Wednesday, 19 August 2015

What Things Successful Teachers Do Differently

25 Things Successful Teachers Do Differently
by Julie DuNeen
If you ask a student what makes him or her successful in school, you probably won’t hear about some fantastic new book or video lecture series. Most likely you will hear something like, “It was all Mr. Jones. He just never gave up on me.”
What students take away from a successful education usually centers on a personal connection with a teacher who instilled passion and inspiration for their subject. It’s difficult to measure success, and in the world of academia, educators are continually re-evaluating how to quantify learning. But the first and most important question to ask is:
Are teachers reaching their students? Here are 25 things successful educators do differently.


Image result for poetry

Please enjoy the following links for primary and senior school poetry ideas and resources:

  1. Poetry for Kids

    Can't Stop Laughing 
    It seems that I cannot stop laughing
    No matter how hard that I try.
    I'm laughing so hard that my sides ache.
    I'm laughing so hard I could cry.

    This is from Kenn Nesbitt's poetry site, which contains a whole host of funny poems aimed mainly at primary school students.
  2. Poetry Pals
    The Peter Burnett Academy in San Jose, California, is the host for this poetry site, which enables students of all ages to publish their poetry. The site changes its poetry focus and style every second month so that students can send their poems according to the featured genre. the different styles have included: cinquains, diamante, autobiographical poems, acrostics, rhyming, limericks, and haiku. Also included are helpful tips with regard to poetry forms, sample lesson plans, a wonderful click-and-drag magnetic poetry resource, plus links to the poetry pages of classes that are involved.
  3. Poets' Corner
    Poets' Corner provides an anthology of poems taken from a range of sources. Its aim is to become "the largest and most diverse publicly-accessible online collection of poetry in the world." There is a search tool to help you find specific poems, and they can be accessed alphabetically by author, subject or title.
  4. Sonnet Central
    Sonnet Central, "an archive of English sonnets, commentary, pictures, and relevant Web links," is a great resource for senior school teachers. It is easy to use and contains sonnet competitions. Young poets are able to send their own sonnets for consideration.
  5. Why Poetry What
    This site provides a lesson that focuses on the emotional content of poetry over its structure and meter. It also offers students a list of questions about featured poems and asks them to find the answers online. There is a huge range of poetic styles available. Poetry teaching planning includes works by Shel Silverstein, Robert Frost, and Beowulf.
  6. Online Poetry
    Edleston Primary School, in the UK, shows students using Shockwave and RealPlayer to present audio versions of their poetry. 
  7. Listen and Write Home
    For rap fans and writers. 
  8. KidzPage
    KidzPage offers classic children's poetry as well as more offbeat verse. There are also nursery rhymes and students can submit their poetry online. 
  9. Walt Whitman Hypertext Archive
    This site contains all of Walt Whitman's works as well as a wealth of information about the man himself. The Archive in the Classroom section offers teachers a range of activities and projects.
  10. Poetry
    This is the fridge magnet online method of creating poems, which is great for all students. You can click and drag online word tiles make poems and need a Java-enabled browser. This is a great resource for learners who like interactive and visual tools to create their own works.
- See more at:

SMART Board Resources

Some general hints for using the Interactive Whiteboard
Adrian Jarratt has been working with Assistant Teachers in Barra and Botafogo to share ideas, tools and resources about the use of Smart Boards. If you wish to join the Google Classroom to see all of the resources available, please use the following code: zojv2it

Customise tools:
Whichever type of board you are using, customise your floating tools. There is no point having four different colours if you only use three or buttons that you do not know how to use. Make efficient use of what is available.
Face the class:
When standing at the board, stay facing your class and turn your hand to write. This takes a bit of practice, but is helpful in keeping discussions going and keeping an eye on the students. (Using your fingernail rather than the tip of your finger helps).It also prevents you casting a shadow on the board. Move to the side of the board as soon as you have finished working to give a better view for the pupils.
Stay away from the computer:
Try using a remote keyboard, gyro mouse or other remote control device to save walking back to your computer when you need to type something in. Make sure you have somewhere near the board to store the keyboard.

