International Day of Democracy – September 15th 2019

We are certainly living in interesting times with regards to the democratic process in our country at the moment! The International Day of Democracy held annually on September 15th may be a perfect date to examine democracy with your students or even look at democratic processes within the school as this is also the time a lot of schools will be selecting their School Councils.

Democracy provides the natural environment for the protection and effective realisation of human rights. These values are embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and further developed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which enshrines a host of political rights and civil liberties underpinning meaningful democracies.

The link between democracy and human rights is captured in article 21(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:

“The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

The video below from the United Nations sets out what the International Day of Democracy is and why it was created, this overview also provides information on what Democracy is and the part that the United Nations plays.

A great resource to use on this day is British Values from LGfL. British Values were first defined in the Prevent Strategy as “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”. But all too often, teachers feel they have inadequate support and resourcing with which to develop this important part of the broader school curriculum.

We have sought to meet this need by providing high-quality, safe and relevant teaching materials that foster deeper understanding and informed debate amongst young people. We do not aim to deliver a definitive view for teachers and learners to ‘accept and learn’, but to enable discussion in a safe, tolerant and supportive environment. The video below explains what is democracy.

‘Developing British Values’ is both a stand alone learning resource in its own right and also as a gateway to other ideas, assets and materials (via the Related themes and Further assets & resources menus) that can be used for one-off, dedicated activities, or for embedding core themes into a planned series of lessons.

Commonwealth, Parliament and Democracy resource from The British council, created in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, will help to provide students with factual information and cross-curricular activities, enabling them to learn and think critically about the Commonwealth, its parliament, and the topic of democracy more broadly. The activities also aim to expand students’ knowledge and understanding, provide opportunities to develop their core skills, all the while encouraging them to explore and reflect on local and global issues. Each unit contains information for teachers, ideas for discussion and suggestions for cross-curricular activities. These can be used as starting points in individual lessons, or as elements of a larger cross-curricular joint project involving collaboration over a number of subjects with a partner school overseas.

This time of year is also when most schools are electing their school councils, Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) says that children and young people should have a say in decisions that affect their lives.  A school council can provide a meaningful way in which pupils can voice their opinions and have their views taken into account in decisions which impact upon them. There is a short overview from CBBC Newsround which explains what a school council is and the roles, perfect for showing to younger children or new Year 3 pupils. Children’s Rights Wales have also produced a great pack for schools councils, with a range of games, ideas and an activity pack for staff and pupils. There is also this toolkit from Leicestershire Healthy schools programme including activities, roles and guidance.

To inspire pupils why not watch a video from Kid President – the one below is entitled A Pep Talk from Kid President:

 

Parliament UK has a fantastic range of resources for looking at democracy.  The free teaching resources include videos, downloadable lesson plans, booklets, assemblies, interactive whiteboard resources, loan boxes and publications. Their interactive games are also ideal for use both in the classroom or as homework activities www.parliamentgames.co.uk.

Into Film also have a range of resources that schools can use when looking at democracy including this assembly featuring thought provoking questions and film clips based around films on the themes of democracy and debate. The assembly encourages young people to reflect on their attitudes to democracy and the portrayal of young people and politics in feature films. There are also a range of clips from the BBC entitled Democracy in Action that could from part of citizenship lessons.

What are you doing to promote democracy in your school remember you can share your work with the wider community via our Twitter or Facebook pages.

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International Literacy Day 8th September 2019

September 8th marks UNESCO’s International Literacy day, raising awareness globally on the issues surrounding adult and child literacy. First held in 1966 and now part of the UN’s sustainable development goals program adopted in 2015, International Literacy day highlights the changes and improvements being made worldwide in literacy development.

International Literacy Day 2019 is an opportunity to express solidarity with the celebrations of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages(link is external)and the 25th anniversary of the World Conference on Special Needs Education, at which the Salamanca Statement on Inclusive Education was adopted.  International Literacy Day 2019 will focus on ‘Literacy and Multilingualism’. Despite progress made, literacy challenges persist, distributed unevenly across countries and populations. Embracing linguistic diversity in education and literacy development is central to addressing these literacy challenges and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

On the occasion of International Literacy Day 2019, the main characteristics of multilingualism in today’s globalised and digitalised world will be discussed, together with their implications for literacy in policies and practice in order to achieve greater inclusion in multilingual contexts.

LGfL have a range of resources to support not just International Literacy day but with Literacy throughout the curriculum.

j2e Tool suite offers a range of resources including:

j2write J2write enables schools to meet the literacy requirements of the national curriculum programmes of study for KS1, KS2 and KS3. From writing to animation, recording speech, mixing it up and blogging. J2write adds a framework around the most popular writing tools within j2e providing lesson plans and examples. Whether you are using JIT with early years, j2bloggy with Year 6 or above, or something in-between, there is a set of lesson plans to help you get started. There are sections on learning objectives and outcomes, cross curricular links, extension activities, and assessment. The detailed lesson plans help you though classroom use of the tools, step by step. They can easily be adapted to work with whatever topic your class is currently working on

Spell blast is a fantastic interactive way of learning spellings, pupils can either go live, choose from a level and teachers can also set their own spelling lists for classes/year groups. Using their USO log in means that children can access the resource at home and at school.

