Showing posts from July, 2015

End of Year fun!

As most schools have finished for the year, it seems to have become a tradition for staff members everywhere to create an amusing and funny video to celebrate the summer and put a smile on the faces of all their pupils. I have a tradition of doing a video at Christmas however last year our staff did this - We decided to do a live performance this year so haven't followed up this year, however, it seems schools up and down the country have created their own end of year video! I have had tweets and facebook messages sharing some of these fantastic efforts and so want to share some here - Firstly,  St Mary Magdelene and their rendition of Uptown Funk with a cameo from none other than myself - A brilliant effort from Haveley Hey Primary School with Taylor Swift's 'Shake it off!' -  Halterworth's version of Reach by S Club 7 -  Have you made one? If you want to share it with me, I will add it in here. I would like to take this opportuni

Goodbye Year 6!

As we end the academic year, we say goodbye to another cohort as they embark on the next part of their journey. I had a chance to work with one Year 6 class last week and so challenged them to use the Lego Story Starter kit to create a scene to represent their favourite memory from school. Here were their efforts - This was the video created for the Year 6 leavers -

Broadcasting the news using Lego

Yesterday, I blogged about using lego to inspire writing, you can read it here.   Today, I wanted to see other ways in which lego can inspire learning. With Year 4, we looked at recreating the news.  We first looked at some child-friendly news websites (newsround and first news) to look at different news stories to use. The children then extracted all the key information from the article and noted it onto a planning sheet. They used the lego to build a scene of the story. Using the Story Visualiser app, which is included as part of the story starter kit, they designed their own newspaper article. Next time, I may well use comic life as there are more options to use and the text is easier to manipulate. Here are some of the children's examples -

Everything is Awesome when Lego is involved!

It has been a long wait but finally I was able to get my hands on the Lego Story Starter Kit last week! This was shown to me well over a year ago when I was talking to  @InspiredMind5 . I am a massive fan of camouflage learning : bringing children's interests into the classroom to inspire writing. You will have seen plenty of ideas on my blog about using Minecraft to inspire writing and the premise is the same with lego - if children can construct a story they will be more inspired to write well about it. The lego story starter kit involves children working in a group of 5 to build and construct scenes for a story, they can then use the visualiser app to create a comic strip or storyboard to help structure and then write the story. The kit comes with a curriculum pack crammed with useful lesson ideas. Last week, I worked with one class and wanted to see how the story starter kit works. As we were limited for time, I challenged the class to choose a story they know well and b

More Pixar in the Classroom - Inside Out for Character Development!

I am a massive fan of using Disney in the classroom and I have previously blogged some ideas  here and here . Anyone who attended my recent conference with John Murray in Dudley would agree that our approach to using Disney in the classroom both inspires and improves children's learning in lots of ways but isn't strictly exclusive to these movies. Read more about the conference here.  One idea we looked into on the day was using the latest Pixar film, Inside Out, to help write more effective characterisation in children's writing. The film, which is due for release later this month, revolves around a group of characters that live inside a girl's head. Each character represents a different emotion. Here is the trailer - Here is how I would use the characters from this film to help children when writing about different characters. Share the following image -  Explain to the class that these are characters from the latest Disney/Pixar film. Discuss

Playworld Superheroes! Fantastic writing stimulus!

Another fantastic app that popped up on Apps Gone Free the other day was Playword Superheroes . As a teacher who has seen first hand how using popular video games can both inspire and engage children to produce quality writing, this app is another great stimulus to use. It is a technique I call camouflage learning and you can read about how I have previously used other iPad games like angry birds and temple run here and, of course, Minecraft . Often the problem is, most popular games aren't appropriate for the classroom. Playworld Superheroes is a fantastic way to inspire writing through a video game appropriate for primary school age children. Here is a quick trailer for the game - The game involves choosing a character and entering a treehouse to reveal a magic box. Children then find different cardboard items around the garden and can design it by colouring and adding attachments to create their own superhero outfit. Once completed, the children instantly tr