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Magazine Issue 5: Supporting Parents
November 2010

This month: Thoughts about Supporting Parents

Article: Supporting Parents
New Resources
Additional Resources
Wise Words

This Month's Article:

Supporting Parents

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Supporting Parents An Article offering thoughts, ideas and resources for supporting parents.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Categories: Article, Professional Development, Other Subject, Early Years, Infant, Junior

Tags: Parents Childhood
A Good Enough Parent

The best advice I ever found on bringing up my two fantastic children came from Bruno Bettelhiem's book, "A Good Enough Parent". This inspiring and somewhat controversial psychologist said, "...to be a good enough parent one must be able to feel secure in one's parenthood, and one's relation to one's child...the security of the parent about being a parent will eventually become the source of the child's feeling secure about himself". Bettelhiem argued that parents should not live totally by the word of experts, theorists and psychologists. Instead they should trust themselves to make the right parenting choices. Becoming a good enough parent is about becoming more yourself; it's about accepting mistakes as chances to learn and successes as reasons to celebrate; and it's as much about discovering who you are as it is about getting to know your child.

Ask the Experts

There are some fine theories and some excellent ideas on the parenting book shelves and on TV Super Nanny shows. But it's only when the child-rearing experts quieten down a little that the parent's voice can be heard. And this voice is a very important sound when it comes to the child's learning. When teachers accept that parents are the true experts in the subject of 'my child' then all sorts of possibilities open up, not least the speed with which they can get to know their pupils and begin to teach them effectively.

The Parent-Teacher & The Teacher-Parent

Teachers legally assume the role in loco parentis - in the place of the parent. Officially it doesn't work the other way round (in loco doctoris) but to varying degrees parents and carers do help their children learn. We intuitively sing to our infants; we take our kids swimming; parents help with homework, buy learning resources, support schools and by-and-large want the best for their offspring. Of course some parents and carers are unwilling or unable to do this but an effective working relationship with parents is to be valued and sought.

Parents at School

One blocker to fostering teacher-parent relationships can be a parent's own experience of school. If these memories are less than perfect then showing up at parents' evening can be a step too far. When I run parents' workshops the attendance always reflects two things: parents' attitudes to school and the extent to which the school has been successful in getting them over their fears and through the door. I once heard of a school with a curious policy for parental engagement. It consisted of a small picket fence and a padlocked gate that opened briefly at the start and end of each day. The more athletic parents had no difficulty leaping over, but the barrier was of course symbolic rather than pragmatic. It said, "Stay away from the classrooms; have 'em back when we're done, and by the way spellings this Friday". Formal requests to see teachers were encouraged and valued, however we all know that a quick and quiet word at the classroom door can nip big problems in the bud. Take a leaf out of my friend Caroline's book. As head teacher in her new school, one of her top priorities is to have a cup of tea with every parent within the first term. The payback is immense.

Wild, Wholesome, Rounded Kids

Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks write books bursting with WOW! ideas. They capture a rich vision for childhood and offer numerous practical ways to get kids outside, engaged with learning, making stuff and having fun. If I set up my own school, their books will inspire the curriculum. They both share a love of exploring wild places, and a belief in giving children and young people the freedom to enjoy outdoor adventures. Jo started her career in educational psychology before becoming a commercial photographer and Fiona has experience in environmental education, but it is the shared adventures with families and friends that inspired them to develop a series of books packed with ideas for games, toys and crafts encouraging more children, young people and families to venture outside. Together they have written Nature’s Playground, Go Wild, Make it Wild and  Run Wild where they rise to the challenge of enticing children and teenagers of all ages off the sofa, away from their virtual worlds and into the great outdoors. Make a cricket bat, a clay monster, an ice lantern or do some wild camping. Encourage them to explore their limits, take measured risks and learn new skills. They believe experiences such as these can help all young people become better equipped to make their own way in the world, to become healthier, well-balanced adults with a greater respect for the natural world.

Speak the Same Language

My friend Tom Hoerr is a world-class collegial school leader. His success rests in part on highly effective relationships with parents. By regular email he not only informs parents of important school dates and events, but includes and involves them in the school's unique pedagogy around Multiple Intelligences and collegiality. Parents, teachers and pupils therefore have a common language of learning and get a real head-start when it comes to parents' evenings, discussing learning options or tackling a problem in the classroom. Tom tells me that using MI also helps bring parents into the fold because it enables them to work with the school in capitalizing on their child’s strengths. We’ve begun using an MI Profile this year – it will be completed by parents, students, and teachers – as a tool to communicate about growth. New City School

New Resources:

Shape ID Thinking is a clever way to represent lots of characteristics/multiple parameters in one simple diagram. What shape is an apple really when you compare its characteristics to an egg?
A tool to condense information and compare objects and ideas.

