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.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Boomerang School Planner

There are all sorts of ways teachers and pupils can use the Boomerang school planner. Here are our top 5 planner features that  you might not have known about:

Growth Mindset

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At the core of your school planner this year is the concept of ‘growth mindset’, designed to help students thrive both in and out of school.

In a nutshell, adopting a growth mindset means having a more positive and proactive approach to learning. In a school setting, this is the belief that all pupils are capable of growth and that learning is less about knowing all the right answers and more about a steady, well-rounded progression.

We highlight several inspirational growth-mindset figures from all walks of life, who tell their stories to help students embrace the growth mindset.

Learning how to gradually adopt this mindset is wonderful preparation for social development, future employment and getting the most out of life.

Carpe Diem

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Young minds are constantly learning, discovering and developing. We understand the importance of ensuring that a student’s time at school is as fulfilling as possible, which is why we launched our Carpe Diem initiative.

What is Carpe Diem?

Throughout the Boomerang school planner, a broad range of nation-wide opportunities, challenges and competitions is highlighted, spurring students to set new goals, stretch themselves and shape their own futures.  These opportunities have all been brought together on our website, which is regularly updated, making it as comprehensive a directory as possible.

Beyond the Classroom

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For older students, our 16 + school planner includes an up-to-date UCAS guide, pointing students to useful information on making university and college applications. Laid out in a stress-free, easy to follow format, pupils can follow a step-by-step process and need never miss important deadlines or key dates.

The academic support in a Boomerang school planner does not stop once pupils leave the classroom; students will find revision tips and exam techniques to encourage independent study, whilst also providing guidance when needed.

Artistic Banner Designs

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Unique in their bold and colourful page designs, the Boomerang Secondary Design school planners take inspiration from a different artistic theme each year. For 2016/17 we bring you a combination of ancient, traditional and tribal art styles from all over the world, culminating in vibrant explosions of colour for each month of the academic year.

Students keen to learn more about the culture behind each of our featured art designs can take a look at our ‘Diary Design Inspiration’ pages. We’ve included a brief overview of the origins and key features of each art style, from Aboriginal and Maya, to Inuit and Norse.

History

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We know that a well-rounded student is engaged in all aspects of the world around them and that a fulfilling learning environment is about more than passing exams. This is why, in addition to curriculum-based information, we also draw attention to content that is not directly on the syllabus.

This year our Secondary Design school planner honours 2016/17 by transporting students back to important historical events by exploring key anniversary dates. From iconic British figures to life-changing technological advances, the creative layout of this double page history spread certainly sparks student interest.

Do you have a favourite school planner feature? Tweet us and let us know!

10 Random Acts of Christmas Kindness: Ideas for the Classroom

With Christmas just around the corner, have a go at ticking off our top ten Random Acts of Christmas Kindness ideas with your class. It’s a great way to add some festive fun to the classroom at the end of term and of course, the underlying message is incredibly positive.

Random Act of Kindness: A selfless act performed by a person to either help or cheer up a stranger, for no reason other than to make people happier.

Ask students to write down these 10 Random Acts of Christmas Kindness in their school planners and encourage them to try to tick as many off as they can by Christmas Day!

Boomerang Top 10 Random Acts of Christmas Kindness:

  1. Give three people a genuine compliment either in person or via social media.
  2. Help someone with a chore or other job.
  3. Give up your place in a queue to somebody.
  4. Write someone a real letter and send it.
  5. Pick up litter.
  6. When you hear people around you gossiping about someone, be the person to say something nice.
  7. Give someone a hug.
  8. Try to include everyone in a group conversation.
  9. Offer someone your your seat on a bus or train.
  10. If you hear that negative voice in your head, remember that you deserve kindness too!

We want to hear from you!

Do you have any other classroom-inspired Random Acts of Kindness to add to our list? Drop us a tweet and let us know 🙂

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10 Growth Mindset Quotes for Teachers

It may be December but we’re already conjuring up images of spring with these growth mindset quotes. Boomerang school planners are designed to help pupils learn and progress at school and what better way to do that then through Carol Dweck’s growth mindset concept?

