Category Archives: edchat

Shrove Tuesday – Do you give a Toss?

What is Shrove Tuesday?

Going through this week’s calendar and getting organised, I note it’s pancake day on Tuesday. I’ve taught the meaning of this to kids over the years in different schools, and remember that the word  shrove is linked to being shriven from sin. In past times there was a call to confession with the pancake bell.

Fasting

Some research suggests that people used up their store cupboard ingredients in the pancakes,  so they were eaten before the 40 fasting period of Lent. Other reading points to the ingredients having pagan symbolism.

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I feel so bad

In my youthful, naive, fresh teaching days I used to talk to the children about giving up things for Lent, ‘so kids what are you going to give up, what sins/wrongs are you committing that need to be put right?’ now I’d say ‘what’s going right for you that you could explore further, what value could you add to others?’

Stop beating yourself up

Giving up things just makes us think of them even more and we might even start to crave them and then feel ‘bad’ when we give in.  I’m rather bored of either feeling good and bad and hearing talk of feeling guilty because I ate this or did that. I’d rather not teach kids to beat themselves up. Let’s teach them about balance.  I wrote about a blog about developing an abundance mindset here.untitled-design-5

How can we ‘add’ more value?

My 10 year old daughter sometimes tells me she’s fat. I’ve been so careful about only celebrating our bodies, I’ve never spoken of going on a diet or asked whether my bum looks big in this.  Yet she’s picking up messages about image from all around – school, the TV, books etc. I ask her what can she do more of that’s good for her, what does she enjoy, what makes her feel good and importantly I need to role model this myself. 

Happy Tossing.

Movement, Mindset and Mindfulness Classes for kids starting on Shrove Tuesday – Movement, Mindfulness & Mindset for Kids

Jane x

 

 

A Bored Book.

A ‘Bored’ Book

How many times a day do your children tell you they are bored?

Maybe you have children who can easily entertain themselves, and spend the day just making, creating and playing, I’d really love to hear from you for this idea.

I notice that if kids are on their computers, tablets, phones, PS4s etc they never seem to tire.  It’s when they come off them that they find it hard to transition from this over stimulated time to a space where they now have to do something ‘boring’ instead.

Screens produce an experience we can’t recreate

I read once that when we are on our screens, certain chemicals are released – maybe it was dopamine or seratonin – that can’t be recreated in the brain at the same levels once we come off.  For example, as a teacher, I cannot replicate the multisensory stimulation that a screen induces, hence children don’t always listen so well, sit still, retain information and they get bored quicker, however if I put on a YouTube clip explaining the same thing, they are all eyes, ears and interest for a long time, it is their language.

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This photo was taken when we were in Africa. These kids played and collaborated endlessly with the tyre, they had no screens.

What do kids do when they aren’t on screens?

My son had a friend over, they’d had some screen time together and the hour timer was up, so after a few reminders they came off and didn’t know what to do. They asked to go back on again and we said no that they could go and find something else. This  quite often means they go round the friend’s house to play on the screens there instead.

It took them about 10 minutes to transition to outdoor play and they soon found themselves engaged in a nerf gun war, followed by fire building with Paul in the garden. With the screens off, they had to find something to do, it’s so easy though sometimes to just let them go back on again and loose track of time. They might mope about inbetween waiting for their next fix.  Meanwhile, we also bury our faces in Facebook, Twitter, Gmail etc, driven to distraction.

Why are we so Bored?

We know it’s good to be bored, creativity often stems from boredom and head space. Why though are we so bored? Some say we are over-stimulated, the more we have the more we need and it’s hard to put up with the slow stuff in between. Are you reading this whilst doing or thinking about other things at the same time?  Or maybe it’s too long and boring to even read. Our kids are no different.

A ‘bored’ book for kids written by kids.

I’d like to create an e-book of ideas for kids of things to do when they aren’t on their screens. I’d love your children to contribute to this please, and if they are willing to, could you share their ideas in the comments below with an image if possible of the activity.  I’ll obviously give them a credit.  All ages welcome.

Things to do that are free, with little or no adult intervention.  I wonder if we they can come up with 3 or more boring ideas?

Jane x

janetyson.co.uk

‘They’ Made Me Do It.

A Random DiaBlog from a concerned Mum and Primary School Teacher.
My first Primary School teaching job was ten years after the introduction of the 1988 National Curriculum, which was about bearable.  I was an Art Coordinator; my lessons were as creative as possible, I had freedom, fun and autonomy to a point.  We made time for Golden Time and if there was Wet Play with board games, paper aeroplanes, Connect 4, craft, etc then the children were ecstatic.  A chance for them to just BE, share, collaborate and discover with their friends.

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Now, though, the intensity and control in schools is quite overwhelming and quite out of touch with 21st-century educational research and thinking.  While there is a big noise around the terms ‘mindfulness’ and ‘wellbeing’ I’m not seeing much evidence of it being practised or supported in schools.

My experiences and conversations with teachers reinforce that it’s constant lesson after lesson with little space and intense, time-wasting form filling in and marking.

The kids call me the yoga lady and I sneak in downtime: “Quick kids let’s just STOP and breathe for three breaths, and if you’re feeling rebellious you can close your eyes.”  We don’t need more mindfulness; we need to shake things up and encourage more playfulness.

In some schools I still see kids sitting in corridors missing entire playtimes for being ‘naughty’.

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Kids are playing up more I feel because they are so systemised and controlled.  From the age of 3, cameras are uploading photos of them to add to a personal statement, judgements made about their performance on tick sheets.  They are quite happy learning and playing,  put the clipboard away.  I was once advised by a forward thinking rebellious Headteacher, never to disturb a child when they were concentrating.

I see a few schools with outdoor learning provision for Year 1, but  it’s rare to see a dressing up box, role play area or golden time box valued after Year 2, ‘we haven’t got time.’ What do kids do when they go home, do they catch up on this lost play?

My son was in a detention a while back, and I remember asking his teacher if anyone had taken the time to listen to him and offer him some guidance and to think about how he might have handled it differently. The response was ‘oh we haven’t got time for all that’.   It’s often quite a  punishment escalation system – name on board, then missed playtime, loss of this, loss of that- constant carrot and stick intervention.

What no punishment? Why not create a meditation space –  a safe place, time out space for children to reflect and work things out if necessary with older kids or adults on hand to talk things over with and socially coach them with language, kindness, compassion, empathy, eye contact, sharing skills, manners, responsibility, self-control, etc.?

Why not trial a no rewards system? No stickers or house points or, ‘good boy’ remarks to work and behave well, no good or bad judgements, but instead foster a playful, self directed community where children are excited, engaged and intrinsically motivated to learn.

Playtime, Downtime, Be Time – it’s our kid’s natural state.  Kids waste a lot of time filling in their confusing and controlling Steps for Success forms and writing paragraphs using prefrontal adverbial prepositional lobotomy phrases, how about we give them back their playtime and mind space and treat them like the kids they are.

But it’s what we’ve always done. It can’t possibly change.  ‘They’ made me do it.

In my next blog, I will explain the simplest and quickest way we can help our children to find ‘space’ in these busy days.

There is always hope – a rebel alliance

Jane x
Exploring Play
Random Dialogues

shake it up