The Perfect School

I came across a site called ‘The school I’d like’ where children wrote about their ideas of a perfect school. A couple of the ideas involved using dogs at school – one idea is for children to read aloud to a dog and the other is for them to be there as a friend. The school I am currently working in has begun using what they call a ‘therapy dog’ who goes to classes and provides a calming effect on the children who are maybe anxious or agitated about something. The dog provides companionship and tactile therapy.

I initially went to the site to explore a method of engaging students in multi-modal projects in the classroom by having students blog or respond in an online medium which could be accessed by a global audience.

Phones – Plus or Minus?

Mobile phones are everywhere. Are they a plus or a minus? It seems anyone young and old either have their own or are given one to use or play with. When considering its use with young people, it can create real problems. There is keeping up with the Jones’ – IPhone 5 > 6 > ?, there is the abusing of the ‘plan’ running up huge bills (if you aren’t smart enough to be on a prepaid plan), and let’s not forget the prevalence of misuse during class time!!

Yes my school, a High School, has a veto on using electronic devices in class, but every lesson sees students communicating via Facebook and texting with so and so or taking selfies. There is the constant response, “Put it away!” What about giving up on trying to get students to bring a calculator to maths? Just bring your phones everybody. I think they will be in trouble when it comes to doing algebra or any other higher maths though.

I wonder how it would work if the use of phones was incorporated into lessons more, such as photographic evidence for a task which could be emailed to the teacher for their assessment?? Ipods or playing music on phones and surreptitiously listening to it with those dangling growths (earphones) is another one of  those persistent annoyances. I have, however, had a rethink about music playing during class in particular circumstances. I work with students on the Autistic Spectrum and it is quite common for these students to need something to filter out distractions to allow them to focus better, or, as a way of calming themselves when they are stressed. So I have pulled back a bit with these students to see if they will work better, and not make their own (very loud) noise instead!

I suppose it will always be a bit of both – plus and minus. But maybe we could encourage students to use their phones in more useful ways, and trust them to do it. And remember, you tell a teenager NOT to do something, and they hear DO IT! Sorry for the stereotyping teenagers.


Programmed vs Creative

After reading the blog by Tom Barrett called “What all flourishing environments need” I am worried that this is not happening near enough in schools. We get bogged down with the day to day policies and procedures, managing the behaviour of so many students, meeting the myriad of students’ needs for support or extension or inclusion and all the while trying to cover everything we are supposed to cover in the national curriculum. At times it feels we need to draw on superhuman strength to do all we do AND allow our students to be creative, innovative thinkers ready to tackle the world’s problems and expectations.  I don’t want to be an educator that programmes little people to do what everybody else does but I want to be able to motivate young people to be critical thinkers and try things that are a bit different and untried. I realise that this starts with me first. I need to be critical and try different things, different strategies and to be more creative in how I learn and teach young people.

Recording evidence

Just wondering how other education students are recording how they are meeting the teacher standards for their portfolio.  I think we need to have a digital and hard copy to show. I was thinking of using a table with the standards along the top and evidence of how I’ve met them listed below with hyperlinks, text, photos etc. Anyone got any other efficient or creative ideas of recording this?