The 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Today, Friday November 22nd 2013 (at noon) marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.

downloadBelow are a number of images which include some of Kennedy’s most famous and inspiring quotes during his time as President of the United States of America. I think these images would be great to use within the classroom when discussing John F. Kennedy’s time in power.




JFK’s remarks upon presenting the NASA Distinguished Service Medal to astronaut L. Gordon Cooper, in the Flower Garden of the White House, May 21, 1963


JFK’s remarks at the opening of a USIA Transmitter in Greenville, N.C., February 8, 1963


 President Kennedy’s commencement address at American University, June 10, 1963


President Kennedy’s commencement address at American University, June 10, 1963


JFK’s address at St. Paul’s Church in Frankfurt, Germany, June 25, 1963

Below is a video of BBC Documentary on the assassination of John F. Kennedy which could be used as an excellent resource within a senior History classroom.


Useful links


Universal Children’s Day November 20th 2013

childrens day wordle

Today is Universal Children’s Day which is celebrated and promoted by UNICEF on November 20th each year since 1954. UNICEF created Universal Children’s Day in order to promote worldwide awareness and understanding of children and their rights from all corners of the earth.

childrens day

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) puts forward a number of important provisions that outline civil rights and freedoms, family environment, basic health and welfare, education, leisure and cultural activities and special protection measures.

There are a number of ‘foundation principles’ that shape children’s rights. These include: non-discrimination; best interests of the child; right to survival and development; and views of the child.

  • Non-discrimination means that all children have the same right to develop their potential — all children, in all situations, all of the time, everywhere
  • The best interests of the child must be “a primary consideration” in all actions and decisions concerning her or him, and must be used to resolve confusion between different rights
  • The right to survival and development underscores the vital importance of ensuring access to basic services and to equity of opportunity for children to achieve their full development
  • The views of the child means that the voice of children must be heard and respected in all matters concerning their rights

The following websites will provide additional information about Universal Children’s Day and the rights of children across the world and in Ireland.

universal childrens day

The below videos are excellent resources to use in the classroom when teaching about the rights of children and the significance of Universal Children’s Day.

Prayers at Winter Time



I think it has become quite apparent that Winter is well and truly upon us with some people even waking up to flurries of snow this morning! Below are a number of prayers that can be used within the classroom to acknowledge the season of Winter and all it has to offer us…apart from possible frostbite! 🙂



Beauty Of Winter

“God of creation, thank you for the beauty of winter- for snow, icy window panes, evergreen trees, warm coats, sledding, and hot cocoa. Let us enjoy Your creation in all its glory, this winter and always. Amen.”

Road Safety

“God of safety, keep me and my loved ones safe on icy roads. Help me pay attention and drive cautiously. Grant me energy and patience if the drive takes longer than usual. Keep me warm and safe from harm. Be with me, be with me, be with me, in Your loving and precious name. Amen.”

Recovering From Winter Illness

“God of power and might, be with [insert person’s name] as he/she recovers from a winter illness. Warm him/her in the light of Your love, that he/she might find the time, rest, and treatment to feel better soon. Remind [insert person’s name] that he/she is Your beloved child and that You are with him/her during this illness, and always. Amen.”

