Pay attention, please… Engaging students in their learning


I like the opening lines above this infographic. After being a teacher for quite a few years now, all my observations show that one of the most important things for a teacher in a class of young people is to remain passionate about your subject and about learning. The students at my school will forgive quite a lot if you have that passion. If you have that deep interest, chances are that you will also be constantly reading and developing your knowledge and looking for new ways for students to learn about it.
The infographic offers a lot of practical ideas to be proactive about ways out of difficult moments without resorting to negative options.
Keep the passion, maintain the fire for learning and enjoy the time you spend with developing minds.

Originally posted on An Ethical Island:


it is the students who are bored


sometimes it is the instructor who is boring.

Engaged students pay attention.

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This work by Mia MacMeekin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Teaching code via our “coding club”

We have recently started a junior coding club at our school, after not managing to have a subject put into the year 8 curriculum. It is interesting how to see how each week a few more boys are joining our ranks. It was also great to have some of our year 10 students offer to work with the younger boys as mentors and teachers. It has been many years since I have really worked in this area so it is a big learning curve for me but with the good will of the students we are all learning together  and having fun at the same time.

I thought I would include the infographic below. It sums up some of the questions we had to face when we wanted to introduce coding into the junior curriculum. Sometimes it is very frustrating but in the long run there will be a greater acceptance that coding is a useful skill for all students. It can encourage and develop a range of skills in our students: problem-solving, logical thinking, interpretation of data/information, innovation and original ideas,  abstract thought and creativity. Our students will learn to be creators, not just consumers at the mercy of other developers, or at least better understand the world they inhabit.

I still argue that we should  Teach coding to students, it’s an important skill. (A post I wrote 12 months ago). More articles are being written and research undertaken  that also support this view. One interesting article I read back in August was Coding overtakes French as UK’s most popular second language in primary schools. The headline alone piqued my interest.

So we continue with the coding club and lay the groundwork for all students to have access this most useful way of developing a range of skills. 
Teaching Coding in Classroom

Courtesy of: AssignmentHelpNet

Literature by numbers.

Always looking for some interesting ways to approach literature, books and reading for our boys, I came across the fun infographic below. This is an appealing infographic (from the DailyInfographic site) that takes a look at the numbers behind some famous works of fiction. There are word counts of classic novels as well as modern works such as Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings. Novellas, haiku, epic poems as well as works by particular authors (Hemingway, Shakespeare and Austen) are explained by their numbers.

Words by Numbers: Famous Literature Infographic

Choosing books for young readers

A few weeks ago I wrote a post called Reading – Choosing what to read in the holidays? and included an infographic. In the first week of our school holidays I have spent my time looking after three primary school children. Two are just beginning to read on their own. The weather has been cold so although we have spent some time outside, we have also done a few indoor activities as well. Reading with the two boys was part of it. It was a great way to share my enjoyment of some of my favourite children’s books. The boys enjoyed snuggling up and being read to as well as having a go themselves. The Peter Rabbit stories are currently being televised as a cartoon and this was a great starting point.

I thought would share this infographic that seeks to give some advice about books for younger readers if  you are interested in some more  ideas about what might make good starting point. The following is another infographic, created by Personal Creations, that might be a useful starting point. They have analyzed over 50 popular children’s books, from the classic The Tale of Peter Rabbit to the more contemporary bestseller, Harry Potter and given some idea about how long it might take younger readers to finish the books.

They followed the fluency standards for elementary grades, based on academic fluency standards (US) and calculated how long it takes kids to read these books.

How Long It Takes Kids to Read Popular Books shows each book accompanied with the number of words, and the reading time – split into three grades: 2, 3, and 4.

Wondering where your child falls in this list? Follow the fluency standards for elementary grades 1 – 6 below and you can quickly calculate how long it’ll take your eager reader.

Grade 1: 50 words per minute (wpm)
Grade 2: 70 wpm
Grade 3: 100 wpm
Grade 4: 130 wpm
Grade 5: 140 wpm
Grade 6: 160 wpm

Reading comprehension is not built into calculations and it is important to talk about what the young reader has understood about the text and illustrations, but most of all the activity needs to be about encouraging an enjoyment of reading.

Please include attribution to with this graphic.

How Long It Takes To Read Popular Kids Books by

Reading – Graphic for choosing a book

We have spent a lot of time working with students and staff so they have something to read in the school holidays. I have been reading and reviewing some YA fiction on GoodReads as have our student reading group but thought I would also share this infographic I came across the other day. I am also thinking about our kids creating one of their advice infographics. What would they choose.

Note to self: get them to create one for next holidays.

What Do You Feel Like Reading Infographic

Reading – Choosing what to read in the holidays?

It is the end of Semester 1 and our 2 week holiday period is almost here. Many of the boys have been asked to read over the holidays and classes have come to the library for them to find something.

We have e-books as well as hardcopy books. Many of our boys like the later and subject matter and the cover play a part in their choice but for some it is the size of the book (number of pages) that is the deciding factor. We often explain to these boys that if the book does not interest them then the book will be too long whatever the length. It is with these thoughts in mind that I came across the following infographic.

It is an interesting take on recommending reading material and is based on the “average” person’s reading speed (300 words per minute) and the number of words in the novel. Of course reading difficulty would also come into play so it offers only a rough guide to the times suggested but I thought it might make an interesting talking point if i showed it in the library.

Please include attribution to with this graphic.

How Long Does it Take to Read




There are 2 opposing camps of teachers at my school – those who use rubrics and those that really dislike using them.
I believe there are some very good reasons to use rubrics although they have to be well-written.
This infographic offers an easy way to explain the benefits of using rubrics.

Originally posted on An Ethical Island:

I have recently been shocked at the fact that educators don’t really see the need for a rubric. They either find them too specific or too vague. But, I am not really sure they are seeing the big picture on this one. Rubrics are great for students and teachers.

Here are a few benefits:


What else would you add? How have they helped you?


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