We had a very eggciting month in June as our baby chicks were born! We incubated chicken eggs for twenty one days and they hatched into two fluffy chicks called Stardust and Sonny! Our eggs were incubated at 37.8 degrees celsius inside a manual incubator and we had to ensure there was enough water in the gauge to keep the humidity at the right level. Each day we turned the eggs at least three times and we numbered them on one side and put an ‘x’ on the other to ensure we knew which egg was which! We did all of this to minic what would happen in real life with a hen! Usually a hen sits on the eggs and keeps the eggs at the right temperature as well as turning them several times a day with her feet to ensure that they develop properly. The hen’s feathers are slightly damp underneath which ensures the correct humidity for her eggs too! After about eight days of incubation we were able to see some veins inside our eggs when we candled them. This involving shining a torch through them in a dark room.
On day fourteen we candled them again to reveal much larger dark shadows that were beginning to move! We did our final check on day eighteen which showed our chicks having great fun moving around in their little eggs.
For the last three days, we didn’t turn the eggs anymore in order for the chicks to get into the right position for hatching. On day twenty-one our first egg pipped and the second soon followed. A ‘pip’ is when the chick makes its first crack of the egg with its egg tooth (a little tooth on the top of its beak which breaks off post hatch – specially designed for cracking shells), it does this to give itself more air to breath. Inside the egg, there is an air sac which the chick will breath from before it pips. After the chicks pipped their shells, it took about ten to twelve hours for them to fully hatch. Making the first pip is hard work and they need to have a good rest, absorb the rest of the egg yolk through their belly buttons (their food) and conserve their energy for their big hatch. The hatch itself doesn’t take too long, maybe an hour at most! The chick has to work its way around the whole shell before using its back, neck, wing and head to push itself out of the shell. Inside the egg, the chick’s head is tucked up underneath its wing to protect it – hence why you might have seen the wing come out of the shell first in our Twitter videos – @MsOlsonsClass.
The chicks did not come out of the shell looking all fluffy! Their feathers were actually soaking wet!
We left them in the incubator until they had dried and fluffed up and then we transported them into a suitable box. We hung an infrared heat lamp over the box to keep them cosy and gave them lots of food and water. A normal lamp wouldn’t work as well as the little chicks would find it too difficult to sleep with the harsh light. The chicks grew so quickly and began to get their wing feathers after only a couple of days.
They could often be seen preening themselves to change the fluff to feathers! After a week our chicks went to a lovely new home with lots of other chicken friends but every student in the school had the opportunity to visit them before they left!
What a year it has been in Junior Infants! We have learnt so much and are now ready to go into Senior Infants at the end of August. We ploughed full speed ahead with our literacy and we are now competent emergent readers! Everyone has made so much progress this year and it has been lovely to watch the children’s growth and development throughout the course of the year. Although the month of June symbolises the end of the year and a wind down to the holidays, we packed an awful lot of content in!
In Aistear, we loved playing in the Ice-Cream Parlour and Beach Shop Home Corner. We pretended to be the shop assistants serving delicious ice-creams and sundaes and as customers we found it so tricky to pick our ice-creams from all the mouth-watering flavours in the ice-cream fridge! We also picked up buckets and spades, swimsuits and surf boards in the beach shop! At the construction station, we enjoyed building ice-cream vans and making ice-creams out of playdough. We packed our suitcases with clothes for our holidays with a cut and stick worksheet and it was great fun heading off to the beach in small world. We loved playing with the sand and searching for magnetic letters to make words and we enjoyed making lovely ice-cream sundaes too. We also enjoyed learning about the life-cycle of a butterfly and taking the barbies swimming during water play.
In English, we continued to revise our Jolly Phonics and we loved the letter songs from Have Fun Teaching. We continued with our writing stations and we are now able to write our news with very little support from our teacher! Our theme for the month was ‘The Sea / Summer’ and we read a great story this month ‘Winnie at the Seaside’ by Valerie Thomas. We also enjoyed reading our own stories and we are progressing through the levels of our Oxford Reading Tree books at a great rate! If anyone would like to continue reading these over the summer, you can access them at https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/.
In Gaeilge, we finished off Éadaí (Clothes) and Siopadóireacht (Shopping) and had lots of fun singing the songs, learning the phrases and playing the games on Bua na Cainte. In maths, we revised lots of the topics and concepts we have learnt this year including sorting, 2D and 3D shapes, pattern, number formation, more and less and addition within 5 and 10. We also learned about spatial awareness and prepositions and did a fun guided drawing activity to learn these.
We did lots of fun S.E.S.E in June! In geography we identified the signs of Summer and we learnt about the sea and some sea creatures. Most importantly we learnt about water, and water safety. In history, we looked at how we have grown and changed in relation to what we can do now that we couldn’t do at the start of Junior Infants and when we were babies! We really enjoyed doing science experiments this month. We did a water cycle experiment and investigated our shadows outside in the yard – we made funny shapes with our bodies and drew around our shadows in chalk. We returned later on in the day to see how our shadows had changed! We learnt about the life cycle of a butterfly through story and did a cut and stick activity. We also got to see real caterpillars in their cocoons! It was really cool! We had a special planting sessions with Tanya who taught us all about minibeasts and let us take home our own wildflower bombs! We also learnt about light and heat and tested materials to see if they were waterproof or not.
In Art, we made lovely painted butterflies a fingerprint keepsake to remember our Junior Infants Class.
June was extra special because we had Active Schools Week. We had so much fun doing lots of sports in June with a special thanks to Ms. D’Arcy for all the organisation of the activities. We had a fantastic sports day where we completed ten different activities. These were sack races, hurdles, long jump, target throws, an obstacle course, penalty shoot outs, egg and spoon races, climbing wall races, bean bag races and teddy bear relays! It was so much fun and we all got a medal at the end! We loved dancing in the lines each morning and we had two activities a day for Active Schools Week. We enjoyed yoga with Ms. Treacy, ball skills with Coach Steve, dance with Ms. Casey, ball skills with tennis balls and a game of rounders to finish off the lesson, circuit training with Ms. Hegarty and finally parachute fun!
On the Friday of Active Schools Week, we had our Family Fun Day! Our parents came to see us have great fun doing some of the activities from our sports day as well as a three-legged race. We had great fun having a go at it with our parents too! We loved soaking people with sponges too and finished off the great day with a picnic and treats!
We had an absolute ball on our school tour to Tick Tock Farm despite the torrential rain! We enjoyed going on the coach and sitting beside our friends! We loved petting bunnies, exploring the school bus which was full of toys, going on all of the swings, slides and seesaws, riding around on bikes and push vehicles and of course meeting and feeding all of the lovely animals!
Here we are on our last day of Junior Infants – ice-creams, silly faces and all, how time has flown!
What a fantastic year it has been in Junior Infants! I will miss having this lovely class but I know that the children will have a wonderful time with their new teacher next year. I wish you all a lovely summer break and the very best of luck in Senior Infants!