Archive for October, 2015

A whiteboard sensory experience ~ Beautiful Curves

| October 26, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Beautiful Curves is a living art experience, sending almost organic curving lines dancing around lines you draw.

This would make a great sensory experience, on a whiteboard, for those who would enjoy, and benefit from triggering, controlling and creating their own curling, twirling, flowing, growing, art works.

Experiment with the parameters and you might find other uses, such as exploring letter formation…

Vyew ~ collaborate in style

| October 23, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Vyew allows you to meet and share content in real-time or anytime. Upload images, files, documents and videos into a room. Users can access and contribute at anytime.

It’s easy – no installations and can be used on PC, Mac, Linux, working with powerpoints, documents, images, videos, mp3’s, flash files.

  • It’s FREE! – The free version is “free forever”. Upgrade to remove advertising and raise your user limits.
  • Conferencing features – whiteboarding, video conferencing, screen sharing, Voice-over-IP.
  • Collaboration features – continuous rooms are always saved and always-on. Contextual discussion forums, voice-notes, track and log activity. Give it a go and let me know.

Rhyme n Learn – 25 squeaky clean maths and science raps

| October 22, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Rhyme ‘n Learn, (“Music That Puts The Cool Back In School”), is maths and science taught by mnemonics. Mnemonics use word associations like rhymes so that a term or fact is easier to recall later. An example of a mnemonic is “In fourteen hundred ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” or “Thirty days hath September. All the rest I can’t remember!”

Rhyme ‘n Learn was created by teacher Joe Ocando, who has taught maths and science to students of all ages and discovered that many find it difficult to memorize hundreds of new terms and facts. Rap seemed to help, and does seem to make some concepts easier to remember.

The concepts covered are more suited to older students Examples include Pi Rap | Don’t Let Pi Make Ya Cry and Rational and Irrational Numbers Rap | E-rational Thoughts

Type a maths or science term in the search bar on the site to find a mnemonic for it. If you can’t find it, send content suggestions to

Don’t forget another teacher led site “MathTrain”. Mathtrain.TV is a free educational “kids teaching kids” project from middle school mathematics teacher Eric Marcos & his students.

Both sites could be a great inspiration to students to create explanatory videos, or raps.


| October 21, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Mathtrain.TV is a free educational “kids teaching kids” project from middle school mathematics teacher Eric Marcos & his students at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica, CA, U.S.A.

A great inspiration to other students to create their own explanatory videos too.

It is part of the Project and was created to host their student-created maths video lessons. It is Web 2.0 friendly with its ability for users to generate “ratings” and “comments”. The middle school students use a tablet pc and screen-capturing software, Camtasia Studio, to create the tutorials (screencasts or mathcasts) which are used for classroom instruction and posted onto sites such as Mathtrain.TV,, iTunes, YouTube, and TeacherTube

Students work hard at creating the content and construct the best explanations they can in an unscripted format. Some include captions.

Eric and his students invite other students and teachers, parents and educators to help contribute to this global collaborative effort. They are especially interested in student-created “mathcasts”, hence the “kids teaching kids” motto.

I have already learned LOADS,and that’s amazing: I took two mathematics exams, and failed all THREE of them! 😀

Springline Partnership of Schools, Oxfordshire ~ Day 2

| October 21, 2015 | 1 Comment 

Stockham Primary

Following an INSET Day in September 2015, today a day of lessons and further training for Springline Partnership of Schools at Stockham Primary School, Wantage.The 8 schools include Stockham School, Stanford in the Vale, St Amands Catholic School, The Hendreds Primary, Fitzwaryn Special School, Grove Church of England School, Uffington Primary and The Ridgeway CE School.

Thanks again to Ruth Burbank, head teacher at Stockham for coordinating our visit.

Characters in the villageWe travelled, with classes of Year 5 and 6, and their “big people”, through a land that went beyond the virtual and became so real we could see it, hear it, but also smell it, touch it, feel it, and build some powerful language within it. The mysterious, yet peaceful, village we found ourselves standing in, inspired some lovely extended writing, speaking and listening, role play, and inventiveness.

