Feeling sleepy?

“It is an overlooked fact that children get an hour less sleep every night than they did 30 years ago.”

says Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman in “Nurtureshock: Why everything we Think about raising Our children is wrong”,Ebury,(publ.)

The Guardian (23/11/10) printed extracts from the book which raises questions for us as educators and parents.

“Children’s brains are a work in progress until the age of 21….much of that work is done while a child is asleep.”.so.”the lost hour seems to have an exponential impact on children that it simply doesn’t have on adults.”

“Some scientists theorise that sleep problems during formative years can cause permanent changes in the brain structure -damage that a child cannot sleep off.”

Dr Sadeh, clinical psychologist at Tel Aviv University, carried out a study on 77 children aged 9 and 11 and found that “a loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to the loss of 2 years of cognitive maturation and development.”

Even a shift in sleep patterns at weekends for under 5’s drew Dr Paul Suratt (University of Virginia) to the conclusion that ” Sleep disorders can impair children’s IQ as much as lead exposure.”

“Tired children can’t remember what they have just learned because neurons lose their plasticity and become incapable of forming the new synaptic connections necessary to encode memory.”

“Tired people have difficulty with impulse control, and their abstract goals such as studying take a back seat to more entertaining diversions.”

“A tired brain gets stuck on a wrong answer and can’t come up with a more creative solution, repeatedly returning to the same answer it already knows is incorrect.”

“Sleep deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories yet recall gloomy memories just fine.”

Adolescents’ brains do not release melatonin until 90 minutes after everyone else so they fall asleep later and are sleepy at school in the morning. In Minnesota an hour’s delay in school start time resulted in a boost in Maths and verbal Sats scores and higher levels in motivation and lower levels of depression.

Literacy and Numeracy principles from the SQA

Design principles for the new Literacy and Numeracy qualifications have now been published on the SQA website.

The Design Principles were approved by CfE Management Board on 15 December 2009 and are the blue print for developing National Literacy and Numeracy qualifications. They are also the basis for developing quality assurance and certification systems to support these new qualifications.

Adapted Digital Exams

Adapted Digital Exams – East Lothian pilot

Candidates with additional support needs sitting SQA exams, currently have access to a variety of assessment arrangements which allow them to demonstrate their skills and knowledge e.g. reader, scribe or extra time.

A new assessment arrangement has recently become available. This gives candidates an opportunity to sit digitally adapted question papers provided by the SQA. Candidates with difficulty accessing a standard exam paper as a result of visual, physical, reading or writing difficulties, can now insert answers directly on to the question/answer paper on screen and use speech technology to have text read out.

East Lothian secondary schools are piloting adapted digital exams with a number of candidates this session.

CALL Scotland, SQA, East Lothian ICT officers and Inclusion & Equality section are supporting

this development. It is anticipated that Adapted Digital Exam formats will be available to increasing numbers of East Lothian SQA candidates in future.

For further information on Assessment Arrangements see the SQA site.

Thanks to Linda Gaughan (Inclusion and Equality Officer) writing in the ICT Education Newsletter.




New help for teachers on dealing with epilepsy in the classroom

The Scotsman reports: 

“People see you differently,” says 15-year-old Beth Mackie. “The teachers who were there when it happened said it was really scary and they didn’t know what to do.

“I had a seizure in the hall and my teachers really panicked. It was chaos when I came round. The first time I woke up, I didn’t know what happened and there were people running around, people shouting.

An early guide to the condition was paid for by the then Scottish Executive in 2004 and later revised in line with the Education (Additional Support for Learning) Act 2004.

About 2,800 copies of the latest guide have gone to every primary and secondary in Scotland, and requests have been made for another 1,200 copies, including one from an epilepsy specialist nurse in Northern Ireland.


Making Websites Talk

Browsealoud is easy to download and could be a great boon for learners with difficulties reading online.

LTS is currently looking at how the accessibility of Glow can be improved, and a text-to-speech facility could be extremely useful. They are asking us to help to trial Browsealoud 6 within Glow. It will be ‘speech- enabled’ until the end of January 2010. Trial it for yourselves and let them know what you think here.

I downloaded it easily on my work PC and will try it at home on my Mac. So far I find it very user friendly – though perhaps it delays access for a second or 2.
Have a shot!

Scottish Poet Elspeth Murray returns to Glow

Get your Glow log-ins ready because on Friday 22nd January, Scottish Poet Elspeth Murray will take part in her second live Glow Meet with budding young Poets across Scotland.

The event is on at 10am, Fri 22 January and is aimed at S2 pupils and suitable for teachers interested in getting some help and ideas with teaching poetry from a poet in real time. Teachers can take part even if they don’t have a class at this time.

Building an ASN Curriculum

The aim of this event on the 28th / 29th January at Stirling Management Centre is to develop thinking around the key principles within the curriculum to meet the needs of children and young people with severe and complex additional support needs.  For further information, go to….


Who is going from East Lothian?

No longer sparkling

The popular site for teacher resources, Sparklebox, has been shut down. I am grateful to bloggers  Julie and Brenden for this information.

Here is an extract from Brenden’s blog summarising the reasons why this site is no longer available:

The owner and operator of Sparklebox, Samuel Kinge (formerly Daniel Kinge), was accused of and found guilty of making and possessing indecent images of children, including the “abuse of babies”. What we know so far is that he was discovered with over 400 of these images, but the media are still picking up the news so there may be more to come. Samuel was sentenced on the 8th of January 2010 to one year in prison, of which he will serve 6 months, and restricted internet use for 15 years. He had previous similar offenses, more details below. After the previous offence, he faked his own death using a social networking site (posting “Daniel Kinge died on November 18”) in order to change his name and reinvent himself.

That’s life in the 21st century unfortunately.