Who is December’s Student of the Month?

It’s time to celebrate another student of the month here at Spark Academy. Our holidays mean that our lessons end this week – but that doesn’t mean that our student of the month is any less deserving.

As you know we’ve already nominated two students to celebrate: Neha Patni and Shreya Kumari. You can read all about their nominations by following the links.

 

What should we know about December’s student of the month?

 

This month we are celebrating a student from our Oadby site – for the first time this year! Once again we have chosen this particular student because he (yep, another first for this year!) has been nominated by more than one teacher.

In fact, this particular student had nominations from three different teachers. We have to say we were very impressed by all of the wonderful things everyone had to say.

We’d like to offer a huge congratulations to Adnan Ahmad, December’s Student of the Month!

 

Tell us more about Adnan!

 

Adnan is a Year 10 student at our Oadby site, attending Spark for English, Maths and Science. His nominations all came from English and Maths. Adnan’s Friday night class is in the unique position of being partially shared by both English and both Maths teachers. Therefore, Adnan’s efforts and determination have been noticed by everyone.

Let’s have a look at some of the wonderful reasons the teachers gave for nominating Adnan!

 

Working 1-1 with Adnan, I have seen the huge progress he has been making since he first joined. He uses feedback to improve his work, and remains positive if ever he is unsure of a topic. He continuously strives to improve his work, and tries his hardest every week.

Adnan definitely deserves this award.

Charlotte, English.

  

Adnan always tries really hard in his Maths lessons. If he does not understand anything he always makes sure he asks for help and has a good understanding by the end of the lesson. He is polite to everyone and always says thank you for helping him.

Katherine, Maths.

 

Adnan is always very positive during his lessons. He is always fully focused and ready to learn each week. This shows that he always puts in 100% effort. His work ethic and determination to improve his English work is very admirable, and he has a positive impact on everyone in the class.

Rebecca, English

 

Congratulations Adnan! Keep up the good work!

Teacher Talk: Countdown to Christmas!

In this week’s Teacher Talk we asked the Maths department to give us a taste of some of the fun things they do at Christmas. One fun starter or plenary is playing Countdown – let’s have a look at how they do it.

Onto the Countdown to Christmas!

On behalf of the Maths department at Spark, we’ve decided to give you all some gifts that only a maths teacher can give;

Countdown Puzzles!

 

How do you play Countdown?

 

We give you a target number and 6 numbers to work with… The aim is to make the target number and you can only use each of the 6 numbers once.

At Spark, we always give worked examples in our Maths lessons, so this will be no different!

So for the first puzzle, we have these numbers:

 

 

So we need to use the numbers 100, 25, 1, 7, 10 and 7 to get to the grand total of 510.

 

Have a go yourself and see what answer your get!

 

 

It looks like Chris got the right answer! Hope you did too!

 

Let’s try another one!

 

 

Before you scroll down to see if Chris has figured it out… Can you get to the target number? Comment if you managed it!

 

 

Whoops! Chris was only one away from the final answer! So near, yet so far! Could you get the right number?

Oh dear, it looks like Chris is struggling with this next one. I think we should leave this one to you guys to have a go at yourself! Comment below with your closest answer and method!

 

Happy Christmas everyone, don’t forget to enjoy some pi over the festive season!

Parent Perspectives: Raves in our Reviews

In this week’s Parent Perspectives post, we thought we’d look somewhere a little different than usual. Many parents have been rating and posting reviews for Spark Academy for years – it’s time we celebrated their views!

 

Where can you rate and review?

 

Spark’s Facebook page is a perfect place for anyone looking to give us a rating or write a review. In fact, many parents have been doing just that! You might also know that we recently launched our Spark Forum. This is another amazing place where you can review or leave comments for the Spark team. You can even give us suggestions on how we could make Spark even better.

 

 

So now you know where you can go to rate, review and rave about us…

 

What sort of things have our parents been saying?

 

The first fantastic point we noticed when we looked at our Facebook reviews is that we have an amazing 5 star rating! This rating is averaged out over the years since our first Facebook review, which just goes to show that Spark is providing the same high quality tuition it has since opening.

 

 

Here are some highlights from our favourite reviews. It was tricky to choose from some many wonderful comments from our parents!

 

My boys will be joining this great teaching academy soon in January 2018. They will be working to their school level […] Spark Academy is far better – classroom based and a more professional set up.

P. S.

We strive to provide excellent tuition to support our students in their education, so it is always wonderful to hear that parents can see and appreciate everything we are doing!

 

The support has been priceless […] A designated time to study is key in getting excellent results. I knew I needed a great tutor service and was so pleased when Spark was recommended to me by a friend.

