This post will outline where to find information, and will share some primary school resources, to help Irish teachers with their recorded preparation for teaching and learning (planning).
- National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) Website
The NCCA website is where to go to find all of the information to do with curriculum and assessment in Ireland. It includes information about recent developments in relation to the curriculum and links to research, guidance and publications. It also allows you to navigate to curriculumonline.ie where you will find a copy of the Primary Curriculum Framework as well as PDF copies of the curricula for all subject areas.
Curriculumonline.ie is also where you can download the Primary Language Curriculum PDF file. You will also find the Primary Language Toolkit which includes Examples of Children’s Language Learning, the Progression Continua, and the Primary Language Curriculum Support Materials for Teachers.
You can also find the new Primary Mathematics Curriculum and the Primary Mathematics Toolkit here, and as the new subject specifications are published, it will be where to access them too.
- Preparation for Teaching and Learning – Guidance for all Primary and Special Schools
In 2021 new guidance on preparation for teaching and learning was published by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). The guidance recognises all of the work that a teacher does in preparing for their teaching (not just their paperwork). It gives more freedom to teachers in terms of what to include in their recorded preparation (planning). You can access the full document here, or read our summary blog post here.
- The Curriculum Planning Tool/ NCCA planning tool
The NCCA Curriculum Planning Tool can be useful for creating a basic outline of your long and short term recorded preparation (planning). It allows you to select your class level, subject, strand, strand units and the relevant learning outcomes/ content objectives that you would like to cover. You can then download a basic plan in Microsoft Word document format which will include your selections. You need to edit/ format the plan and add learning experiences/ activities, assessment, integration and any other sections that you wish to include such as differentiation, resources, focus of the learning etc. The tool isn’t extremely user friendly and it hasn’t been updated to reflect the guidance on preparation for teaching and learning mentioned above, but it can be useful to get the learning objectives/ outcomes from the curriculum in Word format. It also includes the Curriculum Access Tool for students with General Learning Difficulties which is very useful.
- National Induction Programme for Teachers (NIPT) Website
Teacherinduction.ie is the website of the NIPT. On its NQT Planning Support page it provides detailed guidance regarding layout and content for long and short term plans including templates, guidelines and examples. The website also includes helpful guidance and examples of planning for those in teaching in special education and special classes. The downside of the site is that there is a huge volume of information and this can be overwhelming (especially for NQTs), and also the planning templates haven’t been updated to fully reflect the guidance on preparation for teaching and learning mentioned above (For instance the NIPT long term planning template is unchanged, and the NIPT short term planning template still includes sections that are no longer necessary such as differentiation, resources, linkage and integration and skills).
- Primary Planning Tool
The Primary Planning Tool is a planning tool provided by a private company for a yearly subscription cost (all of the previously mentioned resources are provided free by the Department of Education). The PPT allows your school to create, integrate and manage your Long-term Plans, Short-term plans, cuntais míosúla reports and thematic lessons. The advantage is that it allows easy collaboration with colleagues, and that it facilitates linkage with the school’s policies/ plean scoile. The disadvantages are that it is extremely expensive at €85 per teacher every year, and that it is cloud based which may not suit teachers who prefer hard copies of their plans that they can write on and have in front of them to refer to when they are teaching.
- Chat GPT (Open AI)
Finally, I want to mention Chat GPT and how it can be used to help with teacher planning. Chat GPT is a free-to-use Artificial Intelligence system that allows you to type a question or request and it will generate text for you. Chat GPT doesn’t have access to the Irish primary school curriculum so it cannot generate a full set of long or short term plans for you, but it can be used to give you a list of learning activities/ experiences based on a prompt which you enter, and you can then choose from the list ones that are suitable for your class and inclusion in your planning. For instance, you can type a prompt such as “I am a primary school teacher in Ireland. We are learning about life in Norman Ireland as part of history. Give me a list of learning activities that are suitable for 11 and 12 year olds for the following learning objective: examine and become familiar with evidence which informs us about the lives of people in the periods studied, their thoughts and concerns, especially evidence which may be found locally”. Below you can see Chat GPT’s response to this prompt. You can simply copy and paste this text into your planning, removing any ideas that aren’t suitable for your class, and adding in any other ideas that you may wish to include. If you haven’t tried it out yet, Chat GPT is a very useful tool and is well worth exploring.
I hope this post has been helpful in outlining where to find the information that you need for your planning as well as some of the resources that can help. Of course, if you want to significantly speed up your planning, teachingplans.ie has sample, editable plans for all primary school class levels and resources for SET, EAL and autism class teachers, which have been created specifically to save teachers time and stress. Teachingplans’ sample plans will save you countless hours as the content is already pre-populated, so instead of typing and formatting everything from scratch (which is the most time demanding part of planning), you can simply edit it to suit!