Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Let’s spend the school holidays wisely - Sausan Hussain, ESQID

Students are counting the two months of their school holidays before they return to the schools on 9th January 2011. Different students do different things during the school holidays. It will be a good idea for the students to plan the holidays, so that these days can be used more effectively. Here are few suggestions on spending holidays well.

By the end of a long academic year, many students are tired and exhausted. Holiday is the time to take a break and to do something which would make the students relax. Parents have to think about this and they need to plan activities for the students so that the students will be involved in things they enjoy doing. Arranging a picnic to a nearby island can be a good choice for the students and parents. This would help the students to refresh their minds to have a fun time with their family members.

Students can also use the holiday to learn something new. They can help their mothers at the kitchen and learn to prepare a dish. In order to facilitate this, parents can provide the things that are required for making the dishes and can instruct the children without practically involving in making the dishes. Apart from this, learning to use computers and trying techniques to improve language skills are some of the things that can be done during the holidays.

Besides the activities which are enjoying, those students who are going to sit in the O level or A level exam in the year 2011 should spend some of their time of school holidays to get ready for the exams. For those students this can be a golden opportunity to revise all the topics covered in the past years and try some past paper questions from those topics.

Apart from revising the previous lessons, all the students can spend some time studying the topics that will be covered next year. According to many top achieving students, it is very helpful if they always try to understand a topic themselves before it is taught in the classes. So students can study the topics far ahead and it would be like a revision for the students.

Some students might have a very busy schedule during the holidays doing things that they enjoy. Together with these things students should never forget about the religious obligations. Sometime from each day must be spent on reciting Quran and performing the prayers. Spending some time with younger brothers and sisters and grandparents can also be wonderful things to do in the school holidays.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Activities to Keep Kids' Brains Active during School Holidays: by Cara Bafile Education World®

Amuse and entertain your kids and hope for the best for your students, keep their minds working all holiday long! : Activities to fight holiday boredom and build thinking skills.

It's holidays -- Teachers have bid farewell to students, hoping their gleefully escaping charges don't forget everything they've learned during the school year. It's also the time of year when nervous parents take on the challenge of keeping their children physically busy and mentally active during the long holidays.
To help those efforts, the ideas offered will not only reinforce skills taught during the year, but also entertain students through the holidays. Hope parents and their children make the most of the lazy, hazy days!
• Teach kids to cook with the step-by-step lessons and recipes at Cooking With Kids from The site also includes measurement reminders, safety tips, and suggestions for involving kids in the cooking process.
• Create musical instruments from materials found around the house. Need help? Enchanted Learning provides instructions for such Musical Instruments as a rattle, box guitar, maraca, and rain stick.
• Cool down by making Ice Cream in a Bag. The simple technique produces delicious ice cream in about 5 minutes. What ice cream varieties will you and your child concoct?
• Plan with your child a family activity day. Decide how much money to spend, and help your child research events and activities in your area and choose an affordable activity the whole family can enjoy. Remind your child to be sure to allow enough time for the activity, and to remember to include food in the day's plan. (Don't forget to bring a camera and take lots of pictures. Your child can mount and label each photo and create a family scrapbook of your special day. You might provide the questions below to help guide your child's thoughts as they plan this special day.
1. Describe the event or activity your family will attend.
2. Will everyone in the family enjoy this activity? Why do you think so?
3. What do you need to arrange ahead of time? Will you need to purchase tickets? Pack a lunch? Make reservations?
4. What supplies or materials will you need?
5. What costs will be involved?
• Kids rarely have the opportunity to design their own rooms to best suit their individual needs. Invite your child to devote some thought to ways to improve his or her living space. Explore with your child Kids' Room Decorating Ideas and Creative Kid's Rooms to find ways your child might individualize his or her room without spending a great deal of money. Then have the child draw the layout of their "new" room. The following questions might guide kids as they consider the possibilities:
1. Other than sleeping, what do you do most often in your room? Play games? Work on a computer? Listen to music? Do homework? Entertain guests?
2. What furniture or other items do you use most often? What do you use least often?
3. What kind of storage do you need? A dresser? A bookcase? A clothes hamper? A desk?
4. What do you like best about your room? What do you like least?
5. How do you want to change your room?
• Put old wallpaper and magazine scraps to good use by using them to create Recycled Paper Beads. This easy activity requires very few common materials and keeps kids very busy on rainy days. When they're finished, children can string their beads and give them as gifts or wear them for fun.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Doing the Right Thing; Dr. Bruce Weinstein, Education World®

How often do we ask ourselves, "What is the right thing to do?" and wonder if we are forcing our sense of what is right on other people? Nationally-known ethicist Bruce Weinstein offers five principles everyone can use in ethical decision-making.