N. W.

Recommendations are another fantastic way so many of our parents review Spark. It’s great to hear that from their perspective, we’re so good they just can’t wait to tell others!

 

It’s clear to see the passion you have to teach and the desire to make every child a winner. I can’t fault anything you guys do. My kids love coming to Spark and they’re making great progress.

B. P.

Our small class sizes are key to our ability to make every child feel successful and vital to our lessons. And we’re always glad to hear our students enjoy coming to Spark!

 

How can you get involved?

 

If you’re a parent and you want to share your perspective on Spark, there are lots of ways to get involved. You can use our Facebook page, our Spark Forum, or you can comment on this post with your reviews!

Teacher Talk: Creativity and Perfecting Poetry

English at Spark Academy is nothing if not varied: from persuasion to poetry, and comprehension to creative writing. You only need to see our previous Teacher Talk posts to see that – you can read all about our work on political speeches and information retrieval by looking back through Spark Ideas. At the moment our Year 6 students are beginning their SATs preparation in earnest. This year is very important for them. This is why we have already started practising their reading and SPaG skills – but we also know there’s more to English than comprehension and grammar!

 

Why poetry?

 

That’s why we like to sprinkle some creativity in with our SATs preparation. Earlier this term, the Year 6 classes at both Oadby and Belgrave spent some time working on poetry. They learnt to create similes and metaphors. The classes also looked at more complex literary techniques: personification and hyperbole are two such techniques. These are all techniques that the students will be identifying and analysing all the way up to their GCSEs.

We looked at lots of different types of poetry, from acrostic poems to traditional poetic forms. Here are some examples of poems our amazing Year 6s wrote themselves!

 

An Acrostic Poem about Ice Cream

 

Ice cream, ice cream

Cookies and cream.

English toffee…

Chocolate chip and

Rocky Road.

Even strawberry or

Almond chocolate… but

Most certainly vanilla!

Ria J.

If anything could make us want to eat ice cream in December, it’s Ria’s clever poem.

 

The Vaccum

 

The vacuum sleeps in a dark store

Waiting to be picked up and roar.

You can give him anything to eat

When you press the button, it looks for meat.

It’s long giraffe neck

Is like a bird ready to peck –

It zooms around really fast

and when seen it looks very vast.

It always listens to me

(Not buzzing like a bumble bee).

It keeps things nice and clean.

He is always mighty and always mean.

R.

Amazing use of personification, similes and metaphors!

 

 

The Sea

 

The calm sea with no people around.

The violent sea when the wind blows all around.

The beautiful sea when the sun comes out.

The sea crashes against the rocks just like

thunder and lightning at night.

The sea is very warm when I jump in,

just like a warm coat on a frosty night.

Today the sea is quiet with no one in sight.

The sun shines on the sea when it’s bright.

Tomorrow we say goodbye to the sea…

For it’s time to catch our flight!

Kayaan V.

What beautiful imagery of the sea, all built up through similes and metaphors!

 

My Monster

 

We didn’t only write poetry in our lessons – some of our students also wanted to perform their poetry. Here is Ayman reading his monster poem on Halloween:

 

 

What do you think of the poems our Year 6s wrote? If you or your children have poems you’d like to share with us, we’d love to read them!

What are Mital’s Top Ten Tips for Success?

Spark Academy’s founder Mital Thanki is obviously very successful. Otherwise Spark wouldn’t be doing so well! Earlier this year, Mital wrote an article for The Eastern Eye about her ‘Top Ten Tips for Success’. We thank the Eastern Eye for letting us use some of her ideas to share with you today!

 

1. Turn Big Dreams into Goals!

 

 

All good businesses start with an idea. Then a lot of thought and planning is needed to turn your big dream into reality. This is only possible when you set goals for yourself and plan on how you are going to get there. By breaking your big dreams into small goals, you can structure your plan and help to form your strategy for the future.

 

2. Turn your Passion into Profession

 

Don’t let money be your only driving factor. Confucius said

 

Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life

 

This is a motto I live by. If you are passionate about your work, you will continue to work at it even through the hard times. Eventually, your drive, passion and enthusiasm will be noticed. It’s people who recognise the importance of loving what you do who achieve the most success.

3. Believe in your Ideas and Go with your Gut

 

It’s essential that you trust your instincts. This is how you will take your business from strength to strength. At Spark Academy, we shout out about all of our successes – big and small! It’s important to me that our parents and students know what our vision is and how close we are to achieving it.

 

4. Be Prepared to Make Sacrifices

 

Owning your own business, yet challenging. Successful people will sacrifice personal and social time to build their business. You might need to be prepared to sacrifice your financial stability, your work-life balance and your comfort. However, you should remember that after a few years your hard work will really start to pay off.