Preparing to work with the Interactive Whiteboard
Build on good, traditional practice: When preparing work for the interactive whiteboard, all the rules of good teaching still apply! Using an interactive whiteboard is not a replacement for everything you have learnt so far – it builds on good teaching.
When using text, use a slightly larger font – about 18 or 20 so that text can be seen at the back of the class. Look back to the Teaching and Learning worksheet for some advice about font types.
Try to fit text onto one page, so that you don’t have to scroll down. If you comments have been added, these will be lost as soon as the page is scrolled down. Instead, use several pages and spread the work out.
If a webpage is being used in a lesson, create a hyperlink to it from the file being used (e.g. Word / PowerPoint / Whiteboard software) or, add it to your Favourites in the web browser. This saves typing in a long web address halfway through a lesson.
When creating pages, think about what interaction and discussion there will be – allow for ‘Drag and drop’, ‘Rub out to reveal’ or some form of task or discussion arising from a page. Think about leaving white space – space for ideas and comments around the edge.

Use colour – a computer has a huge number of colours and many pupils will remember things better if they are presented using colours. For example:
• languages: masculine nouns in blue, feminine nouns in red
• science: if something is hot, add red; if it is cold, add blue
• RE: use different colours for presenting different sides of an argument positive and negative
• maths: label different axes in different colours – that way pupils find it easier to remember which coordinate applies to which axis ...but don’t overdo it! Too many colours will confuse!

When pupils are working away from the board, what is on the board? Simply leaving the last page on can be distracting, but leaving the task displayed can be useful. Blank the screen if you do not need anything on the board.
If you have a clock available, use it for timed tasks. It seems to keep pupils really motivated as they work against the clock. – ask the pupils which colours they would associate with being.

Levels of Engagement

Thanks to Adam Patterson for sharing this research. 
Are Your Students Engaged? Don’t Be So Sure

By David Price

It might be time we re-thought student engagement. Are we measuring the right things? Are we taking disengagement seriously enough? January is a time for resolutions. Perhaps educators, in 2014, need to resolve to better understand student engagement, challenge the myths around it, and make it a higher priority in their relationships with students.
Let’s deal with the issue of the importance of engagement first. A recent longitudinal study of Australian students has published conclusions that every government minister for education should heed. Tracking students over a 20-year period, researchers found that the more children felt connected to their school community and felt engaged (rather than bored), the greater their likelihood of achieving a higher educational qualification and going on to a professional or managerial career, over and above their academic attainment or socio-economic background. In other words, an engaged child from a low socio-economic background will have better opportunities in life than a disengaged child from a more privileged background. This is a crucial message for ministers grappling with the inequality gap.
But for these findings to translate into actions, we have to re-think what we mean by engagement. For too long we have confused engagement with compliance or, worse still, “fun.” This confusion has led to a number of myths distorting how we act, and what we look for, in the classroom.

Myth #1: “I can see when my students are engaged.”

Don’t be so sure. Those who have switched off are often only the visible tip of the disengagement iceberg. The ones below the surface could be “invisibly disengaged” — complying but not engaging. A great empathetic principal once told me of her shock in discovering that one of her best students (in terms of behavior and achievement) had been bored every day in school.
“But why didn’t any of your teachers spot this?” she asked.
He replied, “I learned how to fall asleep with my eyes open.”
Students are learning to modify their behavior in class so that they appear to be engaged while, in reality, they’ve intellectually checked-out.

Myth #2 : “They must be engaged — look at their test scores!”

In a culture driven by test results, it’s understandable that teachers should assume that students must be engaged when their grades improve. But this culture has given rise to a relatively new phenomenon: the disengaged achiever. I speak from personal experience, being the father of two bright sons who got good high school grades, but they reasoned that the control and direction over their learning that they sought was best achieved by leaving formal education and continuing to learn socially, outside school.

