Subscribe for free May 2014 Issue 5
Keeping up with Training and CPD in the 21st century
10 Outdoor Activities to try with your class
Greening the cityâ€”A school grows a garden in the concrete jungle
Embedding Blogging into your teaching and learning
Issue 5: May 2014 Pedagogy & Skills
Discussion & Guides
15 Keeping Up My CPD
4 Outdoor Learning in the City
Andy Knill asks how teachers keep up in the 21st century
Christchurch Primary School show us that you can appreciate nature everywhere.
20 Any Teacherâ€”Any Outdoor Place
8 The Top 100 UK Destinations for School Trips
Ten fun and educational ideas to try outside the classroom.
The results of our UKEdChat poll.
28 Getting Animated about Education
12 Exploring Canals and Rivers
Tina Watson shares her experience with using animation in her teaching.
Celebrating the Waterways as a superb teaching and learning resource.
31 Learning Outside at Historical Sites
17 To Blog or Not to Blog
Tina Watson shares her experience with using animation in her teaching.
Catherine Steel examines the benefits and barriers to blogging in the classroom.
26 Virtual Educational Geocaching
14 Reading Corner
Fredrik Alstorp and David Carpenter guide us through Geocaching and the Xnote app.
Georgeâ€™s Secret Key to the Universe
31 Daniel Owens
16 Educational Events
Daniel Owens explains why we should embrace our inner earthworm and love mud.
22 Pedagogy in Pictures Ideas from Paul Wright & Tina Watson
24 StickMen without Arms
ChristChurch Primary @Christchurchsw9 Andy Knill @aknill Canal & River Trust @CanalRiverTrust Catherine Steel @TaffTykeC Juliet Robertson @CreativeSTAR Paul Wright @pw2tweets Tina Watson @tinawatsonteach David Moody @teacherbubble Fredrik Alstorp @alstorp @xnoteapp David Carpenter @dizzleeducation Lisa Williamson Daniel Owens @BritishMudWeek
Great teaching ideas from StickMen without arms by David Moody
34 Bookshelf The Best Job in the World The publishers accepts no responsibility for any claims made in any advertisement appearing in this publication. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, the publishers accept no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies or omissions. Many images have been source under a Commercial Creative Commons License. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0 Cover Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rain0975/7230056252 by rain0975 used under Commercial Creative Commons License
From the Editor Spring is in the air and the school field looks very inviting. This month the magazine has a outdoor learning theme and we have a host of ideas for you to take learning outside the classroom. Christchurch CofE Primary School share their inspiring story of greening their school in inner London and providing a unique learning opportunity for the children. You can see the results of our Top UK School Trip poll on page 8 and we explore the nationâ€™s waterways with advice and ideas from the Canal and River Trust. Andy Knill asks how 21st century educators keep up with all the professional development opportunities out there on page 15. Catherine Steel discusses the impact blogging has made on her classroom and offers advice for teachers who still have reservations.
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Juliet Robertson takes us back outside and shares her top ten educational activities that any teacher can try outside. Fredrik Alstorp & David Carpenter share their love of geocaching and an app which has made it even more fun and educational. Tina Watson shares her expertise on using animation as a teaching and learning tool and how it could help your class. Lisa Williamson of Birmingham Museums Trust explores how educators can use historical locations, not just in history, but across the curriculum.
Finally, Daniel Owens discusses ideas for the upcoming Mud Week and why it is so much more than dirt. Now letâ€™s hope for some nice weather! Martin Burrett Editor @ICTmagic @UKedmag firstname.lastname@example.org
Outdoor Learning in the City By Kate Fisher
Christ Church Primary in the heart of inner-city London is a haven for outdoor learning which gives its pupils the opportunity to develop academic and social skills whilst embracing the natural world. The one-form entry school in Brixton is fortunate to have a variety of outdoor learning spaces; from a wooded wilderness area, a roof garden with a pizza oven built by the children, a mud kitchen, vegetable garden, orchard and green house. All these resources provide an environment for our children to broaden their learning horizons and enhance the school’s curriculum. Having so many children who come to us with various challenges, and a staff team who are passionate about outdoor learning, we began embedding the outdoors into our curriculum. Being a school located within the city, we have a strong belief that our children should be given the opportunity to experience the natural world ▼ Looking after and learning about the wildlife and natural surroundings within the city.
outside. The Forest School learning environment provides many learning opportunities for children, as well as being accessible to all. The setting allows children to engage with the natural environment; it nurtures self-esteem, team building, confidence and an ability to form positive relationships with others. It also allows the children to take risks within a safe environment. The Natural Thinkers curriculum was based upon providing schools and nurseries with a toolkit of activities that schools can implement in their own settings. It was devised with the aim that children from reception through to year 6 are given stimulating, engaging activities, linked with the curriculum, that are thought provoking and aim to link ideas with the changing seasons. Jules Rogers, who leads the Natural Thinkers learning at Christ Church, coordinates and manages the activities within our school. In order to become a natural thinkers setting, we have embedded ‘10 commitments to becoming a natural thinkers setting’, so that the children are provided with access to natural areas, plant and grow, tend to a garden, care for the environment, engage with weather and the seasons, as well as with wildlife, and be given access to the outside, with no child being excluded. This also provides a strong link to the new curriculum, which embeds gardening within the school day.
The benefits of our outdoor learning in Christ Church have exceeded our expectations. It has enabled many of our children to overcome various barriers towards school and learning. They have gained a new found confidence that has become visible in all other learning, and they have gained a fresh and positive outlook on their lives, as well as with the interaction they have with others. It has been truly inspiring to see how this has transferred not only to their learning within the classroom, but also to their attitude overall. There still exists an attitude from some that ‘real’ learning can only occur in the classroom, and our challenge has therefore been to push the boundaries of this perception and change such beliefs. Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/seeks2dream/472321882 by seeks2dream under Commercial Creative Commons License. https://www.flickr.com/photos/4x4jeepchick/331194595 by 4x4jeepchick under Commercial Creative Commons License. All other images have been provided by Christ Church Primary School
▼ Learning outside whatever the weather—Pupils at Christ Church Primary School working together to create a wonderful space for everyone.
â–˛ The children of Christ Church Primary School discussing and sharing gardening tips
At Christ Church we hold speed learning events for parents, educational professionals and the local community, in which we show how we do what we do, through demonstration and critical discussions. We have demonstrated the engagement and accomplishments of our children through outdoor learning, and continue to encourage our local community to embrace this pedagogy. It is our firm belief that outdoor learning is an integral key to ensuring that our children have the necessary self-esteem and confidence to achieve their full potential and become responsible members of society.
Kate Fisher is a Year 5 teacher at Christ Church CofE Primary School in South London. Visit their website at http://christchurchschool.cc & on Twitter @Christchurchsw9
â–ź Take maths outside and use in real life situations? Yes peas!
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The Top 100 UK Destinations for School Trips As voted for by the UKEdChat Community One hundred educational places to visit, including old favourites and newly discovered gems from every corner of the UK..
