Handwriting

In our school we take great pride in handwriting and correct letter formation is developed from Junior Infants to 4th using a specific scheme .  We also pay particular attention to developing and maintaining the correct pencil grip.  Children go through several stages of development before they  master this and a lot of children begin school  using all their fingers to grasp a crayon .  The teachers help each child to develop a three fingered grip (in the last picture)  as this is the ideal grip for fluent and efficient writing.   This grip needs to be maintained in older children as they can easily revert  to less efficient ways of holding a pen and once an incorrect grip  becomes a habit , it is more difficult to remediate.

Click on the images for information on our handwriting scheme

Junior Infant Handwriting Program

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Senior Infant Handwriting Program

Ist Class Handwriting Program

2nd Class Handwriting Program

3rd Class Handwriting Program

4th Class Handwriting Program

 

Has your child the correct pencil grip?

The An Post Handwriting Competition is beginning soon with all classes taking part. Its a good time to remind pupils about the importance of the correct pencil grip. 

In our school we take great pride in handwriting and correct letter formation is developed from Junior Infants to 4th using a specific scheme .  We also pay particular attention to developing and maintaining the correct pencil grip.  Children go through several stages of development before they  master this and a lot of children begin school  using all their fingers to grasp a crayon .  The teachers help each child to develop a three fingered grip (in the last picture)  as this is the ideal grip for fluent and efficient writing.   This grip needs to be maintained in older children as they can easily revert  to less efficient ways of holding a pen and once an incorrect grip  becomes a habit , it is more difficult to remediate.

 

 

 

Guided Reading

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”What is Guided Reading ?” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23adc400″][vc_column_text]Guided Reading is an instructional approach that involves the teacher working with a small group of students who demonstrate similar reading behaviours and can read similar levels of texts. The text is easy enough for the children to read with support. In St.Brigid’s the Learning Support Team work with the Class Teacher four days a week teaching Guided Reading to Senior Infants, First Class and Second Class.

Assessment:

Before starting Guided Reading, children are assessed according to their Reading Behaviours,their Knowledge and Skill, the Strategies they use to figure out words, Fluency and Comprehension Skills. In Saint Brigid’s we use the PM Benchmarking  kit for assessment.

Children are grouped with others who read in a similar way or at a similar instructional level.The Instructional level is the level where optimum learning takes place. A group can have up to 8 children. Groups will change regularly as the focus of the group changes.

Tips for Parents:

  • Encourage your child to read and re read familiar books.
  • If they come across a word they don’t know they should:
  • Look at initial sound and picture for clues.
  • Ask does it make sense?
  • Can they pick out a tricky word from the text.
  • Write out the tricky word.
  • Question them about what they have read. Ask their opinion. Discuss characters.
  • Please avoid comparing levels of siblings and friends. Children make progress at different rates.
  • Please handle books with care and return to school every day.
  • Please remember these books are costly and can be difficult to replace.
  • Parents will be asked to pay for any damaged or lost books.
  • Please do not allow children to write on any part of the book including the worksheet on the back page.

Key Elements of the Guided Reading Lesson:

  • Book Introduction : The teacher guides children through the new book and they predict what might happen.

  • Teach strategies to support independent reading: e.g.looking at initial first letters, word endings, punctuation marks, etc.

  • Reading of New Book: in Groups or individually, discussing  and explaining throughout.

  • Word Work: Sight Words and word families are taught in the context of the GR book. Using whiteboards or magnetic letters.

  • Comprehension Skills: Understanding and reflection is promoted through a variety of questions.

  • Literal questions ask children to  recall information directly stated in the text .

  • Deductive and Inferential Questions ask children to “read between the lines” and go beyond the information given.

  • Rereading familiar Text:  This is done in school and  at home. By this time children should be reading their book with ease.

The re reading of the familiar book is an integral part of Guided Reading reinforcing their new found knowledge, developing fluency and confidence as an independent reader.

  • Return and Respond to Text: Fluent Readers in First and Second Classes return to the text to discuss characters, form opinions, re write endings, design covers among other independent activities that develop their literacy skills.

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Click for a  sample information booklet 

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Safety in the Car Park

Please read the following letter  from Ms.Helen Spillane, Chairperson of the Board of Management.

Dear Parent/Guardians,

The safety of pupils at the school entrance and in the church car park has become a serious issue for us in St. Brigid’s. It has been discussed at recent staff meetings and at Board of Management meetings. The manner in which some adults park at both places and the speed at which they drive through the church car park is causing a serious risk to pupils coming and leaving our school. We are particularly concerned for children stepping out between parked cars onto the path of oncoming traffic – we ask parents to be vigilant for the unexpected child rushing out suddenly in the school vicinity.

We believe that, unless drivers dropping off and collecting children change their driving habits, a child could be seriously injured.

We need your support to protect all our children.  Please:

  • Drive SLOWLY and with care through the car park
  • Follow the ONE-WAY SYSTEM (arrows) in the church car park
  • Adhere to DOUBLE YELLOW-LINE and yellow box restrictions
  • Park ONLY in designated parking bays in the Church car park
  • Do not park or stop alongside the school railings at the Church car park
  • Use the set-down area for very brief stops

Furthermore, when parking in adjacent roads, please

  • Respect our neighbours’ right to access their drive-ways without inconvenience

Please, accept these suggestions as a genuine effort to guard against accidents or injury in the school vicinity.  By working together, we can all contribute to pupil safety.

