Tag Archives: 100 ideas

3) Tips for Parents in a Pandemic: Supporting Teenagers During Lockdown

Check out the first post in the series here and the second post here.


By Janet Goodall9781472976611

Supporting the learning of teenagers is often difficult for parents and families, and some may find it even more of a challenge when all of the learning has to take place at home!

We know that many parents back away from engaging with their children’s learning as their daughters or sons get into secondary school. Parents often tell us, ‘I can’t help anymore – I didn’t do that at school’ or ‘It’s all changed so much and I don’t know how to help!’

In this blog, I’d like to give some ideas about how you can support your child to keep learning during lockdown, but first I’d like to reiterate something I’ve said in other blogs. These are not normal times. There’s no point in trying to recreate a ‘normal’ school day at home. Schools are set up for groups of students who are all the same age, studying the same subjects; that’s unlikely to be the situation in your home. What’s important – now more than ever – is not so much helping with the content of what young people are learning, but supporting their desire to learn. Everyone else in their class – in the country – is ‘missing out’ on schooling at the moment. Think of how many times your child asked you, ‘Why?’ when they were five years old. It’s that curiosity, that desire to learn, that will carry them through.

How to help with work from school

It’s likely that your child will have work set for them by their school, and it’s also likely that at some point, they will come across something that they can’t do or find difficult. In these cases:

  • Ask your child to explain what the problem is. Sometimes, that leads to its own solution.
  • If your child is stuck and you don’t know the answer, the first thing to say is that it’s OK not to know! Try to put a positive spin on it – not ‘Oh, wow, that’s too hard. Let’s do something else’ but rather ‘Oh, that’s interesting. I don’t know either!’ Ask your child to suggest where you (together) might look for an answer. Is there a website? Could someone else in the family help? A friend on Zoom or by phone?
  • Admitting to your child that you don’t know the answer isn’t a failure – it’s showing that you are still learning as well and that you value learning.

The importance of praise

Particularly during a time when most of us are much more anxious than usual, and all our routines have been disrupted, it’s important to find joy where we can. Praise your child for work well done, and in particular, praise your child for continuing to work on something that is hard for them. What you’re trying to do with this is to support their desire to learn, as well as their actual learning of content. Let your child see that learning is important to you.

Supporting learning in different subjects

If you want to support the skills your child is using for different areas, you might try some of the following:

  • For literature and English, suggest your child creates two diaries of the pandemic – the first, a ‘real’ diary, capturing what they are thinking and feeling. The second, an ‘imaginative’ diary. What might be happening? What might be going on in an alternative world?
  • Your child could collect and collate family histories. This would cover English, literature, history and some mathematical skills. They could collect, write down and illustrate childhood stories from different members of the family. They might create an elaborate family tree, again by talking to people and working out dates and timelines. If you have old family photo albums around, this might be a good time to get them out and share stories.
  • Many libraries and museums have made their collections open to the public and online. Why not suggest a ‘day out’ to the British Museum, for example? Make a day of it and involve your child in all aspects. Plan a picnic (think about what needs to be bought and what can be made from what’s on hand). Plan how you would get there if you were actually going (looking up train timetables is good maths practice!). Plan a route to get there (this is geography and map reading). Go to the museum website and decide what rooms you want to look at together. Discuss what you see there and the history behind it. Suggest your child takes notes of anything they find interesting to research ‘when you get home’. Don’t forget the picnic!
  • Keep in contact with your child’s school when and as you can. Use the resources they provide but remember that everyone – including teachers and students – is going through a very difficult time, so be patient – including with yourself!

Going back to school

When the time comes to go back to school, start to ease back into a routine as soon as you can. Getting up early in the morning seems to be particularly difficult for teenagers, so moving back toward a ‘usual’ getting-up time in a series of steps might be useful.

9781472955180Finally, the most important thing you can do for your child during the COVID-19 lockdown doesn’t change, regardless of the age of the child. Let them know that they are loved, and keep them and the family safe, so they can return to school (including the early mornings!) in good time.

