St Helens – Write Club 7 Conference – Haydock

| June 14, 2007 | 9 Comments 

Back on the circuit of sporting venues again today with a very enjoyable visit to the St Helens Write Club 7 Conference, which was held at Haydock Park Race Course.

I resisted the temptation for a quick canter round the track during the breaks, but it was lovely to look out across the course from the balcony rooms we were in.

Had a “different” journey up with the car producing as much steam as Ferdinand Verbiest tried to do in his vehicle, but we got here in the end.

This is the second time I have presented at a WC7 conference, the first held last year and also at Haydock. I have been involved with the project over an extended period and am coming up again for a fortnight in October to work with all of the schools in the cluster. Write Club 7 have been shortlisted for a Becta ICT Excellence Award in the Extending Learning Opportunities category.

The conference was opened by Margaret Baxter, Teacher, ICT Team Member and AST at Eccleston Lane Ends Primary School and Outreach worker delivering Hands on Support for St Helens LA. (What a job title!) Margaret is a remarkable lady. I have rarely met someone with such enthusiasm, such a quick wit and sense of humour. Irrepressible. “Tim, It’s so busy here, I feel I am trying to juggle soot or nail a jelly to the ceiling” Margaret describes herself as a lady with a passion for using ICT in learning. She works closely with another dear friend, Sarah Neild from Birchley St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Wigan.

I have seen these two presenting at BETT for Marc Keable, on the Classroom ICT stand and have seen the warm wit they use to get across their passion for effective use of IT in schools. You can see Margaret and Sarah in action HERE when they were presenting at the Naace conference – Effective models for ICT CPD. (You may have to scroll through, or wait, to find them!)

Today I had the opportunity to watch a whole presentation from Margaret. As I would have expected, she told us about some of the many interesting, innovative and accessible ideas she has developed for using ICT with children of all abilities… and she did so with her usual style, full of dry wit and humour. Brilliant.

Margaret’s title was “What works in my classroom” She did her presentation using 2Simple’s 2Connect. I have started to use this remarkable little program in a similar way, too, as it allows you to present in a non-linear way. Margaret covered a huge amount of creative ideas: Teachers TV, the use of video clips, e-books, countdown, the St Helens website (full of useful resources) original ways of using powerpoint… and so much more.

In looking up some of these links as Margaret is presenting, I came across a site I used to use a lot, but had forgotten about: The Primary Resources Blog. Links to useful resources galore.

Margaret offered the useful tip of looking for files by adding the extension after a file name e.g. .ppt for powerpoint presentations on the subject you are teaching; .wav or .mp3 for audio files; .exe for programs; .doc or .pdf or .txt for text files.

Margaret uses games and simulations as a stimulus. For example, Freddie Fish has proved to be a very useful way of encouraging writing and bringing in structure for young lads in her class.

The whole day proved to be full of humour with laughter all round. I enjoyed my sessions, which included a hands-on exploration of the visual literacy, speaking and listening ideas in the afternoon. We also made some of our own interactive powerpoint games. For example we looked at how to make an interactive tour of the school, and how to make one of the, now famous, Doors of Doom Challenges. 🙂

Thank you so much to Margaret, Rachel Rimmer, Joe Leather, Kristy Geraghty and their colleagues at Write Club 7 for organising a really fun day.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (9)

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  1. Emma Carrington says:

    Really enjoyed the day. Lots of useful tips on how best to use ICT in the classroom and advice on websites and software.
    Also brilliant to actually GET the gaming software being talked about during the day and not just told to somehow find the money and go out and buy it.
    Particularly useful were tips on how to best use the software we already have (e.g. making an interactive game using Powerpoint). Would recommend to anyone thinking of attending.
    (Not convinced the holes in Mr. Walker were for a flute though – it was a rubbish flute if that was true!)

  2. blog says:

    Why thankyou,Emma! Mr Walker is infact a fine musical masterpiece… I had just run out of breath after a good day! 🙂
    I will sit and practise in this traffic jam. All the best.
    Tim
    (Sent via Blackberry)

  3. Lynne Berry says:

    A brilliant day. Both speakers were excellent – really passionate about their teaching which clearly showed through today.
    The gaming software is an excellent aid for visual literacy and really addictive too.
    Will certainly recommend this to colleagues.
    Thanks

  4. Joe Leather says:

    Great to see you perform again Tim. A successful day with a great bunch of people (Im only used to working within our network) – interesting to see reactions to Myst ideas from first timers, it really is inspirational.

    Cool use of the photos – sorry some were dark (No David Bailey I admit), the idea for an avatar based adventure through a myst environment is fantastic – I know my kids would love it – if you are looking for trial schools in the grim North let me know.

  5. Keith Cahillane says:

    What a great day. I thoroughly enjoyed it all. And isn’t that the secret of good teaching and learning. Give them something they enjoy and they will learn. The ‘something’ was great. Idea after idea. And i did learn. I cannot wait to share the ideas with my colleagues and friends at school. Hope you had a safe journey home Tim and thanks for your hard work and inspiration. Cheers Keith

  6. Pat Hughes says:

    Really inspirational day, with an obvious focus on writing, but really many of the examples could be used across the curriculum to enhance most subjects taught in school.

    Thanks so much both of you.

  7. Judith Brierley says:

    A thoroughly enjoyable event which seemed to hit all the right notes, (more than can be said for Mr Walker!) for hard working, enthusiastic teachers. It’s always great to have the time to “play” with the resources which for me starts to embed some of the inspirational knowlege that was provided by so many colleagues, especially Margaret and Tim. Thanks.

  8. blog says:

    Thank you for your kind comments. I am glad that the day proved to be both practical AND fun!!
    I will definitely have to put a lot of effort into getting Mr Walker to “sing” more melodically!
    I enjoyed the chance to work alongside Margaret. She has often been described to me as an excellent teacher with some inventive ideas. It was great to see that inventiveness in her presentation too eh?
    Looking forward to coming back up North again soon.
    Cheers ta!
    Tim

  9. Margaret Baxter says:

    I would like to echo Tim’s comments (I usually do) and say a big thank you for your kind remarks. I had a fantastic day and from the feedback, it looks like everyone involved did too! Loads of hard work and effort from everyone at the WC7 network showing what team work can really achieve. It was a real delight to work alongside such enthusiastic colleagues and I am really looking forward to keeping in contact and hopefully working with those of you who expressed an interest. And Tim….well, such a generous and truly inspirational man. I will never forget watching him for the first time with my dear friend Sarah from Birchley St.Mary’s at BETT a couple of years ago. “We are in the presence of a giant” said an awestruck Sarah, “naw”, I replied, “He’s only about 5 foot 8”. Joking apart…. Tim you have been the wind beneath our wings and I am sure as the ripples spread, then you will inspire thousands of others. Thanks for letting me be your warm up act and have a great time in Glastonbury next week.
    Fond Regards
    Margaret
    By the way ,if anyone finds they have lost an umbrella we have 2 at Lane Ends!!!!

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