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22/01/2015

Why Teachers Should Be Readers


A discerning parent once said..."any teacher who does not practice a personal culture of 'reading' may never be able to leave a lasting impact on my child." Do you agree?

I think that teacher trainees should be encouraged to read for pleasure as part of their personal development. A research project found that teachers who read for pleasure have better book knowledge and feel more confident, calm and stress-free in the classroom. 
I also think that teachers who read themselves and share their love of books in the primary classroom will eventually encourage children to read more.
Such teachers not only have a wealth of ideas to give their students as examples during investigation of a new topic, they are able to also light the fire of imagination and wonder, taking their students to world's unknown in a vivid manner; because they have become so knowledgeable.....many thanks to their reading habits! Teachers who read have the added advantage of a really wide vocabulary; and are not easily bamboozled by newly found words. Hence, they are able to use them appropriately and maximise their potential use for clarity of any topic taught.

Great ideas are borne everyday, many of them come from written texts.
The mark of a great teacher lies in the impact felt by their student now and in many years to come. 

I know for certain that teaching is a stressful occupation. More research has highlighted that reading for pleasure can remove stress. Helping teachers escape into the pages of a book at the end of a busy, stressful day, can help and support teachers. Making them look forward to another day of joy with their students! 


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17/01/2015

What Discourages Kids From Helping Around The Home




Our lives as parents are increasingly busy these days and sometimes it's hard to find time to accomplish everything around the house. As work-home flow of activities become more challenging, one way to balance work and playtime  is to combine them and involve the whole family in doing household chores.

If we understand what gets in the way and what may help when it comes to doing chores, then we can have a better chance of having children be participating family members.

What Discourages Children from Helping?

Unclear expectations

Children need to understand what the chore is and what we expect of them. Be clear about what is considered a job well done - doing the dishes or simply a "good try"? Be clear about everyone's job expectation, the results expected to be achieved.

Inconsistency

When it comes to chores, any previous effort to establish expectations can get derailed by inconsistency. Think carefully before saying, "I guess you can skip feeding washing the dishes this morning - I'll do it." And if parents or caregivers don't agree on what is expected of children, when to make exceptions, or aren't equally adept at refusing to give in to child procrastination or defiance, children usually figure out how to divide and conquer.


Time

It takes time to teach children how to do chores and to establish expectations. Busy parents and children can easily use lack of time as a rationale for either adults doing the chore or leaving it undone.
Siblings. Siblings can become really good at subverting parent expectations. "It's not fair" can become a mantra of older siblings when expectations for them increase with their growing competence. Try to set clear expectations that are appropriate and fair for each child. Discussing the chore plan as a family can give children an opportunity to voice concerns and help set a plan that works for everyone. 

You can inspire your kids by even twisting the language used to jeer them up. How about saying, "let's do our daily shares"... not chores! Cheers to beautiful beginnings!

Source: brighthorizons.com

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08/01/2015

5 Powerful Questions Teachers Should Ask at Every Class



Many times, teachers find themselves answering most of the questions they ask their students. They do this of course with good intentions especially to help students get to the hook as quickly as possible. The down side to this is that the teacher does most of the talking possibly with little engagement of the students. The importance of student engagement is that it helps the teacher discover what, where and how to help in cases of need. It also creates a connected classroom that is fun filled and socio-emotionally connected.



Here are powerful questions that teachers could ask to get themselves engaged and connected to their students.



By Rebecca Alber @ edutopia.org


#1. What do you think?
This question interrupts us from telling too much. There is a place for direct instruction where we give students information yet we need to always strive to balance this with plenty of opportunities for students to make sense of and apply that new information using their schemata and understanding.

#2. Why do you think that?
After students share what they think, this follow-up question pushes them to provide reasoning for their thinking.

#3. How do you know this?
When this question is asked, students can make connections to their ideas and thoughts with things they've experienced, read, and have seen.

#4. Can you tell me more?
This question can inspire students to extend their thinking and share further evidence for their ideas.

#5. What questions do you still have?
This allows students to offer up questions they have about the information, ideas or the evidence.



In addition to routinely and relentlessly asking your students questions, be sure to provide time for them to think. What's best here, three seconds, five, or seven? Depending on their age, the depth of the material, and their comfort level, this think time will vary. Just push yourself to stay silent and wait for those hands to go up.


