Chalk Talk

News and views in education

A History of Ireland in 100 Objects – an Irish Times project and now the basis of a series of exciting classroom lesson plans

A History of Ireland in 100 Objects – an Irish Times project and now the basis of a series of exciting classroom lesson plans


Bringing ‘100 Objects’ into the class

After the success of Fintan O’Toole’s ‘Irish Times’ series A History of Ireland in 100 Objects, and the subsequent book, a series of lesson plans for primary schools, based on some of the objects, will be launched tomorrow. The plans are available free online at An icon beside each object indicates whether it is of interest to primary or secondary students. The impressive lesson plans were compiled by the Royal Irish Academy and the National Museum of Ireland. There’s a step-by-step guide to how to deliver the lessons within the curriculum, and indicating which part of the curriculum is covered by each object. It includes lesson aims and objectives, and activities such as visual arts, drama, worksheets and quizzes. You can read how the 100 Objects project came about at

Reading in Africa

The Children’s Books for Africa Project is keen to hear from readers who have experience of primary-school remedial teaching or of living or working in east or west Africa. The project is a new initiative to build, stock and support children’s libraries in Africa and to raise awareness that illiteracy is still very high in many African countries. It hopes to use these readers as voluntary consultants for its work in the future. Email John Hale at childrensbooksforafrica

Science Forward

Science Forward, a programme aimed at building interest in science and technology, is now in its second year. Up to 800 pupils, from sixth class upwards in 25 participating schools, will get hands-on experience of science and technology through experiments and interactive workshops at several third-level institutions. Sponsored by Bord Gáis, the programme starts at Dublin City University as part of Science Week, which until next Monday. See ScienceForward.

Seeing the value of art

Sightsavers’ national art competition, the Junior Painter Awards, is now accepting entries. All primary-school students can apply, and the competition is a fun way to teach children about the value of their sight through the medium of art. Fifteen regional finalists will be selected to receive prizes from the Art & Hobby Shop, as well as being in with a chance to win money for their schools, sponsored by ‘The Irish Times’. Every child who enters will receive a certificate of participation. The closing date is Friday, November 29th.

Crack the code

European Code Week (November 25th-30th) is a call to action to help set Ireland on track as a European hub for coding. The Irish ambassador for the week is Julie Cullen, a 31-year-old teacher from Drogheda who was appointed young adviser to Neelie Kroes, the European Union’s digital-agenda commissioner. Cullen, who teaches English, German and European studies at St Oliver’s community college in Drogheda, recognised the interest young people have in information and computing technology and gaming, and she became involved in her local CoderDojo. “Coding clubs are so significant,” she says, “not just in fuelling passion but also in providing real skills that can be used in our current technology-driven society.”


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