Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Little Genius.... 10 Year Old Nigerian Girl to go to the Uninversity

She spends her spare time in a similar way to many other ten-year-old girls - playing with Barbie dolls and making loom bands.
But the key difference between Esther Okade and other children her age is that she has been accepted to study for a university maths degree - despite not going to school.
Esther, from Walsall, West Midlands, has enrolled on an Open University course months after she passed her A-levels - and wants to study for a PhD before running her own bank.
 Happy: Esther (left) is pictured last year with her mother Omonefe (right) after passing her A-level in 

The girl, who gained a C grade in her maths GCSE aged six, has joined the course which started this month. Her younger brother Isiah is already studying for his A-levels - also aged six.
The siblings are both home-schooled by their mother Omonefe, who has converted the living room of their semi-detached, three-bedroom house into a makeshift classroom.
Mathematician Mrs Okade, 37, said: ‘Esther is doing so well. She took a test recently and scored 100 per cent. Applying to the university was an interesting process because of her age.
‘We even had to talk to the vice-chancellor. After they interviewed her they realised that this has been her idea from the beginning. From the age of seven Esther has wanted to go to university.
 Course: Esther Okade has been accepted to study for a maths degree - despite not going to school

‘But I was afraid it was too soon. She would say, “Mum, when am I starting?”, and go on and on and on. Finally, after three years she told me, “Mum, I think it is about time I started university now”.’
Mrs Okade added that Esther - who will study for her degree at home - was ‘flying’ and ‘so happy’ when she was accepted by the university, and wants to be a millionaire.
Esther stunned her parents last year when she achieved a B grade in her pure maths A-level.
She applied to the Open University last August - and after a phone interview, an essay and an exam, she was told in December that she had been accepted onto the course.
Esther Okade, a ten-year-old maths student

Her father Paul, 42, a managing director, added: ‘I cannot tell you how happy and proud I am as a father. The desire of every parent is to see their children exceed them, and take the family name to great heights, and my children have done just that.’
In 1981 Ruth Lawrence, of Brighton, became the youngest person to pass the exam for Oxford University, as a ten-year-old - and graduated aged 13 with a first-class degree in maths.
 Esther Okadepictured at home in Walsall with her brother Isaiah

Now aged 43 and a married mother-of-two, Mrs Lawrence is an associate professor of maths at the Einstein Institute of Mathematics, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.



Monday, 2 February 2015

Cursive handwriting is useless, but politicians want students to learn it anyway

For many students, cursive is already a thing of the past.
In the past few years, states as politically diverse as TennesseeNorth CarolinaCalifornia, Georgia, Idaho, and Massachusetts have passed bills requiring schools to teach students to write in cursive. The Kansas Board of Education reaffirmed in 2013 that students should learn to write cursive. And similar bills have been proposed in Indiana, South Carolina, Arkansas, and other states.
These defenders of cursive writing say they're spurred into action by the Common Core — new standards for what students should know and be able to do in language arts and math. The Common Core doesn't require students to learn to write cursive.
But the Common Core really just reflects a longstanding trend: cursive handwriting has been on its way out for two generations, long before texting became the preferred way for young people to communicate. The search for a simpler way to teach children to write goes back a century. The slow death of cursive is just the latest version.


Is Handwriting STILL Important in the 21st Century?

Jotting down a shopping list, writing a birthday card, taking down a phone message, completing a form at the bank ….handwriting is part of our daily lives. It is on show to others and may be used to make judgments about us.
Writing has a very long history. It began as simple pictographs drawn on a rock, which were then combined to represent ideas and developed into more abstract symbols. Just like our writing today, early symbols were used to store information and communicate it to others.
In recent years, modern technology has dramatically changed the way we communicate through writing. However, despite the increased use of computers for writing, the skill of handwriting remains important in education, employment and in everyday life.

Time devoted to the teaching and learning of letter formation in the early years will pay off. Legible writing that can be produced comfortably, at speed and with little conscious effort allows a child to attend to the higher-level aspects of writing composition and content. This is important when assessments are based on written work, particularly in time-limited written examinations, which remain as a major form of assessment for many formal qualifications. Without fast and legible handwriting, students may miss out on learning opportunities and under-achieve academically.

