Mocks

Mocks.

That is the word most students in Junior and Leaving Certificate will hear upon returning to school yesterday. The preparation exam, the trial exam, the practice exams – all phrases used to describe the upcoming mocks.

It is a time for students to prepare and practice the study and work they have been doing over the past two or three years (depending on their exams). What students need to realise is these set of exams are equally as important as the JC and LC. They will offer students a chance to practice and time themselves doing the questions and subjects they either love or dread.

However, this is also a time of great anxiety for students. Yesterday, the@IrishTimes released an interesting article on how some of the best behaved students are actually covering their anxiety. To combat this, here a are a few tips for students in the run up to the mocks and the time of doing the mocks.

  1. Know your timetable.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep!
  3. Make sure you have breakfast. If breakfast is something that is skipped (my students or teachers) try smoothies. You can customise them and pack them full of vitamins which will boost your immune system, espically vital with the flu and weather at this time of year!
  4. Make a checklist for each subject. For example, Junior Certificate CSPE – Students are advised to bring some colouring pencils if they plan on tackling the poster questions.
  5. Keep hydrated – bring a bottle of water!
  6. Make sure you have enough pens!
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Stress?

Well worth clicking on!

11 Scary Statistics About Stress and What to do About It [Infographic]

 

 

Look up?

 

In today’s world we are completely immersed in technology. Recently, while reviewing Web 2.0 tools and looking at how to incorporate new ideas into the classroom. For example I used the star wars and arcade generator off classtools.net. Though these web 2.0 tools are marvelous to use and explore it’s easy to forget how immersed in technology we are becoming.

It’s sometimes easy to forget to look up at the world around you. One prime example of people forgetting to look up at the world around us is at the Bus stop.

 

While we stand at the bus stop we are all culprits of having our phones out and checking our phones for updates and news.

Though I see the benefit of the being immersed in technology I think it’s wise to remind ourselves of how to put away technology, even for a brief period in time.

 

 

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

book judge

Recently, the topic of don’t judge a book by it’s cover seems to be very topical.

Everywhere we turn in today’s world we are judging how much people have and who they are friends with. This is especially true in schools when the latest phone or trend comes out. Sometimes students can feel very judged and often feel misheard as well by their fellow peers.

Thus I feel it’s important to mention in class that each students voice and reaction is important and should be expressed in the classroom.

music

One good example is one class were asked recently to bring in music and songs close to them. There was a huge variety of music chosen and shared within the class. However, one student in particular was reluctant to share for fear her peers would ridicule her due to her taste of music. As teachers we have to embrace all differences in the class and encourage students to be comfortable within the classroom environment.

Top ways to create a safe space in a classroom:

  • Display students work in the classroom
  • Admit when you don’t know something (within reason)
  • Read with your students
  • Follow through with Consequences
  • Smile often
  • Open the door at the end of class
  • Music feeds the soul

 

Mental Health Week

While in class today – I was trying to encourage Mental Health Week and positivity in the Classroom through simple ideas.

One such idea was simply asking students to rate their homework and then simply giving themselves a smiley face or a love heart beside their work and a huge tick on the margin of their copies for trying their best .  The idea worked well as the students responded very positively to the small change in the usual homework feedback.

However, the students shocked reactions and enthusiasm  to this simple tasks makes me wonder when correcting homework are we so focused on the answers and responses that we fail to see the amount of work that they put into the homework?

The students response to the positive feedback has sparked my interest in regards to what are the implications of positive feedback on homework. What have scholars said?

I’m hoping to research this throughout the week and update by the end of the week. Mini research project!

If anyone has ideas or thoughts on the topic or wants to add to please do!


Update currently trawling through peer reviewed journals and shocked by the amount of research and varying opinions!

Can’t wait to share these findings and research!


Mental health Week

mental health

Even though Mental Health Week was a few weeks ago – this week is Mental Health Week in school! Thus I hope to be giving daily updates as to the #littlethings we will be doing to improve mental health among students and staff!

Today for example we will be doing a Pop Up Cafe!


