Showing posts from February, 2016

When learning is real, learning matters!

For me, learning should always be memorable. To do this, teachers should try to provide a real purpose behind everything the children are learning about in class. On my training, I try to show how technology can provide that purpose which can enrich learning and make it memorable. When recently working with Jon Chippendall (@DrChips_) we were discussing how computational thinking can be applied in other areas of the curriculum and I went away with some amazing ideas. 
With Year 3, we were using the brilliant app Motion Math Pizza to apply our maths knowledge in a real world context.

Seeing how engaged the children were with this app, I wanted to look at using it in English. I posed the question - if we were to open our own Pizzeria, what would be the most cost-effective way to get people to visit our shop? We had a few suggestions - posters, TV adverts etc, all of which cost money. One child suggested creating a webpage, so using the iPad the children created their own websites for t…

Guided Reading through Music - Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

Music is such an incredibly powerful tool in the classroom. I have previously blogged plenty of ideas about using music in the classroom. A few months ago, along with John Murray, I blogged about using the song 'Wasn't Expecting That' by Jamie Lawson as a stimulus in class. You can read it here. Another song in the charts currently that could be used in the same way is the remake of Fast Car, originally performed by Tracey Chapman. A song that has an interesting story to discuss. Here is the original -

Here is the version currently in the charts by Jonas Blue Feat Dakota

Here are the lyrics and some questions to consider -
You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Any place is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we'll make something
Me myself I got nothing to prove

Who do you think the singer is speaking to?Is the singer happy? How do you know?What do you think the deal is?Why do you think they repea…

Google Apps for Education - The beginning of our journey!

I always say Technology should do two things for teachers - save them time and money. The way we have implemented iPads, social media and blogging in our school has definitely achieved this. The problem is that we are using a whole range of apps and tools -
Blogging - PrimaryBloggerPlanning - EvernoteSaving/Sharing work on iPads- DropboxSaving documents on laptops - School ServerSchool Email - Outlook 365 To name but a few. Ideally, we want a system that can cover most if not all of these elements making it easy and straight forwards for teachers... step forward - Google Apps for Education. We have been very fortunate to work alongside Mark Allen (@edintheclouds) who is supporting us in our journey with Google Apps for Edu. Having first-hand experience in deploying Google Apps for Edu in a number of schools worldwide has helped us create a vision and plan rolling it out successfully. 
Firstly, we have started by focussing on the teachers. We are still in the very early stages, however,…

More Emotional Literacy... The Present

With all the work I do with John Murray, we really try to promote this idea of Emotional Literacy. Using stories and texts that help children empathise and understand different feelings and emotions. This video is another great example to discuss in class, thanks to Gill for sharing...

The Present from Jacob Frey on Vimeo.
Questions to consider -

Watch the first 20 seconds.

How old is the boy?What time of day is it?What is his hobby? What type of video game is he playing? How do you know?Why do you think he is playing a war game?How are we shown he is engaged in the game? Wide eyes, dark room. Pause at 30 seconds. Which character has now entered?How do we know she is his Mum? Greets with 'Hey Sweetie!'Why doesn't the boy greet his Mum? Pause at 50 seconds. What impression do we get about Mum? Why do you think she is so busy?What do you think the present is? Why has the boy stopped playing the game? Pause at 1 minute. Why has the Mum got the boy a dog?What is the boy's initi…

Independent Writing - Some Thoughts

So today saw the STA release exemplification materials for 2016 KS1 and KS2 Writing Teacher Assessments. If you haven't yet had a look, click the following pictures -

I think the one thing a lot of teachers will be wondering is what does an independent write look like?

Here is some info from Herts for Learning -

A couple of points that caught my eye -
•The writing that children produce and that moderators will look at should be part of their normal classroom practice.  Writing ‘tests’ and ‘cold tasks’ are not the best writing to use to assess writing as children will not produce their best work in these situations.  Children working like ‘real writers’ is best practice – children’s writing that is produced at the end of a unit of work may be used as children may be using wo…

More adventures with Barnaby Bear!

My children are currently in reception, each week one member of the class has to look after the class teddy, Barnaby, for the weekend. They document the weekend in a book with pictures and information about their adventures. What I want to make sure happens is that the child is involved in this process as much as possible, rather than me as a parent doing it all! When Harry brought the bear home earlier this year, we used a couple of apps to enhance what was in the book -

You can read more about what we did by clicking this link. 

This week, Charlie brought the bear home, again I wanted him involved as much as possible in filling the book up and so he created a video of all the pictures from the weekend along with a video of Barnaby talking through his adventures! Charlie loved it! We used Chatterkids and iMovie. He was so proud of what he created and can't wait to show his teacher and class mates! Although my wife still filled in the book, using technology gave Charlie the opportu…

Using Technology to Bring Handa's Surprise to Life!

Year 1's topic this half term has been Fruitastic! I have previously blogged some ideas linked to the science aspect of this topic, which you can read here. I loved the interactive fruit bowl image they made using funny movie maker and Thinglink -

As with most of our topics, we try to find as many links to stories and books that we then explore in English! The book linked with Fruitastic is Handa's Surprise. Over the past few weeks, I have been exploring how technology can help enrich the children's learning and deepen their understanding of the story.
The first task after reading the story was to create a movie of the book. So in groups of 8-10 the children were taken to our media suite and had to plan and perform the story. It was a great way to see what they could remember of the story but also how well they could work together to record a film. As the teacher, I became an observer and let the children discuss how, who and what will happen. I was amazed at their enthus…

Improving Reading and Writing Through Popular Children's Movies and Media - Gateshead, 25th January 2016

Thank you to everyone who came to the course in Gateshead. John and I had a great day sharing ideas and strategies to improve reading and writing through a 'textcentric' approach in the classroom. We want to say a massive thank you to every teacher who attended, we hope you all found it useful and thanks so much for the wonderful feedback!

I want to say a special thank you to Animate2Educate and @eLearning_Laura for all their help spreading the word with the course! I will be back in the North East in April leading the 'Developing Writing in the Modern Classroom' conference with Alan Peat. I am also very excited about returning for this year's Animate2Educate conference and presenting alongside some amazing teachers! I am also leading a training day for the North Tyneside trust in June so please follow the links for more information.

34 Evaluations

33 Rated the Content as Excellent
33 Rated the Delivery of the Speakers as Excellent
1 Rated the Content as Good
1 Rated …

Raising Standards in Writing Using Technology - Norwich - Wednesday 27th January 2016

Thank you to everyone who came to my course last week in Norwich - Raising Standards in Writing Using Technology. I had a great time sharing ideas and strategies to engage, inspire and enhance learning in the classroom. I hope you all found it useful and I am so grateful for all the wonderful feedback!

17 Evaluations

17 Rated the Content as Excellent
17 Rated the Delivery of the Speaker as Excellent


Thank you - most inspiring training I have ever been on by far! :)Great day - probably the best inset and use of my CPD time I've ever had! :)A fantastic course. Most useful course I have been on! Thank you :)Very inspiring, creative and imaginative. Full of ideas, which I look forward to trying.So much information, lots of ideas and resources to take back to school to share and inspire others.Found today really inspiring!!A really enjoyable day, so many ideas to take back to school from someone that doesnt use ICT enough. Loved it, many thanks for a great day :)Enthusiastic and in…