Author Archive: Sarah
“TOOLS TO TELL A TALE”
Improving reading and writing through tech
Book online here!
A one-day course presented by three key gures in primary education: Pie Corbett, David Mitchell and Tim Rylands. in conjunction with NAPE.
“Be part of an evolving story alongside children from around the world, investigating a wondrous collection of digital and analog gems for bringing learning alive.
Join us, as we travel across dangerous terrain, through swamp-infested landscapes, and to the top of crumbling towers, all through the power of inventive technologies. Be a part of a live writing master-class, with children from Skye to Sydney, responding to this creative challenge.An intriguing, imaginative and exciting experience, for those joining the journey, leaving everyone with copious practical ideas, approaches and technical tools to take back and use in their own teaching, with children of all ages, and abilities.”
- discover a vast range of ways to use tech to enhance literacy
- explore methods of engaging interest, and developing communication
- be introduced to the power of blogging
- experience a Coveritlive collaborative writing session
- investigate shared writing in conjunction with powerful, accessible technology
- be part of creating a story that travels around the world, and is built upon by children across the globe.
“This one-day workshop will help inject the creativity back into your classroom, mixing digital methods with traditional writing strategies, and will provide you with a host of practical and simple ideas to apply in your KS2 and KS3 literacy lessons. The talented trio have a proven impact on standards, achievement and enjoyment – making this day a must for any English teacher”.
Tools to Tell a Tale Event with Pie Corbett, David Mitchell, Tim Rylands and Sarah Neild, Wednesday May 25th, Main Auditorium Hall, School of Education Harcourt Hill Campus Oxford OX2 9AT.
Book online here!
Alternatively, print booking your booking form, fill in and post with a cheque, or invoice details, from this link.
Following yesterday’s INSET for the Pickwick Learning Teaching School Alliance today is a lessons day at Corsham Primary School. A morning with two Y5 classes and one Y2 class of pupils in the afternoon with teachers and TAs attending the sessions followed by an after school session with any staff who wish to come along and find out more about these sessions.. Many thanks again to James Passmore, Deputy Head of Corsham Primary, for coordinating today’s sessions.
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!
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.
Instead of letting on that you have a learning objective, already in the appropriate box (and written in bold, so that the inspector doesn’t miss it on your planning!) it can be an effective spur to action, can’t it, if we “suddenly make the idea up, on the spur of the moment” ;-D
And, it is not about the technology. You could do what we did today about a big book, an artefact, or even a blank piece of paper.
Today, we explored some of the potential for imaginative, inventive and INNOVATIVE, “creative” use of technology, to bring our learning environments alive with the Pickwick Learning Teaching School Alliance at Springfields Community Centre, Corsham, with delegates from Corsham Primary School, Malmesbury Primary School, University of Gloucestershire, Sea Mills Primary School, Headley Park Primary School, Emlea Infants School, St Michael’s CE Primary School and Wallscourt Farm Academy.
Many thanks to James Passmore, Deputy Head of Corsham Primary, for coordinating our visit and sharing his thoughts here for the blog:
Corsham Primary School is a large academy primary school based in North Wiltshire, and prides itself as being a centre of excellence in the community constantly striving to improve. It has a dedicated team of leaders, teachers and support staff who work exceptionally well together, all focussed on improving outcomes for the 630 pupils at the school. Corsham Primary has a long history of working collaboratively and supporting other schools, and is proud to be the lead school in Pickwick Learning Teaching School Alliance.
Pickwick Learning is a growing alliance of 30 schools, a chain of nurseries, three universities and several businesses and charities, based across five local authority areas. It has recruited exceptional specialist leaders of education who provide school to school support services, undertakes educational research and identifies networking opportunities. Pickwick Learning offers a wide range of professional development opportunities and seized the chance to work with Tim and Sarah to showcase some of the extraordinary work they do helping to excite and engage writers across the world.
Education can sometimes be a little slow in its uptake of new technologies.
Whatever format, whatever degree of complexity, there has been a slight history of initial reluctance, before, eventually, some have involved “this new stuff” in their classroom environments. Whether it is a stick and sand, wax tablets, scrolls, books, slides, film, video, computers, PowerPoint, YouTube films, and beyond, …they have all been integrated in to teaching sessions, in some way though.
All the way through, however, these new tools have often been used to modify the way a teacher presents facts, and information, to their pupils. They have had more impact on TEACHING, than on LEARNING.
In many educational settings, the relationships, and interactions, stay unchanged: A teacher, as “Sage on the Stage”, imparting their wisdom, information, and knowledge, to an unsuspecting audience sat in front of them. Are we training our children how to come to school, sit, bored, for a few hours, and get away with it without being spotted?
