Tag Archives: campaign

standing up for what you believe in

So, tomorrow’s the big day! #KidsStrike3rdMay, and mine and Sophie’s parallel campaign, #THISislearning (which you don’t have to be striking to join in with!).

How am I feeling? Excited, nervous and frazzled. I have all of the feels at the moment. Sometimes I think my heart might burst out of my chest. I’m like some hopeless romantic or desperate optimist or frightened radical or, I don’t know… it’s exhausting. clouds

The last few weeks have been manic. Actually, ever since I published my ‘No Mr Cameron, No.’ blog post back in March (which ten thousand people read in a week – a number so hugely vast, in terms of this blog, that I still haven’t got my head round it!) things have been feeling slightly out of control. There’s nothing quite like writing a passionate, heartfelt post and having people respond to it in an equally passionate, heartfelt way. To be a bit navel-gazy and pretentious for a moment, I feel like I’ve been on a bit of a journey. I’ve been inspired and enthused, I’ve learned masses and I’ve ended up way out of my comfort zone launching a whole campaign of my own. When people responded the way they did, I couldn’t ignore it. I had to act.

So a month ago I decided to keep my boys off school for the Kids Strike. I wrote a personal letter to their school explaining how happy they have been at their school and that the action isn’t against the school or teachers (who are fab) but against educational policy which NEEDS to change for the sake of all our kids. Some headteachers across the country are marking absences for the strike as ‘educational’ in recognition of that – how wonderful, eh? Totally in the spirit of parents and teachers working together! Still, it’s officially against the law so little goody-two-shoes, rule-abiding me is having to take a deep breath over it all…

… A deep breath while also shouting “Upon St Cripsin’s day!” a la Kenneth Branagh in Henry V (quietly to myself, I’m not THAT weird) and marching onwards.#THISislearning badge final

As for #THISislearning – our parallel campaign to spread positive images, messages and stories about real learning across social media on May 3rd – well, there’s been so much good stuff come from that already. People sharing stories, doing fabulous drawings and really wanting to make it clear to our government that current educational policy is wrong, not just by striking (although hooray for that!) but also by sharing examples of what real learning looks like. That’s what tomorrow is all about for me –  real learning and positive action. Together, a friend and I have all sorts of activities planned, albeit with enough flexibility to follow our kids’ lead. We want the day to be fun, we want them to learn and we want them to see that when it’s important, you have to stand up for what you believe in.

I would love lots of people to join in with #THISislearning. I hope they do. It means so much to me.

Ooh and by the way, another reason April was full-on:

campnano 16 winner banner

Yep. I wrote enough words last month to win CampNanoWriMo.

Phew.

Today nerves, tomorrow the world, after that a nice long nap.

Writing Bubble
And then the fun began...
Writing Bubble

#THISislearning FAQ

#THISislearning badge finalJust over a week ago, my fellow-blogger Sophie and I launched our #THISislearning campaign which aims to spread positive images, messages and stories about learning across social media on May 3rd – the day of the national Kids Strike. So far, we’ve loved the response we’ve had: the messages of support, the shared posts and stories, and the conversations in our Facebook group have all been inspirational and reaffirming. Sophie has written a great post summarising the progress so far, which really emphasised to me that together we can make a difference.

Along the way, we’ve noticed a few questions arising about the campaign from potential supporters and I thought I’d answer them here as it might make our aims a little clearer:

  • #THISislearning runs in parallel to the Kids Strike… but what is the Kids Strike about?

The kids Strike has been organised by Let Our Kids Be Kids, a group of concerned parents who feel our kids are “over tested, overworked and in a school system that places more importance on test results and league tables than it does on children’s happiness and joy of learning”. The National Union of teachers has already called for the SATs to be cancelled in 2016 and the plan is to show that parents are behind teachers in this, by keeping kids off school on May 3rd (before the SATs begin) for a day of educational fun learning instead. They also have a petition here which has already been signed by over 24,000 people.

  • Is it just about Year 2 SATs? I’m concerned about Year 6 SATs too!

The campaign started in opposition to year 2 SATs but many parents are also concerned about year 6 SATs and the pressures facing our kids in education in general. The response overall has been so great it has been widened to include all primary school-aged children.

  • I’m worried about taking my kids out of school on May 3rd – I don’t want them to miss SATs (and potentially have to re-sit them at another time).

It’s ok – 3RD MAY is NOT a test day! Your child will not miss any tests. It was chosen as a strike day because it is shortly before the SATs begin and has the aim of putting pressure on government to scrap the SATs this year. The NUT has already called for this and the hope was that by striking, parents can show teachers and schools that we are behind them should they choose to boycott SATs.

