Global Warming for Kids: What We Should Be Teaching

Global warming for kids is a tricky subject. When we teach about important topics such as global warming and climate change, it’s essential that we find the right balance. We need convey the seriousness of the situation and discuss the most suitable courses of action without falling prey to some common myths on the topic and spreading misinformation as a result.

The Global Warming Concern

The primary issue when teaching global warming for kids is that we feel like we should be able to provide a solution – that we should be able to fix things. This often means that we grab onto snippets of information and use them to create the solution we’ve been dreaming of. Unfortunately, in some cases, the ‘solutions’ we’ve heard about simply don’t have that much of an impact. We need to work to determine what is fact, and what is fiction, and provide young people with an honest answer.

Common Global Warming Debates

There are many ‘solutions’ to global warming that aren’t quite as beneficial as they appear to be on the surface. When teaching global warming for kids, here are some highly debated subjects to consider:

  • Grass — Naturally, grass is grouped into a single category with trees. As we know, trees are good for the environment, as they soak up carbon dioxide, but is grass really as beneficial as trees? It seems not. In fact, a well-manicured lawn – one that’s watered often, sprinkled with fertiliser, and mowed on a regular basis – could actually be quite harmful to the environment. Believe it or not, in some cases, artificial grass might actually prove to be the eco-friendlier lawn option.
  • Biodegradable Plastics — Biodegradable alternatives to traditional plastics are often cited as being the eco-friendlier option, but is this really the case? Biodegradable plastics are often produced in the same way as regular plastics: with oils. ‘Biodegradable’ simply means that the material can break down naturally, which sounds great – but research shows that this can still take years (even a banana skin can take up to 3 years to break down!). To reduce the damage from plastics, it’s still best to recycle wherever you can, and reuse containers where possible.
  • Electric Cars — One of the newer ‘solutions’ to the climate change crisis, there’s no doubt that electric cars like the Tesla are said to be much more environmentally friendly. But we should be questioning whether there is a difference between being ‘eco-friendlier’ and ‘eco-friendly’, and it appears that there is. Electric cars are better than conventional petrol-driven engines, but they definitely have their faults. Depending on the power source to the local grid, for example, the energy they use may still be generated from coal power plants. Not to mention that they’re still out of the price range of most people, which means they’re unlikely to be widespread for quite some time. It’s better to look at alternative methods of getting around, like walking, cycling or using public transport.

The Best Teaching Method

If we’re teaching global warming for kids, we want to do so in a way that engages, inspires, and ultimately provides young people with the information they need to really make a difference. We should be focusing on ideas that children can help out with, such as encouraging kids to recycle both at home and in school, using less water by taking shorter showers, and turning off lights when they leave a room, instead of looking at ‘solutions’ that are still largely up for debate. The best method? Keep it simple.



How to encourage kids to be more environmentally friendly

It’s now more important than ever to encourage kids to be more environmentally friendly, and there are a few practices that you can introduce to help them with this. First of all, you need to think about global warming for kids and how you can best explain to them the effect that humans are having on the environment. This way, they will learn about the importance of carrying out these steps and the impact it will have on their future. Once this core message has been delivered, you can set about getting them to put it into practice.

Teach them to love the outdoors
If you have a garden, get your kids to help plant seeds that can grow into vegetables, flowers or other plants. You can also educate them on what they will find in a garden and how it is useful to the planet. If you only have a small space or are worried about chemicals from weedkillers, you can get your kids to help lay down some artificial grass and distribute potted plants instead. Local parks and nature reserves also serve as a great environment for teaching kids about what they can find outdoors and how they can preserve it. The important thing is that kids are immersed in nature and realise the value of looking after outdoor spaces.

Get them to recycle
Recycling is a great way for kids to get involved with helping the environment. Teach them early on about where their rubbish goes and how this affects the planet. They’ll have lots of fun learning about the creative ways their old packaging and rubbish can be recycled. At the end of each week, get your kids to sort through all the recyclable materials you’ve saved and separate them out into cardboard and paper, plastic, glass bottles etc. This is great for developing their recognition skills and allows them to get familiar with each recyclable material.

