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Whiteboards For Schools And Education





Take a look at our essential range
of quality portable, magnetic dry-wipe
whiteboards for use in schools.

Education

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Whiteboards For Schools And Education





Take a look at our essential range
of quality portable, magnetic dry-wipe
whiteboards for use in schools.

Education

Read more...

Whiteboards For Schools And Education





Take a look at our essential range
of quality portable, magnetic dry-wipe
whiteboards for use in schools.

Education

Read more...

Visual Learners & Maths: How to make Maths fun for everyone

Maths is often cited as one of the most disliked subjects, especially for visual learners who can find it an incredibly frustrating and challenging experience.   But there is no reason why Maths cannot be enjoyed by everyone.

Being a visual learner should not be a disadvantage, in fact, their creativity can be a real asset when it comes to problem solving!

But what are the best ways to engage visual learners?

Here are some tips to help make Maths fun for everyone.

 

  • Understand what does not work

Before trying out new learning techniques, make sure to know which ones to avoid.  Visual learners are adept at big-picture thinking and can come up with creative solutions to difficult problems, so be mindful not to enforce more ‘traditional’ techniques onto them.  Constant worksheets and pages of sums are unlikely to be very effective and may even have a detrimental effect on the child’s perception of Maths in the future.

 

The same principle applies if you are thinking about employing outside help, make sure you find the right tutor that fits with the learning style of the pupil, as this will inevitably maximise engagement.

 

  • A picture’s worth a thousand words

Visual aids are the most important tools for a visual learner.  Being able to summarise a concept with a single picture is likely to be way more effective than a written description.

 

Additionally, visual aids give you a chance to play around with interesting colours and characters to really make sure the experience is as fun as possible.  Next time you are looking to teach a difficult problem, try making a chart or diagram out of it because seeing an idea is sometimes more powerful than reading about one.

 

  • Make it colourful

If you cannot make an image, introduce some colour instead.  In Maths, having to work through pages of numbers and symbols is almost unavoidable, but you can still make it appealing to visual based learners.  Colour coding is a great way of breaking down and differentiating information.  You can use different coloured highlighters to go over the most important or the most difficult to remember concepts.  Likewise, coloured pens are particularly useful during the early stages of learning, when teaching fundamentals such as addition and subtraction; using colours to differentiate between the symbols can be an effective way of communicating ideas.

 

  • Interactivity

Interaction is a great method of engagement, especially for visual learners.  Combining visual aids like flashcards or whiteboards with quick-fire interactive games will prove to be a big hit.  On that note, activities that involve manoeuvrable 3D objects like blocks, sweets, fake money, lego etc. can also be extremely effective in helping learners see and understand mathematical problems from start to finish.

Top 10 Tips for New Teachers

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Being a new teacher can be just as daunting as being a new pupil.  From new faces, to new procedures through to managing your own classroom, being a teacher is as rewarding as it is challenging, and if you’re new to the career you could feel overwhelmed by the journey ahead of you.

To help you with this exciting time we have compiled our top 10 tips written by teachers with over twenty years’ experience.

  1. Maintain a healthy work/life balance

As you know, teaching is one of the most stressful jobs going.  Do not let the job take over your life, set time aside for yourself and your family.  If you have hobbies, do not let them slide because it’s those that will keep you sane through the inevitable tough days of your first year.  Yes, you want to impress and do your best for your pupils but if this comes at the cost of your health then it’s not going to work.  Remember – very few perfectionists survive teaching!

  1. Be a good colleague

In a good school you will find that there is a strong relationship between colleagues, however this does require a bit of give and take.  Even when you are rushed off your feet, it always pays to invest a little time into being a good colleague.  Simple things like making coffee for a teacher on duty, sharing a good resource or website, helping with displays or performance practices, always get repaid many times over and you’ll earn a reputation as a team player.

  1. Develop a good relationship with your Teaching Assistant

If you have a teaching assistant, they can be a huge benefit but only if you manage them appropriately. Remember that they are a colleague and it’s likely that they aspire to be a teacher one day.  For this reason, remember to treat them as a partner in the classroom, work to develop them professionally, value their contribution to the smooth running of the class and you’ll build a positive relationship with them, that way they will do all they can to help you and make your life easier.

  1. Get parents onside

It is crucial that you get to know the parents of your pupils and for them to know you.  There is always caution amongst parents when a new teacher joins the school and it is essential to put the parents at ease as soon as possible.  Your school may have a ‘meet the teacher’ evening at the start of term and if so, try to get to talk to as many parents as possible.  Be realistic in talking to them, do not promise them the moon but let them see you as professional, capable and enthusiastic.