Yours faithfully,

Helen Spillane

Chairman B.O.M.

Top Ten Writing Tips for Parents/Guardians

Top Ten  Writing Tips for Parents/Guardians

Infants to 1st

  1. Model writing yourself – shopping lists / letters / cards etc.
  2. Provide a special place for your child to write / scribble provide a variety of materials- crayons markers /pencils (box)
  3.  Display your child’s name as often as possible i.e. Sean’s Room.
  4.  Teach your child the letters in his own name.
  5.  Provide alphabet books friezes.
  6.  Write messages / reminders to your child.
  7. Encourage child to write his / her own messages. Computer.
  8. Praise your child’s efforts.
  9.  Ask child to read their own messages.
  10.  Respond to the messages and not to grammar and spelling

 

2nd to 4th

  1. Praise your child’s efforts – respond to the message and not spelling / handwriting grammar.
  2. Look for opportunities for purposeful writing activities at home – writing greeting cards, notes, telephone messages.
  3.  Encourage your child to use a word processor / computer.
  4.  Provide a quiet writing /study area for your child well equipped with pencils/ paper
  5.  Encourage your child to keep a diary.
  6.  Support your child’s spelling attempts.
  7.  Encourage him to have a go at spelling difficult words.
  8. Use scrapbooks to support the child’s hobby / special interests. Presents that support writing.
  9. Make sure your child has a dictionary to help with writing.
  10. Help child fill in personal details on forms etc.

5th and 6th 

  1.  Encourage your child to keep a diary. Respect privacy.
  2. Encourage your child to write for real purposes everyday – shopping lists / phone messages etc.
  3. Praise the effort and respond to the message and not the handwriting, grammar etc.
  4. Make sure that your child has access to a dictionary, thesaurus to help with writing.
  5. Allow your child work on a word processor.
  6. Try crossword puzzles and ‘Find the word puzzles’.
  7.  Provide a range of attractive writing materials – coloured pens, fancy paper.
  8.  Encourage your child to write greeting cards / thank you notes etc.
  9.  Encourage your child to take part in writing competitions / community projects.
  10.  Show your child that you value writing by writing yourself.

School Improvement Plan

INTRODUCTION

A school self evaluation of teaching and learning in Saint Brigid’s National School took place in the period of September 2012 – June 2013. During this time teaching and learning in the area of literacy was evaluated. The following report is a summary of the findings and a plan for our school improvements in the area of literacy.

Sources of Evidence:
The following sources of evidence were used to compile the findings of this report

• Analysis of assessment data and information-both qualitative and quantitative (Standardised Tests, teacher generated tests)
• Staff observations and views
• Pupil questionnaire 3rd – 6th
• Examination of students’ work-copies and classroom displays
• Review of school documents and reports i.e. Curriculum Statement for English, individual long-term class level English plans, teachers’ fortnightly plans and monthly progress reports.
• Analysis of the recently issued WSE Report (June 2012)
• Learning Support Team observations
• Parental Questionnaire

Summary of Findings

a) Our school has strengths in the following areas:

• Attainments in both reading and spelling, as exemplified in the DRT and DST (Spring 2012), considerably exceed national norms and reflect the quality of teaching and learning in Saint Brigid’s.
• A safe, stimulating learning environment is provided for students
• A range of assessment methods -both qualitative and quantitative- are used effectively to assess the students’ progress
• Teachers plan collaboratively and regularly at class level meetings and plans are informed by and link clearly to the whole-school curriculum plan-both long and short-term
• Teachers focus effectively on developing the students’ key skills in English
• Team teaching and in class support are regularly used to reinforce and assist the development of literacy skills.
• There is a collaborative approach between class teachers and the learning support /resource teacher and the recording and analysis of literacy assessment data is effectively used as a cornerstone in the planning process for both whole-class and individual programmes of instruction
• There is an agreed whole school approach to the teaching of handwriting in the school
• Reading in St. Brigid’s is promoted positively and is well cultivated through a variety of reading activities and initiatives (peer tutoring/ paired reading) through out the school year. Children have an opportunity to visit the school library weekly.
• The pupil questionnaires with reference to viewpoints on writing demonstrate a largely positive attitude that can provide the basis for worthwhile and meaningful development in this area.

b) Our school wants to prioritise the following areas:

• The area of oral language skills needs to be addressed more formally and systematically in the context of clearly identified and agreed learning targets and objectives
• The areas of genre writing in particular narrative writing and comprehension strategies have been highlighted for attention over the course of the next three years in the context of the Literacy Strategy

SUMMARY OF SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLAN YEAR  ONE

In year 1 we wish to develop a whole school approach to the teaching of genre writing and oral language:

All levels will be taught recount, narrative and procedural writing. In 1st and 2nd classes we will add report writing. In addition to these four genres, persuasive writing will be taught in 3rd and 4th classes. All seven genres, including poetry and explanation will be covered in 5th and 6th classes.