The Top Five
Paultons Park, Hampshire http://paultonspark.co.uk/education
(In alphabetical order)
Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh http://www.edinburghzoo.org.uk
Sutton Hoo, Suffolk http://nationaltrust.org.uk/sutton-hoo
Natural History Museum, London http://www.nhm.ac.uk
Ufton Court Educational Trust, Berks http://uftoncourt.co.uk
@Ufton_Court Top 100 Trips supported by
â—„ Click here to activate the map Nominations are now open for your favourite book about teaching, CPD and/or pedagogy. Which books have inspired you to be a better teacher?
Click here to nominate Get some ideas by reading our book reviews at http://ukedchat.com/category/book Top 100 Trips supported by
(In alphabetical order)
Anglesey Sea Zoo, Anglesey http://www.angleseyseazoo.co.uk BBC Tour, Salford http://bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/tours/salford.shtml
Beamish Museum, County Durham http://www.beamish.org.uk Big Pit National Coal Museum, Torfaen https://www.museumwales.ac.uk/bigpit Blackpool Zoo, Blackpool http://www.blackpoolzoo.org.uk/ Blencathra Field Centre, Cumbria http://field-studies-council.org/centres/blencathra.aspx
British Museum, London https://www.britishmuseum.org/ Cadbury World, Birmingham https://www.cadburyworld.co.uk/ Caerphilly Castle, South Wales http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/caerphilly-castle List continues on following page
Cambridge Museum of Technology, Cambridge http://www.museumoftechnology.com/
Imperial War Museum - Duxford, Cambridgeshire http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford
Canterbury Cathedral, Kent http://www.canterbury-cathedral.org
Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Cheshire http://www.jodrellbank.net/
Carreg Adventure, Swansea http://www.carregadventure.co.uk
JORVIK Viking Centre, York http://jorvik-viking-centre.co.uk/
Carrickfergus Castle, Antrim http://discovernorthernireland.com/CarrickfergusCastle-Carrickfergus-P2814
Kew Gardens, London http://www.kew.org/
Cheddar Gorge, Somerset https://www.cheddargorge.co.uk/ Chester Cathedral, Cheshire http://www.chestercathedral.com/ Chester Zoo, Chester http://www.chesterzoo.org/ Chiltern Open Air Museum, Buckinghamshire http://www.coam.org.uk
King Arthurs Labyrinth, Powys http://www.kingarthurslabyrinth.co.uk Kingswood Outdoor Edu & Adventure Centres, Kent http://kingswood.co.uk/centres/grosvenor-hall Knowsley Safari Park, Merseyside http://knowsleysafariexperience.co.uk Leeds Castle, Kent http://www.leeds-castle.com/home Legoland Windsor, Berkshire http://www.legoland.co.uk/
Colchester Castle, Essex http://www.cimuseums.org.uk/article/10837/ Colchester-Castle-Museum
London Science Museum, London http://sciencemuseum.org.uk/
Colchester Zoo, Essex http://www.colchester-zoo.com/
London Zoo, London http://www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo
Congleton Museum - WW2 Evacuee Experience, Congleton, Stoke-On-Trent http://www.congletonmuseum.co.uk/education/
Longleat Safari & Adventure Park, Wiltshire http://longleat.co.uk
Dan yr Ogof National Showcaves of Wales, Powys http://www.showcaves.co.uk/ Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh http://www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk/
Manchester Airport Runway Visitor Park http://manchesterairport.co.uk/manweb.nsf/ Content/runwayvisitorpark
Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire http://www.elycathedral.org/
Marsh Farm - Animal Adventure Park, Essex http://www.marshfarm.co.uk/
Fairplay House, Essex http://www.fairplayhouse.org
Museum of Childhood, London http://www.museumofchildhood.org.uk/
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/
National Museam of Scotland, Edinburgh http://www.nms.ac.uk/our_museums/ national_museum.aspx
Giant's Causeway, Antrim http://nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway/ Glasgow Science Centre, Glasgow http://www.glasgowsciencecentre.org/ Hampton Court Palace, Surrey http://www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace/ HMS Belfast, London http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/hms-belfast
Lowther Castle, Cumbria http://www.lowthercastle.org/
National Museum Cardiff, South Wales https://www.museumwales.ac.uk/cardiff/ National Portrait Gallery, London http://www.npg.org.uk/ National Space Centre, Leicester http://www.spacecentre.co.uk
HMS Victory, Hampshire http://www.hms-victory.com
Norwich Castle, Norfolk http://museums.norfolk.gov.uk/Visit_Us/ Norwich_Castle/index.htm
Imperial War Museum, London http://www.iwm.org.uk/
Nottingham Castle, Nottingham http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/Castle
Orielton Field Centre, Pembroke http://field-studies-council.org/centres/orielton.aspx
The Cutty Sark, London http://www.rmg.co.uk/cuttysark
Palace of Westminster, London http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/
The Eden Project, Cornwall http://www.edenproject.com
Roald Dahl Story Centre, Buckinghamshire http://www.roalddahl.com/museum
The Mary Rose, Hampshire http://www.maryrose.org/
Rockley Watersports, Dorset http://www.rockleywatersports.com/
The National Gallery, London http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/
Roman Baths, Somerset http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/
The Navan Centre, Co Armagh http://www.armagh.co.uk/navan-centre-fort/
Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon https://www.museumwales.ac.uk/roman/
The Tower of London, London http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/
Royal Air Force Museum London, London http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london/
The Wellcome Collection, London http://www.wellcomecollection.org/
Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London http://www.rmg.co.uk/royal-observatory Sea Life Adventure Aquarium, Essex http://www.sealifeadventure.co.uk/main.php Sea Life London Aquarium, London http://www.visitsealife.com/london/ Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Cambridge http://www.sedgwickmuseum.org/ Shakespeare's Globe, London http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/ Slapton Ley Field Centre, Devon http://www.field-studies-council.org/centres/ slapton/slaptonley.aspx South Lakes Safari Zoo, Cumbria http://southlakessafarizoo.com/ South London Botanical Institute, London http://www.slbi.org.uk/ South Penquite Farm, Cornwall http://www.southpenquite.co.uk/ St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff https://www.museumwales.ac.uk/stfagans/ Stirling Castle, Stirling http://www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk/ Stonehenge, Wiltshire https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/ properties/stonehenge/
Tilbury Fort, Essex http://english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/ tilbury-fort/ Titanic Belfast, Belfast http://www.titanicbelfast.com/ Tring Natural History Museum, Hertfordshire http://nhm.ac.uk/tring Victoria and Albert Museum, London http://www.vam.ac.uk/ Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studios Tour, Herts http://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/ Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, Chichester http://www.wealddown.co.uk Welsh Wildlife Centre, Pembrokeshire http://www.welshwildlife.org/ Westminster Abbey, London http://www.westminster-abbey.org/ Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire http://www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo Whitemoor Lakes, Staffordshire http://www.acuk.net/whitemoor-lakes Whitlingham Outdoor Education Centre, Norwich http://www.whitlinghamoec.co.uk Warwick Castle, Warwick http://www.warwick-castle.com/
Tate Britain, London http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-britain
Windsor Castle, Berkshire http://royalcollection.org.uk/visit/windsorcastle
Techniquest, Cardiff Bay http://www.techniquest.org
Woburn Safari Park, Bedfordshire http://www.woburnsafari.co.uk/
Bring Learning to Life with Resources from By Helen Evans The Canal & River Trust is the charity entrusted with the care of the inland waterway network in England and Wales. It is also the guardian of our waterway heritage through its group of Museums & Attractions. The Canal & River Trust’s education programme Canal & River Explorers delivers educational activities for schools and groups across the country. Our mission is to inspire as many people as possible to connect with our waterways. Each canal and river is unique and offers powerful ways in which to engage your pupils and bring learning to life. ▼ There are a range of resources to download from the Canal & River Explorers site
