Thursday, September 29, 2011

Henry "The Fonz" Winkler gets honorary OBE for helping dyslexic children

Happy Days star Henry Winkler has been made an honorary OBE for his work on dyslexia in the UK.

The actor and director, who played the Fonz in the classic US sitcom, said it was "humbling" to receive the honour, awarded at the British embassy in Washington DC.

Having been diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult, Winkler has touredschools in the UK over the last two years to talk about the learning difficulty.

In a statement on the embassy's website, Winkler said: "Receiving this honour is a very humbling experience.

He has also written books for children about Hank Zipzer, a boy with dyslexia, whose experiences are based on the actor's own childhood struggles.

"My goal when I started working with children was never to bring accolades on myself, but instead to change how people think about those around them for whom learning is a struggle.

"I am flattered to have had my work recognised in this manner, and hope to continue showing kids that their learning difficulty isn't a disability."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Just for fun..

Draw a Stickman is a fun little in-browser application, more an interactive movie than a game, that allows one to draw a stickman in the above box, which is the first thing to appear on the website once visited. After the stickman is finished and the stick artist clicks the done box, the interactive movie will begin, prompting the artist to draw various tools, weaponry and scenery in order to help the stickman progress through the scenes. Go on, have a go!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Teacher's Making a Difference - Mr Thorne's Phonics

The unsung heroes and heroines of education are those very many teachers that have really gone that extra mile to make a difference to their children's learning. Through the wonders of the Internet we are able to share and celebrate their good work. 

Here is one example of a teacher who has really put some thought and effort into teaching his kids the fundamentals of phonics. Fantastic!

Christopher Thorne is a Year 1 Teacher at a North London school in the UK. He has produced over 200 videos to help with the teaching of phonics which he hosts on his website at  It's an excellent resource for children and parents, teachers and schools and anyone with English as a second language.

At present, there are approximately 200 videos on his Youtube channel, which have been viewed over 300,000 times! The videos cover a wide range of literacy concepts, some examples include short vowel sounds, consonant sounds and adjectives:-

Keep up the fantastic work Mr Thorne!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Respect Learning Styles

If a child insists on plugging into their iPod when they work, or if they swears that flash cards are the only way that they are able to learn their spelling words- listen up! While you may prefer a quiet room with no distractions when it comes to getting work done, that doesn’t mean it’s the best way for your kids to concentrate and get down to business.

Howard Gardner’s work shows there are different kinds of intelligences-or ways kids learn best-which include: musical, spatial, logical-mathematical, linguistic, bodily, intrapersonal, interpersonal and naturalist.

The trick is to pay attention to how a child learns best so you as a teacher or parent can identify their unique learning style (not yours!) and then tap into it help them be more successful. For instance, if a child learns best by remembering what they see, point it out to them and encourage them to draw, mindmap or verbalise those images.

Books are the best!!