Tag Archives: personalisation

Weeknotes – Week 6

Here’s what’s been going on this week.

  • I bought a ukulele. This bad boy is winging its way to me as we speak. It’s a bit of a risk as I haven’t played this model, but Ukulele Hunt highly recommend it and it’s not stocked in any shop in Scotland. Hope it’s as good as it sounds on youtube!!
  • Digital leaders are nearing completion of episode one of our podcast, which will be available to listen to from here.
  • Another of our digital leaders has completed her wiki of useful websites for nursery!
  • I had an attainment meeting with my brilliant HT Fiona discussing my forward plan and attainment within the class. This was great, so much better than being given a feedback sheet about my forward plan and as the meeting was in real time, rather than paper 2.0. If there was anything either of us were unsure of we could discuss it…there and then! Simple, but so effective.
  • Sadly I missed our CPD about probability with John Sexton the staff who were able to attend said it was really good, and I’m looking forward to the next CPD session, and looking at the presentation which went along with John’s CPD.
  • I had a lesson observation this week for which I was really nervous. That too was about probability, and for me the most interesting thing was using a ‘What do we know..?’ type questions in the starter and subsequently changing my groupings ‘on the fly’ as one child answered brilliantly and could clearly do a more challenging task. This ‘what do we know?’ start is one I also used in an IDL lesson on Monday – and helped me to create an independent working group who developed the task further and at a greater pace.
  • I discovered that if your Step-Daughter is involved in a house fire, and the person whose house she is in doesn’t give you any details about the fire, you can request and receive a copy of the fire report from Lothian and Borders Fire Service by e-mailing them. A really efficient service, albeit one I hope you never need to use.
  • I was really pleased with 8 of my children choosing to present their poetry work in a poster/book style this week. At the start of the year, they would all have chosen to use a computer, as I feel it was a bit of a novelty. Now they are viewing ICT as the tool it is in their learning toolbox and are making decisions for themselves on whether it is the tool they want for a particular task! You can see the work, ICT based and paper based here.

I’m on half-term break next week – well I’m off on Monday anyway.

Weeknotes -2013, week 4.

Here’s what’s been going on this week.

  • I attended some training about teaching fractions, decimals and percentages and was introduced to the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy. It was interesting looking at the survey and discussing it’s implications. However, having taught in a top down system for many years, I wonder if there is a case for national expectations for attainment being made more explicit.
  • I also attended lesson two of our Ukulele training. This was great fun again, and I loved playing on the concert Uke – watch out music shops of Edinburgh – it had a wonderful tone. I’m looking forward to beginning the lessons with my class.
  • I’ve been reading a lot of work on the Learning Spy. I’m finding it thought-provoking stuff and it’s fitting in nicely with the work we are doing with the raising attainment group in West Lothian. I tried out the who would lessons from this page and was pleased with the resulting discussions in the class.
  • I have had some good discussions with colleagues about differentiation (maybe on the back of my reading of the above). I feel differentiation is not about groupings in a class,  it’s more about having different expectations of outcomes from different pupils and creating opportunities for more ‘open learning’ and sharing of learning. Children need to be given the chance to experience all the learning available, not have it ‘trimmed down’ to ‘suit their needs’ (whatever that patronising, yet often heard, phrase might mean).
  • I have signed up for a MOOC Elearning and Digital Cultures which begins next week – hopefully time will allow me to complete the course watch this space!
  • Digital leaders have decided to create a podcast, rather than vodcast and have made up some great interview questions to ask the teachers. Hopefully we will launch episode 1 soon!
  • Sadly Frank Keating died this week, adding to CMJ and Tony Greig dying within the last month. Whilst not knowing them personally I know their work intimately and I will miss reading and listening to them.
  • I updated our school resources site to include the SSLN work and also the Ukulele presentations we have been following in our lessons.

20% time

Friday’s this year in my class are going to be different. We are going to have ‘20%’ time.

If you haven’t come across 20% time before, it’s and idea that 3m and google and some other companies use which frees up 20% of the working week for their staff to pursue their own projects and interests. In the company time.

I read a few blog posts about this approach being undertaken in classes and thought it sounded like a great idea and something I wanted to try. Why?

1. I wanted the children in class to have an enjoyable learning experience at least once a week (I’m aiming for more than that, but I hope that ALL the children have one enjoyable learning experience guaranteed using 20%)

2. I want the children to see that their interests are valued and that our classroom is a place they can nurture those interests they already have, not leave them at the school door.

3. I want all the children I teach to develop a love of learning, not for ticks, badges or scores, but for the buzz of learning.

4. I thought if offered the opportunity to develop skills for learning in a context where the children felt safe, happy and stress free. I really want the children to see the learning skills they have, and develop their self-esteem chips (as Richard Gerver calls them) I also thought it gave a good opportunity for separating our the learning skills from the content knowledge.

