Planning, sharing, repairing, preparing. In the meantime, did you miss, Sir?
Thank you to Bruce Waelend, for sending his thoughts on our day of practical fun, with the Hampshire heads:
What a great day!
The normal format for head teacher conferences is that someone will sit and talk to us about whatever it is – safeguarding or how to spend the Pupil Premium or zonal defence in lacrosse!
Normally there’s a PowerPoint involved and a fair wad of paper handouts.
Speakers tend to be into three categories: there’s the ‘hilarious and inspiring at the time, but I can’t remember a word that they said now’; the ‘serious and interesting with no jokes and lots of research evidence, which leave you feeling that you really need to read more about this but, even if you get the book, don’t’ and finally there is the ‘genuinely inspiring at the time and also has a huge impact in the long term, even to the point of helping you to see the world differently forever’. The third one is rare.
This was none of those. Instead, it was really refreshing and different, forcing head teachers to get off their behinds and do some of the stuff that we are constantly asking children to do – writing, working together, facing deadlines and presenting. However, this was all done in the context of using a range of great free, web-based tools in a real writing context.
I certainly had to face what we ask children to do all the time – the reluctance of working in a group (I’d rather have done it by myself initially), struggling with a task that has just been presented to you that you’re not exactly confident with, and then working with a group of people to produce something under pressure.
I’d quite forgotten the way that you seem to have so much time until you realise that the last few grains are heading to the bottom of the sand-timer.
It was excellent – rather unlike our finished presentation.
I’ve been to great meetings where people have given me all kinds of resources or ideas that can be freely used from the web but without having a context in which to use them, they are rather easily forgotten.
I’ll be able to recommend them, knowing that they work – or at least I know the problems associated with them.
So thanks Tim and Sarah – a cracking day, which got us off to an excellent start to the conference.
Bruce Waelend ~ Hampshire District 2 Headteachers’ Conference, Sandbanks
Something we have used for quite a while now, and involve as just one step in the process of bringing worlds alive, with the schools we work alongside, is the wonderful Google Street View Stereographic. This joyous gem makes your very own, free, explorable, mini planets!
Visit your location, in StreetView Stereographic, & then learn to fly, as it is possible to move around within your world.
Just one way remember, but a fantastic stimulus for talk, discussion, talk for writing, and a whole lot more. Fun!
Together, we explored the progression that can be taken using artifacts and images, then we had a VERY hands-on, have-a-go-day with 22 headteachers, from the Hampshire District 2 Headteachers’ group, in the incredible setting of Sandbanks, near Poole. We had a fun filled investigation of how images, living texts and sound effects, can bring story (re-)telling alive. In groups, we set off in to the picturesque setting of Sandbanks in Poole, capturing scenes to support the telling of a tale, then returned to do some wizardry.
We were joined by colleagues from Barncroft Primary, Denmead School, Emsworth School, Fairfield Infant, Hartplain Infant, Horndean Infant School, Horndean Junior School, Mengham Infant, Mengham Junior, Mill Rythe Infant, Moreland Primary, Petersgate Infant, Purbrook Junior, Sharps Copse Primary, Springwood Infant, Springwood Junior, St. Peters School, and Riders Infants, Queens Inclosure Primary School, St. James C of E Primary and The Federation of Millhill and Woodcroft.
Thank you to Sarah Court, headteacher of Mill Rythe Infant,
Tools explored today included;
Tiltshift Maker bringing miniature characters into life within the locality, or focusing on a significant portion within a landscape, or portrait.
Psykopaint, whisking photographs into paintings. Great artists styles can be
stolen borrowed to enhance aspects of the photos. By darkening, hardlighting, multiplying, overlaying, and manipulating, different feelings, and messages, can be accentuated.
Tagxedo, playing with words, picking them up and juggling them. When used in its full screen (“player only”) mode, it means you can explore your carefully chosen collection of vocabulary, bringing it alive, as you speak.
Music can breathe life in to a story too. Chosen, and crafted carefully, an arrangement of sounds, and instruments, can bring out just the right sensations, and emotions, in a yarn. Soundation was the tool of choice for generating some stunning soundtracks which really enhanced the performances of the sagas.
CleVR creates still, and moving panoramas, from your photos… and a LOT more…
AppMakr is a cool web tool that enables users to easily and instantly build a rich content based app. Just paste in the URL of the website you have, and then start customizing it the way you want. You can add images, videos…etc. The free version is ad supported (and there is a paid version with no ads), but worth giving it a go first, as a learning experience alone.
Our second day with Mill Rythe Infant School on Hayling Island and what a lovely time we had. The children and staff of the school are responsive and ready to take on ideas and challenges. We stood and contemplated, but also explored the world of words, at some speed, sharing and saving suggestions, making decisions, having balanced arguments and recording thoughts.
We started the day with 50+ Mill Rythe Y2 pupils and some Y3 pupils from Mengham Junior School, and visitng teachers from neighbouring schools.
Then in the afternoon we had the pleasure of the Year 1 pupils and some of the Reception Class children.
A huge THANK YOU to Charlotte Tighe, Literacy/KS1 leader for travelling with us today, and yesterday, and recording her thoughts for us here:
Tim and Sarah – Mill Rythe Infants 29th and 30th April 2013
It is always an exciting day when award winning teacher comes to teach you some of his tricks but no-one expected yesterday’s training! As a staff, we had been eagerly anticipating Tim’s visit for a while – we knew that he was an excellent teacher who had won awards, we knew that he was coming to show us ICT techniques to use in the classroom and (those of us who enjoy the trappings of social media) knew he had a twitter! However – although all those things are true, that was not what struck us most.
