Every Science Teacher’s Worst Nightmare (Video)

August 27, 2014


This demonstration probably wont make the Science Teacher’s Handbook:


A teacher in Thailand has accidentally set his classroom alight during what appears to be an experiment with fire that goes horribly awry.

Footage uploaded to LiveLeak this week shows the male teacher flail his arms as he enthusiastically explains the experiment.

On the bench in front of him sits a small beaker of flammable liquid.

It appears he is about to run his hand through the flame when he accidentally knocks it over.

Several students in the classroom can be seen filming their clumsy instructor, almost pre-empting what will happen next.

Within seconds metres-high flames engulf the workspace and the student body lets out a collective panicked cry.

Luckily the teacher is quick to act and the fire is soon extinguished, leaving a thick cloud of smoke in its wake.

Little information is known about when the video was shot or what was the purpose of the experiment.

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7 Things a Quiet Student Wishes Their Teacher Knew

August 26, 2014


A brilliant list courtesy of the extraordinarily talented teenager. Marsha Pinto:


1. Being quiet doesn’t make us any less smart

Teachers don’t understand how frustrating it can get reading the comment, ” _____ is a great student but he/she doesn’t participate in class.”

Remember that still waters run deep. I know that some teachers like to base grades on participation, but if you could only hear all the great ideas we have inside our head, you’d learn that we have some great ideas to share. In fact, we are practically masters of brainstorming.

However, it’s difficult for us to master the art of jumping in to a conversation or interrupting. We may not raise our hands as quickly as you want us to or say as much as you wanted us to, but honestly we just like to take our time to process our ideas. Does it even make a difference if we write more than we speak?

2. We are not a problem that you need to solve.

So, we may not have participated on the first day, or the second day or the first three months of school but please don’t keep pestering us about when we’re going to talk. Sometimes there isn’t a reason why we are so quiet, it’s just part of who we are. Many people tend to assume that quiet people are stuck in this quiet prison and need to be rescued so that we can enjoy life. I can assure that this is not always the case. We quiet students are quite content with the way we are… until you start pointing out our faults. We often do not need the “help” you are suggesting, we just need your patience and understanding.

3. The feeling that comes with the hearing the phrase, “Speak up! I can’t hear you.”

It was daunting enough when you caught us off-guard and put us on the spot to answer that question in front of the entire class, so please don’t embarrass us any further. We wish you only knew how much effort we put into taking the initiative to speak up.

If you can’t hear something we said please help us out, come closer and listen carefully to what we are trying to say. Please don’t belittle us in front of a crowd of people because that will do more harm than help.

4. Group projects can get really stressful for us:

Sometimes we’re in a class where we don’t have any friends and other times you assign us to a group of people whom we do not even know. There’s nothing wrong with group work and the benefits are no doubt important for our future, however quiet students are often taken advantage of in group projects. To prevent this from happening, teachers need to assign each person in the group a role, rather than allowing students to assign each other’s role.

5. We are not going to speak when we have nothing to say.

Teachers don’t understand that quiet students believe that it’s not necessary to talk when you have nothing to say. No we are not being rude, it’s just that we believe that there’s no need to force out a couple of words just for the sake of doing so. You have no idea how much time we spend trying to formulate our speech before we actually say it out loud.

We like taking our time to formulate our thoughts rather than rushing to speak. We hope someday you will understand this.

6. We have a personality.

Teachers, we know you don’t see us as the quote and quote ideal student, but if you really came to look beyond our quiet ways you’d come to realize that there’s much more to us than meets the eye. We are writers, dreamers, creators and a lot of other things you may think we never could be. We’d like to love ourselves for who we are and not grow-up to hate ourselves. Do not treat us any differently. We’re normally people who laugh, cry, have crazy obsessions, dislikes and embarrassing moments. Who knows? Maybe we even have more in common with you than you think.

7. Just because we’re quiet, doesn’t’ mean you have to give up on us.

Teachers often assume that it’s not worth talking to or getting to know the quiet students because they don’t have anything to say hence they don’t have potential. However, there are a few teachers, who will take those few extra steps to the back of the classroom to connect with the quiet student rather than judge them from a distance. We quiet students may not say much at first, but trust me we do appreciate you taking the effort.

Teachers and students may not see eye to eye when it comes to most things, but what both sides don’t realize is that they could learn a lot from each other. You may ask yourself, ” What can I learn from someone who hardly speaks?”