  1. Have high expectations

From the beginning, develop high, but not unrealistic, expectations of your class in terms of what you think they can achieve and in terms of their behaviour.  Children do not like to disappoint and if you discuss your expectations with them and tell them when they are meeting them, they will work even harder to please you.

  1. Challenge your pupils

It’s easy to give pupils work that does not really challenge them, but whilst you think it might give you a quieter time in class, it can lead to frustration and possibly disruptive behaviour.  Supported challenge is the key, give pupils relevant work that they will find tough but tell them that you will support them to succeed with it and gain the satisfaction from their achievement.

  1. Don’t take bad behaviour personally

The life of a teacher is a wave of mixed emotions and learning to deal with bad behaviour can certainly be challenging.  Learn to distance yourself from bad behaviour and do not take it personally.  Always remain calm even in the most stressful situations, it is imperative to ensure that the pupil does not pick up on the fact that you are troubled.

  1. Set the rules and enforce them

If you plan to set some classroom rules, make sure that they are enforced always.  Perhaps choose three or four core rules and write these on your School Dry wipe magnetic whiteboard.  State the consequences for any students who break the rules and follow your action through.

  1. Manage your classroom effectively

Effective classroom management is essential.  Think of it as running a small business, you must manage the ‘employees’ (the pupils), the resources and the work schedules.  Use the pupils to help you manage the day to day running of the class, taking the register to the office, collecting in books for marking, sharpening pencils etc.  They’ll enjoy the responsibility and it will save you time.  Have defined routines, children prefer to know what is going to happen during the day and what is expected of them.  It may take time to get it running like clockwork, but it will be well worth the effort.

  1. Have fun and enjoy it

Our final piece of advice is simply to enjoy teaching.  Each day brings many rewards, from a child finally understanding to the home-made cake on your desk in the morning.  Teaching is tough but for most of the successful, happy teachers, it’s a vocation, not just a profession, and of course let’s not forget the glorious summer holidays!

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Why it’s Important to Include Play in the Classroom

Play is universal and is an entitlement of childhood.  Play is unprompted, it is natural, gratifying and it is fun.  Play boasts many benefits:

  • It enables children to learn and build skills that lay the foundation for learning to read, write and do mathematics.
  • It gives children the chance to socialise with peers the same age, and to learn to understand other children, and to communicate and negotiate with them.
  • It inspires children to learn, imagine, categorise and problem-solve.
  • It provides children with the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings.

Within the context of education, there are two forms of play, namely free play and guided or structured play.

Free play is pupil centred play, and is guided solely by children themselves.  The pupils choose how they are going to play and what to play with.  With this type of play there is room for much imagination and creativity.  There are several benefits to this form of play including conflict negotiation, collaboration skills, problem-solving skills and social-emotional growth.

Structured play on the other hand, is guided by the teacher.  In this instance the teacher will provide instructions based on academic content or social skills, which can be written on the School Dry wipe magnetic whiteboard.  The teacher will take control of the play environment by structuring it in such a way that it guides pupils to learn specific content.  There are several benefits to this form of play including following directions, strategising and cooperative skills.

“Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth” (Ginsburg, 2013). 

Play is a tool that children use to discover and learn about society and the world in which they live.  Through play, their social and cognitive needs can be met and developed.  Play is the way that children relate with the world and in turn generate experiences to understand society and human cooperation.

Play helps children to become effective problem solvers because during play children make and resolve their own problems.  When a child is asked to solve an educational or real-life problem, they are then able to relate and use the skills that they have practiced during play to find a solution.

Play contributes towards developing the whole child.  Through play a child’s imagination, physical and cognitive abilities are improved and strengthened.  Using play as a tool to teach in the early childhood classroom will bring a holistic approach to the content and will help develop every part of each child.

“Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development” (Ginsburg, 2013).

Through play, children can synthesise and internalise information that they have learnt.  After teaching a lesson, allowing children to play will help them put the information they have just learnt into imaginary “real-world” situations.  If play cannot be used within the lessons to teach the content, then it is important to use it after the content is taught to help children internalise what they have just learnt.

6 Key Reasons for Play:

  1. Promotes problem-solving
  2. Helps children learn about the world and society
  3. Promotes creativity, imagination, cognitive, social, and emotional development
  4. Can be used to deepen understanding of classroom content
  5. Enhances language and cultural development
  6. Play is an important part of the classroom because it helps develop the child in ways that other strategies and approaches cannot. The art of play will develop the whole child, not just the cognitive parts.

Learning through play is a term used in education and psychology to describe how a child can learn to make sense of the world around them.  Through play children can develop social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally, and gain the self-confidence required to engage in new experiences and environments.

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How to help children in the Classroom with Dyspraxia

Dyspraxia is a neurological disorder of the brain in childhood causing difficulty in activities requiring coordination and movement.

