Archive for November, 2016


| November 29, 2016 | 0 Comments 


Kompoze is one for those of you who …compose… from time to time, but are short on people to play with, to bring that music alive. Create songs with a bass player in Birminham, a drummer in Dortmund, and a guitarist in Goa…or from across the street?

Wavepad (great tool)

| November 25, 2016 | 0 Comments 

WavePad is free audio editing software that can be used across many platforms*. The tablet version has the big advantage of not limiting your recording size (apart from the free space left on your device *Windows and Mac iPad, & Android.

Kenilworth Consortium of Schools, Warwickshire

| November 18, 2016 | 1 Comment 


Today an INSET day for the Kenilworth Consortium of Schools: 8 primary schools, 150+ teachers and TAs from St John’s Primary School and Nursery, Priors Field Primary, Clinton Primary School, St Augustines Primary School, St Nicholas Primary School, All Saint Primary, All Saints’ School Church of England, V.A. Primary School and Burton Green Primary School (Federated with All Saints).

Many thanks to Darren Barrow, Head Teacher, St John’s Primary School and Nursery for coordinating arrangements for today’s event. Jo, the admin lady at St Nicholas Primary School for co-ordinating the venue arrangements. Lucy, the Consortia Co-ordinator, who liaised with her regarding the venue arrangements.

Today was a day spent almost entirely digitally, with colleagues from across the consortium. We explored a vast amount of online resources, perfect for bringing learning experiences even more alive.

We looked at how technology should support the experiences children have, not replace them, – there can be no replacement for the doing – technology, combined with the sensory experiences that we help to supply, can help them on the journey to developing the basic skills of oracy and then to using their ‘scribbly sticks’, or digital tools, with increasing confidence and effectiveness.

There is a huge, and accessible, range of digital, and analogue, ways to engage, and motivate students of all ages, and abilities, These elements are not only essential for quality learning experiences to take place, but can also have a massive impact on standards, achievement… and enjoyment!

It was some of that massive amount of, freely available, tools that we explored and experimented with today. Well done all.

A huge thank you to everybody.

Richmond Hill Primary, Leeds ~ Day 3

| November 9, 2016 | 1 Comment 


Five groups of Y5 pupils ~ One challenge, today at Richmond Hill Primary to create wondrous wildlings, mysterious intriguing oddities, using some inventive digital, and analog tools. A huge THANK YOU to all the staff for their support and enthusiasm and, especially, to Morag Clunie, Assistant Headteacher, for coordinating all arrangements and looking after us so beautifully!! THANK YOU

We brewed up our own concoctions of combination creatures, researched about them, and presented our findings using some magical, online gems. The link to the padlet of results is here.

We enjoyed a full on and up for it Ani~smiles/animals/animules time with all the folk here today, both adults and children. Taking a journey in the digital age and the analog one, we all set out on an amazing adventure.

Reading and writing are a stimulus and model building sophistication in children’s own writing. Speaking and listening, come alive when we expose children to new opportunities, valid, interesting and real, whether that is through ICT, trips, or other experiences.

Oral rehearsal boosts quality and confidence … sometimes, making it up as we go, verbal, or written “jazz”, produces some of the most intriguing, and fascinating results. Today, we looked at how to inspire all of these elements, through the use of technology and beyond. Well done all.

We created, researched and reported on, our own magical imaginings, and, using creative technologies, we went wild and woolly with our new, remarkable creatures.

Together we explored the power of inventive technologies and visual literacy elements, and saw how they can have a huge impact on raising confidence in children across the curriculum…

A massive well done, and Thank you to all of the staff and children today at Richmond Hill who shared their animules in one form or another.

“We know this is true because we made it up ourselves”.

(definitely “Richmond Hill Ready”!)

Richmond Hill Primary, Leeds ~ Day 2

| November 8, 2016 | 4 Comments 


A second day in Leeds and doing some analog wandering in digital landscapes, with the children of Richmond Hill Primary.

We explored everything from persuasive language and balanced arguments, through to taking off and flying with descriptive imaginations of what might lay beyond where we stood, in a mysterious, fantasy landscape.

Today, we took a group of more than Key Stage Two children for a journey in the morning, and an afternoon with thirty Year Two voyagers, exploring some virtual worlds, as an inspiration for talk, drama, and SO much more.

When we’re travelling (or rather, standing still) in the virtual worlds we always hope that it looks like we’re making it up, & that there have been unexpected turns, not only in the way we travel, but also in the route that the lesson itself goes.

