Archive for December, 2011

❇ ❈ ❅ ❆ Merry Christmas from ❆ ❅ ❈ ❇

| December 17, 2011 | 1 Comment 

The blog is going to take a festive break, until 2012. Enjoy your time if you are having one too. Greetings from both of us, @sarahneild & @timrylands, …and thank you all for a great 2011,

As a final festive flourish from the blog before shutting down until the New Year, here is a great little poem “what Ellie writ” back in 2007. It could be subtitled The Fright Before Christmas. Continue Reading

“I got a lot out of that sir!” – Pentrehafod School

| December 16, 2011 | 0 Comments 

Thank you to Gerwyn Bowen, Core Curriculum Leader, Pentrehafod School, for some buzzing feedback on our day:

“That man was great! The work we did was excellent! I really enjoyed it! Thanks for bringing him into our school,” one male year 11 pupil enthusiastically summed up Tim Rylands’ visit to Pentrehafod School.

Following a brief telephone call to Tim Rylands a fortnight earlier, which was abruptly cut short when he said, “I am in Geneva, so this is probably costing you and me a lot of money,” the Deputy Head Teacher, Linda Statts and I set up the in-school INSET via email; much cheaper!

The day involved 60 pupils from Year 7 and 50 from Year 11, among whom were spread teachers and senior leaders from Pentrehafod School, teaching colleagues from Pentrehafod’s cluster primary schools and the ICT Coordinator from Sandfields Comprehensive School.

The aim: to view & discuss teaching methodology for raising literacy standards using ICT in the classroom.

Those aims were both met and surpassed, with more than one teacher after the INSET finished, more than two hours after the end of the school day, rushing to turn on the computer to try out some of the magnificent free resources that Tim had mentioned.

He had also demonstrated how this huge range of free resources could be used in different educational contexts to meet the teaching needs of different subject areas right the way across the school. Continue Reading

Medical Muddle & Crash Blossoms

| December 15, 2011 | 0 Comments 

I am aware that policemen are getting younger and younger these days. Teachers too.

But, as reported on the BBC News website, the medical profession is obviously getting desperate for new recruits:

These headline syntactic ambiguities, often caused because they omit the copula (Hark at me!) have even gained their own name: Crash Blossoms.

Others can be found, almost every day, at Crash

Nuggets from a day…

| December 14, 2011 | 0 Comments 

Thank you to Chris Fryer, for his reflections on our day with the South Bristol eLearning Partnership, Brislington Enterprise College, Bristol:

When I explain to colleagues where I was today, I’ll probably say ‘on an ICT course.’

Today was much more than that. In fact, the use of ICT was almost incidental. The main lessons of the day are about how to get the most out of children through great questioning and inspirational use of great resources.

It’s not about what happens on the whiteboard, it’s about what happens because of what happens on the whiteboard. Some pretty fantastic things happened on the whiteboard, mind! Continue Reading

Can I have a Word?

| December 11, 2011 | 0 Comments 

Can I Have a Word, was developed by the Barbican Education team, to give teachers ideas and resources to inspire creative writing in the classroom, and features specially commissioned poems from leading UK poets.

There are four distinctive units. Changing Voices, for example, aims to make poetry come alive, engage all the senses and allow the children to be inspired to create their own. The poems from Changing Voices link directly with the poetry units of work for Y3-6 and supports non-fiction work on the life of Nelson Mandela.

Try Matthew Sweeney’s top tips on writing poems too.

The Potato Story

| December 10, 2011 | 0 Comments 

The Potato Story contains four interactive and easy-to-use modules about plant and potato growth, and healthy eating too, covering a wide section of the KS2 Programme of Study for Sc 2 – Life Processes and Living things and Sc 1 – Experimental and Investigative Science.

There are lesson plans and support material for a range of activities on aspects like the life cycle of plants, growing your own potatoes, and some of the elements of a balanced meal.

Music Shake

| December 9, 2011 | 0 Comments 

Musicshake enables you to “CREATE, LISTEN, DISCOVER and SHARE originally-created music. Musicshake select from 1.3 million original music samples to create your own original music”.

Musicshake is quick and easy.

It is easy because you don’t need any musical training to use Musicshake – you just need to know whether you like what you hear. It is quick because you can literally complete a track in under a minute – of course, you can spend more time perfecting and fine-tuning your songs.

Musicshake is a “FREE to PLAY” service. It is free to create an account, make, post, share, embed, and listen to music. Downloading songs (if you chose to) is not free.

Currently there are only two tempos: 90 and 140 beats per minute (bpm) which you choose before you start making your song. (This going to be changed “in the near future”). Currently all music you make is in the key of G. There is a huge range of sounds though.

Whilst there are a few drawbacks, Musicshake is a superb way to introduce the construction of soundscapes from some high quality building blocks.

Somerset SASH Conference,Taunton Rugby Club

| December 9, 2011 | 6 Comments 

A day for the Somerset Association of Secondary Headteachers, or SASH for short. Our remit was to “uplift and re-energise battered Heads”.  We hope that is what we achieved.

There were around thirty heads, and ICT coordinators, from schools across Somerset. Continue Reading

Life Cycle of Plants

| December 8, 2011 | 1 Comment 

The Birmingham Grid for Learning‘s resource The Life Cycle of Plants, is a very simple but effective set of revision activities to familiarise pupils with, well, um, the life cycle of plants.

Explore the About Plants section for more ideas, including changing the colour of plants, investigating the shape of seeds, & identification charts to help identify the flowers, trees & shrubs around your school.

Blobz Electric Circuits

| December 7, 2011 | 0 Comments 

Andy Thelwell’s “Blobz” is targetted at 7-to 11-year olds

The hosts, a group of simple animated characters called ‘The Blobz’ and the absent-minded Professor Flobsworth. ‘The Blobz Guide to Electric Circuits’ the basic principles of electric circuits, about the need for a complete circuit and a power source to be present. You can learn about how switches work, about which materials make good conductors, how the length and thickness of wires affects the current in a circuit, how circuit diagrams can be used to describe circuits and more.

Aspects include—‘What makes circuits work’, ‘Conductors & Insulators’, ‘Switches’, ‘Changing Circuits’ & ‘Circuit Diagrams’. Each section has useful info, an interactive activity and a quiz.

ICT For Education Magazine Conference, Swansea

| December 7, 2011 | 22 Comments 

Two further keynote sessions at the ICT For Education Magazine Conference, at The Liberty Stadium, at Swansea.

In our first session, at the almost unearthly hour of 08:15, was still incredibly well attended, despite it feeling like “Badger 0’clock” or “Milking Time past midnight” We presented some accessible tools and ideas for raising the levels of creativity, writing, speaking and listening among children of all ages. We described the powerful effect of using games, Web2 tools, software, handheld devices and more to model a way of teaching that focuses on quality learning, rather than the latest gadget. We also investigated how virtual worlds, with their stunning landscapes, peaceful characters and realistic challenges, can be used across subject areas, abilities and age ranges to deliver remarkable effects. Continue Reading