My Top 10 Picturebooks 2018 (actually 13)

Anyone teaching children to love and appreciate books should follow Simon Smith, whether they are primary or secondary practitioners. His blog posts and tweets are an encyclopedia of children’s literature for reading in and out of class and in this one he shares his favourite picturebooks. Don’t be fooled into thinking that picturebooks are for infants – Smith shows how sophisticated texts can be used to develop vocabulary and inference, imagination and knowledge to build inquiry and deep thinking. Taking images and texts from the books, he explores how they might link to wider themes and ideas and how they can enhance learning and life.

Support #BanTheBooths campaign

#BantheBooths, like “Ban the Bomb”, is not a subtle hashtag/catchphrase, but it’s certainly getting a lot of attention. The campaign aims to end the practice of using isolation booths in schools as a mode of punishment, often for minor infractions. The slogan has generated a lot of debate and posturing, but beyond the binaries, there is some thoughtful exploration of the differences of removing children from class for support and learning, for punishment or to create a hinterland between inclusion and permanent exclusion. In this post, Simon Kidwell, a headteacher, thoughtfully and intelligently explores the issues around striking that delicate balance of meeting one child’s needs while attending to the rights of the others, offering a balanced and well-argued case for not resorting to exclusion by isolation as a means of control. Whatever your instinctive response to the hashtag, take the time to read this point of view to better understand where the campaign is coming from.

Teaching for Recall, Fluency and Understanding: Blog round-up for easy access.

Tom Sherrington offers a useful round-up of blog posts and literature about recall. He uses a great visual on mapping coherence across a timeline to show students how different subjects can link. For anyone looking to find useful information for getting the basics established, this is a great place to start.

In pursuit of a secure base? Education commentary in times of socio-political uncertainty

Writing on the blog pages of BERA (the British Educational Research Association) Pam Jarvis explores the connections between economic uncertainty and state control and how this manifests itself in education policy. She explores how Twitter responds to such times and how “a range of dogmatic, unevidenced opinion pieces on psycho-educational topics” takes over from measured and complex research that can’t offer simplistic solutions. This is a controversial piece, but timely and thought-provoking. A piece for our time and a reason to step back and think about how we can better manage our responses to children and to wider societal stress.

All hail! In the inclusive classroom, the mini whiteboard is queen

In this little gem Jules Daulby takes the humble mini-whiteboard (probably languishing in the backs of cupboards from our Assessment for Learning days) and explores why and how they can be used to support the learning and relationships of SEND children. While the focus is on special needs, the examples are useful for all learners and help to reinforce some key principles of learning – modelling, scaffolding and dual coding among them. Providing helpful images and examples, Daulby shows how the simplest of ideas can have greatest effect.