Also be sure to vary your tone so it genuinely sounds like a question and not a statement. When we say something in a declarative way, it is often with one tone and flat sounding. On the other hand, there is a lift in our voice when we are inquiring and questioning.


To help student feel more comfortable and confident with answering questions and asking ones of their own, you can use this scaffold: Ask a question, pause, and then invite students to "turn and talk" with a neighbor first before sharing out with the whole group. This allows all to have their voices heard and also gives them a chance to practice their responses before sharing in front of the whole class.


I have had my moments with this especially as a new teacher many years ago - quite quick to tell all in the class. Please share your thoughts and experiences on this and your strategies in the comment section below.


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01/01/2015

Happy New Year dear TLC Readers - Join us in the Save-a-Classroom® Project


One of my passions is beautifying classrooms. A beautiful classroom tells a thousand stories. It builds dreams, it adorns the future in colors of possibilities, and brings the entire world into one room. Most importantly,  it incites a deeper love for lifelong learning. There! That is how powerful a beautiful classroom is!

True! Every classroom should be beautiful. Whether your school is in an old Victorian mansion or along a hidden community market or in the living room of a home, the environment should create a simple harmony. Uncluttered and well-maintained, the environment should reflect peace and tranquility. The environment should invite the learner to come in and explore. This atmosphere is easily seen in the attitude of those working there, both the child and adult...an atmosphere of inspiration.

Sadly, in many of our schools, more can be done and help is needed. Just recently, the Nov/Dec WAEC results were released and under 30% of the students passed with 5 credits including Math and English Language. It is rather unsettling that this is the case.

There is a direct relationship between the way a classroom looks and the grades that come out of it. There are many educators who understand the impact a beautiful classroom has on a child's school work and life. 
The traditional notion of a classroom is any space where one learns something or gains experience. In gaining experience, or taking a child from a place of wonder to possibilities, it is of great importance to present all of the possibilities in visual forms.

Here are some important facts to note. Research has shown that;
• An instructor or teacher generally says 100-200 words in a minute and a student only hears 50-100....half!
• Students retain about 70% of what they hear in the first 10 minutes of class and 20% during the last 10 minutes.
• In a typical class lecture,  students are attentive to just 40% of the time.
• Adding visual aids increases retention from 14% to 38%.

When we speak about visual aids, we mean any and every thing a learner sees and touches that should be connected to the learning process within the classroom. When we speak about auditory and kinesthetic aids, we mean anything a child hears and feels or does in terms of movement within the classroom.

A very big part of the task of beautifying a classroom rests on the visual displays around it. Usually, it is expected that all teaching aids needed during classes will make up 90% of it for usefulness. The aim is to help learners use and familiarize themselves with the sort of language and ability needed to learn something or anything; and open their awareness to multiple ways of applying them.

A disorganized, unkempt, or clutter-filled classroom sends the message to your students that poor behavior and middling work habits is acceptable—regardless of how often or how forcefully you say otherwise. An attractive classroom draws students in and makes them want to be part of what is going on inside.
Every classroom environment has such a strong bearing on how learners perceive themselves and the expectations the society has for them.

Another part of beautifying the classroom is in the comfort and convenience of the learning environment. 
There are far too many kids learning in poorly ventilated classrooms, using under-equipped laboratories, working under leaking roofs, using near empty or nonexistent libraries, broken blackboards, rough flooring etc....and the list goes on. 
We could go on about what the government needs to do to help save our children's education OR we could play a part by giving back to our immediate communities. 

The Save-a-Classroom® project is a call for everyone to help increase the number of literate and hopeful young Nigerians by supporting some children around you through their classrooms. How about actively joining to support your old school associations to redecorate classrooms, donate furniture and provide teaching aids for teachers. We can do it! 
What about gathering a forum targeted at building better classrooms while providing school administrators many options to aid their sustainability? These sort of activities are bound to keep many hopes and dreams alive!

As more children learn in comfortable classrooms, we know that there will be an increased level of literacy and a broader sense of responsibility among young Nigerians. When students have an exciting place to call their learning home, they always return....and guess what...the number of school dropouts will potentially reduce.

Save a classroom, inspire a child! Let's kick off the year to a great start. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! HERE'S TO A YEAR FILLED WITH OPPORTUNITIES! :)




27/12/2014

The Right Age Kids Should be for Instagram, Facebook, and Other Social Media Platforms


As the year comes to an end, and your kids get older, some of you may have kids who are beginning to ask for your permission to get on social media. So, this calls for careful decision making in the right balance. 


