Section A

This section must be completed every year. These targets relate to the general administration and core concepts of the Gaelbhratach scheme.

Section B

 There is a choice to be made from the targets and themes in this section depending on which year of the scheme the school is in. Further information here.

Primary Targets

A1 Whole school participation

It is essential that the school community in its entirety takes part in the Gaelbhratach scheme. This will ensure that speaking Irish will become an integral part of the culture of the school. No matter what level of Irish the teachers, ancillary staff or pupils have, we must ensure that they feel included and that Irish belongs to them.

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A2 Committee

Participation of as many people as possible on the committee is encouraged. Where possible, the committee should have teachers, parents* and pupils as representatives. The committee is in charge of encouraging the school community to use more Irish outside of class. They are tasked with coming up with ideas of fun activities, decorating the Gaelbhratach board and rewarding pupils for their efforts among other tasks. Members should provide a positive example of how Irish can be spoken informally around the school. The committee should meet at least once per month and keep a record of who is present, what is discussed and jobs allocated and keep this information in their self-assessment folder.

*We realise it is not always possible for parents to attend meetings during the day. Grandparents etc. are also more than welcome. Such members can be kept informed of the items to be discussed at meetings through email and invited to share their opinions.

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A3 Contact Persons

It is important that we have up-to-date contact details for at least two staff members.

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A4 Teaching Irish through Irish

Gaelbhratach encourages teachers, ancilliary staff, pupils and parents to present and to use Irish in such a way as will give the pupils an opportunity to develop an ability to speak Irish within certain parameters suited to their age and their lives.

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A5 Language Awareness

To awaken understanding, and interest in languages in general and particularly in Irish. It is recommended that schools discuss the link between culture, personal identity and languages to encourage the students to be proud of the Irish they have and to use it as regularly as possible.

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A7 Plan for Irish around the school

It is important that Irish can be seen around the school. For example, signs in Irish (or bilingual signs) on the classroom doors, the secretary’s office etc. When working on art projects for the varying seasons, major occasions during the year or different themes, Irish labels can be added. All schools have a Gaelzón/Irish wall/Gaelbhratach board which is a central information point for Irish activities. Students have a greater interest when the information/display changes regularly. This job can be shared with the committee members.

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A8 Participate in Lá/Seachtain/Coicís na Gaeilge

Seachtain na Gaeilge provides a great opportunity to celebrate the importance of Irish in our schools and lives. Fun events and activities help to promote a love and respect for the language. SnaG makes the Irish centre-stage for a week/fortnight and countless events are organised in schools all around the country e.g. quizzes, céilí’s, art and music competitions, parades and much more.

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A9 Teachers supporting parents

Parents like to be able to help their children to do their homework. As many of them have not used Irish regularly for a long time, they tend to have a lack of confidence. We recommend providing some resources and phrases to support them. If you can provide opportunities for them to speak such as coffee mornings, open nights, concerts or classes, it will really help them to learn and use more Irish.

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A10 Supporting ancillary teachers/other staff

Gaelbhratach is a scheme that belongs to the entire school community. Everyone can take part at a level that is appropriate to themselves. It is recommended that you teach a few simple phrases to anyone who is in contact with the students such as the school secretary, caretaker or GAA coaches. No one needs to worry about their level of Irish, all it involves is a few simple phrases such as ‘Dia dhuit; Slán leat; Go raibh maith agat!’ Sometimes, such people can have a greater influence on the mindset of the students as they know that person doesn’t speak Irish but they are happy to make an effort anyway.

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Primary Targets - Section B

B1 Rhymes, songs, clapping, skipping and circle games

There is a wealth of language to be learned from these phrases and vocabulary as well as the sounds and rhythm of Irish. Every class can work on this target at a level which is suitable for themselves. This could be linked to School Assembly or Games or Buddy system where a senior class would help the younger students. Examples, lyrics and support material can be found here.

B2 School Assembly

If an assembly is run at school, it provides a great opportunity to use and practice Irish outside of the classroom. The assembly does not need to be run entirely through Irish but it is important that it has a central role. For example:

– Opening and conclusion through Irish

– Senior classes may assist junior classes with songs, rhymes, poems etc.

– References to celebrations/games/congratulations/praise etc.

Examples and support material can be found here.

B3 Buddy system

Pupils from senior classes working with pupils from junior classes through the medium of Irish –See Assembly and Story session, Playground games, circular games with rhymes etc. This is a lovely way to establish positive relationships between the different classes and for the senior pupils to revise vocabulary they haven’t used for long periods of time.

