19Aug/13Off

Leaving Cert results 2013, A year later – the transformation of The Homework Club to Confidence Club

So it is one year on - our first state exams results since transforming The Homework Club into Confidence Club and I have been asking myself what are the real results? 

In the past I found myself dancing around the real issues with students - as parents and students alike thought they were attending some form of "grind school" we spent more time by stealth in the background getting to the real reasons behind what was going on ... it was often a case of me waiting for an opportunity in the hall to chat casually to a student or waiting for the chance when a parent collected their charge. 

Now it is all a lot more straight forward and upfront - which means less time waiting for the chance to talk about what is really happening. All too often the maths result or other challenge is just a factor in what is really happening in a young persons life. 

This means a year later I can say that we have worked with real people, real problems and in record time. Many of the students I have met have required no more help from me or my team after the initial hour and a half meeting. Their whole lives have improved not just the "maths problem" or the "english essay rows". The time my team have spent in peoples house has been less that we would have needed in the school for greater return. 

All round as what we do is not conventional in anyway it didn't make sense to continue with a conventional school model. I felt often that we had a revolving door as we got results too quickly and now we get them even quicker with a wider spectrum of people. 

Another change for me is that I have often felt that we work with students that everyone else has washed their hands of - now we work with the really outside the box stories that no one has thought of! I truly enjoy the challenge and nothing has ever shocked me. I think there is no way now we can be seen as a simple "grind school". 

I'm looking forward to what this year brings and all the amazing young people I will meet along the way. 

Dr. Naoisé

Expression Developist™

17Jun/12Off

The Homework Club’s journey into Confidence Club

As We re-locate to Dublin City Centre this August it seems a good time to reflect on All that We have created and achieved here at The Homework Club in just over 3 years. 

Our main purpose for re-locating is to have access to many more Students and to focus on what We really love and have developed from Our experience over 3 and a half years. 

I have attached some short video clips that sum up some of what We have achieved and  some of the outstanding feedback We had from the Students We have worked with. As there are 500+ Student feedback comments it’s not possible to include them all.  But I wished to attempt to give You a sense of what We have developed in this short amount of time.

In setting up The Homework Club I always wished to create an environment where We all continued to learn.  The hugely committed Tutors and Students needing support.  I would like to think that Everybody has expanded Their horizons by being part of this experience - including Me.

In just 3 and a half years We have not only helped and supported these Students in Their lives and education - We have taken Our experiences to create 2 more projects to take all of Our dreams in. The Purple Learning Project, www.purplelearning.ie and Confidence Club, www.confidenceclub.ie 

In setting up The Homework Club there have been 2 main differences in Our approach to education.  Firstly, the way We have gone about making education accessible to all of Our Learners.  We have achieved this by using Our own unique learning method - now known as The Purple Learning Project. This is now the outreach element that is allowing us to take Our methods back into all education environments through Our own Workshop experiences.

Secondly, We have always had different objectives and perceptions of what success is for Students.  We have always felt that not only are students always good at something but They should be able to use these talents to be good at everything.  The Confidence Club is about allowing us to step away from the traditional expectations of success in education and allowing all Our students to fulfil Their dreams - no mater how crazy they may seen now.

 

Our first Confidence Club Workshop takes place this August.

 

Confidence Club Workshop August 2012 – Primary to Secondary School Transition.

 

15May/12Off

Puppet Workshop – creating characters with stories

This lesson is created by Sinead Cunningham who is an Arts facilitator.
As a practising Artist she creates an abundance of crafts, paintings and also makes music.
Her Art is ever evolving so to find out more follow her Facebook Page

Puppet Workshop

Puppetry is a great way of creating a story and literally building a character.
Firstly we discuss materials, the main materials being wire, paper and tape.
Then we draw up our puppet and write a short story about our character.
As we are making our puppet we are visualising and discussing the puppets character and the building of his /her story. They might sing, dance, be an astronaut or live on Mars!
To build the story we use the 3'P's: Person, Problem and Place.
These element are the basic ingredients of our story. Our puppet is a blank canvas when constructed and we can decorate according to the story we have created.
Its so much fun we don't even notice we are doing work or writing so much!

I really like this lesson because it appeals to both practical students and kinaesthetic ones - you make a puppet to tell a story and write around the making - a great way to get over the blank page but also there is a personal character for the puppet, a way to have real emotions in a physical way beyond the 2-D story! Dr. Naoisé

 

 

15Mar/12Off

DNA extraction of a kiwi plant in The Homework Club kitchen

Lesson devised by Graham Huges who has taught maths, science, computers and biology at The Homework Club for the last two years.

Graham Hughes is studying a PhD in Bioinformatics at UCD. He is interested in Science, particularly biology and believes with the correct approach, science can be made accessible and enjoyable to all students. Graham also works on computer techniques to make students more motivated to do well in mathematics.

DNA, DNA come out and play...

If you were to zoom in closely on a piece of your skin, you would see it is made up of millions of cells. If you were to zoom in on a cell you would see it is made up of smaller organelles. If you were to zoom in on certain organelles you would see that they contain DNA. DNA stands for DeoxyriboNucleic Acid and is made up of long strands of the letters A,T,G and C. The arrangement of all these letters in your DNA is the ‘recipe’ for you.

All animals and plants have DNA in their cells. By using household materials we managed to extract and view some of the DNA in a kiwi! Even though you cannot even see kiwi cells with the naked eye, with the tricks of the trade, we can gather enough DNA to make it easily visible. All it takes is a little chemistry...

Firstly we need to make an ‘extraction buffer’. This involved putting water in a plastic cup, adding 2 small sachets of salt and putting 2 squirts of hand soap, giving it a good mix. The soap breaks up the fatty kiwi cell membranes and the salt makes the DNA clump together.

23Jan/12Off

Our experience being brought to others outside of The Homework Club

 

A short clip of some of our very valuable findings at The Homework Club

Point of Blog

Our motto is that "we don't do normal". Everyone who comes to The Homework Club is different and is here for a different reason. It's not important if they are dyslexic, have reduced hearing or simply don't "get-it". This Blog is about creative teaching that suits everyone, all of the time! No one needs to be "special". The work is done in groups, so students avoid stigma and don't feel only they need help!

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