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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Giving Children Super Powers!

I had a fantastic day in Year 4 doing some impressive writing and then bringing it to life in the form of amazing digital stories!

Our writing today was based on the music video - Titanium by David Guetta -

This was a video I added to the Music Video Shed on the Literacy Shed a while back. It is a great video to help children answer simple inference and deduction questions. You can find all my ideas for using this video here.

After discussing the video, we looked at possible causes for the initial incident in the school. Many thought that he may have been provoked, bullied or picked on. This led to a discussion about keeping feelings to yourself and how it can lead to an reaction that maybe prevented by talking to someone. 

We used this as a stimulus for some writing! I am a massive fan of Alan Peat and Mat Sullivan's exciting sentences. And the book '50+ iPad ideas for Exciting Sentences,' written by both Alan and I demonstrate ways in which to use the technology to develop children's understanding of the different sentence types. A great way to help structure texts is using the Slow Writing resource from @LearningSpy and @David_Triptico. We adapt it slightly to include some of the exciting sentences. These were our sentence tools today -

Sentence 1 - If, if, if, then
Sentence 2 - 3_ed
Sentence 3 - 2A
Sentence 4 - Where opener
Sentence 5 - Adverb opener
Sentence 6 - Short sentence
Sentence 7 - Tell: show 3 examples;
Sentence 8 - Short sentences

As always I needed a hook to get children willing to write and write with purpose and quality. To do this, I gave them super powers in the form of an Augmented Reality app called - AR effects. This allowed us to take pictures of the children with lightning, balls of fire and tornados out of their hands! 

The writing the children produced was fantastic, so engaged, using the rules brilliantly and adding their own stamp on each one - 

But we couldn't just leave the writing lifeless on the page, especially when we had such an amazing picture showing our super powers! In the afternoon, we transformed our writing into films using iMovie. The children recorded images and videos to demonstrate different emotions and feelings. They added different sound effects and many composed their own theme music in Garageband. Have a watch of their incredible work! Listen out to how creative some have been with the sound and changed the music to fit the atmosphere of the story! 

If you would love to know more about how technology can be used purposefully to raise standards in the classroom, Mr P can provide CPD and inset - nationwide and beyond! Just email - or visit here.

Alan Peat presents....Using Technology to Enhance the New Curriculum - 27th January 2015 Walsall

Thanks to all that came to the conference yesterday. I had a great day sharing ideas and strategies to enhance the new curriculum using technology. 

43 Evaluations

42 rated the content of the speaker as excellent

1 rated the content of the speaker as good
43 rated the delivery of the speaker as excellent


"Just brilliant! #Loveit!"
"Fantastic Day! Best training I have had in 21 years as a teacher. So inspiring. Thank you. Working in a special school I so loved the philosophy of hooking children in with basing learning around things which are current and relevant."
"Very inspiring! Lee is clearly passionate about the use of iPads in the classroom and has given lots of fantastic ideas that can easily be used in the classroom!"
"Epic! Fantastic to know the hard work going on out there isn't scripted. Child lead, Adult taught. Motivational. Feel like I will push on to carry on making a difference. Keep it up!"
"Lots of content and lots to think about. Very inspirational thanks - great day!" 
"Funny, lively delivery kept it interesting. Also so many ideas to take back to school. Would definitely recommend to others."
"Very motivational speaker. Packed with ideas. Would be great to have you work with our Trust of schools!"
"Highly engaging and thorough training. Very informative. Only problem are all the ideas I want to do! " 
"I feel totally inspired. Thank you. Plenty to take back to school - where do I begin? Thank you. Great value for money."
"Exceptional - inspiring! We need to book you for our school!"
"Very informative, well delivered session. Interested in content covered."
 "Excellent course with lots of great ideas and apps. Very interesting and informative."
"So interesting, cant wait to tray some of your ideas out. Feel very inspired and have plenty of new ideas to work with."
"Brilliant, lots of wonderful things/ideas to take back!"
"Great delivery style and lots of useful content and ideas. Cant wait to try out lots of the suggestions!!"
"A brilliant day with lots of fantastic ideas to bring to school!"
"Thank you! I am completely inspired to use the iPads with my Year 6 class! They will thank you as they are already bored of SATS revision!"
"I follow Lee on Twitter and already use lots of ideas from his Blog in school. You are inspirational and I would love for you to share your passion at Wyndham Academy. Cant wait to start implementing your new ideas across our Trust."
"Lots of brilliant ideas! Challenge now is to put at least some of them into practice!"
"Fabulous day - completely inspired and cant wait to go back into the classroom!"
"Lots of ideas - really inspired!"
"Loads of ideas - Thank you!"
"Thanks Lee, very useful and full of lots of ideas which I can take back into the classroom."
"Great ideas to use within the classroom with relevant examples to support his ideas."
" Excellent day, great to be given advice from a teacher and how it looks in action."
"Very positive, great understanding of how we would use apps in real life - almost not enough time to get everything from it - i want to use everything now! Amazing thank you!"
"Excellent day packed full of info and ideas. Many thanks!"
 "Excellent ideas that I'm looking forward to taking back to school with me."
"Thank you, very useful content and enthusiasm for iPads in school."
"Excellent and inspiring. Thank you so much for giving me ideas on how to use this in the classroom!"
"Best CPD I've had :) just need to convince the Head Teacher to buy more iPads now! :) Thanks!"
 "Brilliant, cant wait to get back to school."
"Really, really interesting and useful; got so many apps etc to download and tray. Thank you! ;)"
"Motivating!! Presented in a fantastic way. We will be setting up a Blog!" 
"One of the best courses I have been on, quite overwhelming but with careful thought it will all be very useful and enjoyable. Thank you!"
" Fantastic and inspiring! Great amount of useful apps, I wish I had more time to see this in your classroom before venturing into my own! "
 Thanks again to everyone who attended! I have similar upcoming courses in the next couple of months. Please click the links to find out more and book a place.

