A real gift…

This is just wonderful…

A group of children from Dayton Elementary surprised their teacher Monday with a rare surprise — the gift of color.

Beau Scott, the 4th and 5th grade higher ability teacher at Dayton Elementary School, is color blind. At stoplights, the colors look the same.

A few of his students wanted to do something special for him. Claire De Lon, a 5th grader, and Nori Patterson, a 4th grader, both were trying to raise money for colour-seeing glasses for Scott.  An amazingly thoughtful gift.

“It must be really hard for him to see that way,” Claire said.

Nori said she and her family wanted to do something nice for Scott, and the two girls found out they were both trying to do the same thing.

Scott is one of Claire and Nori’s favorite teachers, so it made sense to do something for him.

So the two joined forces and started to raise money for the glasses.

Claire sold decorative mice with candy cane tails, and students in the class donated anywhere from $5 to $10 each to raise a little more than $300 for Scott’s glasses.

Both Nori and Claire were nervous because, in some cases, the glasses don’t work for everyone.

636491925372539110-IMG-0313-1-The students told Scott they wanted to perform a Harry Potter “magic trick.” So when he closed his eyes, the students gave him a wand, a broom and his Quidditch goggles — also known as the color-seeing glasses.

Then, on the count of three, the kids held up a sign saying “Merry Christmas” on different colors of paper.

At first, he didn’t notice the change, he said. But after lifting the glasses slightly, he could see the difference.

“Oh my gosh, guys,” he said. “Oh my gosh. This is awesome. I can see the colors.”

His wife, Aliya, was in attendance, and the two discussed what he’ll be able to do with the glasses.

One thing he’s looking forward to is picking out clothes for his children, he said with a laugh.

“Now you can see at stop lights,” Aliya Scoot, his wife, said with a smile.

Just the best don’t you think!

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Naughty Children

So what do you do with naughty children?

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Typical Classroom Behaviour Ladder

As a Teaching Assistant you will have naughty, willful, obnoxious rude children.

Hopefully not too many but they can be tricky to deal with.

Firstly, you need to familiarise yourself with your schools policy on behaviour.

Every school has a policy (which will differ slightly) and each classroom should have a behaviour ladder of sorts.

Pegs are moved up and down depending on the behaviour of every child in the class.

If it goes beyond the ladder or is in the playground then you need to know who to take the child to. In the classroom, it will normally be down to the Teacher although you should advise the teachers on any behaviour issues anywhere in the school as soon as possible.

If it is serious you may need to write the incident down, sign it and date as part of safeguarding.

Relationships with children are complex and sometimes fraught but in a school every child is treated equally, no favourites and no arch enemies!

In my experience every child has a reason for good or bad behaviour, but I have on occasion (and rarely) seen some children treated poorly by adults, being called stupid or sarcasm used which saddens me but it is a rarity.

My key word is kindness, being kind without being soft.

…continuing from yesterday as campaigners condemn ‘ludicrous’ hijab questioning…

Muslim campaigners have condemned “discriminatory” plans for school inspectors to question girls who wear hijab in primary school.

Yersterdays post explained that the Head of Ofsted Amanda Spielman would be asking why they (the children) wear the headscarf, which “could be interpreted as sexualisation of young girls”.

But some have asked why the pupils and not the schools will be challenged. I would take a guess here that because there is no legal basis for any school uniform the schools cannot really be held responsible for what children wear.

hijabs-630x388Oftsed should instead ask “why are primary school uniform policies allowing hijab for girls under the age of puberty when Islamic laws state otherwise,” she added.

Maybe parents should be asked as they, of course, are the one clothe the children. I’m not sure if a child will really understand.

Ofsted said the move was in line with its current practice of assessing whether a school promotes equality.

The hijab is traditionally worn as a sign of modesty once a girl reaches puberty which I would guess most Islamic parents know so I am not too sure why you would want a young child to wear it.

Research by the National Secular Society in September suggested 59 of 142 Islamic schools, including 27 primary schools, in England have a uniform policy which states a head-covering is compulsory. “The hijab in primary schools should be something that is dealt with via the schools uniform policy,” said Sajda Mughal, head of JAN Trust, a charity working with BAME and Muslim women.