Shape ID Thinking

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Shape ID Thinking A visual Thinking Skills Tool which can help pupils develop ways to express ideas visually, and extend their analytical skills.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Visual Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Secondary

Tags: Data Infographic Visual Thinking
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Shape ID Powerpoint

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Shape ID Powerpoint A Thinking Tool Template in Powerpoint, for lesson preparation of Shape ID activities.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Visual Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Secondary

Tags: Data Infographic Visual Thinking
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

This month the fifth installment of 190 Ways to Start a Lesson.
Starters 91-118 involve reflection on the Skills, Attitudes and Values of learning. 
Next time,Starters 119-140, Skills, Attitudes and Values Starters
.
(May 14: The Ebook is no longer available in parts)

190 Ways To Start A Lesson

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190 Ways To Start A Lesson An EBook featuring over 190 diverse ways to begin a lesson. Arranged into 10 sections you'll find a host of simple methods for engaging pupils with their thinking and learning.

Categories: Book & EBook, Teaching & Learning, Curriculum, Any Subject, Educators

Tags: Lesson Starters
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Additional Resources:

Updated Smart Thinking Skills Tools:

Moving into 2005 now with our revamped archive thinking tools:

OXO Thinking

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OXO Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool that adapts noughts and crosses/tic-tac-toe to make links within subject content.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Creative Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Games Connections
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Pieces Thinking

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Pieces Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool to develop the basics of analytical thinking.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Analytical Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Analysis
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Ripple Thinking

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Ripple Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool to develop analytical and enquiry thinking.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Analytical Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Analysis
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Thinking Classroom Archive:

Here is a selection of resources to encourage high quality relationships with parents and to support them in their parenting:

MI Parenting

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MI Parenting A Prompt Sheet for parents to help them engage their children more effectively through the different intelligences.

Categories: Other Resources, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, All Ages

Tags: Parents Multiple Intelligences
Free Standard Member Resource: Login or Join for Free to access this resource and others.

Rainy Day Cards

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Rainy Day Cards A Set of Cards inspired by the multiple intelligences which provides a variety of creative activities for a rainy day.

Categories: Other Resources, Creativity, Infant, Junior, Multiple Intelligences, Other Subject

Tags: Holiday Creativity Parents Multiple Intelligences
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Sunny Day Cards

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Sunny Day Cards Set of Cards inspired by the multiple intelligences which provides a variety of creative activities for a sunny day 

Categories: Other Resources, Creativity, Infant, Junior, Multiple Intelligences, Other Subject

Tags: Holiday Creativity Parents Multiple Intelligences
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

MI Parents' Reflection Profile

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MI Parents Reflection Profile A short series of Questions to help parents think about their child's intelligences strengths without needing a lengthy profile.

Categories: Other Resources, Multiple Intelligences, Any Subject, Early Years, Infant, Junior

Tags: Multiple Intelligences Parents
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

MI Parents' Meeting

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MI Parents Meeting A Planner to help teachers discover a child's MI profile from parents during a short meeting.

Categories: Other Resources, Multiple Intelligences, Any Subject, Early Years, Infant, Junior

Tags: Multiple Intelligences Parents
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

MI Spellings

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MI Spellings A Spelling Ideas Sheet making suggestions for using the different intelligences when learning to spell new words and when consolidating existing ones.

Categories: Other Resources, Multiple Intelligences, English, Early Years, Infant

Tags: Spellings Multiple Intelligences Active Learning
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Books:

Make it Wild!: 101 Things to Make and Do Outdoors
by Fiona Danks & Jo Schofield

Make it Wild!: 101 Things to Make and Do Outdoors<br>by Fiona Danks & Jo Schofield Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield's second book - bursting with rich and diverse ways to get kids outside, learning, making and having fun KS1-4.

Available from Amazon

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Suggested Books, Creativity

Tags: Outdoor Learning Art DT

Go Wild!: 101 Things To Do Outdoors Before You Grow Up
by Fiona Danks & Jo Schofield

Go Wild!: 101 Things To Do Outdoors Before You Grow Up <br>by Fiona Danks & Jo Schofield Fiona Danks & Jo Schofield getting back to what childhood used to be about - in a 21st C way! KS 1-4.

Available from Amazon

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Suggested Books, Skills Based Learning

Tags: Outdoor Learning

Thinking Visual Lesson Starters for IWB:

Want to see the Teachers' Toolbox in action?

clpPick Me lesson starter clip

Storytime lesson starter clip

Hurstbourne Tarrant CofE Primary, Hants.

Upgrade to Teacher Premium Membership full access to all 5 starters for 12 months
Odd One Out, Links, Pick Me, Great Ideas, Storytime: Engage minds and motivate thinkers
Login and go to Teachers' Toolbox for access.

Wise Words:

"Parenting is an impossible job at any age."
Harrison Ford

Next month we think about... Special Educational Needs