I coordinated Gaeilge as part of my assistant principal post for a number of years. Part of the role was to create a wish list of resources for teaching Gaeilge and to purchase these for the school. It gave me the opportunity to discover some of the fantastic resources that are out there for the teaching of the Irish language and I’d like to share some of these below.
In fact, there are such high-quality resources available on everything from songs to picture books, that if given the choice, I would rather not use an Irish scheme/ book from a publisher. Only once have I had a year teaching when I didn’t have to use a particular scheme and book and I loved the freedom to choose the resources that best suited my class, and that fit in with the themes I was covering in other subjects.
Anyway, below are some of my top picks for essential Irish resources for teaching. I use these resources all the time when teaching a class and make reference to them frequently in the Gaeilge plans on teachingplans.ie.
- Gaeilge Bheo! Costs €12 from the Gael Linn website. I have had this since I started teaching and it has been invaluable to me in increasing the amount of Gaeilge neamhfhoirmiúil that I use. It basically has a list of all of the phrases that you could need in a school context. They are sorted by theme so it is very easy to find what you are looking for. When I stated teaching, I chose a phrase a week that I wanted to get into the habit of using, I wrote it on the board to remind me to use it, and I made an effort to use it as much as possible. When it had become a habit, I chose another phrase, and so on, until I was using a lot Gaeilge throughout the school day. I can’t overstate how much this book helped me with this!
- D’Aon ghuth 1, 2 & 3: These books are not cheap, but they are worth the investment! They have really catchy songs as Gaeilge for a variety of themes. They come with a CD and the sheet music. Book 1 is for Infants, book 2 for the middle classes, and book 3 is for the senior classes. They are available from a number of supplies, including Schott Music.
- Seidean Sí – This programme is used widely in Gaelscoileanna, but it definitely should not be limited to Irish medium schools as it comes with the most fantastic resources that would benefit any school or class level. I use the Seidean Sí resources all the time in my Irish teaching and I don’t teach in a Gaelscoil. First, they have a super website where you can access interactive games, e-books and all of their songs and audio are available to download for free. If I am looking for a song or poem relating to a particular theme, I will always check the Seidean Sí website as they have a wide range for all class levels. The other thing I love about Seidean Sí is the big books. The Primary Language Curriculum requires that early reading skills be taught to Infants in Irish as well as English. The most successful way that I have found to do this is through reading the children big books from the Seidean Sí programme. It does involve pre-teaching vocab, and a lot of actions, BUT with this and the pictures, the children do get the gist of the stories and they really enjoy them! Their big books also fit really nicely into the themes that are often covered in Infants – 2nd The big books would be suitable for all of these class levels. For older children, there are e-readers on their website too!
- Siopaleabhar.com – I have to give the website a mention as it is where I buy all of my Irish language big books, picture books and readers for older children. I love using picture books in Irish and English for ALL class levels and what is great about this website, is that you can get popular picture books that the children would already be familiar with in English, as Gaeilge! This is fantastic as it helps the children in their understanding, and it also promotes the aim of the Primary Language Curriculum whereby skills learned in one language transfer to the other.
- Tomás na hOrdóige agus Scéalta Eile: This is a fantastic resource for teaching the traditional tales as Gaeilge. It costs approximately €40 and is available from Outside the Box Learning and Siopagaeilge.ie
- Plúra Lúra agus na Bopóga: This is one of my all-time favourite song books for the younger classes. The songs are just gorgeous and range from really simple movement songs for Junior Infants to more challenging ones that would be suitable for 2nd It costs approximately €12 and is available from siopaleabhar.com
- Gugalaí gug – A great book for rannta tradisiúnta Gaailge. It costs €15 and can be found here.
- Irish Songs we Learned at School by John Spillane is a great CD to have for teaching the traditional Irish songs that I learned at school or the Gaeltacht back in the day! It is available from Amazon.
Note: I have not been paid or received any sponsorship to mention any of these resources or websites. They are simply my recommendations based on what I have found helpful in my teaching of the Irish language!