Posts

Showing posts from 2013

TouchCast - A great teacher tool!

Image
In essence, the app TouchCast is all about making videos interactive.

I first came across this app a few months ago and was impressed by how useful it could be in the classroom. I have been meaning to share this app for some time but with so much going on I have only had chance to share it now.

I would expect some confident upper KS2 children to be able to use this app however I feel it is more suited as a really useful teaching tool to use to set tasks or create interactive tutorials for their class.

There are different interactive elements (vApps) that you can add such as pictures, youtube links, votes, questions, quizzes, maps, twitter and news feeds, polls and websites. The app also allows you to add a title as well as a whiteboard, which lets you annotate all the interactive elements. There is also the option to use greenscreen within your recording.

The only restriction is that you can only record for 5 minutes. At the minute, you are only able to record on your iPad and upload …

A festive treat to say thank you!

2013 has been a remarkable year. Personally, there has been a lot of change and my career has taken a new and exciting turn as I am now working as a part time consultant. I cannot thank everyone enough for all their support with this blog and through my twitter and facebook accounts.
It seems however for our profession of teaching, it has been a tough year and one that has brought a lot of unnecessary stress and negativity for many teachers. It seems a certain education secretary, who shall remain nameless, seems adamant on destroying our education system and in particular the confidence and enthusiasm of many talented and excellent teachers.
My response, the video below which shows my defiance against the negativity. The tradition of making these short Christmas dance videos started as a little treat for some of the children we teach. Since then, it has grown and is looked forward to by plenty of the children and parents we teach. Even though our careers have taken different paths, we …

An interactive Advent Calendar

Image
Today with Year 1 and 2, we created our own digital Advent Calendars!

After discussing the idea behind Advent, I explained to the children that we would be making a digital Advent Calendar and one that everyone can use and enjoy.

We started by discussing what could be behind each door on our calendar. As a class, we decided to share some facts we knew about Christmas. Children were given time to come up with as many facts about everything to do with Christmas. We then listed these on the board.

Using Pic Collage, the children then created a picture with all the numbers needed for the countdown to Christmas.


Once they had created their picture, they saved this to the camera roll.


The children then opened the app, ThingLink, which is a free app and web tool that makes your images interactive. There is so much potential to this app in many areas of the curriculum, and I have used this previously here and here.

From the iPad app, children can add text or videos on top of their image. This c…

Edublogs Nominations 2013

Image
This is the first time I have nominated but here it goes:

Best individual blog - iPad4SchoolsBest group blog - 100 Word Challenge Best new blog - Inspired MindsBest class blog - Davyhulme Year 5Best ed tech / resource sharing blog - ICT MagicBest teacher blog - Learning in HandMost influential blog post of the year - Now that's what I call OutstandingBest individual tweeter - @ICTEvangelist Best twitter hashtag - #ukedchatBest free web tool - DropboxBest educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast - The Literacy ShedBest educational wiki - Primary IdeasBest educational use of a social network - QuadbloggingBest mobile app - Explain EverythingLifetime achievement -  David Mitchell 

MineCraft to Inspire Writing - The beginning...

Image
If you manage time within the endless bombardment of assessments and data to actually talk to the children in your class, they will probably chat non stop about MineCraft.

I have to quote my stepson for the easiest definition of what it is, to which he sarcastically commented, "Well you can mine and you can craft things!" He is borderline obsessed, when I asked him to elaborate further, I was astounded at how rich his enthusiasm and willing to talk about this game.

Personally I don't get it, but I soon realised that I don't need to. As a teacher, I just need to know it will get my class engaged and can be used to inspire writing. After a quick tutorial from my stepson and trawling through some great websites about minecraft in the classroom, I soon realised the unbelievable potential with this game. Some of the best ideas I have come across have come from @thecommonpeople and he has a long list of ways to use minecraft in the classroom on his Youtube channel, includ…

More useful Twitter accounts to use in the Classroom

A few months ago, I wrote an article looking at how certain accounts on twitter are fantastic for providing amazing pictures that can be used to spark creative writing, discussion and other useful activities in class. To read the post - click here.

To make it easier to keep an eye on all these accounts I have created a twitter list which you can subscribe to here - Media in The Classroom.

None of these accounts are ran by teachers or people working within education, so you cannot always guarantee that they will post material appropriate for the classroom, so always find pictures you want to use in your own time without children present in case there are tweets they shouldn't see.

