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As the Winter set in we did “10 at 10”, ten minutes exercise at ten to ten, on wet days. (That’s a lot of counting by 10.)
We had lots of fun carving the pumpkin, making pictures and baking “báirín breac”.
On a beautiful Autumn day, we set of in search of “Leafman”.
“A leafman has got to go where the wind blows. “
Developing the skill of observation and drawing.
“Every child is an artist”
“Oh the places you will go!”Dr Seuss
In term 1 we explored 2D shape, number patterns, ordinal number and fractions. We learned about these new concepts and developed our Maths skills in lots of fun ways.
1st Class were learning all about Outer Space for the last couple of weeks. During Science week we visited the Planetarium in the Mill Theatre and got a sense of what it might be like to really blast off into space! We read the picture book, “The Darkest Dark” by Chris Hadfield and enjoyed some of Hadfield’s videos about life on a space station. We also learned about Neil Armstrong’s visit to the moon.
The children created amazing art work of the solar system. Using marbles and paint we created some colourful paper which we used to make the planets in the solar system.
To consolidate all this learning the children engaged in some space themed play and construction activities. The children most certainly had a blast! Have a look at the photos to see some of our creations!
Lisa’s 1st Class were very busy in Term One. You can see a selection of photos of their art work and activities here.
After enjoying the story of Fantastic Mr Fox the children drew their very own fox using oil pastels. Didn’t they do a great job?!
During the autumn months we collected all types of leaves, sketched some of them, made leaf rubbings, made leaf creatures and much more!
We enjoyed the Enormous Turnip story and followed this up with a sequencing activity which involved lots of team work. Then the children created their own little turnips and pumpkins using some orange play dough.
Halloween was lots of fun in 1st Class this year. The outfits were super! As part of our morning meeting, 1st class had a super spooky spider web greeting on the last day of term. It was quite tricky to untangle at the end!
Last month, First Class were learning all about weight so what better way to test out our knowledge and skills than baking cupcakes?!
In groups, we weighed out the butter and sugar, before mixing it together in the mixing bowl. Next we carefully cracked the eggs into the bowl, making sure no shell went in to the mixture (imagine crunching on eggshell in your cupcake! Ew!). When we had mixed the eggs with the butter and sugar, we weighed the self-raising flour were and gently mixed it in to the batter.
This helped our buns to rise and be lovely and fluffy when they were cooked.
We then placed the mixture into bun cases on a baking tray, before putting them into the oven for 20 minutes. When they turned golden-brown, we took them out and got to make yummy icing to decorate our buns. The best bit was definitely getting to taste our iced buns. They were absolutely delicious!
This week First Class were describing how houses and homes can be different, before drawing and labeling pictures of our own homes.
In our table groups, we then had to work together to build houses out of Lego. We were given a brief of what our houses must include (a door, windows, 2 storeys and a roof). At first, this seemed like a very challenging task but the amazing architects, brilliant builders, perfect problem-solvers and enthusiastic engineers of First Class powered through and every single group successfully completed the brief.
1st class have been very active in Maths class this week! We have been learning about length, width and height. We have been making predictions and then measuring various items around the classroom. We used non-standard units of measurement such as cubes, links, hand spans and strides. Today we tried measuring with a standard unit of measurement, the metre! We used a piece of string, which was exactly one metre long, to measure the doors, windows, desks and even the width of the entire classroom!
Last week, we were exploring and experimenting with pattern in maths, art, music and almost every other subject you can think of! We realised we are surrounded by different patterns so our pattern-making skills were Level: Expert! We made patterns in a variety of ways, including Lego, buttons, shapes, colours and cubes. We even created a grid of 28 different patterns on paper using oil pastels. We then painted each pattern grid with watercolours but the clever oil pastel was able to resist the paint, resulting in these fabulous masterpieces.
We have been learning about 2D Shapes recently and decided to see how many shapes we could find in our own classroom. Did you know we are surrounded by all kinds of shapes everywhere we go?