Get them to minimise waste
Minimising waste should be a daily routine and is a great habit to get into. This could include food waste, which means getting them to eat everything on their plate and use up leftovers in the fridge. It could also include practices such as taking their own bags to the supermarket, reusing plastic bottles and using reusable containers to store food in. As they’re doing this, remind them about the benefits of minimising waste and praise them when they have done a good job.

Get them to save energy
Energy saving is a big issue when thinking about global warming for kids. Educate them on where their energy comes from and how this consumption affects the environment. You can start by getting them to turn lights off in their rooms when they leave and turning off the standby on the TV. It’s also important to set an example for them, doing things like only putting the heating on when necessary and washing clothes at a low temperature in the washing machine and explaining to them why this is important. These small acts will make all the difference and will instill an energy-saving mindset in them for the future.

When it comes to global warming for kids, it’s never too early to start, and these simple steps are easy to incorporate into a daily or weekly routine. You’ll soon see your kids adopt environmentally friendly habits that will hopefully continue throughout their lives.



Basic Programming for Teachers

Here is an infographic to help teachers learn the basics of programming and shows why it is important for children to learn to code. It includes useful resources, a glossary of terms and benefits for children.

This graphic has been sent back and forth to focus groups at a primary school to make sure it is as useful as possible for teachers. Please let us know what you think.

Coding for Teachers



Teachers offered Carrot Rewards pupil reward system for free

Teachers are being offered the chance to use a leading online pupil reward system, already used by hundreds of schools, for free.

The offer has been announced in response to the many teachers who want to use Carrot Rewards with their class or year group, but whose school is not ready to commit to a whole-school solution.  www.carrotrewards.co.uk

Up to two teachers per school will be able to benefit from all the key features and benefits of Carrot Rewards for free. These include being able to;

–  customise their own reward scheme, setting their own achievements and deductions, allowing them to design competitions, from class league tables, to prize draw

– give out virtual rewards using their tablet or smartphone which are automatically recorded online, and can be synced to immediately show up on the class whiteboard

– save time and effort managing their reward scheme as they will have access to up to the minute leader boards to track precisely how pupils, classes, subjects, etc are doing.

– encourage parent integration as parents can choose to be contacted when their child is given a reward,  receive weekly email updates, and log in to see how their child is doing.

Carrot Rewards was created in 2010 by the team behind School Stickers, provider of millions of school rewards to thousands of schools across the world since 2000.

The team worked closely with schools and teachers when creating Carrot Rewards to find out what they really needed. Among the many requirements was simplicity, the ability to engage and motivate pupils, and to save teachers time and effort managing a reward scheme. The system also needed to be cost-effective, compatible with SIMS, flexible enough to work around individual school requirements, and to work on mobile, tablet and PC.

Carrot Rewards is now used by hundreds of schools, including many Academy Groups, and also by those that are part of an LEA School Cluster or Behaviour Partnership.

Pupils really do engage; they receive instant praise from teachers when they are given a reward, as well as ongoing recognition, as all rewards are automatically registered on www.MyStickers.co.uk. Here they can keep track of their rewards, and personalise their own avatar, which can be shown on the class whiteboard when a reward is earned.

The whole-school version of the system enables more than two teachers to log in. Multi-layered competitions can be created across the entire school, and there is access to comprehensive, whole-school reporting. This ensures a consistency of approach from teachers, giving them the tools to effectively manage the school’s behaviour and rewards policy.

Neil Hodges, Managing Director, Carrot Rewards said, “It’s great to be able to give teachers the chance to use Carrot Rewards in this way. Many have told us that they want to use it with their classes or year group, but that their school isn’t ready to commit to a whole school solution. This gives individual teachers access to all the amazing benefits of Carrot Rewards for free. We look forward to hearing their Carrot Reward success stories.” 

To find out more and to sign up visit www.carrotrewards.co.uk/signup/free



Best Ways To Revise

With exam season upon us, here are some helpful tips on how to revise most effectively from www.educationumbrella.com.