There are over 2000 miles of navigable waterways in the UK, so the chances are that many of your schools will be located close to a canal or river. We believe that the canal environment offers multiple opportunities for enhancing the curriculum; such as investigating habitats, identifying and classifying plants and animals, geography fieldwork skills, local history, personal safety, design and technology of bridges and tunnels… the list goes on. We want to encourage all teachers to take advantage of this incredible free educational resource that for many of you is on your doorstep. In order to help you do so, this article will signpost you to simple, practical, curriculum linked resources for planning and delivering engaging learning activities on your local towpath. Planning a Visit For many, planning a visit to the local canal is a daunting prospect. The risk assessment alone can seem endless. But before panic sets in, you can simply go to our website at http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/explorers. There is a ‘teachers’ section where you will find a section on visit planning, which tells you all you need to know about staying safe and includes an example risk assessment to download. You can even book a free water safety session, delivered by one of our team, prior to your visit. The website is awash with a range of resources and activity ideas, including topic packs, lesson plans and activity sheets. These resources have been written and developed by teachers and education specialists. They are regularly reviewed and updated to bring
them in line with curriculum changes and we are adding more all the time. Our most recently added resource, in response to the new history curriculum, is all about using the canals to study local history. Visits led by our Education Team For those of you who may not feel confident in planning your own towpath visit, or feel that you need support with the content of learning activities, you can book a led visit to your local canal for free or to one of the museums & attractions for a small charge. The education teams are made up of volunteers, trained by our Education Coordinators after a rigorous recruitment and background checking process. They
receive training in safeguarding, working with children and water safety as well as training in delivering our activities. As all the locations are so unique, the activities offered will vary. For further details and contact information for the Education Coordinator in your area, please refer to our education leaflet or email us at email@example.com Go Explore! I will leave you with a few practical hints and tips for getting out and exploring the fascinating world of canals. I hope you will be inspired to immerse your classes in the â€™real lifeâ€™ learning experiences they can gain from the canal environment.
Practical Hints & Tips 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Before you visit, book a water safety session or order our water safety booklets for your class. Use the visit planning document on the Explorers website. Book a led visit with one of our education teams. Take advantage of our online resources to enhance your visit or to use in the classroom. Get out there and have fun!
Image Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Linville_River-27527.jpg by Ken Thomas under Commercial Creative Commons License. All other images were supplied by the Canal & River Trust
Reading Corner George’s Secret Key to the Universe Audience: 8-12 years old Author: Lucy and Stephen Hawking
Review by Martin Burrett
Bringing the wonders of the universe to the children I teach has always been a favourite topic of mine. Sharing a glimmer of the immensity and incomprehensible complexity of the universe beyond the protective cocoon of the Earth’s biosphere has always excited me making for lively primary science lessons. Adult fiction is awash with tales of distant galaxies and futuristic adventures, but the science-fiction genre can be hit and miss for children’s literature but it can be difficult to find class texts for ‘spacey’ topics. I stumbled upon George’s Secret Key to the Universe last year ▲ Click the image above to view this while teaching Year Five and the class loved it. The story follows book on Amazon. a young boy on an adventure of discover beyond the Earth, much to the distain of his science-sceptic parents who have always tried to keep George away from the harms that they have seen science brings. But a mishap with a pig (yes, you did read that correctly) would change all that bringing George face to screen with the self-proclaimed ‘most advanced computer in the world’ and on an adventure he could not have dreamt of. The book, written by Lucy and Stephen Hawking, is evident that the accuracy on the science contained in the book was key to the writing process. The book contains wondrous images of the deep regions of our galaxy exploring the planets and other objects in the Solar System. While George’s new found scientist friend does lapse into sizeable explanatory monologues on occasion these are infrequent and most of the science is woven naturally into the story. With the help of the computer, George and his friends travel through a window out into the cold expanses of space exploring the solar system, riding on comets and even travelling into a black hole. Yet there is trouble ahead. George’s teacher is an evil scientist who wants to steal the computer for his own despicable ends with the help of the local school bullies. Only George, with the help of his new friends plus his knowledge of space and quick thinking will save the day ensuring a safe future for the whole of humanity – perhaps winning a school science fair in the process. For a teacher, this book does all the hard work for you as it is a superb hybrid of fiction and nonfiction. The fact files are great as a dip-in resource and the story is gripping. On Amazon George’s Secret Key to the Universe is priced at £5.03* for the paperback and £3.59* for the Kindle version. The book is also available in a large print class reader for £101.03*. *Correct at the time of publishing.
My CPD By Andy Knill CPD, Continuing Professional Development – there are so many models for this essential aspect of our job. Over the years I have attended courses arranged by LEAs, in school provision, attended commercial courses, exam board meetings and now I do more personally sourced development through the use of online contacts, resources and chats. This Easter I attended the annual conference of The Geographical Association, my subject association that helps me to access subject specific training. I found it difficult to adjust at first as most events I attend now are cross curricular pedagogy focus. How do others keep their subject knowledge up to date? I find that I converse with other geographers more online as the opportunities to meet are more limited than previously. If I want extra information about exam changes, the boards offer courses. I access a range of news and geography resources online, but as always, time and information overload is an issue. So what is out there and how do school practices of in-house CPD vary? If you are an online educator (Being aware of UKEdMag and UKEdChat you fall into this category) you are one of a minority as identified at a recent Pedagoo London event. We are the “geeks”, the odd ones! Or so I have been often told. How do we encourage more teachers to share their practice? I have been actively involved with Twitter as a networking tool now for about 3 very busy years. I chat truly globally with teachers from many countries from many time zones. I find this has brought my creativeness to life after years of trying to find a way of managing external links. I openly extol Twitter’s potential to others, but know that it is never likely to be taken up whole scale by many fellow educators.
So, if people are unwilling to link online, where else can they access free CPD? We now have a growing calendar of events through Teachmeets, and other pedagogy events such as TLT13, Pedagoo, Northern Rocks 2014. (See UKEdChat’s events list) These are truly events for educators to share, but they require a time commitment in evenings or weekends. I would propose that many attendees are also online networkers. So attracting new people to these networks continues to be a challenge. Some schools model these events through their internal inhouse training and there are growing numbers of Twitter accounts and blogs that share the ideas discussed and resources made available for others to use or comment on. This piece offers no solutions, but questions a major need for educators – how should CPD models reflect an increasingly online networked world if we are to pass on these skills to our pupils? Please feedback via Twitter and #UKEdChat or even face to face. Is this a topic that is open to challenge in your school? Does it need to be?