Janet Goodall is Associate Professor in Education at Swansea University and is a leading expert in parental engagement. She is the author of 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Engaging Parents and 100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Engaging Parents (forthcoming). Follow Janet on Twitter @janetifimust.

1) Tips for Parents in a Pandemic: Reading and Literacy

By Janet Goodall

All over the world, parents and carers are 9781472976611suddenly finding themselves on the very frontlines of their children’s learning; schools are closed or their days greatly reduced and children are at home for most if not all of the time. But learning doesn’t stop because schools are closed (any more than children stop learning during the holidays – it’s just more obvious now!).

In this series of blog posts, I’ll be making suggestions about how to support learning for children and young people at home. But first, there are some very important points to make:

  • Parents who are not professional teachers are not going to become professional teachers overnight and no one should be expected to, and no one should expect to do so! You don’t need to be a professional teacher to support learning.
  • There is no point in attempting to ‘carry on as normal’ – these are not normal times. Your child is not missing out on schooling that other children are getting. Everyone is missing out on classroom-based schooling.
  • Classrooms and homes are not the same thing and can’t be. Classrooms are set up for large groups of children who are all more or less the same age. It’s very unlikely your home has the same sort of group of children. What you can provide for your children is personalised support for their learning. It’s quite likely that school staff are providing help with the content of what needs to be learned; parents need to support that learning, not supplant it.

In this blog post, I would like to focus specifically on reading and literacy. I’m starting with this topic for three reasons. The first is that reading and literacy are the foundations for almost all the rest of learning – once you can read, you’re away! The second is that many parents feel comfortable supporting reading, and the third is that reading with your child (along with a great many other ways of supporting learning) can be fun! So, what can parents be doing to support these skills at home?

  • Children whose parents read, and crucially those who see their parents read, tend to do more reading themselves. It doesn’t seem to matter what parents are reading – it could be books, shopping lists or cereal packets. It’s the act of reading – showing your child you are reading, discussing reading and reading together – that makes the difference.
  • Reading the same book over and over with young children is likely to happen in a lockdown situation and it’s a very good idea! You’ll find that you’re not only reading the book but discussing it – what’s going to happen? What might the characters do next, or instead?
  • Reading and literacy are fundamentally about words, so conversations are vitally important. Talk to your children – even from birth! Teenagers have told us that they value people asking how they are (even if they don’t respond – the act of asking shows you care). Singing nursery rhymes, telling jokes – it’s all words and all useful.
  • If your child is old enough to write, perhaps they could start and keep a diary of what ‘Life in Lockdown’ is like. Or they could dictate it for you to write simple sentences which they could illustrate.
  • If you’re keeping in touch with other family members by phone or electronically, your child could ask someone to tell a story and they could write it down and illustrate it.
  • Very young children need to develop the muscles they’ll need to write – drawing on the walls of the bath with shaving cream at bath time can 9781472955180help with the big muscles, and things like sprinkling decorations on a cake can help with the small muscles.
  • Try ending each day with a round of what everyone has learned that day. Everyone says two things they know now that they didn’t know before (adults included!). This will show your children that you are still learning, that you value learning and that they are still learning, even if they’re not in school.

Janet Goodall is Associate Professor in Education at Swansea University and is a leading expert in parental engagement. She is the author of 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Engaging Parents and 100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Engaging Parents (forthcoming). Follow Janet on Twitter @janetifimust.

100 Ideas for Dyslexia

Shannon Green and Gavin Reid explore the thinking behind splitting the best-selling 100 Ideas on Dyslexia into two books for Primary and Secondary teachers: 

We have been involved in dyslexia and teaching for many years and between us we have experience across the full age range.  For us, it was natural that the popular 100 Ideas book on Dyslexia should be separated into 2 books: 100 Ideas for primary and 100 for secondary.  Both sectors offer significant challenges in meeting the social, emotional and educational needs of young people with dyslexia.  Although some of the strategies are generic across the age range, such as ‘mind maps’ and ‘mnemonics’ and paired and reciprocal reading, there are many other approaches and strategies that are specific to each of the sectors.  It was natural therefore to create this division.

