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Issue 23: November 2015
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From the Editor
4 Changing Direction
Karen Duxbury-Watkinson argues that teachers need to act on opportunities and diverge from our lesson plan when it is advantageous.
6 Learning Cards
Jennifer Hart discusses how she uses learning cards to build the confidence of her students and increasing their science knowledge.
7 Maker Culture
Martin Burrett explores the maker culture and how design and engineering projects could begin at your school.
8 Planning Without a Map
Kimberley Constable writes about how she tackles the blank slate that complete curriculum freedom offered to her.
10 Designing Together
Beverly Maloney invites us into her buzzing STEM clubs and shares ideas for how you might set up your own.
So much of our modern life is designed in one way or another - From the ceaseless march of digits on our mobile phone clock, to the school dinner we inevitably eat at our desk. As a teacher, Iâ€™ve often daydream, over a pile of marking, how we might design the perfect school. Every educator and student will have a different idea of what this is. Walls and carpets, desks and books. Even more difficult is the design of the systems within a school and designing an ethos which is cohesive, bold, yet unique. We may put the best elements into place, but the way it all comes to together is difficult to predict. In this issue of UKEd Magazine we are taking a look at STEM subjects and examining how the sciences have not only shaped our world, but how they equip and shape our young people. In turn, our young people may change and advance science and therefore, the world.
13 ICTmagic EdTech Resources 14 Taming the Black Dog
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16 The Arts Verses the Science
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Our featured article is about depression, the devastating effects it can have on our young people, and what schools can do to help. Leah K Stewart blurs the lines between art and science and discusses how each area feeds in to and is effected by the other.
18 Pupil Well-Being Stats
We report the findings of the newly published Office for National Statisticâ€™s research into mental health and well being of our young people.
19 Holy Moley
Tona Bradley writes about Mole Day, an annual celebration of Chemistry.
20 Book Shelf
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To Boldly Go
in a Different Direction By Karen Duxbury-Watkinson
I was teaching an introduction lesson on protein synthesis and the effects of mutations on proteins to my Year 10s at the end of the year. They were a lively class who often struggle to see the relevance of some of the Biology that we cover to their lives. They are a noisy bunch who find ways to ask lots of irrelevant questions to try and throw me off course or to test my mettle.
happening at the moment? They mainly talked about NASA’s Curiosity Rover Mars mission, New Horizons mission to Pluto, the International Space Station. I then asked them about the cancer research that was being conducted. Breast cancer was high on the list, then prostate cancer was mentioned with embarrassed laughter when I talked about testicular cancer being a However, in this lesson, as we were modelling the major issue because of its sensitive nature, plus many process and showing how the changes to the triplet others such as lung, throat, linking to their topics on codon causes a change to the amino acid sequence smoking. which cause the mutation and how this can link to A quick straw poll was done as to who thought money genetic diseases and cancer, using plasticine and other should be spent on space exploration verse cancer various bits and bobs. One of my quietest students research. piped up with what was one of those lesson altering I then divided the class by gender. The boys wanted to go questions: into to space and the girls wanted to research so to “Why are governments spending so much money mix it up, I gave the boys the task of researching exploring space when so many people are still dying about cancer spending, for example, the from cancer and the money for research has to be success rates drugs, and asked them raised from charity donations?” to put together an argument This was one of those teacher moments - one of those for why spending was to be questions where I didn’t have an answer, but could directed to them, while simply have given a glib response so that I could get through the content, moving forward getting to the end of what I had planned to keep to my time line, or I could also have done what the DfE states in their guidance (section below). This is what I did. I threw out the plan, stopped the lesson and let it follow its own direction with just a little guidance. I started by asking the class about what science exploration they knew was
“help students to develop curiosity about the natural world, insight into how science works, and appreciation of its relevance to their everyday lives. The scope and nature of such study should be broad, coherent, practical and satisfying, and thereby encourage students to be inspired, motivated and challenged by the subject and its achievements.” bit.ly/uked15nov01