Although it is not linked to intelligence, dyspraxia can however lead to difficulties with:

  • Following instructions
  • Organisational skills
  • Speech and language
  • Learning to read and write

 

Children with dyspraxia often find the stresses of school life hard to contend with.  They may have problems making and maintaining friendships; clumsy movements may be misinterpreted as aggression; failure to adhere to instructions may be misconstrued as disobedience and disappointment or failure in PE can potentially lead to self-esteem issues.  It is integral therefore to recognise that a dyspraxic child can easily become the victim of intimidation or seclusion.

Unfortunately, dyspraxia can’t be treated, however teachers can assist children by helping them to cope with the effects.  Here are a few tips on how to help children with dyspraxia:

  1. Focus on providing one instruction at a time, as multiple commands will easily confuse a dyspraxic child.
  2. Help children to remember information by writing lists, you could use School Dry wipe magnetic whiteboards.
  3. Repeat messages and instructions to check that children understand what has been said and what they need to do.
  4. Recognise and compliment every effort and achievement. Dyspraxic children will be accustomed to disappointment and failure, so do take every opportunity you possibly can to boost their confidence.
  5. Do not compare or allow anyone else to compare between a dyspraxic child and an able-bodied child.
  6. Make sure dyspraxic children are strategically placed in class, away from any distractions so that they can focus easily on you.
  7. An angled board such as the Wedge Jotter is a fantastic tool to use for children with dyspraxia, for full details of the benefits of using an angled board for writing.
  8. Bite size learning works well with dyspraxic children as they find it very challenging to understand and interpret lots of information. Give them time and be patient.
  9. If you can, try to teach dyspraxic children on a personal one to one level and never isolate them from the rest of the class. Also, remember that dyspraxic children may need additional help with practical subjects so always encourage team working.
  10. Preparation is key when teaching dyspraxic children, make sure that the children are prepared in advance for any changes to their established routine, this will evade causing them any unnecessary stress.

 

To surmise, teaching and meeting the needs of dyspraxic children requires patience, understanding and skill.

Classroom guidelines for teachers can also be found on the Dyspraxia Foundation website.

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Teaching Phonics in The Classroom

In recent years there has been a change in the way that children are taught to read and write in schools.  This preferred method is formally known as phonics, which essentially teaches children the sound made by each letter and identify the phoneme that make up each word.  By helping children to sound out words, they can then start to read and write.

There are three main stages to teaching phonics –

  1. GPCs
  2. Blending
  3. Segmenting

GPCs is short for grapheme phoneme correspondences, which denotes that children are taught all the phenomes in the English language and ways of writing them.  These are taught in the following order, starting with the most familiar sounds first.

s, a, t, p, i, n

m, d, g, o, c, k/ck

e, u, r, h, b, f

l, j, v, w, x, y

z, qu, ch, sh, th, ng

ai, ee, igh/ie, oa, oo (short), oo (long)

ar, or, ur/er, ow/ou, oi

air, ear, ure

 

Blending is when children are taught to speak the sounds that a word is made up of until it becomes clear and they can obviously hear what the word is.

Segmenting is the total opposite of blending, this is when children are taught to break a word down by the phonemes that it is comprised of, which essentially helps them with learning to spell the words.

Here are three fun ways in which you can teach phonics in your classroom:

 

Making Simple Words

To create simple words, you can use magnetic letters or you can cut out card letters.  Give the children a picture of something easy to spell such as mat, hat or cat and ask them to use the letters to spell out the word.

 

Letters on The Board

Start by writing some letters down on your School Dry wipe magnetic whiteboardWedge Whiteboards or Folding Wedge Whiteboards are perfect for this.  Then read out a word, one at a time, and ask your pupils to try and spell the word using the letters that you have written on the whiteboard.  Once they have tried to spell the word, it is imperative for you to write the correct spelling down, as this will allow the children to visualise it.  Do this for 4-6 words, each time writing down the correct spelling.  You may wish to limit the number of vowel sounds that you practise because the mixture of sounds they denote can be difficult for children, particularly early learners.

 

I Spy Game

It can take a while for children to be able to recognise and hear the sounds in words.  The ‘I spy’ game is a fantastic way to support children to distinguish and identify the sounds within words.  Instead of playing the usual game of ‘I Spy’ where you can refer to anything within eyesight, you can put a selection of things in a box, which will limit the number of options available.  Obviously, the items that you put in the box must be things that children will be able to identify.  Encourage your pupils to take it in turns to select their own items for the box, so that they can challenge other children.

We would love to hear how you teach phonics in your classroom.  Please feel free to leave us a comment.

