December Blog 2017

Carol Service

Our School Carol service was on the 3rd December at Kinneigh Church. The pupils were dressed very smart in their uniform. They did all the readings, the mini plays and took the collection. Three beautiful songs were sung by the pupils, “Come and Join the Celebration”, “Away in a Manger” and “Sing”.

carol service 3


Our Christmas Meal

The oldest pupils in the school, helped to cook a meal for everybody. We did roast chicken, mash potatoes, broccoli, Carrots, green beans and lovely gravy.

For dessert we had meringues and cream. It was great to share a meal all together and have lots of lovely food.

While we prepared the food, the younger pupils decorated the Christmas tree.




Collecting Food for the Cork Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

We have been raising awareness in our school of the plight of unwanted animals this winter. We gathered animal food (dog, cat etc) in our school. Many people outside of the school heard about our collection and donated food to us to pas on to the centre, in the end we had gathered a lot of much needed food. Miss Willis delivered the food to the centre, they were so thankful as food levels were low.

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Christmas Theatres

Over the past few weeks th4 children in Miss Willis’ classroom have been making beautiful crafts. They designed and made their own theatres with a Nativity scene. Take a look at the lovely finished pieces.



Lollipop Bird Houses

Many pupils made ornamental bird houses out of lollipop sticks. We used lots of bostic and layers of lollipop sticks. We made the base first and then we made the roof in two parts. Then we constructed the house. The houses needed to dry and stick overnight and then we painted them. They looked beautiful.


Christmas Candle Glasses

We decorated glasses with fancy paper, ribbon and sparkly dots. Then we put glitter sand and a candle in the glass. They were very effective.

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Christmas Winter Scene

Mr Ryan did Christmas winter scenes. They painted blue skies, mixing white and black to vary the darkness of the sky. They mixed yellow and blue to create different greens for our trees created from paper plates. Our trees stood out in a field of snow after gluing the segments of paper plates on.

The end results were stunning.


Christmas Calendars

We have made beautiful Christmas calendars for our friends and family. First we coloured in a picture of a dog because 2018 is the Chinese Year of the Dog.  Then we added a calendar for the year and thirdly we laminated the sheet. The calendars looked very impressive.

The dog theme linked in with our support for the CSPCA (food collection).




Christmas Reindeer

The children made reindeer during Christmas week from paper plates and handprints. The reindeer supported a range of different coloured noses as we didn’t want a whole load of Rudolphs.



Christmas Concert

Our Christmas Concert is just around the corner, we have been practising a play called “Where There’s a Will”. We have some Christmas poems and rhymes and the pupils will be singing three songs, “Somewhere in my Memory”, “The 12 Days of Christmas” and “Sing” by Gary Barlow.

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Happy Christmas

We at Desertserges National School, would like to wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas.  We re-open on January 8th.

merry christmas

November Blog 2017

Native Irish Wildlife Workshop

We had a visit from Niamh O’Flynn, from the Heritage and Schools Scheme who gave us a half day workshop on our native animals and birds. She talked about her life and her passion for nature. She had boxes of different feathers and eggs. She got the pupils sketching and they went outside to listen for birds and watch their movements.



School Photos

We had our school photo this month. we had a serious photo taken and then we did one where we messed about.


Music Workshop

Peter Stobart, the music director from St Fin Barres Cathedral organised some choir workshops in November for schools in West Cork. We attended the one in Bandonbridge School. There were four different groups of children altogether from different schools. He taught the children how to breathe properly when singing. He taught three simple songs individually and then mixed the three together beautifully, with different groups coming in at different times.

music image


Our Class Motto

As part of one of our SPHE lessons, the pupils agreed on a class motto. They all stamped their handprint on it to show their commitment.



Art Class : Silhouettes

Silhouette work was finished with gusto last week. The children’s work is now finished and on show on our classroom walls.