We have introduced a new section in the Primary book on nursery and early years. There is no doubt this is a crucial area as getting it right at this stage can pave the way for more successful interventions later on and a happier outcome for all – children, parents and teachers.

There are specific challenges inherent in secondary school, which often have an achievement and examination focus.  The nature of secondary schools can be off putting for the young person with dyslexia and therefore we have included a section on self-esteem and motivation.  We have also focused on effective learning, which includes strategies that can be used across the whole curriculum. This includes becoming an independent learner and also ideas on study skills, note-taking and revision strategies as well as time management.

Having said that, we also appreciate that secondary schools are very much subject orientated and we have included strategies for English, History, Geography, Maths, Music, Drama and Art, General Science, Biology, Additional language learning, Physical Education and Food Technology and Textiles.    We hope that these ideas will provide insights into how to deal with dyslexia at secondary school while also acting as a springboard to both develop their own ideas and to disseminate information on dyslexia across the whole school.

We have endeavored to incorporate explanations and a rationale for the ideas in this book as we appreciate that the book will be used by experienced practitioners and subject teachers who may have less knowledge of dyslexia.

From our experience, a ‘dip in’ and accessible book is always welcomed by the busy teacher and we hope that will be the case with these two new 100 Ideas books.  We are extremely grateful for the positive feedback we have received in person and through emails from teachers who have found the previous editions of 100 Ideas extremely useful.

Ultimately this helps the teacher, the parents and of course the student him/herself and can make the sometimes challenging ‘educational track’ more accessible and more pleasurable for young people with dyslexia.

 

The ingredients of a brilliant revision programme

John Mitchell, author of 100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Revision, explains the influences and ingredients of a revision programme at the heart of his book

Revision Word Cloud
Revision Word Cloud

‘How do I write the thing?’

The offer is made. The offer is accepted. Excitement! Then the excitement fades and the thought enters your head – ‘How am I going to write it!’ This is what happened to me when I was first asked to write 100 Ideas for Secondary School Teachers: Revision for Bloomsbury  in February 2014. I had to decide on a starting point for my research from which I could structure the book and the 100 ideas around. The inspiration would be what Andy Griffith and Mark Burns would later call their own book – Teaching Backwards – start from the outcome and consider what you want to see from your own students at the end of revision. The best way to find this out, I felt, was to ask my own students. I am lucky that I work with a strong student body who engage in discussing teaching methods and ideas and are articulate in expressing what they want to see in a revision programme. After a number of discussions with a variety of students from different Key Stages and of different abilities, it was clear that there were three common factors students wanted to see in a revision programme. These factors were:

  • Engaging and active revision tasks – how can we revise in class?
  • Equipping students with revision skills – such as stress management and time management.
  • Independence – how can I revise on my own?

I decided that these three factors would inform every section on my book and give teachers a toolkit of easy to implement ideas that would help them develop their students’ revision skills as well as, more importantly, in my view, develop their students as effective independent learners both in school and beyond it.

Revision targets
Revision Targets

 

Engaging and active revision tasks – How can we revise in class?

One common point that emerged from talking with students about revision was what they perceived as an overemphasis on the text book and making notes. Of course, making notes is an important part of the revision process but should be part of a wider diet of revision activities within the classroom. We are all guilty as teachers of sometimes relying on the text book in a sequence of lessons as this is the ‘safe option’ – especially when we are tired and have little energy to invest in constructing outstanding lessons with sparkling resources. Also, it is the safe bet if we are teaching a second subject or content we are unfamiliar with.

However, it does not have to be like this. There are so many activities out there on the internet or in the ever-growing variety of books on teaching activities which are ideal in a revision context. Active tasks must be at the heart of an all-inclusive revision programme which engage and reinforce knowledge giving students the confidence that ‘they know it!’ These activities must be varied and include games, larger main lesson tasks and a variety of note making tasks from which students can choose which style suits them the best. Writing a collection of such ideas was at the heart of my thinking as well as that the vast majority of these ideas must be easy to implement with readers being able to dip in and out of the book and select an idea that they could include in a lesson the very next day. Underneath this the ideas must have real substance too and that a real impact upon students’ progress rather than the ‘bells and whistles’ ideas which look great but may lack meaningful impact upon student development.

