Following on from the success of the “Working Without Walls” project I have done with previous classes, the second half of last year saw skills being shared with colleagues throughout school in shared planning/shared teaching sessions – CPD that I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed being involved in and which has seen the learning platform being increasingly used for learning throughout the school.
So it’s time to look at some ways in which we can move the project forward as a whole school – and so starts a year which I think is going to be enormously exciting for us! If you’ve been following my tweets recently, you will know that I am getting very excited about this weekend because I am off for an e-twinning workshop.
e-twinning is a great opportunity to work with other schools from around Europe in collaborative projects and one reason I am particularly looking forward to the trip is the opportunity to establish lasting relationships with other teachers which will lead to sustainable, planned collaborations. Continue reading “International Collaboration in Education”
Do you ever have the feeling that you are not making any progress with your child´s education? It´s like you’ve been trying some etiquette rules (could be as simple as saying please and thank you) or make her clean her room, for instance.
Well, let me tell you one thing: there is no such thing as not making any progress with a child.
Do you know why? Because children are always learning and they are always picking up on things, so even if you feel stagnated, they are not. And we also tend to let simple achievements pass by when in fact they are tremendous in the long run.
Let me give you a practical example. My daughter is 3 years old, I’ve been telling her to go and help herself with water for months (years, I can barely tell), I let the water easily accessible for her. Well, one day she just helped herself and from then on she´s been quite independent in that field.
In The Gypsy Mama’s Guide to Real Traveling with Kids, you can find advice on how to make your travels safe and fun with kids from all ages. The two authors (Jenn Miller and Keri Wellman) have experience in traveling with kids from the early months to teenagers, they have four children each.
I get asked questions about traveling with children all the time, and I have many answers, but this is a complete book on the topic, I highly suggest it. This is an affiliate link, but I really think it can help many families to make a dream trip happen.
I really loved the examples of games to play at home before getting on the road, like the ones about safety rules, airport and train security or tips on how to help your baby nap on the road. The two families were doing all kind of games, making it all fun for the children.
There are tips from packing (try the one bag rule), with lists of what they bring, healthcare options and emergency care conducts, besides what to do when a child is having a tantrum on a plane or how to work up the guts to let your teenager travel alone for the first time.
A 7-year old neighbor came to play in our house. My 5-year old and the boy played a little and then drew a little. Luísa was very protective of her pencils. She wanted to grab whatever he was using. The thing scaled up and she finally bit the boy in his arm.
When I heard the boy crying, I attended him immediately. I asked him if he wanted some water, offered him ice, which he accepted and empathized with him: ¨I’m sorry, that must really hurt¨. He was very upset. Luísa wouldn’t answer to anything I asked. She didn’t want to help care for the boy. Soon enough though, they were playing again.
A little later, his mom came and as he went to tell her what happened he got emotional again and started crying. His mom reacted with: ¨Luísa, why are you so mean?¨ and ¨I heard you like to bite, who was it that you bit before?¨
I felt really bad. I didn’t want Luísa to be labeled and we had taken care of what happened. But I understand the boy getting emotional again, and his mother having an emotional reaction. And I was feeling very disappointed that Luísa didn’t want to help the boy. After they left, I was insisting that she made a picture to the boy to say she was sorry. She didn’t seem sorry at all, she wasn’t doing it.
Not too long ago, I was not aware of unschooling or mindful parenting. Now I understand why they go together and will always attract interested parents in organic living and getting out there in the world to see it by themselves (aka traveling).
I found Tara Wagner’s blog The Organic Sister a few months back and it made all of this much more clear to me. It became a great source to find other blogs and writers on these subjects too.
I also had a few coaching sessions with Tara that really helped me to handle better my relationship with my daughter. She has a special way of addressing people´s doubts and concerns.
I´m happy to have Tara talk a bit about these things herself here on Tripping Mom, so let´s get to it.
Can you tell Tripping Mom readers a bit about what your blog/life is about?
Tara: We’re a family of three, living life authentically and on our own terms. We travel full-time, learn without school, and work in more unconventional ways. My son, Zeb, is 11 and learns at his own pace by following his passions. My husband, Justin, is a jack-of-all-trades and I am a writer and blogger, photographer and unschooling and mindful parenting coach.
