Archive for February, 2012

Using Myst IV Revelation at Brockenhurst Primary School

| February 5, 2012 | 0 Comments 

After our visit to Brockenhurst Primary School, at the beginning of the year, we are grateful to Polly Ashness, Year Four teacher, for sending us her thoughts on the impact that just one element, Myst, has had in her class. Thank you, and well done, Polly and her fellow adventurers.

This year, Year 4 have taken on the challenge of Myst IV. Travelling through the different ages together; one person controlling where we go, the other reading from a walkthrough, we have spent 6 weeks breathing, eating and sleeping Myst. The children have come across incredible graphics, scenery and storylines, all of which have been used as tools for writing. They have experienced different genres, fiction and non-fiction writing, weather reports, character analysis, instructions, poetry, team work and even problem solving, number and shape issues in maths, to name but a few.

There has been a marked improvement in the quality and enjoyment of writing; the children see a purpose to what they do. Continue Reading

The 100 word Challenge

| February 4, 2012 | 10 Comments 

Have you tried The 100 Word Challenge yet? The weekly creative writing challenge for children under 16 years of age, is a simple but really motivating concept for writers of all abilities to tackle. Each week a prompt is given, which can be a picture or a series of individual words & the children can use up to 100 words to write a creative piece.

By setting a limited word count with a focused theme and a guaranteed audience beyond the class teacher, children have far greater motivation for writing. Those who are reluctant writers feel safe with only 100 words to write, whilst those more advanced writers can really extend themselves with the word restriction.

(Those first two paragraphs were exactly 100 words long, by the way, & getting it like that WAS…a challenge).

One of the special things about The 100 Word Challenge is that those entering a piece are encouraged to visit other blogs and leave a constructive comment. Peer ‘talking’ to peer is very powerful and can create some real improvement when children respond to suggestions from other children.

It also provides another teaching point for teachers to show children how to comment constructively.

The 100 Word Challenge has been used for homework tasks and up leveling practice as well as a regular writing activity. Teachers have found that this has helped with their workload. It certainly helps drive traffic to a blog which in turn helps the motivation for blogging in general. The Quadblogging phenomenon has been able to use The 100 Word Challenge for a shared activity. This of course provides an international audience.

Above all – it is fun! Children feel challenged and then really rewarded when they see the comments. Go for it!

Well done Julia Skinner, @theheadsoffice, for a great idea.

Exploring more of Vietnam

| February 3, 2012 | 0 Comments 

Memrise – language learning… and much more.

| February 2, 2012 | 0 Comments 

Want to learn a language in an enjoyable, fast and free way- Memrise is an online vocabulary learning application that turns that tasks into games. You can use Memrise for a HUGE range of other elements, as well as learning languages. It is a technique that makes memorising new concepts really practical, and enjoyable.

Why not try learning Vietnamese? We have found it useful to research new vocab as we explore further here at the moment.

When you get in to Memrise-ing, don’t forget to do other things too.

Zotero (and Quotepad)

| February 1, 2012 | 0 Comments 

Zotero collects all your research in a single, searchable interface. You can add PDFs, images, audio and video files, snapshots of web pages, and really anything else. Zotero automatically indexes the full-text content of your library, enabling you to find exactly what you’re looking for with just a few keystrokes.

Zotero is an extension for the Firefox web-browser. It runs in its own pane within Firefox, separately from web pages.

Zotero is, at the most basic level, a citation manager. It is designed to store, manage, and cite bibliographic references, such as books and articles. In Zotero, each of these references constitutes an item.

Every item contains different metadata, depending on what type it is. Items can be everything from books, articles, and documents to web pages, artwork, films, sound recordings, an so much more.

You might want to also try Quotepad. (A gem we have mentioned before but is one of great value for anyone who is studying.

Please let us know how you get on with either of these, if you try them.

British International School, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 3

| February 1, 2012 | 0 Comments 

WOW! Another great day, at the British International School, Ho Chi Minh City, in Vietnam, full of challenges and superb successes. Well done indeed, to all of the staff and children, for braving intense heat (for real) and freezing cold climates, where ice shards clawed at our skin “for real” (nudge nudge wink wink – suspend our disbelief) in the virtual worlds!

Thank you to Ian Battersby, Deputy Head at The Tu Xuong Primary Campus, for his thoughts on why he invited us to make this journey to Saigon: Continue Reading