Teachers and parents share their top tips for teaching during the coronavirus closures
Two weeks. Five weeks. Five months. The truth is nobody – including the Department of Education – really knows how long the schools and colleges will close for. This is an evolving situation, and the WhatsApp rumours are just that: rumours.
It’s a stressful time for parents, particularly for those who have to work from home while trying to keep children amused and educated.
For however long this goes on, The Irish Times education team will be helping parents and students access the best resources to learn from home.
We will highlight online resources, as well as work that can be done without internet access, and we want to hear from parents, teachers and students about how they’re coping, what they’re learning and their top tips for each other.
We’ve already had a great response to our online callout to teachers, and it’s clear the education community is pulling together to support learners and each other.
Please share your top tips via Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #EdShareIE, and we’ll do our best to highlight as many as possible.
The good news is there are tonnes of resources out there to meet the needs of children of all ages and stages. Here are some of the better ones as recommended by teachers and parents.
PDST (pdst.ie/DistanceLearning): The Professional Development Service for Teachers – linked to the Departmenbt of Education – has an updated section on “supporting online learning during school closures” with links to resources like Scoilnet and Webwise. It also features video to help guide teachers around online teaching.
Cogg.ie (cogg.ie/bunchar-aiseanna/) Is féidir cuardach a dhéanamh ar líne do na háiseanna atá ar fáil do theagasc na Gaeilge nó don teagasc trí Ghaeilge.
Edco e-books (edcolearning.ie) The education publisher Edco has made ebooks for primary, Junior Cert and Leaving Cert available online for free. To get the username name and password to access them, see the pinned tweet at twitter.com/edco_ie
Google G suite for education For any teachers struggling to get to grips with Google classroom, there are updated tips and tricks here on how to keep your lessons going remotely
Microsoft Office 365 /Teams Many schools are used Microsoft software to provide remote learning, but many teachers might not be used to what it can do.This site gives advice on how to ramp up online learning quickly
Computers in Education Society of Ireland (cesi.ie/cesi-mailing-list) The society is inviting teachers and principals to share their ideas, strategies and resources related to remote teaching and learning.
TeacherCPD.ie There are a number of short online courses in the area of digital technologies that teachers can access to upskill and gain ideas for distance learning.
Ciara Reilly’s teaching ideas A former primary teacher and now a lecturer in education with expertise in ICT and digital education at Marino Institute of Education, Reilly has compiled an outstanding bank of resources. padlet.com/ciarareillymarino/primarydistancelearning
Dermot Looney’s teaching resources (@dlooney on Twitter) A fourth-class teacher at St Dominic’s in Tallaght, Looney has compiled resources that are shared on his Twitter account.
@specialedteacherireland This Instagram account run by Trainability.ie managing director Angela O’Connor offers resources for primary school children and children with ASD and additional needs, including how to make visual timetables for home.
Primary school resources
Literacy / numeracy: Irish education publishers The major publishers of schoolbooks - including Edco (edco.ie), Gill Education (gillexplore.ie) and CJ Fallon (cjfallon.ie) - are making their online education resources for primary and secondary students available free of charge, including ebooks, podcasts, games and puzzles. Twinkl.ie
Created by teachers, ideal for home education, it has lots of appealing games, stories, worksheets, etc. It is offering a free month’s subscription (enter offer code: IRLTWINKLHELPS) 'School on TV' RTÉ is planning to broadcast an hour of "school on TV" to support children and their parents at home from March 30th between 11am and 12pm, aimed at first to sixth class pupils. It will be availble on catch-up on RTE Player, while worksheets will be available at on RTE.ie/learn Khan Academy Nonprofit site that provides free video tutorials in maths and reading
IXL.com Subscription-based learning experience that provides curriculum-aligned maths and English content from junior infants up to sixth year
Storyberries.com This is a free, online collection of easy-to-read and beautifully illiustrated stories, comics and poems for kids. You can select stories by theme
handwritingpractice.net Whatever happened to the art of handwriting? This site lets you create custom handwriting practice worksheets.
Over the Moon English resources (GillExplore.ie) Gill Education has provided Over the Moon English resources for junior infants to second class children on their site GillExplore.ie
Cúla4 (cula4.com) This free Irish app from TG4 is aimed at two groups: Cúla4 na nÓg is aimed at under-sixes, while Cúla4 is aimed at older children. As well as TV shows, there are games and creativity sections.
Selection of primary resources Ciara Reilly is a former primary teacher and now a lecturer in education with expertise in ICT and digital education at Marino Institute of Education. She has compiled an outstanding bank of resources at padlet.com/ciarareillymarino/primarydistancelearning, including Irish resources.
