An apology to @ericcurts Eric Curts⤴

from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been playing with the Fridge I blogged about the other day.

I was feeling pretty please with myself until I got a DM for Eric earlier this (UK) evening. He noticed that the dolch list on the screenshot of the webpage I had made was pretty much the same one he had used on an activity he had made and blogged about: Control Alt Achieve: Wintertime Magnetic Poetry with Google Drawings. It was the same list. I remember seeing his site when I google dolch or wordlist. I can remember copying the list but I must have done so. I didn’t keep the list, replacing it on Sunday with a full (or almost full) dolch list. But I did take and use Eric’s curation of the list without attribution at the time.

Eric was gracious enough to DM me rather than call me out publicly, giving me a wee bit of breathing room to put things right for which I am grateful.

I am particularly embarrassed as I spend a fair bit of time talking about copyright and creative commons, the image search in the fridge provides automatic attribution. I’ve often blogged about it and the difficulty in getting pupils away from a straight google search. In the previous post, I credit Tom Woodward for the idea, and link to the code I’ve used. I just didn’t even think about the words and the work involved in curating a list. I am now presuming that my using the dolch list is ok?

Eric was also kind enough not to suggest I’d taken the whole idea from his template, which looks like a quite reasonable assumption. Here I can only plead I’ve been playing with virtual fridge magnets for a while, this effort: fridge is from 2002. Made with Flash and flamethrower (sic) 1.

I’ve added some attribution to The Fridge now, I’ll update any help for it that I produce and link to this post from Sundays shortly.

I can only repeat my apology to Eric and thank him for the lesson.

  1. The flash bit still works, Flamethrower is no more.

What do we mean by ‘Educational Aspiration’?⤴

from @ Just Trying to be Better Than Yesterday

Here’s the full version of my article in TES Scotland 17th February 2017

Reading J. D. Vance’s ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ is a humbling experience. His beautiful memoir of a crushingly challenging upbringing and the aftermath of fraught family connections rang a few bells and brought me back to thinking of the lives of the children I teach. Returning to school after the Christmas break, I was reminded that there are those in my classroom who will not have had the same happy holiday as everyone else. There are those who, while being asked to raise money and bring in donations for the local Food Bank, will have had to turn that very Food Bank for Christmas dinner.

Vance’s thesis throughout the book is that poverty is generational. He grew up in communities where having a job is rare and barely surviving was normal. His parents and their parents and their parents were mired in a system which, they were convinced, was not for them; a system which lies when it says that hard work pays off in the long run; where Grandparents worked themselves to death just to keep afloat, and aspiration was survival, and avoiding homelessness and starvation. It is no wonder that the poverty gap is widening with showing no sign of reversing that trend. Throwing money and resources at the problem will fix nothing.

There is also an endemic perception that education is for others. The poor don’t go to University; you certainly don’t see many lawyers and doctors coming from poor backgrounds. There are few role models to change that, no heroes returning to transform their community. And perhaps that’s an area worthy of focus. If we are to convince those in poverty that education truly can be transformative then wouldn’t it be good if we showed them that too? Perhaps ensure they visit a University at a younger age than sixteen; match them with a mentor for a term to discuss the life of a Uni student and the possibilities which could be open to them.

To what should be our great shame, some children, having lived their lives in poverty, begin school already behind their peers in so many ways. Our system often fails to overcome those barriers and these kids leave school twelve years later still behind their peers, but with deep-rooted resentment of a system which has failed them. Oh yes, we comfort ourselves by creating qualifications for them so that we can repeat, year after year, ‘at least she’ll leave school with something’. A line which should shame us.

In his book, J.D. Vance overcame horrific odds to reach University and succeed. He realises that there were significant adults who consistently told him and reminded him that aspiration was transformational; who never lowered the bar but raised it and helped him get there. If education is to be for all, then let it be for all. For all time.


Money in a digital age⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Teachers can put digital technologies at the heart of great learning in financial education by using a variety of software applications to

  • Keep financial records
  • Analyse information
  • Assess value for money
  • Prepare and use budgets
  • Make informed financial decisions
  • Simulate real life scenarios
  • Find specialist advice and information
  • Communicate with advisors and specialists

In an ‘enterprise context’ a number of schools have used and encouraged their young people to manage the finances of their healthy eating tuck shops by using ‘Excel’ on Glow.    A Fife school has used the software to manage cash flow, stock control and profit calculations.