Art : Michelangelo

We looked at the life of Michelangelo and his early life.  Then we looked at the Sistine Chapel and the full layout of all the panels. The pupils had two challenges:

  • they did a lesson of painting upside down under their desks with the sheet of paper attached to the under part of the desk. They soon realised that this was extremely difficult and dangerous for their eyes etc. and they only did it for 10 minutes, Michelangelo too four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
  • The pupils had to do the picture of “The Creation of Adam”, where the two hands stretch out to meet each other.



Art : Vincent Van Gogh

The older pupils were looking at the life of Vincent Van Gogh. It was very interesting to look at his style of painting.  He painted the Bedroom Scene at Arles many times over a few years, this got the pupils to see that he “tried and tried again till he got it right”, so that was good inspiration for them. The pupils painted his bedroom scene, with only five basic paint colours, black and white and the three primary colours (red, blue and yellow). They had to mix colours to get the shades that they wanted for the different parts of the picture.



Shading and Mountain Paintings

Mr. Ryan took the children in groups and he got them to perfect the art of shading. They experimented with different shading pencils. They created contrasting buildings of pitch black in the foreground that got lighter and lighter as they faded into the background.

Making the dark buildings in the foreground was some challenge but the children found the task got easier as they went on, until they were barely using their pencils to shade in the smaller buildings in the distance.

We then put the pencils away and started painting mountains instead of buildings. The mountains were painted a variety of mixed colours but darker colours were used for the foreground and lighter colours were used to do the mountains in the background. The children were able to explain how the colours influenced the perspective with the dominant colours up front and how things in the distance look faded.

October 2017

Breakfast Week

The first full week in October was breakfast week. We had a half hour of breakfast before each school day, where the pupils could have cereal, toast and tea. It’s a great social occasion. Many pupils don’t have large numbers sitting at their breakfast table at home so it was nice to have the whole school sit down to eat and natter away with one another. Friday is breakfast pancake day ……..yummy.

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Tag Rugby

We are so delighted to be restarting our rugby training once again with the youth officer of the Bandon Rugby Club. This year it is Santiago who is from Argentina. He has a great way with the pupils, teaching them new skills and working on their team spirit.

rugby ball


Gabrielle’s Birthday

Happy Birthday Gabrielle, we hope you had a great celebration with your family. Thank you for bringing in a yummy cake.




Still Life Drawing

The older pupils had some “Still Life” classes this month.  The objects were put into different groups.  One table had boxes stacked on top of each other, another table had jugs and glasses, another vases, another towels stacked up and another fruit.  The pupils spent two weeks moving between all these tables, studying, drawing and shading. The pictures got better and better the more they practised.




Portrait Work

The children worked on portrait work which involved taking note of colours, patterns and lines. Here are the beautiful finished products.



Storm Ophelia and Storm Brian

On the 16th October Storm Ophelia hit our shores, and left behind a lot of damage. The school lost electricity for 5 days and the internet and phone line for 12 days. Our school like all others in Ireland closed for Monday and Tuesday. We returned Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, to manage very well under the circumstances, as we had no electricity. For the rest of that autumn term we had no internet or phone line as it returned the day after the holidays started. It was a bit of a surreal time, as swirling destructive winds caused pockets of devastation, neighbour to neighbour had different degrees of damage to their houses and farms.  The electrical engineers, the telephone engineers and roofers were working round the clock 7 days a week to get us all back up and running, the army were called out to remove fallen trees and we even had electrical engineers coming from France to assist with the massive number of houses in the dark.

Storm Brian hit in the same week and although the strength of wind was not there, there was a lot of rain and localised flooding and it weakened tree roots, damaged more roads and hampered the good work being achieved by our engineers.

storm ophelia


The Island of Saints and Scholars

Con McCarthy came to our school and he gave the pupils a talk on “The Island of Saints and Scholars”, exploring Christianity through the centuries from St Patrick to monastic sites right up to the last hundred years.  Con is a retired primary principal with a passion for History, especially local history. He gave a slide show followed by an art class. Each child was given a quill and some ink and he taught them how to write their names the old way, using the quill and writing in ogham, a type of writing with a combination of slanted lines. Thank you con for a most enjoyable morning.