  • My child has such a lovely teacher – I don’t want them to think that this is against them.

There are many wonderful teachers in this country (hooray!). The strike is absolutely not against our teachers but rather against governmental policy. We want to support teachers who are trying to give the government the message that current educational policy is wrong. When I wrote this post in March, speculating about using our parent power to strike, many teachers commented to say thank you and yes, please take action! Many teachers have joined our Facebook group and many more have joined the Let Our Kids be Kids FB group and signed the petition. If you are concerned please speak to your teacher to reassure them, or if you prefer, there are letters on the Let our Kids be Kids website specifically for class teachers to explain the action we are all taking.

  • What If I don’t want to take my kids out of school on May 3rd – can I still join in with #THISislearning?

YES absolutely! We want to spend ALL DAY covering social media with positive messages not just during school hours – so feel free to join in after school. You are also welcome to use the #THISislearning hashtag in the run up to May 3rd.

If you’re at all on the fence about joining in the strike (or supporting it in any other way, for that matter) then I urge you to read this post by Sophie of Sophie is… which highlights some of the reasons why it’s important to take a stand regardless of the age of your children, whether they are doing SATs this year and however they feel about school.

  • I love the idea of spreading positive learning ideas, but my kids are not yet at school – can I still get involved?

YES, we’d love you to! This is very relevant to preschool kids because changes that are made to educational policy now will have a direct impact on toddlers and preschoolers in a few short years. Younger kids also love learning so please, have fun making mud pies together, or baking, making sock puppets, or building with LEGO… or whatever you wish! Kids learn so much doing these sorts of activities and we’d love you to share what you get up to!

  • My kids are homeschooled – can we get involved too?

Please do! As homeschoolers you may well have all sorts of ideas for fun educational activities people could do with kids on May 3rd. If you have blog posts about these we’d love you to link them up with our #THISislearning linky. And please join in the general sharing of positive learning messages on May 3rd!

  • What is your linky for? I have a post about what’s wrong with education – can I link it up? Can I link up a post about crafting with kids?

Our linky is for any post about education or fun learning activities. If you’ve written about what you would like to see change about the current education system, by all means link it up. similarly, if you’ve published a post on something creative or fun or inspiring that you think captures a fun way that kids can learn, then that is very welcome too! The linky already has both types of posts on it and we’d love more!

  • I’m not on Twitter – can I still take part?

YES! We’re also on Instagram and Facebook!

If you have any more questions please send them my way and in the meantime, thanks for all the support!

Writing Bubble

what a week!

wave in the sunYou know when you’re paddling in the sea with your trousers rolled up to your knees and then you see a huge wave approaching so you turn and run the other way but it starts to catch you up and slaps your legs with a huge wet spray that’s kind of exhilarating except you don’t really want to get any wetter so you keep running and kind of jumping and laughing and probably going ”argh!” a bit and the wave keeps chasing you so you just keep going till it runs out of energy and you land on a heap in the sand?

Phew!

That was me last week. It was a really busy, exciting, exhausting week that I saw coming but still didn’t really prepare myself for – I just ran and jumped went with it. I landed on Sunday evening very soggy and with a definite sense of ‘phew’ mixed with ‘yay!’

Why? Well Monday was the first day after the Easter holidays so I was in full-on ‘catch up with everything I’ve let slip for the past two weeks!’ mode which included housework and blogging and trying to write something for CampNaNo. There were also emails flying back and forth between Sophie and me as we were planning our #THISislearning campaign. At one point I was drying my hair and designing a blog badge on my laptop while simultaneously pretending to be a ‘mummy lion’ to my three-year-old. It was that sort of day. I also had to pack for…

Tuesday when I set off to my parents’ house in Yorkshire with my three-year-old (leaving his big brothers at home with my husband). I visited my grandparents and did more campaign planning while also trying to organise everything for…

Wednesday when I set off for London leaving my three-year-old with my parents. Unfortunately, at the station (and with no time to turn round) I realised I’d left my phone at my parent’s house. TWO DAYS IN LONDON WITH NO PHONE! But it was ok because I’d brought my laptop… although OH NO – I’D FORGOTTEN THE CHARGER! An inauspicious start but it was ok, I got there (campaign planning all the way on the train) and found my way to the business conference I was going to. Thank goodness my mum had given me her London street map despite my saying ‘oh it’s fine, I can just use google maps’ … not without your smart phone you can’t you fool! It was a really good event and very networky which was great in many ways but networking completely exhausts me!

alice filling glassLuckily, a tonic was on the way in the form of the very lovely Alice from The Filling Glass who I went out for a meal with in the evening. Alice and I have never met before although we’ve been following each other’s blogs since last summer. I had a hunch we would get on well, and we really did. We had lots in common, even our matching blue ‘mummy coats’! I’m hoping we manage another meet up – maybe a whole #WhatImWriting meet up – later in the year.

