Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Top behaviour tips

I've worked in a PRU now for 2 1/2 years, and over that time I've picked a few tips for behaviour management. As my school are running a behaviour teachmeet on Thursday (see Twitter for details), now is as good a time to post them as any.

1. Stay calm - act like you've seen it all before, knocks the wind out of their sails a bit
2. There is a time and place for shouting - with my pupils, educators have shouted at them time and time again for years. It obviously hasn't worked as they're with me. Save your voice. Shout to make a point (eg breaking up a fight)
3. Plan B - have a plan B, C, D, E.... We know our pupils home lives are turbulent. Let's make sure we can meet them where they're at when they come in to school
4. Don't rely on technology- technology will go down when you need it most, and technology such as projectors etc can easily be sabotaged by a pupil destroying a cable, tell them they've missed something cool because they broke the kit and move on (and iPads are not a magic bullet, but more on that another time)
5. Progress comes in different forms - for some pupils, it's a miracle they're in the room and in school. Now is not the time to stretch their learning. Pupils need to feel safe to learn
6. Sense of humour rules- if you can make light of something and get a change in behaviour by joking/acting like a muppet, why not? Significantly less paperwork than an issues which escalates....
7. Look for the signs - if a pupil is getting increasingly emotionally heightened (and moving towards loss of control) what's more important, them being in your lesson or his/her and your personal safety?
8. Talk - swap ideas with other members of staff, be honest with what's going wrong, someone might have found a hook for a particular child that you've missed
9. Do the work yourself, with the pupils - changes the situation from "you do this" to "we'll do this"
10. Don't give in with routines- routines work. Stick to them, though it maybe tough to get them going, and you'll see the benefit

If all else fails, and it all goes wrong, and the day goes to pieces, go home and talk to the dog :)
(Dog below isn't mine, she's a fantastic spaniel I take running that belongs to a friend)

Tuesday, 5 May 2015


ACE Behaviour Teachmeet is back! Should be great evening, great keynote speaker, lots of people sharing different ideas (why don't you sign up to present for 2 or 5min?), and free food and drink to top it off.

14th May 4:45-7pm

Sign up here - http://goo.gl/KZJXPB

Friday, 1 May 2015

Edubuntu and LTSP Review

So it's taken a while to get it all sorted, but the server kindly given to us is working with Edubuntu and LTSP! So now I'm in a position to give an initial review of our system.

Edubuntu is a official spin off of Ubuntu. It contains more educational packages by default, but most importantly for me, it allowed you to set up up a Linux Terminal Server Project installation at the initial setup of Edubuntu itself. This means that many users can access Edubuntu using thin clients booting over the network (in our case a host of old laptops).

How easy was it? On the whole it was very easy to get Edubuntu and LTSP installed and working. The system functioned from the first turn on. However, it has been a pain trying to configure custom menus. The pupils have limited accounts, but it would still be nice to customise the items displayed on the menus. Despite my best efforts, I haven't achieved this yet, despite using Edubuntu's own menu editor tool.

Epoptes is an excellent tool I have used before for managing computers in class. Haven't got that working yet but I'm sure it will.

In summary, would I reccomend Edubuntu and LTSP for a teacher looking to set up a low cost computing lab? Without a doubt. By recycling older hardware you can have a perfectly functional system at zero cost. For computing, the software is excellent (although it would be great to have a newer version of scratch working on it), plus you get all the benefits of the support network surrounding Ubuntu!

Thanks team Edubuntu for a great OS!