On this day…The Jonestown Massacre of November 18th, 1978

On this day in 1978 The Jonestown Massacre took place in Guyana, South Africa. The Peoples Temple founded in 1956 by a man named Jim Jones firstly in Indianapolis, Indiana, but then it moved to Redwood Valley, California ten years later. Jim Jones believed in a community where everyone lives together in harmony regardless of race or gender. After attempting to create this community in California, Jones looked to further his dreams by establishing a self-sufficient commune called Jonestown in the area of Guyana, South Africa in 1973. The membership of this commune grew slowly in the years that followed however it was not until 1977 that Jones himself moved to the compound following a threat of an exposing article being written about him in America. This threat to the reputation of Jones served as a catalyst for hundreds of his dedicated followers to leave their American lives behind in favour of Guyana. However once they had settled in the members soon found themselves living a segregated and crowded lifestyle working long hours in unbearable heat and humidity. This certainly did not look or feel like the paradise community Jim Jones had promised them Guyana would be. Members were forced to listen to the words of Jim Jones twenty-four hours a day by means of a constant broadcast that could be heard in all corners of the compound. Based upon family concerns back in America. U.S. Representative Leo Ryan travelled to Guyana to see the Peoples Temple for himself. During his time there he received an anonymous note begging for help to leave Jonestown which lead him to announce on the day he was leaving that he would bring anyone who was willing to return to America back on the plane with him. These events greatly unnerved Jim Jones and some of the members who were happy to remain within the compound. When the trucks containing Leo Ryan and those willing to leave Jonestown arrived at the runway they realised they had been followed by loyal Jonestown members who jumped from a trailer and opened fire killing five people including Leo Ryan. Following these events Jim Jones gathered his members together in a state of panic in the hopes of convincing them that it was time for their time at Guyana to come to end not by means of relocation but rather through suicide. Using a grape flavoured drink containing Valium and Cyanide babies and young children were killed first, followed by their mothers and then the remaining members. On November 18, 1978, 912 people died from drinking the poison, 276 of whom were children. Jones died from a single gunshot wound to the head but it is not known who inflicted this gunshot. Including the attack which took place at the airport, the 18th November 1978 represents the killing of 918 people in Jonestown, Guyana, South Africa.


The Peoples Temple is an example of a destructive cult which could be discussed with senior students under the topic of New Religious Movements. The below video is an excellent documentary that can be used to teach the students about The Peoples Temple, the events that took place in Jonestown and to evoke discussion about New Religious Movements amongst students. However please note that some parts of this documentary make for uncomfortable viewing so it would be best to build a lesson using extracts of the documentary followed by class discussion of the overall events and possible group work based on the topic of New Religious Movements.


World Kindness Day 2013

world kindness day

As I was driving this morning I heard on the radio that today, 13th November is World Kindness Day 2013. I decided I would do some research on World Kindness Day and the efforts made by people around the world who take inspiration from the principles of this day. It turns out that this day was created back in 1998 by means of the World Kindness Movement seeking acts of kindness no matter how big or how small from every person in every country in the world. Sometimes in the madness of everyday life when you feel as though you have a list as long as your arm to do and not enough hours in the day to do it we can forget that we are not the only ones coping with the daily struggle of life. We should be kind to everyone we meet because what we may see as a struggle in our lives could be seen as a blessing in the life of another. We should not dwell on what we do not have but rather feel blessed for what we have been given. It is only when we are kind to ourselves and show love to ourselves that we can understand the meaning of showing kindness and love to others. This means that we should enter into kindness selflessly without expectation of reward or thanks but with the willingness to help others wholeheartedly and for the good of the person in need. Once kindness is undertaken with this outlook we are able to find peace within ourselves for our kind actions. Kindness can teach us to appreciate what we already have and the people around us because sometimes we forget that…

human race

Not sure what act of kindness you can take part in today? For everyday kindness inspiration watch the below video. 🙂

The next video below shows us the 2013 Kindness Challenge Winner. Her name is Hannah Brencher and she came up with the idea that the world ‘Needs More Love Letters’. This concept is truly inspiring and if I am completely honest almost moved me to tears this morning! Nobody deserves to feel alone in this big wide world of 7 billion people but the truth is some if not all of us have felt this way at some point in our lives maybe even more than once. Hannah’s idea asks us for a couple of moments each day to let the gift of words that we have been given speak through pen and paper instead of the keyboards of our computers to tell those who just need to know they are loved and appreciated exactly that. As I have said already in this post we are all dealing with the struggle of daily life but maybe it is about time we started to show love to others in this struggle because at the end of the day we are all in this life only once but always together. 