Well, you can learn the importance of active listening. A quality slowly going instinct when so many distractions keep us from being in the moment and truly listening to what someone has to say.

Quiet students hope that someday teachers everywhere will be able to appreciate the uniqueness we bring to the classroom and not make assumptions without really getting to know us.

The word “teacher” is a verb, not a noun. Hence this year, I encourage all teachers to break the barriers that separate them and their students and to create an inviting atmosphere where no student should hold back being themselves for fear of rejection. Teachers should aim to bring an accommodating atmosphere to the classroom where both extroverts and introverts can share their ideas and reach their potential without feeling pressurized. Your students might not thank you in- person, or write it in a card or note, but some day they may express their gratitude in an acceptance speech and thank you for giving the wallflower a chance to shine.


Click on the link to read Skills That Aren’t Taught But Should Be: #1 People Skills

Click on the link to read Top 10 Most Unusual School Bans

Click on the link to read Rules that Restrict the Teacher and Enslave the Student

Click on the link to read This is What I Think of the No Hugging Rule at Schools

Click on the link to read Political Correctness at School

Click on the link to read What Are We Doing to Our Kids?

Forget About Maths and English, Let’s Take a Field Trip to the Pub Instead!

August 25, 2014


Learning about responsible drinking at a pub is like learning about responsible gambling at a casino. To conjure up such a ridiculous idea is  bad enough, to get the green light on it is nothing short of crazy.

And what about the novel idea of leaving parenting to parents and concentrating on um … the curriculum?


It’s not likely the pub is on the excursion list for most schools students but for those at Sydney’s Engadine high, their local tavern was! 

Getting them out of the classroom – students got to learn some valuable life lessons on what they can and can’t do when at their local watering hole, when the beer and wine starts flowing. 

Three schools from the Sutherland shire have so far taken part in the pilot scheme of the education program. It was estalished after police found that schoolyard arguments and blow-ups were being moved elsewhere, and that was to the pub, erupting into alcohol fuelled violence. 

At the Engadine tavern this week, Superintendent Julian Griffiths, from the Sutherland local area command told the Daily Telegraph, ‘we are finding young adults between 18 and 21 are sometimes not following the rules in our local licensed establishments.’ 

Click on the link to read Redefining Gifted and Talented

7 Key Characteristics of a Digitally Competent Teacher

August 24, 2014

Courtesy of dailygenius.com:





Click on the link to read The 10 Best Educational Apps for Children

Click on the link to read The Must Have iPad Apps for the Classroom

Click on the link to read Using Videogames in the Classroom

Click on the link to read Five Great Technology Tools for the English classroom

Click on the link to read 5 Great Spelling Apps for Tablets and Smartphones

Click on the link to read Are Educators Being Conned by the i-Pad?

The 10 Best Educational Apps for Children

August 21, 2014



As brought down in the Adjust Report:


1.Bugs and Buttons

2.Kids Puzzles Puzzingo

3.Preschool EduKitty-Amazing

4.Heidi on the Alp

5.Shape-O ABC’s

6.TeachMe: Kindergarten

7.Monkey Math School Sunshine

8.Green Eggs and Ham — Dr. Seuss

9.Endless Alphabet

10.Dr. Seuss’s ABC



Click on the link to read The Must Have iPad Apps for the Classroom

Click on the link to read Using Videogames in the Classroom

Click on the link to read Five Great Technology Tools for the English classroom

Click on the link to read 5 Great Spelling Apps for Tablets and Smartphones

Click on the link to read Are Educators Being Conned by the i-Pad?

Click on the link to read The Best Phonics Apps for iPads

Learning to Let Go

August 20, 2014


After watching this fabulous clip I wondered if there could be a ceremony for other habits that children are reluctant to give up. The one that causes me some consternation are those students who are obsessed with being the first at line-up.

Some challenges just can’t be solved with a balloon.


Click on the link to read Things Teachers Wish Parents Knew Before the School Year Begins

Click on the link to read The Worst Parent in the World May be an Australian

Click on the link to read 10-Year-Old’s Marriage Advice to His Teacher

Click on the link to read The Science of Parenting

Click on the link to read Why the Call to Fine Parents for Not Reading to Their Children is Utter Stupidity

Click on the link to read Children are Precious!

Click on the link to read Is it Ever OK to Lie to Your Kids?

Skills That Aren’t Taught But Should Be: #1 People Skills

August 19, 2014



Is it just me or are people afraid of human interaction nowadays? It’s almost as if people go around with an invisible shell that protects them from the outside world.

