Broccoli’s Dream

Here goes….[takes deep breath]…. I’ve published a book!

It’s for children (of course it is – I’m a teacher) and it’s about a fairy with a disability. I felt that there just weren’t enough books around with a disabled main character, so I wrote one. It’s called Broccoli’s Dream, published under the pen name Jennifer Victor. As well as covering disability, it’s about bullying, friendship and following your dreams…but mostly it’s just a story about a fairy who loves ballet.

It’s available to purchase from Amazon, or you can read it free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

There’s also an activity book to go with it, which is available from my Buy Me a Coffee page.

E-safety

Last year I was asked to plan and teach “e-safety” to upper KS2 for half a term. My first thought was “Half a term? Two weeks will be plenty! What on earth can I do for 7 weeks?” I obviously didn’t want to spend a half a term going over and over the same things because it would be boring and pointless.

I asked those lovely people on Twitter for some help and got pointed towards a great resource which then led me onto other resources and ideas and before I knew it my 7 weeks were full.

First of all I used this excellent video from CEOPS to introduce the topic. It’s pitched just about right for that age-group – not too babyish, and clearly shows the potential dangers of social networking sites, without being so graphic that children go home and have nightmares. I have just one word of caution about the video: some of the lower ability children took it very literally and believed that as long as they didn’t leave their front door open they would be safe, and it took a while to help them understood otherwise. Others believed that because the man in the video was arrested at the end, that the correct response to anything computer related was to call the police. It took the remaining 6 weeks to convince them that the best way to deal with spam email was not dialling 999.

However, that aside, the video prompted a very lively discussion about the dangers of chatting to people you don’t know on the internet, and about things that would help people find out more about you from photos: school uniform, names on clothing/jewellery, road name signs in the background…

We talked about how to make sure that privacy settings were secure, and what to do if anybody they’d been talking to made them feel uncomfortable.

The children completed a Venn diagram (which I found here) of statements involving talking face to face and talking over the internet. We looked at the Zip it Block it Flag it  slogan and what it meant, and the children role played giving advice to a friend who was planning to meet up with someone they had just met on the internet.

After this we spent some time looking at cyberbullying, helped out by this superb video from the Smart Crew at Know it All. The children talked about the best way to protect themselves from cyberbullying (eg making sure their privacy settings were set to make sure only their real friends could see their profile). They thought about the similarities and differences between cyberbullying and playground bullying, discussed in small groups what they should do if it happened to them or their friends, and made a list of trusted people they could talk to.

That was really all I’d thought about when I first started thinking about e-safety, but the fantastic Smart Crew had plenty of other ideas and videos to accompany them.  We looked at spam emails (how to recognise them and what to do about them) and viruses (how to avoid them, what to do if you get one) and the children discussed what advice they would give the younger children in the school.

Finally we looked at the reliability of information found on the internet (thanks again Smart Crew) and the best ways to make sure they found accurate information when doing research in school or at home.

As I only had 35 minutes for ICT each week, this filled most of the sessions, and just left enough time for the class to prepare a Powerpoint presentation in pairs to show what they had learnt, and then to present to the rest of the class for peer feedback. This gave an opportunity for assessment, and correcting any remaining misconceptions.

For teaching or tutoring in the north Birmingham, Sandwell and Walsall areas, visit www.sjbteaching.com. For links to other interesting education related articles, come and Like my Facebook page.