Monthly Archives

April 2016

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