Maths can be FUN!

Maths, Primary Curriculum, SATs, Teaching Strategies, Year 2, Year 6

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I wanted to start to talk about Maths on my blog, because as a teacher a phrase I always struggle to hear is ‘I hate Maths.’ During my work in schools it was always my secret mission to help students fall in love with Maths. This will probably become a major topic on the blog. I discover new strategies about Maths.

1. ENCOURAGE and BE PATIENT! – Maths is the trickiest subject to grasp if you don’t have a mathematical mindset, but with the right teacher, students can reach the required potential to be successful. Go over and over with them because they will get there. It is such a good moment when the light bulb goes on.
2. Build the relationship – You are probably wondering what I am on about. I worked with a student who thrived on the fact I used both of us to explain the problem. He kept saying you need Miss B’s Bag as well as mine.
3. Set High Expectations – I think society has predetermined that all maths is hard, I think in some cases this has transferred into students. This is why in some cases I push my expectations a little harder, because I know they can do it.
4. Try novel themes to increase engagement. – My favourite one so far has to be my Beat the Teacher Addition Edition you can check it out here at www.bit.ly/BTTRETPT and you can check out my other editions here at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store www.bit.ly/HappyEducatorsTpT

There you have my top four strategies I am using in my Maths teaching at the moment in my classroom. Let me know your maths strategies teacher friends. You can comment down below or find me on social media @happyeducators.

Happy Wishes Teacher Friends
Kathryn Alison

Professional Development in your PJs

Periscope, Social Media, Teacherpreneur

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As a teacher, I never thought that I would be able to learn lots of new information at my home in my tracksuit bottoms and NCIS shirt, but with the use of social media I can. It is called iteachTVnetwork on Periscope. The iteachTVnetwork was founded by Sheila Jane from Sheila Jane Teaching. Sheila and her team of scopers scope about a variety of topics from classroom organisation, technology, literacy, getting the right teaching job, maths and science. The scopers are teachers with a variety of years of experience in teaching and the teacher blogger world. There are all USA teachers, but as a teacher from the UK a lot of the content has been really helpful and inspired a lot of the content in my Teachers Pay Teacher store, TES store and things I could implement in the classroom from September. I thought I would share with you some of my favourite iteachTVnetwork scopers.

1. Jen Jones (Hello Literacy) scopes every Friday at 9am EST scopes about all things literacy and she has made a lot of things clear from phonics to reading to writing. She really has boosted my confidence in literacy teaching.
2. Kami Butterfield (Teaching with App-itude) scopes her educational technology show called ‘I HAVE AN APP FOR THAT!’. She shares her experiences in a classroom, where it is 1 to 1 iPads. This show has helped me understand what technology is out there for my classroom and how most of it is free. Kami’s show is on the iteachTVnetwork at 8.30pm CST/ 6.30pm PST
3. Caitlin (The Styled Teacher) Caitlin is the only teacher fashion blogger I love to follow religiously. She has a very smart sense of style but also how to transition from teacher professional to weekend woman.
4. Ashley (Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd) THE QUEEN OF ORGANISATION! This woman knows how to organise her classroom and Teacherpreneur life exactly how she wants it. I love her show and I always take away a head full of ideas and pages of notes for my own life. Her show on iteachTVnetwork is on every Tuesday at 6pm PST.
5. There are a variety of other scopers I watch for similar reasons as to the ones described above. Some of these are Kayla Delzer (Top Dog Teaching), Tony Vincent, Katie Shaffer, Amy Harris and Heather Campbell.

If you want to know more about how to access these amazing Periscopers all you have to do is follow iteachTVnetwork on Periscope and if you want more information about the iteachTVnetwork. You can check out their awesome website at www.iteachtvnetwork.com. You can like the Facebook page to to stay up to date on all the new updates.

Happy Wishes Teacher Friends

Kathryn A

 

Transition Day

End of School Year, Primary Curriculum, Transition, Uncategorized

So, it is that time of year again where we are all closing out the year but prepping for the next year. A big part of this is the transition day or even week/fortnight, however long you get, it is sometimes tough to fill the space with useful meaningful learning that won’t be lost over the summer. It is probably one of the most frequently asked questions in UK Teaching Facebook Groups too. So, I thought I would share with you some of the ideas I may use for my transition day.

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Activities for Transition Day/Week

  1. Have a selection of books on stand by for students to read independently or in a group or with you as a class. This is a great way for you to see their reading dislikes and likes, those who are avid readers or those you are not. They can be anything from non fiction books to comics to magazines to novels short or long. I would also sneakily chuck in a few of the reading scheme they are going to follow because their reading score may be low because they find the mandatory texts boring, because once you have identified this you put rewards systems in place to engage them in mandatory texts.
  2. Take selfies for your classroom. This idea is based on the words of a famous educator called Hope King (Elementary Shenanigans) from the Ron Clark Academy. (Seriously if you haven’t heard about the Ron Clark Academy you need to google it. I have learned so much). In the words of Hope students need to feel comfortable and familiar in their classroom, because it is where they are going to spend of the year. A great way to do this is to have photos in photo frames so it feels more like community and you are on this journey together. Bring out the selfie stick.
  3. Talk to your students. What do you mean I already talk to my students? I mean that you could ask your students their hopes and dreams for the year. What THEY think will be expected of them? Then from this agree on the top 5 must follow at all times together.
  4. Do cool science experiments and problem solving tasks to see where the students are at in both maths and science.
  5. Quizzes with prizes – to see what they know already and more about their interests.

