Dec 112015

As a grandparent do you wonder about how to keep up with your grandchildren and their ability to use technology?

My 21 month old granddaughter was recently shown a paper photograph and immediately tried to scroll it to see the next photo.  She has only been shown photos on mobile phones or tablets.  This made me think about how the younger generation are so used to using technology that they don’t even have to stop to think about it.

Parents and Grandparents might find this article helpful – Family Time with Apps: A Guide to Using Apps with your kids.

Common Sense Media Website has lots of information about apps and games for children.  I liked the following one which describes apps where children can try being a coder, writer, musician, artist or director.

The Modern Kids’ Guide to Crafting, Coding, Composing, and More

and reviews of educational apps and games.

Educational Apps and Games

Most of all it is about spending time with the children whether that is reading a story or getting involved in a game on the tablet.  You can extend their experience by asking questions or getting them to show you how it works.




Dec 092015


Most of the teachers I have known are fearless, willing to try creative ideas to engage children in their learning.  In my time I have walked through the wardrobe in the Lion, the witch and the wardrobe.  I have been frozen in a spell, dressed up as the cat in the hat, worn the school uniform and blacked out my teeth.

In fact I was so successful at disguise that the year I dressed up as an old lady, I had my class believing I was my own grandmother!

What crazy things have you done in the name of education?

 Posted by at 6:50 pm
Dec 092015

Can you remember sitting patiently waiting on your name being called out from the register?  What a waste of good learning time.

We decided to try Bright Start in our school after a teacher had worked in the Nursery and found that the children there came in and self registered before going on to play.  So we trialled it first within her Primary 1 classroom.

When the children came into the classroom they registered on the Smart Board and put up their lunch option.  Then they went to areas within the classroom to do activities.  During this time the teacher could check in with the children.  One of the benefits we found was that when Bright Start ended the children were ready to learn.  For children with difficult home circumstances Bright Start gave them the chance to switch off from home and get ready for the school day.

Bright Start was started in all classes and I feel that it benefited the children to have an active start to their day.  During this time children were allowed to visit their chosen mentor for a check-in.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm
Dec 092015

When my own children were younger we always had a real Christmas tree and would bake cookies to hang on it.  Being the only house in the neighbourhood with a real fire we were the place to come to send our letters to Santa.  Children would visit and post their letters “up the lum” (chimney) to Santa then they would get a cookie from the tree.  I loved this tradition and the excitement on the children’s faces.  Sadly I don’t have a chimney any more but I still like to keep some traditions at Christmas. What do you like to do?

 Posted by at 3:38 pm
Dec 022015

Have you watched the TED talk Listening to shame by Brene Brown? It made me reflect on the effect shaming has on children.  How often do we react to the behaviour and shame the child rather than supporting the child to see that their behaviour is unacceptable whilst supporting them on how to change it? Rebecca Eanes wrote an article on the Creative child website called The Toxic effects of shaming children.  In this she suggests alternatives to shaming.

Linking this to school I would always encourage the person involved to feel calm before tackling an incident.  If you respond when still angry then you are likely to escalate the situation.  I would talk to the child about the consequences of their behaviour and give them time to think about how they could solve the situation.

This gives the child time to calm down and be better placed to see why their behaviour is a problem.  If the child decides they need to apologise for their behaviour make sure the person involved is calm and ready to accept the apology.  I know how hard it can be for some children to accept that their behaviour is a problem and it can be a huge step forward for them to see this and the last thing you want to do is have the person shouting about the incident when the child apologises because they haven’t calmed down yet.


 Posted by at 2:18 pm
Dec 022015

I read an interesting article Why my buggy matters: Neuroscience on the street by Dr. M. Suzanne Zeedyk, University of Dundee 2011.  The article discusses the designs of buggies – should it face the parent or face away. I know that when my own children were young it was prams and they always faced the parent.  As a grandparent I love the interaction with my grandchildren when out walking and I constantly chat to them in the buggy.  I find that when they are facing away I am constantly peaking round to see they are okay and find I don’t chat nearly as much as when they are facing me.

The article raises some interesting points and connects these to brain development.  It is worth a read





 Posted by at 12:43 pm