Our bin has a circle at the top.
The 100 Square is a giant square itself.
Our Worry Monster has an oval-shaped tummy.
Our paint pots and glue sticks have circle faces too.
For World Book Day, we dressed up as our favourite characters and creatures.
Most of Hogwarts came to our school on this day, as well as other witches and wizards, football players, doctors, ghosts and even Horrid Henry! It was an eventful day trying to do maths and read stories with dinosaurs, princesses, zombies, pirates, Alice in Wonderland, ghostbusters and Lego ninjas sitting in our classroom!
First Class had a busy day today learning lots about Science. First we learned some interesting facts about the solar system. We then work on some space themed problem solving in Maths class. Later we were invited by Lucy’s 5th Class to see a science demonstration, called “Elephants Toothpaste”! 5th Class students showed us that when you mix yeast, water, washing up liquid, food dye and hydrogen peroxide, they create a chemical reaction, that really does look like a giant toothpaste tube being squeezed out! After that we went back to our own class and created some art work to represent the solar system. The children used marbles to create an interesting effect on their planets. I will share some photos of the finished work later, as they are not quite completed yet!
A super day of science!
You have heard of Google Maps but now get ready for First Class Maps!
We became cartographers last week when we made maps of our classroom. We had to imagine we were spiders crawling along the ceiling and looking down at the desks. Standing on our chairs and looking directly down at our tables helped us imagine how the other objects in the classroom would look from a Bird’s eye view.
Last Tuesday, 1st class had a visit from Ian Patterson, who told us lots of interesting facts about birds of prey. He brought in two of his birds, Fluffy, the long eared owl and Bob the falcon. Although Fluffy had the most amazing big bright orange eyes, we learned that owls cannot see very well in the daylight. We also learned that they fly almost completely silently due the type of feathers they have. This makes them excellent hunters. Some of the children got the chance to put on the leather glove and wait for one of these amazing birds to fly and land on their outstretched arm! It was a wonderful experience for all!
Fun with magnets in First class.
The children thoroughly enjoyed moving a car across the top of the desk using a magnet and a car attached to a magnet.
Testing out magnetism. The boys were using round hoop magnets to see how attraction and repulsion worked. They thoroughly enjoyed watching the floating magnets “defying” gravity.
As the school have moved location this year we decided to take advantage of this and go on a class walk around our local area. We looked at aerial images of the school on google maps in our class with our teachers and learned about Dundrum. We picked out some of the most obvious features like the road and the Luas and decided to study them as a class. We also looked at some old pictures of Dundrum and we compared our findings against the land features that exist today and we discovered that Dundrum has changed a lot. The Dudrum Shopping centre wasn’t always there and the Dudrum Luas Bridge wasn’t always there. Our teachers explained that the new Luas Bridge used to be a train station years go before the Luas existed.
As part of Engineers week we decided to investigate the Dundrum Luas Bridge. We watched this video in class and decided to see if we could find similar features in our local bridge.
Video on building Bridges:
We noticed that the Luas Bridge also had triangles as they are an important feature of a bridge and used for strength and stability.
We enjoy studying engineering in our local area and reading books about bridges.
K’Nex Masters at work
We have been very busy in school this week constructing with our K’NEX. We have decided to explore the world of Civil Engineering and try our hand at building structures for specific purposes.
First of all we spent some time drawing up the blue print and planning the building we wanted to build. We then had a class discussion about the materials we could use. This team chat was great as we could see everyone’s ideas and figure out what would work best.
We then got down to the construction. Some of the children had experience playing K’NEX at home, and they gave us some advice. They knew all the K’NEX tricks and were able to share their advice with the group. They became the project leaders and advisers.
For every structure we started with a foundation and decided that the most stable shapes were squares and rectangles. They were also the easiest to build.
For the roof we decided that a triangle would be a good shape to help the rain and snow flow off the roof. We learned that a triangle is the strongest shape for construction, from building our bridges.
