Scroll to view the complete collection of our teacher blog posts. You’ll find posts on a range of topics, from updates on the latest Boomerang products to Growth Mindset tips. Enjoy! Take a look at all of our blog posts here.

Oodles of Info! We’ve Just Launched A Brand New Website for Young People

Researching and reviewing the exciting new ‘What’s Next’ content for our school planners got us thinking that young people need somewhere that pulls together and builds on all of these useful resources.

We had so much to say about study options, student finance and youth opportunities that it wouldn’t all fit in our school planners!

This is where Oodles of Info! comes in…

What is Oodles?

Think of Oodles of Info! as a sort of one-stop-shop for young people. At the moment, our brand new website covers 3 main subject areas: youth opportunities, education options and student finance – with plans to expand to include even more beneficial content.

Oodles builds on the content in this year’s homework diaries, from exciting challenges and opportunities, to help with making important decisions about education and career options in school.

Written and designed entirely with students with in mind, this website is somewhere that young people can access quickly and easily, to help them as they start to think about their futures.

oodles-home

What’s Next? Planning for the future:

We’ve already added lots of new content to our What’s Next section because we know that students have so many questions about career options, study alternatives, entry requirements and much more.

Our live chat team are busy responding to the daily enquiries coming through from students so we know we’re onto a winner here!

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Student opportunities:

The Opportunities area of the website showcases the range of competitions and challenges available to young people in the UK. We’ve also included work experience opportunities and youth programmes.

The opportunities available cover a variety of subjects and promote all sorts of skills, so students will be certainly be able to find something that appeals to their interests.

oodles-opportunities

Money, money, money:

Getting young people interested in Finance isn’t always easy, which is why Oodles brings together handy money-saving tips that young people can directly apply to their own lives.

Students thinking about higher education will be able to find clear information on student finance, maintenance loans and the general costs of going to university.

oodles-travel

See for yourself:

Why not encourage your pupils to take a look at the site and see if we’re getting it right? Or have a look around yourself!

We’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

The Boomerang Team.

National Stress Awareness Day 2018 – 5 Ways To Manage Stress

It’s National Stress Awareness Day 2018 and we’ve put together a few stress-busting tips for you to pass onto students.

Stress comes in all shapes and sizes and pupils will handle it in their own way, which is why the following are five suggestions and may work differently from person to person.

1) Encourage mistakes

Mistakes are a vital part of the learning and development process but lots of students are afraid to get things wrong.

The best way to counter this is to show them that mistakes are important and not the be-all and end-all.

Encourage students to reflect on mistakes with questions such as, ‘What could I have done differently?’ ‘What worked well?’

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2) Time management

It’s no surprise that pupils get stressed if they think they’re running out of time to complete homework tasks. Promoting time management techniques should help them to focus.

Try promoting the use of homework planners to break tasks down into manageable chunks and plan ahead.

Be sure to remind them to allow plenty of time for study breaks, sleep and extra-curricular activities!

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3) Improve understanding

It’s important that students are aware that stress is part of daily life and to be able to recognise the signs in themselves.

This could help them to seek advice if needed and to stay on top of things.

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4) Exercise

You probably already know that exercise can be hugely beneficial for mental health, due to the endorphin release.

Encourage your students to set aside some time each week for moderate exercise and they should feel the benefits in no time.

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5) Look after yourself

This last point is surprisingly easy to forget.

As teachers, you will be used to putting your students first but don’t forget about your own well-being.

One of the best ways to help pupils manage stress and anxiety is to lead by example. So make sure you take breaks from work, reflect on your own mistakes and spend time doing the things you love!

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Have you got any other tips for encouraging a positive mindset in students? Have you been doing anything in school in honour of National Stress Awareness Day 2018?

Let us know by leaving a comment below, or dropping us a quick tweet 🙂

The Boomerang Team.

Internet Safety: Britain the Safest Place in the World to be Online

The UK government is cracking down on Internet safety, Britain hopes to become the safest place in the world to be online!

So how has this come about we hear you ask?

Well it’s all due to new proposals announced today by Culture Secretary Karen Bradley.

Internet safety strategy explained

Internet-safety-icons

The Government’s Internet Safety Strategy proposes to target online dangers like cyber-bullying, trolling and under-age access to pornographic material through:

  • A new social media code of practice – addressing bullying, intimidating or humiliating online content.
  • An industry-wide tax – companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google will contribute to raise awareness and counter Internet harms.​
  • An annual Internet safety transparency report – showing progress on addressing abusive and harmful content and behaviour.
  • Support for tech/digital startups to focus on safety first – ensuring necessary safety features are built into apps and products from the beginning.
  • New compulsory school subjects – Relationship Education at primary and Relationship & Sex Education at secondary to provide Internet safety education.
  • Social media safety advice – government will encourage social media companies to offer safety advice and tools to parents.