Myth #3 : “They must be engaged — they’re having fun.”

The wise-cracking, charismatic teacher might look great in the movies, but that doesn’t always lead to deep student engagement. Humor is important, of course, but students need intellectual stretch — shallow engagement isn’t enough. Seymour Papert coined the phrase “hard fun” to describe learning activities that absorb and challenge students, because they have rigor, relevance and stretch.
So, if we recalibrate what we mean by deeper, more challenging, forms of engagement how do we achieve it? Current research suggests that there’s no single magic ingredient. Another important study, published at the end of 2013 by University of Pennsylvania and University of Michigan, indicates that success is likely to be found in combining a number of motivators: agency, choice, purpose and relevance:
“Opportunities for decision making or freedom of action are less important than the extent to which the decision making and action opportunities available reflect personal goals, interests, or values.”
The revered Indian philosopher and educator, Sri Aurobindo, knew a thing or two about engagement. His three principles for learning still serve as an important guide in designing engaging learning:
  • Nothing can be “taught” — engagement precedes learning, so students need to actively buy in to their learning, in order to bring discretionary activity to the process (that is, above and beyond the required outcomes)
  • The mind must be consulted in its own growth. Activities need to personally matter to students, tapping in to their values and passions.
  • Work from the near to the far. Make activities relevant to the world students inhabit, but build in intellectual stretch to take them beyond their cognitive “comfort zone.”
So, we know engagement can’t be done to students; we are realizing its importance in improving the life-chances of some of our poorer students; we now know it’s a lot more than just compliance.
Our challenge, in 2014 is this: Can we become designers of learning, rather than deliverers of worksheets? Can we create opportunities for learning which simultaneously inspire, challenge and deepen students’ innate love of learning?

David Price is an author, learning futurist and senior associate at the Innovation Unit in London, England. His new book is OPEN: How We’ll Work, Live And Learn In The Future is available on Amazon.

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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

M.A. and Action Research in Practice

M.A. and Action Research in Practice
I would like to thank the school for the support and opportunity to undertake a Master’s degree in Linguistics for the Teaching of Spanish as a Foreign Language at the University of Nebrija (pictured above). Last September, I started this course online and I attended summer school lessons at the university itself during July in Madrid.
According to linguists, there is an important distinction to be made between language acquisition and language learning. Children acquire their mother tongue through natural interaction with their parents and the environment that surrounds them. Their need to communicate paves the way for language acquisition to take place. As experts suggest, there is an innate capacity in every human being to acquire language.
When it comes to second language learning in children (as is the case of learning English in TBS for most of our students), this happens almost identically to their first language acquisition. However, when they start to learn French or Spanish at school, this scenario changes. Experts suggest to avoid the word “acquisition” and to replace it by “learning”.
In this learning process – that now becomes conscious and voluntary – different variables and features enter in stage. This what the Master’s syllabus covers.
It is noticed, besides, that when learning a foreign language, people, in order to fulfill communication needs, tend to resort to their brain connections already built in their first language acquisition. This is how grammar structures and vocabulary “migrate” from the mother tongue to the new language and “interlanguage” starts to develop. These mistakes, if not corrected, tend to repeat and fossilize.
Now, as part of my studies, I will undertake action research with our students, with the goals of promoting self-awareness in their oral and written expression and autonomy in their learning process through a project of formative assessment in the building of an e-portfolio.
The idea is to migrate from the typical teaching of content and grammar in language lessons, in order to put the students at the centre to make them aware of the way they output their communicative intentions in the target language, and, from there, to reflect and create strategies to improve their own expression.

Sandra Salim, Head of Spanish, Urca

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy

Benjamin Bloom, in 1956, led a group of educational psychologists who established six levels of intellectual behaviour important to learning. These levels were organised cognitive levels which ranged from simple, recall of knowledge, to making judgements about the reliability and value of an idea.

