No: 184

VT's FREE Newsletter for Educators - Insight, Inspiration and Ideas that Work!

Curiosity is the Bait for Learning
Hello Everyone,

Sparking curiosity is great bait for learning and once you have caught them you can teach them lots of things. In this issue of Virtual Teacher there is a lot of bait. The HOW TO BE AN EXPLORER OF THE WORLD book, the WONDERFUL HORRIBLE HISTORIES, but WAIT there's more, there's PUPPETS and SPARKY TEACHING...

What is the best learning bait,merit stickers, bribery with
iceblocks, monetary reward, the promise of success, sincere appreciation? NOPE - The best bait is curiosity.
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Thanks to all the recent purchasers of Do You Need a Hammer to do Multiplication? the feedback has been great recently. "The kids love it, the jokes the links and the background information." Mark "It's breathing new life into the way I teach tables, thankyou." Debbie Take a look at some of the pages in Do You Need a Hammer to do Multiplication?, get your own copy, and find out the ANSWER.
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"If I had it my way, I wouldn't have schools at all. They don't educate, they just keep kids off the streets. But my books educate, because they prepare kids for life...It's outrageous, why don't we start telling children the truth about history? I hope my books do just that."
Terry Deary - Author of Horrible Histories

If you wish to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe.
Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (1934-1996)
Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted. Anon

Musallam emphasizes the need to engage students' curiosity, and let their
questions be a guide for teaching.
Ramsey Musallam: Curiosity Comes First Watch this video if you aren't convinced about who should ask the questions in your classroom this WILL convince you.
Rule Number 1 Curiosity comes first
Rule Number 2 Embrace the mess
Rule Number 3 Practice Reflection

1. Curiosity comes first. Students have to be curious before they can learn, so the first aim of a teacher is to get learners intrigued, interested and curious about everything.

2. Embrace the mess. Sticking rigidly to textbooks and lesson plans isn’t conducive to the kind of curiosity and creativity that will really get kids learning. Trial and error and adapting lessons as they progress, on the other hand, can help boost learning.

3. Practise reflection. As hinted above, restructuring lessons can help to get students interested and engaged in their learning. Look back on the previous lesson to see what could have been improved or what new techniques might help next time. The students will thank you for it!

How to be an Explorer of the World
Guerrilla artist and illustrator Keri Smith’s How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum is a wonderful compendium of 59 ideas for how to get creative by with everyday objects and your surroundings.
Explore your world as both artists and scientists do, by observing, collecting, documenting, analyzing, and comparing.
This is a hugely creative way to tackle the new Syllabus Documents. It is a creative lesson plan for the entire year.
Take a look at the topics covered below, a truly amazing must have books for inspirational teaching
Published in 2008 - I just discovered it this year. It offers something for all ages.
Two other books I really enjoyed in the last 12 months were Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese about a surgeon in Ethiopia ( fiction) and The One Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
Of course anything by Khaled Housseini ( The Kite Runner ) is a welcome read.
I also enjoy the fol authors - Isabel Allende, Joanne Harris, Tim Winton, Rose Tremain, Audrey Niffennegger , Colum McCann, Kate Grenville, Gail Jones(from WA) & some of the Sth Americans such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez & Jorge Armado.

Well you've probably read the books - I love them. Years and years ago when they were first published and dinosaurs roamed the earth, I purchased the first HORRIBLES directly from the UK.


HORRIBLE Histories are designed to engage and enthuse the reader about a subject while appearing subversive, primarily aiming to entertain with a background educative purpose.
The Horrible Histories website includes games, awful extras, vile jokes, fun stuff, sign up to the Horrible Histories newsletter you MUST do this, and see what "Rattus reckons."
Buy the books from the Virtual Teacher online store and KEEP GETTING this amazing newsletter. Just click on the Bookworld for Australia - or the Amazon icon . Or just click here.
But wait there's more Horrible stuff....

HORRIBLE Histories VIDEOS Fabuloso
Took inspiration from British comedy classics as Blackadder and Monty Python. The series was a critical and ratings success, eventually gaining a wide all ages audience through its non-condescending and inclusive approach. It has won numerous domestic and international awards and has been named among the greatest British children's television series of all time.
All the HORRIBLE Histories Videos are onYouTube
best way to find them is to search for the episode and series number you would like - to find these go to:-