What’s the aim of all this?

Internet-safety-girl

In the past year, nearly one fifth of 12-15 year olds came across something online that they ‘found worrying or nasty in some way.’

Nearly half of adult users also say they have seen something that has upset or offended them on social media. It goes without saying that something needs to be done here.

It’s not all bad though and the Internet Safety Green Paper aims to tackle the growing dangers, as well as embrace the benefits and opportunities the Internet brings.

The strategy sets out the government’s ambition to create a strong framework which can tackle online harms.

The government also aims to highlight the crucial role that education will play in raising online safety awareness, with a particular focus on children and parents.

Over to you!

Do you think enough is being done? Let us know with a quick tweet or message – we’d love to hear from you!

The Boomerang Team.

Tuition Fees Update: Saving Us Money?

We’re getting a bit political with this week’s blog post and discussing Prime Minister Theresa May’s pledge at the Conservative party conference.

Let’s get into it!

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Tuition Fees: what’s changed?

Well, Theresa May has pledged to save individual students up to £15,700 over the course of their working lives by raising the threshold for university tuition fee repayments.

Currently, the repayment threshold stands at £21,000. This means that university students need to start repaying their tuition fee loans once they reach a salary of £21K.

It’s now been proposed that this threshold will rise to £25,000 per year instead for students, as of next year. We don’t have all the details yet but it is believed that this new threshold increase will only apply to university students who attended from 2012 onwards.

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May has also announced the cancellation of plans to increase university tuition fees from £9,250 to over £9,500.

Fees will be ‘frozen’ to remain at the current amount.

So what does this mean for students?

Typically, this will mean that graduates will pay back, on average, £15,700 less over the 30 years before unpaid loans are written off.

It has been estimated that 83% of graduates will not need to pay back all of their debts.

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Can the government afford these changes?

This is certainly up for debate…

The IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies) warns that long-term government costs will increase by over 40% as a result of the changes to student finance.

Overall, it is thought that the changes will cost the government an extra £1.2 billion between 2018-19 and that this will increase year on year.

The question many are now asking is, how much will this cost taxpayers?

More changes could be on the way over the next few months, as the government plans to look at the entire student finance system.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts on the latest changes! Drop us a tweet or leave a comment below.

The Boomerang Team.

National Fitness Day: 5 Reasons to Exercise

We like to think of ourselves as a pretty fit bunch here at Team Boomerang (did we mention our 3 Three Peaks Challenge?), so we’re giving you 5 reasons to exercise, in honour of National Fitness Day.

5 Reasons to Exercise in honour of National Fitness Day:

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1) Fewer colds

We’ve reached that time of year when colds are going around and nobody likes getting sick – well, exercise can help!

Regular exercise helps boost the immune system, reducing your number of colds, flu, and other infections.

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2) Better skin

Exercise boosts circulation and the delivery of nutrients to your skin, helping to detoxify the body, which is great for your skin.

You might think that sweating is less than desirable but it actually helps to push toxins, oils and dirt out of your pores, giving you a smoother and more radiant complexion.

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3) Increased brainpower

Ever noticed that you tend to think more clearly after a workout? This is because exercise boosts blood flow to the brain and helps it receive oxygen and nutrients.

So the better shape you’re in, the quicker your thinking could be!

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4) Improved mental well-being

Regular exercise reduces the number of stress hormones in the body, resulting in a slower heart rate and lower blood pressure. Increased relaxation after exercise shows in your face too, thanks to reduced muscle tension.

Research shows that regular exercise can even ease symptoms of mild to moderate depression, due to the release of endorphins (hormones in the brain associated with a happy, positive feeling).

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5) A good night’s sleep

Finding it difficult to get to sleep? Exercise can help with this, just try not to do it right before bed.

Following on from this, it will also make you feel more energised throughout the day – so positives all round!

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What did you think of our 5 reasons to exercise? Got others to add to this list? Let us know by dropping us a tweet.

Happy National Fitness Day! 🙂

The Boomerang Team.

Man Booker Prize Shortlist 2017 Announced

The time has finally come…the Man Booker Prize Shortlist has now been announced.

We can’t wait to get stuck into these texts, it’s going to be a close one!

