St Brigid’s Day

The 1st of February is the feast day of St Brigid and many of our boys learned about Brigid’s life, how she acquired her saint title through helping the sick and poor. Some classes created story boards with illustrations, and others made Saint Brigid’s crosses to hang in their homes. It’s believed these crosses will keep us safe and well – a note of hope for us all in 2021!

How to Make a St Brigid’s Cross
Materials:
9 rushes/reeds/straws
4 small rubber bands, to tie up ends
Instructions:
Hold one of the reeds vertically and fold a second reed in half.
Place the first vertical reed in the centre of the folded second reed.
Hold the centre overlap tightly between thumb and forefinger.
Turn the two reeds held together 90 degrees anti-clockwise so that the open ends of the second reed are projecting vertically upwards.
Fold a third reed in half and over both parts of the second reed to lie horizontally from left to right against the first reed. While holding the centre tightly, turn the three reeds 90 degrees anti-clockwise so that the open ends of the third reed are pointing upwards.
Fold a new reed in half over and across all the reeds pointing upwards.
Repeat the process of rotating all the reeds 90 degrees anti-clockwise, adding a new folded reed each time until all nine reeds have been used up to make the cross.(Add to the right, turn to the left)
Secure the arms of the cross with elastic bands. Trim the ends to make them all the same length. The St Brigid’s Cross is now ready to hang.

Children’s mental health

The first class boys in Room 9 took part in daily activities to mark Children’s Mental Health Week, 1st – 7th February.

Mindful Monday – The boys got a taste of mindfulness in our Mindful Monday activity.

Thankful Tuesday – Next up was Thankful Tuesday where the boys explored reasons to be grateful for things that we experience each day.

Wellbeing Wednesday – The boys designed and wrote their own acrostic poems using words we each associated with “WELLBEING”

Thriving Thursday – the class reflected on different activities and things in our life that help us to thrive, give us energy and motivate us.

Feel-good Friday – the boys finished Children’s Mental Health week by summing up things that we were proud of, what we enjoyed and what went well for us this week.

We are so proud of our first class boys for the amazing effort they put into their work this week and their positive attitudes and outlooks are something to be admired.

National LEGO day January 28th 2021

Research shows that construction toys such as LEGO can improve a wide range of mental aptitudes in children, such as spatial intelligence and hand-eye coordination. LEGO is used to make toy buildings, vehicles, creatures, machines, anything imaginable – and these little plastic bricks can be taken apart and put together as often as you’d like. That means endless creative, fun and educational play. One of our sixth class pupils took some time out from his books to build this fine machine to celebrate National LEGO day.

A message from our Principal, Ms. Anne McCabe

Dear parent/guardian,

Happy New Year to you all and I hope 2021 brings some comfort to you and your families after a traumatic 2020.
You will have seen and heard the announcement regarding resumption of remote learning from Monday 11th January as a result of the enforced closure of our school.

Throughout the lock down of 2020 and the subsequent new ways of operating our school from September until now, so many of you have contacted us and acknowledged the wonderful work the school teachers and staff have done in making sure the boys continue to receive the very best education and support.

While returning to remote learning is not good news for any of us, we have the consolation of knowing that we have supported learning at home remarkably well from March to June and that we can do it again during the weeks ahead. We also now have learned how incredibly resilient our boys are and that they can rise to this challenge of learning at home for a second time. Another comforting finding that our teachers have noted is that the boys were able to catch up on any areas they missed out on during the last lock down at a much faster pace than anticipated.

I would strongly urge our school community of school staff, parents, guardians and pupils to trust what we put in place and what has worked for us up to now. We have taken note of all the input from our school community: from our teachers and staff, from our parent body through their correspondence and survey which was completed during the last lockdown, and from our pupils who voiced their views upon their return to school last September. We have engaged in and mastered extra IT solutions and are able to support our pupils learning by digital means. We will now be returning to these forms of communication with you all.

The school team has met remotely to finalise our remote learning plan taking all of the above into account.

Here is a summary of the plan for you at home so we are all on the same mode of thinking. The class teacher will be in touch with specific details of the support for your child’s learning.

Our main aim is keeping the learning going at home, keeping the children engaged with learning from a distance.
We will be setting tasks for the pupils via our existing portals eg. Emails, Google classroom for 3rd class and above, , See Saw for 2nd class and below, Zoom, and Loom.
We are taking a realistic approach as we are catering for different home learning/parenting environments and supporting the needs of pupils who all learn at different speeds and have different learning strengths and needs. Our pupils with SEN will continue to be supported by the SEN team alongside their class teacher.
We will try to keep our communication simple and routine so that you are not overburdened or bombarded with emails, apps, activities etc.
We will try to sustain a manageable pupil workload, a realistic aim is for 2 hours a day (broken up into 3 chunks) for midlevel pupils, a little lower for younger and a little higher for older boys. We advise you to use resources such as RTE School hub as part of the learning plan at home.
We will provide a balance of on line and off line tasks, as we need to consider computer access and screen fatigue for our pupils.
Feedback on tasks is very important for all our pupils to give purpose and keep them motivated. and for our younger pupils it is especially needed at the time of completion of said task. Self-assessment helps learning immensely so at times we will ask that the boys self-correct some of their tasks, and/or correct work with their parents/guardians leading to more learning. This completed work can be kept in a folder until the teacher can see it upon return to school. The teachers will be communicating regularly with the boys where they can then show and discuss what they have learned in a more meaningful way. Of course some completed tasks and work may be submitted through Google classroom or See Saw or Email to the teacher who will give feedback at a later stage. Each teacher will let you know how they plan to do this.
Learning will consist of many options such as watching films and giving reviews, reading books and giving reviews, cooking, art and crafts, scientific experiments, learning a new skill such as playing an instrument or creating a piece of music, song, poem etc. As an active school, there will be a focus on building up fitness levels and improving fine and gross motor skills through skipping, throwing and aiming, running, dancing, hurling and football skills etc, – again your teacher will advise here.

I hope this email has allayed any concerns you have about school. Of course you will have other pressing concerns for your own family and loved ones at this time. For some this will involve caring and supporting elderly parents and vulnerable family members and/or young children. Some of you will have experienced and are experiencing the terrible sadness of losing a loved one.

If we in St Joseph’s can help you in any way, please do not hesitate to communicate with us.

These are difficult and challenging times but by supporting each other, we will get through it.

Kind regards

Anne McCabe

School Principal