Visual Hex exercise book
Visual Hex Exercise Book

Equipping students with revision skills – such as stress management and time management

Revision at any level can cause stress. Whether students are preparing for an internal assessment with the only objective being to check and demonstrate progress or for a public examination which can decide what life-changing options are open to students depending on the results – revision can highlight the need to assist in the development of important life skills, such as time management and stress management. Because I wanted the book to touch on every area of an effective revision programme, it was important not to neglect this potentially decisive and critical area of preparing students for assessments and examinations.

Therefore, the book contains a number of easy to implement ideas that can guide teachers in preparing a holistic revision programme, which equips students with the skills to cope with the stresses and strains of the revision period. In doing this, I felt, that this would give the book a wider appeal and not just for subject teachers. More often than not, subject teachers do not have the time to deal with the wider revision skills that are required, instead this falls to the form tutor or PSHE department. When I was writing this book, I was fortunate to be a form tutor for a group of young people preparing for their GCSEs and as a tutor, I was frequently asked to lead sessions on revision skills. More often than not, I found the resources provided to lead such sessions perhaps lacked depth and were less than engaging. Part of my research was to improve these resources and use them with my students, who would then feedback and discuss. Therefore, my book would have something in it for any teacher involved in helping students to revision skills in a wider context.

Bingo revision
Bingo Revision

Independence – How can I revise on my own?

At the end of the day, students are going to be on their own in that examination room. Teachers will not be there holding their hand, guiding them and giving timely advice on what to do. The end product of any revision programme is to develop a young person with the confidence to be independent and less reliant on the teacher. This is difficult and scary for a young person, stepping back as a teacher can be an incredibly difficult thing to do, especially in times of high stress, like the exam season, when students can need you the most. Therefore, any revision programme must foster students’ independence and the ability for students to conduct revision on their own outside the classroom without direct intervention from the teacher.

A few of the ideas in the book tackle this issue head on. It is an important one for teachers and students to work together on. Indeed, the philosophy of one of my key influences in writing this book, Jim Smith, is for students to become so independent in lessons that you become a ‘Lazy Teacher’. Therefore, many of the ideas which relate to revision games and resources can be easily made by students who can make a whole series of revision aids – whether they are resources for revision card games, visual hexagons or revision totem poles – outside the classroom. This means that a crucial part of a revision programme must be to train your students in making these revision aids which they can bring into lessons and use and share as part of the revision process. You know you have cracked it when near the end of the revision programme and the exams are looming, you are not needed as a teacher and instead become a facilitator while your students are actively revising independently, making more resources, playing revision games and working collaboratively – there is nothing better than the sound of a revision buzz in your classroom!

9781472913753 Revision

While this article focuses upon the influences and the ingredients of a revision programme which make up the heart of my book – 100 Ideas for Secondary School Teachers: Revision – a second article which details how the book was written can be found on my blog.

Progress in dyslexia awareness. Dr. Gavin Reid

portrait_gavin_reidAs it is Dyslexia Awareness Week it is good to reflect on the progress that has taken place in this area. Successive campaigning over a long number of years by groups such as the BDA, Dyslexia Action and the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre has resulted in dyslexia having a voice at all levels – in government, local education authorities and at school level. Some years ago dyslexia was seen very much as a specialism in the UK and therefore intervention was in the hands of a few highly trained and skilled professionals.

Since then there has been a widespread movement towards creating more awareness of dyslexia at all levels. As a result, a greater number of schools now acknowledge that dyslexia is a whole school issue and therefore it has an impact upon staff development.