During the 1990’s Lorin Anderson (a former student of Bloom) headed a new group of cognitive psychologists and updated the taxonomy to coincide with relevance of 21st century work.

The images below show the new and old taxonomy, note how the nouns have become verbs:

Click below for a poster or teacher planning resource that provides a framework for generating Learning Objectives, tasks and questions linked directly to Bloom's Taxonomy.

NRICH - Enriching Mathematics

NRICH promotes the learning of mathematics through problem solving.

NRICH believes that:
  • Activities can provoke mathematical thinking.
  • Students can learn by exploring, noticing and discussing.
  • This can lead to conjecturing, explaining, generalising, convincing and proof.
  • In a classroom, the students' role is to focus on the mathematics while the teacher focusses on the learners.
  • The teacher should aim to do for students only what they cannot yet do for themselves.
Problems and resources linked to the Primary Curriculum, with support for teachers, can be found here.

Problems and resources linked to the Secondary Curriculum, with support for teachers, can be found here.

New Zealand's new flag: panel publishes 40 potential designs

New Zealand's new flag

Some of the flags proposed to replace the current New Zealand flag by designers that made the longlist of 40.

Some of the flags proposed to replace the current New Zealand flag by designers that made the longlist of 40.

The Second World War in 100 Objects

Dutch Institute of Dutch Remembrance

The Second World War in 100 Objects

Scratch and Scratch Jr

Scratch is a free programming language and online community where you can create your own interactive stories, games, and animations.

Scratch Activities

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Online newspapers list for students


Teaching Kids News - children-friendly news articles for teachers, parents and chidren.

Website : Teaching Kids News

First News online - the official website for the award-winning UK national newspaper for children aged 7-14. Online edition includes book reviews, competitions.

Website : First News online

TIME For Kids - TIME For Kids is a weekly classroom news magazine that motivates children, covers a wide range of real-world topics young people love to learn about. TIME For Kids publishes a digital edition and a print edition.

Website : TIME For Kids

Kids Post (The Washington Post) - Games, news, contests, puzzles and fun activities for young people.

Website : Kids Post

Scholastic News - Scholastic News Online is the place for youngsters to read news but it also contains games and quizzes, debates topics, and has in-depth reports.

Website : Scholastic News

DOGO News contains news and information, including current events, news on science, sports, and more.

Website : DOGO News - WSJ Classroom Edition - for Teachers and Students.

Website : WSJ Classroom

STEM resources

The 10 Best STEM Resources

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Resources for Primary and Secondary teachers and students. 

The official TED guide to public speaking

Want to learn how to give a great talk? 
Chris Anderson is writing the official TED guide to public speaking. This talk is useful for any students preparing to give an oral presentation or for teachers preparing to share their learning with colleagues. 

In-finity Literacy

Maria Richards, freelance Literacy Consultant in Somerset, provides targeted support for raising standards and achievement in schools and is a Talk for Writing trainer. She is interested in how learning technologies impact in the classroom. The Pinterest page includes a wealth of useful resources from, among others, Pie Corbett and Alan Peat. There are great ideas for creative literacy-based lessons and displays. 

In-finity Literacy Ltd

Talk for Writing: Non Fiction

The four key components of teaching non-fiction through Talk for Writing Across the Curriculum are: 

Securing Subject Matter – ensuring children become experts and enthusiasts in the topic; 

Imitation - using a strong shared text as a model from which children internalise the key language features; 

Innovation – using the structure and language patterns of the model text for shared planning and writing in a new, but closely related, context;

Independent application – children independently writing that text type in literacy lessons and across the curriculum.

PowerPoints with ideas based on those in the Igniting Writing series by Pie Corbett, Sue Palmer and Ann Webley. Each presentation looks at a different area of non-fiction writing and includes examples of writing skeletons and an overview of things that pupils need to know when they are planning to write. There are blank writing skeletons for each text type, in PowerPoint format, to help pupils with their planning. These can be used with the Non-Fiction writing tool kits.