How old your kid should be before he or she starts using social media with your permission is really up to you. However, most social media websites and apps require that kids be 13 to sign up. Despite what many people think, the reason isn't to limit kids' exposure to inappropriate content but because of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which prevents companies from collecting certain information from kids under age 13. Rather than create an environment that protects kids from data tracking, Facebook and some other websites/apps choose to restrict access to those under 13.


Besides this, 13 is generally the age when kids start developing a broader understanding of the world around them which includes the possibility of learning proper decision making. Along with that, they are also developing a better sense of what's appropriate to share online with your help. As young teens, kids also are developing a desire to control more of their activities as well as the maturity to handle that control.

If your kid is expressing interest in joining a social network, discuss the pros and cons. Do your own research so you fully understand the implications of joining a particular network. If you want your kid to wait to sign up, consider pointing him or her toward more age-appropriate sites such as:

Yourspherea social network that authentically represents the voice, interests, talents and aspirations of young people, and provides a positive alternative to social networks that were created for adults.


Kuddle is also a quality Instagram substitute. It is a new photo-sharing social media app geared towards children and adolescent teens. It aims to create a safer digital environment where they can learn about and explore the ever expanding world of social media.


You could possibly rally your kids' friends' parents to restrict their kids from Facebook, so you won't get that "but everyone is on it!" argument. Always put up the argument about the age limit and why it is totally inappropriate to lie about their ages only to have a presence on social media. Explain in detail why it is not advisable. Tell that a good parent should stay with the rules as often demanded from kids.

If your kid does end up joining a social network -- whether they're 10 or 16 -- here are some ground rules that work for many parents:


Use privacy settings

Privacy settings aren't foolproof, but they can be helpful. Take the time to learn how privacy settings work on your kids' favorite sites and apps, and teach your kids how to control the information they make public or private. Encourage them to check privacy settings regularly, since sites' policies often change.


Tell your kids to think before they post
Remind them that everything can be seen by a vast, invisible audience (otherwise known as friends-of-friends-of-friends), and, once something's online, it's hard to take back.



Be a friend and follower
Each family will have different rules, but, especially for younger kids, it's a good idea for parents to have access to their kids' pages, at least at first, to be sure that what's being posted is appropriate. Parents can help keep their children from doing something they'll regret later.


Keep private information private
Don't share your home address or other sensitive information online.


Be respectful of others
Kids may use social media to act out because they feel anonymous and that their actions are consequence-free. Make sure they understand that the Internet is a giant community that works best when everyone respects each other.

Visit www.commonsensemedia.org. for much more.

25/12/2014

Merry Christmas to you, TLC readers!



Merry Christmas to all our esteemed readers! The Learning Craft (TLC) wishes you a fulfilled holiday in this period of merrymaking. Let the joy of the season stay with you and your entire family now and always!

Thank you for reading and stay glued for our special give away as the new year approaches! 

03/12/2014

Celebrate: International Day of Persons with Disability

Today, we mark the International Day for Persons with Disbility. We like to view them not with a disability but people with some ability, hence we say 'This Ability'. The world has become digital such that almost all that concerns humans are driven largely by technology.

ICTs have indeed changed the way people live, work and play. However, not all people benefit from the advances of technology and the higher standards of living. This is mainly because not all people have access to new technologies and not all people can afford them.

Today, there are over 1 billion people living in the world with some form of disability. Around the world, persons with disabilities not only face physical barriers but also social, economic and attitudinal barriers and this further contributes to increased poverty levels.


A major focus of the Day is a practical action to highlight how technology can impact the inclusion and contribution of persons with disabilities in social life and development on the basis of equality. To highlight best practices, innovative technological solutions for the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in their societies.


The International Day of Persons with Disabilities can be used to draw attention to the available technologies and measures that can be adopted to create school environments that are open, inclusive and accessible to allow persons with disabilities to fully participate and develop themselves in the future. 

We look forward to seeing more inclusive schools. It is the right of every child to have access to schooling regardless of their 'ability'.

28/11/2014

What to do when your child is fixated on TV - It can be harmful


Studies have found that violent and obscene programming, including cartoons, have a significant negative impact upon children especially those with violence and indecency. 