Then Thursday was a big day – my first experience of the London Book Fair! This is an amazing event where loads of publishers, book sellers, authors, distributors, wholesalers, agents and, well, anyone who’s interested in books in any way, all gathers under one roof. There was so much to take in! You’ll have to forgive the poor quality of the photo below – remember how I said I’d forgotten my phone? I spent much of my London trip really missing the ability to take photos (Alice took the one above) then shortly before I left the Book Fair I thought, ‘ooh hang on, my laptop has a camera… I mean, it doesn’t have a viewing window or anything, but I could use ‘photo booth’ in selfie mode…’ so I stood on the balcony, placed my laptop on a rail, pointed it away from me (looked a like a weirdo) and TA DA!

london book fair photoProof I was there! I have to admit, after talking non-stop on Wednesday I spent Thursday just absorbing information and not networking at all. This was possibly a missed opportunity but there was only so much I could do. I went to lots of writing seminars and wandered round looking at lots of books and feeling a mixture of contentment and overwhelm. I’ll write more about what I learned in a separate post soon.

I also continued the campaign planning with Sophie in the gaps between seminars, although by this time my laptop battery was seriously depleted. I took the train back to my parents’ house on Thursday night and on the way, with 1% of battery remaining (and surrounded by business men, laptops and sandwiches on a hugely crowded train), I finally finished and hit ‘publish’ on my #THISislearning launch post. Another ‘phew’ moment.

On Friday morning I was happily reunited with my son (who’d had an awesome time with my parents) and we made our way back up north and home just in time to pick my older boys up from school. I then solo-parented my way through the weekend as my husband had gone away shortly before I got back! By yesterday night I was ready to collapse in a heap, so spent the evening with a glass of wine and my laptop catching up with blog commenting.

So that was my wave-dodging week – my feet are soggy and sandy but I’m drying them and dusting them off for the week ahead. I can see more waves coming my way!

Writing Bubble
mumturnedmom

#THISislearning – join us!

On Tuesday 3rd May, thousands of parents are planning to take a stand against a school system which is more interested in testing our children than it is in nurturing in them a love of learning. They will be adding their voices to the growing unrest that already permeates the teaching profession, and joining the call from the National Union of Teachers to cancel the SATs for 2016. By keeping their children home from school on that day, they want to send a clear message to the government that enough is enough, and that their children – all children – deserve more.

We want to take things one step further.#THISislearning badge final

As well as fully supporting the kids’ strike on 3rd May, we want to use that day and the run up to it to flood the internet with inspirational learning moments: images, stories and activities that show just how much more there is to learning than the narrow focus of the SATs allows. Whatever the age of your child, whether they are at school or nursery or educated at home, we would like you to help us show the government what learning really looks like, using the hashtag #THISislearning.

If you’re a teacher, we would love to hear your thoughts too: this government has marginalised the expertise of education professionals for far too long.

If you have a blog, you can link up your posts below to create a hub of inspiration in the run up to 3rd May and share what you and your child(ren) get up to on the day itself. If you are not a blogger then don’t worry – you can share your ideas and activities on your social media accounts, using #THISislearning on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can find out more about why we’re taking this action by reading Maddy’s post No, Mr Cameron, No, which inspired us with the fantastic response it received from parents and teachers alike, and the follow up, This is learning, Mr Cameron, as well as Sophie’s post Why SATs are Bad for our Children, reflecting on the current situation from the perspective of ten years of teaching as well as life with a three year old.

You can also join our Facebook group to keep up to date with latest developments, and please comment below or contact either of us directly if there is anything else you want to know.

Maddy: Writing Bubble
Sophie: Sophie is…

#THISislearning

We would love as many bloggers as possible to join in! Here are just a few suggestions for taking part:

  • Link up any post (old or new) about inspiring children to learn, including fun activities people might like to try on May 3rd.
  • Please use the badge below on your post to spread awareness of the campaign (copy and paste the HTML code to add it to your site). We will share your posts on Twitter in return.
  • If you share your post on social media please use the hashtag #THISislearning. If you tweet us a link to your post @writingbubble and @sophieblovett then we will RT.
  • Link up your post below – just click on the blue button that says ‘add your link’ and follow the instructions. We look forward to reading your posts. :)
Writing Bubble
 Loading InLinkz ...
Post Comment Love

THIS is learning, Mr Cameron.