The World Needs More Love Letters Website:


Muslim, Jewish, Christian Prayer for Peace

peace in jerusalem

Below is an excellent prayer for the classroom! It is a useful resource for teaching World Religions and explaining significance of Holy Land to not only Judaism but also Christianity and Islam. It promotes a positive outlook on the relationship that can be created between these religious traditions.

Muslim, Jewish, Christian Prayer for Peace

 “O God, you are the source of life and peace. Praised be your name forever. We know it is you who turn our minds to thoughts of peace. Hear our prayer in this time of war.

“Your power changes hearts. Muslims, Christians, and Jews remember, and profoundly affirm, that they are followers of the one God, children of Abraham, brother and sisters. Enemies begin to speak to one another; those who were estranged join hands in friendship. Nations seek the way of peace together.

 “Strengthen our resolve to give witness to these truths by the way we live. Give to us: understanding that puts an end to strife; mercy that quenches hatred, and forgiveness that overcomes vengeance. Empower all people to live in your law of love.”

Jerusalem – why is it a holy city for so many people?

I recently returned home from an eight day pilgrimage to the Holy Land that can only be described as a trip of a lifetime. I saw so much and experienced so that created memories that will last forever of a once in a lifetime experience. I will be writing a number of blogs about the pilgrimage once I have uploaded the hundreds upon hundreds of photos I took to my computer!

The majority of our time was spent in the city of Jerusalem. The Old City of Jerusalem is a holy place for the Jewish people. Although pilgrimage is not compulsory Jews still think it is important to visit as it has huge significance to their heritage and beliefs. But Jerusalem is not a holy place solely for Jewish people. There are four quarters in Jerusalem ; The Jewish Quarter, The Muslim Quarter, The Christian Quarter and The Armenian Quarter.

map jerusalem

The Jewish connection to Jerusalem goes all the way back to Abraham the father of Judaism. In the Bible, God tested Abrahams faith and told him to take his son to Mount Moriah and sacrifice him. It was here that Abraham proved his faith in God so it is believed that this place symbolises the unique relationship the Jewish people have with God. Another sacred place for Jewish people is the western wall. The wall is the only remains of the second temple which was destroyed in 70AD. The temple is the symbol of Jewish identity, therefore Jews feel very close to God when they are near it.

Jerusalem is important to Muslims for many reasons. Firstly the prophets of Judaism and Christianity (such as Abraham and Jesus) are also prophets of Islam, so Muslims also have an interest in visiting the sacred sites where Jesus ascended and Abraham had his faith tested. It is also believed that Muhammad the most important prophet of Islam, visited Jerusalem during his ‘night journey’. This was when Muhammad was visited by the Angel Gabriel in Mecca and was miraculously taken to Jerusalem and then to heaven, where he met the other prophets.

Jerusalem is the place where Jesus spent his last days. The most important religious site for the Christians is The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is a church that is built on what is believed to be the site of Jesus’ tomb where he rose from the dead. The Chapel of Ascension is also an important site, it is built on the spot where Jesus ascended into heaven, his footprint is imprinted on the floor! There are many other churches in Jerusalem that mark places where Jesus and Mary visited, Bethlehem Is also close by and Christians like to visit there as it is the birthplace of Christ.

Armenia was the first country to officially adopt Christianity as its religion and they began to settle in Jerusalem in order to be close to St James’ Cathedral. This Cathedral is believed to be built on the site where the last supper was held. Today there are 1,000 Armenians living in the Armenian Quarter!

Muslim, Jewish, Christian Prayer for Peace

 “O God, you are the source of life and peace. Praised be your name forever. We know it is you who turn our minds to thoughts of peace. Hear our prayer in this time of war.

“Your power changes hearts. Muslims, Christians, and Jews remember, and profoundly affirm, that they are followers of the one God, children of Abraham, brother and sisters. Enemies begin to speak to one another; those who were estranged join hands in friendship. Nations seek the way of peace together.

 “Strengthen our resolve to give witness to these truths by the way we live. Give to us: understanding that puts an end to strife; mercy that quenches hatred, and forgiveness that overcomes vengeance. Empower all people to live in your law of love.”