 

5. Learn from Failures and Never Give Up

 

Making mistakes is an important lesson that gives you an opportunity to start again with more experience. Failing is just one step on the road to meeting your challenges head on. Don’t let struggles put you off your goals. Instead, think of it like a learning opportunity – it creates stepping stones on the way to greatness.

 

6. Be the Best in Your Field

 

Dedicate a part of your working time to your own professional development. Take time out to network, study the competition, attend courses and conferences. If you talk about the hot topics in your field, you will enhance your credibility and get yourself noticed. Spark Academy is the proud winner of several local and national awards – this is an indication of how dedicate we are to being the best.

 

7. Look after Your Team

 

Unless you are the only one working in your business, your team is the most important piece of your organisation. Have fun and develop a culture of compassion and love for one another. Celebrate small wins and encourage friendships. This helps to create a positive environment to work and thrive.

 

8. Maintain Discipline

 

Planning your daily tasks is essential when trying to kick-start or grow a venture. You must invest time into this and make it work for you. Know yourself and work when you are most productive. Remain committed to a timetable and maintain your routine.

 

9. Listen to Your Body

 

It’s important to know your signs of burn-out. When you are running on empty, feeling anxious or overwhelmed, remind yourself that you’re human. You’re not a machine! Make sure you get plenty of rest and eat well. Try meditating or keep a hobby to help recharge you after a difficult week.

 

10. Keep Your Vision Alive

 

Your vision is what you will build all of your success around. Take time to write a clear vision statement. Create a vision board filled with pictures, quotes and key words that highlight your ideas. The work you do needs to reflect your vision. You can help yourself achieve this by surrounding yourself by people who contribute to your success. Never lose faith and just keep going!

Who is November’s Student of the Month?

Last month the teachers of Spark Academy decided to celebrate Neha Patni as their first student of the month. You can read all of the reasons why by looking back at her post!

For November, the team got together again to share their nominations. It was then that something very exciting happened… There was a name that came up again and again!

As you know, we teach English and Maths as a package. As teachers, we are aware that not everyone feels confident in both. We know that many students prefer one to the other. We strive to help our students develop a passion for both subjects. Our end goal is that they can excel and participate in both English and Maths. This month’s student of the month does exactly that!

 

Who is Student of the Month for November?

 

This month we celebrate another Belgrave student. She (yes she!) comes to Year 8 classes for English, Maths and Science. Her Science teacher Nic told us that this student’s name also came to her mind when she was thinking about her nominations. To be considered for Science as well just shows you how amazingly she has been performing since joining Spark.

We would like to offer a big congratulations to… Shreya Kumari!

 

So why Shreya?

 

Let’s have a look at some of the lovely things Shreya’s teachers Chris and Charlotte had to say about her and why they nominated her.

Charlotte told us:

 

I nominated Shreya as pupil of the month because of her meticulous hard work and her ongoing effort. Shreya consistently completes all of the tasks in her booklet to an excellent standard. She has superb presentation in her booklets and takes care to ensure her homework is completed every week. Shreya deserves this award as her progress in lessons has grown massively since she first joined, and now every lesson her hands are up and she is ready to learn.

 

Some of Shreya’s wonderfully detailed and beautifully presented work in English.

 

Chris says that:

 

I believe that Shreya deserves to be student of the month because she is always on time, always prepared and eager to learn. She also puts a lot of effort into her presentation, even with her “rough” working out for Maths! One of the things that I have noticed about Shreya, is that her confidence has grown substantially since her first lesson at Spark. She is now willing to talk and help others and can explain to other students how to do Maths problems. This is a totally different Shreya that arrived first at Spark. Even though Shreya has a little voice, she has a big heart along with her personality.

 

Keep it up Shreya – Well Done!

 

The Spark: Christmas, Calendars and Charity

Tuesday is news-day and this week’s edition of The Spark is here to introduce Spark Academy’s charity work.

Christmas, Calendars and Charity

Spark Academy founder Mital Thanki has always hoped that one day she will be able to take the education offered at Spark to children with little or no access to education. Moreover, a charity consciousness is at the heart of Spark Academy. It is unsurprising then that as the Spark team has grown, so has the desire to do more charity work in Leicester.

 

 

Will all of Spark Academy be involved?

 

All of the staff at Spark Academy will be doing their part in charity work over the course of the year. Nicola Hey, Head of Science, has picked up the role of Charity Coordinator. This is because charity work is close to Nic’s heart. This is as she has raised money for various different charities in the past.

 

Nic before a sponsored abseil in Derby.

 

Spark Academy also hopes that their students will get involved as much as possible. It is clear the almost 400 students will be able to make a big difference in their community and beyond. However, the Spark community is not just the staff and students. Nic and the rest of the Spark team look forward to parents joining in too.

