St Mary’s Learners SPARKLE!
We are restarting using our SPARKLE POWERS which support our children to be the best learners they can be. These powers will help your children to problem solve, to be resilient, to be able to ignore distractions, to be able to work as part of a team and to challenge themselves to push their learning forwards.
All our pupils are wonderful but we have noticed that our children do not always look ready to learn. By this we mean that sometimes as lessons start the children take their time to be fully engaged. They rely on others to get their equipment ready for them or perhaps start them off in their work. We have noticed that children are careless with their property and can leave our communal areas untidy. Sometimes we find that the children are hesitant to try to solve their own problems for example many children ask us to open their bananas or peel their own tangerine for them – when we ask them “Have you tried?” – they say “No!”
This may not sound like a big deal but the children that learn best are the children who are prepared to try for themselves. They are the children who are careful, inquisitive and ready to learn (i.e. have the right equipment and the right attitude). They are also the children who are willing to solve their own problems (i.e. having several goes at something before seeking help from an adult).
The Sparkle Powers work to help children to build their own special powers, powers that will give them strong skills that will act as a foundation to underpin a lifetime of excellent learning.
At the moment the children are working on developing their Diamond Power – this power is all about being responsible, being able to identify a problem, persevering to solve a problem and not relying on adults to solve every problem.
Every time a child does something for themselves they make some Diamond Power. This shows in their brain and helps their brain to get even better at solving problems. The more problems they solve for themselves the better they get at it!
We have used cartoon pictures of children’s brains to show the pupils the difference between a child who doesn’t solve a lot of problems and a child who does.
We have set the children the challenge of looking and being ready for work in each lesson. We are also encouraging them to open their own crisp packets, look for their own property, take time to think a problem out before asking an adult and they have risen to the challenge.
Each classroom has two jars; one of the jars is full of diamonds (not real ones!). At the moment the full jar belongs to the adults of the room, they solve the problems so they have all the Diamond Power Sparkle. Every time a child is seen using their Diamond Power a diamond is transferred from the adult jar to the pupil jar.
The pupils are working hard and we have told them that if by our finish date in December each class has transferred all the sparkle from the adult jar to the pupil one we will let them have a non-uniform day in January with longer playtimes on that day.
You can help us with this initiative at home. Let your child get dressed themselves, make their own bed, fasten their coat themselves. Even the younger children can be asked to have a go at it rather than just having an adult take over straight away. It will also help if you ask them about Diamond Power and keep this initiative in mind.
We have a display board in the school hall where we will put more information. It shows the children examples of being ‘ready’ learners.
Keep looking back here too, once we have gained our Diamond Power Sparkle we will be moving on to other Gem Powers! Below you will find explanations of all the powers we try to develop at St Mary’s. Used together these attributes make is into fully-rounded individuals who are able to learn for ourselves and optimise all our experiences.
Emerald Power gives us certain feelings.
When you run, move or if you are challenged a lot you make adrenaline. This energises your body and sends food and oxygen all over your body to make it work better. This helps you think better and make better memories.
When you are ‘challenged’ and you feel ‘butterflies’ in your tummy, it’s the Emerald Power that makes you feel like that. Once you get used to that feeling you can learn to control it rather than the Emerald Power controlling you!
When you are stressed you make lots of adrenaline and another chemical called cortisol, which switches off your thinking and too much can damage your brain. This is when you lose control of your Emerald Power.
When you have acquired full Emerald Power you will show fantastic ‘bouncebackability’ – this is how well you can bounce back after an upsetting event.
For example, a person with low Emerald Power may sulk after they lose a game of chess. A person with full Emerald Power would lose the game and think, “Oh well, never mind, you win some you lose some. I’ll try my skills again in another game of chess”.
People who don’t have bouncbackability can get angry if things go wrong. They may make a mistake and feel embarrassed and because their bouncbackability is low they shout, scream and lash out rather than staying calm and realising everyone makes mistakes, you can move on from it. In actual fact making mistakes helps us to learn.
Remember the zones of learning? Emerald Power helps us in that Challenge zone. Learning there is tricky and we will make mistakes but, by using our Emerald Power, we will bounce back from those mistakes and move on.
Very often people talk about a ‘monster’ in their mind that keeps reminding them of all the bad things in their life and learning. Emerald Power will help you to control this ‘monster’. The monster tells lies and exaggerates and works to make you unhappy. With Emerald Power you can turn the ‘monster’ off and learn to ignore it.
With Emerald Power you will be able to take a risk with your learning because you won’t be worried about getting it wrong because you will know to remain calm and be able to remain calm. With Emerald Power your ‘bouncebackability’ will grow and after making a mistake you will be ready and able to try again.
Emerald Power will help you to cope with the feelings of disappointment and the feelings of excitement, the ‘monster’ in your brain will be tame and quiet.
If others around you laugh at you or challenge your mistakes you will have enough Emerald Power to remain calm and ignore them.
Eventually your Emerald Power will help you to love challenges, in fact you may even seek them out. You will get excited about the mistakes you make because you will be able to cope with them and you will know that those mistakes are helping you to be a better learner.
This is the gem that gives us focus. By using our sapphire power we are able to ignore irrelevant things that may go on around us, we call these our ‘Monster Distractors’. When we use Sapphire Power we are able to remain focussed and stay on task.
So what does sapphire power look like?
It might be:
- someone is talking in class but we ignore them and get on with our work
- I have homework to do and I do this first before I go and play
- our parents have asked us to do a chore, we do it before we play on our ipad
- I like to tap a pencil during lessons but I know it is annoying to others, I use my Sapphire Power to try and stop tapping
Ruby power is what you make every time you choose to think of something positive about another person. If you also turn these positive thoughts into positive words you make even more ruby power. AND if you turn the words into positive actions you make more ruby power again!
So what does ruby power look like?
It might be:
- You giving someone praise – saying ‘Well Done!’, applauding someone etc.
- You being gracious when someone praises you.
- You smiling at people and telling them what you liked.
- You showing good listening to others. This will show in you as you will be silent, using your eyes to look at the person who is speaking, using your ears to listen and smiling at them to make them feel valued.
- You spotting when someone needs help and offering that help.
- You having a good understanding of what others are feeling. Helping others when they feel sad, embarrassed, disappointed, angry etc.
- You doing random acts of kindness – be lovely to someone for no reason – this makes masses of ruby power!
- You enjoying being lovely to everyone.