Education and Literacy

Chalkboard in Room 502 on Las Lomas High Career Day

Image source:allaboutgeorge

As we are about to head back to school here in the southern hemisphere I thought I would share some of my most recent favourite education flavoured posts that I have read around the blogosphere!

1. Separation anxiety – tips for teachers

This post comes from an Australian blog written by a couple of preschool teachers in Melbourne. In this post they offer such sound and well informed advice. If you have a child starting child care, preschool or primary school you should definitely read this Separation anxiety – tips for teachers.

2. The Worrying Preoccupation with Weighing the ‘Sheep’!

This is post is from one of my favourite Australian literacy blogs by the very smart Trevor Cairney. To fully understand this quote and how it relates to education, specifically the demand for national testing of your kids, you will need to read the entire post here, but it is worth it to gain the valuable perspective

“it doesn’t matter how many times you weigh the sheep, you have to feed them if you want them to grow.”

3. What’s the use of word clouds?

Wordle - with kids spelling words
This post is from another brilliant Australian blog The Book Chook. I love seeing new posts pop in my reader from Susan as she reveiws books, provides literacy tips for kids and showcases some of the best literacy tools on the web and how to use them with your kids.

In this post What’s the use of word clouds? Susan has amazing ideas how you can use a word cloud as shown above. I would have never thought about having my kids create one with their spelling words!

4. Family Literacy Bags

Literacy Bags
This page provides an amazing array of free downloadable Literacy Bags. They have been developed by Reading Rockets who are an American multimedia project offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help.

The aim of the Literacy Bags is to to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. The are based around themes ranging from animals to time. Perfect for parents looking for resources and activities to do with kinder and junior primary kids.

5. Effort to Restore Children’s Play Gains Momentum

This article from the New York Times references trends in the US, but my guess is that is would be pretty much the same here in Australia.

For several years, studies and statistics have been mounting that suggest the culture of play in the United States is vanishing. Children spend far too much time in front of a screen, educators and parents lament — 7 hours 38 minutes a day on average, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation last year. And only one in five children live within walking distance (a half-mile) of a park or playground, according to a 2010 report by the federal Centers for Disease Control, making them even less inclined to frolic outdoors.

The article looks at grass roots movements like Alliance for Childhood and KaBOOM who are trying to encourage parents to let their kids have more free play.

6. Does class size matter?

Does class size matter is a podcast which goes for about 13 minutes from the BAmRadio Network. It is an interview which looks at past and current research on what is the impact on the education kids receive in relation to class size. You don’t have to download the podcast or have an iPod to listen to it, you can just listen from the page through this link.

7. Gaming to re-engage boys in learning

This is a 13 minute fantastic video that by Ali Carr-Chellman who is an instructional designer and author who studies the most effective ways to teach kids and to make changes at school.

The main premise of the talk is the culture of schools needs to be changed if boys are to be actively engaged in their education and begin doing better. Just a taste of some of the interesting facts that you will find:

The 100 girls project it found:

  • for every 100 girls that are suspended from school, there are 250 boys suspended
  • for every 100 girls in special education, there are 217 boys in special education
  • for every 100 girls with emotional disturbances, there are 324 boys with emotional disturbances

8. Girls still lag boys in maths

And it seems that in Australia we have still not been able to bridge the gender gap in school maths, with few girls among the top achievers at VCE level. The article published last November in The Age looks at the findings from study score results in each of the maths subjects between 2007 and 2009.

Boys were heavily over-represented among the top scorers, relative to their enrolment proportions in each maths subject.

In the most difficult subject, specialist mathematics, 76 per cent of top scorers were boys, while males represented 63 per cent of enrolments. Boys were also heavily over-represented among top scorers in the other year 12 maths subjects.

9. A Story Of Soul Destruction

Leading education consultant Kathy Walker conveys a very short story about a common experience in primary schools. It makes you think about why you send to kids to school in the first place.

10. You are not your OP score …

(OP Score in QLD, ATAR in NSW or ENTER score in Vic are all results calculations that determine admission rankings for university in Australia.)

This post is written by Rebecca Sparrow author of the book Find Your Tribe (and 9 other things I wish I’d known in high school). You are not your OP score … gives sound advice to those in their last year of secondary school, like:

  • You Will Not Be A Success Or Failure in Life Based on Your OP Score.
  • Real Life Has Real Consequences.
  • Do What You Love.

If you have a favourite education / literacy focused post you would like to share, please leave a link in the comments so we can check them out.