Halloween Party

We had our Halloween party on the last day of the autumn term. The pupils came in dressed in fun costumes and great face paintings.  We had loads of games and lots of lovely food to eat. (thanks to all that blew up the balloons – that was some job).

The pupils donated money to “Trick or Treat for Temple Street”, Ireland’s Children’s University Hospital”, where they need money to buy new state-of-the-art equipment, to fund research and to modernise the children’s wards.

trick or treat



September 2017

Extension Art

Our first Art Class of the year was called “Extension Art”. The pupils were given an initial picture and they put this picture in the middle of a blank sheet of paper. They extended the lines/picture from the initial picture right across the blank sheet of paper. Then they painted/coloured in their picture, bringing the colours from the initial picture right across their own picture.




Daily Reading

We have set up a daily reading schedule so all pupils are reading aloud several times during the week. It has been very successful.

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Crafty Cats

The Middle Classes worked well together making beautiful Crafty Cats. Several straightforward steps were involved in making the cats. The pupils made the Crafty Cats from a single paper plate. Lots of work was involved in making the cat fur which was made from strips of coloured A4 paper which was stuck down and layered upon. Next a circle was drawn on the back of the plate and cut out. This cut out circle was then used to make the head, ears and tail. It was a very enjoyable Friday afternoon activity.



SPHE/RE : Pears

We looked at the “Fruits of the Spirit” : Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.

In our SPHE class, we had a discussion on what we excel at and areas we have to work on more.


English : Enormous Crocodile

The class read Roald Dahl’s “The Enormous Crocodile”. As a follow up activity the pupils did sequence work putting a collection of images from the story in chronological order. Here are our results.


Geography : Hurricane Irma

The older pupils followed the route of Hurricane Irma on her path of utter destruction through the Caribbean Islands. They filled in maps, naming all the seas and islands. They learnt about the different parts of a storm, the strengths of the winds, the different categories etc. They looked at the naming of Hurricanes. The pupils also learnt about Hurricane Harvey which had hit Texas a few weeks before. It was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the USA in over 12 years. They were able to put Hurricane Irma on their maps and Hurricane Jose (who was later to hit Mexico badly) and Hurricane Katia.

hurricane irma


Kick Boxing Demo

On Thursday 14th September tony Stephenson, former European and world kick box champion from the West cork Kickboxing Club  called to the school to give us a demonstration on kickboxing. He showed us all his medals and belts he had won all over the world. He also showed us some kick boxing moves which Isabel and Calum, (two of our students who volunteered to assist him), mastered in no time at all.



Zumba Classes

We are so pleased that our Zumba classes have restarted. Danny is a great energetic teacher and gets everyone up, staff and pupils.



Art : Caravans

The pupils designed their own camper vans, then they painted in the whole picture, camper van and background. Once this section is finished they work on the 3D effect. They designed suitcases to go on top of the camper van, they made curtains from material and added shells to the ground. The end result was very effective and each pupil’s was so original and different.

Art : Trees

Our autumnal trees are now on display and a reminder to all of the beautiful colours on the trees at this time of year.



SESE : Beach Trip

On Tuesday 19th September we all headed off to Inchadoney Beach part of our SESE Programme. We travelled to the beach by bus. We were extremely lucky with the weather on the day. Luck was on our side with the tide too, it was fully out and we were able to go right to the edge of the headland. We all had so much fun investigating to see what we could find in the rock pools.

We found so many crabs mussels and starfish. We also found a large variety of different seaweeds. We had seashore books with us to identify the different sea creatures and seaweeds. We carefully examined all our findings and then returned them back to their habitats. We enjoyed a well-deserved lunch on the beach   after a busy morning exploring, before returning home.


Cooking : Apple Crumble

On Wednesday 20th September, we enjoyed a lovely apple crumble in school. We used our own cooking apples picked off tress at the back of the school. Mrs Sweeney brought her recipe in for us to follow.

Step 1 : First we washed, peeled and chopped the apples. Then we stewed the apples with some sugar and a little water to stop it sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. We allowed the stewed apple to cool for an hour.

