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Creative School Clusters 2019

Creative School Clusters

Creative Clusters is a pilot initiative of the Department of Education and Skills which is funded through the Schools Excellence Fund as part of the Creative Ireland Programme.  Over 75 schools throughout Ireland participated in the project, including 11 schools from Co Clare. The purpose of the initiative is to demonstrate how creative practices can support clusters of schools to work together to address common learning challenges. It aims to promote new ways of working and collaboration between schools and to provide an opportunity for schools to experiment, innovate and collaborate on the design, implementation and evaluation of a creative learning project. 

The eleven primary schools from Clare presented their projects at Cluster Demonstration Days in early June, all demonstrating ingenuity, imagination, creativity, collaboration and resourcefulness.

Pupils from Coore NS, Kilkee NS, Knockerra NS, Moyasta NS and Shragh NS met in Knockerra Hall to demonstrate their work on the topic of ‘The Science of Toys’.  The groups had considered modern toys, discussed their merits and disadvantages and then set about designing and making their own toys. The results involved the use of levers, magnetics, hydraulics, investigations and skill.  The large attendance wondered from display to display as pupils enthusiastically encouraged them to try out their toys.  Dr Maeve Liston from Mary Immaculate College of Education spoke warmly of her involvement with the schools and acknowledged that the projects were entirely pupil led and surpassed all expectations of those involved with the project.  Some funding for this project was also provided by the Irish American Partnership.

Pupils from Doora NS, Furglan NS, Kilnamona NS and Tubber NS worked on the theme of ‘Connections’.  Families and friends gathered in Clare Education Centre to appreciate the research and investigations carried out and the practical demonstrations of their learning. The variety of projects demonstrated included learning sign language, designing load-bearing bridges, interactive use of circuits and replicating lighthouse signals.  The curiosity of pupils in learning from each other was the highlight of the evening as pupils explained, demonstrated, offered opinions, outlined the challenges addressed and solutions discovered.   

“We are the Animals” brought together Mol an Óige CNS(Ennistymon) and Scoil Mhuire(Lahinch) to work with drama facilitator Nell Smyth. Over several weeks, pupils explored the concept of diversity through movement, drama games, and improvisation. Each child picked a card with the image of a creature and they then depicted the characteristics of the creature through making clay models and painting the animal on large wooden shields.  The final spectacle which was held on the beach in Lahinch involved group chants, movements, drama and games as the children from the senior classes in both schools depicted imagery of warriors fighting against the threat to the creatures of our planet.   52 children from both schools contributed to a visually strong finale full of fun, power and vitality.

At all of the demonstration events, the interactions among children from different schools were of excitement, enjoyment and participation as they explained their work to each other, demonstrated their learning, appreciated the efforts of others, and sought explanations for how other groups had gone about their projects.  Parents and teachers alike complimented pupils highly on their efforts and wondered how pupils had achieved so much, and in such an engaging and participative way.

Speaking about the demonstrations, Ray McInerney, Director of Clare Education Centre, complimented the work of the Cluster Coordinators Michael Browne and Ana Colomber for their enthusiasm and expertise in guiding the teachers and pupils throughout their engagement with the Creative Clusters Project.  The success of the project has led to its continuation for another year allowing the opportunity for another cluster of Clare schools to explore the benefits of clustering and providing collaborative learning opportunities for their pupils.

CLICK HERE for photos from Doora NS, Furglan NS, Kilnamona NS and Tubber NS Cluster
CLICK HERE for photos from Mol an Óige CNS (Ennistymon) and Scoil Mhuire (Lahinch) Cluster
CLICK HERE for photos from Coore NS, Kilkee NS, Knockerra NS, Moyasta NS and Shragh NS Cluster

Video from Mol an Óige CNS (Ennistymon) and Scoil Mhuire (Lahinch) Cluster Day, 5th June 2019 at Lahinch Beach 



CC KnockCC LahinchCC Doora

Write-a-Book Awards 2019

Write-a-Book Award 2019
The Write-a-Book Awards night took place in the Auburn Lodge Hotel on 7th May last.  Over 1,750 entries were received from 42 schools from pupils from Junior Infants to Sixth Class. Sharon Dilger from Holy Family Junior School was MC for the night and congratulated each young author on their endeavours. Author Brian Gallagher presented the awards and was gushing in his praise for the creativity, imagination and originality which was evidenced in abundance in the books on display.  Great thanks are due to the teachers who support this wonderful project, who encourage and motivate the young authors and give encouraging feedback as they bring their books to fruition. Clare Education Centre is deeply appreciative of all the teachers who undertook book swap arrangements and who assisted in any way with the selection of awards process.  A project of this undertaking requires considerable help and support to ensure its success. The staff of Clare Education Centre were warmly appreciated for their very significant role in the organisation of the project, the preparations for the awards night and the production of the powerpoint and visual displays on the night.  The pleasure of seeing a your author proudly holding their book and showing it to their family makes projects like this so worthwhile.

