Just a quick one guys in case you haven’t come across these before. For some time now we have been using http://www.sumdog.com/student?game=junkpile in class as a motivational reward for working hard and is a great site for combining a mixture of rapid recall mental math and enjoyable multiplayer, league based games. Certainly something to encourage during the summer holidays for keeping the brain ticking over.
Similarly Freerice.com is great as not only can the kids challenge themselves across a multitude of subjects but for each question they get correct, 10 grains of rice are donated to end world hunger through the World Food Programme.
One of the best strategies I have employed as a pastoral leader and Special Educational Needs Co-ordination is probably one of the most logical. In fact, thinking about it, most of what I do in school is about common sense. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an expert problem solver, just an experienced one and my learning is based on the rich experience of the students I have had the pleasure to work with. I have always maintained that building a relationship with the young person and their family from the outset is vital to ongoing success. It’s useful to know what the ‘hooks’ are with the young people we work with. Knowing how we can focus the work we set on the interests and strengths of the students rather than devising mundane generic tasks will always help motivation. It’s important to get updates from parents so I invite and encourage regular communication. I look to the parent as the expert when it comes to the young person and the information I gather is key. Any school worth it’s salt will welcome communication from parents so please don’t wait to be contacted by your child’s school. Be proactive and arrange a meeting to share information you might not think is relevant but could actually reveal little gems of information that can unlock massive future potential. Why not make a real impact and send your child’s school a postcard telling them of your som or daughters latest successes or achievements from home?
During my last 15 years in school I have met thousands of young people, hundreds of parents and hundreds of like-minded professionals who share (to a greater or lesser extent) my aim of giving young people the tools required to access the education system upon entry (however much we agree or disagree with the central establishment at the time) and exit it as successful learners able to make the transition to employment and sustainability. I don’t yet have children of my own and I am certain that when I do, the decisions I make as a father will be as difficult as those I have helped parents and young people make during their educational journey. What I love about education and learning is that no two learners are ever the same and the challenges faced by each learner and their family are unique. However, there are a number of common themes I have addressed over the years and I will begin to address a range of them in no particular order. Since I took on the role of Special Educational Needs Coordinator in 2008, I have learnt masses about a range of needs spanning the moderate to the complex, yet my approach has always been the same. As I begin to upload more and more posts you will hopefully be able to relate to some with your own experience and context in mind and begin to see a recurring pattern of pragmatism and creativity. As you will have seen already, I will try to include hyperlinks to websites I think may find of use. There are lots of websites out there designed to support parents and carers and if you find any of what I post useful please share this and feel free to make comments and ask questions.