Andy Knill is a Secondary Geography teacher in Essex. You can find him on Twitter @aknill and @globalsolo. He blogs at mishmashlearning.wordpress.com
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iPad Integration for Advanced Users
23-26th May 2014 - Starts 10am Cliffe House Shepley (near Huddersfield)
15th May 2014 St Mary’s RC High School Astley, Manchester
Calderdale CAS Hub – TeachMeet
Red House TeachMeet
4th June 2014 at 4:30pm Heath Training and Development Centre Halifax
15th May at 5:00pm Red House School Norton, Teesside
19th June 2014 at 6:00pm The Badger Brewery Blandford St. Mary, Dorset
28th June 2014 at 11am St. Luke’s Science and Sport College Exeter
25th June 2014 at 6pm Burnt Mill Academy Harlow, Essex
22nd September 2014 Ormiston Horizon Academy Stoke-on-Trent
Observing Teaching to Develop Practice
iPad & the New Primary Computing Curriculum
10th June 2014 at 10pm London
6th June 2014 St Catherine's House Doncaster
The One to Watch TeachMeet Havering Tues 1st July at 5pm Click here to get more information Twitter hashtag: #TMHavering Image Credit: Logo supplied by @iTeachRE
To Blog or Not to Blog
Posted by Catherine Steel May 2014 A few years ago I didn't know what a blog was, let alone run one for my class and have my own personal blog too. Since starting work at my current school four years ago, the thought of not using the blog is unthinkable, but this is not the case for all educators. The Power of Blogging I am aware of teachers who don't know what a blog is, have never posted anything or have rarely used one. Could it be that they think it involves coding and that therefore puts them off? Is it the fact that they don't see the point as no one will read it anyway? Maybe they think that the children in their class are too young to understand and use a blog and so it won't be used? Whatever the reason, and I can only speak from personal experience, blogging has opened up a whole wealth of opportunities for me as an educator and for the children in class. Many schools have a blog site for children, parents and, of course, Ofsted to view, but the quality of blogs varies widely. Why Bother Then? Speaking from experience, I use the blog as a way to publish and celebrate children's work. I have found that if the children think that there is an audience they become excited to produce quality work for publication. This isn't always a piece of writing or a number sentence. Sometimes it's a slideshow about what they have been learning, a comment asking a question about the topic or a video. The whole concept of blogging for an audience is something that is at the heart of David Mitchell's Quadblogging. This connects four schools who take turns to comment on each other's blog sites, but the principle is still the same whether it be two or one hundred schools collaborating online! It's all about the blog being used for purpose. Children can blog within their own year group, to other classes or even across sites depending on the school set up. I was fortunate enough to work with Philip Webb recently, a literacy consultant in Bradford, who commented on a study that suggested that the reason boys typically find writing difficult is because 'it hurts'. For some children, boys in particular, typing comments on the blog about their learning encourages them to write. Not only does it remove the physical aspect of holding a pen or pencil, but it is electronic, which my boys enjoy.
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About Me Catherine Steel is currently a Y1 teacher at Bowling Park Primary School in Bradford Click the links below to see Catherine’s blog and Twitter feed
Image Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/macbookpro-keyboard-apple-inc-338619/ by robinams under Commercial Creative Commons License. http://pixabay.com/en/bloggingblogger-office-business-336375/ by Unsplash under Commercial Creative Commons License.
▲ Teachers decide to start blogging for a myriad of reasons—What’s yours?
Philip also commented on how important the right stimulus is. Giving children real experiences so they have something to write about. Having visited an aquarium in Hull the day before as part of our deep sea topic, the children took charge of the iPads, photographed the sea creatures and took notes. Back at school, we selected which photos to upload onto our blog through careful discussion. Part of our daily routine is to have Blog Buddies who take turns to help create things for the blog. Using Slide.ly, we composed the photos and wrote captions. With a mixture of Eastern European, White British and Pakistani children in my class, the blog encourages the class to communicate in English and collaborate on making sure that it's fun to use and looks good. This year, I let my Y1 children take control of the content and subsequent feedback of the year one blog page. By giving them ownership, I have seen an increase in the number of comments and the quality of the sentence writing. As a class, we created a page called 'Sentence Corner' whereby they can write about absolutely anything from Iron Man and Disney Princesses to their visit to the shops with their brother. Since starting this in January, the page has over one hundred comments from children either in school time or at home.
Your Mum Says, "You're Not Allowed..." Despite training the children on how to blog and constantly encouraging them to use it, I still come up against issues around parental engagement. Children may not be allowed to go onto the blog for various reasons, including time, Internet access or, quite frankly, a lack of understanding from parents and carers about how to use it. Some parents may not even know it exists! At the start of the year, I gave all parents a paper copy of the link to the school blog and verbally explained that the blog provides an additional platform for learning as it is used to post homework, ideas linked to the topic and links to educational games. It all stems back to the idea of parents being the main educators in their child's life and a blog can help provide ideas about how to help at home. I now find that lots of parents love viewing their child's work online and read the newsletters there too, but it has taken discussion with them over a period of time to arrive at this level of interactivity and engagement. This, in addition to constant promotion and use of the blog with the children in class, means that blogging has become embedded into daily practice. Is it Safe? There will always be concerns around e-safety, which is understandable and right to be a priority. However, as long as schools have permission for children's images to be used, it needn't be a problem. Discussion with the children in class and at assembly time are also key to educating them about staying safe online. Sites such as 'CEOP', 'Think U Know' and 'KidSmart' all provide useful information on this issue. Let’s Get Blogging Hopefully, this article has provided some useful insight into reasons to blog and squashed any niggling doubts as to why you shouldn't blog. So, in the (slightly adapted) words from a well known play, 'to blog or not to blog? That is the question!'
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Any Teacher—Any Outdoor Place Ten Top Activities To Try By Juliet Robertson What makes learning outside different to being indoors? If you ask this question to children, many of them will refer to the sense of freedom and availability of more space. For me, I learned several years ago, to view empty tarmac spaces and featureless playing fields as full of potential and possibility. The mindset shift happened at a specific moment in time. I was watching a TV programme where two Aboriginal women were being interviewed. The presenter asked them what they saw in the patch of “wasteland” bush where the interview was taking place. The two women looked at each other and laughed. They told the presenter “You may see waste ground. We see one big free supermarket.” When developing a creative curriculum, being anywhere outside is a natural place to begin. This article has a selection of activities which can work in any space. I find it helpful to consider outdoor learning as any learning which takes places outside. Rather than get hung up about what is and isn’t “outdoor learning” focus on the quality of the lesson and whether being outside is the best context for the specific lesson or focus. Furthermore, try not to treat outdoor learning as a subject. Instead, integrate it into your current timetable. 1) Circle games – PSHE These are any games you know and love from inside. With little children it may be ones like “Duck, duck, goose.” Older children can enjoy more complex team games. Circle games help children to acclimatise to being outside and to remember that behaviour expectations are the same as indoors. So a structured game with clear rules helps.