Beyond formal education, most employment situations will involve at least some handwriting and any require the communication of critical information (e.g. medical notes, prescriptions).
Thus, handwriting with pen and paper still has an important role from early childhood through our adult lives, But more and more, people are shifting from paper to electronic modes of communication. Interestingly though, many personal computers now have handwriting recognition capability so that handwriting as means of interacting with computers is becoming more pervasive. It seems, therefore, that even in this modern age, handwriting remains an important skill for communication.

Why handwriting? A personal view

Oscar, who is studying for his A levels, had had problems with legibility of handwriting for some years. He has been given permission to use the keyboard to write his exams. However, for him this does not solve all his problems (see below), although it may make his scripts easier for the examiners to read.
Photo: Oscar's handwriting on lined paper

"The process of handwriting promotes clear thought and natural structure. Being so close to the page means that translation of thought has less opportunity for deviation.
When typing I find I compulsively re-read my work on the screen and the ability to edit is sometimes paralysing, Although computer work can allow for more complex structure, it is often too complex and has many complications for timed conditions."
Oscar Aged 17 years


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Staying connected to Your Child's School.

In today’s busy world, staying connected to your child’s teacher and school isn’t always an easy task. American and Canadian research has shown that the children of parents who become actively involved in their children’s education tend to do well in school. Studies have shown, for example, that increased parental involvement can boost achievement levels, make children more responsible learners, help them earn more credits in high school, ensure that they experience fewer discipline problems and improve their attendance. Clearly, building a relationship with your child’s school is a worthwhile activity.

Building a relationship between home and school requires an effort on the part of both parents and teachers. However, parents who take the time to establish this relationship will find that they have more input into their child’s education. Such a relationship will also give parents and teachers a better understanding of the pressures that the other party faces and provide each with a chance to articulate concerns and discuss responsibilities.

A child’s success in school is a shared responsibility. For that reason, communication between the home and the school is always a two-way endeavour. Today’s schools use a variety of tools—websites, newsletters, progress reports, e-mail and conferences—to engage parents and facilitate communication. Parents need to remember, however, that these tools, though extremely useful, are no substitute for actively participating in their child’s school by serving on the parent council, accompanying students on field trips, helping out in the classroom and volunteering on sports days. Share your time and experience where you can. A little goes a long way, and both your child and your child’s teacher will appreciate your efforts.

Here are some strategies and tips for communicating effectively:
  1. Connect early: Rather than waiting for problems to arise, contact your child’s teacher early in the school year, introduce yourself and have a general discussion.
  2. Volunteer: If your schedule permits, offer to help out in the school. Teachers will appreciate your support, and you will have a chance to see how your child and his or her teacher interact.
  3. Visit the school: Many schools welcome parents on an informal basis. Find out if such visits are an acceptable practice at your child’s school.
  4. Use technology: Take advantage of e-mail, websites, online tracking and monitoring programs, and the phone to stay in touch with your child’s school. Remember, however, that there is no substitute for face-to-face communication.
  5. Communicate often: The frequency of your contact with the school will depend on your child’s situation. If you have serious concerns, weekly communication may be necessary.
  6. Be positive: Both parents and teachers should communicate positive events and accomplishments to one another. This type of dialogue can do much to boost a child’s self-esteem.

Taking the time and effort to communicate with your child’s school in a variety of contexts and settings will help you to build a relationship with your child’s teacher and give you a chance to participate in your child’s education.
Visit the following websites for more information on school involvement:
  • Communities and Schools Promoting: This gateway resource contains valuable information on the role that coordinated school-based and school-linked programs play in promoting the health, academic achievement and social development of students.
  • Parents as Partners: This site contains describes best practices for facilitating parent involvement in schools, offers resources for parents and teachers, and provides a forum to help parents become engaged in their child’s school.

Connecting with your child's teacher?