Violent ones can:

1. Make your child become insensitize towards violent acts.
2. Create nightmares and increase a child's fearfulness.

3. Encourage aggressive behavior.

4. Undermine imaginative and cooperative play with peers.
5. Encourage the acceptance of gang behavior.

Obscene ones can make your child easily prone to developing unwanted sexual pleasures beginning from an early age.




We know that watching TV is not entirely bad for your kids because there are a wide range of good programs that not only broaden children's use of vocabulary but exposes them to a wider world of creativity. However, those can be learnt from watching specific TV programs. 



So, what steps should you take to protect your child? 


1. Be a positive example. Let your children see you watching informative, non provacative, educative and entertaining programmes. Take away obscene and violent programmes from your TV timeline.

2. Check your child’s developmental level and encourage the selection of worthwhile programs. Decide with them which programs to watch.


3. Always be apt to comment when you agree or disagree with the values portrayed by the actors.


4. Watch television with your child. Explain the difference between fact and fiction. If any violence or obscenity occurs, comment that although the actors are pretending to be hurt and/or derive unusual pleasure, such violent and obscene acts in real life result in pain, immorality and suffering. Discuss ways to deal with problems other than by hurting people.



5. Turn the television and other objectionable media off when the material is contradictory to your family values. Explain to your child why you disapprove. Consider using a television lockout device to prevent exposure to “adult” programming. If possible, play soft music or practice silence during family meals that contribute to friendly conversation. Furnish a calm place where your child can relax or read.



6. I insist that you should resist the temptation to put a television in your child’s room. Instead locate it where viewing can be monitored. If your family is on the internet, keep the computer in a central location.

7. Encourage your child to become involved in activities. Foster participation in hobbies, imaginative play, music, art, crafts, gardening, household tasks, yard work, cooking, and other worthwhile projects. Invite your child’s friends to play at your home or apartment. Do more reading, walking, talking, listening, and playing together. Get your child involved in programs that promote healthy development like sports, scouts, clubs, dance, camps, and/or religious groups.

8. Be an advocate for quality television programming. Join forces with other parents and teachers to set television viewing guidelines.


Thanks to Leah Davies for giving us permission to publish  and for being friends with us here at The Learning Craft

20/11/2014

15 Reasons Why Children Steal & How You Can Help




From my last blog post, here are some insights into why children steal and what parents, teachers and caregivers can do to help.

By Leah Davies, M.Ed.

Stealing is taking things that belong to others without their permission. The act is common in young children because they tend to be self-centered and feel that it is all right to take what they want from others. A child’s true understanding of the concept of stealing usually occurs between the ages of five and seven. By this time, children can understand the idea of ownership and realize that taking things that belong to others is wrong.

Motives for stealing can differ from child to child, and any one child can steal for a variety of reasons. Children may steal because:

1. They have poor impulse control and want instant gratification.

2. They want an adult’s attention.

3. They have not been taught that stealing is wrong.

4. They have observed the adults in their life take and keep things that did not belong to them -- for example, dad bringing home office supplies or mom keeping incorrect change when the store clerk made a mistake.

5. They lack family closeness and feel neglected; a stolen object might serve as a substitute for love.

6. They are suffering a form of abuse and need help.

7. They are expressing displaced feelings of anxiety, anger, or alienation resulting from a major life change such as parental divorce, moving to a new school, or being rejected by peers.

8. They want revenge for the pain they feel others have inflicted on them so they steal to get even or to hurt someone.

9. They crave what others have but they cannot buy -- for example: food treats, popular name-brand clothing or electronic equipment.

10. They want to appear tough, bold, and important.

11. They desire to fit in with a peer group that steals.

12. They like the thrill that comes from stealing.

13. They think they can get away with it.

14. They are rebelling against authority.

15. They need money to buy drugs.




Children who frequently steal tend to exhibit the following characteristics: impulsivity, loneliness, detachment, insensitivity, boredom, anger and low self-esteem. They often have difficulty trusting others and forming close relationships. When school personnel demonstrate regard for all students and provide a mutually supportive school environment, theft is less likely to occur.


What can teachers do?

1. Explain that stealing means taking something that belongs to someone else and that it is wrong, unacceptable and dishonest. Clarify that when an individual takes something without asking or paying for it, someone will be hurt. For example, if a child takes someone¹s pencil, he will be unable to do his work. If girl’s bracelet is stolen, she might get in trouble at home.

2. Teach the concept of ownership and how it makes others feel to have something stolen from them. Use examples and ask children questions like, "How would you feel if someone liked your new coat, took it, and said it was his?"

