble sale again this year. This is nearly a tradition by now since it happened a good few times over the last couple of years. For the children the organisation of the event is a fully-fledged project. It involves all aspects of planning and promoting it, setting up the tables, chairs, games, dishes in the hall on the day, preparing the cashpoint, keeping account of money exchanges, and obviously also selling and buying themselves.
Matthew and Tamas wrote this year’s invitation letter:
We decided at our school meeting to have a cake sale and jumble sale on Friday the 3rd February at 10.00 am. The money raised will be used to buy resources for the children. If you make cakes or buns, please bring them in after school on Thursday or on Friday morning. Anything that you bring for the jumble sale must be in good condition. Everyone is welcome to come to the sale.
Matthew and Tamas
Chess has become the latest fun activity enjoyed by the children in Sligo School Project. Deirdre has begun chess lessons with the children from 2nd to 6th classes and already, the children have mastered the basic skills and are enjoying playing games together. A website that is free of charge and allows children to play chess against a computer is: www.chesskid.com – it is a good website for beginners as it shows the child all the possible moves each piece can make which helps them to improve their game. It is well known that chess is a strategic game involving mathematical thinking so the children are developing their minds as well as having fun. If any of you as parents/grandparents play chess Deirdre would love to hear from you. All help with the chess lessons would be much appreciated.
The children of Carmel’s class have started exploring the school garden a little bit closer in recent times. One thing they found quite exciting was the amount of slugs and snails that are living in the garden. Obviously for the plants that we want to harvest the slugs and snails are a threat because they simply eat them before they are ripe or fully grown. Hence it is always a good thing to collect slugs and snails and relocate them in a good distance to the garden.
But at the same time the little animals are rather interesting creatures, too. They lay eggs, they have no legs and still can move, the snails even carry a house on their back. No surprise that many of the children have taken a certain liking particularly for the snails. Frequently they collect a couple of them, put them together into a box, feed them and observe them closely.
New Design on Yard
Paul, Deirdre and Agnieszka coordinated the painting. All children had a go at using the spraypaint.
Eventually: Sandpit Season Starts
This last winter seemed incredibly long and wet. Eventually in April there was the first spell of warmer and nicer weather and we started our sandpit season for 2016. The cover that was over the sandpit was removed and the children took to the sand with great joy. The increased size of the sandpit means that it is possible for large groups of children to play collaboratively and build quite amazing shapes. Witness:
On Tuesday the 15th of March, we will celebrate Proclamation Day. All over the country, activities are taking place to commemorate the Easter Rising of 1916 which is recognised by many as the foundation of the state we live in now. The children have been learning about the people involved in the rising, including Countess Markievicz who lived at Lisadell in Sligo. We found out that lots of innocent people were killed during the rising, something that happens in all wars. Sadly, there were 40 children killed during the week of the rising. Most of the fighting took place in Dublin and the children in Deirdre’s class have been looking at an interesting website: www.dublinrising.withgoogle.com
The story of the rising is narrated by the actor, Colin Farrell. The site is interactive and there are lots of photographs, videos and recordings from 100 years ago. The children could look at Dublin of 1916 and compare it with the Dublin of 2016.
Izaq 9 Maths Equipment
Paul Conlon, the School Completion worker, recently brought some maths equipment into the school for the children to use. It is a set of cubes which are used together with an interactive website to help children develop their maths skills. The idea is that the children work in small groups to solve various mathematical tasks. The process is just as important as the result. Through communication, trial and error, discussion and co-operation, the children learn from each other and have a lot of fun in the process. We will have access to the equipment for a number of weeks and the children should benefit greatly from this opportunity. The material is linked to an interactive webpage and if you are interested to see what this is about you can check this out here.
A Novel Way to Learn about Fractions
Once again, the children integrated maths and another area, cooking. They made home-made pizza and when it was cooked, they cut it into various fractions, half, quarter, twelfth. By the end of the class, the children knew that they would much prefer to have half than one twelfth! To give you an impression of the mouthwatering character of mathematics here are some snapshots.
