Martin Luther King – An example of a Moral Model

martin luther king quote


Below is a PowerPoint presentation I made when teaching Morality to Third Year students. I used Martin Luther King as an example of a Moral Model. I began the lesson by discussing with the class the main characteristics of a moral person. I asked the students if they could identify any examples of a moral person in today’s society. I asked the students if they had a prior knowledge of the issue of civil rights for black people in America.


The students were shown a video clip which outlined the life and works of Martin Luther King and they were asked to answer the following questions:

  • Who was Martin Luther King?
  • How were black people treated during the 1950s?
  • Who was the lady who would not give up her seat on the bus?
  • What did Martin Luther King do for the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956?
  • How was Martin Luther King treated by white people?
  • Was the Montgomery Bus Boycott successful?
  • What Bill was passed in 1964?
  • What happened to Martin Luther King?


The students were then divided into groups and they were asked to engage in a brief discussion of the issue of racism and civil rights in America and the importance of Martin Luther King as a moral model in society. Each group was asked to identify and summarise any comparisons there may be between Martin Luther King and Jesus. Each group was asked to provide examples to explain any of the comparisons that they may have identified.

The lesson ended with showing the students Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech from August 28th, 1963.











An Introduction to Morality

right or wrong post its

Below is a PowerPoint presentation I made for teaching Third Year students about Morality. It outlines the main definitions associated with morality, the different kinds of moral behaviour, steps towards making a moral decision and identifies where our morality comes from. It also includes a number scenarios which students can discuss and decide what they would do in each situation. This powerpoint would be suitable for senior Religious Education classes also.



morality simpsons

Teaching Practice…you WILL survive!


This is the first January in three years that I am not out on Teaching Practice! Yesterday my heart went out to all the Mater Dei students who embarked upon their first, second or final teaching placement. I also caught myself at many times during the day reminiscing about the teaching practice placements that I have completed; smiling to myself remembering the good times (seriously there will be good even great times!) and cringing to myself at the moments that weren’t so good. It is a strange feeling to not be worrying about schemes, lesson plans or praying the students will like you let alone respect you! And lets not forget the dreaded moment when a student or teacher comes to your classroom to tell you your supervisor is waiting in the staffroom and they have tried to delay the inevitable by offering them a cup of tea and a few digestives. Nevertheless, here I am a survivor of Teaching Practice and you can be a survivor too!

teach definition


  1. BREATHE – It does not matter if you have never stood in front of a classroom full of students or if you have done it a hundred times you are still going to be nervous. So take a few minutes to just breathe. It is nothing to be ashamed of and if anything I believe a few butterflies in your tummy before a lesson starts is good for you. Use those butterflies in your tummy, shaky hands or struggling to be heard voices to push yourself to do better in each lesson and before you know it you and those students will be saying to yourselves, ‘nerves, what nerves?’.
  2. BE ORGANISED FROM DAY ONE – I realise for Mater Dei students I am shouting this piece of advice on day two but it is not too late to get your organisational skills in order! Always, always, always in every single lesson have a lesson plan in front of you (a hard copy NOT on your laptop screen). The art of ‘winging’ it is not your friend at a time like this when you are trying to become the best teacher you can be and that simply cannot happen if you try to cut corners. Have your folders with you at all times and make sure they are neat and tidy; this will make life so much easier for you in the long run. Don’t get me wrong I know the temptation that creeps in after supervisions are done and dusted (especially if this happens in the early days) to let the folder slip to the back of your mind but you really don’t need that added pressure when you’re already exhausted on the day folders need to be handed in. Also, keep in mind that your folders are opportunity to share your hard work and creativity to other teachers in the school and to make an impression. The impression you and your work makes on the other teachers and even the principal could stand to you when you are job-hunting so make sure you’re not remembered as the one who had most of their folder on the floor!
  3. BE CREATIVE – When I was on Teaching Practice in my third year of college I was teaching ‘The Renaissance’ to a group of First Year students. It was quite a boisterous group of young lads who needed something beyond the norm to keep their attention in every lesson. I am a firm believer in the People in History questions for Junior Cert History as it gives the students the opportunity to become creative with historical facts and they find themselves learning without realising it. However with this particular group, writing about the life of Michelangelo simply wasn’t exciting enough. So I decided to shake the lesson up a little bit in the hopes that this would also shake up their imagination for the People in History question they would be doing for homework. Each student was given a sheet of white paper to stick to the underneath of their desks. Once the paper was stuck the students had to lie underneath their desks with their arms outstretched and a pencil in their hand. I asked them not to draw anything on the piece of paper until they felt that their arms couldn’t stay outstretched any longer. I explained that at that moment in the lesson they were re-enacting the position in which Michelangelo lay whilst painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel which took him over four years to complete! I will admit that had anyone popped their head in the door of the classroom that day the scene would’ve taken a bit of explaining to do but the students loved it and I cannot express enough the feeling of achievement I had seeing the lesson go so well. The point of that little trip down memory was to tell you guys to embrace your own creativity and imagination within the classroom. Learn to think outside the box, outside of the textbook, outside of the PowerPoint and just go for it! Yes there will be times when it just doesn’t work and times when it all goes swimmingly (the day the supervisor doesn’t pop in) but that’s ok because this is all a journey of learning who you are and what you can do as a teacher. Imagine that you’re not on Teaching Practice and ask yourself the question, ‘what would you do if you weren’t afraid?’ and then go do it.
  4. DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE STAFFROOM – Trust me, if there was anything that I could go back and try harder on it would be my involvement in the staffroom. I understand how daunting that room can be and the power it has to turn your normally bubbly and chatty self into the shy mouse sitting in the corner afraid of using the kettle. I’m aiming this particular piece of advice to all Teaching Practice students; don’t let your fear of the staffroom turn your lion’s roar of the classroom into the squeak of a mouse at lunchtime! Be yourself! Believe in yourself! Don’t be intimidated by other teachers, they all started where you did! Make your voice heard and who knows where it could lead you; new friends, useful advice and the chance to learn something new. To the Mater Dei students out on your first Teaching Practice placement, use this time to put in some groundwork into your involvement in the staffroom and it will greatly stand to you on your future placements. Mater Dei final year students it is not too late to turn it all around in the staffroom if you fall into the category of the shy mouse explained above. At this point of your teaching you have the most experiences to talk about, use this to your advantage and you’ll have no fear stepping into the staffroom of the school that employs you when you’re set free into the real world.
  5. ENJOY YOURSELF – Each Teaching Practice placement is an individual experience and even though you may have to complete a number of placements, each one takes on its own identity. The placement which confirms to you that you’ve chosen the right career path, the placement that makes you think what exactly am I doing here, the placement that you feel your students finally ‘got you’ and the placement that will make you think you’ll simply never understand teenagers. My point is that you simply cannot predict what a placement will turn out to be until you are in the thick of it so why not just accept that it will be a rollercoaster ride and simply enjoy yourself? Your most challenging times will occur within a classroom but so will your most rewarding therefore there is no reason not to enjoy the experience. Allowing yourself to enjoy your placement and placing having a positive experience above the stress of schemes, lesson plans and supervisors will teach you many more lessons than you will teach in the classroom. 🙂