Photos from the night 
View all photos here.

Scríobh Leabhar Awards 2019

Scríobh Leabhar Awards 2019 

Reáchtáladh oíche na nGradam Scríobh Leabhar 2019 in Ionad Oideachas ar an 7ú Bealtaine seo caite. B’iontach na iontrálacha go léir a fháil ó dhaltaí ó Naíonáin Shóisearacha go Rang a Sé ó scoilneanna timpeall na Contae. Ba é Dónal ÓhAneféin ó Gaelscoil Mhícíl Chíosóg an MC don ócáid agus ghlac sé comhghairdeas le chuile údar óg as a gcuid iarrachtaí.  Bhronn Dónal na duaiseanna agus thug sé an mholadh do na daltaí as an chruthaitheacht and samhlaíocht a léiríodh go forleathan sna leabhair éagsula. Tá Ionad Oideachais an Chláir an-bhuíoch as na múinteoirí a thacaíonn leis an tionscadal iontach seo, a spreagann na húdair óga agus a thugann aiseolas spreagúil dóibh agus iad ag tabhairt a gcuid leabhar chun críche.

Tá an tionscnamh SCRÍOBH LEABHAR á reáchtáil ag Fóras na Gaeilge i gcomhpháirt le hIonad Oideachais an Chláir. Is í aidhm na scéime seo ná páistí a spreagadh chun tabhairt faoi leabhair Ghaeilge a scríobh.  Is áis iontach do mhúinteoirí í an tionscnamh Scríobh Leabhar chun scríbhneoireacht na ndaltaí a fhorbairt agus a fheabhsú.  Chomh maith leis sin is féidir leis an múinteoir leabhair na bpáistí a úsáid mar ábhar measúnaithe sa Ghaeilge. 

Grianghraif 
View all here.

STEAM - Teacher Primary Schools Science Project

STEAM - Teacher Primary Schools Science Project
DCU          American
This project is run in partnership with the Institute of Education, DCU, Drumcondra and The Irish American Partnership (IAP).  The project was established with the aim to make the benefits of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in primary science more widely available to primary school teachers in small rural schools in Co Clare.  The workshops are collaborative in nature with a strong emphasis on developing greater pedagogical expertise as well as deepening subject knowledge.   

PHOTOS: Scoil na Maighdine Mhuire - Great attempts from the Third class STEAM marble run challenge. 
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For many years the Clare Education Centre has been promoting the teaching of ‘Science’ in the schools that it serves.  The use of materials, the promotion of active learning as well as co-operative learning were the foundation on which this promotion was built.  A few years ago ‘STEM’ and later ‘STEAM’ began to be discussed and it was an easy transition for many Clare schools to explore ‘STEAM’ education because of the work they had undertaken in Science education.  STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.  Pupils are exposed to all these subjects through their participation in this science project.  

PHOTOS: A recent STEAM Workshop at the Clare Education Centre.
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Clare Education Centre is delighted to promote this STEAM project, in order to further enrich science teaching and learning in local schools.  Michael Browne leads this project and endeavours to ensure that activities are inclusive, participative and based on a constructivist methodology.  Feedback from the participating pupils and teachers has been extraordinary.  Michael provides a great opportunity for the whole school to take a look at classroom practice in the area of STEAM teaching and learning as well as how maths and science are addressed.  The programme is based around the use of everyday materials to explore science questions and to experiment to find solutions. At present we have 14 of our large schools and 16 of our smaller schools involved in various ‘STEAM’ explorations.  In 2019 we plan to expand these numbers.  At present it isn’t uncommon to see classes in Clare Primary Schools working in small groups planning, building and evaluation various projects that they have put together using ‘the STEAM way of working’.  The children build bridges, marble runs, pulley systems, electronic quiz boards, to mention but a few, but with a minimum of teacher input.  The children get to plan, discuss, try out, explore and be creative while the teacher encourages and supports. 

PHOTOS: Scoil Chriost Ri, Cloughleigh using science, technology, engineering, arts and maths skills to design and build ramps that would allow a toy car leap across a 10cm gap.
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A number of supports are offered to schools who participate in this programme.  Inservice education in STEAM methodologies is offered on an ongoing basis to teachers of classes participating in the project.  Whole staff inservice is offered to participating schools and model lessons are demonstrated in each participating school.    

Thanks to the support of The Irish American Partnership and Institute of Education, DCU, Drumcondra, the project is in its third year.  To further embed the focus of STEAM in participating schools, it is intended to extend the project to include shared learning days and opportunities for teachers to participate in Science Teacher Professional Communities.

VIDEOS: Drawbot videos from Scoil na Maighdine Mhuire and Coore NS below.  


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