Every day, people confront situations -- ethical dilemmas of sorts -- that prompt them to ask themselves, "What should I do?" or "What is the right thing to do?" before acting. Ethical decision-making becomes easier if you follow certain life principles.

Life Principles: Feeling Good by Doing Good .

Dr. Weinstein suggests everyone use these five principles to guide them in ethical decision-making:

  • Do no harm
  • Make things better
  • Respect others
  • Be fair
  • Be loving

By putting these ideas into practice, readers can learn to make better decisions that affect their relationships, their careers, and their overall quality of life, according to Dr. Weinstein. Teachers are in a position to help students understand how often they face ethical decisions and learn the best way to address them.

Dr. Weinstein recently talked with Education World about the Life Principles and helping children learn to make decisions ethically.

Education World: What are some ways to engage kids in ethical thinking?

Weinstein: The first step is to help students understand that any time we ask, "What should I do?" and the rights or wellbeing of another person are at stake, we are asking an ethical question. In other words, ethical issues are everywhere! The quiz format is a great way to break the ice and create a lively debate about right and wrong conduct.

EW: How can teachers -- if you think it is their role -- explain to students who see people making bad choices all the time the value of doing the right thing?

Weinstein: When we do the right thing, as opposed to the easy thing, we not only enhance the lives of others; we enhance our own lives. If a student sees a peer cheating on a test and does nothing -- the easy thing to do -- the student knows -- or should know -- that he or she is letting an injustice occur and must thus bear some responsibility for the outcome. If the class is being graded on a curve, for example, the observer of wrongdoing is to some degree guilty for the fact that the cheater has hurt all of the students. Only by taking action -- ideally, notifying the teacher -- can this injustice be dealt with appropriately. There is a sense of satisfaction that flows from doing the right thing, even if one has to find the courage for this to happen. Perhaps it is through discovering that we have the mettle to rise to the challenge that makes us feel good.

Ultimately, it is up to us to decide what kind of life we want to live. We can take the low road and think primarily or exclusively about our own needs and desires. We can steal when no one is looking, cheat whenever we are able, lie when it is convenient, or break promises when something better comes along. We can resolve conflict with force rather than persuasion, because in the short run at least, it is always possible to conquer with violence, but peaceable solutions take time and effort.

If we were lucky, these principles were taught to us by loving parents and concerned teachers as we grew up. In every interaction we can take a moment to think about how our words and deeds may affect other people, particularly the people we care the most about, and make our choices accordingly. We can realize that, yes, we are better off by living a moral life, but the main reason to do so is not for the personal gain but simply because it is the right thing to do.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Talk for Learning

In classroom learning and teaching, a large proportion of time is spent in talking and listening. Being one basic medium of classroom interaction, talking should play a crucial part in the process of learner development. But how important is it? Does the quality of talk accord with the quality of classroom learning?

Being the medium of classroom learning/teaching, language plays a significant role in affecting the kinds of opportunities for knowing and coming to know as well as in encouraging collaborative group work (Wells, 1999:114). Wells (ibid) insists that when talking in groups or whole class, pupils can learn a great deal from each other and present the significance of what they have done and come to understand in front of the teacher. Likewise, Nystrand (1997:29) points out that certain kinds of classroom talk creates more opportunity and flexibility for students to contextualize and assimilate new information.

Various kinds of talk are unlikely to contribute equally to student learning. Barnes

(1992:126) distinguishes two functions of talk between presentational and exploratory talk. Presentational talk, on one hand, focuses more on the needs of the teacher than on the student’s own ideas. It usually occurs when teacher is trying to seek answers from students to test their understanding of a topic already taught. On the other hand, exploratory talk enables learners to ‘try out ideas, to hear how they sound, to see what others make of them, to arrange information and ideas into different patterns’ (ibid). Because much of the talk elicited from pupils is essentially presentational, Barnes

(1992:126) proposes that teachers consider when and where to employ presentational or exploratory talk and ensure a balance of them


Alexander, R. J. (2000). Culture and Pedagogy: International Comparisons in Primary Education, Oxford: Blackwell

Alexander, R. J. (2004). Towards Dialogic Teaching: Rethinking Classroom talk, Cambridge: Dialogos