Funniest Teacher Gift Ever!

October 3, 2015



Just brilliant!



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Educational Trends are as Useless as Political Slogans

October 1, 2015


mastery over differentiation


When you have no idea what you are doing and how to improve your flagging results you reach for buzz words like “differentiate” and “mastery”. The ploy buys you time while you quickly search for the next trend before the promise of your last one becomes undone:


Schools will witness a shift in jargon this year. Differentiation is out. Mastery is in. Mark my words.

In his memoir, An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Education, former Eton headmaster Tony Little recounts the delightful story of workmen at the school uncovering fragments of a wall painting under some wood panelling. The images, from around 1520, are believed to be the earliest representation of a school scene in England. A banner headline from Roman scholar Quintilian crowns the scene “Virtuo preceptoris est ingeniorum notare discrimina”, meaning “the excellence of the teacher is to identify the difference in talents of students”. Or, in a word, differentiation.

It’s not a complex idea, but differentiation is difficult to get right. All teachers know that matching their teaching to students’ various needs, aptitudes and preferred styles of learning is the key challenge in a classroom. The fact that teachers have to do this for 30 students at once makes it even more difficult. You could have an entire teaching career of purposeful practice – more than 10,000 hours – and still not quite crack it.

Different cultures treat differentiation in different ways. I remember training high school teachers in New York and being told that they “differentiate by sending students to different rooms”. While teaching in the Middle East I learned that deep cultural assumptions lead to differentiation by gender and age; boys are taught in morning classes, girls in the afternoon.

But recently a dose of an eastern-inspired “mastery” has entered our schools, with the impact in maths being measured by an Education Endowment Foundation report. It’s caught the attention of policymakers, and earlier this year the Department for Education flew in teachers from Shanghai to raise standards with their “mastery” style. The Oxford University Press has also produced a paper exploring mastery in maths and how it can raise achievement. The national curriculum frameworks for English and maths are now rooted in it.

At the heart of the Chinese classroom is the teacher’s unshakeable belief that all children are capable of learning anything if that learning is presented in the right way. The idea works on the basis that understanding is the result of high intention, sincere effort and intelligent execution, and that difficulty is pleasurable.



Click on the link to read Keep Politics Out of the Classroom

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Teachers Are Clearly Not Getting the Message

September 30, 2015




Teachers are being accused of unprofessional and criminal behaviour like never before. The rise in accusations is alarming and a clear indicator that the punishments metered out against them are not substantial enough:


Serious misconduct allegations against Education Department staff rose 40 per cent last year amid sharp increases in accusations of inappropriate online or sexualised contact with students, physical assault and fraud or theft.

The statistics have prompted the teachers’ union to remind members they are not students’ friends and should never accept social media approaches from them.

Misconduct allegations against State school staff are automatically referred to the Corruption and Crime Commission for external oversight.

Lower level allegations are resolved at school or district level, with the Education Department’s head office keeping an eye on them. More serious accusations go straight to head office.

The department’s latest annual report reveals that these centrally managed allegations increased sharply from 268 and 276 in the previous two years to 385 in 2014-15.

The biggest single-year increase was a 74 per cent jump in allegations of in-appropriate behaviour, which can range from accusations of inappropriate contact via social media to alleged “sexualised contact with students”.

These leapt from 84 allegations in 2013-14 to 146 last financial year. In the past three financial years, physical assault allegations have risen from 55 to 78 to 106, while fraud and theft accusations have risen from 18 to 24 to 32.



Click on the link to read Teachers are Allowed to Make Mistakes … as Long as They are Just Mistakes

Teachers Confess Their Sins

September 29, 2015



A fun piece featured on about the confessions of 21 teachers.



Click on the link to read Sometimes You Don’t Even Realise That You Have Impacted a Student

Click on the link to read Teachers Should be Able to File a Complaint Against Complaint Addicted Parents

Click on the link to read Where Are All the Teachers Who Promote Teaching as a Career?

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Teachers are Allowed to Make Mistakes … as Long as They are Just Mistakes

September 24, 2015



If this story is true, it is not a mistake, but rather an outrageous offense worthy of immediate sacking:


A young boy in the US was allegedly forced to write with his right hand at school by a teacher who described left-handers as “evil”.

Oklahoma  mother Alisha Sands noticed her four-year-old son Zayde had suddenly started using his right hand while they were doing his homework together, despite having always favoured his left hand, NewsChannel4 reports.

“I just asked him if his teachers ever asked anything about his hands and he raises (his left hand) and says, ‘This one’s bad,’” Ms Sands said.

After Ms Sands contacted Zayde’s teacher at Oakes Elementary School, he was sent home with a letter regarding “hand dominance” which described left handers as “unlucky, inauspicious or frankly evil”.

The letter also claimed “there are numerous instances of left-handedness being associated with wickedness”.

“It breaks my heart for him because someone actually believes that, believes my child is evil because he’s left handed,” Ms Sands told NewsChannel4.

Ms Sands said she complained to the school about the letter, but as yet no action has been taken.

The teacher should be made to write an apology letter, written using their left hand and then promptly shown the door!

