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Why Teachers Should Be Readers

A discerning parent once said..."any teacher who does not practice a personal culture of 'reading' may never be able to leave a lasting impact on my child." Do you agree?

I think that teacher trainees should be encouraged to read for pleasure as part of their personal development. A research project found that teachers who read for pleasure have better book knowledge and feel more confident, calm and stress-free in the classroom. 
I also think that teachers who read themselves and share their love of books in the primary classroom will eventually encourage children to read more.
Such teachers not only have a wealth of ideas to give their students as examples during investigation of a new topic, they are able to also light the fire of imagination and wonder, taking their students to world's unknown in a vivid manner; because they have become so knowledgeable.....many thanks to their reading habits! Teachers who read have the added advantage of a really wide vocabulary; and are not easily bamboozled by newly found words. Hence, they are able to use them appropriately and maximise their potential use for clarity of any topic taught.

Great ideas are borne everyday, many of them come from written texts.
The mark of a great teacher lies in the impact felt by their student now and in many years to come. 

I know for certain that teaching is a stressful occupation. More research has highlighted that reading for pleasure can remove stress. Helping teachers escape into the pages of a book at the end of a busy, stressful day, can help and support teachers. Making them look forward to another day of joy with their students! 

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What Discourages Kids From Helping Around The Home

Our lives as parents are increasingly busy these days and sometimes it's hard to find time to accomplish everything around the house. As work-home flow of activities become more challenging, one way to balance work and playtime  is to combine them and involve the whole family in doing household chores.

If we understand what gets in the way and what may help when it comes to doing chores, then we can have a better chance of having children be participating family members.

What Discourages Children from Helping?

Unclear expectations

Children need to understand what the chore is and what we expect of them. Be clear about what is considered a job well done - doing the dishes or simply a "good try"? Be clear about everyone's job expectation, the results expected to be achieved.


When it comes to chores, any previous effort to establish expectations can get derailed by inconsistency. Think carefully before saying, "I guess you can skip feeding washing the dishes this morning - I'll do it." And if parents or caregivers don't agree on what is expected of children, when to make exceptions, or aren't equally adept at refusing to give in to child procrastination or defiance, children usually figure out how to divide and conquer.


It takes time to teach children how to do chores and to establish expectations. Busy parents and children can easily use lack of time as a rationale for either adults doing the chore or leaving it undone.
Siblings. Siblings can become really good at subverting parent expectations. "It's not fair" can become a mantra of older siblings when expectations for them increase with their growing competence. Try to set clear expectations that are appropriate and fair for each child. Discussing the chore plan as a family can give children an opportunity to voice concerns and help set a plan that works for everyone. 

You can inspire your kids by even twisting the language used to jeer them up. How about saying, "let's do our daily shares"... not chores! Cheers to beautiful beginnings!

Source: brighthorizons.com

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5 Powerful Questions Teachers Should Ask at Every Class

Many times, teachers find themselves answering most of the questions they ask their students. They do this of course with good intentions especially to help students get to the hook as quickly as possible. The down side to this is that the teacher does most of the talking possibly with little engagement of the students. The importance of student engagement is that it helps the teacher discover what, where and how to help in cases of need. It also creates a connected classroom that is fun filled and socio-emotionally connected.

Here are powerful questions that teachers could ask to get themselves engaged and connected to their students.

By Rebecca Alber @ edutopia.org

#1. What do you think?
This question interrupts us from telling too much. There is a place for direct instruction where we give students information yet we need to always strive to balance this with plenty of opportunities for students to make sense of and apply that new information using their schemata and understanding.

#2. Why do you think that?
After students share what they think, this follow-up question pushes them to provide reasoning for their thinking.

#3. How do you know this?
When this question is asked, students can make connections to their ideas and thoughts with things they've experienced, read, and have seen.

#4. Can you tell me more?
This question can inspire students to extend their thinking and share further evidence for their ideas.

#5. What questions do you still have?
This allows students to offer up questions they have about the information, ideas or the evidence.

In addition to routinely and relentlessly asking your students questions, be sure to provide time for them to think. What's best here, three seconds, five, or seven? Depending on their age, the depth of the material, and their comfort level, this think time will vary. Just push yourself to stay silent and wait for those hands to go up.