She called the move by Ofsted “nonsense and discriminatory” and said it will be used by extremists to advance their narrative of “them and us'” and could fuel marginalisation which seems a little over the top in my opinion.

“I know as a Muslim mother of young girls, I’d be alarmed and horrified if I found that my daughters were questioned if they wore the hijab,” she said.

Surely if you dress your child with a head covering you would teach them why you are doing it, what it is for and what part it plays in your faith?

Amina Lone, from the Social Action and Research Foundation, was one of those who lobbied Ofsted to take action.

“As a second generation Muslim woman and a parent, I have huge concerns about the increasing encroachment of gender inequality in public spaces for women of faith,” she told the BBC’s Asian Network. “The hijab is absolutely not required for children.

“Gender equality was hard fought for in this country and we shouldn’t be diluting that.”

She said it was “absurd” to be having this debate in 2017 and stressed this was not about secondary school children or adults.

There is no ban on Islamic dress in the UK, but schools are allowed to decide their own dress code.

Current government advice states: “Pupils have the right to manifest a religion or belief, but not necessarily at all times, places or in a particular manner.”

Shereen, a hijabi, said the choice should be between the parents and the child.

The mother-of two, whose own daughters do not wear a hijab, said the headscarf has been misrepresented.

“It has nothing to do with sexualising children. That claim is ridiculous,” she told the BBC Asian Network.

Vlogger and mother, Nilly Dahlia agreed. She started wearing hijab aged 22.

“Hijab is not about sexualisation. It is a sign of submission to our faith,” she said.

“I do feel like the government are trying to control Muslims.”

But blogger Hifsa Haroon-Iqbal said the issue was simply a school uniform one.

“If schools do not want young children in primary education to wear hijabs in school, this needs to be made explicitly clear within the school uniform policy.

“This is not about racism, being islamophobic or discriminatory. It is common sense,” the mother-of-three wrote. “To subject a young child to questioning about why they are dressed in a particular way is ludicrous as it will always warrant the same response, ‘because my mother dresses me’.”

Then maybe the parents will need to asked why they are not following their faiths rules?

Ofsted inspectors to quiz schoolgirls in hijabs

I saw this on the BBC today.

Apparently Inspectors will question girls who wear hijabs in primary school to find out why they do so, head of Ofsted Amanda Spielman has said. She said creating an _98820290_8191dc4a-d80f-44d5-aabc-7025e2cc7267environment where Muslim children are expected to wear the headscarf “could be interpreted as sexualisation of young girls”.

She may well have a point as the hijab is traditionally worn as a sign of modesty once a girl reaches puberty.

And as far as I am aware it is not uncommon for young girls to marry older men. This certainly happens in other countries but is illegal here although why make your child wear a hijab when she is so young.

But the Muslim Council of Britain said Ofsted’s policy was “deeply worrying”. The announcement comes after Ms Spielman met campaigners from the Social Action and Research Foundation think thank on Friday.

In September, the foundation’s head, Amina Lone, co-ordinated a letter to the Sunday Times from campaigners arguing that the hijab has “no place in our primary schools”, and demanding action as Muslim girls as young as five were “increasingly veiled”.

Of course, evidence needs to be produced if this is the case. At my school no child wears a hijab and seeing as you can legally send your child to primary school in any clothes I am not sure Ofsted has a leg to stand on, unless they change the law – which of course could happen.

“This is an affront to the historical fight for gender equality in our secular democracy and is creating a two-tiered form of non-equality for young Muslim girls,” the letter said.

Explaining her decision to act, Ms Spielman said: “While respecting parents’ choice to bring up their children according to their cultural norms, creating an environment where primary school children are expected to wear the hijab could be interpreted as sexualisation of young girls.

I believe we should and can bring our children up with our, that is British cultural norms which no longer includes head coverings. If you wish to do that as an adult then great but not as a child.

“In seeking to address these concerns, and in line with our current practice in terms of assessing whether the school promotes equality for their children, inspectors will talk to girls who wear such garments to ascertain why they do so in the school.”

