New Year, New Term, New Start

 

 

2014

back to school

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! 🙂

For many, today marks the return to work and school after the Christmas holidays.  This will be a struggle for a lot of people including ourselves to get back into our daily routines and leave behind the laid-back nature of the festive season in favour of assignments, deadlines and the next section of the school curriculum.  As well as adjusting to our work-mode mindset we are trying to focus on all the new years resolutions we have promised ourselves that we would make, strive towards and accomplish in 2014. ‘This year will be MY year.” Sound familiar anyone?! 😉

I have found a number of prayers and bible verses to motivate ourselves and any students we are currently teaching to make the most of the opportunities a new year can bring. Take a few minutes out of your daily routine to reflect upon these and to allow them to calm your mind for the long road of 2014 which lies ahead. Within the classroom, take a few minutes either at the beginning or at the end of the lesson to reflect upon one particular prayer or a couple of verses each day during the month of January to help students revive their motivation, interest in and passion for learning. 🙂

prayer

New Year’s Prayer

Lord, this year I want to change,
and I’ve said that in the past.
but now my prayer is different
’cause I understand at last.

I wanted my own way before,
I ignored your loving plans.
But now I’m putting everything
into your nail-scarred hands.

I promise to obey you
out of gratitude and love.
I won’t be giving orders
to my Father up above.

I finally realize the truth
and so I’ve changed my prayer.
The safest place for me to be
is in your gentle care.

Please be my shepherd, Jesus,
that’s all I ask of you.
In good times and in bad this year,
Take my hand and lead me through.

Amen.

 

Just One Request

Dear Master for this coming year
Just one request I bring:
I do not pray for happiness,
Or any earthly thing—
I do not ask to understand
The way Thou leadest me,
But this I ask: Teach me to do
The thing that pleaseth Thee.

I want to know Thy guiding voice,
To walk with Thee each day.
Dear Master make me swift to hear
And ready to obey.
And thus the year I now begin
A happy year will be—
If I am seeking just to do
The thing that pleaseth Thee.

–Unknown Author

 

Another Year Is Dawning

Another year is dawning,
Dear Master, let it be,
In working, or in waiting,
Another year with Thee.

Another year of mercies,
Of faithfulness and grace;
Another year of gladness
In the shining of Thy face.

Another year of progress,
Another year of praise,
Another year of proving
Thy presence all the days.

Another year of service,
Of witness of Thy love,
Another year of training
For holier work above.

Another year is dawning,
Dear Master, let it be
On earth, or else in heaven
Another year for Thee.

–Francis Ridley Havergal (1874)

The New Year

Dear Lord, as this new year is born
I give it to Thy hand,
Content to walk by faith what paths
I cannot understand.

Whatever coming days may bring
Of bitter loss, or gain,
Or every crown of happiness;
Should sorrow come, or pain,

Or, Lord, if all unknown to me
Thine angel hovers near
To bear me to that farther shore
Before another year,

It matters not—my hand in Thine,
Thy light upon my face,
Thy boundless strength when I am weak,
Thy love and saving grace!

I only ask, loose not my hand,
Grip fast my soul, and be
My guiding light upon the path
Till, blind no more, I see!

–Martha Snell Nicholson

 

This prayer from Billy Graham, written for “The Saturday Evening Post” in 2008, is just as relevant this year:

Our Father and our God, as we stand at the beginning of this new year we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future.

We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us—but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges. So help us to humbly put our hands into Your hand, and to trust You and to seek Your will for our lives during this coming year.

In the midst of life’s uncertainties in the days ahead, assure us of the certainty of Your unchanging love.

In the midst of life’s inevitable disappointments and heartaches, help us to turn to You for the stability and comfort we will need.

In the midst of life’s temptations and the pull of our stubborn self-will, help us not to lose our way but to have the courage to do what is right in Your sight, regardless of the cost.

And in the midst of our daily preoccupations and pursuits, open our eyes to the sorrows and injustices of our hurting world, and help us to respond with compassion and sacrifice to those who are friendless and in need. May our constant prayer be that of the ancient Psalmist: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end” (Psalm 119:33).

We pray for our nation and its leaders during these difficult times, and for all those who are seeking to bring peace and justice to our dangerous and troubled world. We pray especially for Your protection on all those who serve in our armed forces, and we thank You for their commitment to defend our freedoms, even at the cost of their own lives. Be with their families also, and assure them of Your love and concern for them.

Bring our divided nation together, and give us a greater vision of what You would have us to be. Your Word reminds us that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

As we look back over this past year we thank You for Your goodness to us—far beyond what we have deserved. May we never presume on Your past goodness or forget all Your mercies to us, but may they instead lead us to repentance, and to a new commitment to make You the foundation and center of our lives this year.

And so, our Father, we thank You for the promise and hope of this new year, and we look forward to it with expectancy and faith. This I ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, who by His death and resurrection has given us hope both for this world and the world to come.

Amen

 

reflection

 

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

 

Psalm 94:19

“When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”

 

Romans 8:28
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

 

Philippians 3:13-14

 
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.”

 

2 Thessalonians 2:16–17
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.”

 

 

make things happen

virtual-school-dream-lrg

 

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Christmas of days gone by!