In fact, we didn’t actually move very far, just turned and took two steps. That is the aim really: Not to move too much. Rather, to take time in a place. It is also a great reflection on the children and staff today. They didn’t NEED to move. They were more than able to use words, humour, imagination, and character to make us feel we had gone many miles.

The afternoon, and we had the pleasure of spending time with the Year 2 pupils and their teachers. What stylish word play followed. We looked at how to stretch an idea beyond the initial temptation to “stick” at he first word. To “twist” our thoughts, and “come up trumps“. When exploring this land, and later, with the teachers, we also considered how “time” is something we need to think about. Taking time, allowing each other time, not filling all of time, stretching time, enjoying different speeds of time.And, what an enjoyable time we had!

This combination: of a training day, paired up with a day of lessons, gives us a lot of opportunity to explore the power of the digital/analogue mix. We have always said that we don’t advocate using virtual worlds as an alternative to getting out and about in the analogue landscapes around us. (Although, it is a lot safer and a lot less insurance than a school trip!!) There is no better experience than taking a group of children out into the world. It is powerful, though, to see that the experiences children have within the classroom settings, and the structured way these activities develop speaking and listening skills, have a big effect on the way their classes take part in trips and camps. Groups of children sharing ideas and solving problems collaboratively and creatively, using some of the skills they have acquired in their “virtual travels”.

This group know about a the strong need for REAL experiences, enhanced by digital tools. The use of the landscapes and the modelling of questioning techniques enable the pupils’ imaginations to take flight. It was delightful to see children today write with abandon. But, you still can’t beat the real. We were impressed by the enthusiastic responses from the Stockham crew. They threw themselves into the challenges and came up with some inventive, imaginative ideas. All with a lot of laughter. Thanks folks!

Back To The Future Day

| October 20, 2015 | 0 Comments 


Back to their future crewOctober 21, 2015 – Back to the Future Day. The date that Marty McFly and Dr Emmett “Doc” Brown chose to travel forward in time from 1985 in the hit sequel Back To The Future II.

Try this timer HERE

Picfull, easy photo editing + Picasion, animated gifs

| October 20, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Picfull is a quick, easy and very effective way of modifying photographs online. About 18 effects, with lots of varieties.

Picasion is great for making, quick, animated gifs ->

Valley Road Primary, Oxfordshire ~ Day 2

| October 20, 2015 | 1 Comment 

Valley Road Primary

Valley Road PrimaryBack, for a day of lessons, at Valley Road Primary School, with the Y2 pupils and the Y5/6 pupils.

It is always a joy to watch “growded-ups” and children, take off and fly, with speaking and listening, writing, exploring, creating and more. Joined again by colleagues from schools from The Henley Partnership: Shiplake CE Primary, Trinity CE Primary, Sacred Heart Catholic Primary, Stephen Freeman Primary and Badgemore Primary.

“Verbal jazz”, the ability to make things up on the spur of the moment, is a skill that empowers every kind of person, in so many walks of life.

We need to encourage creating sentences, and ideas, as they go. Trying and flying. … … …

One of the techniques we use is to get children, or adults, to start talking when they get asked a question. For example, “Aha! A good question, my child…” said one of the characters today. He was young, but still got so much in to the role that we believed he was a grizzly, old retainer.

Valley Road Primary

levitating convincinglyThat “starting to talk”, rather than nervously umm-ing and ahh-ing whilst you wait for the words to come, means that you break your own nervous silence.

The words you want, and didn’t even know you had within you, appear to flop in to place behind those opening phrases.

“Start and the rest will follow”, seems to give confidence to even the most reluctant speakers.
The same principal also feeds ideas for even the most reluctant writers. Start, however stumbling you may feel, and you might find you are running with words in a short space of time.

(How about the lad, to the left, “hovering confidently”!)

Thanks again to Head Teacher Tim Coulson for the invitation to spend time with his delightful children and colleagues.