3. Compliment and reinforce honest behavior in students.

4. Ask the guidance counselor to teach lessons on honesty.

5. Invite a police officer as a guest speaker to explain the ramifications of theft.

When a child is caught stealing, an adult’s reaction should depend on whether it is the first time or if there is a pattern of stealing. When it is the first time, the focus should be on the reason for the theft rather than on the deed itself.

How to Handle a Stealing Situation for First Offenders

1. Remain calm. Deal with the situation in a straightforward manner. Show your disapproval, but do not interrogate, lecture or humiliate the child.

2. If you are sure who took an item, talk to the child privately. Do not ask, “Did you take the money?” Instead say something like, “I know you took the money. I am disappointed because I thought I could trust you.” Then you might ask, “Is there a reason you needed the money?” Then listen and try to understand the problems the child may be having.





One teacher reported that she talks discreetly with a child who has been caught stealing. She said that she points out that as a class everyone depends on everyone else. She said that she tells the student that he or she is a fine person and if he takes things from others, they won`t know just how great he is. Then she expresses confidence that the student will not steal again. The teacher also makes it a policy at an unrelated time to put the child in the role of being responsible so that she can compliment him in front of his peers.



3. Students who steal need to experience a consequence such as apologizing, returning or replacing the item or making restitution in some other way, as well as losing a privilege. You need to decide what will happen if the child steals again and let him or her know what the consequence will be.

4. If you are not sure who took an item, provide an opportunity for the “taker” to return it and save face. For example say, “Whoever found Adam’s hat needs to return it.” Or say, “Everyone look in your backpack to see if Adam¹s hat was accidentally put in it.”

5. Do not label the child “bad” or a “thief.” Let the child experience a “clean slate.”

6. Take time to ask yourself why the behavior occurred:



What personal problems could the child be having?


Is the child stealing to call attention to him or herself?

Which of the reasons listed above fit this child?
Then decide on a way to get to know the child better. Examples are eating lunch with him or her and one or two other children, talking with the child on the playground, or meeting with him or her before or after school.

7. Limit the opportunity for theft to occur by locking up valuable items and by closely observing the child.

What if the above methods are ineffective, and the student does not express remorse, continues to steal, or has other behavioral problems?




• Follow the school guidelines.

• Contact the school administrator.

• Make sure the parent is aware of the concern.

• Involve the school counselor or school psychologist who can help the child learn appropriate ways of behaving.. An evaluation by a child psychiatrist may be necessary.


Habitual stealing in children and youth is a major social problem because it can lead to other unlawful behaviors. However, if the underlying problems of frequent offenders can be addressed at an early age, further anti-social behaviors will be less likely to occur. Teachers have a responsibility to deal constructively with the child who steals, to follow the school rules regarding theft, and to seek assistance from other professionals when considered necessary.

13/11/2014

Why do children steal?

Children develop stealing habits from a pretty young age. Their little fingers tend to be sticky, allowing foreign objects to mysteriously find their way into their little pockets. 

Within the school, a lot of teachers have many personal encounters with children who exhibit stealing habits as it does happen frequently.


Before complaining that you are harboring a little thief in your house, take a moment to tell us why you think children steal. 

....and together we will discover how to handle this common problem. Yes, it is common! 

Let's talk.....

08/11/2014

How to Help Your Child Build Strong Comprehension Skills - Parents

Comprehension is the ability to understand and interprete what is read. For your child to be able to accurately understand written material, he/she needs to be able to:
a. decode what they read
b. make connections between what they read and what they already know; and
c. think deeply about what they have read.
d. draw reasonable inferences and facts from the text.

A sizable part of comprehension is having a sufficient vocabulary, or knowing the meanings of enough words (which can be developed too).
Readers who have strong comprehension skills are able to draw conclusions about what they have read. They can identify:
● what is important
● what is a fact
● what caused an event to happen
● which characters are funny.
● what the moral of the story is if any
So, comprehension involves combining reading with thinking and reasoning.

Here are some tips to help you identify that your child is having difficulty in comprehension.  
● Not able to summarize a passage or a book.
● They might be able to tell you what happened in a story, but can't explain why events went the way they did.
● Can't explain what a character's thoughts or feelings might have been.
● He/She doesn't link events in a book to similar events from another book or from real life.