2) Find Something Interesting - Literacy This challenge is very open ended. I use it to help set working boundaries in an outdoor space and to establish what is okay to collect and what isn’t. It is advisable to have a size limit, e.g. no bigger than your hand; that no live animals to be brought back or dangerous items like broken glass. Weeds are usually alright to pick. The beautiful flowers grown in a container should be left alone. Once children have found their item, they can write a poem in a structured format about it at the working level of your class. 3) Finding a space to be – critical thinking and problem solving Challenge children to find a place outside which is as far away as possible from others in the class within a restricted area. This takes some thinking about! They will need to decide what tools can be used to measure the spaces between children. Initially, children want to go to the perimeter of a space. Is this the most effective approach? Are grid patterns more effective? Once children have established a system, then they can find a place to be outside that is away from others for working alone on tasks. 4) Mathematical pictures Working alone or in pairs the children have to create pictures which demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of key concepts. For example, you may have a list of shapes to be included and features such as right, acute, obtuse, straight and reflex angles highlighted. Have bags of cones, shells, sticks and stones available for children to use, if you have a blank outdoor space. This is a useful assessment activity.
5) Circuit training - PE Encourage your class to develop a set of circuits which can be undertaken outside. As much as possible, use features of the school grounds rather than bringing oodles of PE equipment outside. For example, do series of step-ups on steps, look for walls which can be used for pushoffs, playground markings for creative approaches to star jumps. This can kickstart the introduction of Parkour. 6) Love your school grounds – geography and citizenship Before going outside, ask your children to create and decorate two hearts, one large and one small. Attach a piece of ribbon or string to each heart. In your school grounds, ask each child to place the large heart in the place they like the most. Ask them to record or capture their thoughts about this place in some way. This could be completed digitally through the use of audio boo, Fotobabble or other app. Or it could be by writing their thoughts on luggage tags or a piece of card. Next, ask children to put their little heart in a place which requires a little more love. This may be a tiny place or a bigger area. The children should capture their thoughts about how to make this space a little better. What can they personally do? 7) One-metre micro hikes – geography/literacy Each child is given a 1m piece of string. Outside the children have to decide where best to place their string to create an interesting adventure for a tiny person. A puddle can become a huge lake to cross; a stone is a cliff face. This works particularly well if your class have one-metre strips of paper to record the travels of their tiny person as the mapping becomes life-sized. You can use this exercise to revise key landscape features and map symbols. Image Credit: All images provided by Martin Burrett
8) Hold an outdoor assembly – Religious Education With the summer term upon us, outdoor assemblies are a lovely way to undertake an act of worship which can be more interactive than indoors. Keep the hymns simple and stick to wellknown ones. Focus on an outdoor theme such as stones and their significance in religion so that environmental features can be directly linked to and used as part of the programme. Create a class prayer linked to the theme. 9) Investigate shadows - Science As an interdisciplinary project shadows have a lot of potential in any outdoor space. Have a look at the ideas and links in my Shadow Play blog post and use the Photo Booth app to capture shadows in alternative ways using the X-ray and thermal choices. In terms of science, it is possible to map the sun’s movement throughout the day and use this to identify the direction of the compass. An interesting investigation also arises at the time when the length of one’s shadow matches your body height. Is this true for everyone in the class at the same time? If so, then is it possible to accurately measure the height of very tall features such as trees or lampposts on the basis of their shadow length? 10) Chalk art – Art & Design The visual elements all work well outside. Each child can create a one-metre square. Inside their square, they draw nine straight lines which must intersect or meet two other lines. Next, what is the minimum number of colours each child can use in their work to colour in the square whilst ensuring that no two adjacent spaces contain the same colour? Have a look at a political map as an illustration to see how this is done.
Juliet Robertson is an education consultant who specialises in outdoor learning and play. For another 500+ ideas, advice and activities, visit her blog, I’m a Teacher, Get Me OUTSIDE Here! Her book, Dirty Teaching: a Beginner’s Guide to Learning Outdoors, can be pre-ordered from most online bookshops and should be available from June 2014. Follow her on Twitter @CreativeSTAR
Pedagogy in Pictures â–ş Being a teacher who also happens to be a very visual learner (I'm Dyslexic) I've always made notes in lectures, meetings and events that people described as 'doodles'. But this form of note taking is now becoming increasingly popular under the term SketchNoting, famous Sketchnotes in education would be evident in the RSA animation of Sir Ken Robinson TED Talk. I've been asked to do something similar with our in school training sessions, recording a visual record of the event for teachers to reference later. They have proved very popular and useful to people. We all doodle to some degree, once you read up on how to turn this into an effective form of note taking you can really create some creative notes for the widest range of subjects. For more info on my Sketchnoting and to download Sketchnotes on topics such as; engaging boys, AFL and Working with the distracted head over to my site and follow me on twitter. Happy note taking.... @pw2tweets http://tips4teaching.co.uk
â—„ I have yet to find a child who does not love Lego, so I was inspired to use it for 'tactile learning' with my tutees. I wrote words out and stuck them onto the bricks with clear sellotape. The pupils then 'build' their own sentences. I started off using high frequency words to encourage reading and sight recognition and then added in bricks with punctuation. From here, they 'build' up sentences. It's such a simple idea but it works really well. This activity can be easily differentiated by using more complex vocabulary. I have also created individual phonic bricks so pupils can build up sounds and individual words. At the moment I have been using this activity with infant primary children, but I can see the potential for using it with juniors (could be used to make SPAG work more fun) or even secondary. We are never too old for Lego are we? @tinawatsonteach http://tinawatsonteach.blogspot.co.uk
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Virtual Geocaching with Xnote By Fredrik Alstorp Geocaching has slowly become a staple of outdoor education in recent years and it is a modern take on a treasure hunt. Geocachers use GPS-enabled devices to find real physical caches— objects, tokens or clues—hidden around the landscape. Xnote can be described as a virtual take on geocaching. It's a tool that allows students go on simple scavenger hunts outdoors and use their smartphones to look for virtual messages hidden by their teachers. Xnote is well suited for creating engaging outdoor lectures since the hidden messages can contain practical assignments at each location. These activities can be created quickly from anywhere in a way similar to sending text messages. While this is a great way to use tech to excite students and provide structure to outdoor lectures in authentic situations out of the classroom, it is only by empowering teachers to create their own pedagogical content that the true educational value is reached. Knowledge becomes meaningful and easier to remember when multiple senses are involved and learning is enhanced through the interplay between physical experience, social interaction and personal reflection. When creating assignments to hide with Xnote is is important to leave room for creativity, collaboration and reflection while involving features specific to the place of learning.
Students do not need an app to search for messages, they just follow a link in the web browser of their smartphone. Examples of tasks that can be hidden: • How can you use your length and your shadow to calculate the height of the water tower in front of you? • What factors affect the flow of water in the stream? Create a practical experiment to illustrate the formula Speed = Distance / Time. Document your experiment with a video clip. • Take five pictures from the stream and it's surroundings and capture the following words: strength, beauty, action, history and decay. What does the stream sound like in winter? Outdoor experiences can inspire passion and an adventurous approach to learning and help our children to develop a healthy and confident relation to nature. When using Xnote, students also get to practice navigation and learn about geography and mapping skills while having great fun.