2016 Revision Tips



New Synthetic Phonics website ‘Teaching Children to Read and Write’

There is still a great deal of misunderstanding about synthetic phonics and why it is an essential element for teaching children to read and write.
Recently launched website ‘Teaching Children to Read and Write’ (http://www.tcrw.co.uk) is set to provide teachers, parents and interested adults with an understanding of synthetic phonics. The website covers how the English alphabetic code works, how to systematically teach it, the reasons why some children find learning to read difficult and what can be done about it.

The site’s creator Sue Lloyd, co-author of Jolly Phonics explains, “Many years ago I taught in a school where the method of teaching reading and writing was changed to what is now called ‘synthetic phonics’. We achieved much higher results with this type of teaching.”

“In 1990 I met Christopher Jolly. He was a small independent publisher and he asked me to write a handbook for teachers. That was the start of Jolly Phonics.”

Since retiring from teaching in 2003 Sue has given training around the world in 29 countries. She hopes to share her knowledge and experience with many more teachers and parents through the website.

To find out more go to http://www.tcrw.co.uk



AMORES project Improving children’s literacy through shared resources

A Europe-wide project, involving researchers from Staffordshire University, has discovered creative ways to improve school pupils’ literacy skills through using ICT.

Research from the National Literary Trust has shown that more than a fifth of children and young people (22%) rarely or never read in their own time and nearly a fifth (17%) would be embarrassed if their friends saw them reading. In addition, many school students lack knowledge of national and European literature.

The two-year project, AMORES, discovering a love for literature through digital collaboration and creativity , found that creating e- artefacts such as films, comic strips and online books could be used to increase students’ engagement with, and knowledge of, literature and the results are being shared as a free online resource for teachers across Europe.

 

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Janet Hetherington, Senior Researcher in the Creative Communities Unit led Staffordshire University’s involvement in the project. She commented, “We have shared our learning across Europe, from a conference in Tallinn to a workshop in Stoke-on-Trent. The findings and resources have been universally well received. Although we are working in different contexts, the use of ICT to engage students and forge links is relevant for teachers and researchers across the continent.”

The project worked with 10 teachers and 400 students to develop the free methodology and resources, which has already proved successful. Schools involved in the AMORES project saw increased uptake of literature with students engaging with national literature, creating animations and short films, and sharing these with their peers in other countries through videoconferences.

Staffordshire University was one of three UK universities involved in the project along with universities, primary schools and other educational institutions in six countries – Greece, Croatia, the UK, Sweden, Denmark and Poland.

For more information and access to the free teaching resources visit the Amores project website



Exploring Extremes of Universe with 70 of World’s Top Scientists

More than 70 world-class physicists from Université Paris-Saclay have developed a new free programme called a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), an online course with unlimited numbers of students and open access, to explore the Universe at its most extreme scales; from particles to stars.

Students will learn how the Universe was formed, and has evolved, as the researchers present the scientific and technological challenges they face in the study of the infinitely small and the infinitely large.

Participants will be shown what societal applications can be gained from this research, such as advances in medical imaging, image recognition, nuclear energy, and supercomputing.

It’s the first MOOC from Université Paris-Saclay, an institution established by 19 of France’s biggest names in science, engineering, business and humanities, including the French National Centre for Scientific Research and top-ranked engineering school École Polytechnique. The university welcomed its inaugural class this month.

Frédéric Déliot, course coordinator and physicist at Université Paris-Saclay, says: “70 physicists working on one MOOC is unusual – coordinating them is tough – but this is one of the first times that we’ve had a common project under the name of the new university, and our doctoral school is much bigger now.

“The course offers a great picture of the huge range of on-going, pioneering research in our laboratories. It’s a chance to discover today’s hot research topics, as well as unite the institutes of Université Paris-Saclay.”

The MOOC starts on November 16. It is intended for PhD students, as well as master students, undergraduates and those who are curious about fundamental physics and its applications. English subtitles are available throughout the ten-week course.

For more information or to register for the MOOC ‘From Particles to Stars’ click here: https://www.france-universite-numerique-mooc.fr/courses/Pari…



Planet EdTech UK’s first education technology website

Introducing Planet EdTech – the UK’s first website dedicated to education technology, and an exciting new resource for educators and entrepreneurs alike.

The brand new website wants to forge connections between the education and tech communities, empowering teachers to discover the best technology for their needs and inspiring entrepreneurs to create solutions to real problems facing the UK’s teachers today.