Flintshire - Feb 27th

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Seeing impact from my training!

Nothing brings me more joy than receiving tweets, emails and messages from teachers who share some incredible work they have produced after being inspired by ideas from my blog or my CPD!

I only ever ask that teachers give me a little shout out whenever they do share and publish work children have done using some of my ideas and most do, which means I can proudly share, RT and comment!

One of the most popular ideas which is adapted in lots of classrooms is the work we did based on the film Blackfish and the awareness video we created that sparked an amazing project and fantastic writing -

You can read more about what we did here. 

It is great to see how other schools have used this idea and where it has taken them! I published a guest blog post from Nick Vose which led to his class visiting parliament in London - READ HERE

Simon Hunt and his class at Devonshire Road Primary School created this video -

Their work was featured in the local paper - Read here and even received a personalised message from the local MP and NOW are off to speak to the European parliament! READ HERE!

Other schools have used the same approach with different subjects. Kingsleigh Primary School in Bournemouth did some work based on Mali the Elephant - 

Again their work was featured in the local newspaper - READ HERE

Luke Rees, a teacher in Bristol looked at endangered animals with his class and again created a lovely video that inspired some great work - READ HERE  and see it on the Literacy Shed.

So a MASSIVE thank you to all the teachers who make everything I do worthwhile by sharing the fantastic work your children do!

If you have found inspiration and created some fabulous work from ideas on this blog or training, make sure you give me a little shout and share either on twitter or Facebook and I will add it on here. 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Pop - Create an app with Paper!

I stumbled across the Pop - Prototyping on Paper app a while ago and simply put, it is AWESOME!! The possibilities are endless!

To give you a quick idea of how it works, here is a short demo from the Pop website -

I am always looking to use Mobile Technology to enhance what can be done on paper. I recently wrote an article for Innovate my School about transforming learning on the iPad referencing the SAMR model. You can read the article here. This app is the perfect example of how technology can enhance what can be done on paper. This app however, encourages users to use paper and therefore is great for the classroom.

Imagine turning the children's topic book into an app or telling an adventure story as an app, linking a mindmap at the beginning of a science topic and linking all the questions to work children have produced through the topic. Children can produce an guide to the school app, instructional text apps or apps about their favourite hobbies or interests.

With so much focus on computing in the new curriculum, this would be a great way to link computing to other curriculum areas. The app itself is very simple to use - take pictures of all your pages and use boxes to link from page to page. The apps created can then be shared and viewed on mobiles or computers.

My stepson is into sketching and drawing pictures of his favourite footballers and sports stars. After showing him this app and explaining how he can turn his pictures into an app, he created one. He took pictures of his drawings, screenshots from wikipedia and linked it all together to make this -

If this doesn't show clearly - follow this link.

I know he would absolutely love to know what people think about his drawings, he takes a lot of pride in them so please leave a comment so I can show how many people have seen and liked his efforts.

I think this app is a fantastic way to create, share and publish children's written work. Please share any examples you create with your calss and I will link them into this post. Thanks!