When teaching narrative writing we will have a particular focus on character and settings. 5th and 6th classes will also focus on plot development.

In Junior Infants to 2nd specific lessons targeting the five components of oral language (Auditory Memory, Vocabulary & Conceptual Knowledge, Variety of Spoken Texts, Speaking & Listening skills and Language Learning Environment) will be the focus of our discrete oral language.

Actions:

General
• A whole school literacy plan will be developed by the literacy team
• A survey of parents’ views on writing will be conducted.
• CPD for staff will be organized in writing and oral language
• Resources for genre writing and oral language will be sourced and shared
Writing:
• A support teacher will initially model and then co-teach genre -writing with the class teachers from 3rd – 6th
• We will develop a culture where good writing is celebrated and children are encouraged to read their writing aloud for class, group, other teachers or parents
• Hardback copies will be used for genre writing in each class
• Writing will be displayed on walls, published in the school magazine and in a “We are Writers” book at the end of the year
• Vocabulary will be developed through word banks and these will be displayed in classrooms
• The language features and frameworks specific to each genre will be taught
• Evidence of improvements will be measured using pre and post genre samples

Oral Language:
• A support teacher will model a varied selection of oral language lessons and then co teach in classes in the junior school
• Discrete oral language lessons will be timetabled each week with a particular focus on developing language skills through the five components
• Children will be given increased opportunities to talk in pairs, groups and whole class settings

 

SUMMARY OF SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLAN YEAR 2

We will continue to embed genre writing at each level and also introduce free writing through out the school. We will begin to focus on teaching explicit comprehension strategies, which will deepen children’s understanding and enjoyment of reading. In oral language we will concentrate on developing children’s auditory memory skills at every level.

Actions:

Writing
• A support teacher will co-teach a 30-minute writing session each week to consolidate the writing skills developed in year 1. (2nd – 6th)
• All children will engage in free writing to develop their independent writing skills and enhance their enjoyment of writing.
• Each level from Infants to 6th will teach a minimum of 3 writing genres as per our literacy plan.
• Samples of good writing will be celebrated and displayed through the school
• Children will be encouraged to present their writing to an audience, peers, other teachers, parents etc.
• A new literacy programme with a focus on genre writing and comprehension will be adopted from 2nd to 6th.
• Pm Writing scheme will be used in 1st and 2nd.

Comprehension Strategies: (All classes)
We will explicitly teach 2 comprehension strategies (predicting and making connections) at every level.

Guided Reading: (1st)
Guided reading will begin in 1st class. Banded readers will be bought and children will be screened and grouped. Two support teachers will assist the class teacher in delivering 4 forty minute sessions each week. Children will practice reading and comprehension strategies and also engage in writing and spelling activities.

Discrete Oral Language: (All classes)
This year we will focus on teaching Auditory Memory Skills to all levels.
A support teacher who will model, share and guide a variety of auditory memory lessons will lead team teaching in junior classes. These lessons will be linked to the topics selected at each level for Aistear

Maths

• Class level meetings set up to ascertain how teaching & learning in Maths can be improved.
• Questionnaire drafted with a view to gaining insights into the teaching & learning of Maths.
• Standardised test scores will be analysed to help identify strengths and weaknesses.
• Focus group (Multilevel) meetings to identify whole school strategies going forward.

SUMMARY OF SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLAN YEAR 3

We will continue to embed free writing in every class and we will focus on self and peer assessment in writing. We will add 3 more comprehension strategies to be taught explicitly at each level and our oral language focus will be on developing children’s skills in retelling stories. In the Infant school we will improve their vocabulary and conceptual knowledge of Aistear based topics.

Actions:

Writing
• All children will engage in free writing to develop their independent writing skills and enhance their enjoyment of writing.
• A whole school plan for teaching specific genres of writing at each level will be followed.
• Samples of good writing will be celebrated and displayed through the school
• Children will be encouraged to present their writing to an audience, peers, other teachers, parents etc.
• Pm Writing scheme will be used in 1st and 2nd.
• Children will be taught how to self assess and peer assess their writing.

Comprehension Strategies: (All classes)
• We will explicitly teach a further 3 comprehension strategies (summarising and paraphrasing, creating images and inferring) at every level.

Guided Reading:
• Guided reading will continue in 1st class and extend to Senior Infants this year.
• A library of books will be set up in the Infant Building
• Support teachers will assist in delivering guided reading sessions at both levels.

Discrete Oral Language: (All classes)
• Our whole school focus this year will be on retelling of stories and on vocabulary and conceptual knowledge development.
• In the Junior school this will be linked to the topics selected at each level for Aistear

Maths

Targets will be set in the area chosen for improvement in Maths This will depend on the outcome of our SSE process in maths in year 2.

Mobile Phones

We have examined the practice of  children bringing mobile phones to school and in line with our recent  child safeguarding risk assessment, we have decided NOT to allow any child to bring a mobile phone to school or on school outings.  If  on an outing there is a significant delay in the children returning , the office will contact parents by text.