Though still a new venture, Planet EdTech has impressive credentials – it is already partnered with Duolingo, Edmodo and Class Dojo, three of the world’s most respected EdTech companies, and with an engaged community shaping the topics and content, the site is set to become the go-to resource for anyone interested in educational technology.

 

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Planet EdTech is also currently the subject of an exciting crowdfunding campaign; the team want to make Planet EdTech a crowdfunded global media cooperate, owned by readers and journalists. This inspiring, not-for-profit media model is the perfect fit for a site which focuses on the important topic of education, and the extra funds will allow the team to take on more core staff and invest in developing the content to its highest potential.

Jodie Oliver, CEO and Founder of Planet EdTech, says, “It’s undeniable now that technology will shape how we educate ourselves and our children over the coming decades, and it’s crucial that educators and entrepreneurs have access to resources which help them solve many of education’s issues. Planet EdTech was founded to encourage teachers and inventors alike to communicate and collaborate, finding advanced solutions to age-old problems and futureproofing education for the next generation.”

Jodie adds, “Planet EdTech is the first site of its kind in the UK, and will be a community-driven resource which is shaped entirely by those within the education and technology industries. Visitors to the site will be able to catch up on the latest news, read reviews and feedback on new products, and get the lowdown on all the latest edtech events coming to the UK – as well as being able to communicate with one another in a way that will benefit everyone.”

 

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One of the key strengths of Planet EdTech is that there will be no censorship – anyone is welcome to sign up and share their thoughts with a like-minded community, posting articles and reviews that they think will further the cause.

Planet EdTech will be a community run by the community, for the community. User experiences and reviews will fully inform everyone involved in educational technology of the best products available and how to use them to their full potential. This valuable feedback can then be passed onto developers, who have a real insight into what teachers and educators are looking for, and which solutions will prove most effective. The result? First-class education technology for all.

For more information, visit the website: http://planetedtech.com/



How to Teach Healthy Food Habits

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about food in schools and how to teach better eating habits. With rising rates of obesity and chronic illnesses related to poor diet and lack of exercise, experts widely acknowledge that starting early and getting kids to understand the nutritional value of the food they eat is the key to kicking this trend.

Evidence suggests the best way to teach children about food is to get them actively involved – a process that’s also known as experiential learning. From growing and preparing, to cooking and serving food – it helps kids understand where food comes from and makes a massive difference to their attitude towards it. Here’s how to get started!

Get Back to Basics

Many people eat what’s on their plate without much thought, but of course, a good attitude towards food is partly about understanding how it got there. As food production and manufacturing has become an increasingly specialised activity, hidden away in farms and factories – not to mention more of us are living in urban spaces – children think the origin of food is the supermarket shelves. There has recently been some promising progress to try and overcome this problem, like getting children into the garden to understand the processes involved in getting fruit and veg from the soil to our stomachs. Of course, it’s easy for everyone to forget – so if you remember to think about food in this way, you’ll be able to pass on the knowledge much more easily.

Get Growing

To instil knowledge about where food comes from, experiential learning is key. Check whether your child’s school has any garden or food growing projects. If not, there could be some in your area – even some inner city boroughs have charities or local groups keen to educate people about food. Try searching online or looking in a local newsletter for more information. If nothing comes up, you could create something yourself. Start small and buy some window boxes. Cress and herbs are very easy to grow and can easily be put into lots of healthy homemade dishes. As soon as children see the connection between what they’re growing and eating they’ll have a whole different perspective on food.

Get In the Kitchen

The next stage is preparing and cooking food, and it’s essential to get children involved here. With so many packaged products on the market, it’s easy to grow up thinking that sticking a pizza in the oven is all there is to ‘cooking’, but this notion is dangerous and certainly not healthy in the long run. Homemade food, unlike packaged products, will have no preservatives or nasty additives, so teaching children how to prepare things for themselves is important for their health and well being. Again, start small and get your child making basic things like pasta, sandwiches and fresh veg.

It’s vital to instil good food habits in children at an early age, and experiential learning is the easiest way to get started. Have a look at the opportunities near you and if there’s nothing available – don’t be afraid to start something yourself!



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