In the same way, challenges (or, sadly, what we more often call “Tasks”), the independent elements of a lesson, can remain, rooted to the spot, for a long time: children still wading through printed text books, step-by-step, and completing units set by teachers, in, and out of, the classroom?
How much ICT has impacted upon, and benefited this part of the education process, is still debatable.
Is there a chance that ICT can still be thought of as “When students go to the computers”, or “When they get to do some typing”.
Students might take notes in an electronic fashion. They might study, and research, through the internet, then use a word processor to write up that research. They may, even, produce a PowerPoint slideshow, and potentially email it to a teacher, before it is shown to a class.
On a basic level, very little has changed.
A great way to start the Summer Term: Inset for The Chipping Norton Partnership of schools at Middle Barton School. Thank you to headteacher Jane Tailby for inviting us and coordinating today’s INSET.
‘Having seen Tim present at the Headteacher’s Conference in March 2015, are now delighted to be hosting Tim Rylands for the staff of the local Chipping Norton Partnership of schools’ INSET day on Monday 11th April.
Schools participating in this training day include: Middle Barton Primary School, Enstone Primary School, Great Tew Primary School, Great Rollright Primary School, Kingham Primary School, Hook Norton Primary School, St.Mary’s C of E Primary School, Holy Trinity Catholic Primary School and Chipping Norton School.
The school have a focus on the children enjoying their writing, having a belief, and confidence to believe they can do it, understanding that creativity is possible alongside the pressures that raising standards can put on teachers, and children. Feedback marking has its place, and benefits. We explored ways of developing enthusiasm to write, to enable that feedback to be based on real writing, for purpose, and building the desire to take off and fly.
This is a group of teachers who are up for anything. A bubbling passion can make the difference between a mundane, meandering, unfulfilling session and an incredible, meaningful learning experiences.
Writing can sometimes feel like something we inflict upon children and, whilst they do it, we go off and do something else, far more mysterious, intriguing and interesting, almost as if writing is beneath us.
It is vital to join children in whatever, essentially challenging, enjoyable task we set. Modelling can be one of the best ways of scribing. Some children don’t know what enjoying working looks like. Much in the same way that if we read a newspaper in front of a toddler we might find that they are imitating us and doing the same thing (O.K. It’s upside down but it’s the idea) it can be valuable to sit, amongst our pupils and rise to challenges ourselves.
The first of our two days at Spring Lane Primary. A school situated in the centre of Northampton town, serving with respect a diverse and vibrant community. Thanks go to Headteacher Alex Owens for inviting us, her staff and her colleagues from neighbouring schools and the Collaborative Academies Trust: St Barnabas Church of England School, Lumbertubs Primary, Willowdown Primary Academy, Priorswood Primary, Wellesley Park Primary, Manor Court Primary, Willow Brook Primary and Woolavington Village Primary.
Thank you to Gary Avery, Assistant Headteacher, for coordinating our visit, and for his thoughts here:
We are looking for ways to inspire our children to go ‘beyond’ what they think they are capable of, to develop imagination and creativity. Our teachers do a fantastic job but we think something different, innovative and that taps directly into the things our children are interested in will provide the spark for rapid progress. We have complete confidence that our staff will be able to integrate the new ideas and then add to them so that we end up with something that is perfectly adapted for our children.
A wonderful opportunity to spend a day with the pupils and staff at Griffeen Valley Educate Together National School.
A huge THANK YOU to Susan Nic Réamoinn, Junior Infant Teacher for coordinating today’s sessions and to Tomaś Ó Dúlaing, Priomhoide of Griffeen Valley Educate Together National School for accommodating us and making us so welcome.
A full morning with 50+ 10/11 years olds, with their teachers, exploring a ‘Village’ setting in Myst 4: Revelation. Talk. speculation, sharing, thinking and taking ownership of this place, brought it from the virtual, into reality. Similes, and silences, enabled their ideas to flourish and take shape, forming images in our imaginations – gorgeous! We met characters, children up for tackling new ideas and risk-taking, found themselves becoming confident in their roles, expanding on fictional happenings with great detail and flare.
In our afternoon, we adventured with with the 6/7 year olds and teachers, adventuring through their creations, notions and persuasions, as we wandered through caves, climbed trees and became intrepid explorers.
The children in this group wondered, and enthused, about strange objects as we investigated Edanna, the helix plants and the birds inhabiting this beautiful world, talking and writing with passion and interest – WELL DONE.
Great to be in CESI, Computers in Education Society of Ireland, voluntarily supporting ICT in Education in Ireland since 1973. It is for anyone with an interest in the potential of technology to enhance the teaching and learning experience for all involved in education.