Click the phone to play a demo online ► 26
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/seriykotik/4574296093 by seriykotik under Commercial Creative Commons License. All other images have been provided by Fredrik Alstorp
Real Life Example Inger Fuchs at West Ramlösa School in Sweden is heading a research project together with the National Centre for Outdoor Education and Linköping University investigating how technology in smartphones and tablets can help us learn at different locations: "We have created multiple Xnote tours with themes ranging from health and the human body to history and local public art and the kids just love it. I highly recommend this type of outdoor education where the place of learning is moved out into the natural scene. There are so many possibilities..."
Using Xnote in School David Carpenter, an Economics Teacher in south London, shares his thoughts about Xnote: Xnote is effectively a 'treasure hunt' app, bringing geocaching into the 21st century by making use of the GPS built into most smartphones and the excellent satellite imagery of Google Maps. However, what attracted me to it's educational potential was the option to create a location based multiple-choice quiz. So, I set to work and typed up seven questions with three possible answers which would form the quiz aspect of my challenge for the students. I then considered what would be suitable locations around school to use as my 'buried treasure' sites. Then, it was time to copy & paste my quiz questions into Xnote. The instructions linked to within the app were very clear and explained to me exactly what I needed to do, and it was easy to use the map. I had 16 students doing this challenge all at the same time, so I decided to make four different routes around school that all used the same questions and the same locations, but ‘found’ in a different order. I wanted to make sure the students couldn't simply copy other teams. Each quiz finished back at my
classroom and the app then automatically sent each teams' results to me in an email. I told the class to get into four groups, making sure someone in each group had a smartphone with GPS and internet access to act as their leader. These 'leaders' were then sent an email to start them off on one of the four routes I'd planned around school, and off they went. Very little instruction was needed from me thanks to the simplicity of the Xnote email and website instructions. I was delighted to see total success - with every group completing their route around school, all four emails being successfully received by me upon each groups' completion of the activity, and 16 very enthusiastic students. A chocolate prize was awarded to the first group back, and all groups scored full marks on my multiple-choice questions— hopefully showing that they really had been doing revision over the Easter holidays. Finally, I would certainly recommend having a go with this app—as a multiple-choice quiz it could be used for any subject in school, or there is potential for the other aspects to be useful for Geography classes or orienteering activities. All in all, there's loads of exciting, fun options with this app- and I'd definitely recommend giving it a go.
Lights, Camera, Animate! By Tina Watson Having taught Media Studies & Film Studies in the FE sector for over ten years, I am well versed in teaching students how to analyse moving images and the practical skills associated with making their own moving image products. Now that I work increasingly with primary pupils, I was keen to find ways of introducing moving images into my teaching and learning. When I taught BTEC and A level students, we had whole terms to spend filming and editing, but now I needed to find something quick and easy that could be incorporated into a single lesson. Being an EdTech enthusiast I naturally turned to the Apps store. I dabbled with stop motion, but found it very time consuming and was unconvinced that my pupils were learning a great deal. Luckily, I found Toontastic, an amazing animation App that has since become one of my most used Apps for educational use. Toontastic allows pupils to select characters and settings to animate. They then add their own voice recordings and choose music to add. The format of the app means that pupils are guided through the correct stages of writing a story, following the story arc. Here is how I have integrated Toontastic into my teaching practice. Literacy: I have used the App in a number of ways for literacy work. Pupils have created their own animated versions of traditional tales and fairytales. The app has a great bank of readymade settings and characters suitable for this, or pupils can draw their own or import images from the camera roll. For reluctant writers, this is a great way of engaging them in telling a story. The tactile process of creating the animation on a tablet keeps pupils engaged and I have found that reluctant writers are more motivated to write up their story if they have created the animated version first.
It is easy to fall into the trap of viewing the use of the tablet and apps in the classroom as the ‘add on fun bit’ at the end of the lesson once the ‘proper’ work has been completed; and we tend to think that we must get children to write the story first. However, I have often found that creating the animation first works equally well, if not better. A child instinctively wants to ‘do’ or ‘say’ their story, so why not let them do this first and then write it up? By using this App I have integrated Pie Corbett’s Talk4Writing principles into my literacy work, allowing pupils to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing and then writing their own version. With the increased use of EdTech tools in schools, we should ensure that we utilise these applications to enable us to apply such educational principles. Alternatively, you can ask pupils to plan and write the story first before moving on to Toontastic to bring it to life. Another way I have used it is to work with a pupil’s pre written story and then ask them to ‘fit’ their story into the story arc structure—the printable storyboards provided on the website are useful for this. Working like this can help improve a pupil’s written structure as they realize that their writing needs amending to fit into the correct part of the story arc. I tend to change the way I use the App according to the individual pupil and the writing objective. Analysing the ‘mise en scene’ (what is in the scene) is a key part of media and film studies and was a fundamental part of the courses I taught to Post-16 students. I have also found it useful to apply these analysis skills to literacy work with primary and younger secondary pupils when creating animations. Asking pupils to analyse the movement, speech, costume, lighting and sound within the animation is a great way to develop their skills of inference and deduction (skills which can then be transferred to analysis of
â–˛ Finding the right resource can be like finding piratesâ€™ gold
written texts). I have used Toontastic to create animations of a character simply walking into a setting and saying something. Each time they are dressed differently, their speech intonation is different and the music is different. I then ask pupils to analyse the mise-en-scene and discuss how different meanings can be created through these changes. From here, I provide a short written extract from a text where meaning is inferred rather than explicit, and ask the pupil to create an animation from it. Their choice of setting, costume, speech and music allows me to assess their interpretation of the text. This approach worked well with a Yr. 9 pupil I was tutoring for English. We were looking at an extract from Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens and she was struggling to understand the more challenging language in the extract. I asked her to create an animation version of the written extract, which allowed me to clearly see what elements she had interpreted correctly, and those she had not understood. She had selected appropriately gloomy music and the figure expression of her characters indicated that she
had correctly interpreted their feelings from the written piece. I then read out the extract and recorded it over her animation. From here we were able to work on deciphering the words and phrases she did not understand, and she then changed the animation to illustrate her understanding. By the end of the task, she was confident enough to re-record the voice over herself and had a much better understanding of the inferences in the text. I would envisage this activity working well with small, mixed ability groups in a larger class setting.
Numeracy: I like the novelty factor of using animation for maths and it is an ideal format for placing maths problems into real life scenarios. Mathematical storybooks already exist (Spaghetti and Meatballs is a favourite of mine), so you could get your class to create an animated version of one of these. The first maths animation I worked on was a scenario where I was a mum with two sons; one wanted to go to LEGOLAND for the day and the other wanted to go to Chessington World of Adventures. I started the animation by providing the details of the discount offers that the two theme parks had. The pupils then had to continue the animation by figuring out which was the best deal. Their working out is shown within the animation and they orally explained and recorded their methods too. They then created a scene to show which deal was the best and which theme park they ended up at! Great fun. You can upload and share your animations via Toontastic’s ‘ToonTube’ platform. All videos get emailed to the teacher for approval before posting, so you don’t have to worry about your pupils uploading inappropriate content. You could get your class to share their maths animations with others around the world; or you could set up a maths challenge whereby you
challenge another school to solve the maths problem posed within your animation. If you are based in London or Kent and are interested in having me come into your school to run a pupil animation workshop or train your staff, please contact me.
