Junior Certificate RE: Section D: Sundays in the past

Here are some lesson ideas for teaching Sunday’s in the past!

Phase 1: Introduction

I will greet the class. I will take the class roll call.
I will introduce the lesson topic of ‘Religion in the past’ to the students.
I will state my learning objectives for this class.
I will review what I have taught the students in the last two classes.
-Religious belief
-Religious practice
I will give the students the homework task of a questionnaire. The students will ask their parents about their religious experience when they were younger.
Phase 2: Think-Pair-Share-Worksheet-What do you do on Sundays now?
I will ask the students to think about ‘What do you do on Sundays now?’.
I will give the students a worksheet and I ask the students to write down what
they do on Sunday’s now and what they think their parents did on Sunday’s years ago.
I will give the students four minutes for this task.
After the time is up, I will ask a number of students for their answers and I
will discuss the pupils’ answers with the class.
Phase 3: ‘A Question of Faith’ Textbook page 174- Lower and higher order questions
I will ask the students to open their textbooks on page one hundred and
seventy four. I will ask a number of pupils to read.
I will use the technique of popcorn reading where the students do not know
who I will ask to read next. This makes sure that the students are fully
engaged with the text at all times. I will then ask the students higher and lower order
questions about the content of the text.
Lower order questions:
Reena had statues of whom in her house when she was
younger? (Our Lady
and Joseph)
What would the whole family do after dinner? (The whole family would kneel
in the front room while we said the rosary)
What did Reena do every Saturday? (Went to confession)
What does Reena say one of the most important changes for her was? (Return
to scripture)
Higher order questions:
Why do you think Reena thinks the changes that came
because of Vatican II are positive changes?
Why do you think some of these changes were difficult for older people?
What do you think about the changes Vatican II made?
Would you have liked to have grown up in Reena’s time?
Phase 4: Handout on ‘The Station’- Group work: Worksheet on ‘The Station’. 
I will give the students a handout which will discuss the stations in 1940s/1950s Ireland.
I will ask a number of pupils to read the handout.
I will then give the students a worksheet which will assess the students learning of the handout on ‘The Station’.
The students will get four minutes for this task.
I will then collect the worksheets for correction.
Handout – Stations handout
Phase 5: Conclusion 
I will sum up what I have taught the students in class today.
I will thank the students for their co-operation in today’s class.
I will remind the students of the homework task which I set at the beginning
of today’s class.
I will tell the students that I look forward to working with them tomorrow.

Lesson 2

In the next lesson, I put the students into groups.
I gave each group a sheet of paper and I asked each group to think of 2 questions that they would ask an older person about what how they spent Sundays when they were young.
I will give the students 5 minutes for this task.
After the time is up, I will ask each group for their questions. I will make sure that each group has different questions. By getting the students to come up with their own questions, I am really involving the students. By developing their own questions the students will be really interested in the lesson!
Then I will invite my guest speaker in.(In the past I invited my Deputy Principal in as a guest speaker).
Each group will then ask the guest speaker their questions.

The students really enjoyed this lesson and they all evaluated that they learnt a lot from it. More than they would have learnt from a textbook!

Inspirational video- Lessons from a Teacher

I love this video! It is great advice from an exceptional teacher. 

Here are some of the lessons that she has taught me!

  1. ‘Teaching is the best job because of the relationships you establish and the influence you can have. That is what you are there for’.

2. ‘A lot of time you can learn as much from the kids as they do from you’.

3. The highs are so much better than the lows you are going to experience’.

4. ‘It is a learning experience for you and its going to be every year that you teach’.


‘The power of teaching is that you can and do influence so many other  lives. You are not there to impart facts and figures. The whole thing is to foster relationships with people’.



Habit of the week





This is a follow up blog from my reward systems blog. This is my own personal creation that I created just before I started my first teaching placement. Before I started my first placement, I thought about what kind of teacher I wanted to be. And I also thought about what I expected off the students. I remembered my own school days and teachers telling my peers and I that we need to get in the ‘habit’ of this and that. The word ‘habit’ wrecked my head so much during school that it has stuck with me. I now understand what my teachers were saying.

