Brooke Webber shares a lesson idea that taps into the memories of students, and encourages them to create written ‘snapshots’ of those experiences. To inspire recollection, she will create an ambiance in her classroom that typically shares a theme with the written assignment. Since it is now…
“This speaks to the presence of a subtle yet omnipresent stereotype in high school classrooms: That math, comparatively speaking, is just easier for white males than it is for white females,” says Catherine Riegle-Crumb, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and co-author of the study entitled, “Exploring Bias in Math Teachers’ Perception of Students’ Ability by Gender and Race/Ethnicity.”
If you’re tempted to dismiss these findings as politically correct gender-speak, note that the research drew from the Education Longitudinal Study (National Center of Education Statistics), which followed 15,000 U.S. students from their sophomore year of high school, into college and the work force – a massive amount of credible data and excellent platform for analysis.
“Even with the same grades and the same test scores, the teachers are still ranking the girls as less good at math than the boys,” says Riegle-Crumb.
Whether it’s writing, performing or just enjoying poems, World Poetry Day on 21 March was established by Unesco as an opportunity to “reflect on the power of language and the full development of each person’s creative abilities”.
It is perfect timing, then, for a brand new set of teaching resources from the Poetry Society aimed at promoting the art of poetry among young people. Great Title Randomiser is an activity for seven- to 14-year-olds that focuses on the fun of language and the unexpected things that can happen when different words are put together. The Button Jar encourages pupils to write a poetic monologue inspired by a button and the garment it might have come from, while Free Writing helps pupils write fluently from their own experience. Writing a Monologue is an exercise for 14- to 16-year-olds inspired by the work of the poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.
For work by other poets, The Poetry Station is a video-based website that features poetry readings from a range of authors including Maya Angelou, Benjamin Zephaniah, Seamus Heaney and Michael Rosen. There are also short animations that accompany readings of classic poems by William Shakespeare, John Donne and William Blake amongst others.
For audio recordings of poems by some of Britain and America’s most distinguished poets including Robert Browning, Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, visit the British Library’s Poetry and Performance website. The site includes biographical information on the featured poets and there are links to suggested classroom activities.
The Scottish Poetry Library also has a range of useful teaching resources. Wild Words is full of ideas to get students aged five to 16 writing about the great outdoors. Pupils are encouraged to use their “eagle vision” to write a poem about mountains and rivers; there are photographs to use as a stimulus; and there are tips for writing mesostic poems – similar to acrostic poems, but with a word or phrase spelled out through the middle of the verse. Poet in the Past encourages pupils to write a poem about a historic building and gives examples of other types of verse to experiment with including riddles, concrete poems, list poems and chants.
For older pupils, the Samaritans’ has produced a poetry resource pack aimed at boosting the emotional intelligence of 14-16 year olds. By approaching sensitive issues through poetry, the pack aims to stimulate and inform debate amongst young people about their self-awareness, empathy and ability to recognise and manage difficult feelings. The pack forms part of the charity’s DEAL programme (Developing Emotional Awareness and Learning) and can be taught as part of a lesson in a range of curriculum areas including English, drama and religious education.
“That’s the big mistake a lot of people make when they wonder how soldiers can put their lives on the line day after day or how they can fight for something they may not believe in. Not everyone does. I’ve worked with soldiers on all sides of the political spectrum; I’ve met some who hated the army and others who wanted to make it a career. I’ve met geniuses and idiots, but when all is said and done,we do what we do for one another. For friendship. Not for country, not for patriotism, not because we’re programmed killing machines, but because of the guy next to you. You fight for your friend, to keep him alive, and he fights for you, and everything about the army is built on this simple premise.”—Nicholas Sparks, Dear John (via ophidiophobic)
A great follow-up on an article on alternatives to rewards. Here’s one of the six reasons (click through for the rest):
Satiation means that more of something is required to get the same effect. Examples are pain medication or hot water in a bath. I love a hot bath, but eventually it starts to feel cooler, and I add more hot water. Rewards are like that. Children never say, “That’s way too much. Please give me less.” They often say, “Is that all? I want more.” Eventually, rewards like stickers, food, parties, toys or candy become expected, and their effect is greatly reduced. It is a common myth that you can start with rewards and later remove them. This happens very rarely.
Children want to write. They want to write the first day they attend school. This is no accident. Before they went to school they marked up walls, pavements, newspapers with crayons, chalk, pens or pencils… anything that makes a mark.
The child mark says, “I am.”
“No, you aren’t,” say most school approaches to teaching writing.
I don’t usually get full marks on exams, but I’ve just blitzed an online test. Sadly, it’s not something to celebrate. According to the NHS depression self-assessment test, it’s “very likely” I’m suffering from “some form of depression”. I guess that shouldn’t be surprising. For teachers, depression comes with the job, along with a second-hand laptop and a passcode for the photocopier.
The NHS questions asked me if I suffered from any of the following: low self-esteem? Tick. Tearfulness? Tick. Irritability? Tick. Feelings of guilt and despair? Tick. Disturbed sleep patterns? That’s easy. Since Macbeth gets more REM sleep than your average teacher, I gave that one a double tick and a silvery stick-on star. My results are a shocking indictment of how teaching can damage your health…..
Mr Gove recently said that teachers work 32.5 hours a week and “should work as long as is required to do the job.” We feel Mr Gove is in need of some education regarding how many hours teachers really do work. Download and complete this template and e-mail it to Mr Gove at his Department of Education e-mail address - firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re on Twitter, follow and retweet @TeachFightBack. Let’s get #sendGoveyourtimesheet trending!
When depression strikes it feels as if it’s taking over your life. The good news is that it does not last forever. Ian Mallor talks about his experience.
Severe depression does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone at any time. One in four people suffers from depression at some point in their life and that includes teachers who are sometimes liable to crumble under the unrelenting stress of the job…