“The discussion that ensued between the groups was one of deepest I had from this particular group all year.” is [figuratively] part of our DNA, and we strive to answer questions and to push our boundaries. The boys used the same arguments for finding cure for cancer being equally as demanding and challenging. They related it to a gaming mission and never giving up to saving the world. I could have done with another two hours to continue the debate, as no definitive conclusion had been drawn, but all I know is that the lesson definitely met the brief of the DfE and hopefully those pupils will come back the girls had the task to science lessons knowing that there is a purpose to of arguing for space. After what we learn and that sometimes we can throw out the initial groaning, the iPads the book. were distributed, roles assigned Martin Illingworth @MartinIllingwor, in his book and the research began, they only had “Think before you teach” (bit.ly/thinkteach) challenges about 20 minutes as the end of the lesson you to question why and how you want to teach. In was approaching and time was of the essence. chapter 19 he talks about the ‘aesthetic moment’, which The class was abuzz with arguments, disagreements, he describes as creating a ‘buzz’ in the classroom which topic changes, points of order and that was just within will activate long term memories that stay with your the groups. students. Having read his book, I felt that this lesson Finally, time was up and speakers appointed for each was one of those moments and I had the confidence side and the presentations/debate began. We had to take my lesson to the next level by creating the about 15 minutes to do this in, which was not really ‘aesthetic moment’ where the students were talking long enough, as the discussion that ensued between about the lesson as they tumbled out of the door along the groups was one of deepest I had from this particular the corridor. group all year. So when an opportunity presents itself, don’t be scared. Go for it, because this is what learning truly Arguments from both sides were robust, scientific, heartfelt and passionate. The girls main debated points looks like. It’s messy, noisy and doesn’t always follow a were that maybe in space a cure for cancer could be plan, but, my gosh, it was great and the buzz in the class found without contamination or gravity, experiments took them “to infinity and beyond”. could be conducted in conditions we couldn’t think of. They talked about our need for adventure and, to quote Karen Duxbury-Watkinson is a teacher of science, a popular TV show, “to go where no man has gone pedagogy leader & director of literacy at Dawlish before”. They argued that the pursuit of knowledge Community College. She is a regular contributor to TeachMeets and is part of the @WomensEd group. She is an active member on Twitter at @KDWScience, Image credits: member of ASE and her blog can be found at pixabay.com/en/centaurus-a-ngc-5128-galaxy-1119 stilllearing.wordpress.com. She is passionate about commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cancer-vs-alzheimer-1080x810.jpg teaching and learning and a curious researcher. by Laura sofia muñoz oquedo used under Commercial Creative Commons 4.0 License.
Learning C a r d s by Jennifer Hart In an attempt to make them more conscious of their verbal answers, I have begun to give them a card on entry to the classroom. Whatever is written on the card they must aim to use in a verbal answer. The cards contain key terms for topic for them to use correctly in context. The challenge for the group is for all of them to have used the cards by the end. They provide an excellent prompt for the students, but also a basis for further â€˜piggy-backingâ€™ of answers. One set of well thought out terms can be reused This examination style was quickly replaced with modules, every lesson, as students will be allocated different words. full of tick box and gap filling questions, science for the adults of tomorrow, but not the scientist of the future. The The students are used to being asked to use connectives students could fair reasonably well without really stringing in their written work, particularly in essay based subjects. A set of connective cards can supplement or replace the a sentence together. key terms in order to encourage the students to provide Since then a number of changes have been introduced longer, more structured verbal responses, in much the to bring back the rigour to the science curriculum. Like same way mats and displays are used in history or English. other subjects, modules have disappeared and we have an had an increase in the number of written responses So far the cards have helped to build confidence of required from the students. With further changes ahead, the students. The regular repetition of terms and the designed to increase the demand of the subject, I have reminder of the definitions is helping the students become started looking more closely at my own classroom practice more familiar and confident with the key vocabulary. The connectives are helping to push the students to give fuller in order to evaluate if it is truly still fit for purpose. and reasoned answers as opposed to superficial, one word My personal efforts and attention have been focused on responses. The next challenge for me will be to ensure that the communication skills of the students. As an experienced this also translates into their written responses. teacher, I often find myself with the weaker teaching groups. For those students, their biggest challenge is often Iâ€™m always looking for further ways to improve the expressing themselves in a coherent and accurate way. students ability and confidence in tackling the extended They lack confidence in their knowledge and struggle to writing in science, and welcome any advice from those who have cracked it. crack the longer answer questions. Science examinations seem to have changed so very much over the course of my teaching career. I entered the profession preparing students for linear examinations, yet they would also be exposed to twelve multiple choice tests during the two years of GCSE. These were given a disproportionate amount of my lesson time considering the minuscule contribution they made to the students final grade.