Also be sure to vary your tone so it genuinely sounds like a question and not a statement. When we say something in a declarative way, it is often with one tone and flat sounding. On the other hand, there is a lift in our voice when we are inquiring and questioning.

To help student feel more comfortable and confident with answering questions and asking ones of their own, you can use this scaffold: Ask a question, pause, and then invite students to "turn and talk" with a neighbor first before sharing out with the whole group. This allows all to have their voices heard and also gives them a chance to practice their responses before sharing in front of the whole class.

I have had my moments with this especially as a new teacher many years ago - quite quick to tell all in the class. Please share your thoughts and experiences on this and your strategies in the comment section below.

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Happy New Year dear TLC Readers - Join us in the Save-a-Classroom® Project

One of my passions is beautifying classrooms. A beautiful classroom tells a thousand stories. It builds dreams, it adorns the future in colors of possibilities, and brings the entire world into one room. Most importantly,  it incites a deeper love for lifelong learning. There! That is how powerful a beautiful classroom is!

True! Every classroom should be beautiful. Whether your school is in an old Victorian mansion or along a hidden community market or in the living room of a home, the environment should create a simple harmony. Uncluttered and well-maintained, the environment should reflect peace and tranquility. The environment should invite the learner to come in and explore. This atmosphere is easily seen in the attitude of those working there, both the child and adult...an atmosphere of inspiration.

Sadly, in many of our schools, more can be done and help is needed. Just recently, the Nov/Dec WAEC results were released and under 30% of the students passed with 5 credits including Math and English Language. It is rather unsettling that this is the case.

There is a direct relationship between the way a classroom looks and the grades that come out of it. There are many educators who understand the impact a beautiful classroom has on a child's school work and life. 
The traditional notion of a classroom is any space where one learns something or gains experience. In gaining experience, or taking a child from a place of wonder to possibilities, it is of great importance to present all of the possibilities in visual forms.

Here are some important facts to note. Research has shown that;
• An instructor or teacher generally says 100-200 words in a minute and a student only hears 50-100....half!
• Students retain about 70% of what they hear in the first 10 minutes of class and 20% during the last 10 minutes.
• In a typical class lecture,  students are attentive to just 40% of the time.
• Adding visual aids increases retention from 14% to 38%.

When we speak about visual aids, we mean any and every thing a learner sees and touches that should be connected to the learning process within the classroom. When we speak about auditory and kinesthetic aids, we mean anything a child hears and feels or does in terms of movement within the classroom.

A very big part of the task of beautifying a classroom rests on the visual displays around it. Usually, it is expected that all teaching aids needed during classes will make up 90% of it for usefulness. The aim is to help learners use and familiarize themselves with the sort of language and ability needed to learn something or anything; and open their awareness to multiple ways of applying them.

A disorganized, unkempt, or clutter-filled classroom sends the message to your students that poor behavior and middling work habits is acceptable—regardless of how often or how forcefully you say otherwise. An attractive classroom draws students in and makes them want to be part of what is going on inside.
Every classroom environment has such a strong bearing on how learners perceive themselves and the expectations the society has for them.

Another part of beautifying the classroom is in the comfort and convenience of the learning environment. 
There are far too many kids learning in poorly ventilated classrooms, using under-equipped laboratories, working under leaking roofs, using near empty or nonexistent libraries, broken blackboards, rough flooring etc....and the list goes on. 
We could go on about what the government needs to do to help save our children's education OR we could play a part by giving back to our immediate communities. 

The Save-a-Classroom® project is a call for everyone to help increase the number of literate and hopeful young Nigerians by supporting some children around you through their classrooms. How about actively joining to support your old school associations to redecorate classrooms, donate furniture and provide teaching aids for teachers. We can do it! 
What about gathering a forum targeted at building better classrooms while providing school administrators many options to aid their sustainability? These sort of activities are bound to keep many hopes and dreams alive!

As more children learn in comfortable classrooms, we know that there will be an increased level of literacy and a broader sense of responsibility among young Nigerians. When students have an exciting place to call their learning home, they always return....and guess what...the number of school dropouts will potentially reduce.

Save a classroom, inspire a child! Let's kick off the year to a great start.