How can you describe unschooling and mindful parenting?
Interactive Writing is a Kindergarten-Grade 2 teaching/learning activity that promotes a strong reading/writing connection.
It helps children who are learning to read and increases their learning to write. As children work through the text, their own writing helps lay the foundation of understanding necessary for successful beginning reading.
Interactive writing promotes the “building up processes” and the “breaking down processes” Marie Clay described. Interactive Writing promotes the reading/writing relationship for the following reasons:
For me, family is everything. I live, and would die, for my family. Included in this are some incredibly close friends who have become de facto family members. But everyone’s version of family is different. My parents (and D’s parents) will celebrate their 34th wedding anniversaries this year. This dynamic and the fact that my parents are still married definitely impacts our relationship.
I see nothing wrong or weird that my immediate family (parents, spouse, two siblings) know exactly how much each other makes (our siblings … not our parent’s income!). It’s totally normal to me that my parents know how much educational debt I have. And I think it’s a sign of a strong family but I understand not everyone is the same. Some time ago I was really busy with personality quizzes and job quizzes.
But some people would not agree. I have a friend that finds it so strange that we all know everyone’s financial information. Acquaintances who don’t think it’s “appropriate” to ask a daughter how much she spent on her house.
Not only do I plan to tell my parents how much I pay for my house, if possible I want them to help me pick out a good house!
As a child, I had several hated household responsibilities. Scooping up the dog shit in the backyard and making my bed (which I still hate doing) topped the list, and cleaning out the bird cage? Hated it.
But right up there with all of those loathsome chores was waking my mom up from an afternoon nap, something I never looked forward to.
My mom just didn’t take a nap, quote unquote. She fell into a mini-coma. Waking her up was not unlike rousing a bear out of hibernation – she got a tad bit vicious when I’d try.
I used to poke her in the stomach a few times and then bolt, and she’d sit on the edge of her bed, smoke a cigarette and stare into space for a while before ambling downstairs to smoke and stare some more.
Julia takes after my mom in this particular area and one afternoon last week, she woke up crabby and grumpy, like a little bear.
I was beyond thrilled when my older daughter got into the charter school of our choice. This particular school has been featured on Oprah, 60 Minutes, PBS, and countless articles as a pillar of what the best of charter schools can offer.
Unlike public schools, this school had longer hours. Instead of an 8-2 day, my daughter was in school from 7:25 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. While this sounds like a lot for a 5th grader, it allowed more time in the class for teachers to work with the students, she had Art, P.E., Technology, and Music as part of her school time (instead of carting kids around to after-school programs), and even time for recess and lunch.
I fell in love with the school on the very first day. Their rules were strict, but the teachers and the principal were extremely compassionate and positive. They believed in every student’s ability to succeed.
My daughter went from an average student to a straight A student. After she got used to having 2 hours of homework a night, she rarely needed help (but knew it was just a phone call away, as the teachers were required to be available by cell until 8 pm). Instead of a PTA, we had breakfast with the Principal one Saturday a month. Everyone contributed, and we all had an equal voice. We could ask any and every question, and through those meetings, new concepts were implemented. For example, after the Principal heard many parents voice their concerns, he included information on the weekly newsletter about cognitive and physical development at our student’s age. I had never before felt like I had such a partner in my child’s education.
Magnet Schools began to be widely implemented in the mid-1970’s as a political tool. At the time, public schools were trying to desegregate to comply with a Supreme Court ruling, but found parents resistant to sending children outside their normal school zone. Educators realized that if they created superior, specialized schools, students would volunteer to go out of zone for a better education in their field of interest.
Magnet schools are open to any child within the school district, though not all school districts offer magnet programs. Parents have to apply, and children are chosen based on criteria set by the school. Up until 2007, race was usually a component in the selection criteria, however, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court reversed their decision on mandatory desegregation, so in most cases, race is no longer a consideration.
Magnet schools get the same amount of district funding as regular schools and also qualify for special federal funding, as well. On average, magnet schools spend about $200 more per student. Performance wise, students tend to do better academically in magnets than their counterparts in regular schools, with higher graduation rates.