We’ve put together a list of growth mindset quotes (taken from our planners) for teachers to use as inspiration in lessons. Think about ways that you can incorporate growth mindset into pupil learning. You can stick our suggested growth mindset quotes up around the classroom to encourage a positive, growth-mindset learning environment for students:

  1. It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. Theodore Roosevelt
  2. You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it. Margaret Thatcher
  3. Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. Albert Einstein
  4. Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Henry Ford
  5. Don’t tell me how talented you are. Tell me how hard you work. Arthur Rubenstein
  6. If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it’s OK. But you’ve got to shoot for something. A lot of people don’t even shoot. Confucius
  7. Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. Unknown
  8. The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. Vince Lombardi
  9. How you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win. K. Chesterton
  10. The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make a mistake. Elbert Hubbard

Do you have any other useful quotes that fit with our growth mindset theme? Leave a comment below!

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2017 Wicked Young Writer Awards Now Open: Competition of the Month!

What are the Wicked Young Writer Awards?

  • The Wicked Young Writer Awards are sponsored by the award-winning musical Wicked in association with the National Literacy Trust.
  • Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall is Patron of the Awards, set up to recognise excellence in writing & creativity and to help develop literacy in young people.
  • Acclaimed author & illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon books, Cressida Cowell, will return as Head Judge for the awards. Michael Morpurgo is also honorary judge of the awards.
  • Watch this video on the 2016 Awards to see how the Awards can benefit pupils.
  • NB: The For Good Award for Non-Fiction, is also open for 15-25 year olds to write essays/articles that recognise the positive impact that people can have on each other, their communities & the world we live in.
  • To find out more about the competition, check out our Carpe Diem entry, which contains all the details.

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Prizes!

  • All winners will receive 4 tickets to see the London production of Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and the opportunity to meet cast members after the show along with an exclusive backstage tour.
  • Younger categories (5-7, 8-11 and 11-14) also win £50 worth of books/eBooks tokens to spend, as well as £100 worth of books for the winners’ school library donated by Hachette Children’s Books and a bespoke Wicked workshop for their school!
  • Older categories (15-17, 18-25 and For Good Award for Non-Fiction) also win £50 worth of books/eBooks tokens to spend and an exclusive writing experience with one of the Awards’ literacy partners.

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How to Enter:

Digital or Print? Boomerang Digital Homework Planner 2017

The age of digital

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We’re living in a digital age, meaning that as teachers, you have an important decision to make about school planners.  Should you move your student and teacher planners to digital or to stay with print?

Well, with the new Boomerang Digital Homework Planner (DHP) you can actually do both.

Go fully digital with the DHP

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The Boomerang Digital Homework Planner is more than a school planner, with all sorts of benefits for schools, teachers, students and parents, including:

  • Interactive online calendar
  • Lesson timetable
  • Homework manager
  • Lesson plans

Why go digital?

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There are so many reasons to go digital that we couldn’t even fit them all into this blog post! See the full list of features and benefits here. Boomerang’s DHP:

  • Fully integrates with school MIS and can be accessed on any digital device
  • Simplifies homework process
  • Engages with students through their favourite digital devices
  • Impresses OFSTED
  • Reduces your workload

Or have it both ways: digital-print hybrid solutions

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Unsure if your school is ready to go fully digital? You’re not alone.

That’s why we also offer the option to combine the Digital Homework Planner with our printed planners. We want to make the transition from paper to digital as smooth as possible for your school.

Cut your planner budget in half!

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Need we say more? Contact us here or drop us a tweet to find out how you can save your school money and improve standards at the same time. Let us know what you think!

The time to embrace digital is now.

Quick Growth Mindset Tips For Teachers

Love the growth mindset concept but unsure how to introduce it to your students? We’ve got you covered! For those of you who haven’t looked at the growth mindset section in our school planners (pg.8), we’ve got some words of wisdom for you.

Read our growth mindset tips for teachers below:

1. Teachers are still learners

growth-mindset-tips-for-teachersIt’s important to understand that as a teacher, you will need to learn and embrace new ways of thinking.

