Tag Archives: Uphall Primary School

Weeknotes 2013 – Week 7

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

 

  • My Ukulele arrived. Whoop. Sounds great even with someone as ham-fisted as me playing it! I also attended the next Uke course. It was a bit meh as we didn’t cover anything new, just recapped the previous songs and chords we have done. Also, I get that not providing a tea or coffee saves cash in the short-term, but would the cost of providing a biscuit and a drink be repaid in the work and attitudes of the people taking part in a course? I’d be interested to see if there’s any research into it.
  • I had my half-term holiday, or a day off as it has reverted to. No-one has explained why the week has become one day again and why six weeks has become seven in the summer, but I’m sure there’s a well reasoned argument behind it. However, what seems to have been well researched and documented is the effects of summer holiday learning loss which suggests that “Two-thirds of the academic achievement gap in reading and language found among high school students has been explained through the learning loss that occurs during the summer months of the primary school years.” and “In general, low-income students lose around 3 months of grade-level equivalency during the summer months. Middle income students lose about 1 month of grade-level equivalency over the summer. Thus, the achievement gap widens, due to out-of-school influences and lack of summer learning opportunities” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_learning_loss
  • On our training day our maths guru Alison Earnshaw shared some more of her excellent work on calculation with us. Again, thought provoking ideas about how children learn (and are taught) number.
  • I developed my use of evernote to assess/evidence a piece of reading from a child. Simple to do, I photographed the page and the child recorded themselves reading it. The next step is to work with the child and discuss the reading and begin to create targets for reading development.
  • Digital leaders have been busy planning an in school minecraft club. It is hugely popular with loads of our children. What impressed me about our Digital leaders was their thoughts on how to make the club more than a ‘free play’ minecraft experience. Hopefully they will blog about it on our DL page.
  • Dannielle has published her nursery resources wiki. I am really pleased with the effort she has put into this in her own time and I hope it proves useful for our nursery staff.
  • I have begun working on the Learning Creative Learning MOOC and as part of this I’ve been looking again at Scratch and how it can be used as a creative tool. Clearly it can, but along with that I feel that some of it’s rigour (i.e. you have to be precise in your scripts, careful where you save it etc…) add to its value as a tool for use in the classroom.
  • As part of the LCL MOOC I also created a google+ group. This was so easy to set up, manage and use. The more I use Google+ the more I like it. It’s been a slow burner but it’s beginning to prove really useful for work ideas, storing photos from my phone with the instant upload feature, and even using Hangouts with my Mum!!
  • Finally, and sadly I completed season 2 of Borgen. Great series, great characters and storylines. Bring on series 3.

Weeknotes – 2013, week 5

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

  • Digital leaders are well underway with their podcast work and are ready to interview children and teachers alike. The P7 children have been trained (Ok, it was more this is the program, have a play…) in using Audacity and are confident using it now.
  • Another of my digital leaders is creating a wiki for our Nursery, which will provide details of a range of suitable websites for the Nursery children to use for different activities.
  • A couple of digital leaders also enjoyed playing about with scratch 2 and loved it!
  • I have worked briefly with our awesome and knowledgeable maths co-ordinator Alison Earnshaw, watching how she is currently assessing in depth our children as part of the Stages of Early Arithmetical Learning (SEAL) project. I thought I’d learned loads about maths from the NNS in England, but I’ve learned loads from Alison. It’s absolutely fascinating and is making me think hard about my teaching and my class’s learning of maths, specifically number.
  • I’ve enjoyed strumming the Ukulele as part of my West Lothian training – I’ve found a site, Ukulele Hunt which has great guidance and tunes on it.
  • I’ve continued thinking about homework and my feelings towards it, I think I’ll be blogging about this soon.
  • Kevin McLaughlin floated the idea via twitter of children creating something like Lifehacker, but about topics relevant and of interest to them. Sounds like an idea which has lots of possibilities in it. Be great if enough of us can find time to get it off the ground, as Kevin suggests, as a collaborative blogging project.
  • I’ve seen tweets, pics, blog posts and videos from BETT13. I’ve been envious of the teachers who have presented with their children, as I would love to take a group of children to That London, and see them presenting. It would be a wonderful experience for them I could easily see that type of experience and opportunity blowing their perceptions of education and of life’s ideas. Any sponsors wishing to make this happen, please contact me – the children have the creativity and the talent, but we’re over 400 miles from London.
  • The Glow2, Glew debate carries on North of the border, I read a fantastic blog post by Jaye Richards-Hill here, and I had some fun commenting on this blog post 
  • I battled with Youtube (not my favourite tool…but I’m working on it) to create a video about multiplication using a grid method for our blog page. I even added some text to the video!

Weeknotes – 2013, week 3.