Step 2 : We preheated the oven to 180°C.

Step 3 : Making the crumble: (this makes enough crumble for 8-10 people). We  carefully measured out 12oz flour, 8oz butter, 4oz white sugar and 4oz brown sugar ( you may scatter flaked almonds over the top of the crumble before it goes into the oven).

Rub the butter and sugar together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add in the sieved flour and mix well.  Get a large long baking tin (9in. x 13in. approx.) and put some stewed apple on the bottom, a generous amount to cover the bottom well. Then scatter all the crumble mixture over it. At this stage if you wish, you may scatter flaked almonds over the mixture.  Place in the oven for around 25-30 minutes, you will know when the crumble is ready as it will be golden brown. Then everyone had a slice. It was yummy.

The pupils loved it so much that some of them made it again when they went home that afternoon.



SPHE : Garda Visit

In September we had a visit from our local Garda. He came to talk to the pupils about road safety and the importance of wearing safety belts, no matter how short the journey is. He also advised us, as the mornings and evenings were getting darker to be safe and to always wear yellow high-visual jackets at all times, when walking or cycling on the roads.



“Start of Year” Church Service

On Thursday 28th September, We joined pupils from all the other Church of Ireland schools in the Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, for a children’s church service, in St Peter’s Church on Thursday 28th September. The church was full and each school had brought their own bells and school banners. The children lead the service by doing all the readings and the prayers.  Our Bishop, Paul Colton really enjoyed himself getting everybody joining in.



Intergration : SESE/ART : Hedgehogs

We read an article in the October issue of “Irish Country Magazine” on hedgehogs.  It told us all about the lifestyle and habits of the hedgehogs in our gardens. We learnt about setting up a hedgehog dry feeding area in our gardens and making safe areas for them to sleep.

The big issue we learnt about was rescuing hedgehogs, when to rescue and when not to rescue hedgehogs, who to contact when they need rescuing, and what advice to follow. A great site to look at was “ www.”. We found that Gail Jonas in Ballincollig rehabilitates hedgehogs.

A family known by Mrs Sweeney, rescued a hedgehog after they contacted Gail Jonas and described its size, colour and movement (or lack of). They minded the hedgehog for a few weeks, feeding it up, as it was unwell when they found it. They taught it to forage by day and by night. When it reached its proper weight for its size they released it back out into the wild in a safe place for it to live.

We continued the subject of hedgehogs into our Art class, where we sketched hedgehogs, they turned out very well.



Dates for the first term of the School Year 2017-2018

Wednesday 30th August : School reopens

Mid Sept : Annual Beach Trip

Monday 25th Sept : Staff meeting, the pupils go home an hour earlier

Thursday 28th : Annual Church Service for all schools in St Peters Church, Bandon (Uniform needed)

Monday 2nd – 6th October : Breakfast Week

Sept/Oct : Zumba Classes and Tag Rugby starts

Fri 27th October : Halloween Party

Monday 30th Oct – Fri 3rd Nov : Halloween Break

Mon 13th – Fri 17th November : Parent Teacher Meetings

Friday December 22nd : School Christmas Concert and closing at 12 noon

Mon 25th Dec – Fri 5th Jan : Christmas Holidays

Summer News

We welcome Ms Jane Willis as a new member of our Teaching staff

Congratulations to Vicki Good and her U12 relay team in getting a bronze medal at the All Ireland Relays in Athlone in July.

Congratulations to the following prize winners of the “Ford 100” Schools Art Competition : Infants : Freya McSweeney (3rd prize),  1st and 2nd Classes : Isabel Grunwell  (Highly recommended). 3rd and 4th Classes : Martha O’Flynn (1st prize)

Ford 100 Fest : Best of luck to the Buttimer Family, past students of our school,  as they host this celebration of 100 years of Ford in Ireland, on Sunday August 27th.  Where you will see live demonstrations of ploughing, threshing, silage and corn cutting, farming from the olden days etc