She urged parents concerned about fundamentalist groups influencing school policy or breaching equality law to complain to the school or to Ofsted.

Muslim Council of Britain secretary general Harun Khan said: “It is deeply worrying that Ofsted has announced it will be specifically targeting and quizzing young Muslim girls who choose to wear the headscarf. “It sends a clear message to all British women who adopt this that they are second-class citizens, that while they are free to wear the headscarf, the establishment would prefer that they do not.”

I don’t believe that this is the case because we are talking about primary school children NOT adult women.

He also said many British Muslims who wear the headscarf have done “extremely well” in education. “It is disappointing that this is becoming policy without even engaging with a diverse set of mainstream Muslim voices on the topic,” he said.

Mr Khan urged Ms Spielman to reverse the decision and said it risked being “counter-productive” to Ofsted’s promise to uphold British values.

It will be interesting to follow this.

Transition to High School

This is an incredibly hard time for children. The move for my eldest, her transition to her secondary school has not been a good one, it has been very hard on her and for myself.

It has raised her levels of anxiety exponentially to the point of upset stomachs, feeling sick and a few panic attacks.

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It can be such a hard time

To see my beautiful young daughter goes through these agonies is distressing to say the least. It breaks my heart to see her like this and I know she is not the only child out there.

 

These are things my eldest and other children are struggling with a number of different issues:

  • Movement from a small school of a few hundred to over a thousand is overwhelming
  • Movement from a small building to a huge rabbit warren of building is confusing and children are easily lost
  • A growing amount of homework
  • Taking notes of any homework given
  • Lost of new children in their year
  • knowing what to do during break times
  • Walking to school and back

The Transition

The children of year 6 in my eldest’s primary school were helped in this by meeting their teachers and having a day at the school.

But on reflection I don’t think this was enough. I have suggested to one of the governors of her primary school that they work closer with her secondary school to give them a slightly watered down version of year 7…a sort of year 6.5 where they take notes, write down their homework, get detention and more.

So what can done?

Firstly speak to the schools Student Support.

Our new school has been great.

We have a great connection with Student Support and her teachers. They have and are being kind, supportive and patient. I can’t praise them enough, particularly Student Support.

They have met with my eldest on regular occasions, helping her gain confidence, helping her through (what for her) is an overwhelming life change.

I have also suggested the school test my eldest for any form of autism because of several factor which I will not go into here.

So where do we go from here…?

Just a day at a time.

 

 

Homework comes home to roost!

kid-doing-homework-900x599Following from my previous piece on homework my 6 year old daughter has been given six pieces, yes six pieces of homework to do this week. They are:

  • Reading each day
  • Phonics 3 times a week
  • Spellings every night
  • Do one activity from ‘The Grid’. These can include a visit to a zoo, sending an email and researching parts of the brain and heart on the internet/write a story…
  • Revising phonics sounds
  • Download bingo card and play a game

This is actually homework for parents. My daughter is in year 1, and is not yet able to do most of the grid activities!

My wife and I work full time and my daughter goes to bed at 7pm.

Do I really want to spend any time I have with her during the week just doing homework? The answer of course is no.

Reading is what I would expect for year 1, phonic sounds and possibly some simple spellings from the Year 1/2 most frequent words but downloading games, printing them out, showing my daughter images of the heart and brain…hardly appropriate.

So I have asked to speak to the head about this and I hope some constructive dialogue will come of it.

will come of

 

 

Sadness as Primary School collapses during earthquake in Mexico

Very sad news as at least 30 people, mostly children, died at a primary school which collapsed in Mexico City during Tuesday’s earthquake, local media say.

The shallow, 7.1 magnitude quake killed at least 225 people in total and caused major damage across states in the centre of the country.

Desperate searches for survivors under the rubble are continuing.

Dozens of buildings were toppled, much of the electricity supply was cut and broken gas mains sparked fires.

The tremor struck shortly after many people had taken part in an earthquake drill, exactly 32 years after another quake killed thousands in the capital.