Jennifer Hart has been teaching secondary Science in north London schools for over 10 years. Having been an AST and middle manager she finally obtained her dream role as Assistant Head, leading on Teaching and Learning and CPD. She can be found occasionally tweeting as @Miss_J_Hart and writes about her experiences at staffrm.io/@jenniferhart Image credits: pixabay.com/en/still-life-bottles-color-838387 pixabay.com/en/still-life-bottles-color-838336
The Difference by Martin Burrett
I’ve always been interested in how things worked. I was that boy who pressed the un-pressable buttons and dismantled gadgets to harvest the magnets. At the age of six I spent a week carefully invalidating the warranty of my Amstrad PC 464 by taking it apart piece by piece, before adding a new circuit board to increase the speed, which it did! Yet, at primary school the closest I got to any kind of engineering was building with Lego. Even at secondary school in the 1990s, I was sad to find that my ‘tech’ lessons hardly deserved the name, and I was lucky to be allowed to make a simple buzzer or light-bulb circuit. However, things are beginning to shift. On the national level, STEM skills have been recognised as vital to the economy, useful and worthwhile skills to teach to our students no matter what career path they eventually choose. Many of our modern devices, with their micro electronics, seem far beyond the understanding of the average person on the street. There is a movement of people who have taking up their soldering irons and have begun tinkering, fixing and re-purposing gadgets and electronics to learn, play... and yes... break devices to find out how they work. This has been labelled the ‘maker culture’ and it is no longer exclusive to suburban sheds. Maker fairs and clubs are growing in popularity, with a growing number being held in schools. There is naturally a lot of cross over from a regular DT and computing lessons - maker clubs in schools are often supported by these departments. However, the difference for me is that a maker project is usually driven by the curiosity of the creator, and may or may not result in an end product. Image credits: flickr.com/photos/96491757@N04/14586836904 by Dieter R used under Commercial Creative Commons 2.0 License.
Consumer electronics have nose-dived in price, and working, but defunct devices are readily available for raw materials. Even buying new electronic components is relativity cheap these days, with complex items like an Arduino board or a Raspberry Pi can be used, played with and possibly scarified in the pursuit of knowledge. Another source of electronic fodder can be acquired with the help of the school community. I’m sure, like me, you have at least 17 old mobile phones in a drawer somewhere. As a teacher, it is your moral duty to never throw anything away which has the remotest possibility of being useful at some point and to hoard things without the slightest nagging doubt in your convictions. It turns out that this is not unique to the teaching profession, and by using people’s hard earned clutter you will be doing the duel service of confirming the collectors strongly held belief, but also clearing some space so they can acquire more. Local businesses and engineering companies may also be a good source of material and advice, with many of the big manufacturers having educational STEM outreach projects and staff. Naturally, a very important thing to consider is the safety of yourself and your young makers. Electricity must be disconnected, and nasty materials must be avoided. Just as with all teaching activities, risk must be managed and mitigated. It goes without saying that your pupils should not be taking a screwdriver to devices at home, but it is also a good idea to ensure that your pupils also think this is obvious too. As you and your pupils begin, the projects are likely to be small incursions into the engineering world. Like many aspects of live and learning, you need to be shown some of the things that are possible and research into what can be achieved. Site like howstuffworks.com, makerfaire.com and makezine.com all have useful information to help you get started. The possibilities are endless. So provide a stimulating and encouraging environment to help your students’ innovations and creativity flourish.
Without a Map
by Kimberley Constable
“You are going to be teaching the Year 9 social science course next year and although we have a programme, it really needs a revamp, so you can do whatever you want with it.” ... my Head of Faculty said to me this just before May half term last year, and initially I was so excited with the prospect. The opportunity to write my own course without a specification or programme of study being dictated to me, it’s a teachers dream, right? In some ways yes, but in others it was a little bit overwhelming. I was given a very open remit with this course. It needed to: • Prepare the students for GCSE Sociology (which they will start after Easter of year 9) • Be an introduction to all the social science subjects we teach in the school (sociology, psychology, law and politics)
And I was very lucky in that my Head of Faculty and Department Fellow spent some time transferring these to the new 1-9 grading system which saved me a lot of time. Next I looked at the content of the GCSE course, partly because I didn’t want to cover too much of that and then have it repeated in year 10 or 11, but also so that I could pick out some of the core elements that could be applied to all 4 of the social science subjects. It was during this process that I decided to take a thematic approach to the units. I didn’t want to have standalone units on each subject but rather have units which covered all 4 subjects but had a sociology slant as that is the GCSE that they are going to do.
• Engage and enthuse the students about social With this in mind I decided to look at the key sociological sciences. concepts that permeate through the subject and see Other than that, it was really up to me as to how I how they interlink with the other three subjects. The wanted the course to look. GULP - where do I start? first two units were quite easy to come up with in terms I started by looking at what I want to include in the of focus however the second two were a little more course in terms of my own teaching philosophy, which difficult as I wanted to use topics that the students meant some form of project-based and research-based could really get their teeth into and also apply what homework, which also links current affairs and the they learnt in the first two topics somewhat. students own curiosity. I didn’t want the course to just The four topics I came up with were: be preparation for an exam in three years time; but it did need to do that as well, so I needed to think about the GCSE course and where the students needed to be at the start of that. Therefore, my starting point was the GCSE sociology course to see what sort of skills they were going to need to be successful in that course. From this I was able to see the assessment objectives and decided on my assessment format. As the students would eventually be taking the GCSE examination I decided to stick with that exam format for my assessments, that way the students would get plenty of practice and be completely comfortable with the format before taking the exam. I kept the same assessment objectives as the GCSE course: •
AO1 – Knowledge and Understanding,
AO2 – Application
AO3 – Evaluation
08 UKED Magazine
With the topics decided it was now time to get into the nitty gritty of the content of each unit. With no textbook for support it really was up to me to decide what I wanted to teach within each one.
