Thursday, 31 March 2011

Visit from Mr. Joe McCarthy

Mr. Joe McCarthy is from our parish.  He is retired now, but he spent all his life working with CIE and then Iarnrod Éireann.  He told us that he sold tickets for the trains.
Mr. McCarthy had lots of really interesting stories about the railway.  It was nearly hometime, so we had to finish up, but we think he has lots more stories to tell, and we really hope that he might visit us again to tell us more. 
First of all we heard about steam trains, and we were advised to have a look at a story called "The Railway Children". We can't wait to read this book.  We heard about the coal needed to power the steam trains, and how, during the war when there was no coal available, trains ran on pieces of wood.  Where Joe worked  (in Wexford at the time) these steam trains often took passengers to the beach for the day.
We heard all about when the Chipperfield circus used to come to town on the train.  The poor giraffes couldn't travel by train because their necks were too long to go under the bridges, but the rest of the animals could come by train.  What a sight that must have been!
We heard another really interesting story about when racing pigeons used to travel by train to Galway, then be released in Galway, and have to race back home to their homes in Dublin.  The first pigeon home was the fastest pigeon.  We can now imagine all the pigeons in the air, circling Galway station, getting their bearings so they could race home.  It's a pity we can't see that any more.
For those of us interested in the workings of signals, Mr. McCarthy told us about what the signals look like when the train has to stop.......the signal sticks out like an outstretched arm, and when the train can go.....the signal sticks down at an angle like an arm hanging down.  We heard about the signal box, and how there is a staff like a stick of metal which the man in the signal box had to give the driver.  Without the staff (and the all clear from the conductors flag or lantern and whistle) the train simply was not allowed to go.  This helped prevent accidents on the line.  Only one train could travel on each section of the line at a time, because only one train had the staff each time.  Mr. McCarthy was also telling us about the flange or rim on the wheels of the train.  This is why it is easy to keep the trains on the track.  It's really the wheels that do most of the work keeping the train running straight.
Well done Mr. McCarthy for such an entertaining and informative talk.  We really hope you come back to visit us again!

Our finished station

Maths: Comparing lengths

We have been talking about different measures: Long and short, deep and shallow, wide and narrow, big and small, full and empty.  We used children in our class to demonstrate long-longer-longest, short-shorter-shortest.  Can you figure out which is which?

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Taking part in the Greenwave project 2011

We are taking part in the Greenwave project this year.  We are looking at buds, frogs and swallows.  We are taking photos of each of these as they first appear this Spring.  Here are some of the photos taken so far:


Horse Chestnut:


We are still keeping out for sightings of frogspawn, swallows and ash buds.  More photos when we get these.
Check out all the Galway photos submitted on

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Stained glass hearts and windows

Planting carrots

Measuring with lolly sticks

We are getting very good at measuring.  Today we used lolly sticks to measure things in the classroom like desks, windows and blackboard.  We always guess first, and then it is interesting to see if our guesses are close.

Junior Achievement programme

Eimear is from SAP company in Galway.  She is working with our class on the Junior Achievement programme.  It is a very interesting programme.  We worked with money today, and we heard a lovely story.

New home for our tadpoles

Our tadpoles got a new home yesterday (thanks Teacher!) and new pond water (thanks Kay!)  They look very happy in their new home, and we can see them swimming round because the side of their home is transparent.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Visit from Doctor Dave

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

With our LEGO Body Forward project we have been talking about our bodies, and our muscles and bones in particular.  Today we were really really fortunate to have had a visit from a radiologist (He's the doctor that takes X-rays and can tell from the X-ray what is wrong and how to go about fixing it).  We had lots of questions for Doctor Dave.  He showed us how to feel for our pulses and explained that we are feeling the blood beating from the heart and travelling through the arteries to the fingers.  After playtime in the yard we could really feel our hearts and pulses racing.

We asked Doctor Dave would he like us to invent something to help make his job easier.  He had some great suggestions (a high bed for a baby that could have sides which would pop up and stop the baby falling off the bed, an automatic trolley that could be programmed to wheel the patient to radiology, or a fake leg or arm that would work for a person who was missing their leg or arm).  We're on to it Doctor Dave......wait till you see what we invent.  Your job is going to be so much easier!!

Thanks again to Dave for coming to visit and helping us with our project.

Visit from the Fire Brigade

Russian Songs

We heard some lovely Russian songs today.  We all learned a little of the TeeMushka (ladybird) song.  Isn't it wonderful to be able to speak lots of languages?  Even teacher is jealous!

Planting Cress Seeds

Our Amaryllis

In spite of a fall, our Amaryllis is flowering and looks great.

More train activities

Gardening with Kay

Pop up flowers

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Pizza in class

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
We had a wonderful surprise today.  We were given pizzas as a "Congratulations" to our class for all the hard work we did with the Féile Scoildrámaíochta Drama Festival.  The school was proud of us.  Thanks for the delicious pizzas!

Cosa Beoga

Cosa Beoga are a fantastic Irish Dancing group.  They came to show us their dancing today. They are representing the West of Ireland in the All Ireland Talent Show on Sunday.  We wish them the best of luck and we hope everyone votes for them.

Classroom shop

Our solar train works

We tried out our solar train again today (now that teacher has filed the wheels).  It worked so well.  It worked best with just the engine, on tarmac, then concrete.  It worked ok with a carriage, but was a bit slower when we put on a carriage and the caboose.

Train books from the library

Our library has sent us a large selection of picture books about trains to help us with our Keep on Track project.  We read Shark VS Train in school today.  It was a good book.  From Tuesday on we will borrow a book a night.  We will try and read them ourselves, but some are a little hard for us yet, so we hope you Mums and Dads will read them with us and to us each night.  Thanks so much Josephine from the Library.