HORRIBLE_HISTORIES season 1 episode 1 full 28 minute episodes
This first episode contains:-
Gorgeous Georgians: "The 4 Georges: Born 2 Rule" (boyband parody). Lyrics by Dave Cohen with additional lyrics by Laurence Rickard and Caroline Norris. Performed by Ben Willbond, Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby and Jim Howick.
Rotten Romans: The pre-gladiatorial custom of staging fights at funerals. Imagine spot: High school for aspiring gladiators.
Frightful First World War: Lice wars (partly animated). "Ready Steady Feast": German wartime food substitutes (parody of Ready Steady Cook).
Putrid Pirates: The Black Spot. Captain Black Bart lists off his rules to the new recruits.
Savage Stone Age: Stone Age Tool Set (advertisement). The (not-so-)carefully reconstructed funeral of a tribal chief.
Vicious Vikings: "Historical Hairdressers": Ear spoons. Video game: Warrior! Viking vs Monk.
Gorgeous Georgians: Special guest Meera Syal is the storyteller of Twisted Fairytales: "The Three Little Pigs". How to vote in Georgian elections.

YouTube short Videos from HORRIBLE Histories
The Shouty Man is great for discussion, as is the Wife swap.
YouTube Songs from HORRIBLE Histories
fghhg. What it means to ME(the teacher)

Jim Henson - demonstrating Puppetry Techniques
Here's a 15 minute clip of Jim Henson demonstrating puppetry techniques that are simple
and entertaining. He made this just before joining Sesame Street but you can see some of his iconic design in this early work.
Students can use the video to help them make a list of the things you would need to build a the puppet. List things to use to make puppets heads, hands, bodies etc, use the video suggestions and be creative. Bring them in and let's make puppets.

And of Course
There are plenty of great Muppet Show Videos on Youtube here are a couple of my favourites. The first fabulous for script writing, the second simple for those challenged by performance.

Muppet Show - Mahna Mahna Original!
What's your favourite?

Once the puppets are made you will need a performance script, using the styles from the Muppet Show, above, with their exaggeration and humour, your puppets and some great ideas be creative.

2 Spectacular Examples of Profound Scientific Discoveries
How simple ideas lead to scientific discoveriess - Adam Savage Great TED Lesson
Adam Savage walks through two spectacular examples of profound scientific discoveries that came from simple, creative methods anyone could have followed -- Eratosthenes' calculation of the Earth's circumference around 200 BC and Hippolyte Fizeau's measurement of the speed of light in 1849. They changed the world by thinking a little bit differently and so can you.
Great thinking questions and creativity

Sparky Teaching
philosophy is based on three simple ideas:

1. Interested pupils make the best learners.

2. Teachers who can spark that interest make the best teachers.
3. We shouldn't do things just because that's the way we've always done it.

Sparky Teaching believes teaching is about much more than ticking off lesson objectives and setting pupil targets... something small but important has got a little lost along the way.
That something is best described by a spark.
The spark that is achieved when we take the time to engage our pupils and provoke their interest. The spark that is so clear in every child when you catch them on their own, but gets swamped when they're sitting in a class of thirty. The spark when a pupil reports that she's been thinking about her latest topic at home... (without us asking!) It's the spark when a child realises that, with the right book, maybe this whole 'reading' lark isn't as dull as it seems... The spark when someone moans that their brain is hurting, we've made them think so hard... The spark generated by a classful of questioners..
At Sparky Teaching, they provide creative teaching ideas and resources to stimulate thinking skills, to enthuse and motivate students. Because when they're interested... they succeed.
Take a look at their videos as well.
I do answer all emails so send them along with your questions ideas and great sites.

Hi Cathy
I share your passion for reading and writing.
I would really appreciate your professional opinion on the school library software I distribute.
There are around 14,500 schools using it worldwide.
It's got some great features including students writing book reviews and giving star ratings. There is also a free mobile app and an e-book trial.
You can see more at (Australian site being developed).
Kind regards - Peter.
Take a look and let meknow what you think of this Library software.

Hi Cathy
I agree with you about The Rosie Project - it's one of the most delightful reads & if you know someone who's severely Aspergers you just keep going YES YES YES & laughing !!
Have recommended your excellent newsletter to many of my colleagues & sent thru a subs - thanks for a brilliant & welcome addition to professional reading.
Kind regards
Fiona Enevoldsen

Hi Fiona ,
Thanks for the response and subscription and the recommendation.
Love to hear about any other great books you have read - recommendations are always the best.

Next newsletter will be all about EASTER IDEAS and Visual Literacy Topic - Fonts and their effects. Please send in any other great ideas or websites, whiteboard sites or fabulous things you are doing.

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The opinions expressed here are purely those of the editor, Cathy Brown. All other small print clauses apply. Such as: Use at your own risk. Nothing in life is guaranteed. If it doesn't work for you send an email or tweet me.
Editor: Cathy Brown

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