Archive for the ‘Child Welfare’ Category

Explaining Caronavirus to Kids

March 11, 2020

 

Explaining the coronavirus to kids is a tough task. Teachers and parents are likely to get the question sooner or later and an informed response can help calm the anxious mind of a concerned child.

Above is a video that may prove useful.

 

Instead of wasting your energy fighting over the last packet of pasta on the supermarket shelves check out my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. Already an Amazon.com.au bestseller, this book is great for kids and could prove useful if their school shuts down.  It’s perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

How Long Can the Average Teacher Sit on the Floor?

January 22, 2020

Try sitting on the floor teachers.

No, not for 10 seconds. At least half an hour!

What are you doing? Don’t lean against a wall. That’s cheating!

If you want to improve the behaviour of the classroom you could do worse than treat your students the same way as you wish to be treated. Just like I find sitting on the mat utterly uncomfortable I try to minimise the amount of time my students are on the mat. Just like I can’t sit still for too long before feeling under duress, so too I allow my students to experience active lessons that mix learning with some movement.

The truth of the matter is that kids are bound to their seats or the mat for way too long. It is unhealthy and bad for the brain. Don’t take my word for it.

Angela Hanscom, a therapist in Maryland decide to get to the root of the reason why students couldn’t sit still during school and what she found out shocked her. Angela recounts her experience by stating  “I’ve been sitting for the past 90 excruciating minutes. I look down at my leg and notice it is bouncing. Great, I think to myself, now I’m fidgeting!” Angela realized that she couldn’t even sit through the same classes that students go through. She’s the example that people can’t expect  kids to sit through 90 minutes of nothing but listening when adults can not even do it. This proves that the school system must change to prevent students from damaging their maturing bodies and having been put on medication that they don’t even need.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Very Concerning Vaccination Trends

January 17, 2020

I am completely pro-vaccination. I believe the anti-vax view risks young lives and must, therefore, be refuted.

My side seems to be losing. Below are some very disturbing trends published by Gallop:

 

Percentage of Americans who believe it’s important parents vaccinate their children.

2001: 94%

2015: 84%

2019: 84%

 

46% unsure whether vaccines cause autism

45% say no

10% say yes

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Is Recess a Human Right?

January 16, 2020

When I was a school kid, I didn’t merely think “play” was a human right, I thought “playing up” was a human right.

As a teacher, I certainly value the benefits of allowing my students to experience pleasurable periods of healthy play. However, I am also of the belief that kids who waste class time risk losing some of their own downtime. Actions must have consequences, and consequences must involve the loss of something important to the child.

Child author, Michael Rosen, would probably be quite disappointed in me:

 

Play is a fundamental human right, Michael Rosen has said.

The children’s author and poet said that play should not be seen as an “add on”, or an “extra” as he urged adults and children to “get out there and play”.

Rosen’s comments come in a video by the British Psychological Society (BPS), which has said it is concerned that break times are being eroded.

In the video, called Right To Play, Rosen, a former Children’s Laureate who is best known for books such as We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, says: “Play isn’t an extra, it isn’t an add on.

“Play is a fundamental human right.”

Dan O’Hare from the BPS division educational and child psychology said: “Children’s break time has been reduced by 45 minutes a week in recent years, and one of the results is that eight out of 10 children now do less than one hour of physical activity per day.

“We are grateful to Michael Rosen and the children in the video for helping us make the case that play is vital for schoolchildren. Because play isn’t just a means to an end: it’s fundamental to children’s development and wellbeing.”

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Speaking to Children About the Australian Bushfires

January 12, 2020

 

It has been so difficult to watch the carnage at the hands of the bushfires in my country, Australia.

What has offset some of the pain and devastation has been the outpouring of goodwill from regular Australians as well as prominent figures both locally and overseas. No greater than Shane Warne, a local cricketing hero who has auctioned off his prized “baggy green” representative cricket hat for the bushfire appeal. The hat raised over 1 million dollars and will make a significant difference to those affected.