This should be of great interest to students and staff alike – students and staff will have a chance to interact outside of the classroom yet still in the school environment.

mental health2

Sometimes it’s difficult to talk to each student individually in class, even when we make an effort to talk to each student. Looking at the image on the left, students can feel isolated and left out of classes if they feel they aren’t being heard or overshadowed by others in the classroom.

Thus the Pop Up Cafe is a great way to overcome this!

Will update how it goes this evening!

Winter foods

winterr

Today 2pm looked like 11pm. Pitch black darkness.

Winter is defiantly here – the little bit of Indian Summer we had is well and truly over now.

However, how do you keep healthy during these cold darkening months?

Food plays a huge part of our lives – especially when in school. Teachers and students alike are in school usually from half eight in the morning until four or five in the evening depending on how long it takes to return home thus food is important!


Healthy Foods to eat during winter!

greens

Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens, such as kale, chard and collards, thrive in the chill of winter when the rest of the produce section looks bleak. In fact, a frost can take away the bitterness of kale. These greens are particularly rich in vitamins A, C and K. Collards, mustard greens and escarole are also excellent sources of folate, important for women of childbearing age.

citrus fruit

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits, including lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit, are at their juiciest in the wintertime and can add sunshine to the dreary winter. Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C—one medium orange delivers more than 100 percent of your daily dose.

wintersquash

Winter Squash

There are many varieties of winter squash—including butternut, acorn, delicata and spaghetti squash—and they are all excellent choices in the winter. One cup of cooked winter squash has few calories (around 80) but is high in both vitamin A (214 percent of the recommended daily value) and vitamin C (33 percent), as well as being a good source of vitamins B6 and K, potassium and folate.


Music

piano keys

Music, similar to twitter is another overlooked resource that could be used more frequently in classes. Earlier I blogged about maybe using five minutes at the end of class to listen to allow class to rest. Why not use music?

At the end of a long class – both teacher and student will be frazzled. Though this may sound disheartening frazzled is a good word to use as it generally means there has been great amount achieved. However, it can leave teachers and students alike feeling drained.

Music is excellent at allowing people to relax or energise.

Additionally it should not be overlooked the importance of study music for students that find it difficult to concentrate or even are subjected to a noisy study environment.

I have a long list of songs I think can help to relax and motivate a class or individual students – but each class is different thus I’ve found this helpful ten tips to help you pick which you think can help your class or you study. https://www.examtime.com/blog/music-for-studying/

If at this stage you’re still sceptical read through the results found by these researchers. It may make you want to give it a try.

A research team reports that early music training dramatically enhancing children’s abstract reasoning skills. These findings indicate that music uniquely enhances higher brain functions required for mathematics, chess, science and engineering.
(From Neurological Research, Feb 28, 1997; Frances Rauscher, Ph.D., Gordon Shaw, Ph.D, University of California, Irvine)

A two-year Swiss study involving 1,200 children in 50 schools showed that students involved in the music program were better at languages, learned to read more easily, showed an improved social climate, showed more enjoyment in school, and had a lower level of stress than non-music students.
(Weber, E.W., Spychiger, M. & Patry, J.L. (1993))


Academic Articles

  1. Neurological Research, Feb 28, 1997; Frances Rauscher, Ph.D., Gordon Shaw, Ph.D, University of California, Irvine
  2. Weber, E.W., Spychiger, M. & Patry, J.L. (1993)

Resource Time – Stress

zen doodleSomething a little different


Stress – it’s the one thing that everyone is under recently. It’s that time of the year were everyone is under the shadow of pending exams, assignments, planning for next year, parent-teacher meetings, and on a count down for mid-term.

stress free zone

How we all cope with stress is personal and individual. There is no right wrong or right way to deal with stress. However, one new trend in dealing with stress which has recently caught my attention is zen colouring. Reading through these two articles from the huffingtonpost (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/13/coloring-for-stress_n_5975832.html) and the telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-news/11413517/Adults-turn-to-colouring-books-to-fight-stress.html) highlights how important it is to find a technique which can calm the mind during stressful times.

If you do want to give zen colouring a try – highly recommended picking your favourite songs and listening to them while colouring in!


Links to where you can find samples or buy zen colouring books!