I wanted to make sure that the content was just as interesting to the students as it was too me and in order to make sure I stayed focused I used a key question for each learning phase (there are up to 5 per unit) which will also be the extended answer question in the assessment. Overall the experience has been a good one as it has really made me think about what I am teaching and why am I doing it. I didn’t like the idea that what I was doing was simply to prepare them for an exam, I wanted to spark the student’s curiosity and appreciation of what is happening outside the bubble of their lives. I hope I have achieved this with this course and I am really excited to teach this new course now, but the proof on how well it works will take time and need quite a lot of reflection by me as we go. Kim Constable is a teacher of 10 years experience based in Norfolk. She teaches multiple subjects currently including Sociology, Psychology and PSHE across Key Stages 3 to 5. She blogs as Hectic Teacher and can be found on Twitter at @hecticteacher or on her website: hecticteacher.com. Image credits: flickr.com/photos/magicicada/4625335593 by Jong Kim used under Commercial Creative Commons 2.0 License.
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STEM-ing from the Buzz
by Beverly Maloney
Mr Kirkland, Mrs Peake and Mr Reynolds. I’m sure there were others, but these three people in particular did wonders at inspiring me to be the teacher I am today. Mr Kirkland and Mrs Peake, my maths and physics teachers and they showed me ways to apply my understanding and venture into the world of engineering at a degree level. Mr Reynolds did something different. He showed me how to go past the barriers of gender, stereotype and encouraged me to find the value in engineering in more practical ways. He was my design technology teacher.
We have worked hard this year to develop STEM excellence and make an impact on what opportunities we can offer our students, often enlightening those who have not yet understood the STEM importance and seeing a difference in their take on it. Working as a team certainly helps. I’ve heard it said that in the next 5 years over half of our engineering workforce will be of retirement age and as a country we are not training up enough graduates to fill those jobs. My job as a teacher is to make that difference and push through those barriers, creating those opportunities, just like my own DT teacher did for me.
I joined The Gilberd School in September 2014 as a resistant materials/electronics teacher. ‘STEM’ was one of my targets within the technology department and slowly over my first year at the school, we’ve seen some amazing things taking place. What was once a one-person job in my previous school is now a united front of teachers from all STEM areas in my new school. It makes such a difference to what we are trying to do as a school, to push through some barriers to work as a team, and show our students that these subjects MUST work together to make the world work. Teachers from science, maths, technology, computing, and health and social care, meet regularly and have a calendar of events to raise the profile of STEM to our students. We have adopted Thursday night as STEM night and students of all years come and do a variety of activities to apply their understanding from their curriculum and get stuck in. It’s always a busy time of the week, but the word people generally use when they pop in to see what’s going on is ‘buzzing’. The students are actively engaged, learning, challenging themselves, making new friends, and above all, having fun. We have a variety of STEM activities on offer at The Gilberd. We offer VEX EDR, VEX IQ, Lego Mindstorm, Lego Technics, Dyson Challenges, Colchester Zoo Feeder project, Green Power Formula24, Raspberry Pi with Minecraft, Python programming, Kodu, Dreamweaver HTML Web Design and Scratch coding - all on a Thursday night. We have also joined projects and trips with Rallysports, Morgan Sindall Eco House Project, Delphi Wind Buggy Challenge, the Bloodhound SSC challenge and work with some fantastic ambassadors from Ford, Bloodhound, Siemens, Delphi and ex students. 10 UKED Magazine
Over the last 8 years Beverly has taken on projects as a Design Technology teacher that have allowed students to come face to face with real life and engaging opportunities to see STEM in action. As a previous HOD in a London borough school, a STEM coordinator, she is now in a role with an aim to gain a standard of excellence at The Gilberd. Follow @gilberdstem on Twitter to discover more. Image credits: pixabay.com/en/board-circuit-control-center-780319
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“Big Boys don’t Cry”?
There has, quite rightly, been a lot of focus on mental health in schools, with some fantastic guidance and resources now freely available to support teachers in dealing with many of the mental health components. But society still has a long way to go, and it is still perceived that males are not good at expressing their feelings. To a point, it’s true – with many males being reared on an appetite of messages such as ‘boys don’t cry’ and ‘man up’ which quickly suppress strong emotional reactions to various real situations. The statistics are strikingly scary: According to the Office of National Statistics, suicide remains the leading cause of death in England and Wales for men aged 20 to 34, accounting for 24% of all deaths in 2013. One of the most significant factors is the perceived reluctance for individuals to seek help.