We had so much fun using the K’NEX and can’t wait to use them again.
Learning all about Pulleys..
In First Class we are learning about simple machines we use, to make everyday life easier. To start off our investigation we are learning all about pulleys. We first of all looked at a simple video of how a pulley worked and had a short discussion about Pulleys in our lives.
We decided that cranes work the same as a pulley and some other everyday pulleys include flag-posts, boat and masts, wells and building sites.
We looked at the details of a pulley and decided that simple pulleys need two features:
- a curved edge
- a string to attach to the item you wish to be pulled.
There were lots of things with a curved edge and a cylinder shape that we could use and we chose a rolling pin and an empty spool of thread. We then attached items of different weights to be raised up by the pulley.
Some of the things to learn about during this experiment were gravity and pulleys using a fixed and movable pulley. One of the best things about this experiment is that this is an old invention still in use today. It was fun to learn about how things in our great grandparents time were used and how the same is in use today, many years later.
This was the biggest challenge, a heavy bucket which we had to stabilize so none of the pencils would fall out. We learned about balance and where the best place to hook the string to the item would be. We had to pull the weight steadily so the pencils wouldn’t fall out. This was loads of fun.
For science this week we looked back into the past to see what science experiement people used years ago. We decided to make a catapult. We made an experiment with lollipop sticks and elastic bands. It was very simple and lots of fun. We realised we needed to reinforce the catapults to make them stronger. Reinforcements are very important for structures in all of our science experiements, to make sure our structures are strong and stable.
We now know that the triangle is one of the strongest shapes in the world, we learned this while undertaking our spaghetti bridge building experiment.
Catapults were first introduced in battles to destroy castles. We learned about elasticity and how it is stretchy and how rubber bands stretch very far. We also learned that if we stretch it very far and let it go it will hurt your fingers.
The best part about the catapult challenge was when we had a catapult race at the end and had to see which catapult could shoot the stick the furthest.
The Science bit:
Elasticity is the ability of an object or material to resume its normal shape after being stretched or compressed. We used a rubber band for the elasticity part of our experiment. When looking at catapults from years ago, we learned that big rubber bands would not be effective they had to use ropes instead. We decided to vary our experiement by using different numbers of rubber bands.
We’ve had a busy week in First Class this week. We have been learning all about protein and how it is important for our growing bodies. We spoke about where protein comes from and why it is important in our diet. As part of our investigation, we decided to carry out the egg and vinegar experiment.
On Monday we put one raw egg into a full glass of water and we put another raw egg into a full glass of vinegar.
We made predictions about what would happen to the egg in 24 hours.
Some of our predictions were:
“The egg in vinegar will crack”, “The egg in vinegar will float”, “The egg in vinegar will sink”
We labelled the glasses and set them aside.
After leaving the egg for 24 hours we rechecked the egg to see if any of our predictions were correct. After the set time, we examined the egg and noticed that the egg in the vinegar had changed. There was a new bubbly substance in the glass forming at the top. Everyone got to feel the egg in the glass and we all noticed a difference. The egg was now smoother and some children remarked that it was spongy and foamy, not like a typical egg. We then set the egg aside for another 24 hours. The egg in the glass with the water was now at the bottom and no physical difference was noticeable.
Step 3- The fun part!
After leaving the egg to set for 48 hours it was now time to see what changes had come about. We took the egg out of the vinegar and washed off the foamy substance. We were left with an egg free shell, in a rubber sack. The children all felt the egg and remarked that it was similar to putty or a rubber ball. We had to remember to be very careful with the egg and make sure not to squish it too much in case we burst it.
Testing the egg:
We decided to test the egg by throwing it forcefully onto the grass at the front of our school. We all watched as the egg crashed to the ground and to our delight it exploded. We then examined the remains and the rubber sack had burst and the normal egg was now cracked on the grass.
We thoroughly enjoyed this experiment and working as scientists this week. We realised that while working as scientists we need lots of patience and we need to take records.