Hope this helps you in your transition day teacher friends, let me know how you get to know your new students either in the comments below or on social media @happyeducators

Happy Wishes Teacher Friends!

Kathryn A

Periscope Made Easy!

Periscope, Social Media, Teacherpreneur

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Periscope is one of the newest live broadcasting platforms on social media. It is a platform which is connecting educators on a global scale. I wanted to start a series on my blog dedicated to Periscope. The series will include everything from how to sign up to Periscope to lessons I learned about scoping to who to follow in the teacher and Teacherpreneur/Entrepreneur world.

Getting Started With Periscope

1. First you need to join Periscope, by either signing up with your Twitter account or your email.
2. Then you can either follow people you follow on Twitter or search for follower by tapping the person icon in the bottom right corner, then the search icon at the top of the page.
3. To see who is live and the most recent replay broadcasts tap the TV icon in the bottom left corner. The broadcasts which are live are highlighted at the top of the page.

Watching Periscopes – Sharing the Love

Watching Periscopes are quite addictive if you know how to interact with the scoper. There are three ways to do this, the first way is to simply tap the screen for hearts to appear on the screen, the second is to simply comment in the comment box, the third is o tap the peri buddy in the bottom right corner of the screen and tap the share button to either all or specific followers, Twitter or Facebook.

How To Start Scoping?

1. Tap the camera icon which is third from the left, you will see a question “What are you seeing now?”. Type here what your broadcast is going to be about use hashtags to identify your tribe.
2. Then tap the red “Start Broadcast” and be red bar brave.

Happy Wishes Teacher Friends!
Kathryn A

Students, Teachers and Testing

Creativity, Primary Curriculum, SATs, Testing, Year 2, Year 6

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It is coming to that time of year again here in England – the SATs. It is a tough time for both teacher and students. The pressure to achieve and succeed overtakes the teaching of a love for learning. It has been quoted in UK media that the SATs are making schools become factories rather than places of learning, with even headteachers resigning from their roles because they disagree with what’s going on in regards to testing.

As a student, even in my late teens, I found testing season to be a very anxious time but as a teacher it is always my aim to make sure I give testing a purpose and outcome and work with students to know that testing is their time to really show the world how far they have come. So I thought I would share with you a few things I am doing to support students during testing.

  1. Letting the students know the classroom door is always open. I tell students that this time of year is very difficult for them, but I tell them they are not alone in this journey. I want them to showcase their best talents during this test. So, anytime they need me they should know where to find me during lunchtimes and break times. I will happily listen to their woes, rants or meltdowns, whatever it takes to make sure they achieve the possible grade they can.
  2. I know this one we all tend to do as teachers, because we get questions like ‘Why am I doing this?’ and remarks ‘I am never going to use this’. However, I believe that by helping students see that they are tackling strategies that are harder to learn when you are older.  Get students to set their own expectations with your support, if you set your own expectations you are creating your own future which is what education is all about.
  3. Create fun events for after testing such as topic days, classroom flips you name it is about FUN. Let your creativity list you have had saved up in the few months prior to testing season go. Be BOLD!
  4. Organise cool people to come in who would not come in before, because you had to extra dedicate time to English and Maths.

Let me know what you are doing after testing season I would love to know. You can comment down below or let me know on my social media channels @happyeducators.

Have a good weekend, educators.

KA

3 Ideas on how to celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday in your classroom.

Celebration, Cross Curricular Activities

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In the teaching Facebook groups over the last week, there has been a question being asked over and over. This question is how are you celebrating the Queen’s 90th Birthday in your classroom? I thought perfect idea for a blog post, so I thought I would share with you a selection of ideas that I may use in my own classroom to commemorate this marvellous event which is officially celebrated in May/June.

1.90 number facts about 90. You could ask the children to tell you 90 different ways they can make the number 90. It is not as straightforward as it looks and the possibilities are endless I struggled to get 90 different facts about 90. I will do a blog post with some ideas sometime in May/June for you to compare.

2.Time travel with the Queen. This one is probably one of my more creative ideas. You could into a time machine and you could travel through time and investigate the different events the Queen has lived through. She has lived through a lot from world wars to numerous Prime Ministers. Her first Prime Minister was Winston Churchill. She has even lived through two Coalition Governments.

