Name a grand teacher
Nominate a teacher as Grand Friend of the Year in the Grandparents Day awards organised by the Council on the Ageing (COTA NSW) for the NSW government. The award is for someone aged 50 years or over who has made a contribution to children’s lives in a professional capacity. “We believe that teachers make an incredible contribution to NSW, and we would love to see them nominated,” said Susan Humphries, COTA Communication Manager. Tick the “Grand Friend” box on the nomination form here. Nominations close on September 20. Schools are also invited to celebrate Grandparents Day during Grandparents Week (October 19-23) because, COTA says, the contribution grandparents make to schools is immeasurable.
UK online marking glitches
Problems with the online assessment system used for Standard Assessment Tests (SATS) in the UK could have led to some students receiving incorrect marks, according to teachers contacted by the British educational journal, TES. The system, run by Pearson, is being used to electronically mark all SATS papers this year (SATS are compulsory national tests for years 2, 6 and 9). Teachers said when they had wanted to recall and alter marks they had submitted but afterwards realised were wrong, they had not been able to. One teacher also said she felt that sometimes the mark she had submitted for one question had been attributed by the computer to another question and she had not been able to get back into the questions to change the marks. Pearson said it had ways of addressing potential marking problems and that it is “simply not true to suggest that the marking isn’t accurate”.
TES quotes a head teacher of a primary school in Manchester, Amanda Hulme, pointing out that: “One mark can put a child above or below a threshold and that makes a massive difference both for the school and for the child.”
Paint a wish
Primary school students are being asked to take part in a new art project to help gravely ill children, and they have the chance to win prizes with their art. The Make Art project, supported by Make-A-Wish Australia and BIC® Kids, is inspired by Andrea, a child being supported by Make-A-Wish, who has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. The theme of the art project is “What I aspire to be…”, and is open to students in grades 4, 5 and 6. Teachers can register online and access helpful resources including a lesson and activity plan, the official Make Art artwork template and Andrea’s inspiring “wish story”. Students can also win some great prizes for themselves and their school. Each school that registers goes in the draw to win one of five school art packs, and the top 30 finalists will win individual art packs. Three highly commended finalists will take home an iPad Air, and the overall winner will receive a $1000 cash grant. Students are encouraged to make a small donation to Make-A-Wish to help the charity grant wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.
Public school medals for science
NSW public school students scored well at the recent International Science Olympiads, coming away with five medals, an impressive tally that reflects both their hard work and the dedication of their teachers. Likened to the Olympic Games for science students, the UNESCO-sanctioned International Science Olympiads constitute the world’s toughest competition for some of the smartest students in the world. The winners are Keita Richardson of Normanhurst Boys HS (biology – silver), Houston Xue of Baulkham Hills HS (biology – bronze), Zane Zhang of James Ruse Agricultural HS (chemistry – bronze), Joshua Lin of James Ruse Agricultural HS (physics – bronze) and Sudarshan Ravi of Baulkham Hills HS (physics – bronze). The Australian team for the 2016 Olympiads is currently being selected following last month’s International Science Olympiads exams sat by more than 4000 students.