Ever wonder what it really takes to start out on the right foot with your child’s elementary teacher?
While many parents think it means volunteering in the classroom and showing up for parent-teacher conferences, building a positive relationship with teachers actually begins with what you do at home to connect to your child’s education.
Teachers know which families support their children’s learning — and which do not. That’s because it shows up in the classroom every day through students’ work and the stories they tell. Just as your kids talk about school at home, children come to school innocently sharing stories about what mom or dad said about school, homework and teachers. And research shows, not surprisingly, that teachers have higher expectations for students whose parents are involved in their child’s education in productive ways.
Here are four ways you can show respect for and build a positive relationship with your child’s teacher:

kids in classroom
1. Do your part: Teachers need your help with the basics and get frustrated when that doesn’t happen: Fill out school forms before the deadline – teachers and schools need this information to connect with your child; read the teacher’s newsletter so you know what’s going on in the classroom; get your kids to school on time every day; and fuel their little brains and bodies for learning. Make sure your children get 10-11 hours of sleep and eat a healthy breakfast every morning (protein, healthy carbs and less sugar) so they can concentrate, process and retrieve information for six and a half hours.  Sleep and diet impact your child’s behavior and learning more than most of us realize. Teachers notice and appreciate when parents prioritize these basic needs.

2. Connect with your child’s reading and homework: 
Teachers also know which parents are reading with their kids and supporting homework in productive ways. One of the greatest gifts you can give your children(and their teachers) is reading to, with or in front of them throughout their elementary years. Finding just 15 minutes to read every day influences your child in many ways. Read the class newsletter or website so you can reinforce at home what your kids are learning at school. Make sure homework is done, but don’t do it yourself – or correct it. Homework helps teachers identify which kids understand the material and which need a reteach.
dad reading kids

P33. Communicate effectively: Everything you write or say to your child’s teacher either strengthens or weakens the bridge you’re building. How you communicate with teachers plays a big role in whether your concerns are heard — and how quickly they are addressed. Use my Power of P3 to keep messages focused and productive. Start out on a Positive note whether you’re communicating via note, email, phone or in person. Be Professional (polite and respectful in your observations and feelings) and Persistent when needed. Discuss difficult issues on the phone or in parent-teacher conferences, not via email. And never go over the teacher’s head without letting him or her know you plan to do so. It’s not always easy to follow P3, especially if you feel frustrated about your child’s situation. But when blame and accusations seep into your communication, teachers will defend their actions rather than respond to your concerns.

4. Say “thank you” in words and actions: With higher standards, new teacher evaluations, and endless testing, teachers are under a lot of pressure today. Acknowledge and support their efforts by sending a thank-you note or saying thanks when you see them. Even better, have your child write a thank-you note. If you can, send in materials when teachers ask for them. Most teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies and appreciate whatever parents can give. And if you do have the time to volunteer in the classroom or at school, be as helpful as you can.
Showing up for conferences and volunteering in the classroom are important, but need to be combined with the above to build a positive relationship with your child’s teacher. And the beginning of a new school year is a perfect time to start.

(This article was written by ML Nichols and published in Books for Better Living on August 14, 2013)

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Happy New Year.......... its the 21st day of 2015

I am here again. And I know its been donkey's years . I lost my laptop and also took a well deserved break.

I am back now (a pray a can blog consistently).  2015 promises to be a fantastic year. I have a lot of other goals which I am working on .

Happy New Year to all my readers and I  wish you all a PROMOTED 2015.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

21st Century Learning

In the midst of the rapidly changing educational paradigms, teachers are continuously required to actualize their teaching pedagogy in such a way that it melts in with ethos of the new era. Teaching in the 21st century has its own idiosyncrasies that are, to a far extent, different from the ones that shaped instruction in the previous centuries.We are now living in a conceptual age that demands a host of new and complex thinking and cognitive skills and as such teaching priorities have to adjust to accommodate and foster these new demands.

Our students are no longer passive containers waiting for  their teachers to fill them in with teachable content.They have become active agents who can seek and access information and knowledge through different venues.They are equipped with the power of networks and can in a matter of few clicks crowdsource a topic and come up with all kinds of ideas.

Of course, the requirements for teaching in a conceptual age way transcend traditional ways of instruction. According to ISTE visual below, these requirements perfectly fit in within a blended learning space that makes use of both face to face and online teaching. There are different models of blended learning and here are some of them taken from ISTE visual:
Instruction occurs via an online platform, with periodic face-to-face meetings.
Face to Face
Teacher offers primarily face-to face instruction, supplemented with technology in the classroom or computer lab.
Students rotate between self-paced online learning and face-to-face instruction. Schedules are fixed  but flexible.
Most instruction is delivered online, with teachers providing as-needed support in small group settings.
Online Lab
Instruction takes place in a brick and mortar lab, delivered by an online teacher and supervised onsite by paraprofessionals.
Students take online courses to supplement their traditional school's face-to-face course catalog.