From my own perspective as a trainer and an author I find that I am now frequently asked to do presentations on dyslexia to the whole staff in a school. Additionally, I find that the attendees at presentations that are organised by regional groups tend to be more diverse than before, demonstrating that clearly more and more professionals from different sectors of education are becoming more aware and more involved in dyslexia. The BDA are also accrediting increasing amounts of quality professional courses in dyslexia.

It is for that reason that books such as 100+ Ideas for Supporting Children with Dyslexia have been successful. Teachers now have a greater awareness of dyslexia, and a clearer understanding of the needs of children with dyslexia. The book provides them with strategies that they can slot into their every day teaching, and they now have the knowledge and understanding to appreciate the rationale behind the ideas.

We (Shannon Green and myself) have taken this further in the new editions of our book, which will be available in a primary version and a secondary version. We feel that these sectors do have different needs and in the secondary edition we have focused on specific approaches for different subjects, as well as general cross-curricular suggestions.
100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Dyslexia100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Dyslexia cover
These books have been very successful and the development of the awareness of dyslexia has certainly helped to pave the way for books such as ours which teachers can pick up, understand the rationale behind the ideas and implement straight away in the classroom. We are eagerly anticipating the publication of 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Dyslexia and 100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Dyslexia next year.

An exciting digital Autumn! Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce author photoOn TV last night, I saw the BBC ‘Make it digital’ advert. Lots of exciting events and programmes about our digital world, relevant to ourselves and our children. Their tagline is ‘Getting the nation excited about digital creativity’. You can find out more at the Make it Digital site. I’m excited that the BBC, along with other partners, for example Apps for Good and Young Rewired State, are involved in teaching about our digital creativity. New TV programmes will be shown in the autumn, so it all looks very exciting. Already some resources have been released on the CBBC site, using a Dr. Who theme to program a dalek.

Currently, there is a ‘Make it digital’ tour, which is helping to start the new venture:

Cardiff – Harbour Festival – 30 & 31 August
Hull – The Freedom Festival – 5 & 6 September
Lewisham Shopping Centre – 12 & 13 September
Dundee – City Square – 19 & 20 September
Birmingham – Big Weekender – 26 & 27 September

The BBC will be giving a small computer called a ‘Micro:bit’ to every 11-12 year old. This is about the size of a credit card and contains sensors and places to attach other devices and control them. Every school with Year 7 children can register on the website to order the devices. It is an ambitious idea to give these computers away, though I wish that the primary schools were being given them too. The planned release will also include the ability to purchase Micro:bit computers, so primary schools and children in other year groups may benefit from them then. The Micro:bits are due for release in late Autumn.

The BBC ‘Make it digital’ campaign aims to ‘capture the spirit of the BBC Micro, which helped Britain get to grips with the first wave of personal computers in the 1980s, in the digital age’. It was the BBC Micro computer that inspired my learning at school. Suddenly, we had access to a computer and ‘could do stuff’. This was backed up by TV programmes to support the learning. You would spend ages typing in programs from magazines and learn by doing and making mistakes, then fixing them. The most important part was the collaboration with my friends. At school, we shared a computer and you would talk with your partner and solve problems together. This paired programming enabled a better solution to be found.

In addition to the BBC campaign, there are other organisations, such as, Computing at School, who have been a great area of support. Also, the excellent Barefoot Computing resources for primary schools. The Computer Science Unplugged materials, use many activities not using a computer, to teach Computing concepts.

When the new Computing curriculum was released in 2014, teachers needed help to get started. This prompted the writing of the 100 ideas for primary teachers: Computing book. It aims to show that many activities across the curriculum support the teaching of Computing. Trying out the ideas with teachers and children, we’ve been finger knitting, folding origami and even doing magic tricks.

This Autumn is an exciting time! Lots of activities to try with our children, to learn about our digital lives. I hope the new book will help us learn together and I’m looking forward to hearing about your adventures! You can share them using 100 Ideas.

100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Computing100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Computing covers everything a Primary teacher needs to know to start teaching the primary computing curriculum.

