Report on Grandparents Project

Part of SIP 19.(Schools Integration Project …IT2000)

As part of its IT2000 initiative to infuse schools in Ireland with good ICT practices the National Center for Technology in Education has launched SIP…a programme in which some schools have been chosen to produce exemplars in good ICT practice . This is one of the projects being undertaken in the following school.

  School: Coolderry Central School , Birr,Co.Offaly.



  School type: Small, rural,mixed.

  Class: First and 2nd Class pupils ,age 6/7/8.

My  name  is  Una  Teehan   and  I  teach  first  and  second  class  in  Coolderry.

Recently  the  children  in  my  class (ranging  in  age from  6-8  years  old)  and  I  ,  undertook  a  project   entitled   ”  Looking  back  through  the  years “.

  This  project  was  part  of  S.I.P.  19   ( School  Integration  Project ).

As  we  all  know   the  process  of  teaching    and  learning  is  made  much  more  enjoyable  and  rewarding if  children  are  actively  involved in   the  learning  process    and   the  use  of  project  work  is  highly  motivating  

(a)           if   the  topic  is  of  interest  to  both  the  teacher  and  children.

(b)          If  the   children  are  actively  involved in  the  collection  and  compiling  of  data  for  the  subject  in  hand.

With  this  in  mind,  the  area  we  decided  to  research  was  Granparents-    with  the   aim  of   preserving   a  little  of   life  in  years  gone  by .

The  project  involved  every  child  in  the  classroom  in  collecting  and recording   information    about  life  in  their  granparents  time .We  drew  up  a  list  of  questions  that  they  decided  they  would  like  to  ask  of  their  granparents  based  on  four  areas :

1.Home  Life

2. School  Life.

3.Work  Life.

4.      Social  Life.

The  following  is  a  sample  of  some  of  the  questions  which  were  asked  by  the  children  of  their  granparents:



1. Where did you grow up ?

2.How many brothers /sisters did you have?

3.Describe your house.

4.What sort of food did you eat?

5.How did your mother cook?

6.Where did the drinking water come from?

7.How were the clothes washed?

8.What sort of heating did you have in your house?

9.Did your mother need to buy butter,milk or bread?

10.What lighting did you have in your house?

The  granparents also  recounted  procedures  involved   in  everyday  activities  of  life  when  they  were  young-  buttermaking,  hay  traming,  going  to  the  bog  etc.

Here  is  an  account  of  one  such  activity:

My Grandad went to his uncles farm in Lorrah for his summer holidays.
He saved hay, saved turf, rode the horse to the forge to get him shod.
A mowing machine was used behind the horse to cut the hay. It was turned with forks. It was then rowed up using a tumbling rake pulled by a horse and made into trams. The trams were left for six weeks. They were then drawn into the shed or made into a rick.

The  children  also  collected  old photographs,  old  coins  etc   depicting  various  samples  of  life  in  times  gone  by.

Once  all  the  information  had  been  collected   and  recorded  on  paper,  we  set  about  bringing   it  all  together   using  various  programmes on  the  computer-  Hyperstudio,  Netscape   Composer,   and   Powerpoint.


The  use  of  the  computer  was  an  integral  part  of  the  work  and was  invaluable  as  a  method  of  recording  the  data  and  presenting  the  finished  product.

We  deciced  to  use   Netscape  Composer  to  record  the  data. It  is  part  of  the  browser    Netscape.  With  this  programme  each  child  was  given  a  page  onto  which    he  typed  in  his  text  ,choosing  from  a  variety  of  styles. He  could   also edit,  cut,  copy  ,  paste  text  and  pictures  from  one  area  to  another  and  even  decide  on  on  the colour  scheme   for  the  page.  Each  page  was  linked  to  the  Homepage  (  our starting  page  )

This  project  also  involved  the  collection  of  old  photographs ,old  coins and     newspaper  cuttings  depicting  various  aspects  of  life.  We  had  access  to  a  flatbed  scanner  ,which  enabled  us  to  scan  them  into  our  project.   After  scanning  them  in,  we    used  an  authoring  package  -Hyperstudio  .  This  programme  enabled  us  to  design  cards  onto  which  we  copied  and  pasted  the  scanned  images.

Finally  each  child  was  given  a  hard  back  copy  of  the  project   .  The  project   was  also  uploaded  onto   our  school  site   and   the  World  Wide  Web.

While  compiling  this  report,  I  asked  the  children  to  tell  me  what  they  thought  about  the  project.

All  of  them  said  they  enjoyed  it-  some  felt  they  were  like  reporters  when  asking  the  questions.

The  children  were  fascinated  with  the  difference  in  life  then  and  now-  their  granparents  had  no  bus  to  bring  them  to  school,    no  electricity, they   had   an  open  fire  in  school,  they  got  water  from  the  well,  they  used  horses  instead  of  tractors  etc

Sinead  said  her  favourite  part  was  the  collecting  of  old  photographs  from  her  granny  as  her  granny    gave   sweets    to  her  as  well.!

The  children  really  enjoyed  hearing  about  the  funny  things  that  happened  to  their  granparents  when  they  were  in  school.They  all  said  they  were  glad  that  they  were  not  growing  up  at  that  time .

It  was    a  very  enjoyable  experience  for  all  concerned. I  have  always  held  the  view  that  we  learn    in  a  more  effective  way  when  we see  a  need  for  certain  skills  and  processes. And  so  it  was  in  this  project .    The  children  acquired  a  range of  computer  skills  in  an  incidental  way.

This  was  a  very  worthwhile  and  enjoyable  project  for  all  concerned  . It   served  as  a  way  of   preserving  and presenting  a  little  of  the  past  to  future  generations  of  children  and  adults .

Una  Teehan   May   2001.

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