There was once a time where it was considered rude if you didn’t make an effort to get to know your next door neighbors. Now it’s hardly novel for people to admit that they have never once uttered a word to those living next door.

Today I visited my local supermarket. I make a point of avoiding the self service checkout and go to a regular register instead. I feel bad that machines are taking the place of people and make sure I support the check-out personnel, even if it involves a longer wait. This afternoon I noticed that the regular aisles were empty but the self-service area was banked up. I can understand that people use the self-service machines for convenience, but it seems they also like it because it gives them yet another opportunity to avoid human interaction.

I remember in my early days of teaching, I was having a general discussion with my Grade 3 students. They were talking about the size of their homes. One pointed out that she has 2 homes because her parents are divorced. Her friends were in shock.

“I didn’t know your parents were divorced” one of the said. “So are mine.”


“Mine are too” said another

“So are mine” said another.

Now I know that children are reluctant to freely open up about such things, but it surprised me that classmates would take 3-5 years of being around each other on a daily basis before finding that out.

There is often reports in the media of a religion or culture that claims to be misunderstood or isolated, and you can understand why. There just isn’t enough effort on the part of society to leave the cocoon and start interacting with others. Especially those who are seemingly different from them. It’s just like in the brilliant Academy Award winning movie, Crash - people only deal with others when they literally crash into them. And of course by then, the interaction is never going to be healthy.

You would think that the schoolyard is the best place to address this issue. After all, schools don’t play favourites, they don’t seek to isolate and they try to encourage positive social interactions.

Or, maybe not ….

Some of the playground rules I have covered over the past few years do anything but that which I have just expressed. Take the school which has banned its students from having best friends. That’s right, banning best friends! In other words, to teach children not to exclude the school steps in and excludes for them.

And then there are the schools following this insane trend of outlawing touching. This includes not just hugging and holding hands but also high-fiving.  Just crazy!

So the very institution that can set a strong and purposeful platform for inclusion, unity and human interaction is actually, at least in some cases, preaching the opposite. They would rather see each child on their own instead of in friendship groups embracing one another.

I feel like we are missing an extraordinarily important opportunity. I see it as vital that we help our students to break the shackles and help them to want to connect with others in a meaningful way.


Click on the link to read Top 10 Most Unusual School Bans

Click on the link to read Rules that Restrict the Teacher and Enslave the Student

Click on the link to read This is What I Think of the No Hugging Rule at Schools

Click on the link to read Political Correctness at School

Click on the link to read What Are We Doing to Our Kids?

Click on the link to read Stop Banning Our Kids From Being Kids

How Kids Learn Maths

August 18, 2014




My favourite subject to teach is maths. This is not because I have a personal affinity with the subject, but because I believe that it can be taught in an extremely engaging way. I prefer to dispense with mundane text books and mindless mental math activities and concentrate on games and outdoor maths lessons such as the one I came up with called Mission Impossible.

To me, maths is an everyday skill with real relevance. That relevance must be apparent to the students. If they can’t understand why we need addition or fractions or measurement, how on earth will they be able to apply what they have learned?

That’s why I’m against teaching times tables by heart as an end point. Sure, students may be able to recall 9 x 7 instantly, but if you ask them how many tickets were sold for a sell out concert if there were 9 rows of seat with 7 seats in each row and get a blank response, they just haven”t got it!

I appreciate studies into maths like this one, but ultimately, I think it is about finding an engaging way to show how maths is applied in everyday situations:

Stanford University researchers first peeked into the brains of 28 children as they solved a series of simple addition problems inside a brain-scanning MRI machine.

No scribbling out the answer: The 7- to 9-year-olds saw a calculation — three plus four equals seven, for example — flash on a screen and pushed a button to say if the answer was right or wrong. Scientists recorded how quickly they responded and what regions of their brain became active as they did.

In a separate session, they also tested the kids face to face, watching if they moved their lips or counted on their fingers, for comparison with the brain data.

The children were tested twice, roughly a year apart. As the kids got older, their answers relied more on memory and became faster and more accurate, and it showed in the brain. There was less activity in the prefrontal and parietal regions associated with counting and more in the brain’s memory center, the hippocampus, the researchers reported Sunday in Nature Neuroscience.

The hippocampus is sort of like a relay station where new memories come in — short-term working memory — and then can be sent elsewhere for longer-term storage and retrieval. Those hippocampal connections increased with the kids’ math performance.