What can you do to help
★ Hold a conversation and discuss what your child has read. Ask your child probing questions about the book and connect the events to his or her own life. For example, say "I wonder why that girl did that?" or "How do you think he felt? Why?" and "So, what lesson can we learn here?".
★ Help your child make connections between what he or she reads and similar experiences he has felt, saw in a movie, or read in another book.
★ Help your child monitor his or her understanding. Teach her to continually ask herself whether she understands what she's reading.

Take a moment to read the text in the picture to help with an important skill in comprehension - identifying the main idea. 
★ Help your child go back to the text to support his or her answers.
★ Discuss the meanings of unknown words, both those he reads and those he hears. To help them make meaning of more words or increase vocabulary, use those words in your regular discusions outside school work too. Another helpful activity is to make them read a lot...books of their own interests. 
★ Read material in short sections, making sure your child understands each step of the way.
★ Discuss what your child has learned from reading informational text such as a science or social studies book.
Find a schedule that works for you and your child and regularly practice all the above and more.

For more engaging reading tips and resources, visit www.readingrockets.org 

Credits- readingrockets.org


01/11/2014

#Ebola Free as Literacy Saves the Day


What does it mean to be literate today? Today, literacy includes developing the skills to navigate digital media, exploring ideas from global sources, searching for answers using information given by experts and the ability to sift through many streams of information to suit one's purpose whether social, cultural or academic. The primary sense of 'literacy' represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning and critical interpretation of a written, printed or electronic text.

I'd like you to be aware that the Ebola virus was contracted by people who were literate. 

I have listened and read in earnest, the many theories postulated as to how Nigeria was able to control and/or contain the #EbolaVirus. It continues to be surprising, how the most important factor/s that influenced our 'success', mostly never gets mentioned on tables of discussions globally.

This text gives some insight - 'Nigeria has more doctors and hospitals per person than most African countries. It also has teams in place to investigate outbreaks of diseases like cholera and Lassa fever. These tools were simply redirected. A command centre financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fight polio was used to co-ordinate the Ebola response. Experts from America’s Centres for Disease Control (CDC) were already training 100 Nigerian doctors in epidemiology, so 40 of them led the process of tracing Sawyer’s contacts. The government worked with airlines to find people whom he could have infected. Then health workers repeatedly took the temperature of nearly 900 possible contacts, paying them more than 18,500 visits in total.' Read more here .

My surprise lies mostly in how little, people know about our systems and cultural inclinations, in spite of the numerous findings and research done in this case. Most fail to dissect the importance of our sociocultural 'goings-on' in controlling the spread of the virus vis-a-vis the vast number of 'literate' people surrounding the part of Nigeria (Lagos state) where the index #Ebola case was recorded. 

Let's explain.

1. Ebola came into Lagos state, the state with the highest number of literate people in Nigeria, a multicultural and diverse state with a high number of upwardly mobile people. If by some streak of bad luck, the virus began to spread in one of our remote villages in Nigeria, I'm afraid the story would be markedly different today. Certainly, before any information gets to authorities, the virus might have spread beyond some control. Simply because, there would have been a great sense of denial about the viciousness of the virus as seen in other countries, somewhat due to the apparent little knowledge about its deadly and highly infectious nature in those remote areas.


2. We have a culture of respect for authority. In most situations, many will give up some human right to adhere to instructions given as it comes from either traditional, religious or governmental authorities. So when the government demanded for a certain number of people to stay quarantined at home, it is common knowledge that most would have adhered. Yet, we recorded a few people who escaped surveillance as in the case Mr Olu-Ibukun Koye, the man who fled to Port Harcourt to seek help from an assuming Dr. Samuel Enemuo..(read about it here). 

In all this, because we were dealing with 'literate' #ebola victims in Nigeria, again we were able to save the day. The seeming culture of respect for authority would have brought little results if it were not for these literate individuals. Yet, our sociocultural convictions thrived as most people did their best to adhere to the state government's instructions that were widely publicized; while many included some disturbing actions that were not from the authorities e.g. the 'hot salt-water bath'. One wonders!
  

The global call for every country to do more to increase the level of literacy in our communities, villages, towns, cities and all over the country is a duty all must share in.... (click International Literacy Day to read more).

The day was saved with #Ebola and we are free for now. Will the day be saved for our large number of unskilled and illiterate hands, which by default makes up Nigeria? Time to think global, but act local.