Thank you to the teachers for sharing their thoughts, both verbally and here for the blog:

Rosie Wilkinson from Badgemore Primary:

During the two day training with Tim and Sarah I have been excited, amazed and quite frankly, blown away by all of the new and interesting ways of including technology into the classroom. As a self diagnosed technophobe the thought of putting this into practice unnerved me, but,  I got home after day 1 and immediately downloaded some of the apps that Tim and Sarah had introduced to us and started working out how to use them and deciding on different lesson ideas and teaching techniques.
Day 2 was all about observing and joining in with Tim’s teaching and it was fantastic. I felt not only like I was learning a huge amount but I could see how much the children were gaining from the teaching and it was hugely beneficial to see how I could implement different aspects of technology and different techniques into my teaching.

Carolyne Harrison from  Stephen Freeman Primary:

I have had an incredibly inspirational and usable experience learning and applying some amazing tech and ideas. All stuff that is instantly applicable in the classroom. From using a cup to drink out of to give a child time to extend and develop their ideas to tech that allows the class mascot to speak to them. The techniques used to give the children a chance to think and process and by the time you want them to write they are chomping at the bit, ALL of them! Full immersion into a world where you can wonder what’s up there, where does that go, how long has it been there and how can we get there and acting out our verbs and adverbs with purpose. There are so many ideas it would be impossible to go through them all but I am planning to try all of them over the next millennium!

Tim Hoskins from Badgemore Primary:

I don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account and I would rather go for a walk than play a computer game. However, working with Tim and Sarah has been inspirational. I have been exposed to so many awesome computing ideas that are simple to use (minimal planning time) incredibly child-friendly (great for behavior management) and free (no need to fill in any expenses form.)
This is a must experience for any teachers who intend to carry on teaching in the future. Unfortunately, IT stuff is changing faster than the primary school curriculum.

WeVideo ~ collaborative cloud based video editing

| October 19, 2015 | 0 Comments 

WeVideo is a cloud-based video editing platform that allows you to create videos, online, enabling remote students to collaborate, with invited others, on projects, editing, adding titles, effects, animation, music, narration and more.

If you shoot videos with your mobile phone or camera and would love to professionally edit them in only a few clicks, then WeVideo is just what you need. WeVideo is accessible via the browser of smartphones, tablets and computers, so it can be used anywhere there is internet connectivity. Film in the field & others start editing back at school before your return.

The free option includes: 2 GB storage, 720p resolution, and more. Worth investigating.

Valley Road Primary, Oxfordshire ~ Day 1

| October 19, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Valley Road Primary

Valley Road PrimaryAfter an incredible couple of weeks in South Africa, it was a joy to spend an INSET day with the folk from Valley Road Primary School, Valley Road, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, and The Henley Partnership of schools.

Colleagues joining us from Shiplake CE Primary, Trinity CE Primary, Sacred Heart Catholic Primary and Badgemore Primary.

Thank you to Head Teacher Tim Coulson, for inviting us to spend two days with his colleagues. Tomorrow, some mystical explorations with the children and staff.

Today, we started off with a joint exploration of some of the visual literacy ideas. Exploring some of those remarkable elements of the computing curriculum. We had a good look at how we can use a huge variety of resources as a spring board for creativity across the curriculum. When using computer games as a stimulus for writing, there are so many different genres that can flow from the images and experiences. With many immersive games, descriptive narrative is perhaps the most natural, due to the engaging nature of the landscapes.

However, a huge variety of writing styles can be inspired by our journeys through these worlds.

We had a look, today, at some of the other forms including journalistic writing, holiday brochures and informative texts, instructions and explanations, poetry, interviews, and so much more.

We are looking forward to working with the children of the school tomorrow, and our focus will be investigating the power that digital games have in developing confidence in many forms of analogue writing.

And then, a twilight, with folks coming along after an already long day teaching, to experience a whistle-stop tour through some of the wonderful digital resources available out there.

Valley Road Primary

Socrative ~ still a great tool

| October 18, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Socrative is a system that uses cell phones and or laptops, for gathering feedback from students. “As easy as raising your hand”.

You can post as many questions as you like in a variety of formats. One of the more “fun” question formats is the “race” format in which students can work individually or in teams to answer questions as quickly as possible. This video offers a nice overview of the Socrative system.