They were some of the things I thought 20% could offer in my class, and with the support of the SMT, we set off on our first steps this week.
More of that in the next few posts.

 

Learning as an Active Process by Mitchell Norris. 

 

Appshed.

Appshed.

After an amazing 2 days at Naace, I thought I’d share some of the wonderful things we were introduced to in short blog posts. I will also post this to the www.uphallresources.com website for Uphall staff CPD.

Appshed is a web based program which allows you to create web apps on any topic you wish for free. The program is easy to use, once you have registered and logged in. There are a variety of wizards within the package which explain how to add all of the aspect you wish your app to have.

Have a look at the NAACE app in web form or on your mobile device.

Using the wizards and other instructions around the site, it seems easy to produce high quality, accessible apps and these could be created by adults or children – for children their desire to create the app will allow them to persevere and solve any problems that arise for them. This piece of software allows our children to utilise ICT to create their own work, online and make it accessible for all. It fulfils many key aspects of what 3rd Millennium education should be.

When we were being introduced to this piece of software, there was a real buzz around the hall with mutterings of ‘Is this free?’ and ‘How can this be free?’ Well it is free, the company charges for other services (such as creating apps for you and sending them to the apps stores for different devices etc).

The fab @squiggle7 has also written about this piece of kit and you kind find her writing here

Have a look at the site, register and have a play, I think you’ll be glad you did!

IT – What I want to see

Before heading off to #3mhothouse I’d been thinking about what I want IT to be for our pupils in the near future.

I want it to be an enabler. To allow children to create things they couldn’t otherwise, and produce professional quality products.

I want children to be good citizens in life and extend this into their online world. They need to see the benefits of social media/networking and respect both the people and the media. I would love them to be ambassadors for the good things young people can do with social media and battle some of the negativity that some traditional media writes about them.

I want IT to be enjoyable if it is being taught as a discrete lesson. Too many Fridays my step-daughter has come home moaning about how dull IT lessons were at school and then proceeded to spend 4 hours creating, curating and interacting wonderfully on the computer at home.

I don’t want IT to be limited by age or stage. I do not want a scheme of work where 7 year olds change font style, and 8 year olds change font colour. It will show a progression of sorts, but that will not be tied to ages.

I want IT to be chosen by children for a task. Another tool in the learning bag. Alongside this children need to be introduced to the vast range of tools which are available, so they know that you don’t have to use powerpoint for every presentation, nor kidpix for each piece of art. Fine tuning of tool selection will be vital.

As I think of more ideas and try to rough out an ICT framework for school I may add to this piece.

I’d be delighted if you added any ideas of your own.

 

 

TEDxKids@Sunderland

I found out about this event via @ewanmcintosh and @tombarrett on twitter this morning. Rather than me explaining it, I’ve clipped the explanation from the TEDxKids@Sunderland page itself. 
It turns out that TED conferences for kids had begun in 2009 
This seems like such a brilliant idea! I love the talks on the TEDxkidsSLAND site. The children have such an interest in their chosen topics and they talk about such a diverse range of topics. 
It’s set my mind moving, thinking about how we could do something similar in our school. 
Enjoy.


About this event

We began our project by exploring the nature of a great story and, therefore, of a great speech à la TED.
The teachers at Thorney Close Primary School were also introduced to a wide number of the TED talks and encouraged to discover, view and discuss a even more amongst themselves and with their students. Carefully selected examples were then used with the classes and unpicked to reveal the elements of their success – as session starters and finishers, these talks provided a superb, uplifting means of involving everyone in the class.

We would start by watching videos without any audio, then have one of the students (or a small group) provide a live commentary, that is, the speech they think they would give to go with the images – Nathan was first up, but it’s still amazing to see how far he came in this project, from the shy, quiet chap here to the forthright young man we heard two months later at TEDxKidsSland. Finally, we’d let the students listen to the ‘real’ talk, audio and visuals, before discussing what they liked most (two stars) and what they thought could be made better (a wish).

Through team teaching, example lessons, activity and project ideas we began to explore with the children what they would like to talk about. The Year 3 and 4 children were set the challenge of speaking passionately about a topic that is meaningful to them. At this point, our work concentrated on teachers’ questioning skills: if you ask your average eight-year-old what’s meaningful to him or her, the answer will invariably be “football”, “my hamster” or “mum”. Great questioning from the teachers swiftly, and sometimes painfully (!), moved almost all the students beyond these lower order solutions to “Have you ever wondered…?” questions that had most adults in the room pondering the students’ prospective answers with genuine interest.

Our project culminated with the Year 3 and 4 children organising and running the TEDxKids@Sunderland. They were involved in every step of the process from applying for the license, setting up Twitter accounts to phoning around to book the venue.

So on May 27th in a lecture hall in Sunderland sixty 7, 8 and 9 year olds explored topics such as the secret language of animals, why slugs have slime and what family means – and made history in the process by participating in the first ever TEDx event for under 10′s.

 

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