Good morning parents of 3rd and 4th Class,

Note: Our school principal has asked that all teachers send out work for the coming fortnight before the Easter holidays upon some parental request, so below is a note to you the parents, and one to the children which I hope you will read to them to explain how things will hopefully work over the next fortnight. Below is also a copy of the proposed timetable for this week, week 12 of Term 2, and I have also attached week 13 of Term 2 also for next week while I am able to access broadband today. Before I go any further can I please reiterate that I fully understand that all homes at the moment are under enormous stresses with health worries, caring for older relations at a distance, huge financial worries and general anxiety throughout these unprecedented times. Isolation for some might be an added challenge too. The timetable below is for those who find they have the time, will and capability at the moment, it is not at all to add any further stress onto already burdened shoulders.

This is the first of what will be weekly Monday morning e-mails to you to set up work for the children for the week ahead, just for a little while until things begin to get back to near-normal again hopefully. The majority of these e-mail are geared towards instructions for your child, as thankfully in 3rd and 4th class, they are at the stage where they are quite able of some independent learning if I choose the tasks carefully enough, with a little help along the way from you, but seeing as this is the first e-mail, I’d like to maybe mention a little of the proposed layout etc.

I’d like firstly to remind you that as of today, Monday, they have only missed 4 school days as they had Monday and Tuesday of last week off anyway, they are not excessively behind in any way, shape or form, so there is no need for excessive concern. They will spend the next two weeks finishing off Term 2’s work themes, in as much as possible of course as they don’t have teacher tuition, so a lot of the tasks will be amended for independent or semi-independent work at home. There are the Easter Holidays then of course for a fortnight.  In Term 3, there are 10 school weeks, and although hopefully we will be back to normal soon, thankfully a huge bulk of the years work is already done in most curricular areas, for example in maths, where areas like fractions, multiplication, division and time have had lots of support.  And it’s usually weeks 1-8 of Term 3 that a few more topics are covered, peppered with revision of trickier maths areas etc, and the final two weeks for testing and general revision, so there is no need for any great panic at all. It would be beneficial to receive weekly feedback on what the children have had a chance to cover throughout the week, so you will also receive via e-mail today too, a feedback form that you might get a chance to fill out on Friday’s and return to e-mail address from which this e-mail is sent, with ‘Weekly Feedback –(child’s name)’ in the subject box please, so we can read and keep them on file. Although each new section in maths has a short tuition, this is an area where support will probably be necessary. (Can I advise Kahn Academy or a short YouTube clip for support with trickier sums). Also I am sure that you might often have heard at homework times; “That’s not the way Teacher does it!” so you might need to encourage an understanding that there are many ways to approach a maths problem to find a solution, so if they learn ‘your way’, if indeed it seems different to them, and then another way when they return to school, that leaves them at an advantage as they can now approach a sum from many angles.

So, every Monday I will send an e-mail with the week’s work content, topics and tasks for the children to complete. I will make every effort to ensure they are not all screen-based activities, but some will require internet access, only of course if that’s a possibility in your home. Please also bear in mind that when researching on the net or using websites that I mention below in school, no unwanted/inappropriate pop-ups/information come up as we have a ‘net-nanny’ system in place, so net access supervision is suggested for any school-based internet activities at home. I would also advise your child uses kid-friendly search engines, like ‘Kiddle’, where not only is the information that comes up safe and appropriate, but also simpler to read. The work will be set out day by day. It might be an idea if possible, to print out the weekly timetable below and hang it up wherever the kids are setting up ‘school’.

It seems that a few children may be short a book or copy, which could well be in their basket in school. If you happen to find two copies of the same book in your child’s bag, or indeed if you find you are short a book that the work laid out below requires, please let me know and we will try to sort something out. If you happen to be short a copy because it’s still in a basket under their school desk for some reason, I think the best solution for the moment is to use a spare one from home.

I aim to be available for contact from 9am to 10 am most mornings of the weekdays via this email address we have set up for these Covid closure correspondences. If you are e-mailing can you please FAO ‘Miss Mulhall’ in the subject box. Please bear in mind I have no broadband at home so I have to travel to upload documents on Mondays and downloads feedback forms on Fridays, my data usage on my phone would not accommodate that. I also have some community volunteer commitments and National Ambulance Service commitments during Covid 19  which take time, but when possible I will leave my data usage on on my phone from 9am to 10am, and if an important e-mail comes through before 10 am I will do my best to answer it. I do hope that my letters and timetables were detailed enough that they are quite clear anyway.

This is an interesting learning period for your child. And us teachers! Learning will still take place, just in a slightly different way. I hope the above notes help you understand how the next few weeks will work. The e-mails won’t always be as long as this introductory one thankfully! Please read below for the kids notes/plans.

Thank you,

          Siobhán Mulhall