The conference is the highlight of the activities of CESI each year. It provides a welcome opportunity for those who have been communicating on line to have face to face time. There is a mix between presentations and workshops where practitioners have the opportunity to share with one another in a practical way. You can view the details of many previous conferences in the conference section of this website. Live streaming of the keynote and capstone presentations has occurred more frequently as bandwidth has increased. You can view some of these presentations on the CESI YouTube channel and see pictures from previous conferences on the CESI Flickr page.
We have been blessed to do keynotes before at CESI.
A recurring theme of today was the balance that is needed between planning what you want to achieve in lessons, and flying with ideas. Children can lead in many of the game based sessions, but you do need to have a clear idea of objectives and intended outcomes. However, it is important to take the brakes off and fly a bit as well. It is really crucial to explore game environments in a structured, but not overly planned, way initially. e.g. to have an idea about what kind of things you can cover but not predetermine a route or how long you are going to spend in each location. It is important to become familiar with the games yourself at first. Then, when you begin explorations with a class, to be prepared to cover less physical ground than you might expect.
You may only “move” one “pace” but the children will be able to see how a new paragraph can begin with just a turn of the head, or reaching out to move a lever. Standing outside a door is a classic example of how tension and expectation can be built within a writer’s, and reader’s mind.
Wholly without warning, wild wet winds woke us wailing weirdly -waging war with wind-tossed waters. We witnessed a wreck within this watery wasteland, where withering westerly winds, and waves wrought swathes of wretchedness.
Yet not one withering wallflower awaited us!
We witnessed wayfaring weather-beaten waifs, wearied & well-nigh weeping, worn-out from their wanderings. We worried for their well-being. This was wasted
Waiting within wattled, withered & weighty wooden walls, these waterproofed weirdos, instead of wailing woefully, welcomed us warmly and wrapped us in wondrous words, wild with what wholly warranted ripples of applause.
Writing isn’t “working”. Word wizards waved their wooden wands – whittling, wringing worlds from words, sending them wistfully wriggling, wheeling, windmilling, & weaving in to the air!
We wished we could wend our way further, but with well-timed wisdom, we wound up our walks. Well done one and all. Wonderful!
On Saturday 27th February 2016 the Computers in Education Society of Ireland (CESI) held its annual conference. The venue for this year’s conference being Dublin City University (DCU). The conference was preceded by the now-traditional TeachMeet CESI event, which was heldat the Regency Hotel, Dublin.
2015 saw the launch of Ireland’s Digital Strategy for Schools which aims to “greatly enhance the learning experience and lifelong learning skills of all our students”. The foreword to the strategy calls upon all teachers “to use ICT in the classroom to bring learning to life for students; to give learners the tools to collaborate and to examine engaging problems; to research and analyse information; and to use ICT resources to communicate their ideas and to share what they create with others beyond the walls of their classroom or school”
With this in mind, the theme for the 2016 CESI annual conference was “Our Digital Strategy – making IT matter”. Ireland’s Digital Strategy for Schools was put into practice by the participants of this conference in the years to come. This year’s event focused upon an understanding of the importance of information technology in education, the potentials and problems that lie ahead in implementing the Digital Strategy for Schools, and the ways in which it can make a meaningful and magical curriculum for the learners.
A return visit to trip to Bath Spa University to work with their Primary and Early Years PGCE trainees.
Thanks to Emma Asprey, Senior Lecturer, at the School of Education for inviting us to the university, to spend precious time with her students,
Thanks to Emma for her thoughts: We were very pleased to welcome Tim and Sarah back to Bath Spa University to mark the halfway point in the PGCE programme and provide some extra magic and inspiration to our trainees as they embark on their final placements. It was such a treat to be immersed in Tim’s playful and imaginative world of learning. Staff and trainees enjoyed learning together, having fun and exploring their own creativity in a unique blend of virtual and very real experiences. We’re thrilled that so many children will benefit from these ideas being brought into classrooms to enrich their learning.
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Encouraging confidence, and creativity, in children of all ages and abilities, CAN help them achieve
Analog principles are vital to make digital tools effective Energy, in some ways, is even more valuable than the books, pencils, and technology in our rooms. It’s about ethos, character and atmosphere. This energy starts with one individual in every classroom: the teacher. It is always good to remember, though easily forgotten, to show our classes we are glad to see them, and also show them how happy we are to be there, excited by what is going to happen, or could happen, if they join us. How important it is to greet your pupils as they arrive. Meet them smiling. Smile as much as possible during the session too. Then, and this is essential: Say farewell to every one of them, as they leave, past you, at the door, perhaps with a handshake. At least, with a smile. This can build a real positive confidence in a child: “Whatever I didn’t get, didn’t understand – whatever I became frustrated with, whatever I lost my patience with – whatever mistakes I made, my teacher STILL THINKS I’M ALRIGHT and TOMORROW WILL BE O.K”.