“The stronger the connections, the greater each individual’s ability to retrieve facts from memory,” said Dr. Vinod Menon, a psychiatry professor at Stanford and the study’s senior author.

But that’s not the whole story.

Next, Menon’s team put 20 adolescents and 20 adults into the MRI machines and gave them the same simple addition problems. It turns out that adults don’t use their memory-crunching hippocampus in the same way. Instead of using a lot of effort, retrieving six plus four equals 10 from long-term storage was almost automatic, Menon said.

In other words, over time the brain became increasingly efficient at retrieving facts. Think of it like a bumpy, grassy field, NIH’s Mann Koepke explained. Walk over the same spot enough and a smooth, grass-free path forms, making it easier to get from start to end.

If your brain doesn’t have to work as hard on simple math, it has more working memory free to process the teacher’s brand-new lesson on more complex math.

“The study provides new evidence that this experience with math actually changes the hippocampal patterns, or the connections. They become more stable with skill development,” she said. “So learning your addition and multiplication tables and having them in rote memory helps.”

Quiz your child in different orders, she advised — nine times three and then 10 times nine — to make sure they really remember and didn’t have to think it through.

While the study focuses on math, Mann Koepke said cognitive development in general probably works the same way. After all, kids who match sounds to letters earlier learn to read faster.

Stanford’s Menon said the next step is to study what goes wrong with this system in children with math learning disabilities, so that scientists might try new strategies to help them learn.


Click on the link to read A Father’s Priceless Reaction to his Son’s Report Card (Video)

Click on the link to read Maths is a Very Poorly Taught Subject

Click on the link to read The Obstacle Course that is Teaching Maths

Click on the link to read Top 10 Math Apps for Children



Up to 1 in 10 US Students Have an Inappropriate Relationship With Their Teacher

August 16, 2014

andrea connersSurely there aren’t as many student/teacher relationships as suggested in this article. If it is anywhere near as bad as that, it is a terrible indictment on our profession:


Critics suggest that as many as one in 10 U.S. public school students — or about 4.5 million children — are involved in some kind of inappropriate teacher-student relationship.

But it’s not easy to identify — accusations involve everything from physical contact to inappropriate comments or looks — and can have a crippling effect not only on those involved but on the student body and their parents and educators.

“It’s devastating to the rest of our students,” said Dan Unger, president of the Northwest Local School District Board of Education. Two of the three teachers from his district have already been convicted and this year imprisoned. The third case is pending.

“When (the other students) think about the accomplishments of the class of 2014, they’ll think about that. This is what they will remember,” Unger said.

It’s become easier in a digital world where smart phones can dominate conversation, for teachers and students to communicate. That’s good when it’s used to discuss school work. But sometimes it can turn criminal.

“The biggest reason this occurs now is social media,” Abbott said.

A text, Facebook post, Instagram or Snapchat message can give teachers and students greater access to each other than ever before. All three of the Northwest Local School educators relied heavily on Snapchat, Facebook and text messages to communicate with the victimized students.

“It seems to be when the conversation goes private like that, the teacher says and does outrageous and outlandish things they’d never say in person,” Abbott said.

Those private contacts allow predatory educators to exploit students, enhancing the control teachers have over their students. Students want to be liked by or get attention from the educator.



Click on the link to read Facebook Exposes Yet Another Bad Teacher

Click on the link to read Why I Won’t Be Celebrating Facebook’s 10th Anniversary

Click on the link to read If You Ever Wondered How Some Kids Become Bullies …

Click on the link to read The Researchers into Cyberbullying Should Review Their Findings

Click on the link to read The Use of Facebook in Cyberbullying Activity

Click on the link to read A Positive Approach to Tackling Cyberbullying

Things Teachers Wish Parents Knew Before the School Year Begins

August 13, 2014

great listA great list courtesy of Lisa Flam:

1. Happy parents make happy teachers.

“Keeping parents happy is definitely the hardest part of the job for teachers,” said Adam Scanlan, who teaches fifth grade at E. W. Luther Elementary School in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “We have 25 sets of parents in our classes, many of whom want different outcomes from one another.” The need to please parents, more than anyone else, he says, is “constantly in the back of your mind,” he said. “I think a lot of parents expect perfection from teachers but in reality, we’re humans, too, and we do the best we can.”