We don’t add pictures of the subsequent lesson in healthy eating, but rest assured it was yummy!!!
And for those of you who wish to copy us, Anna has compiled the recipe for you:
How to Make Home Made Pizza
500g plain flour
1 sachet dried yeast
1 tsp salt
325ml warm water
- Sieve the flour into a bowl.
- Put the yeast on one side and the salt on the other side of the bowl.
- Make a well in the centre and add the water.
- Mix from the centre outwards.
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes, cover with cling film and leave to rest for an hour.
- Break off some dough and roll it thin.
- Put on a greased and floured baking tray.
- Put the sauce and cheese on top.
- Cook in a hot oven for 10 minutes (240 degrees celcius)
By: Anna Ridgewell (Third Class)
As much as possible, the children learn mathematical concepts through activities. Here you see the children learning all about length using rulers, metre sticks and trundle wheels. Learning is fun and that’s as it should be. Activities like these allow the children to work in groups which is an important skill in life. We use the entire school building for these activities.
Deirdre’s class made Rocky Road which is a delicious chocolate treat. As you can see from the pictures, none of it was wasted! The children wrote procedures to explain how they made it so feel free to have a look here.
The children also made Rice Krispie buns. They are easy to make but they taste lovely! They plan on making pizza as well as homemade soup. We will put the recipes and procedures up on the website so that you can try to make them at home.
Presentation of the Flag and Proclamation
Two members of the Defence Forces visited our school in October to present the school with a flag and a copy of the Proclamation. It is 100 years since the Easter Rising which changed the course of Irish History. The children enjoyed learning about the flag and about the 1916 Rising. Events are taking place all over the country this year to commemorate the Rising.
It has become a tradition at Halloween that the children dress up and play a variety of Halloween games. This is something that the children look forward to every year. The costumes were great and a lot of fun was had by everyone.
While learning about the Jewish Festival, ‘Rosh Hashana’, the children had fun eating apples dipped in honey which is a traditional food eaten by jews during this festival. The honey symbolises a sweet new year which everyone hopes to have.
The children in Carmel’s class recently learned about healthy eating and the importance of fruit and vegetables in our diet. At the end of the course of lessons, they went to the shop to buy a variety of fruit. Back in school, they enjoyed a fruit party. Tasting new fruits was a lot of fun for the children. The good weather helped to make the day an enjoyable one.
On the 9th of March, the children did Energy Workshops in the school. Deirdre applied to have someone from Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland deliver workshops to the junior and senior classes. A girl called Ciara delivered the workshops. They were very informative and interactive with the children playing a fun game in the hall at the end to help reinforce the concepts learned. They also carried out various experiments related to energy which the children enjoyed, for example how energy is transferred and how energy is created during a chemical reaction. The children learned all about climate change and global warming. They learned that CO2 (carbon dioxide) is harmful to the atmosphere in that it does not allow the sun’s heat to escape which means that our climate is changing rapidly. Most importantly, they learned about ways in which we can save energy in our homes and schools and also, they learned that there are renewable sources of energy which we can use to make electricity instead of always burning fossil fuels which harm the atmosphere. The topic of energy is certainly very topical and by learning about climate change, the children will be able to make a difference by saving energy and by encouraging others to do so also.
Heritage in Schools Project
This year the school got involved in the ‘Heritage in Schools’ programme. On the 10th of October, Martina Butler spent a half day in the school and did a workshop with the children on the theme of mini-beasts. The children were surprised by the variety of mini-beasts that live in the school grounds! Using view-finders, they were able to study them closely.
Martina visited the school last year when she did the ‘Bizworld’ workshop with the children. It was a pleasure having her back again this year.
There is actually a webpage that explains the ‘heritage in schools’. You may find it interesting to have a look here.
For Maths Week this year, the children in Deirdre’s class created a maths trail for the juniors. They worked in groups to come up with all sorts of maths problems for the children to solve. It is a great way for the children to understand that maths is actually all around them and not just in maths books and computer activities.