Put a Nose on It

Norah:

This is a great little post from ‘teach to educate’ about flexibility in thinking. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Thanks for reading. :)

Originally posted on Teach to Educate:

A two-year old had been working on drawing circles, so his grandma decided to amp it up a bit.  She said, “Can you put a nose on it?”  And he did.

nose on it picture

With a smudge on his nose, he lifted his head with pride and accomplishment!

So, this is a cute, cute story.  It’s easy to appreciate this young child exploring the world and functioning without learned behaviors or expected outcomes.  In the same mind that plays these thoughts, other hypocritical thoughts contradict these beliefs.  Are we even aware?  Do we see possibilities in the “wrong” answers from our students and consider it to be neat?

If I were the grandma, I would have followed this “answer” with…”Can you show me another way to add a nose?”  This approach helps the child develop flexible thinking without destroying his own thinking mind or confidence.  He added a nose.  It just wasn’t the…

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Who’s the best teacher?

Two recurring themes, amongst others on my blog, are ways of encouraging a love of literacy and of questioning in young children.

If you read my post Going on a treasure hunt! you will know that I greatly admire the work of Michael Rosen and its contribution to literacy development. You may have followed the links and checked out the riches in store on his website.

My post Child’s play – the science of asking questions introduces my thoughts about ensuring that children’s inborn curiosity is maintained through the encouragement of their questions.

You can imagine my delight, then, when I read a review of new book by Michael Rosen. (Thank you, Anne Goodwin, for alerting me to it.) The review, posted by Sabine Durrant in The Guardian on 6 September 2014, discusses Rosen’s new book How to be Your Child’s (and Your Own) Best Teacher. I confess that I have not read the book but I am very excited to see that it is now available as an audiobook, so it is next on my listening list. So much about the book appeals to me.

Rather than review the review I will simply leave with you the links to the review:

Michael Rosen: Why curiosity is the key to life

and Michael’s website.

I’m sure you will find much to enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

Thank you

Education in five minutes

And now for something a little lighter, I share with you Father Guido’s proposal for a five minute university.

I hope you enjoy it. There is a little bit of truth hiding there in the fun!

Thank you

Thank you for visiting my blog.

I appreciate your feedback. Please share you thoughts about any aspect of this post, or education in general.

The Third Annual Celebration of Teacher Thinking

Norah:

Every so often I read a post that has me nodding in agreement and leaves me smiling and full of hope for education. This post, by Vicki Vinton of “To Make a Prairie”, is one of those. I hope you enjoy it!

Originally posted on To Make a Prairie:


I know many teachers and students around the country are already back in their classrooms, but for the third year I’d like to mark what here in New York City is the start of the school year by sharing some of the incredibly inspiring and thoughtful comments that educators have left on this blog over the last twelve months. Those months have been marked with ongoing conflict about the Common Core Standards, the corporatization of public education, standardized testing and certain literacy practices. Yet, if the comments below are any indication, it’s also been a year in which teachers have increasingly found their voices and are using them to speak out with passion, knowledge, and the conviction that comes from experience about what students—and they, themselves—need in order to be successful. And if I see a trend in this year’s comments, one of the things teachers are speaking out about…

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Who tests the testers?

A recurring theme on this blog has been the inappropriateness of, and the difficulty faced by children sitting, large-scale external exams which require an immediate response to a stimulus that may have little relevance or interest to them. I have written about it here and here.

Making a judgment about student progress or achievement from one piece of writing, particularly one completed under conditions not necessarily conducive to encouraging one’s best work, is problematic.

It would be unrealistic of me to expect that everyone would agree with me, (though who wouldn’t want everyone to agree with them?) but it is always affirming to find that others share similar views. Maybe if enough people voice their concerns, change may occur.

Recently I read an article in our local newspaper that had me nodding in agreement. The article NAPLAN writers have trouble writing a writing test by Mary-Rose MacColl explained that a good part of the reason students didn’t do well on the NAPLAN writing task this year, is that the task itself wasn’t well written!

MacColl said that the task was wordy and the standards themselves (the criteria against which the writing is marked) poorly written. She pointed out how ludicrous it was for the ACARA CEO to write a letter explaining to parents that students should not view the test as ‘pass or fail’ when many children were experiencing extreme anxiety in the lead up to the test and parents were withdrawing their children from the tests in increasing numbers.

In addition to writing newspaper columns, MacColl is also a writer of fiction. She is pleased that the focus of NAPLAN is on persuasive rather than narrative writing, and goes on to describe some wonderful writing that is going on her son’s class.

Many teachers are doing wonderful things helping students develop a love of writing. Unfortunately, those setting external assessment tasks aren’t listening to the professionals.

I have given only a brief indication of what Mary-Rose MacColl had to say. Please read her article to fully understand her views.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I value your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post.

It’s written in the stars

An interest in star signs is worldwide. A google search of ‘star signs’ brought up 126 000 000 results in 0.15 seconds. You can find out what your star sign is, famous people who share your sign, get a description of your personality, find out who you are or are not compatible with, and what the future holds for you.

