Teaching with Twinkl – Room on the Broom

Continuing with our trial of Twinkl from Gruffalo work sheets we have moved on to a new theme but by the same author, Julia Donaldson. This time it’s the lovely story Room on the Broom

We printed out the word mat to help him look up words related to the book and placed it on his table to check out. We discussed the words, sounded them all out and pointed them out in the book. Afterwards we did some Trace The Words related to the story. The words were things like Witch, Wand and Broomstick. He didn’t need my help and was able to sound them out as he wrote each word out. He was very chuffed with his work and wanted to do more!

Next was some addition using images related to the book. We counted the, up and wrote how many there were above them just to help with his writing as he went from being able to write numbers to forgetting some numbers in a short space of time so thought could help him doing this. This is additions of up to 20 but the highest answer was 11 so didn’t feel quiet like additions up to 20. He loved counting and adding with his and again very proud of his work.

You can find loads of Room on the Broom themed worksheets and more on Twinkl. You can choose between free account, Gold account or Platinum. It certainly is worth it whether you’re kids are at school, a childminder, home educator or a teacher.

Disclosure: I was given access to platinum account, some resources I may show on my blog are not accessible to free accounts. My opinions are unbiased.

Teaching Kids We Should Lie and Cheat?

Some of you will know I’ve been battling and stressing over my son’s school, also the lack of any other decent schools nearby. Those new to my blog then basically the school is a Nursery to Sixth Form Academy, one of the first of it’s kind in the United Kingdom, currently in special measures and failing. There’s so much wrong there and having to tell a 4 year old the difference between bullying and accidentally bumping in to someone was not an easy discussion, nor were the days of finding new bruises that a bully had left on my son’s body.

Yesterday my son came home with a letter. This one was interesting as it had a staple, meaning it was a pretty long letter so probably very important. It was windy, cold and starting to snow so I put it away, he held the pushchair and we walked home as usual. We had the normal chat of what he ate in his lunch box, did he play outside today and the usual curious questions a 4 year old asks like “why is the snow falling on me?” and asking when we get home if he can share crisps with Petit Girl.  The first not so easy to explain to a child his age but I did my best for an on-the-spot rather science-y question and of course he shared crisps with his sister.

I warmed my hands up and started to read the letter. New sponsor? Why is that? Who is this sponsor? Whose this Dame woman? She must be important to have the title Dame but why haven’t I heard of her before?

I rung my mother and we chatted the usual stuff about how the kids are doing, how the rest of the family are and what we’ve been up to and I slipped in about this new sponsor thing. It just so happened she was at her laptop and so did a quick Google. Her response was a bit concerning so I gave the kids a biscuit each to keep them quiet for a bit longer (dinner was still in the oven) and rushed to get the iPad out. I Googled this woman’s name. Dame Mo Brennan and Google suggested “Dame Maureen Brennan news” to me.  Okay that’s odd but I figured Mo was short for something. Anyway she has a Wikipedia page and yes she is head of one of the other schools the trust is part of, she also happens to be the Director of this trust. But then there’s a large section on the page titled “Attendance manipulation charges”. Words I wasn’t expecting to see from someone who was given an honour started to stand out like the biggest sore thumbs I’ve seen in a long time. It talked about GCSE results, attendance records, stuff to basically make the school look good by lying and cheating the system.

cheatlie-dontdoit

I was stunned to say the least. Angered that we consider this okay. Why should children think it’s okay to cheat and lie and be rewarded for it? The line that she did it “for the children” gets used over and over. Really? That’s the sap story we all going to accept? No she didn’t, this was done to make her look like a good person, sod the kids. I dislike how schools are marked down for things often out of their control but cheating the system isn’t the way forward and we shouldn’t accept this nor allow it. If there’s a problem and schools feel the constant need to lie just to get a better report then the system is flawed.

I often saw this trick at my secondary school. Telling kids who should have been excluded to “study at home” and be marked in that fashion. But all those kids did was come to the school gate and bully other kids, throw things over the gate, they didn’t care and the school sure didn’t either. If they cared they would have helped those kids learn, not let them stand at the gate, smoking cigarettes and throwing empty cans at anyone who walked by. And if they got bored of that then they’ll go elsewhere and be a menace elsewhere. “For the children” my arse.

Currently  I’m in contact with the school as best as I can be, the letter had an email although addressed to someone of the old sponsor but they replied and shall forward my concerns to the school. I’ll also be contacting our local MP to see what his thoughts are. He’s been in power here since the late 70’s and proud of many choices he’s made, including voting to allow gays to marry.

Teaching With Twinkl – Gruffalo

Many of you will know the troubles with my son’s school. Recently Ofsted posted a report earlier this month that was deeply depressing for me so I had begun to look in to Home Education. The amazing folks of Twinkl asked me if I would try out their premium package and over the new few months I will be posting Teaching With Twinkl And showing a little bit of what we have been doing.

My son was very unwell on Sunday, boiling hot (38.7C is the highest I got with our cheap thermometer), floppy and complaining about his ears hurting. So Monday we saw the doctor and collected antibiotics and Calpol for an ear infection and to keep the fever down. So recently he has been off school but I didn’t want him to miss out on any learning and thought how could I make it fun?

Currently he’s a big fan of The Gruffalo so printed a few Twinkl resources to do with the book. We read the book several times, watched the animated version and talked about each of the animals. He knew the owl was a kind of bird that flies and remembered where each animal lived and the order the mouse met them. So how else could I use his new found love for this story to continue teaching him?

First I wanted to work on his writing. He is left handed and often he leaves a very faint line. Here he wrote inside the letters as he sounded them out and actually put pressure on to the pencil and I could actually see what he was writing! Still trying to help find ways to make it easier to write left handed as we are all right handed so very odd to teach with my right when he uses his left.

Up next was a simple counting. He was still not very well so decided a simple counting would be good but also help him write his numbers. He did this so fast, this is early learning which is his level at school right now. Thought perhaps next time shall try something a little different.

Addition was on the list the next day. Normally I use toy cars or Lego to help with addition and subtraction so this was a little different. But again he blew through this. He only recounted the owls as he wasn’t sure he was right but he was correct with 8 and wrote it down.

Finally we reviewed the book itself. This was probably the hardest as he was still learning spelling and phonic sounds but he did pretty well. A few spelling errors but at this point. I’m just impressed he kept it up. He found the last part hard so we cut the story up in to three parts. First is the mouse meets the fox, owl and snake, second part he meets the Gruffalo and shows the Gruffalo to the other animals. Finally he ends by scaring the Gruffalo and then enjoying a nut. He said “at the end he eated the nut” but then just wanted to write “nut”.

My thoughts so far? Impressed! I was able to teach him addition, work on his pencil control and help with his literacy all through a story he is currently enjoying. I would never have thought of it myself!

You can follow Twinkl on Facebook and Twitter, keep an eye open for offers and exciting new resources! You can join for free and use any free resources or consider their Gold or Platinum options.

Twinkl Primary School Resources

Disclaimer: I was given access to Platinum resources to review Twinkl. My opinions are my own and unbiased. Some of the Twinkl resources are free, but some may require a gold or premium account to access.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Week Til School

One week til my first born wears his uniform, his jacket and walks with me to the school gate for the first time.

One week til I watch him go in to his classroom and stay there for his first full day away from me and his family.

One week til I pick him up after school and hear about his first day, what he did, what he learned, who he met, how he feels.

One week til I have to let him go. Continue reading