The Man Booker Prize Shortlist for 2017:

4321 by Paul Auster (Faber & Faber)

A 20th-century epic and Auster’s first novel in seven years, which sees one hero lead four lives.

man-booker-prize-shortlist-4321

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Orion Books)

In this novel, a teenager struggles to come of age in a world of religious zealots and predatory teachers.

man-booker-prize-shortlist-wolves

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)

A genre-blurring piece, in which a couple leave an unnamed city in search of a new life.

man-booker-prize-shortlist-west

Elmet by Fiona Mozley (JM Originals, John Murray)

The debut novel by a medieval history student from the University of York examines post-Brexit Britain.

man-booker-prize-shortlist-elmet

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Bloomsbury)

Master of the short story, this is Saunders’ first novel. A tale of great formal daring, set in the cemetery where Abraham Lincoln mourns his son.

man-booker-prize-shortlist-lincoln

Autumn by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)

Set just after the EU referendum, this post-Brexit novel is a poignant exploration of the way we experience time.

man-booker-prize-shortlist-autumn

So there you have it, the Man Booker Prize Shortlist for 2017! Thinking of reading any of the above texts since the shortlist has been announced?

We’d love to hear your thoughts – just leave a comment below or drop us a tweet.

The Boomerang Team.

National Read a Book Day: 5 Classics We’re Reading

We’re celebrating National Read a Book Day with a little look at 5 literary classics…have you read any of these?

1) Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

First published in 1938, Du Maurier’s novel is a fantastic thriller, which tells the tale of a young woman who falls deeply in love with the charming but mysterious Maxim de Winter. On moving to Manderley, she begins to discover that everything is not as it seems. Who is Rebecca?

national-read-a-book-day-rebecca

2) The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

A masterpiece of the 19th Century, Wilde explores complex themes of duality, Aestheticism and self-indulgence in this novel. A mixture of horror, philosophy, suspense and fantasy, this beautifully written book will force you to question your own morality. How much would you be prepared to sacrifice for eternal youth and beauty?

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Ben Barnes as Dorian Gray in the 2009 film adaptation.

3) Brighton Rock – Graham Greene

Set in the 30s, Brighton Rock is a British murder thriller, set in – you guessed it – Brighton. Exploring deeply moral issues through a harsh study of violence, love and identity, this novel follows the life of anti-hero, Pinkie, a merciless gang-leader. What does the title of the book mean, we hear you ask?

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4) 1984 – George Orwell

Now you’ll definitely have heard of this one and it certainly makes an appearance on the majority of ‘top books to read’ lists but you might be surprised how few people have actually read it. A dark, dystopian novel published in 1949, it remains moving and fascinatingly relevant to this day. Will it have you looking over your shoulder? Big Brother is watching you!

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5) The Black Cat – Edgar Allan Poe

It’s difficult to pick just one of Poe’s stories but his short story, The Black Cat (1843), encapsulates the suspense, horror and insanity that pours through his writing. When we talk about unreliable narrators, we often (and rightly so) think of The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield, however Poe was actually an earlier master of this narrative style. A chilling gothic horror, have a read of this if you dare…

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We’d love to hear your thoughts on our 5 picks! Which books would you add? Contact us here or message us via Twitter 🙂

The Boomerang Team.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Frankenstein: Happy Birthday Mary Shelley!

On this day in 1797, Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, was born. So in celebration, we’ve put together a list of 5 things you didn’t know about Frankenstein – or maybe you did know, in which case we salute you.

1) Mary got the idea from a dream

5 things you didn't know about frankenstein - cover

In true Gothic style, Mary Shelley claimed that the horrific tale of Frankenstein came to her in a dream, writing, “When I placed my head upon my pillow, I did not sleep…I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together...On the morrow I announced that I had thought of a story…making only a transcript of the grim terrors of my waking dream.”

2) Many thought her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote the book

5 things you didn't know about frankenstein - percy shelley

In a time when writing wasn’t deemed an appropriate profession for a woman, Frankenstein was initially published anonymously. Many believed that Mary’s husband Percy had written the book. Whilst it is true that Percy, a renowned writer and academic, did contribute to the text, the true extent of his involvement remains unknown.

3)Mary was only 18 years old when she wrote Frankenstein

5 things you didn't know about frankenstein skeleton

For a novel that has stood the test of time – circa 200 years and still counting – it might come as a surprise that Mary Shelley was only 18 years old when she wrote it!

Well now we feel productive…

4) Considered the first science fiction novel

5 things you didn't know about frankenstein - science

Usually thought of as a horror, Frankenstein is actually often considered by critics to be the first science fiction novel. It may not contain aliens and space ships but the concepts are certainly scientific and futuristic.

Will this make you see the novel in a different light?

5) Frankenstein was born out of a horror story contest

5 things you didn't know about frankenstein - monster

During a trip to Switzerland with future husband Percy Shelley and friend Lord Byron, the story goes that the three of them were stuck inside one evening. Lord Byron came up with a competition in which he challenged each person to tell a horror story.