There are so many other tips and tricks for surviving Teaching Practice but I believe that if you keep those five in mind during it you can and you will survive. I cannot believe it has been a year since I last stepped into a classroom but it just goes to show that time flies and it waits for nobody. So please embrace every minute of it, learn from it and accept the changes it might make to your teaching identity. You will not regret it. 🙂

i love teaching

The Feast of the Epiphany and Three Kings Day


kings and camels

The Feast of the Epiphany which celebrates the revelation of Jesus Christ to man takes place on the 6th of January. The feast is a celebration of how Jesus Christ revealed himself in three ways; as child to the Magi, at His baptism, and at His first miracle at the wedding in Cana. The Feast of the Epiphany marks the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas, therefore it is also referred to as the ‘Twelfth Night’. It is also a celebration in honour of the Three Wise Men (Magi) who came to visit Jesus Christ when he was born. ‘Three Kings Day’ is celebrated in Latin America, Spain, and in Hispanic communities of the United States. There is a tradition carried out by many families which sees the children receiving gifts under their bed upon waking up from their Twelfth Night slumber. This tradition represents the gifts Jesus Christ received from the Magi; gold, frankincense and myrrh. The children write letters to the Magi in the days leading up until January 6th and leave their shoes as well as some hay for the camels which the Magi are travelling on outside their door before going to sleep. In some European countries especially Italy, the day of the Feast of the Epiphany is seen to be of greater importance than Christmas Day with many celebratory events taken place amongst families and communities.

Below is a video which outlines what the Gospel of Matthew tells us about the Epiphany. It is a very useful resource for the classroom. The Gospel of Matthew tells us that the birth of Jesus Christ was to change the world for all people.


Below is a video which shows the celebration of Three Kings Day in Mexico. This is an excellent video to show students how different cultures celebrate the traditions that we share. 


The first celebration of Three Kings Day at Disneyland.


Celebration of the Epiphany and Three Kings Day 2014 around the World. This is an excellent resource for all you need to know about the significance of the 6th January and the traditions which take place around the world.


Photos of the celebration of Three Kings Day 


three kings day three kings day 1 three kings day 2 kings in boat king cake

The Journey of the Magi – T.S Eliot
‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kiking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.


kings and gifts


New Year, New Term, New Start




back to school


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. 🙂


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.



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.





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



Christmas of days gone by!

Searching through 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.  🙂

medieval christmas


medieval christmas dinner

tudor christmas


merry christmas 2

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