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Showing posts from March, 2015

Retelling Shakespeare with the iPad

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For everyone who has attended my training sessions or followed my blog will know I use technology to enhance and improve learning in the classroom. I don't want it to replace writing, instead use the iPad as a tool to engage, inspire and enhance the writing process. This recent project is another example of this.

Over the past half term, I have been working with a Year 4 cohort. I wanted to see whether using the iPad as a tool would engage children with older literature and provide them with tools to create their own versions. Using one of Shakespeare's most famous plays 'Romeo and Juliet,' the students read the story, created freezeframes, turned these into comic strips and created short videos and animations to help retell the story. This media was then linked to their comic strips to create interactive digital comics that have been proudly shared on our school blog.

The level of engagement towards this project from the children has been incredible. Their level of un…

Finally... some alternatives to Epic Citadel - Deep Sea Diving with Year 3

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Epic Citadel is and has been a must for most primary schools with access to iPads. The app allows children to navigate around a medieval kingdom, which can inspire children to write all sorts of different text types. The multi-sensory environment allows children to fully immerse themselves in this virtual world and inspires them to some fantastic writing. I have previously blogged about Epic Citadel - here.

The problem I have faced is finding alternative apps that allow children to immerse themselves in virtual worlds. I have used Myst and Castlerama, however, both are a similar style setting to Epic Citadel. The team behind Epic Citadel have recently released Zen Garden which is a step in the right direction -


However, there is a massive gap in the app market for more virtual world apps to be created. There doesn't need to be any sort of game element, just a world that children can navigate around and use as a stimulus for writing. Even if game developers simply stripped the char…

Making the most of Flipagram in the classroom!

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A while back, Flipagram took Facebook by storm! With everyone quickly and easily turning photos into funky slideshows with their favourite music. The FREE app is incredibly simple to use. Start a new project, select your pictures, add text, music and a narration and that's it... Slideshow done!

It is this simplicity that makes it a great tool in the classroom. I am constantly trying to demonstrate how using the iPad should save you time and Flipagram is a great example - taking moments to create an engaging slideshow.

I have previously blogged about a couple of ideas of using Flipagram in the classroom, but I want to share a few more -

1 - Use it to make a #ReadingSelfie video!

Pass the iPad around the classroom and ask the children to take a selfie of themselves with their latest reading book, use Flipagram to add music and create a video that you can share for all to see what books are popular in your class.


2 - Create a Perfect Pupil slideshow!
Inspired by an idea from @DeputyMi…

The Land of Venn - Teaching Geometry through Camouflage Learning

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I am a big fan of camouflage learning and gamification in class! The idea of children learning skills and facts through playing games. A great example of this is the brilliant app - The Land of Venn

The game covers early aspects of shape and understanding different vocabulary through a very engaging and enjoyable game.

It is a very clever approach to this topic and the app has won awards! You can download the press kit here for other classroom resources for this app.

Here is some more info about the game from the team behind it:

Plot - 
The Land of Venn is under attack! YOU are our only hope!!!! You are the only one who can save the Land of Venn from utter destruction by the hands of the evil wizard Apeirogon who lives atop the Dark Square Root. Use ancient knowledge gained from Lumbricus the Wizard Worm to protect the Magic Juice from being drunk!  Save us all!!! “With knowledge comes power” and the ability to learn and earn more gold and gain access to more powerful wisdom and magical…

Curious Words - Combining PE with Literacy

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Today I worked with a mixed Reception/Year 1 class and used the app Curious Words to combine some Literacy, Dance and ICT.

The app - Curious Words - encourages children to record one second videos based on the word that appears on the screen. The children then build up a number of videos into a short film that is then shared to the camera roll. It is a simple and straightforward app that really challenged children to think creatively through 'interpretive' dance.


After demonstrating the app, the children were put in groups of three to record their own film within the app. I demonstrated how they could use their bodies through dance, shapes and drama to record the video for each word. It was great to see children eagerly trying to decode and read the words leading into carefully planning and choreographing a short video to go with the word. They could change the word if they were really struggling and they are able to add a filter onto the video if they wanted.

It was a challe…

Guest Blog Post - Using Maps and Vidra To Learn About Contrasting Localities in Geography by Bryn Goodman

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The new Computing Curriculum for KS2 talks about ‘selecting and combining a variety of software (including internet services) to design and create a range of content’. I decided to combine the Maps app with a presentation app called Vidra. A mini-project I completed with Year 6 helped to cover this.

Our school has many international links with partner schools all over the world. One of those links is with a school in Australia. This led to our Year 6 staff deciding to plan work in Geography using Australia as a contrasting locality.

As part of this work, I decided to use a feature of the Maps app that comes with every iPad (not to be confused with Google Maps which has lots of other great uses).  Many of the major cities of the world have flyover tours built into the Maps app. Wherever there is a 3D symbol next to a city, you are able to take a flyover tour of that city.