At a personal level this can be exemplified by using a resource such as Money Talks, Family Finances which examines the inter-related finances of an extended family.   The on-line bank statements are based on ‘Excel Spreadsheets’ and young people can see  how changes in expenditure and income affect the end of month balance.  Items of expenditure can be more deeply researched using the Internet to compare best value for a range of goods and services.  This  links closely to the use of loyalty cards and text alerts which a number of banks and supermarkets use to keep customers informed of additional services being offered.  Other online services and technologies that young people should be aware of are

    • Paypal
    • Contactless technologies
    • Foreign currency conversion tables
    • Peer to peer lending
    • Crowd source funding and financing
    • Just giving – online support for charities
    • Paying or donating by text messaging – many organisations use this for television charity appeals.
    • Transport apps – Lothian buses is good example.
    • Wearable technologies

Government agencies also encourage the use of digital technologies for claiming benefits and the payment of taxes such as the ‘Vehicle or Road Tax’.

There are a range of potential risks to the use of digital that need to be recognised. In particular young people should be given the opportunity to discuss

  • Gambling apps
  • Pay day lending
  • Illegal streaming of videos and music
  • Digital security and keeping money safe
  • ‘Phishing scams’ involving email
  • Identity theft
  • Recognising secure sites

One of the main areas of risk is around the abstract nature of money and this may be an issue given that children and young people have access to mobile technology at a very early age.

 

DYW- Interesting practice exemplar: Outward Bound – supporting young people on the future pathways⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

outward boundOver the last 75 years Outward Bound has uses the outdoors to equip young people from all walks of life with valuable skills for education, work and life in order to fulfil their potential. The charity’s programmes help young people to become more confident, more effective and more capable at school, college and in the workplace.  Participants in the varies outdoor initiatives learn a deep appreciation of the balance between risk, reward and responsibility and leave our programmes with transferrable, essential life skills, including:

  • Setting and achieving goals
  • Listening and communicating effectively
  • Facing a challenge with determination
  • Cooperation and collaboration
  • Maintaining a positive outlook, even when things get tough
  • Effective leadership skills

As a result of recent discussions around the alignment of their work to the Career Education Standard (3-18) (CES), Freda Fallon (Education Partnerships) has begun to map their activities against the expectations, entitlements and ‘I can’ statements of the standard (see outward-bound-dyw-career-standard-mapping-exercise-draft).   It is clear that many of the Outward Bound activities support the realisation of CES and deliver on the entitlements of children and young people outlined within the standard.

To find out more about Outward Bound’s programmes, their links to industry and the world of work as well as case studies from schools that successfully use the programme and individual testimonies of young people please access the following interesting practice exemplar:  interesting-practice-in-skills-dyw-outward-bound

Frozen Words⤴

from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

I’ve had a long term interest in digital ‘fridge’ poetry, making my first efforts with Flash around 15 years ago. A year or so ago I was excited by Fridge Poetry – Google Sheets as Database by Tom Woodward. There were a couple of goodies in that post, getting the word list from a google sheet and a nifty way to allow folk to easily make their own. I made a sheet and a poem and slotted the idea away.

I’ve revisited Tom’s post (and others) a few times, gathering tools 1 and wondering.

On the holiday weekend, given poor weather and a head cold, I revisited the idea and made my own Fridge.

This riffs & extends the idea a wee bit:

  1. You can add a background image to the poem, either from a built in flickr search or a local one.
  2. There is a standard common word list and a topical one from the google sheet.
  3. The words in the lists can be used more than once.
  4. I used JavaScript as opposed to php (except for proxying images to allow you to export).
  5. You can export the poem as an image.

I’ve edited Tom’s template a little, the new one:

  • Automatically generated a link to use. Tom got you to copy paste in the sheets own url and parsed that.
  • Adds a field for the image search.

Make a List this link should get you to create a copy of the list spreadsheet. You can edit the words (on the 2nd worksheet) and change the image search,  more info: Fridge Poetry.

Learning

I’ve gained a wee bit more JavaScript and jQuery. The idea of using Google sheets to populate a webpage or to display info from a sheet in a template is interesting. html2canvas is another tool that has interesting potential for storytelling on the web.

Using /copy at the end of a google sheet to allow anyone to make a copy is useful too.

Finally the ability of google sheets to get the id of the current sheet is really handy in simplifying the creation of links. This relies on a very simple script:

function getSheetID() {
  var r = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet().getId();
return r;

}

you can then get the id by typing =getSheetID() in a cell.