Steve Bunce is an experienced teacher who has taught in primary, middle and secondary schools and in many roles including ICT co-ordinator, head of year and senior leader. He has advised schools across the UK on their use of technology through Open University. He is also a part-time lecturer at Durham University where he shares his learning experiences with the undergraduate teachers.

Where do good ideas for the classroom come from? Stephen Lockyer

Author Stephen Lockyer

I’m incredibly lucky in that my head buzzes with ideas all the time, like a creative tinnitus! That’s not to say all of them are good ideas by any stretch, but I’ve recently been exploring where good ideas come from, and think that they come from one of five key areas. The important thing to remember about ideas is that experimenting is the only way you can really see whether an idea has legs or not.

Upcycling 

I love upcycling – that is, repurposing something for another use. This can be done in many small ways (such as using clothes pegs and card for a Classroom Jobs list for example), or in a large way (tractor tyres + blanket = reading corner seat). I especially love repurposing one idea totally unrelated to teaching into something which contributes to learning. I rebuilt the Periodic Table in my classroom, putting our class values as the elements and so on. We could have made a list, but by using a familiar format, the children were exposed to this, and the conversations which sprung from this. Anything different from the norm is often more interesting (and more captivating for you).

Learning Lents

This is a favourite for forcing creativity and new ideas – ban something which you rely on! It sounds a strange thing to do, but really does make you think outside of your box. Imagine you rely on your IWB for every lesson, and then the bulb goes – what do you do to recover? Now put this thinking against all the other ‘default’ tools and routines in class. Here are a few ideas: No chairs for one day No photocopying Computers off No writing No numbers in Maths Choose one of these and see how you get on; it really is quite liberating!

Don’t reinvent the wheel, search online for it

We are enormously spoilt for the range of places we can now search for ideas – and you don’t have to dive in headfirst to make the most of the resources stored in the cloud (but it’s always good to give something back). The classic teacher’s resource search is TES Resources, but for more personalised help with ideas, ask on Twitter (using the hashtag #asktwitter) – you’d be amazed what responses you get! Pinterest is another good vault of ideas for teaching, often in the most surprising of ways, and it also works as a springboard for your own ideas too! Another growing source of feelgood ideas is www.staffrm.io, the blogging platform for teachers, which is growing daily with a wealth of good ideas on marking, planning, questioning, even creativity itself!

Read around your subject

It’s always good to read books specific for your subject specialism and age range, but don’t let this limit you. I’ve collected good ideas and generated lots of my own by reading around my interests too. There is a lot that Secondary colleagues can learn from Primary, and vice versa. Likewise, reading books completely detached from Education can contribute interest and curiosity, and solve problems you may have in the most unusual ways – a book called Smart Swarm for example helped me work out a novel solution to congestion problems in my school, even though it was about insects!

Cross swords together

Imagine completing a crossword on your own, with someone next to you completing the same crossword. How many more words would you get if you collaborated together? Likewise, the best ideas sometimes need to be talked about in order to float to the surface. Often, we can go to someone with a problem, and they are far more capable of solving it than us because they aren’t carrying all the aspects of that problem which we are. Likewise, generating ideas with someone else can be incredibly liberating and productive. I love coming with ideas, but really like playing around with them too – it’s very rare for a discussed idea to become worse in the process! My #100ideas book came from generating ideas in this way and many other ways. The most important principle is to try something out, even in a very small sense, and see if it improves the teaching and learning or not. Once you’ve tried it in one lesson or on one table, roll it out further. Play with it, adjust it and get feedback on it from the children and other adults that might be in your classroom. If it does make a difference to you, tell others! Avoid being an idea silo – become an inspiration station instead!

100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Outstanding Teaching

Stephen Lockyer is Deputy Head of The Mead School, Tunbridge Wells. He has been teaching for 14 years in a variety of schools and has a very low boredom threshold which drives him to make lessons exciting, stimulating and filled with learning opportunities! He set up SLT Camp – a CPD training weekend for teachers and has spoken at many Teachmeets. Follow him on Twitter @mrlockyer

Stephen’s latest title 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Outstanding Teaching is available now. Click here to find out more.