History Hub is a great resource for senior cycle history and even an undergraduate standards.
It has excellent resources for Junior and Leaving Certificate history and with the 1916 Rising coming up listening to Podcasts is an excellent way to engage students in the classroom and get them motivated in helping commemorate 1916.
Additionally, one feature of History Hub which I enjoyed is their From the Archives section of their website. More and more it’s noticeable that students are losing out on engaging with primary and secondary sources as we are teaching for an exam. Though true it’s great to be able to use primary sources from archives whereas possible.
(Images of the 1916 Rising aftermath)
Additionally,for T.Y. and senior cycle history students can use the website to get ideas for Research projects and topics.
Another simple fact about History Hub which makes it worth checking out is it’s updated regularly and they have a mailing list which you can subscribe to. I found this idea appealing as I sometimes forget what website I saw a great resource on but if I’m on their mailing list a quick search of emails usually turns up what I was looking for.
The Pop Up Cafe was a huge success with many students showing up for a cup of tea and a few biscuits. It was a good way for students to chat to teachers who were present. It was a lovely atmosphere were students got to talk to their friends while in school. There was no pressure for the students to rush through their lunch or have a test or homework hanging over them as they drank their tea!
Additionally, the seniors helped serve the tea giving the younger students a chance to chat and talk to them. This event has fostered a link between senior and juniors. Also, another positive that has come out of this is the seniors are getting a chance to reflect through their own years at school as they draw closer to closing their chapter at secondary school.
If you are planning to do a pop up cafe a few tips:
Use paper cups – clean up becomes incredibly easier
Have a biscuit or two for the students.
Have an alternative for tea.
Have it well advertised – even send out a text to the parents if this system is available in your school.
Have a small activity prepared – a good one is human bingo were students interactive with people they may not have talked to before.
Use a big space so students can move around without feeling on top of each other.
Overall I would highly encourage schools to try a Pop Up Cafe – try to keep costs minimal as well!
With mental health day just passing by I notice more and more students under stress as June starts to become a reality for most. Recently I came across a clip from a television show called Waterloo Road. This show revolves around the staff, students and the community surrounding the school. Despite the show not being an actual school – the issues that are addressed by the school are real.
The reason why the clip caught my attention was the vice-principal stating that students are under a lot of stress come exam time and should be supported and guided in how to cope with stressful situations. However, instead of the staff supporting the children one boastful member stated that kids these days receive easy exams. The vice-principal instead of getting frustrated and angry asked his staff to sit one exam and see the difficulty and stress students undergo during exam time. The majority of the staff did take the exam – however all was not what it seemed.
Upon been given their test – they teachers realised it was mock exams of other subjects which they themselves did not teach. What transpired was the staff reacted the same way students do when under huge amount of pressures. Some knuckle down and try their hardest – others had a knee-jerk reaction and wanted to leave the exam without attempting as they didn’t understand the exam.
The staff became aware of the strain and stress that students are put under after it was pointed out to them that students do undertake up to and over five subjects (and in Ireland most students take seven subjects for the Leaving Certificate).
A few things to take away from this clip is
Students have more than one subject!
Little bit at a time – if students seem overwhelmed, break it down a little bit at a time for them.
Timetable – encourage timetables for study.
Encourage students to get a full nights rest – it will make a world of difference to their mental and physical health.
Also one heart-warming story I heard recently was a phenomenal teacher who made caramel slices for stressed final year students. Maybe surprise students with a small homemade treat or a five minutes rest at the end of class might make the world of difference!