Tina Watson has taught in Further Education as a lecturer in Media Studies & Film Studies for 10 years. She is now a freelance educator for primary/secondary children and runs ED Tech workshops (Ipad based) and teacher training for primary schools. She also writes for Pearson & Edexcel. Find her on Twitter at @tinawatsonteach
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dgbury/5695679595 by David Burillo under Commercial Creative Commons License. All other images have been provided by Tina Watson
Learning Outside the Classroom in Historic Settings By Lisa Williamson Children learn in unique ways that differ from one child to the next. Where one child may flourish with reading, another may prefer drawing. There could be a child who would happily listen to their teacher talk for hours, but someone else may get distracted at the slightest sound. It can be difficult to cater to all of the specific learning styles for an entire class at once because learning does not come down to a single ability. Learning in historic settings is a way of enhancing curriculum topics in settings outside of the classroom, which brings subjects to life, offers sensory and varied experiences and most importantly appeals to children of all abilities and learning styles. In 2006 the Government launched the ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ manifesto, which aims to encourage those working with young people, aged between 0 to 19 years old, to create engaging and exciting experiences away from the archetypal, confined space of the school classroom. The manifesto states a belief that, “Every young person should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstances”.* The manifesto was launched at the British Museum in London, opened by the, then, Education Secretary David Blunkett. He praised the education work executed in museums, saying it helps pupils to better develop their understanding of subjects, bringing the curriculum to life, made a valuable contribution to lifelong learning and engaged the interest of young people and adults alike, who may have previously not realised the potential that museums have to offer.
Museums are the ideal setting for learning outside the classroom, with their hands-on, sensory based opportunities, expert learning teams, interactive features and exciting exhibition spaces. Museums can support the curriculum and also supply a safe, structured environment for teachers to approach with their pupils, where the children can become engaged and inspired by what the museum can offer them and their education. However, not all museums have the traditional format of galleries and exhibition spaces. Some museums are historical sites, such as houses, castles, factories and farms. These are historical buildings where people really did live and work and as such, not only contain history but they were the history. In these settings, history can be put into perspective and pupils can gain a greater understanding of the development through time in terms of clothing, household items, toys, furniture and a vast array of other objects. For example, when visiting a 19th century house pupils can physically witness why Victorian women appeared to have such tiny waists and wide hips because they can inspect a dress dating from that era. These opportunities provoke questioning, thinking and debate, all valuable aspects for development across the curriculum. These real settings are stimulating starting points for developing ideas and discussion between children, their peers and their teachers. Historical settings are not just predisposed to learning about history, but instead can reach out widely across the curriculum. One subject in particular that is widely susceptible to museum learning is literacy. Below is a case study of storytelling for foundation and key stage 1 pupils at Aston Hall Museum, Birmingham.
*Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto, (Nottingham: DfES Publications, 2006) p.1.
Once Upon a Time: Cinderella Storytelling – Aston Hall Museum, Birmingham Aston Hall is a 17th century manor house in the heart of Birmingham. It offers an extensive formal education programme for pupils from Foundation to KS5. Part of this programme includes the popular storytelling session called ‘Once Upon a Time’, which fits into the ‘Traditional Tales’ topic of the National Curriculum. In the development of this session, it was important to choose a story that was originally written in the 17th century. By doing so, the house creates the perfect atmospheric setting for the children when listening to and participating in the story. ‘Once Upon a Time’ has been designed to include the pupils in every aspect of the storytelling process, so the children become part of the story and help to create a dramatic retelling of this classic fairytale. This includes getting children into costume to bring the different characters to life; acting out aspects of the story; answering questions; handling objects that relate to the story; and moving through different rooms of Aston Hall to animate the story in historically appropriate rooms. These varying activities help give pupils a sense of control over their learning experience. Some of the above mentioned activities involve the handling and smelling of beeswax candles, allowing the children to become immersed into the setting of a historic house. With this activity, not only do they learn about the lighting of homes from long ago, but they can also find out how it would smell, adding an additional sensory layer to their experience. The children venture into the 400 year old kitchen, where they complete Cinderella’s chores using a broomstick, washboard, dolly-tub and carpet beater. Again this allows them to be hands-on, rather than just sitting and listening, and it also bring the subjects of history and literacy together. These tasks allow for whole class participation; they help to break the story up with active engagement; and also fully engross the children with their museum visit. Using historic settings and their collections in this interactive way is a highly valuable tool for schools to take advantage of, with interaction being one of the most powerful modes of learning for children. It allows them to use their physical experiences to gain a relationship with their school topic and gives them a greater understanding of the information that surrounds them. It also appeals to the various ways in which children learn. This interactive approach has many advantages. I have broken this down into four main areas of stimuli.
Visual – Making information accessible and meaningful to children often needs to involve movement and expression. In terms of learning in historic settings, childre thrive when discovering the details in the architecture, paintings, furniture and the way the rooms are dressed because it is different to their everyday home and school settings. These are the children who tend to ask questions about things other children would not notice. This in turn helps with their independent thinking and speaking skills and also helps to further include their fellow pupils.
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/7981144422 by infomatique under Commercial Creative Commons License.
All other images were supplied by Lisa Williamson
Audio – You may think that because you are talking that children will be taking it in and listening, but they will actually tune out if there are background noises to distract them, such as other visitors passing through the museum or staff working in the background. To keep children engaged, museum Learning Officers often vary the tone of their voice, use sound effects and encourage the pupils to do the same. For example, if you are talking about a bomb exploding, using a big voice when saying the word 'explode' draws in the attention of the child, or if you are talking about tiny footsteps of a mouse sneaking through a house, a quiet, soft tone reflecting this helps in engaging them. It’s also good to allow children to make noises, whether it’s doing sound effects for the things they can see or repeating new words in loud and funny voices. This will break down the misconception that historic settings are ‘silent’ and ‘boring’ and will assist in making the visit all the more memorable for the children. Tactile – Many children come into a new setting and want to touch anything and everything they see to make sense of what is in front of them. In an historic setting this would usually set of alarm bells… sometimes quite literally! However, it is the role of the learning teams within these settings to make the school visits accessible to tactile learners. This can be done through object handling, where real and replica items are passed around to the children so they can physically touch the objects that are also on display. Object handling allows the children to explore museum artefacts in more detail, as they can turn them upside down, look inside, smell the object and gain an understanding of what different materials feel like. This is a rewarding process as children perceive it as a special treat and it fulfils their curiosity about what they can see as they explore different spaces. Even simple activities such as allowing children to run their hands along carved wooden walls engages tactile learners and is easily done in historic settings.
