Category Archives: context

When will the needs of primary teachers go VIRAL?

PokemonSo . . . we’ve all seen the incredible impact of “Pokémon Go” in the past few weeks. It’s TRULY gone viral!

And we’re probably all familiar with that “Grumpy Cat” video on YouTube. Yep, another media success that’s gone viral.

And who can forget the image of that beautiful dog skateboarding at full speed, with full, precise control of his vehicle. Incredible. Viral!

So . . . why, on earth, isn’t that all-important “vehicle” that impacts so greatly on the students we teach — the curriculum — going viral?

Surely, it’s a motherhood statement, along with apple pie and cream. Surely we are all agreed that students should be given every chance to achieve success at whatever level of which they are capable.

Surely we should ALL be concerned when “the system” is actually PREVENTING students from, not only succeeding in learning up to their capacity, but also, preventing them from ENJOYING IT!

Two days ago, I purchased a book that set me thinking, yet again, along these lines. Titled “Beautiful Failures”, by author Lucy Clark, the back-cover blurb gives an genuine insight into the content. She begins, “I want to tell you a story about my daughter, my beautiful failure.”

POW!

And don’t we teachers know exactly what she’s talking about!?

I do!

Students sit before me who hate being at school, who couldn’t care less about what they’re supposed to be learning, whose minds are elsewhere (Pokémon, perhaps?), while I, the teacher, try in numerous ways to “win them over” to what we teachers are supposed to be doing — teach!

We need curricula to go VIRAL. Curricula that is interest-packed, relevant, worthwhile, practical in an age of technology that seems to add confusion and difficulty, when SIMPLICITY has a whole lot going for it.

Our own maths materials illustrate the point. Check out the graphic. Full of fun, full of interest. (You can trial this stuff totally free of cost or obligation by visiting our website at http://www.EdShop.net.au so you can get a sense of what WE are trying to do!)

But there are heaps of other truly worthwhile teaching resources available, many of them free, some of them costing but a little. But are teachers encouraged to use them? Are you?

So, let’s hope that curriculum will become the next VIRAL matter.

We can only hope!

 

 

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Sometimes Primary-age students just need something to make them LOVE maths . . . and here it is!

Yep! Some kids HATE maths.

No surprise there!

Every primary teacher has seen it! THAT LOOK that covers the face when it’s Maths Time!

(There should be an EMOTICON for that look!)

Anyway, the time has come to replace THAT look with a look of POSITIVE INTEREST and OPTIMISM and ENTHUSIASM in maths lessons.

And  . . . here’s one way. Just one! But it works! FRESHLY EVERY SCHOOL WEEK!

It’s not JUST maths, either! It involves reading comprehension, usually a little discussion with a classmate or teacher, and an interest-packed Maths exercise that’s FUN, topical, full of interest, and teaches HEAPS about how useful Maths is in everyday life.

AND . . . you can try it out for 3 weeks — totally free of cost or obligation.

Go on, give it a go. Chat about it at school with your teacher friends, your Principal, the students in your class.

Try it out as a lesson-starter. Or as ready-made HOMEWORK SHEETS.

MANY teachers have visited! As have many schools! And they’re ecstatic!

Oh, yes, of what am I speaking? (I almost forgot to mention it!)

Visit http://www.EdShop.net.au to find out. Go right NOW, and we’ll respond within the hour!

 

NAPLAN — and why parents should LOVE it!

Yes, the controversy rages on!

But, the TRUE (but often-hidden) values of NAPLAN are often ignored.

Value 1: NAPLAN gives at least SOME structure to a curriculum that, at the very least, leaves much to be desired. It actually suggests standards at which students at Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 should, or could, or maybe are within arms reach of, attaining in the areas of Maths, English, spelling, grammar and written expression. Yes, admittedly it’s only a “suggestion”, a “hint” if you like. But at least it’s SOMETHING!

Value 2: NAPLAN gives a simple, straight-forward, one-page report. Big on graphics, small on text. Not that 15-page mumbo-jumbo, copy and pasted school report that numbs the imagination and provides little in the way of factual reporting on student progress. Now, no-one should be mislead into believing everything showing on the NAPLAN student report sheet. But, by golly, it’s a good start for parents to check it out, and then ask some truly meaningful questions of teachers and school.

Value 3: School comparisons. Some of us are not too sure of the value of the ranking of schools in accordance with NAPLAN results. So many variables, so many value-related implications!

So, there it is. A defence, sort of, of the TRUE VALUE of NAPLAN testing, from one who sits on the edge of the world of schools and observes parents, teachers and students as they prepare for the 2015 week of NAPLAN.

Have a good one!

Teachers, Petrol and Maths

Petrol prices go up. We whinge and moan.

Petrol prices go down (as at present!). We whinge and moan.

What gives?

Sure, the petrol price fluctuations occur for different reasons.

Cause and effect, maybe. Or supply and demand, maybe. Or greed, maybe.

But the price? Well, how do we decide whether it’s justified, or not?

Should we rush to the media, savaging the petroleum industry for its price rises as each long weekend approaches?

Or should we rush to the media, having been made suddenly aware that the world’s petroleum industry is falling through the floor, as may very well the world’s economy?

How do we respond and decide whether there’s real trouble afoot?

Well, the answer is MATHS.

Maths, maths, maths.

Not just doing sums, but actually understanding that the sums are put together from some sort of understanding of the context in which figures can be interpreted.

And that takes teaching. That takes training. That takes “maths comprehension”.

That takes Education, with a capital E. And it takes genuine LEARNING.

Teachers have a huge job. Maybe a little less “how to wipe your nose”, and a little more gutsy maths interpretation stuff would be a great thing.

Does today’s school curriculum deliver on those grounds? At your school? In your country?

Well? What’s your take on it all?