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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Visual Poetry with Chomp!

In the curriculum, there is a big focus on children learning and reciting poetry. 
Year 2 -  
continuing to build up a repertoire of poems learnt by heart, appreciating these and reciting some, with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear
Year 4 - 
 preparing poems and play scripts to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone, volume and action
Year 6 -
learning a wider range of poetry by heart
preparing poems and plays to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone and volume so that the meaning is clear to an audience

For me, I love having fun with poetry! It is a great way for children to play and experiment with ideas and language! Today we used a fantastic app to bring some of the children's poems to life!

For anyone on Instragram, please follow @ICT_MrP for time-saving tech tips posted weekly! This week shared one of my favourite apps -

The app Chomp, usually £2.29, is currently FREE and thanks to the 'Apps gone Free' I was able to snap it up!

The app has over 50 hand drawn animations where the children can place their face into different scenes and record themselves. As soon as I introduced the app to my class today, they were hooked and it got their creative juices flowing! After exploring the app, we decided to pen some poems inspired by the animations. Then the children had to record themselves performing their poems in the app. This resulted in creating wonderful visuals to bring their poems to life!

This app is great and teachers will have so many ideas to inspire writing whether it be poetry or stories with it. Here are a couple of examples of poems we created today. We hope you like them!

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Creating our own 'Bubbles' animations!

The animation 'Bubbles' by Gabriela Zapata is a fantastic way to inspire writing! A brilliant example of visual literacy that can spark discussion and lead into some impressive writing. You can find more resources for the film on the Literacy Shed.

Today I was working in Rackhouse Primary in Manchester. I have been working with staff and pupils for the past couple of years and I love what is happening there. They have such an enthusiastic staff and it is great when I visit and see how creative they have been with some of the ideas from my training! Make sure you check out their blog and their facebook page

I had the pleasure of working in Year 3 today and so we set our expectations high with a project where children would make their own Bubbles animations! It was a BIG challenge with the children having to write a story and then use Augmented Reality, Greenscreen, Photoshop and Movie editing to bring it to life! However, with children so confident in using technology as a learning tool, they managed to create some amazing examples of work!

We used a range of apps to create their stories. We started by watching the film, discussing the story and then discussed where we would travel on our bubbles. The students designed their own bubbles and brought them to life using the app Quiver. 

We recorded the first scene on the gloomy beach discovering the bubbles in front of a greenscreen in Quiver. The pupils add their backgrounds using the app Doink Greenscreen. 

They used the app Pic Collage to photoshop themselves onto a bubble before using Puppetpals to create an animation showing the journey to their fantasy world. Everything was then put together in iMovie where the students then performed their writing over the video clips! I hope you will agree that their finished examples are amazing! The pupils worked so hard and I was so impressed by what they achieved in half a day! 

The following video shows everything we did with some of the finished examples - 

I just want to say a massive thank you to the staff and pupils at Rackhouse, it was a pleasure!

I have to also share the wonderful experience some of the pupils had last week when they received an unexpected phone call from TIM PEAKE!!! Incredible! Check out the video here - 

Tim Peake calls our Year 5 classes. from Rack House Videos on Vimeo.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Traditional Folktales with Nando's!

I'll be the first to admit I do enjoy a 'cheeky' Nando's! My students are the same, it is one of their favourites! On a recent visit to one of their fine restaurants, I noticed this on the wall -

It tells the story of the Barcelos Cockerel, an Portuguese Legend, linked to the symbol of the restaurant. You can read a version of the legend from the Nando's website here. In my constant search for ways to make writing relevant and meaningful for my students, we decided to use it in class. 

With my Year 3 group, we looked at the story, we discussed why Nando's have used it, whether it was true and what makes it a legend. We discussed how these stories were usually passed through oral storytelling first and so the finer details may change. To prove this, we compared the version from the Nando's website with another version - you can read it here

We discussed the similarities and differences before discussing writing our own versions. The next lesson was spent editing and improving their efforts before working together to create a version to be performed. 

Here was an example of a finished story - 

As a further challenge, I wanted to see how the children could use technology and bring their writing to life through performance. They could choose which app to use- most went for Adobe Voice or Puppetpals, both of which we had used recently. Their work would then be published on the school YouTube channel.  Here is one of their efforts -

The added incentive would be that we would send the children's efforts to Nando's in the hope they would reply and share their work! They were made up when Nando's did comment to let us know how impressed they were -

We hope you enjoy the children's work too! Please feel free to leave them a comment and share their work!

UPDATE - 20/04/16

I was amazed to arrive in school today and be welcomed by a package sent from Nando's head office! In it was this letter -

Including in the package were 'chicken cheques' meal vouchers for all the children and a huge poster of the legend of the Barcelos Cockerel! Thank you so much to the team at Nando's for this, it made the children's day! They were so proud to be rewarded for their hard work in such a lovely way.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

A New Exciting Sentence!