2. Give new teachers a chance.

Have you crossed your fingers wishing your child would not get the newbie teacher? Kristina Hambrock was nervous as she made her teaching debut a year ago. She was often still working in her classroom until 9 p.m., hoping to create an environment where parents would be happy to send their children every day. “What I lack in experience, I can make up in the amount of time I can dedicate to your student,” she said, adding that newbies like her bring enthusiasm, motivation and excitement to their jobs. “Trust them, give them the benefit of the doubt,” she urges parents. “As hard as it is, they’re going to work twice as hard to earn your trust and respect.”

3. Embrace new ways of teaching.

The way kids are taught today is different from how it was even several years ago, let alone how different it was when their parents went through school. Teachers wish parents would embrace the changes more. “Our kids don’t bring home folders because they’re all on the computer,” says Laura Kerrigan, who teaches at Bay Lane Middle School in Muskego, Wisconsin. Supporting your child today means reading a classroom blog or checking your child’s Google Drive. “Embrace those avenues of learning,” Kerrigan says. “Sometimes it’s hard for parents to wrap their minds around.” She urges parents to “get comfortable with this changing environment. It’s not going away.

4. It’s okay for kids to fail (especially in middle school). 

Parents don’t want kids to fail, period. But teachers say there is time and place for that: middle school. “This is a safe place to fail because we’re here to support it,” Kerrigan said. “Let’s teach them how to get back up for when they don’t have as many support systems in places like high school and college.” But just as kids need to learn to pick themselves back up, they also need to speak up for themselves more often. Students “should be the ones to ask the questions or tell me they’re stuck, instead of the parent because the parent has already gone through seventh grade.”

5. Testing is not the end-all be-all.

As a former teacher who is starting his first year as a principal, Todd Nesloney wants parents to know that for him, education is about much more than a test score. “Sometimes, with the constant conversation of testing and scores and accountability, parents begin to think that we are just here to get their kid to pass a test.” Yes, the principal of Navasota Intermediate School in Navasota, Texas, does want his students to do well on state tests. But his overall goal is to encourage kids to enjoy learning. “We just want parents to know that we deeply care about their children, and we are trying to prepare them for a crazy world out there, and that’s not all about this testing.”

6. Be a good listener.

It can be hard for parents to hear that their child is having a social or academic problem, but Scanlan urges parents to be willing to listen. “Know that every child and adult, myself as well, needs improvement and not to come in thinking it’s teacher against parents,” he said. “It’s not a battle. It’s trying to work together to help the child succeed.”

7. Your child’s homework is not your responsibility – it’s theirs.

Scanlan heaps on the praise when his students take responsibility for something like forgetting to bring their homework, rather than shifting the blame. He urges parents to stop making excuses for their kids by saying things like homework didn’t get done because of football practice. “You’re not modeling good acceptance of responsibility,” he says. “You’re telling your kid there’s always an excuse for something.” 

8. Stay involved, even when your kids are in high school.

Parents may have dutifully attended every back-to-school night and stayed in close contact with teachers when their kids attended elementary and middle school but find themselves pulling back during high school. Don’t, advises Michael Woods, a special education science teacher at Santaluces Community High School in Lantana, Florida.

High schoolers may tell their parents they don’t need them, but Woods says, “That couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Everything in high school is credit-driven, test-driven,” Woods says. “It’s a lot of pressure, and they need a team — the parents and teachers.” He urges parents to meet the teachers and get in touch before progress report or report card time. “I celebrate when a parent calls me or emails me,” says Woods, who is starting his 22nd year as a teacher.

9. Teachers get sick, too.

No parent is happy to hear that a child’s teacher was out — again. But teachers need to be operating at “110 percent,” Hambrock says, and don’t take sick days lightly. “It’s way more work to get a sub and plan for the sub because you want your kids to be taken care of,” she says. “When we get sick, we’re really sick.”

10.  Shhhh  don’t let kids hear negative talk.

When you’re dishing about school, make sure your kids are out of earshot. “Your child’s opinion is affected by yours,” Weidmann says. “So please make sure that if you discuss any negative feelings toward classmates or teachers, that your child is not listening. We can always tell when it’s coming from the parents.”


Click on the link to read The Worst Parent in the World May be an Australian

Click on the link to read 10-Year-Old’s Marriage Advice to His Teacher

Click on the link to read The Science of Parenting

Click on the link to read Why the Call to Fine Parents for Not Reading to Their Children is Utter Stupidity

Click on the link to read Children are Precious!

Click on the link to read Is it Ever OK to Lie to Your Kids?


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