If your students see that you are willing to open yourself up to new learning strategies then this will encourage them to do the same.

So think about how you can improve your own teaching methods with a growth mindset before focusing on your pupils (i.e. adopt the ‘put your own oxygen mask on first’ approach).

2. Encourage mistakes in class

growth-mindset-tips-for-teachers-2Part of the beauty of the growth mindset is that it opens doors to trying new things. Often pupils stick to what they know to avoid making mistakes. Reassure them that mistakes are necessary and a healthy part of personal growth.

This is one of the most important growth mindset tips for teachers so take note!

 

3. Don’t ‘over-praise’

growth-mindset-tips-for-teachersYes, encouraging students is vital but teachers should be praising students’ effort and growth, rather than their attainment. This doesn’t mean that you ignore the fact a pupil got an A on an essay – you just need to be careful with how you congratulate them.

The growth mindset style of praise means praising the work that the student has put into that essay, rather than the grade itself.

This means that they won’t be ashamed to get a lower grade sometimes because they will be more concerned with their own learning and effort.

For examples of the types of comments you could try, read our ‘Wrong Kind of Praise’ blog post.

Drop us a tweet if you’d like more growth mindset tips for teachers or contact us here 🙂

Promoting Opportunities for Young People

Here at Boomerang Education, we’ve noticed that, frustratingly, opportunities for young people haven’t been very obvious to the students themselves.

This is where Carpe Diem comes in.

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Carpe Diem homepage

What is Carpe Diem?

Carpe Diem is a youth initiative that showcases hundreds of nation-wide competitions, youth programmes and work experience opportunities to young people.

Students can simply head directly to the Carpe Diem online area.

Here, students will find categories, from English, to Higher Education, to Art & Design.

These are filled with opportunities to explore both in and out of school.

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Help us promote opportunities for young people

I’m a teacher, how can I get involved?

There are a number of ways you can get involved in this exciting new project:

  • Tell your students about Carpe Diem. This is the quickest and easiest way to spread the word in school. We want young people to get involved in as many exciting new opportunities as possible!
  • Incorporate aspects into your lesson plans. For example, you could sign your class up for the Big History Project here. Why not take a look at the ‘English’ category and set one of the creative writing competitions as a homework task?

Carpe Diem in school planners

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Carpe Diem in school planners

The great thing about Boomerang school planners is that they promote all of these fabulous Carpe Diem opportunities on every page.

This means that students can read about things like the St John Ambulance Cadet Program or the BBC Proms Inspire Scheme, as they look through their homework diary.

What next?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter by clicking here for regular tips and updates for educators.

Help us spread the word about Carpe Diem opportunities by sharing this article!

PS: If you have any ideas on how we could improve Carpe Diem, just leave a comment below or drop us  a tweet 🙂

 

The Wrong Kind of Praise: Growth Mindset

Adopting a growth mindset nearly always needs to be a conscious act. This is because, for most of us, it’s all too easy to slip into fixed mindset tendencies, especially when it comes to praising young minds.

Firstly, let’s (very broadly) define the terms ‘growth’ and ‘fixed’ in this context:

Growth mindset – Success is about learning and self-improvement. The more effort that needs to be put into a challenge, the better; we are all on a learning curve.

Fixed mindset – Individual intelligence is determined very early on and cannot be changed. It is better to stick to what you know and succeed, than to try something new and fail.

 How we often praise success:

“You’re so brilliant you got an A without even studying!”

“You learned that so quickly! You’re so smart!”

Notice anything unsupportive about these phrases? If you’re like most parents and teachers then you will probably hear these as positive, esteem-boosting messages. Well this is what the majority of children subconsciously hear:

I’d better stop studying or they won’t think I’m brilliant anymore.

If I don’t learn something quickly, I’m not smart. 

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Image Source: William Clarence

But shouldn’t we praise children to help with their self-belief?

It’s true that praise can be incredibly beneficial (not just to children but adults too!) but we need to be careful about what we are praising.