Teaching Direct Speech with Memes

After seeing what @inspiredmind5 did to teach speech this week -

I wanted to share something I did which was similar using blank internet memes. A "meme" is a virally-transmitted cultural symbol or social idea. Usually they are an image with text above or below like these examples -

These were made using the app Mematic, which is featured in my new book '50+ iPad lessons for Exciting Sentences.' Within the book the app is used to help children generate and share exciting sentences. 

Using the idea of a meme, I used it as a way to help children practise direct speech. In the past I have used iPhone text messaging to teach direct speech which has worked brilliantly. 

After searching the internet, I found some blank memes like this - 

We started by discussing how to punctuate direct speech, we highlighted three different parts - What has been said directly in the "", the reporting clause and extra detail/description. 
I demonstrated examples of how the reporting clause and extra description can be at the start, in the middle or at the end of the sentence. 

I then set the challenge of creating some dialogue for the blank memes. Straight away the children were hooked, they recognised the images from their favourite films/cartoons. The children could be as imaginative with the dialogue they created but then have the visual images to help develop the reporting clause and extra detail. 

I initially asked the children to type out the dialogue onto the image using the app Book Creator, just to help colour code each part so they could demonstrate their understanding of the different elements. They then wrote the dialogue into their books. Here are some examples - 

This idea can easily be used to develop children's understanding of reported speech and even changing direct to reported speech. 

 Would be really interested to see what others do with this idea so please send a link in the comments and I will add examples to this post.

Play Osmo - Play beyond the screen

I have been meaning to blog about the Osmo since I received one in the summer. It is only after seeing so many people rave about it from #Bett2015 it reminded me to share this amazing tool!

To give you a taste of what Osmo is and what it can do here is a short video -

The Osmo costs around £50 but it has great potential in the classroom, the three games included cover core subjects in Literacy and Maths and help children develop their spellings, shape recognition and problem solving in a fun and engaging way. My only criticism would be to have the letters in lower case rather than upper case as children recognise these easier.

I understand the team behind Osmo are working on other games and activities using this hardware so am excited to see what they come up with.

Having an Osmo in the classroom will come in great use for group work or independent activities with primary children.

You can order your own Osmo here.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

PocketPhonics Stories - Great for the EYFS classroom!

There are hundreds and thousands of phonics apps available on the App store. Some that I have used are fantastic; others are questionable to say the least. Our approach at my school was to focus on a couple of really useful phonics apps, one of these is PocketPhonics.

What I love about PocketPhonics is that children learn initial letters and sounds, blending words but also handwriting. When I used this app over a term with a mixed reception/year 1 class, the rapid progression in handwriting especially with the boys was impressive. We invested in a class set of stylus pens and used these whenever possible as we felt this would be more beneficial for improving children's pencil grasp development, (Steve from iPad Educators recently blogged about Stylus pens.) It really helped children being able to get instant feedback if they make a mistake in writing the letters or blending words. 

The team behind PocketPhonics have now released another app, PocketPhonics Stories. PocketPhonics Stories is split in to 12 groups of letter sounds, each group is followed by a set of storybooks that contain those letter sounds. Once the child has mastered one group of letter sounds, they progress to reading the storybooks that tests their knowledge of these letter sounds. They read storybooks that are on the right level for them. Once that task is completed they then move on to the next group of sounds, and so on. 

It is another fantastic resource to help children learn initial letters, words and build up vocabulary to read their own storybooks. If children's enjoyment and engagement for the original PocketPhonics is anything to go by, they will love this app too. I can't wait to give it a whirl in class. 

You can download a copy of PocketPhonics stories here -

I have also managed to get my hands on some promo codes for the PocketPhonics app that I will be giving away on my facebook page -

Sunday, 11 January 2015

A Year in the Life of Triplets - The Sequel

On January 10th 2012, I decided to start a project inspired by Cesar Kuriyama and his 1 second everyday idea. I wanted to do my own version in two different ways - one as a teacher and one as a parent. You can read all about how I used it as a teacher to keep memories of successful moments in class along with creating an amazing keepsake for the class at the end of the year - HERE.

As a parent, I completed my first year and created an amazing keepsake of the triplets year from being 18 months to 2 1/2. In the first year, I mostly used the app 1 second everyday, however when I decided to continue and make a recording for the second year, I edited the video myself. Rather than 1 second a day, I changed it for 1 moment a day, because sometimes I felt it needed just a little bit longer. I made sure no clip was over 2/3 seconds but being flexible with that half second made it better to show what they were up to. It also meant Mum, Grandma and others could get involved when they were looking after the kids.