We can’t wait for the next experiment.
Our busy fingers have been tracking our steps this week in first class. The cold weather didn’t stop us putting our coats, gloves and scarves to go on our measuring adventure. We have been using the i-pads to measure the perimeter of the AstroTurf Pitch and the Netball pitch at school. From walking around the small Netball Pitch we soon realized it was almost half the size of the big AstroTurf pitch.
We had lots fun tracking our steps and the distance we walked, we could see the loop it made on the i-pads. It was fun to take the i-pads outside on an adventure too. When we came back to class we calculated that if we walked around the AstroTurf pitch four times we would have walked a full KILOMETER.
Using google maps in class we could see an aerial and map view of our school building and the area around it. We were able to tell from looking at the map that the Netball pitch was much smaller.
We look forward to tracking our distance withe the I-pads on our next adventure.
We are enjoying learning together in First Class. Every day we work in small groups to improve our literacy skills. We rotate through four different literacy activities. Nick helps us with our writing skills and Ann and Sinéad work with us to develop reading and comprehension skills. We have learned plenty of new information and skills from reading very interesting books and from writing in different genres.
In maths we love to use materials and play games to help us learn. We work as a team and help each other to complete mathematical challenges!
In our Irish lessons we have become fantastic at having conversations and singing songs ‘as Gaeilge’. Some children have even started to write little books as Gaeilge. Bainaigí úsáid as bhur gcúpla focail sa bhaile leis an gcomhrá thíos!
Dia duit…….Dia is Muire duit.
Conas atá tú?………Tá mé go maith.
Cén rang ina bhfuil tú?…….. Tá mé i Rang a hAon
Cén aois thú?………Tá mé sé bliana/seacht mbliana d’aois.
As Deireadh Fomhair draws to a close so does Autumn and in First class we have spent a great deal of time looking at the changes in the seasons. In first class this month we examined the warm autumnal colours and used them in our Art. We looked to the school grounds for inspiration and as the leaves fell, this became the perfect inspiration behind our art work. We learned all about animals hibernating, and we discovered how to do our bit to get ready for this special time of year. We examined the hedgehogs closely and told Jim the caretaker to look out for any hedgehogs that might be hiding out in the piles of leaves on the school grounds.
It was a beautiful bright autumn day this morning and First class enjoyed an autumn walk in the grounds of the school.
We have lots of keen observers in our class and we were able to identify many of the plants, insects and trees in the grounds including the horse chestnut tree, rose hips, blackberries, ivy and willow. We also noticed the changing colours of the autumn leaves and we look forward to seeing how the leaves and trees change over the coming weeks.
When we returned to the classroom we made leaf and bark rubbings and drew fantastic pictures, with great detail showing what we had seen on our walk.
Today we had lots of fun in First Class. In the morning we were so excited to observe the frogspawn Zach brought in to school. We have been learning about frogs and it was very interesting to see real frogspawn. We read a book about the life cycle of a frog. During Art we made our own frogs from clay. We can’t wait to paint them next week!
We had a wonderful week last week for Seachtain na Gaeilge. We danced and sang songs and used our Irish whenever we could. We can say lots of words and phrases in Irish and enjoyed playing games like Deir Ó Grádaigh and Bróga Draíochta.
Lastly, we are very proud of our art work. We learned about Brazilian artist Romero Britto. He uses lots of geometric shapes and bright colours in his work. Our beautiful pictures were inspired by his work.
First Class walked to Airfield Farm last week. We had a fabulous time. We saw lots of animals, including horses and a foal, sheep, goats and chickens. We saw a cow being milked and came across a great collection of vintage cars. We had a wonderful walk there and back, noticing many beautiful signs of spring along the way. We noticed lovely daffodils growing in a nearby garden and other spring flowers starting to bloom. Before we returned to school, we had a very enjoyable time in the playground at Airfield. We even got to have a go on the zip line!