In reality, you couldn’t do lesson sessions, like the ones we did today, without knowing EXACTLY what you want to achieve. The aim is to make it look, and feel, and genuinely BE a shared learning journey. Instead of showing that you knew you were going to ask the children to do, it can be a simple, yet incredibly effective step, to pretend you have just made the challenge up yourself.

We explored everything from persuasive language and balanced arguments, through to taking off and flying with descriptive imaginations of what might lay beyond where we stood, in a mysterious, fantasy landscape.

And, it is not about the technology. The fact that the technology enables us to experience moving, living, breathing landscapes is the thing.

It is always interesting, to mix writing, thinking, speaking, and listening, with movement. The use of physical actions to reinforce new concepts and terms can ensure that pupils retain knowledge for use in further activities at later dates. In fact, somebody once said they were quite surprised, when teaching a class about simile and metaphor after being involved in one of these sessions, that their class all started to strike poses and pull funny faces when reciting the terminology!

The strategies adhered to a social constructivist method of learning (I know! oooh er eh?!); we encouraged children to share as a class, in groups and with partners, channeling  their excitement and energy into expressive and focussed activities. Some improvised drama, where children took on spontaneous roles, immersing them in the world on “the screen” ~ although the screen is never referred to, ~ it becomes REAL. These on-the-spot performances were impressive to observe, unleashing come creative power without children being prepared by being given specific lines of dialogue.

After a good deal of discussion, the children wrote spontaneously, producing work of a high quality full of vivid imagery. They were also encouraged to refine their spoken language & clarify their ideas. Despite the length of the session, they remained on task and enthusiastic throughout.

Some superb writing, dramatic involvement and effort all round. Well done ALL!

Richmond Hill Primary, Leeds ~ Day 1

| November 7, 2016 | 7 Comments 

richmond-hill-primaryToday had a day of training with teachers from Richmond Hill Primary with their headteacher Nathan Atkinson. We first met Nathan in Doncaster back in 2011, a truly inspirational head teacher who makes a difference wherever he goes. Well worth reading up on the projects he has championed, especially Fuel for School.

richmond-hill-readyOur focus today was on the tech and how it can be used to engage and motivate, though none of this is possible unless the 4 key areas that Nathan ensures are in place in his schools working. Read more on this here

The teachers were keen to explore the digital tools, techniques and knowhow shared today, building upon the already dynamic teaching they employ.

Our digital days, working alongside teachers, all over the place, have become SO fast, and down~to~the~second FULL, that they are almost impossible to describe now. Things have grown, and developed, as elements have grown, and developed, in the world of the web, and the experiences gathered over the last few years, mean that a whole story has grown, and builds through the day.

Today, at pace, through building a progression to support the introduction of these ideas, we looked at inspiring, accessible tools and ideas, for raising the level of writing, speaking and listening, and creativity in lots of young folk.

Many aspect, had roots from a few years ago, but, oh, how it’s grown: An exploration of virtual worlds, Web2.0 and visual literacy elements, and how they have had a huge impact on raising children’s confidence and collaboration, across the creative curriculum. The games based aspects remain crucial, and powerful, but it’s what they are accompanied by that takes it in different directions.


David Ross Educational Trust, Hull ~ Day 2

| November 1, 2016 | 0 Comments 

wold-academyDay Two at Wold Academy, today with the children and staff.Magic

Today, we explored how “technology” can expand and enhance aspects of the curriculum. We had with a joint exploration of some of the visual literacy ideas that games can inspire.

Doing a bit of magic!

Many of the principles, behind the things we do, around using elements of tech to inspire, engage and motivate chidren, apply right the way through the age ranges in schools. As you might say ~ “From the little snotty ~ to the big spotty”.

We can often be surprised by how inventive, and imaginative, our younger students can be, and need to remember that it is woven in to their way of thinking. Even very small children use such things as simile, and metaphor. “Mr Rylands, Look! Look at the water, it’s like a dancing window!”

Sometimes, because of schemes of work, and external curriculum plans, it can be almost as if we have to overlook some of those skills, and “put it back in” ~ “at the right time”. Surprises are never far though.

When using computer games as a stimulus for writing, there are so many different genres that can flow from the images and experiences. With some of the more realistic experiences of high quality adventure games, descriptive narrative is perhaps the most natural first focus, due to the engaging nature of the landscapes.

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

And, what remarkable thinking was shown today. We even had a balanced argument with a couple of, amazingly brave, soul. In front of sixty other people in the room, their opinion, about our proposed route, was portrayed so clearly. A little bit of “seeing the other side”, or admitting that there is another direction the lesson, and our travels, could take, showed an acceptance of the need for “balance”.

But, to conclude with a final, strong, persuasive argument, and one that we hadn’t heard up until this point, showed great style.