I have created this video to try and demonstrate that mobile technology can be used in a positive way without harming my ability to be a father. Arguments, videos and articles are popping up everywhere discussing the harmful side of mobile tech and how we all now live with our heads down! With this project, I film for a matter of seconds to capture a memory before playing, wrestling, dancing, laughing, cuddling and enjoying every moment I have with my troop. When I watch that moment back, I am instantly transported back to that day, experience and memory.

Any way here is the second year - A Year in the Life of Triplets - Age 2 - 3.

Here is the first year too -

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Interactive Multimedia Diary Entries

Today I worked with a class using a rather chilling video from the Literacy Shed as our stimulus -

You can read more about the animation on the Literacy Shed here. The animation is quite scary however demonstrates some great techniques to build tension. This was all discussed within the lesson and the children had to create their own diary entry for the main character.

After writing their diary, the children used different apps to create their multimedia diary entries. They narrated some of their writing over clips from the film using the app Shadow Puppets before using an amazing app Glogster to put it all together.

I discovered Glogster over Christmas and it is a fantastic way for children to share, present and create amazing pieces of work on any topic. They can design, add pictures, videos sound recordings, media from the web as well as type to create an interactive page that can be published to the Glogster channel. From here it can be shared and embedded onto school blogs! The potential to this app is incredible and one I can see myself using in every subject across the curriculum over the next few weeks!

Here are a couple of examples from the lesson -

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

An alternative way to evidence learning objectives!

Just before we started back in January, there was a big discussion on social media about whether Learning Objectives/Challenges, WALTs and WILFs should be copied down by children. This extract from Debra Kidd's latest book seemed to spark the debate -

The argument, as I understood it, wasn't whether we should use Learning Objectives but more whether there is any direct impact on children's learning by asking them to copy it out for every lesson? After asking fellow teachers what happens in their school, it seems the majority make children copy the learning objective out for no other reason than for evidence.

I was amazed that the only alternative if children didn't copy the LO was that teachers either copy the LO out or will print them onto 30+ stickers and stick them in every child's book! Where teachers find the time for this I don't know and how much of the school budget is used on stickers, printing and photocopying. However it got me thinking about finding a way in which technology can be used to make this easier. Finding a way teachers can evidence all the learning objectives without wasting time asking children to copy it out or create more work for themselves.

One possible method would be using a combination of Google Documents and QR Codes. This would how it would work -

  • Teachers will need to create a Google Drive account. 
  • From here, they can make a Google Document, the google doc is an online word document that can be accessed/edited from any device. 
  • The teacher could write the date, learning challenge, links to National Curriculum, lesson outcomes, differentiated objectives/tasks or any other information they would need to include, but would only have to write it once. 

  • By pressing the Share button in the top right corner, the web link for the doc can be copied and pasted into the website - to produce and create a QR Code link - 

  • This QR code can be printed 30+ times on one sheet of paper and glued into the children's book at the start of each week, half term or topic. 
Children then only have to write the date in their books. Teachers will still share and discuss the learning objective in each lesson so pupils know exactly what they are learning in each lesson. As the Google Doc is a working document, the teacher just adds the LO to it everyday. If there was a last minute change to the lesson or it didn't happen for whatever reason, this can be noted on the Document. All the learning objectives are evidenced in the document and can be viewed by the powers that be by scanning the QR code using any QR Scanner app such as Scan. And matching the date in the children's books to the date in the Google Doc.

This method would mean children wouldn't need to waste time writing the learning objective out. It would save on so much printing, photocopying and time for teachers. They would only need to print the QR code once a week, half term or topic. 

It is just an idea and I would welcome any other ideas for evidencing Learning Objectives that would save learning time for children but also preparation time for teachers. If you find this method useful and end up using it, please let me know whether you find it works for you. 

Storyverse - Making Reading Exciting!

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the app Storyverse ever since I saw their KickStarter video -

Finally, it is here! Storyverse is a free app that requires in app purchases to download different interactive 3D interactive books. These books encourage children to read the story while playing a video game as the character. They have to fight, search and collect different elements and objects by playing out the story they have read.

If anything is going to get children, especially boys, excited about reading it would be an app like this! Here is a preview of one of the books - Knoble Knight as a work in progress!

I also think from children playing the game in the role of the character could lead to some amazing first person narrative writing as well as other text types!

The team behind Storyverse have very kindly given me 5 promo codes to share, to be in with a chance of winning like and share this Facebook post -

UPDATE - Jan 2015 - Storyverse now offers a subscription for Schools -