We love being active in First Class! We have been doing a lot of athletics this term, as part of our P.E. lessons. We have been learning the right technique for running, sprinting and for hurdling. We have been learning how to work together in teams, participating in various types of relay races and we have been working on our reaction sprints. Athletics is so much fun! We have especially enjoyed our athletics stations, where we have been working on our coordination skills whilst learning how to hula hoop and we have been putting all our newly learned athletics techniques to good use as we run, skip and jump through the other stations. Take a look at how active are!
This month First Class have been exploring space and the solar system. We have learned so many interesting facts about space and have used our imaginations to become astronauts and to have our own space adventures along the way! We wrote fantastic pieces about the Solar System and about space travel. We created beautiful wax resist paintings of the Solar System and gorgeous chalk pastel drawings of the Northern Lights.
First Class have settled back into school life very quickly since the holidays and have been engaged in many interesting learning activities.
In Ethical Education we explored the concept of making a difference; by listening to and discussing ‘The Starfish Story’. We thought about what we could do to make a difference in our world, no matter how small. We came up with some really worthwhile ideas such as recycling, giving to charity, taking care of friends when they are hurt and taking responsibility at home by cleaning up.
We have been exploring the theme ‘Space’. Look at some of the beautiful art work from our classes. We drew planets and coloured them with oil pastels. We painted the background and with watery paint. The wax resists the paint as wax and water don’t mix. We think they look out of this world!
We also had a lovely visit from Fiona and her dog Jake. They came from Dogs Trust to teach us how to be safe around dogs. We learned about how to approach a dog when parents and the owner give us permission.
Winter is well and truly here and this month in First Class we have been embracing the cold and using it to fuel our creativity! We created fantastic oil pastel drawings of children wrapped up in winter clothes, catching snowflakes on their tongues. We got the inspiration for this artwork from the poem ‘Winter Morning Poem’ by Ogden Nash:
Winter is the king of showmen
Turning tree stumps into snow men
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes
Smooth and clean and frosty white
The world looks good enough to bite
That’s the season to be young
Catching snowflakes on your tongue
Snow is snowy when it’s snowing
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going
We also wrote some wonderfully imaginative stories about a snowman, inspired by the story ‘The Snowman’ by Raymond Briggs.
Take a look at our creative writing below!
We have been learning all about the Arctic and the Antarctic this month in First Class. The weather has turned cold here in Ireland but we discovered that it is considerably colder all year round in these Polar regions! We took a look at some of the animals who live in both the Arctic and in Antarctica. We wrote wonderful reports about these animals and also produced fantastic artwork to represent these animals. Both First Classes created gorgeous polar animal sculptures out of clay and we also made 3D penguins using oil pastels. Take a look at our wonderfully cute animals below!
During the month of December, as part of our ethical education, we learned all about some important winter festivals which are celebrated both here in Ireland and in other parts of the world. We focused in particular on the festivals of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas. We completed many activities based around these festivals.
As a follow up to everything we learned about the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, we wrote beautiful Hanukkah acrostic poetry and painted colourful candles in art.
Kwanzaa is a secular festival, which honours African heritage in African -American culture. We made impressive collage pictures of the Kinara, which is the special candle holder used to represent the seven core principles of Kwanzaa. These principles are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith).
As part of our discussion of the festival of Christmas, we focused on some creative writing. We based this around a wonderful story we read by the author Dr. Seuss. The story was entitled ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas.’ We discussed the Grinch, the main character in the story and came up with many ideas about why he was so grumpy and why he didn’t like the festival of Christmas. We brainstormed ways in which we could cheer him up and then wrote about this. Take a look at the wonderful work we produced. We are very proud of our grumpy Grinch pictures!
For the month of December we focused on math word problems during our math stations. We are becoming so good at breaking word problems up into smaller chunks and using pictures and discussion to solve them! We have loved working together for this problem solving and we are finding out that we are becoming really excellent at listening and cooperating in our stations.