But how accurate do you think your star sign is, and how accurate are the predictions?

Are they any more accurate than a teacher’s predictions of a child’s future?

Think back to your school days and the comments written by your teachers on your report cards. Have you lived up, or down, to their expectations?

Comments sometimes described me as conscientious and said that I worked hard. At other times I needed to work harder, and was told that I could do better, that I needed to concentrate more on … (insert subject name – any will do). Comments in opposition, like the two sides of a coin or the twins of my star sign Gemini.

However teachers do not always know, and cannot always predict future life journeys of their students.  Consider how inaccurate were teachers’ predictions for people as diverse as Einstein, Edison, Churchill, Darwin and Pasteur who showed little promise while at school. Disney was accused of lacking imagination, and Salvador Dali of daydreaming. John Lennon’s teachers were not impressed when he answered “happy” in response to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The list of successful people with unforeseen potential is long. I’m sure you know stories of many others from all walks of life. Maybe yours is one!

Over at the Carrot Ranch this week, the flash fiction prompt by Charli Mills is to: In 99 words (no more, no less) focus on the personality traits of a character informed by the zodiac.

Mine is not exactly about the zodiac, but about another form of prediction equally as accurate.

As expected

A lawyer, a doctor and a journalist walked into a bar, ‘Class of ’99’ emblazoned on their backs.  

Talk flowed freely.

When someone mentioned old ‘four-eyes’ Proffet, laughter erupted.

“Thought he was a prophet,” they chorused.

“Mark my stars,” the lawyer mimicked, wagging his finger. “You need to learn to be less argumentative.”

The doctor peered over her glasses and giggled, “And you miss, will never amount to anything!”

“Remember Prophet’s favourite, ‘most likely to succeed’?” said the journalist. “Saw Daniel last week, handing out horrorscopes, on corner of Main and Black. Hardly recognised him. Poor sod.”

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post, including my flash fiction

I’ll leave you with a song about a star someone was born under. Not my star, and not the zodiac either, but a popular song when I was growing up.

I was born under a wandering star  sung by Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon

Fifteen blogs for inspiration!

very inspiring blogger

Recently Julie Stock nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Thank you Julie, I am totally delighted to accept. Julie blogs at ‘My Writing Life’ Julie writes about her journey towards being a published author and offering help to others who are in the same position.

It is only a short while ago that I posted an acceptance for the same award from Geoff Le Pard. In that post I promised I would do some exploring to seek out other inspiring bloggers to add to our growing community. Since then I have also created a page listing awards for which I have been nominated and those whom I have nominated. I’m sure a quick look at that page will suggest many worthwhile bloggers to follow.

Here are the rules of the award:

  • Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  • Optional: follow the blogger who nominated you, if you don’t already do so.

Map with Indigenous Australian place names

The seven facts I am sharing with you in this post are seven locations in which I have lived that are named using a word from the languages of Aboriginal peoples of Australia. Although I have lived in more than 20 homes for varying lengths of time, only seven locations have Aboriginal names.

  1. Yuleba: “the place of water lilies”, about 420km west of Brisbane: birth until about 10 months.
  2. Kallangur: “a goodly or satisfactory place”, about 20km north of Brisbane: 10 months until 61/2 years. I started school at Kallangur walking the approximately 2 miles (3.3km) to and from school with my older brother and sister.
  3. Wooloowin: “fish”, a suburb of Brisbane: 1970 – 72 (teacher training).
  4. Duaringa: “a meeting place on the swamp oaks”, about 116km west of Rockhampton: second year of teaching.
  5. Koolyanobbing: “large hard rocks”, approximately halfway between Perth and Kalgoorlie (i.e. in ‘the middle of nowhere’): about 18 months during 1977/78.
  6. Wagga Wagga: “the place of many crows”, approximately 450km south-west of Sydney: 1979 (university).
  7. Jindalee: “bare hills”, a suburb of Brisbane: 1997-2004 (though have lived in adjoining suburbs since 1981).

In this post I am nominating fifteen blogs that I have not before nominated for an award. If I have nominated you previously, you are still on my list of wonderful blogs to follow (see page).

It is up to each nominee whether they wish to participate by accepting the award and/or paying the compliment forward. The purpose of my nomination is simply to share with others how valuable I consider the blog to be.

 

Julieanne To Read To Write To Be

teacher versus mum

Irene Waters Reflections and Nightmares

Linda Petersen Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Staying Sane Blog

Geoff Le Pard TanGental

Carrie Gelson There’s a Book for That

Matt Renwick Reading by Example

Michael Michalko Imagineer7’s Weblog

A.J. Juliani Teach Different

Three Teachers Talk

Sarah Brentyn Are you kidding me?!

Shelley Wilson Live Every Day with Intention

Ross Morrison McGill @TeacherToolkit

Jean Cogdell jean’s writing

Tara Smith A Teaching Life

I hope you find time to visit some of those blogs. There is much to inspire!

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I value your feedback. Please share your thoughts on any aspect of this post.