On the 24th and the 25th of January 2018 5th and 6th did a “Leave No Trace” workshop, about the environment. A man called Padraig came into us from the “Leave No Trace” company.

We learned a lot about nature and animals and how to stop litter and waste. We learned about this by playing games like the ‘A-Z of nature’ game, doing a scavenger hunt and the ‘Food Chain’ game.

We also did a quiz on litter and how long it takes to decompose. For example we learned from the quiz that a glass bottle will never decompose, a crisp packet will take 80 years to decompose and a nappy will take 450 years to decompose! A baby will use up to 6000 nappies on average so that means your nappies are still somewhere in a landfill.

We learned in our quiz that the only living animal that begins with the letter X is the X-ray fish! We found out that there is a floating rubbish pile in the Pacific Ocean the size of Texas! No one really knows what to do with it because it’s so big it would be nearly impossible to move.

We learned that the Rowan tree very rarely gets struck by lightning due to how small it is and its tendency to grow beside other, taller trees. There was a myth made up about it and its connections with Thor, an ancient god.

We also learned about how everyone enjoys different parts of nature, and how if even one species of animal went extinct, everything could. We found out from the food chain game, that the sun is the most powerful thing in the universe and when, say for example, all the  of crows die that whatever hunts crows will eventually die and so on and so on.    

This workshop was very fun and we would like to thank Padraig for giving up his time for a whole two days to teach us about leaving no trace.

By Lucy Bracken and Eve O’Callaghan from 5th class

Kilmainham Gaol Visit by 5th Class

Kilmainham Gaol Visit by 5th Class

On the sixth of February, fifth class went on a class trip to Kilmainham Gaol. This is the jail which opened in 1796 as a new jail in County Dublin, and closed its doors in 1924. The 1916 rising leaders were also executed here, and spent their last nights in some of the cells.

We came here to go on a tour with a girl called Siobhán, and she showed us around the jail. The walls were all crinkled and vandalised, by now it is very, very old. Written here, are some interesting facts about the jail itself.

People used to be kept in over-crowded cells, sometimes with up to fifty people. They were treated very badly until the guards and people working in the jail figured out that the criminals were trading tricks of the trade, and were coming out with even more criminal ideas and ways not to get caught. A man brought this to court so that the jail made individual cells for the people staying there. Then, they would be isolated and not want to come back, so they would be better people and wouldn’t need to come back.

Children as young as five were taken into the jail for small things, such as stealing bread or milk. When they turned eighteen, they would move into the adult cells and exercise yards.

The exercise yards were where men and women were broken into two groups, and tied together. Both groups would walk around in a circle, following each other’s feet with their heads looking down at the ground. If they looked up, or talked to one another, they would get smacked with whips by the guards.

After the prisoners came back to their cells, they would only be left with a plank of wood to sleep on and a thin blanket. They also had a bucket (which they cleaned out themselves every morning) to do their business in (you know what I mean).

Leaders from the 1916 Rising had these same facilities, and were all kept in cells in the same corridor. The oldest of them was fifty nine years old, and the youngest was Pádraig Pearse’s younger brother, who was also executed. One of them was Joseph Plunkett, who was married to his wife, Grace before he was executed.

When Joseph was condemned to death, his soon-to-be wife was allowed to marry him some hours before he was executed. The couple were only allowed to say their vows, and other than that, did not get to speak to each other. It was in the chapel, which had been filled with British soldiers and guards. This chapel was also the first place that we visited. A couple of hours after the wedding, the pair were allowed to have ten minutes to speak to each other in Joseph’s cell, but could not speak as they were reduced to only tears. After he was executed, Grace never re-married, and lived a lonely life.

Thomas Clarke was also executed, but was shot in the arm and leg before the execution, and he was too weak to make it to the other side of the exercise yard. He was carried to the end of the yard strapped to a chair and lifted by guards. He was given a blindfold to wear and was shot.

Inside the jail, next we saw the biggest cell block, which was designed so that the guards could easily see any of the cells from the middle angle. They had a clever pulley system to get the food around to the different cells in a quick and efficient way.

