Which is the easier to teach – the curious and inquisitive child or the indifferent child?

Clearly there is no need to answer the question posed in the headline above – but I still pose it because it sometimes seems to me that curiosity is one of those personality traits which we don’t do enough to promote.

Yet stimulating curiosity among those children who, for whatever reason, have lost their curiosity quotient (if I may invent such a measure) can prove a most invaluable exercise.

As a result, when I was designing the Literacy Box (a collection of over 200 homework ideas to support literacy outcomes at Key Stage 2) I insisted that the box should be designed in such a way as to be visible to everyone in the classroom and to parents who decide to choose alongside their child.

The box contains 232 A5 cards, is proven to be motivating for children and parents, and leads to successful literacy outcomes – as well as directing children’s natural curiosity towards meaningful activity and outcomes

All of these cards are divided into four sections – reading, writing, words and sentences, and spelling.

They have been written with year groups 2 – 4 in mind – depending on the developmental stage of individual children.

The point about the approach is that any card can be used from any section – for as long as the child wants to work with it at home. Over a period of time – using the cards little and often – children will build up skills, knowledge and abilities to think about language and literacy in different and more thoughtful ways.

You can download a free sample, supporting documents and our information leaflet from our website at www.thinkingchild.org.uk/literacy-box/.

What’s more, you can also view a video showing the product being used and comments from both parents and staff. You can also call us on 0844 332 0123 or email us at info@thinkingchild.org.uk for more information.

But that is not all. If you are looking for even more varied approaches to literacy work at KS2, you might like to take a peek at my blog (www.thinkingchild.org.uk/blog/) which contains an ever growing number of ideas and thoughts relating to using curiosity as a way of stimulating literacy.

Sue Dixon

How can assembly songs provide a positive and hugely creative experience for young children?

SEALSONGS is a collection of assembly songs which aims to get children engaged through the experience of making and creating music. The lyrics were written with considerable input from Year 4 and 5 pupils, so speak from children to children, and the musical backing tracks were professionally recorded.

But the resource goes further and offers teachers detailed advice on writing new lyrics, leading singing and other ways that SEALSONGS may be used in the classroom. Thus it enables teachers to give young children the positive experience of working with others in creating new songs within the SEAL framework. There is also guidance for non-specialists in how to teach songs.

The SEAL themes are:

Song 1: New beginnings
Song 2: Getting on and falling out
Song 3: Say no to bullying
Song 4: Going for goals!
Song 5: Good to be me
Song 6: Relationships
Song 7: Changes

Two further general songs – one about writing songs and one providing a Rhyme Game – are also included in the pack.

JENNY MOSLEY (Founder of Quality Circle Time) said “SEALSONGS is a wonderful gift to any adult who wants to truly help their class or school embed SEAL as a way of ‘being’ with ourselves and others. We all know that song can lift you to a different spiritual dimension – David Stoll has given us the perfect package to help even the most music-shy amongst us to engage young people in the process of creating heart-warming songs as part of a creative team….. This is an excellent resource.”

HOWARD GOODALL (National Ambassador for Singing) said “These SEALSONGS have the authentic ring of children’s ideas and feelings in every line. This, for me, makes it a valuable and empowering set of musical tools….. with excellent supporting materials and explanations.”

The SEALSONGS book and CD are now available as a download for £10 plus VAT. This price includes a licence for full use of all the material within the school, including recording new versions of the songs. The complete package is split into different files so that schools may choose which elements they wish to record or print.

Sample music can be downloaded from www.pdf.firstandbest.co.uk/music/SEALSONGSSamples.zip and you can purchase the book and CD on-line with a credit card at http://shop.firstandbest.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=739

Holiday Discounts for MFL teachers

Oh to work in a profession where one can take one’s holiday at any time – and thus avoid paying top prices because you have to take your break during the school holidays.

Fortunately this problem can now be resolved. Not by taking your holidays any time you want, of course, but because there is a way of getting a discount during the school holidays.

We offer a range of tours and excursions during the school breaks which are specially designed for teachers.

And because of the success of our recent promotions we are now able to offer a further 10% discount for teachers on all our holidays.

You can see all the holidays that we offer on the link given below. Then, to claim a 10% saving, you will need to call us on 0844 324 8557, quoting the reference ‘TEACH’.

All you will need to do is provide us with the name and address of the school that you work for and your position within it.

So should you fancy Austria at Easter, Bruges during half-term, Rome in July or Christmas on Lake Como, these are all available, and all without any price hikes because you are going during the school holidays.

Our luxury coaches (with extra legroom and rear lounge) run from almost 500 regional pick up points and include all the extras that you could desire.

To see all the holiday options please visit our website – www.leger.co.uk/SchoolHolidays.aspx#holiday