Searching through http://www.tes.co.uk I have found this fantastic lesson idea and accompanying resources for teaching students about Christmas during the Medieval and Tudor times and comparing these experiences to their own experience of Christmas today. I think this lesson idea would work perfectly in a Junior Cycle History classroom and would allow the students to step inside the shoes of the people from the Medieval and Tudor period. Below I have shared the Powerpoint Presentation for this lesson and to download the worksheets which come with this lesson please click on the link below.  🙂

http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/Christmas-through-time-Medieval-and-Tudor-6381111/

medieval christmas

 

medieval christmas dinner

tudor christmas

 

merry christmas 2

Nativity of Jesus activities for Junior Cycle Religious Education

 

cartoon nativity

 

The below tasks would be useful in a junior cycle Religious Education classroom and appear most suited to First and Second Year students as helpful ways for them to learn about and understand the story of the birth of Jesus Christ and the meaning this brings to Christmas Day.

 

TASK 1

Copy and complete these sentences into your book, filling in the missing words. The words you might need are written below.

At Christmas time, Christians celebrate the birth of baby _______. Jesus was born in a town called _____________. He was born in a __________ because there was no room in the inn.

His parents ______ and ________ had to travel a long way before Jesus was born so they could register in Bethlehem.

Joseph      Jesus        Bethlehem         Stable      Mary

TASK 2

When Jesus was born, the shepherds were out on the hillside looking after their sheep. Suddenly hundreds of angels appeared to them telling them that Jesus had been born. 

Imagine that you are one of the shepherds who saw the angels appear. Write a letter to your friend telling them what you saw and what happened when you went to see the baby Jesus.

How did you feel? Were you afraid? Excited? Happy? Amazed?

 

TASK 3
Answer these questions in full sentences

1. Why did Mary and Joseph have to travel all the way to Bethlehem?

2. What kind of dangers do you think Mary and Joseph might have faced on their journey through the desert on the donkey?

3. How do you think Mary felt when she was told she had to have her baby in a stable with the animals?

4. How do you think the three Wise Men felt after their long journey when they finally found the baby Jesus?

 

TASK 4

Draw 4-6 boxes in your book and create a picture timeline of the events leading up to Jesus’ birth. You could include Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, the visit of the three wise men, Jesus is born and the angels appearing to the shepherds.

 

iMOM Nativity Story Cards 1

 

Merry Christmas 🙂

 

Christmas traditions in Romania VS Christmas traditions in Ireland

christmas romania

As my search for fun Christmas ideas for the classroom continues I came across an interesting comparison lesson on the Christmas traditions in Romania and the Christmas traditions in Scotland. For the purposes of this blog I have slightly tweaked the lesson by replacing Christmas traditions in Scotland with Christmas traditions in Ireland however feel free to compare the Romanian traditions with whichever traditions suit your school community. I found this lesson idea on http://www.tes.co.uk and additional worksheets can be found there to accompany the lesson. I think it is an excellent chance for students to see how Christmas is celebrated in both similar and different ways around the world and also a chance for students to embrace the culture of another.

merry christmas

Christmas fun for the History Classroom!

christmas

This day next week Santa Claus will have been and gone, presents will have been exchanged and opened and the turkey should already be in the oven! Yes, this day next week is CHRISTMAS DAY! So in the spirit of the holiday season I went in search of some fun Christmas ideas for the classroom. For many the school term comes to an end this week so why not have a bit of fun with your students whilst learning some new and surprising facts about the history of some of the most recognisable characteristics of Christmas? For those of you like myself who are not teaching at the moment there is no harm in taking a sneak peek at these excellent PowerPoint Presentations which I found on http://www.Tes.co.uk and making a note of them for the next time you will be in the classroom over the festive season.

Merry Christmas 🙂

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merry christmas

Because I am a Girl Campaign

 

girls campaign

 

http://plan-international.org/girls/index.php?lang=en

As I have decided to focus my Thesis on women in leadership roles in education I have been researching a lot online about the subject of gender and education, female education and women in education. It was through this research this morning that I came across the website for Plan International’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ Campaign and I felt it was necessary to share what this campaign is about. The campaign began on the 11th October 2012, coinciding with the first International Day of the Girl Child. I think this issue would be an excellent topic to bring into the Religious Education classroom. It is an issue which is relevant in the world today and it will give the students the opportunity to realise how lucky they are to be sitting at their desk soaking in the education they are both entitled to and allowed to receive.

Some facts to consider:

  • 1 in 5 girls worldwide is denied an education.
  • Forced into arrange marriages at a very young age.
  • Experience severe violence and abuse.

 

According to the website this campaign by Plan International seeks a number of changes in order to improve the lives of girls around the world.

  • girls’ education to be prioritised by world leaders
  • girls’ completion of a quality secondary education to be a major focus of international action
  • funding for girls education to be increased
  • an end to child marriage
  • an end to gender-based violence in and around schools
  • girls and boys to participate in decision making and inspire those with power to take action

http://plan-international.org/girls/plans-goals.php?lang=en

Plan International’s goals are not solely about changes but also numbers.

  • Reaching 4 million girls directly.
  • Reaching 40 million girls and boys through improving gender equality.
  • Reaching 400 million girls through policy change.

http://plan-international.org/girls/plans-goals.php?lang=en

 

girl health plan

 

girls_education_infographic

Some statistics to think about

1in5girls-chalkboard-1-w581

9years-3-w581

numbers-1-extra-year-w581-1-w581 (1)

Useful video clips for the classroom

 

Useful Links

 http://plan-international.org/girls/index.php?lang=en

http://plan-international.org/girls/plans-goals.php?lang=en

http://plan-international.org/girls/why-girls.php?lang=en

http://plan-international.org/girls/about-the-campaign/our-work.php?lang=en

http://plan-international.org/girls/stories-and-videos/all-videos.php?lang=en

http://plan-international.org/girls/day-of-the-girl.php?lang=en

http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/oct/10/five-ways-teach-girls-rights