Mollie Teachers' Notes Chapters 9 & 10

Chapters 9 and 10 (together)

1. Mollie feels sick with worry as she prepares to face Nan, and all sorts of wild and irrational fears enter her mind (p85). Finding coping strategies for the management of change is important in helping all of us to manage our fears. Have you ever heard the WWI marching song ‘Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag’? Some classrooms have a worry bag, an opaque bag suitable for holding up to forty folded strips of paper or post-its. All members of the classroom, grown-ups included, type or print their concern or fear (so that writers cannot be identified) and these are then read to the class for problem-solving suggestions/ advice. When a worry has been alleviated, the relevant piece of paper is screwed up and placed in a Worry Jar with a lid so that everyone can see how well they are dealing with their concerns, and the strategies they are developing. How does your class/group deal with fears and worries?

2. Mollie is very aware of Flora’s shortcomings, yet she sees the many good and positive aspects of Flora’s character (p86). Draw two columns –and at the top label them: Five Things You Need to Know About Me And Why You Need to Know This and think about, then list, the things that make you the person you are eg in the first column: I can speak Spanish and Arabic and in the second: You might need to ask me to translate something

Then draw another two columns and in these write the five things Lauren needs to know about Flora.

3. Nan says that Ellen and Mollie are similar to Red Moll in that they ‘battle the whole world’ by themselves (p88). Elizabeth I of England was another strong and powerful woman. She was determined that no Gaelic chieftain would demand tribute in territory belonging to the crown of England and that no one else, including Gráinne Ní Mháille/ Granuaile, would rule over any part of Ireland while she was queen. The two women met at Elizabeth’s palace at Greenwich and each recognised in the other born rulers. Elizabeth even granted Granuaile permission to support herself as she had always done. The west coast of Ireland is full of places with links to both women. Take a leaf out of Mollie’s book and investigate the history and stories of one county/ area on the west coast and record the results of your findings to share with the class.

4. Mollie is going to study at home until Flora comes back to collect her (p91). Many people chose to home educate or home school, for many reasons. Some families teach the school curriculum at home, others allow learning to be child/student-led. Think about the reasons children might be home educated, then hold a class debate on the motion ‘School is the best place to learn’ or ‘Critical thinking is best learned anywhere other than at school’.

5. Mollie says that, at twelve, she’s too young to work (p91) yet in many countries parents are forced by economic circumstances to send their children to work when they are only five or six years old. Do some research on the SCL ‘Stop Child Labour – School is the best place to work’ campaign coordinated by Hivos, an international development that wants to contribute to a fair and sustainable world. Concern Ireland posted news of the action taken by a primary school in west Dublin. Have a look – could your school write a play or a song about life for children forced to work as these children in Griffeen Valley Educate Together did?

6. Nan suggests that Mollie keeps a diary about her time on the island just as Tomás Ó Criomhthain did in An tOileánach and as Peig Sayers did in her classic autobiography. Arranmore, off the coast of Donegal, is the second largest inhabited island in the country. A four-part series, Bliain ar Árainn Mhór, filmed over twelve months and broadcast in Spring 2013, followed life on the island for the 500+ inhabitants, and some video clips from the programme are available on Vimeo. If you haven’t actually visited an island off the west coast of Ireland, have a look at a few minutes of this programme and then write your own, imaginary, diary of a week spent on a small island.

7. People lived on Oileán Ghabhla till the mid-1960s and every Irish child has heard about Feilimí ‘a d’imigh to Gabhla’ in the traditional children’s song. Listen to Sinéad O’Connor or some other artist(s) singing this song, or sing it yourselves – see if you can remember the words. Here they are in case you need a bit of help!

Báidín Fheilimí, d’imigh go Gabhla, (Phelim's little boat went to Gola)

Báidín Fheilimí is Feilimí ann. (Phelim’s little boat and Phelim in it.)

Báidín Fheilimí d’imigh go Gabhla,

Báidín Fheilimí is Feilimí ann.

Curfá (Chorus)

Báidín bídeach, báidín beosach, (A tiny little boat, a lively little boat)

Báidín bóidheach, báidín Fheilimí. (A buoyant little boat, Phelim’s little boat)

Báidín díreach, báidín deontach (A straight little boat, a willing little boat)

Báidín Fheilimí is Feilimí ann. (Phelim’s little boat and Phelim in it)

Báidín Fheilimí d’imigh go Toraí, (Phelim’s little boat went to Tory)

Báidín Fheilimí ‘s Feilimí ann.

Báidín Fheilimí d’imigh go Toraí,

Báidín Fheilimí ‘s Feilimí ann.

Báidín Fheilimí, briseadh i dToraí (Phelim’s little boat broke in/crashed on Tory)

Báidín Fheilimí ‘s Feilimí ann

Báidín Fheilimí, briseadh i dToraí

Báidín Fheilimí ‘s Feilimí ann

8. Nan and Mollie watched old films together. What movies would you watch with your grandparents/ elderly relative? Draw a large tub/container with popped corn coming out the top. In the ‘tub’, describe your perfect afternoon at the pictures, and in the ‘corn’ name the films you’d most love to watch with some older people.