Write-a-book Project

YOUNG AUTHORS CELEBRATE SUCCESS

Parents, teachers and pupils from twenty-six schools across Counties Cavan and Monaghan gathered in the Garage Theatre in Monaghan on 31st May, to celebrate the successes of the young authors who had won awards in the latest literacy project run by Monaghan Education Centre.

The Write-a-Book Project has been running in County Monaghan since 2001, and has been co-ordinated by Wendy Flood for the past 11 years. The project was launched in January, and schools have been working hard on their creative, and technical skills in English lessons since then. The literacy projects are skills-based and encourage pupils at all ages in primary school to plan, draft and edit their own work, under the supervision of their teacher. The Write-a-Book Project encourages individuals to produce an entire book, which is a great undertaking. All aspects of written literacy are involved, from the early planning stages to completion of an illustrated product which has incorporated imagination, editing, correct grammar and spelling.

The proceedings were opened by Wendy Flood who welcomed the winning 150 pupils, their families, and the teachers. She praised the efforts of all involved and stressed that these winners were the tip of the literacy iceberg, as some of them were chosen as winners from class groups as large as 28 pupils.

All pupils were called up by name, and the title of their book, and were presented with a Merit winners medal and certificate before being photographed in school groups. As the names of the Merit winners were read aloud, it was noted that there were several repeat winners from previous events, and that these writers might consider further nurturing their skills.

Mr David McCague, Director of Monaghan Education Centre, thanked all the teachers who had encouraged and supported their pupils in this project, and explained how this project was a great way to develop the art of imagination, the skill of critical thinking and self-evaluation, during the editing process. The Staff in the Education Centre, Mary Savage, Carmel McKenna and Mary Mc Quaid were commended for their hard work behind the scenes, as were the staff at the garage theatre itself for ensuring a great venue was available and that the event ran smoothly.

It was a great night for celebration, Congratulations to all the young authors who wrote their own book this year. It really is a feat of endurance to start the writing process, and manage to create a book. Keep up the good work over the summer ready for another exciting literacy project in the next school year.

Farm Safety (Primary Resources)

At this point of the year, our HSA partners launch a campaign asking primary teachers to help them give important farm safety messages to their pupils before the Summer break. Summer holidays are a high risk time for children who are off school and spend a lot of time on their family farm or visiting friends’ and relatives’ farms.  It is also a very busy time for farmers when much work needs to be done.

Farm accidents have claimed the lives of 23 children in the last decade and account for 11% of all farm fatalities over the period. Farms remain the only workplace in Ireland where children still continue to die.  Farm deaths involving children are always a horrific tragedy for families and heart-breaking for communities and schools alike.

The HSA website has numerous online farm safety resources for teachers to use in the classroom which can be covered in an interactive, fun and stimulating way. The IPPN is also supporting the HSA in communicating this important message to its members.

The Health and Safety Authority has developed resources to give farm safety messages to Primary students in 30 minutes. These are available at www.hsa.ie/education under Teacher Supports and Resources.  These include a Farm Safety Presentation-primary: a set of seven PowerPoint slides, specifically developed for use in all Primary classes<http://hsa.ie/eng/Education/Teacher_Support_and_Classroom_Resources/

Farm_Safety_Presentation_-_Primary/>. Teachers can use them with their whiteboards or print off to photocopy.  On the Farm videos showcase child safety on the  farm from the child’s own perspective. In addition to this, the HSA’s dedicated e-learning portal www.hsalearning.ie contains a short interactive course for Primary students called Keep Safe on the Farm https://hsalearning.ie/ (2 x 40 minute online lessons suitable for the whiteboard). A certificate can be downloaded for the class once complete.

Primary Schools Debating Final 2017/18

“The voting age should be lowered to 16”

In October 2017, 16 schools registered to participate in Monaghan’s Primary Debating Project run by Monaghan Education Centre.

Having battled their way to the forefront of the Primary Schools’ Debating league of 2017-2018, these 5th and 6th Class pupils had argued emotive topics such as “To tackle climate change, all people should be vegetarians”, “Children under 14 should not be allowed on social media”, “Ireland should give more money in aid to poor countries”, and “Advertising on childrens’ T.V. should be outlawed”. Now, only two schools remained.

On May 11th, in the final of the Monaghan Schools Debating Project, the motion: “The Voting Age should be lowered to 16“, was debated by St Louis GNS, Monaghan and Corcreagh NS, Shercock, Co Cavan.

With their teams of three competent speakers, ably assisted by their research team and timekeeper, St Louis GNS team proposed the motion, which was opposed by Corcreagh NS.

Both sides presented convincing arguments with statistics, and quotes, to support their standpoint, but in conclusion, the three impartial adjudicators declared St Louis GNS as the 2017/2018 winners. Both teams congratulated the other for having worked hard and for arguing their points convincingly. St Louis GNS are the fifth school to be awarded the prestigious title of “Monaghan’s Primary Debating Champions”. Both schools deserve tremendous credit for their preparation and delivery and while only one team emerged with the silverware all participants grasped the opportunity to develop skills and competencies that will serve them well in the future. Congratulations to both teams of six debaters, their classmates for their planning and research, and of course, to their teachers, Ms. Deery and Principal Ms Farrell in St. Louis GNS and Ms. Sherry and Principal Ms. Duffy in Corcreagh NS.

Audience members were amazed at the confidence and oratory skills on display and we wish to thank all the schools who engaged with the competition and the adjudicators who made this project a great success.