So What’s Going on? The number of teenage boys suffering from mental health problems is on the rise, with more boys suffering from anorexia. Mental health issues have mainly been swept under the carpet for years now, and with families becoming more fragmented, the usual communities of support are no longer easily available for individuals to access. In general, girls are perceived to be more adept of discussing and showing their feelings, whereas the messages given to boys often lead to bottling up anger and emotions which can have a negative impact. This can expose its ugly head in various negative behaviours, of which can be startling to the individual and to those close-by, such as violence, a regression in behaviour, eating disorders, anxiety, depression and isolation.
Winston Churchill famously talked of his ‘black dog’ at When we think about the pupils under our charge in his darkest times, and this strong metaphor is strongly schools, they will soon fall into that age category, so demonstrated in this World Health Organisation and spotting signs, discussing issues, and offering signposts Mind Video bit.ly/uked15nov14. for help is critical for boys and girls as they mature. What can schools do? Childline figures from 2012 - 2013 suggest 278,886 With a packed curriculum, it can be difficult to find calls to their hotline were made by young people time to explore this emotionally challenging aspect regarding mental health issues, with 5,208 made by of our lives, but schools are perfectly placed to open boys about image issues. up the conversation and support pupils evolve their emotional intelligence. This is not exclusive to boys or girls, and recognising that staff colleagues may also be faces mental health challenges is also important, so this is not an exhaustive article, but intended to spark awareness or discussion which can lead to a positive outcome for all: •
Look out for the signs
There is no definitive list for recognising the signs, and many people are good at wearing a mask to hide their true feelings. Schools are good places for students as they offer some sense of normality, whereas for others, there may be an aspect to school that really upsets them. Image credit: pixabay.com/en/man-depressed-hoodie-unhappy-sad-390340 pixabay.com/en/dog-mixed-breed-canine-black-white-531481 14 UKED Magazine
Allow space and time to talk
We’re not trained therapists, counsellors or psychiatrist, but teachers are in a blessed position of trust, so you need to be sure that you can spare the time and safe environment if students want to talk. You may be the only person they can open up to. Remain professional, and be sure of where you can go to seek support and guidance, if needed. The stigma of mental health issues is breaking down, but there still is some way to go. •
Recognise the importance of team pursuits.
Special Feature that position to make a difference to the individual, so ensure that you are a positive influence in their life. Encourage use of a mood journal; ensure outdoor exercise is regular and constructive. •
Signposting – Recognise services
MIND – Fantastic resources at mind.org.uk and read the report on mental health for males at Any social activity, whether sporting or non-sporting, are critical for developing connections and friendships. bit.ly/uked15nov15. Not all pupils like sports, so encourage opportunities Childline – 0800 1111 for activities that suit each kind of person – even if it The black dog metaphor is strong, and if you recognise is collaborative video game experiences. Anything that that a student or colleague has got themselves a encourages talking and connecting is good. (metaphoric) puppy. This is a complex area, and this article hopes to prompt discussion and get teachers • Simple Interventions and leaders thinking about what their school does for It’s usually the little things that make the biggest boys (and girls) under their care. We all have busy lives, differences. A kindly word at the right time, treating filled with targets and marking and stuff, but at the the individual as a valued person, or a positive look end of the day, it is the quality of individual lives that of encouragement may be all people need. You are in actually matters. Do something about it.
Starving Artists &
Sensible Scientists? We all know STEM careers are a good choice for students. Our economy requires STEM professionals, so our students are assured support on STEM career paths. Some may say that artists, musicians, actors and poets, on the other hand, are on seemingly shaky ground. Given the options, surely it is more difficult to endorse artistic interests in the way we do with STEM. So, why would a capable individual choose the precarious artists path over a solid STEM career? This question needs attention if we are ever to bring about the potential of what’s possible from the international STEM movement. What about where STEM meets Art? Like when my high school science teacher, seemingly on a whim, shared a research paper with my class. He became a showman! His voice had an edge; there was a real urgency in his message and an ownership of his place at the front of the room that I’d never seen before. Perhaps we witnessed in this performance something of the spark that brought 19th century crowds to watch Faraday’s Royal Institution lectures on science?
As well as captivating wonder, STEM has dangerous potential. What tempers our natural interest in advancing STEM, for the sake of advancement? There are many ways in which art touches the sciences and can provide STEM professionals with insight. Students learn what art is when they see teachers’ reactions, such as when my teacher arrived late for class after hearing the song ‘Wires’ on the radio; it had moved her to tears. [Listen at bit.ly/ uked15nov16]. Art speaks. It’s the voice that captivates the one who’s captivated by the flame, on the verge of over-feeding the fire.
