Educational company Stickerstocker are spreading appreciation for focused learning and pupil engagement via rewards, certificates and stickers. These fun and exciting resources are created with the hope of increasing grades and laying down the foundations for future learning.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” Schoolchildren’s successes can be brought about with informative, systematic values education that progressively develops and nurtures the whole person. Key to achievement is a mindset intent on mastery through proactively capitalising on learning opportunities that crop up in all contexts.
I think most people who work as teachers would agree with the importance of having high expectations of your pupils. And similarly, how important it is to model these expectations, and strive to do so, most of the time. I'm sure that again, for most teachers, it comes naturally to model good behaviours; positive attitudes and respect. After all, why should we expect this from our students if we ourselves are lacking in traits that are so fundamental to healthy human interactions?
How do teachers in different subjects view PE? Elliot Simmonds of VoicEd has, along with his peers, been conducting research into this very subject.
In light of the fact that this summer has seen a World Cup, Wimbledon, test cricket and a Home Nations Commonwealth games, my colleagues and I have recently completed some research with teachers to understand their opinions around just how important sport is in the classroom. That report will be published soon, but I wanted to give Innovate My School readers a bit of a preview, and to talk around some of the issues we feel it brings up.
How often have I heard a pupil ask “but do I need to know this for my exam?” Indeed, how often have I said to myself “time is short, do they need to know this?” No matter who says it or thinks it, it is equally frustrating. As teachers we have become slaves to league tables and all that that entails. Pupils have to get the grades because they have hopes and aspirations and there is so much competition. I do want them to get those top marks because I genuinely want them to realise their dreams. However, how can I get them to see that learning uniquely for an exam is not the best, nor the most important, approach? What matters is that they learn to love studying, that they learn to discover the art of studying and that they realise that there is always another step that can be taken, another fact that can be considered, and another equation that can be solved.
How best to capture a student’s interest? Mo Yafai, Shireland Collegiate Academy’s Curriculum Theme Manager, considers themes to be a great way of encouraging curiosity and enjoyment in the classroom.
Themes are contextually diverse vehicles for learning. They provide meaningful contexts in which students have the opportunity to achieve proficiency in a range of competencies. Each theme gives students the opportunities to acquire the skills needed to be successful at Key Stage 4 and promotes social responsibility as well as personal reflection and growth.
To ask what makes an excellent theme, is to ask what are the conditions for excellent learning. The core learning and teaching principles that underpin an excellent theme are as follows:
Given how hard teaching is from time to time, it’s important to concentrate on the many positives. Downe House’s head of MFL discusses how to battle apathy and annoyance.
I do like my job. Of course, I do have moments when I want to pack it all in or plan myself a new career but those are normally moments at the end of term when I know that I am at my lowest point in terms of energy and creativity. It’s often at that time that I feel overwhelmed with my to-do list which I write out religiously everyday. There are even days when I have been too busy the night before to write out my plans so I will write it out after the events have happened so that I can cross out each achievement with satisfaction. Tell me I am not the only one who does this?
So, with all this negative press about teaching how could I possibly like my job? It is not easy to identify one particular thing. I enjoy many aspects of the job I do. I think most importantly I enjoy teaching and I enjoy thinking about how best to convey what I want my pupils to learn. I love thinking of ways to engage my classes so that they are motivated and inspired to learn. It’s what I feel is the creative element of my job and I know that I do have some good ideas. However, importantly, I also know that it is important not to reinvent the wheel. Inevitably, someone in my department or one of the lovely #mfltwitterati will have a great idea to share and so I never feel that the ideas have run out. I consider myself incredibly lucky in this respect. Creating is what I do when I have got all the horrid stuff out the way. Yes – there are elements of the job that I do not like. Marking. I don’t like marking. Well, I like it because I can see what my pupils have mastered and how well they have done. On the other hand, there is nothing more depressing than sitting down to a pile of marking or papers full of mistakes on the very grammatical concept you have just spent a week or so teaching. So, marking is something I do not enjoy. In fact, right now, I’m putting off marking…
Imagine the advantages of being able to map a gifted student’s journey through your school and identifying key lessons which can be passed on to other individuals. Consider also what impact nipping minor sixth form attendance issues in the bud might have on students’ progress. Well, here at Rainey Endowed, we have discovered that making better use of technology can help us to deliver results in many different ways.
We are a successful secondary school based in Magherafelt, County Londonderry and have been graded ‘very good’ by the Education and Training Inspectorate. Yet up until six years ago, the method we were using to record academic, extra curricula and pastoral information for all 720 of our students was far from adequate.
Inspired by a recent Pedagoo teacher meet, Assistant Head and PE specialist Jon Tait puts into practice a strategy to encourage students to work harder and faster by giving them a creative visual tool which shows how far each one is progressing with the lesson objective.
The simple-to-draw circular board, which can be segmented several times into progressive achievements, could even be projected onto an interactive whiteboard. It's a great concept which makes each student more aware of their own learning pace, plus there's bags of potential for award schemes such as virtual stickers to be sent to a student's iPad once he or she climbs a 'ring'. Read his post to check the photos of his board - you might be surprised how well it worked!
Last weekend (18/5), I was lucky enough to be able to attend and present at the hugely popular Pedagoo Sunshine event at Joseph Swan Academy in Gateshead.
As well as presenting tips and tricks to other teachers from across the country, I was fortunate enough to be able to listen to Jim Smith from Hope Valley Technology College in Derbyshire. Jim was presenting on a range of different topics from his ‘Toolbox of Strategies’.
One of the ideas that I pinched from Jim was his lesson objectives target board that his technology department have had produced for all of their classrooms. See below:
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