We were inspired by the wonderful pumpkins grown in our very own school vegetable patch and decided to have a go at creating our own pumpkin pictures. Look at the fantastic still life drawings we have produced. We used oil pastels to really make the autumn colours stand out. We are so proud of our positively perfect pumpkins!!
We have been having a lot of fun with maths so far this term! We have been solving problems and working together to figure out the properties of big numbers! We have had great fun working in maths stations, completing loads of fun activities and creating exciting games with number. Our skills are really improving and we are becoming confident mathematicians!
In June, Ciara’s First Class have been learning all about Australia. The children have really enjoyed this topic and worked really hard on their ‘Australia Projects’. Look at how proud they are!
We always do our best to integrate our monthly themes through all the different curricular subjects. In Geography, we studied Australia’s location, population and landmarks. In Science, we learned all about the interesting and dangerous wildlife found in Australia, and we studied the beautiful Great Barrier Reef. In History, we learned the about Aborigines. We studied their ancient carvings and created our own stories using ancient aboriginal symbols.
We paid a visit to John’s class to present our projects and share our learning. We also performed the Australian song ‘Kookaburah sits in the old Gum Tree’ for John’s class. In Art, we created beautiful Aboriginal Dot paintings. Look at the amazing patterns we made! We also got our hands dirty and made some clay lizards, snakes and turtles.
First Class had great fun on our recent trip to Airfield Estate. First, we got to see the farmer collecting the eggs from the chicken hutch and we learned lots about the different types of chickens. Then, we got to see the cows being milked and we were introduced to the newest calf on the farm. We loved looking at all the animals and identifying the all the signs of spring at the farm. Finally, we had great fun playing in the playground before walking back to school. A great day was had by all!
In January the theme for First Class was ‘People at Play.’ We have learned how to play lots of games from the past, we have interviewed our parents about the games they used to play and we have investigated how toys have changed over the years. We have also been discussing the importance of play and of having safe places to play. We did a case study on Marlay park, looking at it’s facilities and discussing what facilities it needs. We have studied maps of Marlay Park and learned what a key is. We then designed our own park and drew a map of it, including a key. Have a look below at our amazing maps. We also created some lovely perspective artwork of trees in a park.
First class have been learning lots about Antarctica this December. We have learned about explorers like Robert Scott, Tom Crean and Roald Admunsen. We have been reading the book ‘Tom Crean’s Rabbit’ and have worked in groups to sequence the story. We have also written excellent reports about Tom Crean.
We have also been learning about the landscape and animals of Antarctica. We loved learning lots about the Emperor Penguin. They are the largest species of penguin in the world! Have a look at our penguin reports and some iceberg art that we did.
First class have been learning lots about weather in November. We have recorded the weather each day and learned how to predict the weather by observing animal behaviour and clouds. We have made our own water cycle which we observed each day and we did some experiments to find out which materials are waterproof. Have a look at all the amazing weather themed art we have made!
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Welcome to the First Class page on our lovely, new school website! We’re very excited to share with you some of the wonderful things we are learning about this year in First Class.
To begin, we must say how amazing the children of First Class are when it comes to Art. We really think that we could have a few artists on our hands in the future.
During this past month we have enjoyed learning about some famous artists, those being Vincent Van Gogh and Georges Seurat. After learning some interesting points about their lives and styles of art we responded to their work by creating our own self-portraits in Van Gogh’s style – and they look outstanding! You can see them smiling out at you from our classroom windows!
In our lesson on Georges Seurat we looked specifically at his ‘pointillism’ painting method, which involves painting with very small dots of paint and colour that then comes together in the picture to show the image the artist wanted, with a very beautiful effect. Everyone who’s passed through our classroom has commented on how brilliantly the children used this style with their own imaginations.
We will keep you posted with more lovely art and indeed lots more of our work in other subject areas over the next few months on this page of the website.
See you soon!
John and Ciara
Welcome to our First Class blog. We can’t wait to share all the fun things we have been learning with you!