Kinaesthetic – Many children feel they learn best when they are doing. They therefore flourish in historic settings as they will have ample opportunity to try new activities throughout their visit. The final point to make is that learning in historic buildings is something that cannot be replicated in schools, an important factor for teachers to take into account when planning a unique school visit. Houses, castles, farms and factories contain individual histories and are filled with the real artefacts that were used by real people, meaning pupils will participate in a real experience. These experiences arouse wonder and awe amongst pupils and with the support of planned activities led by the museum Learning Officer school trips can become truly inspiring and memorable events for children.
Lisa Williamson is the Learning Officer at Aston Hall Museum (Birmingham Museums Trust). Find out more on the Aston Hall Museum site at http://bmag.org.uk/aston-hall and on Twitter at @BM_AG
The Best Job In The World
Author: Vic Goddard Review by Martin Burrett We know the face. Our television screens were filled with the emotional rollercoaster which balances the interplay of diverse characters striving to success. We know the voice. The reassuring authoritative tones and inspiring rhetoric of a man who delights in what he does. In The Best Job In The World Vic Goddard, the exceptional principal of Passmores Academy, which featured in Channel 4’s Educating Essex writes about his love of his headteacher role and candidly explores why he believes that more teachers should move into senior management positions and valuable advice to do a great job once they are there. As a product of the Essex education system myself, Educating Essex was compelling viewing when it first aired and there were many parallels with my own secondary education. The ▲ Click the image above to view this book discusses the difficult decision to allow a film crew into book on Amazon. the school, the worries about laying Passmores bare in front of a national audience and the support that was given by the staff and school community. Vic writes vividly about the aftermath of the television series on himself, the school and especially for the students Passmores, and how he and the school dealt with some negativity from some quarters of the media and public at large. But the book is so much more than a retelling of the series from Vic’s own point of view. It is a personal exploration of the role of school leaders and the joys that the role can bring. He talks about the need to continually improve schools and the recipe for a successful and responsive school leadership team. It is clear is that Vic is well aware of the role that teachers have played throughout his life and he is humbled by the contributions that each has made in helping him be the professional he is today and his path to headship. Vic challenges the conception by some of the teaching profession that heads and senior leaders are distant and make little impact on the day to day learning of students in their care. He reminds us, “I’ve got a massive classroom. I have over a thousand children in my lessons as well as over two hundred staff.” He talks about his delight at seeing members of staff which he hired grow and blossom and make a real difference to children’s learning and their lives. In later chapters Vic outlines the difficult role and responsibility of balancing the ever changing Government policy and many of the pressing national educational issues that the country currently faces with the realities on the ground and he offers sound advice for educators at every level. For me as an educator, I found chapter 10 simply inspirational and chiming with my own views of teaching. Vic investigates the five core qualities which are essential for successful leadership. Without given them away, each of these positive qualities were seen abundantly from the television and throughout his book. The Best Job In The World is essential reading for anyone in senior management, anyone looking to move into such a position or confirmed classroom teachers who wish to gain an insight into how an effective senior management team works. The Best Job In The World is published by Independent Thinking Press (Crown House Publishing) and is priced on Amazon at £14.99* for the paperback and £8.99* on Kindle. *Correct at the time of publishing
Ideas for how schools can get involved with Mud Week include:
By Daniel Owens The chaos it can cause can make or break an after lunch lesson. It’s quiet in your classroom, but it is nearly the end of lunchtime and it has been drizzling all morning. At any moment the doors will be flung open and your classroom will be filled with damp, muddy and some slightly mouldy children. But now teachers are being encouraged to embrace their inner earth-worm and to let their students explore the great outdoors and learn more about a real childhood favourite as part of the first ever British Mud Week. ‘Mud Week’ will be held from June 23-29 this year, with schools invited to take part and incorporate mud into their learning activities—both in and out of the classroom. Organisers have prepared an information pack for schools, giving suggestions for how they can get involved, including everything from sponsored welly-wearing to the scientific make-up of mud. Mud Week’s Damian Lockley said: “As an outdoors enthusiast I really appreciate how much fun messing about in the mud can be. “Too many of us take nature for granted these days and we need to remind ourselves why we love it so much. British Mud Week is a way of embracing the outdoors and teaching our children that getting dirty can be much more fun than staying indoors and playing on a computer.
Learn about the science of mud. What makes up mud? What creatures live in mud? What can it be used for? Carry out soil tests in your school field.
#WellyWednesday will be held on Wednesday, June 25. Get your children to wear their wellies to school in return for a small donation to a charity of your choice. Take pictures and share them on social media using the hashtag. Let’s see how creative you and the children can be.
Muddy play—With parents’ permission, why not encourage a muddy play session for the younger children? Maybe set up a miniobstacle course for them to tackle or get them to create a mud sculpture?
Poster competition. Get the children to design a mud-themed poster to promote British #MudWeek. Create a gallery of all the submissions on your Facebook page.
Gardening club—Does your school have a small area which it could turn into a garden designed and maintained by the pupils? Use MudWeek as the catalyst to make this happen and get the kids learning about plants, soil, vegetables etc. Let them get their hands dirty and learn practical life skills while having fun and creating something to call their own.
Get cooking.—Who doesn’t love a good slab of Mississippi Mud Pie? Get the children into the kitchen to cook up a storm and take the results home to mum and dad. Take some pictures and share them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
For more information about British Mud Week, sponsored by Nomad Direct, and details of how you can get involved visit http://britishmudweek.co.uk or follow @BritishMudWeek on Twitter.
Image Credit: http://www.clker.com/clipart-worm.html by OCAL under Commercial Creative Commons License. https://www.flickr.com/photos/redfernstudio/9522228414 by redfernstudio under Commercial Creative Commons License. All other images have been provided by Daniel Owens
The best sites from
View thousand more at ictmagic.wikispaces.com https://plickers.com Amazing Apple and Android app which allows you to take a poll from your class instantly using the camera on your device. Your students simply hold up the symbol for the multiple choice answer they wish to give. The app logs how many answered each choice, but also who chose which answer - Making assessment and feedback easy. http://beno.org.uk/metromapcreator A useful site for creating metro maps. Use it in creating writing to map out a character's travels, make Monopoly-like games or make classroom posters showing connected words, names, ideas or topics. http://gpsessentials.com #This is a fabulous GPS and mapping Android app that gives you everything you need to go geocaching and exploring the great outdoors. There are location, compass, photo and tracking tools which should ensure you can always find your way... until your battery runs out!
http://memplai.com #Make collaborative videos in your web browser with this amazing site. Just upload your images, videos and audio and invite others users to edit your project with you. As the files are stored online your students can access the project from home or at school. The videos do not have watermarks and they can be easily embedded into your site or blog.
http://projectnoah.org A great citizen science site where users can upload and view photos of animals or use the free Apple device and Android Apps. It's a great way to do real science with what you already have in class. Check out the education section for more ideas.
http://thesmallestduck.com/visualpoet Apple app to create visual poetry with your photos and text. You can also use it to make great mini posters to use in class.
Check out the UKedchat Educational Apps directory for the best apps for teaching and learning.
The May 2014 issue of the UKED Magazine from UKedchat. Outdoor learning special.