By Leah K Stewart
Are schools blind to this essential dance between STEM and the arts? Those moments of awe aren’t encouraged; my Science teacher should have started revision, my English teacher should not have cried. Often students learn to believe there’s a choice: STEM or the Arts? Pick one. During the renaissance and enlightenment, those at the forefront of the sciences would be in constant communication with our great writers and poets; William Wordsworth, John Keats and Percy Shelley, to name a few of the scientific enthusiasts who preferred to create reflections rather than advancement. Indeed, there were and are many examples of great thinkers who revelled in both. Robert Hooke’s Micrographia is an exquisite work of art, as well as being a cornerstone of 17th century science.
Our greatest movements in history evolved when the sciences and the arts transformed together and, for our own protection, we require them to be on the best of terms. The arts need not be precarious, not if we’re smart. If STEM is our ship, art is our counterbalance and direction. If we’re stepping up STEM, we need the Arts more than ever.
Leah K Stewart @LearntSchool is founder of Beyond the Box Education (LeahKStewart.com) for young introverted big-thinkers who want to make a real positive difference in our world. UKed Teachers are invited to follow her work as self-elected peer reviewers.
Image Credits: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Faraday_Michael_Christmas_lecture.jpg commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hooke-microscope.png https://www.flickr.com/photos/tommietheturtle1/14280142318 by tommietheturtle used under Commercial Creative Commons 2.0 License. 16 UKED Magazine
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Goes to School
As part of UKEdChat’s Social Enterprise mission, to improve teacher development through social media, we are offering completely free workshops at your school into how Twitter and the online community can aid professional development. The workshop will include:
• Staff meeting INSET for getting staff started with using social media professionally and exploring how it can be used for CPD. • Help with getting the school using social media to engage with their community, and beyond. • Co-constructing a digital media policy for school and staff. • Profiling the school as UKEdChat’s featured school of the week.
Followed by a live, after school #UKEdChat Twitter discussion hosted by your school. Visit: ukedchat.com/goes-to-school to apply
Pupil Well-Being By The Numbers
Recent data published by the Office for National Statistics has shown that mental health problems in children can affect their overall well-being in both the immediate and longer-term. The Children’s Well-being 2015 publication includes a new measure of children’s mental ill-health.
have time off school, especially unauthorised absences, and were less likely to have a network of family and friends with whom they felt close.
• One third of children who were relatively unhappy with their appearance reported high or very high total difficulties score, compared with 1 in 12 children who were relatively happy with their appearance
• talk to mother/father about things that are important
• children who spent over 3 hours on social websites on a normal school night were more than twice as likely to report a high or very high score as children spending less time on social websites
• feel safe walking in your neighbourhood after dark
The Department of Health and NHS England have also published ‘Future in mind’ bit.ly/uked15nov17, detailing the work of the children and young people’s mental health and well-being taskforce, which was set The report found: up to identify ways of improving mental health services • there were 1 in 8 children aged 10 to 15 who and access to these services for children and young reported symptoms of mental ill-health people. in 2011 to 2012, as measured The survey measured children’s by a high or very high total strengths and difficulties in a difficulties score number of areas: emotional • being bullied was symptoms, Conduct strongly related to problems, hyperactivity mental ill-health; or inattention, peer children who were relationship problems, bullied frequently pro-social behaviour. The were 4 times more findings revealed the main likely to report a high or areas of mental health very high score causing issues identified by children, • children who quarrelled with their including: mother more than once a week were 3 times • happiness with appearance more likely to report a high or very high score than • quarrel with mother/father children who quarrelled less frequently
• bullied at school (physically, in other ways or both) • time spent on social websites • like your neighbourhood • happiness with school
• want to go on to full-time education Boys were more likely to have a problem than girls and prevalence increased with age. Girls were more likely to The report concluded that of the well-being measures have emotional problems whereas boys were more likely available from the Understanding Society survey, to report conduct or hyperactivity problems. The study bullying and quarrelling with mothers had the strongest also found that children with mental disorders were associations with mental ill-health. more likely than children without mental disorders to Read more at: bit.ly/uked15nov18 Image credits: flickr.com/photos/dskley/13581081673 by Dennis Skley used under Commercial Creative Commons 2.0 License. flickr.com/photos/see-through-the-eye-of-g/12076256215 by GollyGforce used under Commercial Creative Commons 2.0 License. 18 UKED Magazine
Unearthing the Mole by Tona Bradley
We’ve just celebrated the most important day in the chemical calendar. We started these celebrations about 7 years ago and it’s become a bit of a tradition at our school – it’s Mole day! Held annually on 23rd October, this year it was great timing as it fell on the last Friday of term. It seems Mole day started in the U.S. in 1991 as a way of increasing pupils’ exposure to chemistry. So what’s a mole?! Yes, it’s a furry creature but also a really big number. Probably the hardest concept in chemistry is that atoms are really small and therefore the number of atoms needed to allow us to actually see things on the human scale is really large – it allows us to link our microscopic world with the macroscopic world we can see and feel. Enter 6.02 x 10ˆ23 (6 billion trillion) otherwise known as Avogadro’s number – that’s more than all the grains of sand on all the beaches in the World.
