Sharing Ireland with the Wee Folk: Using Travel Across the Curriculum

Sue Shaffner, 2011

I traveled to Ireland in June 2011.

Here are twelve ways I plan to use that travel experience to enrich my classroom and my school.

  1. I visited many traditional Saint Patrick sites. I will use morning announcements the week preceding Saint Patrick’s Day to tell the entire school the story of Saint Patrick.
  2. I will increase my students’ reading comprehension by having them read the story of Saint Patrick, then illustrate it with detailed illustrations.  Another choice would be to read/tell them the story of Saint Patrick, then have them retell it in their own words, write and illustrate.
  3. I was taught to count in Irish by an eleven-year-old boy. I will ready my class for quiet hall behavior by counting to three in Irish.
  4. I heard Irish music being performed. I will expose my class to traditional Irish music both by singing with them (increases reading fluency when read and sing at same time) and by playing instrumental music while they write in journals.
  5. I visited an integrated school where Protestant and Catholic children share classrooms. I will make a conscious effort to have kids interact with as many others in the classroom as possible.  I will vary the groups and lines, and have students greet each other making eye contact and using a firm handshake.
  6. I visited CS Lewis’s home, Little Lea, St. Mark’s church, and the Mourne Mountains. I will tell my students of CS Lewis’s home and church and surroundings, and how his experiences as a child in Northern Ireland may have contributed to his writings for children.
  7. I visited a P3 (first grade) classroom.   During the month of March, I will tell my students of the varied pronunciations that contribute to the Irish accent.  We will try to change our speech to math theirs.
  8. I visited many tourist sites in Ireland.  I will use those experiences to award my students pretend vacations to Ireland and other countries when they surpass their previous subtraction scores.
  9. I visited many Irish buildings.  I will show my class pictures of the buildings and we will draw them, deciding what parts are symmetrical.
  10. I learned of the Ogham writing system when visiting the National Museum in Dublin.  I will have my students write their names and easy words in Ogham using pencils or pipecleaners and paint.
  11. I learned many things about Ireland through conversation and reading. I will have Irish ABC books that I wrote available in the cafeteria in March for all students’ general enrichment.
  12. I took many pictures in my travels through Ireland.  I have a PowerPoint presentation available for other classes to borrow, to read and discuss
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