I don’t have a million dollars to give, but I am looking forward to donating all the royalties for my book sales during the month of January. I may even extend it to February to maximise my donation.

One of the difficult aspects of this story is how the crises is affecting children. An event of this magnitude poses many challenges for parents as they try to ensure that their children don’t become too anxious or depressed over it.

Samantha Dick from the New Daily wrote a brilliant article on this very topic, which included the following tips for parents and teachers:

 

1. Let them know that whatever they are feeling is okay

Listen to your children’s concerns and respond from a position of strength.

E.g. “I can hear how worried you are. What’s happening is scary, but you are safe. There are so many people who feel exactly the way you do. You aren’t alone – I promise.”

2. Reassure your children

Let them know there are lots of people like firefighters working hard to keep them safe.

If they see emergency services personnel or hear sirens, reassure them that these experts are very skilled at what they do.

3. Help your children know they, and others, won’t be alone

Disasters are a time when communities come together.

Remind them that people who have lost their homes or have been hurt in the fires will be looked after.

Talk to them about the charities and organisations like Foodbank Australia and Red Cross providing support.

Remind them of the good in the world.

4. What if this happens to us?

Traumatic events can make children very aware of their own vulnerability. They will usually look to the close adults in their lives for signs of safety.

E.g. “Every time something like this happens, we learn how to stay safer. We learn how things like this happen, so we can stop it happening again.”

5. Keep up to date with weather and warnings

Talk to your children about weather warnings and fire ratings, especially for total fire ban days, and explain why some activities like cooking sausages on barbecues are prohibited at these times.

6. Make sure your children know vital information

Make sure they can recite their full name and address, emergency contact numbers and any allergies or medical conditions they have.

Check they know to call Triple Zero in an emergency and practice what they need to say.

Practice your fire plan with them.

7. Help them find ways to help

Encourage your children to find ways to help others in their community.

Explain how their own acts of kindness will help alleviate their own feelings of despair and helplessness.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

What a Real Classroom Looks Like

December 8, 2019

 

The real benefit of a classroom is the collaboration and support it can foster. When a classroom works well kids can receive the love and nurturing every child deserves and needs. It is up to the teacher to implement and oversee such an environment.

Because when it works, it’s magical:

A Michigan boy who was so happy the day he would be adopted had finally arrived that he invited his entire kindergarten class to join in on the occasion. Not only did Michael Clark Jr.’s classmates from his school in East Grand Rapids take up the first row of the Kent County courtroom, they gave sweet testimonies, exclaiming to the judge that they love Michael and that he is their best friend. Others held up paper hearts to show their support.

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can download a free ebook copy by clicking here or buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Stand-Up Comedy and the Classroom

December 3, 2019

 

I’ve long been an ardent fan of stand-up comedians and their craft. I even wrote a children’s book about it.

What fascinates me about stand-up is that it provides a platform for taking something painful and extremely difficult and magically turns it into something entertaining, positive and relatable.

When do people get the chance to properly articulate the issues of their difficult childhoods, marriage breakdowns, bad career moves and parenting conundrums? You can try to open up at a party or at the office, but don’t expect a positive reception.

Unless you go to therapy, chances are, especially in today’s age, there isn’t a soul you can talk to outside of your family about issues that we all face such as rejection, disappointment and self-worth. We live in a shut-off society, where people let their issues fester or project them in negative ways such as trolling on social media or gossiping about others.

The classroom, like the stand-up stage, provides a unique opportunity for truthful conversation and genuine communal support. If done well, every child can go to school with the knowledge that their classroom is a safe space for sharing difficult experiences and gaining support from their peers. I have an initiative I call Classroom Conversation. It goes for about ten minutes and I provide a topic starter, such as Your Most Embarrassing Moment. It is a brilliant and non-threatening device for cultivating meaningful dialogue.

The stage is set. All you have to do is use it.

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can download a free ebook copy by clicking here or buy a copy by clicking on this link.

6 Reasons to Install Cameras in Classrooms

November 24, 2019

 

I know I’m alone on this one.

