Showing posts from January, 2013

Uplevelling Point System - Making Children Reflective Writers

After stumbling across the brilliant  @deputymitchell 's   Punctuation points , I felt obliged to share a similar approach I have used with my classes for the past couple of years. After a year or so of using Big Writing, I started to think about the whole writing process . It was advised that the next Big Writing session children should be given time to read back on their work, look at the comments and as a class decide on some “goal scorers.” This is a good way of revising but I felt it wasn't enough, also if it was a whole week or two later, the activity is long forgotten by the children. I am sure if you ask any author they will always say that the revising and editing part of writing is possibly the most important. But how can we teach this and instill a reflective approach in children? Timed writing sessions don’t provide this quality time to reflect on your writing. It led me to make a resource which I have found invaluable ever since. I introduced the Uplevell

Augmented Reality in the Classroom

READ MORE RECENT BLOG POSTS ABOUT AUGMENTED REALITY HERE! Since beginning the iPad journey in our school, I have been dying to use some of the Augmented Reality apps available on the iPad. I didn't want to dive in and use it with no substance I wanted to make sure there was real potential to enhance the learning in the classroom.  For those people who are not familiar with the term "Augmented Reality," here is a web definition: " Augmented reality  (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by  computer-generated   sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or  GPS  data. It is related to a more general concept called  mediated reality , in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality." If that is a little too technical, Augmented Reality is a w

Improving typing skills on the iPad

One of the hardest tasks I have found for the children when using the iPad, is getting used to typing on the iPad keyboard. From working with KS1, I wanted to really encourage the children to improve their typing skills in a fun and engaging way. In KS1, the children put their typing and spelling skills to the test by using two different apps to help them improve their use of a keyboard on the iPad. The children loved the challenge and the game aspect to these apps. We started with the Typing Bee app which is great with younger children as it has different levels of difficulty. You can go against a timer, play with a full keyboard or only highlight the letters that are in the word and focus on where they are on the keyboard. You can also vary the difficulty of the word. We started without a timer for children to get used to the app and then introduced the timer, the children relished the challenge and were completely focused on beating the clock before the timer ran out.       1Y2

Using popular iPad games as a stimulus in the classroom!

From the first moment I walked in the classroom with the class set of iPads, I was mithered by the class to play their favourite games, "Can we play Angry Birds? Can we play Temple Run?" they would plea. A carrot to dangle may have been my first thought. "If you finish your work you can have a go at the end," would be the response of most, but what if these games became part of your lesson??? Needless to say these games are fantastically addictive and great fun. I have to admit, when I first purchased my iPhone 3GS, I had completed Angry Birds within a couple of weeks. Temple Run is still one of the games I regularly play when I have a couple of spare minutes. Most teachers may see these games as a distraction to learning, whereas I see them as an opportunity to harness and enhance learning. I have found that the most engaging lessons I teach are when the children believe they're not working, when they are having fun and the focus is something that interest

Apps that will make practising Grammar and SPAG more enjoyable!

With the introduction to the controversial   SPAG   test, I am currently using some ideas/apps through the use of iPads to help the year 6 prepare for this test.  Whether you agree to whether the test is right or not, the fact is, it is looking very likely children are going to sit it. In my personal opinion, I think if children can demonstrate correct spelling, punctuation and grammar in their writing they clearly know how to use it properly. You can't accidentally spell and punctuate a piece of writing correctly! Either way, SATS preparations will be underway to make sure children are fully prepared to get the best result possible. Using these ideas/apps for Grammar helps the fact that I only have each year 6 class for 40 minutes before swapping over and then finishing with an assembly. Mantle of the Expert SPAG games Year 6 became the teachers this week by making their own SPAG quizzes! Using the Mantle of the Expert approach giving the children the respons

One Second Everyday - A positive reflection tool for you and your class!

A week ago I came across a news article that caught my eye. It featured  Cesar Kuriyama , who  saved up enough money to quit his advertising job at the age of 30, and planned to take a year off to travel and spend time with family. To document the year, Kuriyama filmed one second of video every day. The impact this had changed his outlook on life forever. You can watch the report here . It got me thinking about how I could use this in school. Would it have the same impact on myself as a teacher and my children as it did with Cesar? The way "1 second everyday" works is that you record 1 but no more than 2 seconds each day of absolutely anything, so that when you put the days together you would have a 7/15 second video of a week, a minute video for a half term or a 5 minute video for the school year.  How can it impact on your teaching? Well, as Cesar says "self reflection is never a bad thing," which is always an important message for teachers. Can you go