Here in Australia, the Australian Library and Information Association organizes NATIONAL SIMULTANEOUS STORYTIME, which involves participating school, public, early childhood centres and playgroups all reading the same book at the same time on May 21st. Last year, it was the hilarious book ‘The Wrong Book’ by Nick Bland. This year it is the ‘very funny also’ book ‘Too Many Elephants’ by Ursula Duborsarksy. She is a bit of a crazy lady and I came across this interview with her talking about the book. Gives you an incite into an important Australian author.
This first week back at school for 2014 has been full of meetings. One of these stands out …..
Associate Professor Lea Waters, a psychologist from Melbourne Uni., , who talked about positive psychology – what it was, how it can positively effect student’s and teacher’s learning as shown by research studies, and some examples of how to start off the school year putting some of this into practice.
I loved the Thankful Dance -which has a whole uplifting back story.
Another thing I learned was about a thing called ‘The Negative Bias’ which is everyone’s subconscious way of looking out for problems, dangers, negative outcomes (*Negative Bias is the instinctive behaviour of paying more attention to negatives rather than positives, for example, a student focusing only on one low grade in amongst several other excellent grades. quoted from a Newington College article where Waters gave a lecture). It made me realise that this way of looking at situations is hard wired into us but what we need to do is to counter this negativity with als paying equal attention to the positives, for example, what is there to be grateful for in this situation? Encouraging children to articulate little and big things in their lives brings this to our attention.
Another school Lea is involved with has used this story- the Thankful Coat – to kick start the routine of ,at the end of every kinder day, the children all sit in a circle and 3 children get a chance to put the Thankful Coat on and tell everyone 1 thing they are thankful for that day. The trick is now to only have 3 children – more usually want to share.
Other practical examples Lea shared were gratitude walls, which she has seen used in primary, secondary classrooms as well as staffrooms to great effect. It reminds us all and re-focuses attention on what is going right and what is amazing and beautiful around us.
Lastly, it reminded me of the importance of nurturing relationships with our students – it’s not just warm and fuzzy to do this but has measurable benefits on their sense of well-being and academic success.
A great way to start the 2014 school year!!
A Mystery Skype is a great way to connect your classroom with another classroom from around the country or world. Mystery Skype is an educational game, invented by teachers, played by two classrooms on Skype. The aim of the game is to guess the location of the other classroom by asking each other questions. It’s suitable for all age groups and can be used to teach subjects like geography, history, languages, mathematics and science. I think this is an exciting option, really opening classrooms up to the rest of Australia and also the world, once you get your Skype set up sorted out.
This is definitely something I want to find more, particularly our year 4 connecting with indigenous students.