The A-Z of Child Whispering: S is for STRANGE

I have been trying to make myself read some books from the Dog-Man series and it is like negotiating an alien landscape.

The comic book genre does not resonate with me AT ALL! Graphic novels are not my thing. My daughter bought me one many years ago and it still lays abandoned and lonely in the bedside cabinet!

However, the idea of a dog’s head joined to a man’s body for a policeman appeals to thousands of young readers. Each week I am asked, “Vicky, have you read the Dog Man books?” and each week I sat, “No!”

This week I can honestly say I tried and there WERE funny, weird moments that sort of appealed but no- I am just too staid!

Kids LOVE the weird, kooky, strange and bizarre. They want to borrow books about gruesome facts and scary animals. They LOVE Any Griffith with his crazy Tree-house books and devour ALL of them.

They love science, aliens and space and have absolutely no problem imagining what Heaven might look like! Their brains are like the stretchiest most flexible slinky you could ever imagine!

This will never change.

Think back. If I can, you can too!

I loved books about the supernatural, scary horror stories and movies like that too. I wanted weird. I was once a kid too!

So were you!

It our job to know what kids want but it also our job to gently lead them to engaging fiction that will make them think deeply and problem solve. By knowing what they WANT to read, I can lead them to certain areas.

I want kids to read about the strangeness of Narnia and feel the delicious fear in The Dark is Rising series but I must also enter kids’ weird worlds and meet strange characters like Dog Man.

Thank you to the writers of weird such as Dav Pilkey and Andy Griffiths and even JK Rowling. They keep the kids reading and inspire the ones with problems to WANT to read!

Below is a list of very quirky kids’ books. Some don’t appeal to me at all but they DO to kids! “Go the F*** to sleep” is obviously for adults!

http://www.polkacafe.com/quirky-and-unconventional-childrens-books-1028.html

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The A-Z of Child Whispering: S IS FOR SILLY

S IS FOR SILLY

Kids love to be silly! We all do. At the end of full-on day I need a fair dose of silliness too. We all need to smile, giggle and enjoy a good belly-laugh.

Luckily, I work with kids and their exuberance and out of the box thinking keeps me smiling and light-hearted!

Children desperately need to lighten their days and the larger the difficulties they face, the more “silliness” is needed.

Three children told me last week how much they hate school. All of them are well above average IQs, bright and bubbly but not fitting the “system.”

Each day for them is a trial where they know they will fail, be in trouble and be embarrassed in front of their peers.

So, we laughed, played learning games, read picture books and wrote books together- with me as final editor and often “writing slave” with the keyboard! I needed to help them feel more positive and be able to see they can be successful learners.

I know that the encouragement and motivation I provide is FAR more important than any of our learning programs.

A daily dose of silliness and light-heartedness with children leads to less stressed classrooms, better bonding and happier homes.

Being silly helps us all to keep a sense of perspective and to be able to climb above our problems and perceive possible solutions.

Interestingly, creativity and therefore problem-solving skills improve markedly with regular humour within our teaching.

https://www.parent.com/5-serious-benefits-of-being-silly-with-your-kids/

As the above article states: “Simply put, a child needs to be a child, and part of being a child is being silly. …….. when you take part in being silly, you are role modelling that life can be fun, joyous, and happy.”

 I could not agree more!

Let’s have some fun today and allow ourselves to laugh and be silly- whether with kids or by ourselves. We will ALL benefit!

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NAPLAN NONSENSE

Finally, my colleagues are vindicated in their anti-NAPLAN comments! This morning’s news featuring the report from Dr Ainley showing:

“There has been no improvement in maths and reading among students in a decade and the results of disadvantaged students have declined sharply, a major report obtained by the ABC reveals.” (link at end of this blog)

I train teachers around the country and many outstanding educators have privately shared their NAPLAN concerns with me.

These concerns include:

  • Having to teach to the test- not the curriculum.
  • Reducing child development to grades and benchmarks and not taking learning styles into consideration
  • Children’s fears and anxiety around these tests.
  • Parents making children work on endless worksheets that purport to give better marks- a whole industry has grown up around this reduction of the education process to grades and numbers!
  • Children are pretested,  post – tested- they are tested so often there is little time to teach!

I regularly give workshops to SE Asian teachers as well, and my Singaporean colleagues have asked me why we have so many national exams.

Singapore has very high standards of education and has been very exam oriented in the past but is gradually injecting more creativity into the curriculum.

We NEVER had to go this way.

Sure- literacy and numeracy standards needed to improve and we needed more rigour in our education process.

This could have happened with a tighter curriculum, more effective professional development and extra teachers and assistants to work with children.

NAPLAN was always a broken, inferior tool to mend an education system that needed serious improvement.

Read more about it here-

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-07/naplan-call-review-after-report-reveals-no-change-in-decade/9519840

 

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