Should Parents Ban Smartphones from Their Kids’ Room at Night?

September 23, 2015



It’s not my business to tell parents what to do, but the research seems pretty clear:


For the study, researchers from the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research Data asked more than 800 12- to 15-year-olds about their sleep habits — including how often they woke up at night to use social media. Researchers also asked about the teens’ levels of energy and well-being.

What did the researchers find? Waking up at night to use social networking platforms like Snapchat and Instagram was surprisingly common. Twenty-two percent of 12- and 13-year-olds and 23 percent of 14- and 15-year-olds said they “almost always” did so. More than a third said they did at least once a week.

This behavior seems to take a real toll. More than half of the heavier nighttime social media users said they usually go to school feeling tired. 

“In turn, we find a significant association between feeling tired when they go to school and their overall levels of subjective well-being,” Dr. Chris Taylor, a researcher at Cardiff and one of the study’s authors, added in an email to The Huffington Post. 

For some teens, this combination could contribute to mental health issues. Heavy social media use and poor sleep have both been found to take a toll on young peoples’ mental health, so the combination could be even more problematic.

So what’s the solution? Pushing back school start times probably isn’t the answer, as the study’s authors argue that more time to sleep in the morning doesn’t compensate for sleep disruptions. Structured morning routines can be helpful for mediating the effects of poor sleep, the researchers explain, so disrupting those routines with later school start times may not be beneficial.

Instead, the study suggests that it may be more effective to discourage teens from using technology at night. One way to do it? Keeping digital devices out of the bedroom so that a good night’s sleep won’t ruined by the lure of Twitter.

Click on the link to read Mom Shaming is a Disease that Has to Stop

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What is the Perfect Class Size?

September 21, 2015

I like a class of between 20 to 25. Enough to offer adequate social opportunities but not too many students as to make 1 on 1 teaching a pipe dream.

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Click on the link to read Teaching 150 Students in the One Classroom!

Tips for Getting Kids to Live Heathily

September 17, 2015


Written by Maria Masters courtesy of CNN:

Don’t tell them to clean their plate

You want your child to finish eating when she’s full, not when she’s finished every morsel in front of her. Research suggests that kids who are told to eat everything on their plates may be more likely to request larger portions of food when they’re away from home. “Pushing kids to eat when they aren’t hungry sets up a bad precedent,” says Lauren Levine, MD, a pediatrician at Columbia Doctors Midtown in New York City. Adults consume almost everything they serve themselves, according to a study by Cornell University experts, but their research also shows that kids only tend to eat about 60% of what they put on their plates—a totally “normal” thing, they say.

Don’t let them eat in front of the TV

Sure, kids might not put up a fuss about breakfast when that meal just so happens to be served during cartoon time. But children who chow down in front of the TV won’t be able to pay attention to the feelings of fullness that should signal the end of the meal, says Dr. Lauren Levine. Instead, “they’ll just eat mindlessly.” One 2009 study found that kids who snacked while watching television may eat more candy and soda, too. Plus, other research has found that the food advertising aimed at children reinforces the message that junk food tastes better—and can be linked to unhealthy diets in young adulthood too.

Better yet, set a screen limit

Fact: Children ages 8 to 18 now spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using media devices, according to a 2010 study by the Kasier Family Foundation. (That’s up from about 6.5 hours in 2000.) And watching TV—whether that’s on a flat screen, computer, or cell phone—takes up a whopping 4.5 hours a day. “You don’t want your children to be sedentary,” says Dr. Alanna Levine, “but watching TV all day also doesn’t increase their creativity, which is important for them.” Sure enough, this 2010 study found that kids who spend more time using media are more likely to get poor grades and are less likely to be content with themselves than those who aren’t as attached to their devices. Consider capping your child’s recreational screen time to no more than 2 hours a day. The AAP discourages any media use for kids under the age of 2 and recommends older children limit their non-education screen time—i.e., entertainment—to 1 to 2 hours daily.

Make exercise fun

As adults, we often equate exercise with the gym. But kids? They just need to get moving for about an hour a day. So kick a soccer ball in the backyard, take a family walk, or go for a hike one weekend. The key is to make sure they’re enjoying it, says Alanna Levine, MD, a pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Once they’re done, she says, take a minute and ask them how their bodies feel. (Spoiler alert: good. Thanks, endorphins!) That way, kids will keep connecting that happy rush with physical activity, which reinforces the physical and mental benefits of exercise.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mom Shaming is a Disease that Has to Stop

September 16, 2015



Whether its mom shaming or teacher shaming or any other form of condescension, any judgement designed to belittle is less about child welfare and more about bullying.





Click on the link to read Going Overboard for Your Child’s First Day of School

Click on the link to read How This Mother Celebrated Her Son’s Graduation (Photo)

Stopping the Doodling Epidemic

September 12, 2015


My aim is to present lessons which are so captivating as to ward any potential doodlers from practicing their craft.

Am I successful?

Unfortunately, not nearly enough!


Click on the link to read Students Love it When Their Teacher Dares to be Outrageous

Click on the link to read The Questions that Great Teachers Ask Every Day

Click on the link to read Learning as an Experience


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