I wanted my own pupils to get into certain habits such as:

  • Being motivated
  • Being organised (Having all copies, books, pencil cases and other classroom materials that are needed).
  • Working hard
  • Coming to class on time
  • Being passionate about the subject
  • Encouraging others
  • Achieving targets 


There are so many different habits that we want the students to get into. These are just some examples.

I set a different ‘Habit’ each week. I stick a poster of the ‘Habit of the Week’ on my notice board. I stick it here so my students are constantly reminded and motivated for the week. At the end of the week, I then pick one student that I think really worked hard at achieving the ‘Habit of the Week. I give that student a certificate that I made myself using Power point and a prize such as sweets.

‘Habit of the Week’ has really worked well for me throughout my four teaching practices and now in my first job as a teacher.

It actually motivates the disruptive students and it gives the quiet students confidence. It motivates ALL students and the students get quite competitive with each other. They ALL want to win it. Many parents have given me fantastic feedback about using this reward system. I plan to keep using this reward system throughout my career.

Here is my Habit of the Week Certificate. You can edit it yourself to add in your name and your Habit of the Week. Habit of the week.

The value of post its for evaluation!

post its

This post is credited to my lecturer Elaine McDonald who taught my year about the value of using post its in our teaching!


I have been using post its since my first teaching practice and they work! You can use post its in many ways. It is a really easy and simple but yet effective teaching tip! You can see immediately if there are any gaps in your students understanding of a certain topic. You read the students questions about a certain topic. Also you can see the best ways that your students learn. I really love it.. I have been using this top for 4 years and I plan on using it throughout my teaching career!

At the start of the year, I will write on the whiteboard, ‘What can Ms O Reilly do this year to help you learn this year?’. I will give each student a a post it and I will ask the students to write their answer on their post it and stick it on the whiteboard. Th allows you to see at the start of the year what the students expect/need from you.

On example is when I am nearing the end of the lesson so  I give every student a post it. I ask them to write down on the post it one question they have about today’s topic.

Or else I write 3 questions on the whiteboard and I ask the students to respond to each question on their post it.

Some examples of questions are:

  1. What did you like about today’s lesson.
  2. Write down one thing that you learnt in today’s lesson.
  3. What did you not like about today’s lesson.
  4. What did you find hard to understand about today’s lesson.
  5. What did we do in today’s lesson that you helped you to understand the topic?

It is best to tell the students not to write their names down on their post it as you will get the best answers if it is anonymous. Students love not writing their name down as they do not have to feel anxious about asking a ‘stupid question’ and it gives them more confidence to be brutally honest!



You can get the students to fold over the post it so it is sealed. You can take the posts its up and address the questions before the lesson ends or else you can collect the  post its at the very end of the lesson.


You can use this tip in ANY subject! I hope you find this tip helpful!




Appreciate everything you have.. 


Christmas has become so commercialised! It is important to remember what is really important!  It is important to teach our students what truly matters and to always be grateful. Christmas is a hard time for some people too. You never know what someone is going  through! Check up on those who you think are struggling. It will mean more to them than you will ever realise!

be thankful

Always be kind to others and be grateful for everything that you have. Christmas time is really about the religious significance but it is also about being grateful and spending time with your family and friends.

best gift

good times


Our students need to learn it is not the end of the world if they do not receive a new Naked palette or Justin Bieber concert tickets or FIFA 16 or COD game! They are simply #firstworldproblems



Appreciate everything that you have and remember those who have nothing. Please give something to another no matter how small it is. I like many others had family members who were affected by the recent flooding crisis.

And then there are all the wars that are happening globally right now. Those people are experiencing grieve and they are in constant fear for their lives!

grateful heart.png

Christmas is the most special time of year! It brings families/communities together. It is a time where we are thankful for the year that we have just experienced and we prepare for the new year that is just beginning.




Here is a lovely video clip about the strong connection between being grateful and happy!

You could use this video clip in Section D of Junior Certificate Religious Education or LC non exam RE or SPHE.


I am going to end this post with a quote from one of favourite children’s books ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ by Dr Seuss.

dr sesuss