 

What charities will Spark Academy be supporting?

 

The Spark team have voted to support Rainbows Hospice over the course of the 2017-2018 academic year. Rainbows cares for children with a limited life expectancy and supports their families at a very difficult time. You can find out more about the work Rainbows do and how to support them by clicking the link above.

 

 

However, Spark Academy will still support other charities and causes wherever possible. If you know of charity events you think the Spark team and community should get involved with, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

Charity at Christmas

 

Spark Academy’s first big charity event is the Christmas jumper week from Monday 11th-Friday 15th December 2017. During this week, staff will be wearing Christmas jumpers or fancy dress all week and are urging students to do the same. This is all to raise money to support Gem 106’s Mission Christmas. You can read more about the charity by visiting their website.

Mission Christmas is to support families in the East Midlands who live in poverty. There are lots of children in the East Midlands who will not have any presents to open on Christmas Day. All of the money raised by Spark Academy during this week will go to Mission Christmas to support these families and to make Christmas brighter for children in poverty. If you would like to take part, we just ask that you bring a small donation with you to your tuition session.

If you would prefer to support Spark’s charity efforts in a different way, we are also collecting donations for a ‘Reverse Advent Calendar’ in aid of the Y. The Y supports homeless teenagers and young people. Necessities like deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrushes make up the ‘Reverse Advent Calendar’. Most people take these items for granted. However, they are a huge help and often a huge cost for young people who are homeless. You can see more information about the Y and the type of donations that can help here.

 

 

Spark Academy will be promoting and supporting these charities throughout December.

Who was November’s Top Sparkie?

 

As you know, at Spark we like to celebrate one member of staff each month for going above and beyond to help the whole team. This month’s Top Sparkie is no different…

 

Why did we vote for this month’s Top Sparkie?

 

Before we reveal who this month’s winner was… Let’s have a look at some of the lovely things the rest of the team had to say.

 

helpful, patient and kind

 

helpful and always cheers everyone up by making us smile

 

This month’s employee of the month is valued for lots of reasons. These reasons aren’t just for the work they do but for the contribution they make to the morale and motivation of the whole Spark team.

 

But who actually won?

 

This month’s winner came from Spark’s admin department. She:

 

truly is the Chief Happiness Officer!

 

and one of the other reasons given for nominated her was for her

 

always being positive and working longer than necessary in the evening

 

This staff member works hard every day to help parents and students with any questions they have. This month has been no exception, even though the admin department has had a lot of changes. Most of you know that this month Spark welcomed Barbara to the team. Our Top Sparkie has worked through

 

lots of admin changes this month and she has worked hard to keep everything running smoothly

 

And the winner is…

 

The Spark team nominated our fantastic admin assistant Nidhi Rana as our Employee of the Month for October! Her continuous devotion to her role and hard work has not gone unnoticed. Nidhi is one of the keystones of Spark, holding lots of pieces in place to keep the whole business running successfully. And she does it all with a smile and a positive attitude!

 

 

Keep up the good work Nidhi!

 

 

Student Spotlight: Fatima Sheikh

Spotlight On…

Now we’re a little ways into our Autumn term, we thought we’d look up a few more of our Alumni. So many of our past students have done so well for themselves that it’s a tough decision to work out who to feature in our Spotlight Posts next!

This week we decided to catch up with Fatima Sheikh to learn all about her journey since leaving Spark…

 

What subjects did you study at Spark?

 

I studied Biology and Chemistry A-level with Spark Academy.

Why did you choose to study here?

 

A close friend highly recommended Spark to me. From studying with her and realising how much she benefited from this tuition, I decided to give it a try.

 

What was your favourite part of studying with us?

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Spark but I think my favourite part was the atmosphere in every lesson. As Mital was always super friendly and supportive, I never felt shy to ask for help when I needed it. I am someone who doesn’t always feel confident, so this helped me immensely. This is because Mital always made sure that every student understood what she taught. She made everyone feel comfortable in the classroom.

 

What are you doing now?

 

With the grace of God, I have been accepted into The University of Leicester to study Medicine.

 

Do you feel like Spark helped you to achieve what you wanted to achieve?

 

Without Spark I don’t think I would have been able to achieve the results I got. The way Mital explained how to tackle difficult questions, and the immense about of practice she made us do, I don’t think I would have been able to understand, or answer the questions as well without her little tips and tricks, especially in Chemistry.

 

What advice would you give students currently at Spark?

 

To all the current Sparkies, keep working hard, you can do this! Remember it’s the effort you put in throughout the year that will help you beyond measure. It will also reduce the stress when it comes to exam time. If you keep going, you can all do this ❤️

To find out more about how Spark can help you, book in for your free trial today!