The tour shows you all the major landmarks in that city in a way that makes you feel like you are flying over the c…

The #OurClassroom Challenge

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I came across this powerful video last week on Facebook -


I felt incredibly inspired to do something similar with my class. I didn't show my class this video, instead our school has adopted a new 'Values' curriculum this year. This involves having a focused value each month and leading whole school assemblies, PSHCE lessons and other activities based on each value. This month's value is 'Tolerance' which fits nicely with the message in the above video. 
So we did a little activity looking at how we are different some ways but the same in others. To share how much we respect and appreciate each other in the class, we created this video titled - #OurClassroom


So I have a challenge for you and every teacher around the world to create your own #OurClassroom short video. What does your class stand for? How are they unique? How is it a special and accepting place to learn?

The above video was all made on an iPad, using iMovie, Doink Greenscreen and Cloud Art. I would…

Guest Blog Post - Bringing Wildlife Conservation into the Classroom by Matthew Payne

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Despite my advancing years, I can still remember spending pretty much every waking hour of my childhood with my head firmly stuck in a Wildlife Encyclopaedia, or glued to the television set watching the film ‘Born Free’ on repeat – much to the annoyance of my brother and sister! Instead of spending time with friends, I spent my time copying out line after line of animal facts and adding them to my own fact-files! As you can imagine – I was a very cool kid with lots of friends – if only! This never deterred me though, and since then, my love for animals has continued to blossom! I have also been fortunate enough to travel the world and see some of the animals I spent my childhood reading about.
A coalition of male lions in Kenya (Source: M Payne)
In addition to travelling, I now spend the majority of my spare time educating young people about wild animals and their conservation! I am extremely proud to be a Trustee of the world renowned lion conservation charity – LionAid. In addition t…

Numeracy SATs Revision guides from @GHammondMaths

A few weeks ago I received a tweet from @GHammondMaths sharing this fantastic revision guide to Year 6 SATs tests. He had broken down every question into different categories. He then created a PDF of each category where every question had a link to a YouTube video tutorial that he had created!

MIND BLOWN!

Such a great idea and will help endless teachers up and down the country who will be building up to the SATs. The resource will help children work independently, take questions at their own pace and solve the problem of one teacher being in 30 different places.

Here is an example of one of the PDF files about BODMAS -



YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE PACKAGE OF PDF FILES HERE!

What Gareth has also done now is add the YouTube tutorials to every past paper, as the example demonstrates -




YOU CAN DOWNLOAD ALL OF THE PAST SATS PAPERS HERE

If you have access to iPads in the classroom, download these resources to a shared Dropbox account so children can view on an iPad. They can then easily naviga…

Vagabond - A beautiful animation to use in class!

I stumbled across this fantastic video and straight away saw the potential for it in the classroom. Here is the short animation -



Some ideas for use in the classroom -
READING -  Play the first 12 seconds, ask the children to listen to the sounds, what can they hear? Where is the story set? Pause at 25 seconds, what do we notice about the setting? Where might it be? What words describe the people in the video?Pause at 54 seconds, who do we think this man is? How old do you think he is? What might his job be?Pause at 1:15 - What is the relationship between the man and his dog? How does the man feel when he sees the dog? How does he show this? Does the dog feel the same way? What might the alarm signal? Something good or bad? Why?Pause 1:30 - Do we think the man is rich or poor? Why are they wearing masks? What might happen?Pause at 1:53 - When is this story set - past, present or future? What time of day is it now? How do we know? At 2:03 - What do we think is going to happen?At 2:40 ca…

SPAG Music Videos

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I am not a fan of the SPAG test. I think it is an awful way to assess children's understanding, however, I know plenty of teachers are having to teach for the test and struggling to make it accessible and interesting to their pupils.

I have previously blogged a few ideas for how you can use the iPad to make SPAG a little more exciting here.
As a school, we have been using Dave Godfrey's Number Fun songs for the past few years to help children remember number facts. This was after receiving some amazing numeracy training from Anthony Reddy. It has worked brilliantly to help children recall different facts. It has made me consider using the same approach to help children understand different grammar terms. So here are a few examples that you may find useful in the classroom - 
I am a massive fan of Flocabulary, teaching different topics through hip hop. Here is one of their videos all about prefixes -



See more videos from Flocabulary here.

Similes and Metaphors by The Bazillions …

Alan Peat presents....Using Technology to Enhance the New Curriculum - 27th February 2015 Flintshire

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Thanks to all that came to the conference on Friday in Flintshire. I had a great day sharing ideas and strategies to enhance the new curriculum using technology. Thank you all for the fantastic feedback!

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"Relevant, Real, Inspiring!""Honestly one of the best courses i've ever been on. Only wish i had a class, so i could put all this into practice on Monday! (Might borrow one!)Inspiring and entertaining. Children in your class are very lucky!""Excellent delivery - fun, lively, engaging and someone who is passionate and can make learning fun. Excellent course. Very useful!""Loved it, really enjoyable. Thank you!""Super entertaining course with very useful content!""Brilliant course, full of excellent ideas, escecially as i dont ha…