The word mole comes from the Latin for ‘heap’, so the easiest way to think of a mole is as a quantity – just as 12 is a dozen, 6.02 x 10ˆ23 atoms are a mole. The mole allows chemists to translate reactions on an atomic scale to those done on the bench. So really it allows chemists to follow recipes and make things accurately – everything from aspirin to nylon tights, honeycomb to tippex. We do a variety of activities on Mole day – an assembly, ‘pin the nose on Avogadro’, chemical bingo, but our favourite is the Mole cake competition – our answer to The Great British Bake Off. The fun we’ve had over the years with everything from ‘Colin the caterpillar’, ‘the advocado’ and ‘the rat’ . It is a serious event run in Year 13, and now a right of passage to A level, with specially chosen judges with a strict marking criteria – including taste, texture, decoration and mole relevance, with the latter usually being the deciding factor. So roll on next year’s Mole Day – piece of cake anyone?!
Tona is a chemistry teacher in a Northern Ireland Grammar school, and has been teaching for 12 years. She is passionate about the communication of science, and in particular chemistry. Find her on Twitter at @tonabrad and read her blog at thingsmychemistryteachersays.wordpress.com. Image credits: https://pixabay.com/en/dirt-soil-potting-mix-ground-mud-947985. Other images by Tona Bradley
Review by Kieran Dhunna Halliwell @Ezzy_Moon
The Buzz by David Hodgson @davidhitl The Buzz is an interesting and topical self-help style book aimed at building the confidence of teenagers through raising self-understanding and exploring preferences. When I read the blurb, which describes itself as blending Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) with personality type theory, I did wonder whether learning styles or discussion of cognition would feature and felt a little apprehensive about reviewing; I am unsure about profiling because it can have a tendency to act as a labeller for people, limiting movement within a given profile. Yet, on the other hand, it can help affirm a sense of identity and build understanding of how this develops which is particularly relevant for the audience The Buzz is aimed at. It seems education and psychology have become synonymous with each in the last year, with brain gym and preference profiling being replaced with understanding of grit and resilience now taking priority, which may have influenced the republishing of this new edition of the book. Hodgson’s style is accessible for teens and offers a light approach to helping them build confidence through understanding of self. Separated into three main sections focused on personality, behaviour and action, The Buzz offers a skeleton model for teens to reflect on themselves, before working towards where they could go next. The book is loaded with short practical activities, which if enacted, could lead to changes in thinking patterns and combined with the style, read like a cognitive behaviour therapy manual. As a light touch to attempting to ‘think on the bright side’, I feel this could be useful to teens as it develops some awareness of place and self; as anything more, I am unsure that it is of benefit, however this view may be influenced by my limitations as a writer and own reading preferences. All sections feel quite content heavy when reading, but are balanced by the conversational tone of Hodgson’s writing. Personally, I found this book to be a bit much for me due to that - I felt it too over friendly for me - but I am aware I read through the eyes of an adult with an
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20 UKED Magazine
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Priced at £9.99 (paperback) and £8.00 (Kindle) at time of publishing
interest and experience of some of the things discussed in the book. As a reviewer, I can only offer a review on my imagined perception of what teens would make of it. From the teenagers I’ve experienced, I think they would find it readable and entertaining based on the humour. I think this book is useful on the basis that it encourages a positive self-theory that can then lead to less anxiety and better consequential decision making, in turn affecting motivation - one success can cultivate the next if a person is able to frame their place in the world positively. However, I would encourage readers to bear in mind that the writer has written from a point of view of being interested in NLP and Personality Theory, the latter being able to be applied quite generically; for teens who are in need of some vague direction, this may be an pleasant read, but for those who are in need of support and more personal guidance, I wouldn’t recommend it. As educators (or parents/ guardians) the relevance of this book is dependent upon you knowing the teenager you’re considering giving it to.