Since writing the original post I have found other twitter accounts that provide some simply spectacular pictures that can be used in so many different ways in the classroom. Here are some examples:

@AbondonedPics

Abandoned playground in Syria pic.twitter.com/h6BHzsXyHw
— Abandoned (@AbandonedPics) August …

How to ensure impact with blogging!

Image
The idea behind children blogging is simple - give them a platform to write for a real audience and this provides a purpose to write. When children have a purpose, it impacts on the quality of writing.

The most difficult part for teachers trying to encourage children to blog, is to create an audience for children to write for. There are a few websites teachers can sign up for an use to really help build an online audience:

100 Word Challenge -  Simply an amazing way to promote and showcase children's writing. Each week a prompt is given which the children need to write a blog post of 100 words about. The post is then linked from your blog to the 100wc.net website where it can be seen by the thousands of schools, teachers and children that visit the site each week. A group of willing volunteers have the busy job of trying to comment on as many posts as possible. As the site now gets around 1000 entries a week they are crying out for people to help comment on children's work. I t…

Beyond the Typical Multiplication App

Image
I am very fond of using different multiplication apps for children to practise their times tables and quick recall of number facts however very few apps allow children to develop their understanding of multiplication beyond this. However a new app, developed by Daydream Education, aims to cover all aspects of multiplication covered in the new curriculum. It covers the ability for children practise their times tables but then extends this by looking at methods for long multiplication, multiplying by multiples of 10 and useful tips.

(Click the picture to see the app.)


Having tested the app with a Year 6 class, I wrote this case study for the app which covers all the great features of the app - CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD:



After the lesson I interviewed some of the class, here are their thoughts:


listen to ‘Daydream multiplication app’ on Audioboo


At a price of £2.49, it is a MUST HAVE for all schools using iPads in the classroom.

SPEED LEARNING - MANCHESTER - Thursday November 21st

Image
If you haven't attended a Teachmeet or Speed learning event, you are really missing out! These free CPD events can be incredibly inspiring and will have you buzzing with new ideas to try in the classroom. After attending a speed learning event at St Silas last year, our school Davyhulme Primary, has decided to host a Manchester event on Thursday 21st November from 4pm - 5.45pm.

What is Speed Learning?
Knowing how precious everyone’s time is, Speed Learning aims to provide an intensive but fun learning opportunity after school. You will leave each event having picked up a series of top tips and short term strategies to support learning as well as one or two longer term ideas and thoughts.
When you arrive you will be warmly greeted by teachers, teaching assistants, heads and leaders – all of whom are part of the Primary Network – the largest school-led national network of primary practitioners. Running from 16.00 – 17.45, you can have a well-earned cup of tea and a few biscuits whilst y…

Writing for a real audience!

Image
This half term I have been working with a year 5 class on a Thursday afternoon. We have been basing our work around the theme from the Film Blackfish about Whales in captivity. In the first week back in September, after discussing the film with the class, the class created an awareness video, which supported the fight to free Orca whales in captivity. Here is the video:

The reaction to video was inspiring, to see some of the feedbackCLICK HERE.
From this reaction, it has provided the class with an audience and therefore a REAL purpose to write. I had to use this opportunity and the platform of the blog to share children's writing about this topic. 
The amount the children have been blogging about this topic has been amazing! The standard and quality of writing is clear to see as children know that their writing is being read by experts and professionals all over the world -You can read some of their work here.
I have seen this in the tasks we have completed in class based on this topi…

Pic Collage - More than just making posters!

Image
It is usually the first app that schools download when they have purchased iPads in the classroom and usually the most used app if schools only use iPads to a limited degree. I visit many schools that are full of posters made on Pic Collage, visually great but have no real impact on learning. As an app to enhance learning it is still one of the best, only if teachers use some of its lesser known features.

Firstly, using Pic Collage to create posters, eye catching topic covers, persuasive leaflets etc is an engaging activity for children but shouldn't become a regular lesson. Instead look at other ways in which Pic Collage can be used as a tool in Literacy and across the curriculum.

Take for example the frame layout option, where you can add frames arranged in different ways almost resembling a comic strip. This could lead to a variety of different tasks in which children can use the app. Children could create a set of instructions using the camera and then labelling each picture …