Mary Shelley described the base idea of Frankenstein, describing a re-animated corpse and a scientist. This short story was to eventually become a novel!

So that was our list of 5 things you didn’t know about Frankenstein Drop us a tweet – have you got anymore to add? and let us know 🙂

Boomerang Team.

Are Our Children Spending Too Much Time Online?

With the summer holidays well underway, a lot of parents may be noticing that their children are increasingly turning to the Internet for entertainment. The ‘million-dollar question’, as it were, is are our children spending too much time online?

In a recent interview with The Observer, children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has warned parents that they must intervene to stop children overusing social media and consuming time online ‘like junk food’.

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So is there such a thing as too much time online?

Well, it is no secret that Internet use has massively increased in recent years, particularly amongst young people. Of course, whether this is a good or bad thing is somewhat harder to determine.

Longfield has attacked the new methods social media giants such as Snapchat and Instagram are using to draw children into spending more time looking at tablet and smartphone screens.

She stated that parents should ‘step up’ and be proactive in preventing their children from binging on the Internet during the summer holidays.

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A healthy Internet diet

As part of a campaign to help parents regulate children’s Internet use, Longfield has suggested that time online should be balanced in the same way that parents regulate children’s diets, saying, ‘it’s something that every parent will talk about especially during school holidays – that children are in danger of seeing social media like sweeties, and their online time like junk food.’

This is an interesting comparison, especially in a time where we are now seeing the promotion of healthy eating all around us.  Longfield points out that ‘when phones, social media and games make us feel worried, stressed and out of control, it means we haven’t got the balance right. With your diet, you know that, because you don’t feel that good. It’s the same with social media.’

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Over to you

What do you think? Should we be painting an unhealthy diet and excessive Internet use with the same brush? Reports indicate that children aged five to fifteen are spending 15 hours a week online.

Will you be monitoring the Internet use in your household over the summer? We’d love to know your thoughts on this! Just drop us a tweet  or leave a comment below.

The Boomerang Team.

Man Booker Prize Longlist 2017 Announced

It’s one of our favourite times of year again – the announcement of the Man Booker Prize Longlist!

After last year’s winner Paul Beatty wowed critics with his daring novel, The Sellout, we can’t wait to find out who will be awarded the acclaimed prize this year.

With an excellent list of authors nominated, it’s going to be a close one!

The Man Booker Prize Longlist for 2017:

4321 by Paul Auster (Faber & Faber)

A 20th-century epic and Auster’s first novel in seven years, which sees one hero lead four lives.

man-booker-prize-longlist-4321

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Faber & Faber)

Barry explores national identity and self-renewal with this novel, as two young soldiers find intimacy amid the horrors of war.

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History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Orion Books)

In this novel, a teenager struggles to come of age in a world of religious zealots and predatory teachers.

man-booker-prize-longlist-wolves

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)

A genre-blurring piece, in which a couple leave an unnamed city in search of a new life.

man-booker-prize-longlist-west

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Canongate)

A family man’s ‘Day of the Dead’ in County Mayo after the boom and bust.

man-booker-prize-longlist-solar

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (4th Estate, HarperCollins)

McGregor’s first novel for seven years. Formal experimentation gives way to a subtle study of the effects of a disappearance on a village’s inhabitants.

man-booker-prize-longlist-reservoir

Elmet by Fiona Mozley (JM Originals, John Murray)

The debut novel by a medieval history student from the University of York examines post-Brexit Britain.

man-booker-prize-longlist-elmet

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)

This is Roy’s first novel in 20 years – memorable tale involving a vast cast.

man-booker-prize-longlist-ministry

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Bloomsbury)

Master of the short story, this is Saunders’ first novel. A tale of great formal daring, set in the cemetery where Abraham Lincoln mourns his son.

man-booker-prize-longlist-lincoln

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (Bloomsbury)

A suspenseful tale of an immigrant family driven to pit love against loyalty, with devastating consequences.

man-booker-prize-longlist-home

Autumn by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)

Set just after the EU referendum, this post-Brexit novel is a poignant exploration of the way we experience time.

man-booker-prize-longlist-autumn

Swing Time by Zadie Smith (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)

In this novel, two childhood friends from London follow diverging paths. Believed to Smith’s finest piece yet.

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The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Fleet, Little, Brown)

A thrilling tale of escape from a deep south plantation, which takes in terror, beauty and the history of human tragedy.

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So there you have it, the Man Booker Prize Longlist for 2017! Have you read any of the above texts?

We’d love to hear your thoughts – just leave a comment below or drop us a tweet.

The Boomerang Team.