 

Busy Things have a vast range of resources that support Literacy across the Primary phase.

In teacher mode – teachers are able to use either the Curriculum search and find activities linked to the National Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2 as well as the EYFS framework or able to enter a search term e.g. phonics and find a range of activities that meet this search.

Phonics maker enables teachers to create their own phonics resources for their students, the resource includes grapheme cards, letter formation, missing letters and matching all linked to Letters and Sounds Phases 1-5 as well as teachers being able to choose their own content if they follow a different scheme. The video below gives an overview on how to make the most of this fantastic resource.

Busy Paint and Publisher has 100 of templates to use across the curriculum with easy to use features. The video below gives an overview of how to make use of this fantastic resource:

Linked into the theme of multilingualism, BusyThings resources also cover French and Spanish with a range of activities that can be used across the key stages.

Or why not get creative with Adobe Spark, we loved seeing a tweet from @FunkyPedagogy, who shared her Word of the Week resources they used last year all using Adobe Spark and all kindly uploaded for teachers to look/use adapt/ignore as you like! You can find them via her tweet here. You can see an example below, but this is just one of the many great ways that you can make use of Adobe within the classroom, don’t forget to claim your Adobe licences as part of your LGfL subscription here.

Listening books offers over 100 curriculum based audio books, titles can be streamed direct for group listening in class or for individuals to listen with headphones. These are excellent to listen to in class or to support SEND learners with literacy or for those who need some calming down time for their wellbeing. Listening Books is a charity and these books must only be used with students who have an illness, physical or learning disability of mental health condition which impacts on their ability to read or hold a book.

To listen to a book follow the steps below:

  1. Log onto the Listening Books website with your LGfL USO account.
  2. Search the catalogue for a book to which you would like to listen.
  3. Press the ‘play’ symbol and the book will begin!

You are able to view a full list of the books available on the summary page here.

Alongside Listening Books, you can also access 15 free e books from Rising Stars for ages 7-14. These eBooks can be used on any device, from PCs and netbooks to iPads and Kindles. Each book also comes with teacher’s notes and activities meaning that they are ideal  for use with 1:1 as well as during guided reading sessions.

The Whole Story resource aims to explore how storytelling can maximise the creativity within learning activities for children. By capturing the expert advice of a professional storyteller, and arranging this advice into a simple interface, it is hoped that teachers of all age groups can get inspiration on how to incorporate storytelling across the curriculum. Structured thoughts and examples on how to take hidden and or less obvious stimulus within an image or object offer new opportunities for teachers to explore with their learners.

Fairy tales – Each of the six fairy tales is broken down into one bite-sized sentence per scene, using the first 100 high-frequency words.

This allows learners to easily follow, understand and remember the stories, and helps ensure access to the curriculum for all. Pupils can watch at their own pace, and opt to turn on or off the accompanying text and symbols. Animated characters bring each scene to life, with differentiated activities to help include all learners. Within each story, pupils can choose their own motivator, which rewards them as they successfully complete activities, and there are four ability levels for even further differentiation.

In the same format as Fairy Tales, Early Shakespeare takes two favourite Shakespeare plays – Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream,  SEN assist have transformed them into literacy exercises that are likely to prove popular with pupils across the ability spectrum. The two plays are broken down into one bite-sized sentence per scene, using the first 100 high-frequency words. This allows learners to easily follow, understand and remember the stories, and helps ensure access to the curriculum for all.

For creating, Super Action Comic Maker is great for Art and for Literacy, allowing pupils to bring their own superhero to life and not only add and customise backgrounds and superheroes, but also speech and effect bubbles to create a narrative.

Picture book maker is an online tool that allows children to create their own picture books based on the children’s illustrator Sarah Dyer, all set in London Zoo another great resource to use not only on International Literacy Day but throughout the year.

Don’t forget we also have a 5 Ways to support Literacy , the aim of 5 ways is to showcase five ways to use LGfL resources across the curriculum that you can take and use and share for example, they can be shared in the staff room, at INSET sessions and also given to parents so that they can support their children’s learning at home.

There are also a range of tools that you can use for Literacy, one of our favourites is Book Creator, book creator one for the ipad is free as is the online version if you make 40 books. This is a great tool to use to create cross curricular books within class, there is an excellent blog post entitled 50 ways to use book creator in your classroom that has a range of ideas. Describing words does what the title suggests, students can enter nouns into the search bar and then are presented with a range of adjectives – great for inspiring descriptive writing and poetry.

Literacy Apps from the National Literacy Trust, is a guide that aims to help parents and teachers get the most out of apps that support language and literacy development. Some of the apps recommended in this guide need to be paid for and some offer further in app purchases.

Storybird lets anyone make visual stories in seconds. They curate artwork from illustrators and animators around the world and inspire writers of any age to turn those images into fresh stories, it is also free for any educational setting. You can search art work, as well completing challenges and reading guides to inspire writing of different genres. The blog also features a weekly prompt which could be used as an early work exercise or for homework.

What are you doing for International Day of Literacy, do let us know by sharing your ideas and work via our Facebook and Twitter or in the comments below.