#THISislearning kidsA couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about education called ‘No, Mr Cameron, No‘. It was my reaction to the growing feeling amongst parents, teachers and education experts that governmental educational policy is WRONG. That our kids are put under too much pressure, expectations are too high and they are tested too young, in a way that is making it harder and harder for our teachers to teach the way they know is best. The fun and the joy is being stripped out of learning and the long-term negative consequences of this could be vast.

I wanted to support our schools and our fabulous teachers and suggested we use our power as parents and not send our kids into school on SATs day in favour of a ‘learning is fun’ day where we would collectively show the government what real learning looks like.

The response the post received was amazing. Support flooded in from teachers and parents alike. It was amazing and moving and just, WOW!

“Yes!” I thought “Let’s do this! Let’s start a revolution!”

A couple of days later a new campaign was launched by a group of concerned Year Two parents, called ‘Let Our Kids Be Kids‘. They are proposing a kids strike on May 3rd (which is not a test day) in favour of a day of fun learning to show the government that parents want an end to year 2 SATs and the current educational pressures.

“Yes!” I thought “the revolution has begun!”

So I got my thinking cap on and I had conversations with other online friends. We all felt there was more we could do as bloggers to help the ‘Let Our Kids Be Kids’ campaign and to really make a difference.

Now, I’ll admit, I had a wobble. As a naturally non-revolutionary, law-abiding type who doesn’t like to draw much attention to myself, I wondered if I could really do it. Could I break the rules, keep my kids off school and encourage others to do so? Could I really? Really?

One (self-inflicted) big kick in the rear later and the answer is YES, ARE YOU KIDDING?! OF COURSE I CAN!

More importantly of course WE can!

So, having chatted to Let Our Kids Be Kids, my friend and fellow blogger Sophie and I have decided to launch a parallel campaign to support theirs. It’s called #THISislearning and is focussed not just on keeping our kids off school on 3rd May but on doing something on that day to show the government what great learning looks like.

We also want to widen the focus beyond Year 2 SATs and make it about over-assessment in schools in general (we know plenty of people feel that Year 6 SATs too, are appalling!). We really want to send a powerful, positive message that we hope our government will listen to, and the more of you who join in (parents of school kids or pre-schoolers, homeschoolers, teachers, bloggers, non-bloggers, social media gurus or newbies, anyone who works with kids in fact, anyone at all who supports our aim!) the louder our voice will be!

Here, in brief, is the plan (more details to follow soon!):

On Tuesday 3rd May we will be keeping our kids off school. For me this means not only my six-year-old (whom the Year 2 SATs directly affect,) but also my eight-year-old. I’ll be downloading letters from the Let Our Kids Be Kids website which I will use to let my boys’ school know our plans and so they know this is action against governmental policy and not them or my sons’ great teachers!

We will be spending the day with our kids (and perhaps other friends with kids too), learning lots about the world in a fun way and sharing it on social media with the hashtag #THISislearning. I haven’t decided quite what I’m going to do yet but watch this space because:

Over the next (nearly) three weeks I will be sharing various ideas with you for fun learning activities. They might be anything – messing with mud, experimenting with liquids, creating, constructing, exploring… the options are endless.

Sophie and I will be setting up a linky (UPDATE: it’s now live!) across both our blogs for people to link up posts about their thoughts and feelings on education and/or about any plans they have for May 3rd – it would be great if it could become a resource for fun learning activities so that we’re all full of inspiration by the day!

Then, on May 3rd we want set social media feeds abuzz with photos, tweets, messages and stories (from as many of you as possible) about children learning in a way that is fun. No formality, no stuffiness, no tests or unreachable targets or overwhelming pressure. We want to shower the government – no, deluge them – with examples of learning that is creative and engaging, learning which sparks childrens’ imaginations and which sets them up for a lifetime of curiosity and passion. Because that’s what education should be about.

Because THIS is learning, Mr Cameron.

#THISislearning

***

Come and join us!

We have set up a facebook group for people to share thoughts, plans and support. Anyone who wants to support #THISislearning in any way is welcome to come and join it!

We also have a badge which we’d love you to display on your blog (if you have one). Just copy and past the code below. Thank you!

Together, we CAN!

Writing Bubble

I’m linking this post with The Prompt at Mum Turned Mom. This week the word is ‘jump’ which seems apt since this campaign feels like a leap both into the unknown and out of my comfort zone!

mumturnedmom

Everything Mummy

And then the fun began...