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

  • I’ve developed the learning log my class are using. It now has four sections – content, skills, how skills could be applied elsewhere and targets. At the moment we are writing our thoughts in these areas, mainly as a whole class, but we will develop this over time. I feel highlighting the areas makes the learning more easily explained by the children, thus allowing them to set more specific targets and develop areas of need and interest.
  • I’ve written most of my forward plan for term 3. Quite a bit of work to do here as we have created a new topic area of Dr Who. I have also added some objectives to the school maths planner in measurement and shape, as part of my forward plan.
  • I’ve been using evernote more. The more I use it the more useful I find it. Photographing ‘notes’ on my phone and evernoting them means I can’t lose them and I can easily find them using the tags I create when required. I wonder how this can develop for moderating work? 🙂
  • I’ve downloaded ‘Mr Reader‘ onto my iPad and use it to read and share content from the totally awesome google reader. As well as using this I use Zite to read a wide range of content based on google reader, twitter and previously ‘liked’ blogs.
  • I’ve begun encouraging children to highlight examples of where they have fulfilled the success criteria with a note in the margin of their work. I can see how this works well in written tasks, but am still struggling over how to develop this in maths and ICT tasks. This is a task I am developing as part of the Raising Attainment Group.
  • I attended the Raising Attainment Group meeting. I’m really enjoying this and finding having a specified amount of time to focus solely on using feedback to raise attainment very useful. It’s also introduced me to the work of John Hattie, whose work Ewan McIntosh mentioned in a few tweets this week. There are great people in the group and I’m picking up loads of great things to raise attainment in class.
  • I added some resources to www.commentsbykids.com and many people expressed an interest in adding examples of great comments to the site via the google form interface.
  • Digital leaders continued to work on podcasting/vodcasting, and our school podcast channel is up on iTunes and ready to receive their work.
  • The digital leaders and I are going to comment on the 5 sentence challenge blog and help raise attainment in writing across the globe.
  • I’ve listened to 6Music’s greatest hits on spotify, read two great articles on Lance and cycling, on the live blog is some brilliant journalism from Matt Seaton and Dr. Hutch and a great farewell interview from Nicole Cooke loved watching Borgen again, enjoyed Silent Witness and despaired at England’s ODI cricket team. I’ve picked up the spin class after a 2 month break due to illness…great to know it’s still so painful, yet enjoyable.

 

Digital Leaders @Uphall

After attending Naace’s amazing 3rd Millennium hothouse event in Crewe over the summer, one of the things I was keen to start at Uphall was creating a digital leaders group. It was the knowledge, enthusiasm and energy of @shellibb @chrismayoh and @lagerama who gave a wonderful presentation at which convinced us to give it a go at Uphall.

For anyone who is unsure of what a digital leader is, have a look at Shelli’s work here

The first step in selecting our Digi Leaders was to announce our intention in assembly and ask the children to apply online for a position. I created a simple presentation and online google form to collect the information, and you can see these below.

Once the children had completed the application, we made time for the HT (@fiona_macphail) and myself to interview them. We drafted 4 questions and shared them with the children the day before their interview. Having Fiona on board was great as it made things very ‘special’ for the children, being interviewed by the HT

The questions we asked were:

If you could show or teach children once piece of ICT software/website/program what would you choose and why?

Someone in a class you are supporting is stuck on their ICT work. What would YOU do to help?

What do you love about using ICT?

Are there any questions you would like to ask us?

Finally I selected a piece of shared writing from my class blog page, and ask the children to write a blog comment about it – this was an unseen task for the children.

We interviewed the children in groups and their answers were amazing.
I have created a tagxedo cloud of what the children said which really impressed Fiona and myself.

Since appointing the successful candidates, we have created a space on Edmodo for us to share ideas between ourselves and created a web space joined as part of the school website.
You can see our website here and see how we develop our digital leaders.

Fiona and myself do not know where the digital leaders @uphall will go, that will be very much up to our leaders. We do know that we have immensely creative, talented and thoughtful children in our group, and that wherever they choose to lead, it will be a great trip for all of us in school!

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. 

 

Summer

I’ve been to 3 really interesting pieces of CPD this summer holiday. GamesBritannia, NAACE 3mhothouse and Edinburgh Interactive 12.
They have all been really enjoyable, all different to each other but they all have underlying themes.

We need to let children be creative with the technologies available to them.

We need to not be worried about the children knowing more about the technologies than we do, they will teach each other and if they are engaged they will find a way to utilise the tools.

Children are learning and using technologies at incredible speed. The days of year by year ICT schemes are rapidly passing. There will be a progression in skills for using ICT, but these progressions will be flexible and will be experience related, not age related.

It will soon be time to start a new school year and I’m incredibly excited by the opportunities me and my class are going to discover and create with. We will be sharing what we create on or school web site and on our creative blog.
It would be great if you found time to leave a comment about what use create when our term begins.

css.php