My colleagues have let me know in no uncertain terms that I must have rocks in my head for supporting such an initiative, but it is my position that we would be better off having our lessons filmed by cctv cameras.

One interesting point from the recent Barb Williams story (video available above) is how brilliant it was that there were cameras in the hallways capturing her unacceptable treatment of the young child. What if there was no footage? How then, would we have drawn attention to her actions?

The following are the reasons for my position regarding cameras in the classroom:

1. Why shouldn’t improper actions by teachers be uncovered? If you are a good, or even an adequate teacher you have nothing to worry about, but if you are a danger to your students or you are inappropriate, you will be caught and sanctioned accordingly.

2. There are rising concerns over false reporting of teacher abuse. Cameras in the classrooms will deter students from making up or exaggerating stories and there will be proof for those that have a valid case. Documentary evidence will prevent the difficult situation of “his word against mine.”

3. This initiative will deter students from misbehaving and will also deter teachers from making poor decisions.

4. Some will talk about the need for privacy. Who needs privacy? Privacy from whom? This isn’t going to be streamed on the net, it is going to be available to superiors who will use it to protect those that are entitled to protection.

5. Teachers won’t like it, but our primary focus is the wellbeing of our students. When analysing the benefits of any education initiative, the impact it would have on students is paramount. If this will protect vulnerable students surely it’s worthwhile regardless of what teachers think.

6. This would be extremely effective in regards to children with disabilities and others that wouldn’t be able to properly convey a case of impropriety against a teacher.

I realise I am alone on this one but I can’t help but think of all the cases of abuse that we are unaware of because it goes unreported or cannot be proven.

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

It is Never Alright to Sexualise Children

December 24, 2018

 

What are the media doing canonizing an 11 year-old for doing a drag routine in a gay bar?

The point of this story is not the courage and individuality of an 11-year-old. There are plenty of positive ways one could capture a story about an 11-year-old’s gender journey than having the child having money thrown at him while he does a drag queen inspired strip at a pub.

And my objection has nothing to do with the fact it was at a gay bar and that the boy is a drag queen.

My objections are as follows:

  • Doing a drag show is fine when it’s adults participating – not children. Drag shows are highly sexualised in nature and children should never be a subject of sexualised activity.
  • The fact that money was thrown at him is sick. It is a pedophilic act and it is totally unacceptable. To then celebrate this response as a a symbol of the child’s ability to entertain an audience is downright irresponsible. I would feel exactly the same way if it was an 11 year-old girl at a straight pub.

Watching the ABC’s treatment of this story in the video above makes me wonder how serious the media are about protecting children from the dangers of being represented as sexual beings.

The media should know better!

 

 

Click on the link to read Teachers Who Agree With This Guy Should Be De-Registered

Click on the link to read The Staggering Amount of Teacher Reported Child Abuse Cases

Click on the link to read Hungry Kids are Almost Unteachable

Click on the link to read School Rewards Good Grades With an Earlier Lunch

Click on the link to read What Kids are Thankful For (Video)

Teachers Who Agree With This Guy Should Be De-Registered

January 30, 2017

gavel

Agree with this guy? You don’t belong in a classroom!

 

A MALE teacher of disabled students, who has been charged with accessing child pornography on the internet, has claimed he should be able to teach again, because no children were harmed.

The Queensland teacher was putting forward an argument to get his registration suspension lifted, so he could teach again before the three charges are heard in court.

He is facing charges of possessing child exploitation material and using a carriage service to access and transmit child pornography.

Queensland College of Teachers suspended the teacher’s registration on December 16 last year, after he was charged.

In his submission to Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the teacher, who cannot be named, did not submit the charges were unfounded.

Instead, he argued the charges were only internet-related, and there was no suggestion any child under his care had been harmed.

 

Click on the link to read The Staggering Amount of Teacher Reported Child Abuse Cases

Click on the link to read Hungry Kids are Almost Unteachable

Click on the link to read School Rewards Good Grades With an Earlier Lunch

Click on the link to read What Kids are Thankful For (Video)


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