Monthly Archives: December 2009


My aim for 2010 is to make better use of all of the collaborative tools and sites that are available, with my class.

The ideas to inspire site gives loads of ideas in which these pieces of software can be used.

I’m going to start these ideas off straight away with the children using wallwisher to create a wall of their achievements of 2009 and their aims for 2010.

Here is the link to wallwisher and here is a link to my class wall so far.

Thanks again to Tom Barrett and the people who have contributed on the ideas to inspire site.

Program similar to Garageband… but for windows.

As part of my planning I was thinking what to do during music sessions. My topic (The Very Important Bear from Learning Unlimited) has a lot of opportunity for using ICT to create mini movies in. I thought using a package similar to garageband would give my children an opportunity to compose music digitally and then use that music for parts of their movie somehow.

I remember being shown a package similar to garageband, but free and for windows machines on the whiteboard blog (link on blogroll). I found it again last night and it’s called myna.

It seems, so far, to offer a lot of what I would like it do and it seems friendly enough for my class to use. I’m going to spend a bit of time having a play and seeing what it can do and what file formats we can save in.


I’ve been using wordle with my class this term for our class assembly.
It is a program which creates word clouds for text entered into the program. You can copy and paste text in, or type text in directly to the program. I find typing into word and then saving the list a better option as the program crashed a couple of times when being used on our school network.

Primary Pete @primarypete_ has created this video tutorial on how to use wordle.

Wordle from Peter Richardson on Vimeo.

I liked the program as I feel it highlights the design element of using IT in class. I like the idea of children selecting carefully their typeface/fonts that they work with for different projects and purposes.

Tom Barrett’s site has this interesting ways to use presentation created on it.

And Ann Carnevale has ideas about how to use it in class also on her blog.

Finally, here are the examples from my class’s blog page of the wordles we created about our favourite foods.

Teachmeet – East Lothian

I’ve just signed up for the teachmeet in East Lothian. The meeting is at the Seabird Centre in North Berwick on 4th Feb from 6.00 until 8.00.

On the website teachmeet describes itself in the following way.

“Learn something new, be amazed, amused and enthused. This is an informal gathering of those curious about teaching and technology. Anyone can share great ideas they’ve trialled in their classrooms, ask important questions or simply sign up to take part in learning conversations. Would be good to see and hear both Primary and Secondary Teachers.”

And it has a video too!


Here is the link to the site You need to scroll down the page to find a teachmeet near you. It looks very exciting and people who’ve attended them before seem to get lots of great ideas from them.

I’m looking forward to it!


Probably like many teachers I’m always on the look out for things for my class to do first thing in the morning. I like to give them something that is accessible to everyone, is stimulating, encourages thought and is fun (no pressure then!).

One of the things I use that goes down well is a thunk. A thunk is a question which often has a yes or no answer but can go as deep as you want to take it with your class. It’s often hard not to get carried away with them. They can also make great ideas for starting RME lessons to encourage reflective thinking.

Here is an example and a poll to answer. Feel free to comment as well!

[polldaddy poll=2423903]

And here is the link to the Thunks site

Have a great Christmas,


The Whiteboard Blog

The whiteboard blog is a blog I’ve been following for about 7 months. It has introduced me to loads of free software to use in class with my children and also posts great videos and images to show on the interactive white board.

It’s creator is Danny Nicholson who is also on twitter @dannynic.

The link for the blog is It’s well worth scrolling through and picking up ideas.

A couple of the favourites my class enjoy working on are flockdraw – a collaborative art program, and quizbusters – a program based on the old favourite TV show Blockbusters

Links for those are and are the links for flockdraw and quizbusters respectively.

Movemeon 2009

Just downloaded a fantastic book. It’s called Movemeon.  I found it had loads of great thoughts and ideas in, and because they’ve been collected from Twitter, they’re all ‘to the point’

To quote the author it’s

“A book with a difference, #movemeon is a collection of 140-character pearls of wisdom from educators using the social networking service, Twitter.

From behaviour management to interaction with colleagues, you will find practical advice and ideas contributed by classroom practitioners!”

It’s free to download from

Maths Maps – Edinburgh

Tom Barrett has come up with a fantastic idea for using google maps to create maths maps. The idea, like many brilliant ones, is simple. You find an area (I did Edinburgh as it’s local, so I know it) and put in place markers in certain areas and attach maths questions to them.  Children can then work through them in and out of school and answer the questions.

Because of the way google maps is shared people all over the world can collaborate with these maps (including children as part of their learning). You can use different coloured markers for different levels of questions. I’m really looking forward to trialling it in school during our maths week.

Here is a link to my maths map.

Here is a link to the maths map area of Tom’s blog.

And finally here is a link to Tom’s blog, which I think is brilliant.



I always try to have active grammar lessons. I dislike grammar ‘by the book’ as this seems to demotivate children and lead to a situation where a grammar point is grasped in the grammar sessions and then instantly forgotten about.  I try hard to have a range of active grammar lessons as this seems to help the children pick up the idea of the lesson and,more importantly, remember it for the rest of their writing lessons.

I find the Grammar for Writing book has lots of great activities in it and this is freely available to download from the DCSF website.

Another published resource I find useful are these books from Scholastic. These are out of print now but can be tracked down from online shops. Don’t be out off by the ‘Photocopiables’ tag, they have lots of active learning ideas in them.

A good literacy website is This has a lot of activities on there, some totally free and some which you have to register for (but are still free). I think there’s a few resources on there you have to pay for too!