I am a massive fan of Alan Peat and Mat Sullivan's Exciting Sentences. Ever since Alan visited our school in 2011, we have implemented Alan's approach as a whole school and it has had a massive impact on writing. This isn't to say we solely use Alan's approach, we mix in other bits and bobs. However, for me personally, Alan's approach has had the biggest impact on writing in my classroom. I am very fortunate to work alongside Alan and we will be bringing our joint conference to Newcastle, Llandudno and Cornwall in the Summer term - Click here for details.

The Exciting Sentence approach is a wonderful way for children to apply a range of different sentence types into their writing. The following resources are worth looking into -

Click the images to follow links for the apps

Click the images to follow links for the books.

A lot of teachers use the exciting sentences and use them brilliantly, however, I have seen teachers who misuse the approach. Alan has blogged about this issue and I would recommend reading it - CLICK HERE

You should make sure the amount of time spent learning how to construct the sentences should be matched with time spent looking at WHEN to use the sentences and WHY to use it. This will help children apply the sentences independently and for effect in their writing. 

I am constantly on the look out for other exciting sentences I can use in the classroom and the other week I managed to find one!

Introducing the -

3 things - means one thing... sentence

The inspiration came from a short clip from the upcoming Disney film - Zootopia. See if you can spot it in the first minute -

Did you spot it?

"Polar Bear fur, ratpack music, fancy cup - I know whose car this is, we've got to go"

The three things - means one thing... sentence is a great way to build suspense to a big reveal. The ellipses can be added for extra effect. This big reveal can be a character -

A white limousine, cigarette smoke, high heels - it could mean only one thing... Cruella had arrived.

Or to reveal a setting, season or time - 

Dark clouds, cold breeze, falling leaves - it could mean only one thing... Autumn was here!

The sentence would also be a useful opener in non-fiction texts such as persuasion -

Incredible prices, fantastic deals, delicious foods - it can be only one place.... The Deli Sandwich Shop!

Or to introduce a Non-Chron Report -

A new religion, six wives, three children - it can be only one thing... Henry VIII's reign was significant and intriguing.

I would love to know what you think of the sentence and would love to see how others use it with their students! 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Time Saving Tech Tips on Instagram!

I am writing this quick blog post to spread the word about some upcoming tools I will be using to share tips, guides, demonstrations and help teachers make the most of technology in their classroom!

The first will be through Instagram. This social media platform, quickly becoming one of the most popular, allows users to post pictures and short videos. Videos can only be 15 seconds in length and so through this platform I will be creating some Time Saving Tech Tips. It won't be easy as I found out creating the first last night. As many of you know I am a massive fan of constrained writing so will relish the challenge. These videos will be quick and easy guides to help teachers save time and utilise technology to its potential in the classroom!

Here was the first video -

Make sure you follow ICT_MrP on Instagram for more Time Saving Tech Tips!

The next tool I tried for the first time yesterday was Facebook Live Video! This is a fantastic way for me to broadcast a live demonstration or discussion and see comments and questions in real time! I love the potential with this, being able to help teachers and answer questions wherever they are in the world! I often get requests from teachers who are unable to attend course or conferences and so this will be a way in which I can share ideas which can be accessed by everyone! Here was the first live broadcast from yesterday -

First Live Video!
Posted by ICT with Mr P - Tech to Raise Standards on Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Thank you so much to everyone who joined me for this first attempt where I demonstrated the brilliant Plickers app! I appreciate all the lovely comments and feedback! I will try and plan in a live video every week or so and will pre-warn everyone to give everyone enough notice to join me live!

If you have a particular topic or need help and support with something, please do tweet or contact the facebook page and I will try and include this in the broadcast!

If you wanted training for your whole staff, we are now taking bookings for next academic year - 2016/2017. Please visit -

I have a range of courses in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Cornwall, York, Peterborough and South Wales all before the end of this academic year! Please visit - for more information.

We also have places on our upcoming Year Group Cluster package in Liverpool in May, if you are interested in joining, please email -

We are now organising a number of clusters for next academic year. If you would like to join or host please email -

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Interacting with IWB using ProConnect app!

I am a massive fan of apps like Socrative and Plickers to assess children's understanding and evaluate their work. Another app/tool I have discovered recently is ProConnect. This FREE app links with the ProWise Presenter software. The software is designed for use with ProWise screens, however, the presenter tool works on any Mac or PC so can be displayed on any IWB. The presenter tool is free and is similar to other IWB software -

What drew me to this tool was the app available on iPads. Children can log into your ProConnect room and then engage in a variety of activites -

There are some fantastic maths games where the children have to answer questions as quick as they can to finish first. I also love the word cloud tool where every child in the class can contribute live to a whole class word bank of vocabulary. You can also create a whole class Mindmap which would be a great way to start or finish a topic. 

Once you set up one of the activities, a room code will generate so the children can log in using the ProConnect app on their iPads -

It is well worth a look as it is completely FREE to set up an account for the ProWise Presenter tool! There is also a ProQuiz tool that allows you to create a quiz that can be shared using the ProConnect app. 

Here is a quick video about the Presenter tool -

Would love to know what you think and how you use it in class!