Lastly, we went to the museum which had lots of information and prisoners’ last letters. Overall, this trip to Kilmainham Gaol was probably the best we have been on, and we learnt lots.

Typed and written by Rebecca and Maia in fifth class.

“Getting in the Light” by 6th Class

“Getting in the Light” by 6th Class

In 1946 two out of three Irish homes had no electricity. World War Two had ended and unemployment gripped the nation. The government launched the Rural Electrification Scheme. 
Inspired by stories about rural electrification from the book “Then There Was Light” (PJ Cunningham/Dr.Joe Kearney) pupils from 6th class drafted their own stories about rural electrification. Using their imagination and working together, children produced a remarkable collection of personal, emotive and imaginative original stories.  Supported with evidence from esbarchives.ie they produced a final draft of their story and presented it in their best handwriting. Please read our stories and get a sense of the significance of this event in Irish history and how it has inspired us in 6th class. Please visit our display outside 6th class to view our writing first hand. We also digitally created our stories and they are available to read on https://www.scoilnet.ie/threads/. and they are also below in pdf form. In recognition of all the hard work, we look forward to the visit of members of the ESB Archive team who will visit the students and discuss their wonderful writing. 
2nd Class Art inspired by Artist Christopher Niewman

2nd Class Art inspired by Artist Christopher Niewman

Harry brought us in a great book by the artist Christopher Niewman. He uses everyday objects to create his art. We decided to make drawings inspired by his work. When we finished working with our own objects, we swapped and made other drawings using new objects. We photographed and printed our work when we were finished.


Plastic Free February

Plastic Free February

As part of our Green Schools Theme – Global Citizenship-Litter and Waste, the Green Team have decided to focus on our use of single use plastic packaging. For the month of February we will focus our attention on reducing the amount of plastic wrapping we use in the school community.

Some classes are choosing to do this by recording the number of plastic free lunches in the room. Our Green Recycling Ambassadors will survey our bins to notice and measure improvements we make. They have already noted some areas for improvement.

Suggestions for home involvement:

  • Share photos of clever tips for plastic free/package free lunches. We have many children who bring zero waste lunches so it would be lovely to share these tips with the community.
  • Share photos or stories of attempts to do plastic free shopping
  • Photograph changes in the recycle bin over the month

We will share these photos on the website or Green Notice Board.

We will be discussing and sharing ideas at school assemblies and in class.

The committee have noted all the brilliant actions that families are already doing in their homes to tackle this problem- no single use plastic straws, cutting down on takeaway drinks, buying package free fruit and veg etc. We’d love to share your tips!

The Green motto for waste reduction from the Zero Waste movement is

    • REFUSE
    • REDUCE
    • REUSE

    Great News! Newpark Secondary School students are driving a campaign to become Ireland’s First Single Use Plastic Free School! Many of our RETNS past pupils are Newpark students so we are very excited about this initiative.

    Thanks for the photos and tips we’ve received so far! Please keep them coming!

  • Look at these two children using reusable straws. Well done Guys!

A plastic wrapper free lunch box used by another family in the school, well done to you too!

Peace Proms by Annie and Emil

Peace Proms by Annie and Emil

On Sunday, 4th February 2018, 4th class went to Peace Proms. We met at the school at 4:15 . I was quite excited but late. We took a bus to the RDS and everyone was chatting about this thing and another. When we got there we had to wait on the bus because the concert before us hadn’t cleared out yet. When we finally got inside we had to wait even more because everyone had to be seated. When the rehearsal started we all stood up and sang all the songs. Greg, our conductor, gave us a few pointers. After the rehearsal we ate our snack. After that parents poured in and took their seats. It took ages because they were chatting to their children. Well, it ended up taking over an hour. At the start of the concert we were the opening act with the Disney Medley. The orchestra and soloists did a few things then we did Hairspray. Earth Song came next. Then Pop Medley. I really enjoyed everything and reach came next. Last but not least You’re the Voice. At the end of the concert we went to the waiting area. A lot of parents were already there.