Praising intelligence and talent gives a very short-lived boost which vanishes as soon as the child hits any sort of snag – a low test score for example. If we continue to tell them that success makes them smart, then unfortunately they will conclude that failure is a result of stupidity. This is a prime example of a fixed mindset.

So what is the right kind of praise?

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Image Source – WikiMedia

Rather than praising intelligence and raw talent, we need to make a point of praising the growth-oriented process. This means taking an interest in accomplishment through things like revision, persistence and practice. Showing appreciation for effort is a great way of encouraging and reinforcing the growth mindset in our pupils and children.

Here are some examples of growth-oriented praise:

“That homework was so long and involved. I really admire the way you concentrated and finished it.”

“You put so much thought into this essay. It really makes me understand Shakespeare in a new way.”

Notice a difference?

 

For more on growth mindset, have a read of Do You Have A Growth Mindset?  It’s also worth heading to http://mindsetonline.com/whatisit/about/ or taking a look at Dr Carol Dweck’s fantastic book, Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential, which forms the basis of this article.

The World’s Largest Lesson: Global Goals in Schools

We need your help.

If you’ve used Boomerang school planners before, you’ll know that we promoted the Global Goals with the World’s Largest Lesson last year. Well this time we want to reach even more people! The World’s Largest Lesson 2016 will deliver an even bigger impact and we need teachers and schools to get involved.

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We care so much about the Global Goals that we’ve dedicated an entire double-page spread to them in our 2017/18 school planners. So what are the Global Goals all about?

Well, the United Nations adopted the 17 Global Goals as part of a new sustainable development agenda, in the hope of building a better Earth.

These goals serve as the world’s to-do list, aiming to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030 – end poverty, combat climate change and fight injustice & inequality.

If you want to know more about each individual goal, just click here to visit the official Global Goals website.

It’s easy to think that goals of such a huge scale are impossible to even attempt to achieve. But by working together and starting close to home, we can make an impact. It’s especially important that we reach out to young people and ensure that we promote these goals in as engaging a way as possible. This is where the World’s Largest Lesson comes in…

What is the World’s Largest Lesson?largest-lesson

A groundbreaking movement, teaching young people about the Goals and encouraging them to become the generation that changed the world.

Take part during the week of 18th September 2016 – don’t forget!

You can use your role as an educator to show students that they aren’t powerless by any means and that their actions really can make a difference.

What Next?

Join the World’s Largest Lesson by clicking here for access to exclusive content and regular updates.

Download and print these useful, tailored resources, from motivational posters to lesson plans, to help you to promote the Goals to students.

Make sure that you take a look at the Global Goals full library of resources here.

Feeling inspired? Head to http://worldslargestlesson.globalgoals.org/  for all the information you need!

Art in Education: Is There Still a Place For It?

The presence of art in education is a topic that’s been debated for as long as we can remember.

However in recent years, there’s certainly been a shift in focus towards more ’employable’ subjects in the education sector. We often push subjects such as maths and science to the forefront due to their undeniable importance for our future.

But where does this leave art?

Well when it comes to child development, we need to address all the core areas, meaning that the stimulation of creative thinking is still vital, particularly for:

Social & Emotional Development

  • Art in education can improve children’s communication skills and vocabulary.
  • It can increase their ability to form and maintain relationships with adults and other children.
  • Learning artistic techniques also helps children with the recognition and expression of feelings and emotion.

Cognitive Development

  • Creativity helps with problem solving and abstract thinking skills.
  • It can also improve the ability to approach new tasks and challenges with confidence.
  • Art helps with the processing of visual information.
  • It can heighten curiosity and interest, especially through experimentation.
  • Studying art helps with critical thinking skills. In particular, the making and execution of mental plans and pictures.
  • Innovation. Imagination is a necessity when it comes to thinking outside of the box.

Art in Boomerang School Planners

Each year here at Boomerang, we’re proud to say that we take design inspiration for our school planners from different artistic concepts. Our theme this year is Ancient and Traditional Art (see pg. 4 of the virtual planner).

We’re featuring 12 different ancient, traditional and tribal art styles from all over the world, from Aboriginal to Inca to Norse.

Children’s creativity is something to be valued.