Next

There is more help on how to make and use a wordlist here: Fridge Poetry.

Hopefully someone will find this fun of useful, if you do and create new wordlists please let me know.

**NEW** Better Eating Better Learning Award⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

**NEW** Better Eating, Better Learning AWARD

bebl

The BEBL award is a competition open to primary and secondary schools across Scotland who can demonstrate innovative ways to improve school food and food education.

Is your school using Better Eating, Better Learning to champion positive changes to school food and the food education experience?

To apply, please complete the following questionnaire by midnight on Friday 31st March. Following this, the committee will review all entries and select 8 schools to visit based on strength of    application. These visits will take place from April – June 2017.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/X3VPXCL

What are we looking for?

Projects will be assessed based on the following criteria;

  • How well are you are using school food as part of a whole school approach to support learning as an integral part of the curriculum?
  • Are you serving school food that drives dietary behaviour change and supports our health and environmental goals?
  • Does your school champion fresh, seasonal, local and sustainable produce?
  • Do you celebrate provenance and ethical sourcing?
  • How are you inspiring future generations who are proud of, and contribute to, Scotland’s ambition as the a Good Food Nation?
  • Do you ensure that school food provides affordable access to good nutrition for all children and young people and optimising the uptake of school meals, in particular for those children and young people receiving free meals?
  • How well are you supporting children and young people, their parents, teaching and catering staff, to enjoy and value school food for its quality, provenance and appeal and in doing so to enable them to understand the relationship between school food, culture, health and the environment?

ASSIST FM, who provide support for suppliers and delivery of school food have created the innovation awards with CRB Cunningham sponsoring the secondary prize and Spaceright sponsoring the       primary prize.

For further Information and details, please contact lorna.aitken@educationscotland.gsi.gov.uk

 

Ceannardas ann am FMG/ Leadership in GME⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

 

1. Social Enterprise Academy is delivering an Institute of Leadership and Management Award for teachers of Gaelic Education on 3 and 4 November 2017.  If you require more information, please contact kate@socialenterprise.academy. Social Enterprise Academy acknowledges support from Education Scotland in delivering this award and financial assistance from Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

2. The Scottish College for Educational Leadership (SCEL) is inviting views on professional learning for leadership.  Practitioners of GME are encouraged to participate by completing a short survey. As a thank you, respondents will be entered into a draw to win a book voucher worth £100 for their school.  Education Scotland has shared with SCEL the results of the CLPL Audit of the professional learning needs of practitioners in Gaelic Education.

3. Applications are now open for the Into Headship qualification which commences in June 2017.  This qualification is fully funded by the Scottish Government.  It is designed to prepare participants for the specific strategic challenges of being a head teacher.

 

 

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What does leadership look like in your school?⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

A really good question for teachers to ask of their learners is, 'what does it look like when you are learning?' If you give this question to pupils and ask them to draw or write about themselves learning, you will often get a picture of a pupil, on their own, perhaps at a desk, and with a pencil or pen, jotter and books. They might include a computer screen and, if you are lucky, the child in the picture may be smiling. Not so in the example below.




If you have not carried out this exercise, try it. You may be surprised at the results. What you get is the child's construct of what learning is, and what it looks and feels like. If you get results like the one above, you can explore this more with the learner and it can give you some remarkable insights into how leaning is perceived by the learners in your class. It can also be a stimulus for some soul-searching and reflection on your own part. I suspect if you were asked to draw learning taking place in your classroom, or elsewhere, it would look a lot different. So, what's happening between what you think is going on and the learners think is going on?


When you begin to consider this further, you may start to explore and shift your own practice, as well as your learner's understanding of what learning is and how it may look. Yes, there will be times when learning is an individual pursuit, involving reading and writing activities, but more often it is a collaborative endeavour, shaped by others you are learning with. Learning can take place everywhere, not just at school and in a classroom. Some of the most significant learning we experience happens outside of school and when our senses and emotions are fully engaged and employed. When learners begin to recognise and understand this, you are more likely to get pictures with more people in them, not just the individual and the odd teacher. You may get them sitting on the floor with friends and classmates, and you may get them pictured outside in some other environment. You may even have pictures of them playing!


All of this is genuine feedback around their understanding of what learning is, and looks like. The more sophisticated their understanding of learning as a creative, social and cognitive process, the more this will be reflected in their compositions. When learners keep depicting learning as an individual activity, sat at a desk, in a classroom, we have evidence of the model or schema of learning we have created, or imposed on them, and this should make us all think about our practice.


