A blog for students on the FDLT and BALT courses at the University of Northampton

at Leicester and UN

children's cook covers

June 3, 2020
by Jean
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How can we work for a better world?

As you keep up to date with the news you will no doubt be considering how we in education can work for a more fair and equal society. In classrooms using children’s literature as the basis for conversations is a good way in.

children's cook coversThe list of children’s books linked here is curated by critical literacy organizations, The Conscious Kid and American Indians in Children’s Literature and it is called “31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, racism and Resistance. 

This author notes that: “Beyond addressing issues of race and racism, this children’s reading list focuses on taking action. It highlights resistance, resilience and activism; and seeks to empower youth to participate in the ongoing movement for racial justice. Children not only need to know what individual, institutional, and internalized racism looks like, they need to know what they can do about it.” (The Conscious Kid, 2019, lines 22-270).

Another great source of book recommendations in this field is from classroom teachers. Year 4 teacher, Miss Newton (@MissNewton91 on twitter) has shared this presentation of her recommended picture books. You can access it here.Going beyond sharing and talking about stories it is also vital to integrate the black experience across all the subjects that we teach. Miss Newton shared her planning for a Year 4 history unit which you can access here

From children themselves as readers we can begin to understand how it feels to find oneself represented in the books that are around. Ananya Ganesh, a fifteen year old, had written about this in her blog post ‘We need more #ownvoices books’ which you can read here

As well working in our individual classrooms in stories and the curriculum there are also organisations to support and develop diversity in education. One of these is BAMed:

“BAMEed is a movement initiated in response to the continual call for intersectionality and diversity in the education sector. All members are volunteers and have committed their time and efforts into creating a tangible support network to equip teachers and leaders with the tools to progress into and through the workforce.

BAMEed connects, enables and showcases the talent of diverse educators so they may inspire future generations and open up the possibilities within education careers.” (BAMed, 2020, lines 3-5).

BAMed is developing regional networks, resources and and a network of speakers. They have collected a useful book list which you can see here. This was curated by Darren Chetty (@rapclassroom), Kaen Sands O’Connor (@ksandsoconnor) and Books for keeps (ABooksforKeeps).

Letterbox Library logoThey also recommend exploring Letter Box Library which specialises in selecting and recommending books “in which all children can see themselves and which reflect our world community in all of its diversity” (Letterbox Library, 2020, lines 9-10).

Now is the time to use the amazing stories, resources and networks that we have around us to educate ourselves and the children we support to take action to grow up in a more just and fair world. 

If you are interested in exploring the representation of black and ethnic minorities in children’s literature this CLPE survey was published in 2018.

References:

BAMed. (2020) About us. website [online] Available from: https://www.bameednetwork.com/about-us/ [Accessed; 03/06/2020].

Ganesh, A. (2020) We need more #ownvoices books. website. [online] Available from: https://www.ananyaganesh.com/post/we-need-more-ownvoices-books [Accessed; 3rd June 2020].

Letterbox Library (2020) Letterbox Library. website. [online] Available from: https://www.letterboxlibrary.com/ [Accessed 3rd June 2020].

The Conscious Kid. (2019) 31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, racism and Resistance. Notew0rthy. [online] Available from: https://blog.usejournal.com/31-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-and-resistance-9dbabc28360e [Accessed: 03/06/2020].

The Conscious Kid. (2019) A children’s book list for anti-racist activism (image). Notew0rthy. [online] Available from: https://blog.usejournal.com/31-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-and-resistance-9dbabc28360e [Accessed: 03/06/2020].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 29, 2020
by Jean
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Notice nature in June!

As the month of June begins there are some interesting activities taking place to draw our attention to the natural world.

30 days wild calendarThe first is the annual event run by The Wildlife Trusts: “30 Days Wild“.

At the link you can sign up to take part as a family, a care home, a business or a school or group. When you sign up you will receive a downloadable wall chart to help you plan a month of wildlife centred activities along with some other useful and fun resources.

You can see the first two weeks of the calendar here.

screen shot from NJW websiteAnother activity that takes place next week is international Nature Journaling Week (1st to 7th June 2020). The aim of the week is to “come together as a world-wide community to celebrate and document the beauty and diversity of the natural world”. (NJW, 2020, lines 7-8).

As well as a theme of each day and “live” online activities there is a useful ‘for parents and teachers” page. It has suggestions for how to involve children in observing and recording nature in the early years, primary years and teenage years along with a website link to John Muir Laws’s resources.

BBC springwatch website Finally, of course, as always at this time of year Springwatch is running on BBC and social media channels.

 

There are live broadcasts on social media at 9am, midday and 5pm along with the terrestrial BBC2 program at 8pm on Tuesdays to Fridays for three weeks. There are live webcams streaming all the time, allowing wildlife to be observed live from wherever you are.

The weather is great so now is the time to go and look at the outdoors wherever you are and notice what is happening in the world around.

References 

Nature Journaling Week (2020) Welcome to International Nature Journaling Week. NJW website. [online] Available from: https://www.naturejournalingweek.com/ [Accessed 29/05/2020]. 

Nature Journaling week. (2020) For parents and teachers webpage. NJW website. [online] Available from: https://www.naturejournalingweek.com/parents-and-teachers [Accessed 29/05/2020]. 

BBC 92020) Springwatch. BBC. [online] Available from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007qgm3 [Accessed: 29/05/2020].

