Sunday, 19 September 2010


I just read a brief article in Educational Leadership about a school in New Zealand that is encouraging students to include household chores as part of their homework alloted time. Part of the reasoning is that it teaches children about the importance of participating and contributing (part of the NZ National Curriculum) rather than isolating children from their family life as they work on their assigned homework.

The idea prompted me to think that there are elements of the PYP curriculum that we often neglect when we send out homework, but if we really believe in the philosophy and IB mission, we maybe should be looking at how we can balance homework in terms of the essential elements.

Following that line of thinking, we expect student input into the units of inquiry, we want students to be engaged, active participants in the unit. Do we contradict ourselves when we then assign homework without student input?

Educational Leadership included another excellent piece on homework. See the link:
Look inside >
10 11
Five Hallmarks of Good Homework

or here:

Monday, 6 September 2010

Save the world .. Look after "Nori"

Here's a bit of silliness!
Picture this: Stationery supplies late, no glue sticks, frustrated teachers desperately waiting for supplies of one of the most environmentally unfriendly products ever used to produce an eco-poster! The wretched glue stick (or nori in Japanese)

At last the long awaited supplies arrive. One per child and that's it until January!

Friday's assembly needed to get across the message that we REALLY need to look after this resource.

Introducing Nori, the endangered species that lives in little colonies in various schools but had altogether disappeared from our school. A rare species indeed that never reproduces. A strange species that has a hat much as a turtle has a shell; should that hat be left off the poor stricken creature will simply dry up and die. A delicate, shy species that needs special care as it likes to hide away in dark corners where no-one can find it, but if looked after with tenderness and care, will be a willing little helper.

Would they like to see the creature?? 'Oh yes,' nod the children (and some bamboozled teachers).

Slowly, cautiously, from out of the folds of its little home, peeps the new glue stick, complete with little beady eyes and a broad smile! Much hilarity later, children assured me that their nori had smiled at them as they put the hats back on. Other teachers are going to have the children build little special 'nori' beds for their tables.

I still think the use of bottles of glue and brushes is much more environmentally responsible, but at least if the nori are being looked after properly, I can ease my conscience somewhat!