Category Archives: Literacy

Do Children want to learn?

The Guardian posed the question ‘Is the curriculum putting students off learning?’ which lead to ‘Do children want to learn?’

Isn’t it a condition of basic survival that we are created to learn? So, of course children want to learn but, should it be enough that we say ‘You need to know this’ and they sit down and learn it? Isn’t it our job to put them in a situation where they realise they NEED to learn something – other than to pass a test?

I’m new to expressing these ideas but… isn’t the process of learning and wanting to learn cyclic? We use something until we exhaust its possibilities and then we look for something more appropriate/sophisticated which we use until we exhaust it. If a replacement doesn’t exist, we have to be creative and invent it. For example, we use apps until they no longer satisfy our needs when we look for a new one. If the new one doesn’t exist, then (if we know how) we create it – and if we’re lucky, we’re quids-in.

Similarly with punctuation (got a problem mixing semi-colons and 12-year-olds at the moment), we use full stops capital letters until we can do joined up thinking then we need something more and the more our thinking becomes joined up, the broader our need of punctuation.

Maybe I think like this because I raised sons who were very selective and economical with their commitment to school work but quickly learned computer games, musical instruments and software, photography and graphics programs from Youtube, blogs and forums – and books. They needed to learn for a project they’d set themselves (nothing to do with school) – so they learned. And I’m sure this contributed to them becoming more literate young men – building on what teachers had started of course.

I will have to develop this idea further with more joined up thinking, but at the moment it meets my needs. And, although it exposes the limit of my ‘achievement’  in this area, I know where to find it when I feel ready to show ‘progress’.

If you got this far, thanks for reading.

APP WAF6 – Competitive Punctuation Points

How DO you get the ‘darlings’ to punctuate without the dispiriting ‘I’ll put it in when I’ve finished, Miss’?

In my experience, the stats that say boys don’t like to write is wrong. Speaking generally, they like to write IF they can write about something that interests them but, it seems they’re not too concerned about helping out the reader. They have something to say and they want to say it as quickly as possible – no time for distracting technicalities such as punctuation. However, adding a competitive element is always conducive to encouraging desired behaviour and for that, I am always on the lookout for good ideas.

Skimming through Twitter the other day, I came across this fab idea that is being promoted by @DeputyMitchell. And, although it was presented as a primary resource, I NEED it in my KS3 and KS4 classes – especially for encouraging those C/D borderline students who are just on the cusp of moving into using a variety of meaningful syntax.

It’s quick, it’s easy and more encouragingly, it generates winners. Also, on laminated sheets, they can be used over and again.

punctuation points

And futhermore, it generates conversation and uses numeracy.