The Wildlife Trusts. (2020) 30 Days Wild calendar. The Wildlife Trusts. [online] Available from: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/sites/default/files/2020-04/combinepdf%20%282%29.pdf [Accessed: 29/05/2020].

 

May 26, 2020
by Jean
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Digital tool: Classroom Screen

I came across a useful digital tool last week, introduced to it by Mat Pullen on twitter (@mat6453). It is called Classroom Screen and it is an online screen that gives you access to many of the tools available on a classroom interactive whiteboard.

blank classroom screenWhen it opens it looks like this image. You can choose from a range of backgrounds, animations, colours and your webcam. 

At the bottom of the screen the tools appear in a bar and these are the tools you can select and use.

They include: a random name generator, dice, sound level monitor, QR code generator, drawing screen, text typing screen, work symbols, traffic lights, a timer, a stopwatch, a clock and a calendar. All of these can be presented on coloured backgrounds, some can modified in size and in other ways and moved around the screen.

screenshot of tools open on classroom screenHere’s an example of a screen with some of the tools open.

This is a great tool for allowing you access to the classroom organisation tools you might be used to having in the classroom but on your laptop or tablet to use use a virtual classroom scenario. It could also be useful to access in a classroom that does not have an IWB but does have a laptop and screen.

At present the screens cannot be saved so it is a use and use again tool.

Mat has made a useful demonstration video that you can access here.

 

 

May 18, 2020
by Jean
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Make your own miniature books with the British Library.

There are lots of fantastic resources to support learning at home available on the British Library website. 

In the one outlined here we are shown the collection of miniature books called The Infant’s Library which were created in the nineteenth century. They were 5.7cm x 4.7 cm in size.

The collection can be explored online here.

 

Some of the tiny books in the collection were created by Charlotte and Anne Bronte about their own toys and others were made for Queen Mary’s Dolls House. Many are handmade by famous authors. 

After exploring the collection of miniature books there is an activity that outlines how to plan and create your own miniature book.

You can also watch contemporary authors and illustrators read their own miniature books here.

When you’ve made your book you can share it social media using #discoveringchildrensbooks to @BL_Learning or email them to learning@bl.uk 

If you are concerned that your pupils do not have access to the internet the British Library are distributing printed packs through public libraries, food banks and sheltered accommodation as well as emailing PDFs to teachers. 

There are lots of other creative and story based ideas to explore here.

 

 

March 17, 2020
by Jean
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Learning at home

If you are a TA or HLTA you might be involved preparing work packs or ideas to support learning at home in the coming weeks or months. On the Padlet below are and links to activities and resources that you might find useful. These include:

  • Non digital resources that can be photocopied and handed out to pupils. Some of these are in formats that can be used as a model and applied to a range of subjects and age groups.
  • Digital tools that are already free or are offering temporary free access.
  • Advice about safeguarding, planning and news.

It will be important to consider the practicalities of staff, parents and pupils learning to use new tools in short period of time. It could be more user friendly to stick with whatever they are familiar with.

Made with Padlet

October 21, 2019
by Jean
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The Good Childhood Report 2019

Each year since 2005 the Children’s Society have surveyed children’s views about the issues they face. They say:

“Our well-being research was initiated in 2005 to fill the gap in research regarding young people’s views of their own well-being. The research focuses on positive rather than negative indicators, and on well-being in the present rather than ‘well-becoming’.

Our research aims to:

  • Develop a better understanding of the concept of well-being as it relates to young people, taking full account of the perspectives of young people themselves
  • Establish self-report measures of young people’s well-being and use these to identify the reasons for variations in well-being and to monitor changes in well-being over time.”

(Children’s Society, 2019a, lines 16-24)

You can read this year’s report here.

As people who work in schools it is interesting and informative for you to know more about what your pupils’ views and hopes are. 

This year’s key findings are that:

  • An estimated quarter of a million 10-15 year olds in the UK may be unhappy with their lives
  • Boys are becoming less happy with their appearance
  • Happiness with friendships is in decline
  • Any experience of financial strain or poverty in childhood is linked to lower well-being by age 14.

The Children’s Society note that:

“We are calling on the Government to introduce national measurement of well-being for all children aged 11-18 to be undertaken through schools and colleges once a year. This would enable the experiences of young people to be recorded and issues acted upon for future generations.”

(Children’s Society, 2019b, lines 4-7)

 

Reference:

Children’s Society (2019a) Well-being. [online] Available from: https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/research/well-being [Accessed: 17/10/19].

Children’s Society (2019b) The Good Childhood Report 2019. [online] Available from: https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/resources-and-publications/the-good-childhood-report-2019 [Accessed: 17/10/19].

September 23, 2019
by Jean
0 comments

National Poetry Day coming soon.

On Thursday 3rd October it is National Poetry Day in the UK. There are lots of resources here to support you in doing something at school. You can see them here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are resources, poems, events, as well as a YouTube competition, information about BBC Radio and local poets and research about young people’s attitudes to poetry. 

The education resources can be found here.

There is a Toolkit for schools, competitions and resources for #MyNPDPoem.

There is a collection of poems around the theme “truth” to inspire poem writing and you can send away for resources to use in school on the day here

There are other useful resources for primary and secondary pupils on the BBC Live Lessons website here.

 

References:

National Poetry Day (2019) Website banner. [online] Available from: https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/NPD-2019-Website-Banner.png [Accessed 19/09/2019]. 

National Poetry Day (2019) Education image. [online] Available from: https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/NPD-2019-Website-Banner.png [Accessed 19/09/2019]. 

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