Examples and support material can be found here.

B4 Amhrán na bhFiann

Chorus taught up to 3rd class perhaps, with a verse also taught in more senior classes. From 4th class on this needs to be developed by adding instrumental music
 Completing a project on the topic.

Examples and support material can be found here.

B5 Classroom management

-through the medium of Irish, avoiding use of orders as much as possible.

This will involve a variety of rituals – asking questions based on daily rituals, such as ‘Can I take out my lunch? What page are we on? Can I get a drink? What time is it? as well as class beginnings and endings.

This provides a regular opportunity to give the pupils the language they need.

Examples and support material can be found here.


B6 Regular Story telling sessions

Using a suitable storybook, having a story prepared in advance, a story on CD; or a story online

This could be linked with the Buddy System
N.B. It is important that:

(a)  Irish language books are used in DEAR time (Drop Everything and Read) at least once a month
(b)  Irish language books and stories with CDs be included for events such as the MS Readathon, Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish language week), World Book Day

For examples of books and support material click here

B7 Irish Language games/reading games

This is a fun and natural way to teach and practice certain structures. Games provide an opportunity for the pupils to speak using new phrases and vocab in context.  They involve rituals and particular formulae.  Use can be made of games you already have available at school or new ones can be created – Bingo, Snakes and Ladders, 20 questions, Headbandz etc.

Examples and support material can be found here

B8 Irish and other curricular subjects

Extra opportunities to use Irish can be created throughout the school day through using the language with other subjects. It is not necessary for the entire class to be run through Irish but it is possible to have conversations and praise the children as they work. For example, during an art class, the colours can be discussed, the children can be asked to describe the picture they are drawing and the children can be praised. The teachers are free to choose whichever subject they prefer to ensure they are comfortable.

Examples and support material can be found here

B9 Stickers

Stickers will be presented to pupils when they are heard using Irish. They can be collected on cards or you can create your own system to award them. Presenting a sticker should involve certain formulae and conversation. This is an effective way to encourage the pupils to use more informal Irish outside of the class.

Examples and support material can be found here

B10 Children greeting/welcoming

This target provides a role for students who are not on the committee. A rota can be put in place to ensure that everyone who interested gets a chance to take part. The pupils should wear a t-shirt, hat, sash or hi vis to ensure they stand out. This/these item(s) can be stored in the Secretary’s office and a conversation/ritual can be established for when they are being collected in the morning. The ‘Foireann fáilte’ stand at the school gate/door to welcome the other pupils and to say a few words about the weather etc. to the parents. The pupils can carry out the same job at special events at school such as concerts, open nights etc.

Examples and support material can be found here

B11 Irish outside of school

This target related to creating a link with another school/club/community group. You may choose from the various examples mentioned below or come up with your own ideas. It is necessary to have at least two or three events during the school year.

  1. Competition through Irish (or partly through Irish)
  2. Quizzes through Irish
  3. A visit to/contact with another school/other schools on Skype/Irish blog/Penpals

Further information, examples and support material available here

B12 Entertainment

This target provides great opportunities for using Irish learned in class in a practical fun way. Sketches, concerts, dressing up, career day, puppet show, coffee morning and much more could be used as part of this target. There is a very broad scope in relation to this target and great opportunity to get the pupils talking. Elements of this target should be accomplished at least once a term.

Examples and support materials can be found here

B13 Video presentation on a chosen theme

Various school classes work on a given theme to be presented on the blog – schools can choose from the following list:

  • A video telling the Christmas story or another seasonal story using drama, singing, music and dance
  • A video telling a historical story/ the story of the school or a seasonal theme
  • A video directed by the pupils themselves presenting a pop song in Irish being sung by the pupils of the school.

Of course, the most important thing about this target is the natural use of Irish by the pupils while preparing for and working on the target.

Further information and support material available here

B14 Quiz

(at least once per term/three times per year)

Make use of questions made up by teachers/pupils and teachers
Or you could make use of material chosen from the following sources: ; Tomhais sa Tacábhar ; Quiz ar ‘Powerpoint‘ – Cúpla míle ceist – Glór na nGael; Ceist agam ort – Cois Life;  Réalta Ranga – gaelchultú; Quizlet

B15 Karaoke through Irish

(at least once per term/three times during the year)

This is a fun target where the children can learn and practice new songs. It is recommended that a mix of traditional and modern songs be attempted. It is important that the lyrics can be seen by all the pupils and that they are accurate. There is a wealth of language in this material including phrases and vocabulary as well as the sounds and rhythm of Irish.

Support material available here