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Benefits of Group Work in the Classroom

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Collaborative learning is an educational method to teaching and learning that comprises of pupils working together in groups to complete an assignment.  This concept of group learning has been significantly associated with Vvgotsy’s idea of the ‘zone of proximal development’, which explores what pupils can do when assisted and directed by adults or peers.

There are several benefits of using group work in schools, here are just a few:

Builds Teamwork

Group work teaches pupils the key skills that are required to work as a united team towards a mutual goal.  Teamwork facilitates a variety of skills that will be beneficial for pupils later in life, such as interpersonal skills and co-operation.  When working in a group, pupils must agree on who does what in accordance with their skill set.

 

Builds Relationships

As a teacher it is not unusual to come across conflict between pupils.  By enabling these pupils to work in groups together, it will help them to put their differences aside and establish mutual respect.  When the activity is complete, the environment in the classroom will be more harmonious.

 

Builds Confidence

Collaborative learning and working as part of a team, improves children’s social and emotional skills, helps develop their communication skills and builds their confidence.

 

Variety is the Spice of Life

The school day can be mundane and predictable for both pupils and teachers.  If you are bored of your classroom routine, why not look to introduce and regularly set up group work as a way of mixing things up.  By initiating a new way for pupils to learn, you will prevent monotony from creeping in and you will bring fun to your classroom.  For more ideas on how to bring more fun into your classroom, check out our 5 Ways to Bring More Fun to the Classroom blog.

 

Group work can be an effective approach to encourage active learning, motivate pupils and develop team work, communication, critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making skills.   School Dry wipe magnetic whiteboards such as our A2 Wedge Whiteboard are double sided and are therefore perfectly suited to group work.

 

By introducing group work into your classroom, you are creating opportunities for collaborative learning and the development of cooperative learning skills.  By working in small groups, pupils can learn from and support each other, and provides the opportunity for you as a teacher, to cater for individual differences.  By structuring groups appropriately, you can allocate tasks in accordance with the educational needs of individual pupils.

 

We would love to hear what group work activities you conduct in your classroom.  Please feel free to leave us a comment.

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5 Ways to Bring More Fun to the Classroom

School Dry wipe whiteboards by Wedge Whiteboards

Teaching children with different abilities and varying levels of motivation can be a challenging task.  Having spent hours preparing your lessons, you look out over your pupils only to find little Tommy slouching over his desk and little Isabella starring into space.  If your pupils are not fully engaged and paying attention to what you are saying, then the chances of them absorbing and learning the information are relatively low.

“Adding fun to learning creates the best educational experience possible.”  Tamara L Chilver

If you want your pupils to stay interested, motivated and engaged in the material that you are delivering, then it is essential to make learning fun.

Here are five suggestions that you can easily incorporate into your lessons:

 

  1. Give pupils choice

“The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.” 

Brian Herbert 

 

Give your pupils the opportunity to decide what or how they are going to learn.  Choice can be a strong motivator because it helps to stimulate and promote pupil’s interest.  By creating a list of valuable choices for children which you can write up on your school magnetic dry wipe whiteboard, you are essentially giving them a sense of purpose and independence.

 

  1. Create classroom games

“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”  Alfred Mercier

 

No matter what age you are, everybody likes to play games.  They are a fantastic way to get and keep people engaged and the fact that they are fun is a bonus.  When you play educational games with your pupils, it won’t even feel like they are learning because they will be so immersed in the game itself.

School Dry wipe magnetic whiteboards are the perfect tool for performing classroom games and can effectively be used to engage pupils, aid communication and facilitate interaction.  Which leads nicely on to the next suggestion of involvement.

 

  1. Involve pupils

“Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn.”  Benjamin Franklin

Standing at the front of the class and lecturing pupils can be boring for both the teacher and the students.  Look to make your lessons interactive by involving pupils in every aspect and creating hands on practical activities.  By involving pupils and making your lessons collaborative you will bring more fun to your classroom and you will inevitably keep your pupils captivated.

 

 

  1. Let pupils create things

“Having fun doing what you do ignites your creativity.”  Saurav R Tiberewaal

Make time for creativity in your classroom.

Creative classrooms look different, they are full of colour, they feel different.  And as such, they provide an environment where pupils are more likely to articulate their ideas, challenge problems with novel solutions, think outside the box, and most significantly, learn faster and more effectively.

 

  1. Show off pupil’s work

 “Learning, without any opportunities to share what we’ve learned is like cooking for ourselves; we do it, but we probably won’t do it as well.”  Mike Schmoker

Putting your pupil’s artwork on display is a fantastic and easy way to make a creative classroom as per the above point and at the same time, it gives you the opportunity to praise your pupils for the work they have done.  Pupils are excited when their work is shared and displayed.  Through praise pupils are motivated and this encourages them to be creative.  It’s win, win all round.

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