Go Noodle (gonoodle.com) Movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts and used widely by teachers who say it is a great opportunity for kids to wake up their bodies, engage their minds and be their best.
Super Troopers (supertroopers.ie) Super Troopers offers a health homework programme that encourages children and their families to live happier and more active lifestyles.
Stem (science, tech, engineering and maths):
Scratch (scratch.mit.edu) Learn to program interactive games, stories and animations
Maths, Gaeilge and reading lessons Teacher Michael O’Connor is posting daily Maths, Gaeilge and reading lessons on YouTube for the kids in his class, which might be useful to other 4th, 5th and 6th class kids and their parents: youtu.be/bt4rFdbpGkY
National Geographic Kids (kids.nationalgeographic.com): Learn about science, geography and history.
Nasa Kids’ Club (nasa.gov/kidsclub/): Child-friendly resource where kids can learn about science and space.
History, Geography and Science (@RangOrlaith) Órlaith Ní Fhoghlú is a third class teacher and she has put together activities and resources relating to the history, geography and science curriculum on padlet.com/orlaithnifhoghlu/wqeiqvodvbl4
Kahoot.com Search from millions of existing games on any topic such as brain teasers, trivia of all sorts, news quizzes and science.
Sarah Webb’s writing games (@MoLI_Museum) Award-winning children’s writer Sarah Webb is posting fun writing games and story prompts over on Twitter.
Smartycatgames Games to help children learn Irish and French in a fun and exciting manner.
SEN Teacher (senteacher.org/) This site has free special-needs teaching resources and learning materials. Its print tools allow you to create, adapt and share resources.
Secondary school resources
Dublin Academy (dublinacademy.ie) The Dublin-based grind school is posting free-to-access classes on YouTube over the coming days.
iRevise (irevise.com) This Irish revision website is providing students with free study resources for a month due to the school closures.
Studyclix (Studyclix.ie) One of the most popular of Ireland’s study websites, it offers notes, videos and a forum for students preparing for the Junior and Leaving Cert.
Protutor (protutor.ie) It is running a series of free webinars on Leaving Cert accounting topics aimed at fifth and sixth years next week.
Studynotes (studynotes.ie) Students and teachers can use the free platform to share their notes and resources.
ExamLearn.ie Founded by three recent school-leavers, who between them got 30 As in the Junior Cert and over 1800 points in the Leaving Cert. Homeschool.ie provides an online grinds service for Leaving and Junior Cycle students.
Susan Leahy (pancomido.wordpress.com/) Spanish teacher Susan Leahy has a free website for Spanish teachers and students, with lots of resources for the now-cancelled Leaving Cert orals and the higher-level essay questions.
Stephen Heffernan (@shffnn) Leaving Cert students can keep themselves fresh by using the Vifax resources from NUI Maynooth where they take a story or two from Nuacht TG4 each week and prepare worksheets on them. vifax.maynoothuniversity.ie
Leavingcertirish.com Teacher John Gavin has hosted this website since 2001; it provides a host of updated learning resources relating to Leaving Cert Irish orals and the written exam. There are free daily webinars that anyone can watch live or look back on.
Dr Eoin Ó Donnchadha(@eoinodonnchadha) History teacher Dr Eoin Ó Donnchadha has compiled a twitter thread on how Junior Cert history students can compile their family tree.
WaterfordMemories.com The lives and experiences of women in Waterford’s Magdalene Laundry can be a great case study for history and CSPE students, @AnBurcach (Stephen Bourke) suggests.
Politics and Society:
PolSocPodcast.com PolSocPodcast.com covers all things and is presented by Dr Jerome Devitt, a teacher of Politics & Society, History, and English.
Joyce Mahon's teaching resources Maths teacher Joyce Mahon has compiled Leaving Cert suggestions on jmmaths.weebly.com/ TheMathsTutor.ie Provides online support and exam preparation for Junior Cert & Leaving Cert maths. Subscription-based, but a free trial is available.
EssentialFrench.ie Students of French should check out teacher Natasha Lynch’s excellent resources, which are available on EssentialFrench.ie. Her Snapchat account is particularly popular.
SophiaPhysics.ie SophiaPhysics.ie has a resources section and is covering topics for Junior and Leaving Cert physics while telling the story of related physicists.
SCCEnglish.ie Run by Julian Girdham at St Columba’s College in Rathfarnham, SCCEnglish.ie has lots of resources for post-primary English, and more resources and ideas on JulianGirdham.com
AoifesNotes.com English teacher Aoife O’Driscoll has a free website and has been uploading notes for Junior Cycle and Leaving Cert English on it for over ten years now.