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January 2016 Technology Enhancing Learning Deadline: 21st November 2015
February 2016 Home/School Collaboration (Homework, parents) Deadline: 18th December 2015 March 2016 Careers and Development Deadline: 29th January 2016 April 2016 Revision & Testing Deadline: 26th February 2016 May 2016 Assessment & Feedback Deadline: 25th March 2016 June 2016 Transition & Moving On Deadline: 22th April 2016 July 2016 Sport & PE (Olympics) Deadline: 20th May 2016 August 2016 Well Being (For teachers & pupils (PSHE)) Deadline: 17th June 2016 September 2016 Classroom Management Deadline: 22th July 2016 October 2016 STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering & Maths) Deadline: 19th August 2016 November 2016 Reading & Books Deadline: 26th August 2016
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@melesmeles Belfast - Teacher
Wave 1 Intervention Wave 1 intervention is a tricky one; as teachers, I feel we immediately jump to the ‘Wave 2’ – bringing those underperforming pupils back to countless revision sessions that have, arguably, not much affect on exam results. But how to successfully implement wave 1 intervention? I have been experimenting using various techniques. My first advice is to keep a seat free with all ‘key’ groups in your classes (lowest achievers, middle achievers, higher ability, SEN, gifted & talented… the list goes on) which will allow you to sit with the group and offer specific teaching to each group, but at the same time you can keep an eye on the rest of the class. I’ve also used pupil representatives who act as additional teachers and they can circulate and offer help to the weaker pupils. I’m an MFL teacher, so I challenge these pupils by making them use the target language to communicate with those they are helping. Finally, if you are lucky enough to have a TA, don’t waste them as a resource. Get them to monitor the class whilst you’re working with the SEN pupils, or the high achievers. Plan out several mini sessions that you can deliver within 2-5 minutes with each of these groups, and have activities matched to them. I feel this is personalised learning at its best, and I’ve already started to see a great increase in progress amongst my classes. Happy intervening! @DeutschLehrer11 Manchester - Teacher of German/ French
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22 UKED Magazine
Brilliant Brain Breaks! 11:30am Monday morning. You’re enthusiastically teaching that Maths lesson you spent all weekend planning. You turn around to a sea of tired faces, hunched over tables. What’s the answer? Brain breaks! Studies show children can concentrate for around 10 minutes at a time, and regular, short energising brain breaks are perfect to ignite their thinking brains again. A brain break is any short activity that gets children out of their seats, getting glucose and oxygen to their brains. Embedding brain breaks into your day ensures productivity; children have the concentration to complete tasks to their full potential. A mental breather if you will. Great for breaks are short dance routines, there are some fun instructional dance videos on Youtube (Just Dance via bit.ly/uked15nov19 are my personal favourite). Another great website supporting brain breaks is Gonoodle.com, where you can sign up as a class for free, and earn points every time you complete a brain break together. There’s a selection of dances, games and sporting challenges to choose from. For more information you can check out my blog at swbrainbreaks.wordpress.com for more! What do children want to do more than anything? Move and make noise! Regular brain breaks gives them ample opportunity for this, whilst enabling them to make the most of their learning. @smwordlaw London - Teacher and KS2 Phase Leader
Explain Everything Using Explain Everything (explaineverything.com) to create non linear time-lines has been a real eye opener for me. We had training three days ago and I can’t set it down. I’ve created one for our history topic of the Vikings. It is incredibly easy to use and having the ability to drop YouTube and other clips in makes it an absolute winner with children. So many apps and pieces of technology claim to be game changers, but after just three days use in class I have to conclude, this could be the real thing. The children can watch again and again procedures to improve their skills and understanding, share with the friends, peer review and present. My wife, who teaches at a secondary school, and is a self confessed technophobe, can also see the applications in her classroom. Used in conjunction with a few other apps, my classroom may well just have flipped!
Handing Over Outdoor learning is something of a buzzword here, north of the border. Education Scotland define it, essentially, as anything that happens outwith the classroom, be it in a museum, power station or garden. This undoubtedly eases the bolt-on-ability of the approach and allows us to convince ourselves that we are teaching outdoors, but does it achieve any great changes to teaching and learning or does it simply allow us to pay this valuable resource lip service and salve our collective consciences? I promised my class at least one outdoor learning session a week throughout the year, regardless of the weather. Thus far I have been true to my word, but I have yet to relinquish entire control of said opportunities to my class. What is holding me back? I think the principle barrier is not a lack of trust, or indeed a lack of enthusiasm, but more a need to relinquish control, not simply of individual sessions, but of the curriculum as a whole - Allow the children to see the curriculum as a whole and to plan/suggest every outdoor opportunity. Hand them the reins, and let them loose on the curriculum and don’t limit their planning to stolen, safe moments, but allow them freedom across the board? What harm can it do? @alwiello Edinburgh - Primary Teacher
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History Homework Mountain by @fenn_mr An adaptable, PowerPoint based resource that allows students to select their own homework, stimulating creativity. However, the tasks progress in difficulty as students climb the mountain. Download at ukedchat.com/SEH00006