3. Draw My Life – The Queen Edition. You could ask the students to choose different images of the Queen from different times of her life. You could ask them to draw their own version of that picture. Then, you could take photos of these picture and create a Draw my Life video but for the Queen in iMovie using iPads.

What are you planning to do to celebrate this event? Let me know in the comments below or even show me on social media. I would love to see what you do. My handle for all my social media is @happyeducators

Until the next time fellow educator,

KA

Disability Studies and the Teacher

Educational Theory, Inclusion, SEN

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There are many ways to view disability dependent on your profession, your environment, your own personal history even your own local community. It is these factors which can lead to broad, subjective and manipulated views on disability, due to this I want to talk to you about the ways in which I developed my own understandings of disability from disability and how this has impacted me as a teacher.

There is no one right way to view disability but each model can have some serious drawbacks. I want to focus particularly on four models of disability I studied as part of my SEN specialism in my degree – the medical model, the social model, the deficit model and the rhizomatic model. The medical model is very cut and dry and seriously dull. It focuses on the symptoms and the labels of a disability. It has not changed in decades. The only positive from it is that as a teacher, it allows me to get the funding for my students so they can get what they need to. However, the medical model is very narrow minded and if a person’s disability does not fit the category for funding or a person does not have all the relevant characteristics of the relevant disability, then they are not disabled. I find this aspect as a teacher very hard to swallow because everyone should have the right to access any support necessary for them to learn and live at or even beyond their predetermined potential.

Now, let’s move on if you will, consider the medical model to be the right wing of society, then consider the social model to be the left wing. The social model is about all disabled people should have equal access and opportunities. This may seem the best model ever to describe disability. I am not certain it is for ONE big reason and that is that it does account for disabled people. What do I mean by this? I mean we have disabled people in a society for a reason, it may be that they cant physically or mentally reach the same opportunities as those without disabilities. Nevertheless it does not mean they can’t strive for goals, they may just be different.

This leads me nicely leads me onto the grey area of disability. It took me 3 years and counting to understand the murky world of deficit. This is all about the way in which we represent disability in society where disabled people are looked at as inferior or with a problem. I think it is very hard to ever truly grasp the right way to talk to someone without experience of that particular situation directly. This model is why there is always the even murkier area of political correctness hanging over the heads of teachers, because it is hard to not assume things about the student we teach. This is the reason I have the very Catholic rule of treat everyone like you want to be treated. If you wouldn’t say it to family, your child or even yourself then DO NOT BOTHER because they will probably get as mad if not madder than you would.

The next one is my favourite because it is most inclusive way to teach, the rhizomatic model. The rhizomatic model of disability is about  ‘an imminent transformation, an evolving of life in this ever-changing world’ (Kuppers, 2009). This is the one I use when I am teaching because it reminds me that each student sees the world differently and at a different rate, and I am here to help them grow and reach their potential whatever that may be in the right learning environment for them.

To sum up, disability is complex and as teachers it is very difficult to not be influences by societal views on disability, but I hope by reading this article you can understand that you are doing the best job you can. You may get it wrong occasionally but by just being aware of societal views, we can take a step forward towards a more positive view on disability.

Hello Friends!

Miscellaneous

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Hello Fellow Educator,

Welcome to Happy Educators. My name is Kathryn Alison (KA for short). I’m a primary school teacher in  England. I’m a new teacher but my passion for education, teaching and disability has been and will continue to be lifelong. I have a BA in Education (Special Educational Needs). I have worked with children both in and outside the classroom. I am an avid blogger and lover of all things social media. My hobbies include singing, writing, reading, learning new things and one day travelling.

What to expect from the Happy Educators Blog?

Happy Educators is where I will share experiences and lessons I learn as I progress through my teaching careers. There is also going to be lots of teacher/education discussions to keep your passions inspired on numero uno – the students.

I will also discuss some important teacherpreneur topics and social media, because I’m a lover of all things social. This teacherpreneur journey would not have even started without the support of other teacherpreneurs such as Caitlin from Teach Inspire Change, EB Academic Camps and Teacher Entrepreneur School, Sheila from Sheila Jane Teaching, iteachTVnetwork and The Teacher Entrepreneur School, Ashley from Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd, Jess from The Whimsical Teacher, Kelli Alaina, Kami from Teaching with “App”- itude, Meg from Meg’s New Box of Crayons, Angie from Lucky Little Learners and Jen Jones from Hello Literacy.

As I develop a collection of freebies I will share them with you in a dedicated page up until then check out my Teachers Pay Teachers Store and TES store. If you want to access these store click the links in the bar at the top of the page.

 

Is the blog the only way to engage with you?

No, I’m on social media.

You want to chat with me further you can @happyeducators on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, Tumblr and Snapchat.

For snapchat you can either snap the code below or add me via username – happyeducators.

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I will post a new blog post every Friday. Introduce yourself in the comments below or on social media. I would love to hear from you.

So until next Friday Educators

Happy Wishes

Kathryn