Showing posts from March, 2018

If they're into the craze, use it to engage!

Viral crazes, you either love them or hate them. As a teacher, it is probably the latter. There is nothing worse than trying to explain the past progressive tense and spying a pupil trying to perfect the latest dance craze.   We've had everything - dabbing, bottle flipping, even the Harlem Shake... remember that? The latest seems to be the Floss Dance. My pupils have been doing it so much they seem to have forgotten how to walk, they just floss everywhere. Dentists up and down the country must have been buzzing when they heard there was a floss craze. "FINALLY, people are taking our recommendations seriously" I could hear them cry. Imagine their surprise when they realised it turns out to be an awkward, Dad dancing move. The look on their faces! In the past, with some of the crazes, I have used them to great effect when it comes to writing in class. I truly believe children will do their best writing when they are writing about something they are tru

An Empowering song for Comprehension

Over the weekend, I finally managed to watch the film - The Greatest Showman. One of the songs stood out to me and straight away I thought, this is a must for the classroom. If you have followed my blog, you know I am a fan of using music for reading comprehension and you can read some of my other posts here . The film tells the story of PT Barnum and his circus. "This Is Me" is a fight song for people who are not accepted by society. It is sung by Lettie Lutz after she and the rest of the circus troupe are barred by Barnum from an after party following Jenny Lind's performance. The bearded lady refuses to be cut down by the fact that the showman is embarrassed by them. According to the song's writer, "It was really inspired by the group of oddities in the film, and what they came to represent and what [director] Michael [Gracey] talked about them representing," Pasek told Billboard. "People who had lived in the shadows their whole lives and for

Using GIFs in the classroom

A few years back, I put together an eBook - 15+ ideas for the emoji keyboard in class.  The eBook shared some useful and inspiring ideas for how to utilise the emoji keyboard. I have since blogged about using Bitmoji in class.  This is another great tool that allows teachers to turn themselves into a cartoon and then create images such as these to share with your pupils: I have just seen a blog from Mr Hill who shares some more ideas for Bitmoji, you can read it here. More recently, there has been a new tool that seems to have dominated every social media platform and that is GIFs. To define a GIF: An animated GIF is an image encoded in graphics interchange format (GIF), which contains a number of images or frames in a single file and is described by its own graphic control extension. The frames are presented in a specific order in order to convey animation. An animated GIF can loop endlessly or stop after a few sequences. GIFs seem to be everywhere and for t

Figment AR to Inspire Writing

Today I worked with one of our Year 3 classes and I eventually had the chance to try out a new app I've been desperate to use - Figment AR . I first heard of this app after reading a blog post from the brilliant @ICTEvangelist . You can read his blog post here: Figment AR For Story Telling And Re-Living Field Trips In IOS   The feature in the app which I was immediately drawn to was the portals feature. This allows you to place a portal within your world. This portal allows you to travel to any 360° image. There are a couple of pictures included but you can also add your own. Straight away I knew this would be something that would inspire some amazing writing in my class and today I finally got the chance to have a go with our brilliant Year 3 pupils. But as I always discuss on my CPD and INSET the big hook was what they were going to do with their writing which was to bring it to life and create their own movie! As their topic is linked to space, we deci

Seeing AI - An App That Narrates the World!

One of my favourite new discoveries at BETT was the app Seeing AI. My good friend, Julian Woods ( @Ideas_Factory ) shared this with me and I am really impressed by how accuarate and quick it is. The app is described as a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of AI to open up the visual world and describe nearby people, text and objects. An app which has is considered a talking camera for the blind, it has the potential to support pupils in lots of ways in the classroom. This short little video gives a quick demonstration to how the app works. The app is free and just click the app icon above to download it.

Another Song to Develop Comprehension in Class

I have blogged about the power of music in the classroom and have previously shared a number of songs which can be used in the classroom, especially for reading comprehension. You can read them here.  The song currently at Number 1 in the charts - These Days by Rudimental feat. Macklemore, Jess Glyne and Dan Caplen - is another great song which can be used in class. Here is a link to the music video: Here are the lyrics with some suggested questions: I know you moved onto someone new Hope life is beautiful You were the light for me to find my truth I just wanna say, thank you Who is the rapper speaking about? Are the couple still together? How do you know? No - moved onto someone new. How does he feel towards his old girlfriend? He still likes her - wishes her well Is this always the case when people split up? Open to discussion Do you think he regrets breaking up with her? No, the relationship helped him grow. Why is he thanking her? He recognises that she hel