Lets now consider what school leadership looks like as a school leader, through the adoption of a similar approach. If you asked staff, all staff, in the school to draw or write about what leadership looks and feels like, what would you expect to see? Would they show a hierarchy, with the headteacher or principal at the top and cleaners at the bottom, or would they show something else?




This could well be another insightful activity for school leaders to try out with staff. You may need to do this in an anonymised way, in order to get true feedback, and I suppose it may be a difficult activity for a lot of school leaders to undertake. But, I think if you genuinely want to know what 'leadership' feels and looks like to staff in a school, this may be an effective way of capturing that, which is less threatening, and more honest, than some other tools commonly use for such purposes.

You would have some pretty powerful insights into perceptions around leadership amongst all staff. You may ask staff to include job-titles to help you analyse the results across the school. In my view,  it would be great if the illustrations you receive show collaboration and co-operation happening, along with flattened hierarchies, as well as individuals demonstrating 'leadership' roles and activities. But even if this is not the case, you still have some very useful feedback for you as a school leader to reflect on. Perhaps there are still too many deluded headteachers, and senior managers, out there who's perception of how they are as leaders is completely different to how this is seen by the people they are supposed to be leading. Before anything can be done about this, a school leader has to become aware, and this suggestion might be a useful strategy to help you with that awareness raising first step.











What does leadership look like in your school?⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

A really good question for teachers to ask of their learners is, 'what does it look like when you are learning?' If you give this question to pupils and ask them to draw or write about themselves learning, you will often get a picture of a pupil, on their own, perhaps at a desk, and with a pencil or pen, jotter and books. They might include a computer screen and, if you are lucky, the child in the picture may be smiling. Not so in the example below.




If you have not carried out this exercise, try it. You may be surprised at the results. What you get is the child's construct of what learning is, and what it looks and feels like. If you get results like the one above, you can explore this more with the learner and it can give you some remarkable insights into how leaning is perceived by the learners in your class. It can also be a stimulus for some soul-searching and reflection on your own part. I suspect if you were asked to draw learning taking place in your classroom, or elsewhere, it would look a lot different. So, what's happening between what you think is going on and the learners think is going on?


When you begin to consider this further, you may start to explore and shift your own practice, as well as your learner's understanding of what learning is and how it may look. Yes, there will be times when learning is an individual pursuit, involving reading and writing activities, but more often it is a collaborative endeavour, shaped by others you are learning with. Learning can take place everywhere, not just at school and in a classroom. Some of the most significant learning we experience happens outside of school and when our senses and emotions are fully engaged and employed. When learners begin to recognise and understand this, you are more likely to get pictures with more people in them, not just the individual and the odd teacher. You may get them sitting on the floor with friends and classmates, and you may get them pictured outside in some other environment. You may even have pictures of them playing!


All of this is genuine feedback around their understanding of what learning is, and looks like. The more sophisticated their understanding of learning as a creative, social and cognitive process, the more this will be reflected in their compositions. When learners keep depicting learning as an individual activity, sat at a desk, in a classroom, we have evidence of the model or schema of learning we have created, or imposed on them, and this should make us all think about our practice.


Lets now consider what school leadership looks like as a school leader, through the adoption of a similar approach. If you asked staff, all staff, in the school to draw or write about what leadership looks and feels like, what would you expect to see? Would they show a hierarchy, with the headteacher or principal at the top and cleaners at the bottom, or would they show something else?




This could well be another insightful activity for school leaders to try out with staff. You may need to do this in an anonymised way, in order to get true feedback, and I suppose it may be a difficult activity for a lot of school leaders to undertake. But, I think if you genuinely want to know what 'leadership' feels and looks like to staff in a school, this may be an effective way of capturing that, which is less threatening, and more honest, than some other tools commonly use for such purposes.

You would have some pretty powerful insights into perceptions around leadership amongst all staff. You may ask staff to include job-titles to help you analyse the results across the school. In my view,  it would be great if the illustrations you receive show collaboration and co-operation happening, along with flattened hierarchies, as well as individuals demonstrating 'leadership' roles and activities. But even if this is not the case, you still have some very useful feedback for you as a school leader to reflect on. Perhaps there are still too many deluded headteachers, and senior managers, out there who's perception of how they are as leaders is completely different to how this is seen by the people they are supposed to be leading. Before anything can be done about this, a school leader has to become aware, and this suggestion might be a useful strategy to help you with that awareness raising first step.