17/10/2014

11 Reasons Not to Ban Chewing Gum From Your Class (Hint: It's an Awesome Tool for Exploration!)



I read this and immediately thought to share with you. What a fun and interesting use of one of the things teachers mostly dislike seeing with their students. I love it!



Explore bubble-gum blowing by tying it in with academic subject areas!



Graphing
Create a graph that shows how many students can blow bubbles vs. how many students cannot. Students who know how to blow bubbles can write a how-to to help peers learn the skill of bubble making. Students who have difficulty can write about how they think a bubble is made.

Geometry/3-D Solids
Students examine the shape of the gum out of the wrapper (cylinder or rectangular prism, depending on the brand). They compare the shape of the gum pre-chewed to making a bubble (sphere).

Measuring
Instruct students to measure the length of the gum before and after being chewed. Have kids stretch their chewed gum out as far as they can and lay it on a piece of wax paper (make sure they have clean hands!). How long can they stretch it? Then, have each student blow a bubble and measure the diameter of it. Once they find the diameter, have them figure out the circumference of their bubbles.

Mean, Median, Mode and Range
List the students' circumference measurements on the board and have them figure out the mean, median, mode and range using the numbers listed.

States of Matter
solid - gum out of wrapper
liquid - saliva when chewed
gas - blowing a bubble
solid - chewed gum

Ask kids if they think the gum underwent a physical or chemical change.
(Answer: There was a physical change. Nothing new was created. Matter wasn't destroyed.)

Next, have them write about how their gum physically changed (density, color and temperature).

What made the gum get soft? Was it the saliva? Have kids place their chewed gum in ice water (or take a drink of ice water). They will notice that the gum will get hard. Does temperature play a role?

Mass
Predict: Will unchewed, chewed and chewed gum exposed to water have the same mass?

Lay the gum on a square of wax paper and compare it to a piece of unchewed gum. Then, weigh the gum that has been chewed and exposed to cold water. Did they all weigh the same?

Figurative Language
Have students describe bubble gum by using a simile or a metaphor.

Writing
Have kids invent a new flavor of gum! Then, have them write a recipe for their bubble gum. What will they call their gum?

Design
Have students design a three-dimensional shape for the gum. Can they figure out the volume? Have the students design a logo and packaging. What is the area and perimeter of their gum's wrapper? How many pieces of gum does their main packaging hold? Where can you buy it?

Economics
How much will their bubble gum cost? Have the students create math problems, using the cost of their gum, to figure out how much money they would make depending on how many packs are sold.

History - Extra Credit
Students who research who invented gum and the art of bubble making get extra credit points!

Thank you Erin! {}
Erin Bittman is a student at the University of Cincinnati. She will be a student teacher in a multi-grade classroom in the fall (second and third grades). Check out her blog E Is for Explore!


05/10/2014

Celebrate! World Teachers' Day 2014 : Invest in the Future, Invest in Teachers


Today, the world celebrates teachers as the future investment. In our usual manner, we dedicate a poem to all teachers around the world; especially to those in Nigeria working in conflict areas and most who are working with very limited resources. We celebrate  you.



If I could teach you, Teacher

If I could teach you, teacher,
I'd teach you how much more you have accomplished than you think you have.

I'd show you the seeds you planted years ago
that are now coming into bloom.

I'd reveal to you the young minds that have expanded under your care,
the hearts that are serving others because they had you as a role model.

If I could teach you, teacher,
I'd show you the positive effect you have had on me and my life.

Your homework is to know your value to the world,
to acknowledge it, to believe it.
Thank you, teacher.


By Joanna Fuchs



Teachers are an investment for the future of countries. What today’s children will face in adult life cannot be predicted and so the teachers of today and tomorrow need the skills, knowledge and support that will enable them to meet the diverse learning needs of every girl and boy.

This year on 5 October , we celebrate the 20th anniversary of World Teachers’ Day. The day commemorates the adoption of the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the status of teachers in 1966. This recommendation is morally binding for all countries.


In many countries, the quality of education is undermined by a deficit of teachers. 1.4 million teachers are missing in classrooms – and they are needed to achieve universal primary education (UPE) by 2015, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

Added to the challenge of numbers is one of quality: all too often, teachers work without resources or proper training. The stakes are high, because we face today a global learning crisis, with 250 million children not acquiring basic skills of reading and writing.

As countries accelerate towards 2015 and the new development agenda is shaped, it is essential that teachers remain a priority.