Put simply – the enthusiasm that he and Sarah showed was infectious! Being a teacher still in the first 5 years of my career, I felt confident that my ICT knowledge was at the very least recent. I knew a few handy websites to help with specific subjects and am a whizz at using a visualizer… but Tim does not visit to show you specific websites for particular subjects or sell you the latest expensive gadget (which will make you choose between buying shiny electronic things or buying yet more whiteboard pens).
From a teacher’s point of view the session Tim and Sarah led was invaluable – the sheer amount of resources they showed us was amazing yet we were not prompted to use this ‘as a science lesson’ or ‘use it in Numeracy to teach this concept’. No. they showed us the technology and let us go on the wondrous journey of ‘wittering about it’! Because we were not prompted to link what they showed us purely to Literacy or Numeracy, we generated cross-curricular ideas that are simple, free and would enthuse our children (possibly to the point of explosion but oh well)!
From a Key Stage Leader viewpoint it was easy to see why Tim is so in demand! The resources and advice he gives applies to all key stages, abilities, type and size of school. However…the main reason that I loved the session is because Tim is not afraid to go out on a limb and do it himself! He is definitely a presenter who practices what he preaches and shows you using video clips of his class, nose picking children and everything.
Although he is well known for his use of the Myst series of video games, it is HOW he has used them that is the true showing of the excellent teacher that he is – linking to fantasy stories, fact sheets, directional movements and more! He further develops this by modelling the strategies with your children, so you can follow this through back in your own classroom.
The time that the staff were given to explore the resources in Myst and the Locked page were invaluable and gave us an opportunity to plan for when we are back in the classroom. I look forward to using the suggestions and resources Tim and Sarah have shown us – especially because they explained how to do everything very clearly and gave us time to practice!
The second day of Tim’s visit was even better – most teachers like to see people using the resources, teaching using the strategies and I am no exception! Tim’s session with Year 2 (and a few Year 3′s we picked up along the way) was brilliant. Exploring the terrain of Myst, speculating about the possibilities of spiral staircases, the wind and the creatures we might find on this mysterious island was truly eye-opening.
Every school has children who have Special Needs or have a speech and language issue – this usually results in the children retreating into their shell and hiding their true selves away – Tim’s session allowed (more than that, encouraged) these children to speak freely and not worry about spellings or handwriting- just to say their ideas, no matter how silly!
The change in the children was amazing to see and their confidence grew as they realized that Tim wanted to hear their ideas and know why they thought that. The methods that Tim used to encourage less teacher talk and more children talking definitely helped children to develop their ideas (and showed the teachers a few tricks to develop this)!
By the end of the session the children were buzzing with ideas, determined to finish their work and to send it off into the ether to be read by someone…this is hard to replicate but Tim has given us a good starting point to develop this within our school.
Although Tim has given us a lot of valuable information and resources there are 3 things that will stick in my mind:
- Always think outside the box…(the x box in particular…or the PC…or the Wii….)
- The locked page is an excellent tool – you will go home and have a play!
- Don’t panic!
Thank you Charlotte, for your very thoughtful reflections on the two days.
We look forward to keeping in touch, with all at the school, to see how you’re getting on, with whatever you try.
Thanks again go to Sarah Court, Mill Rythe Infant School’s headteacher, for inviting us to her delightful school to spend time with her colleagues, pupils …and ducks – THANK YOU!
Simple, quick, and easy to learn, SilkSlides enables sharing, and discussing, of presentations.
You would have to consider that the commenting element of SilkSlides is “open”, balancing this with the potential, because of simplicity, maybe. We would value your thoughts, & experiences, trying this out, as we haven’t been able to “for real”.
The first of two days a Mill Rythe Infant School on Hayling Island, and the first of three days with its headteacher, Sarah Court. On Wednesday, we will be at the Hampshire District 2 Headteachers’ Conference together in Poole looking at some fun, practical ways pf extending ideas, with heads from across the area. But first… some joyous explorations with children, and staff, from this lovely learning space.
Today’s INSET looked at some of the visual literacy ideas that can get classrooms bubbling. We were joined by neighbouring schools : Purbrook Infant School, Riverside School, Lee-on-the-Solent Infants, Hale Primary, Catherington Infants, Freegrounds Infant School, Springwood Infant School, Netley Marsh Infant School and Cherrywood Primary School.
We had a good look at how we can use a huge variety of resources as a stimulus for creativity across the curriculum. When using computer games as the springboard 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, then recounts, letters, emails, postcards, reports, blogs, wikis, explanations and more. We explored together the use of still image, panoramas, mini worlds created from panoramas, moving panoramas and manipulating images in interesting ways to spark ideas and conversations. Then going further we ventured into the worlds in the Myst series Wii games and online tools.
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 analog writing.
With Ribbet.com, an online photo editing tool, which works on Mac, Windows, and Linux, it is possible to crop, resize, and rotate in real-time, use a huge amount of special effects (from arty to fun), fix your photos in a single click, and then fine-tune your results with some of the more advanced controls. No download, installation or sign-up required
Ribbet! lets you store all your uploaded photos in the cloud, so you can upload a set of photographs, and then edit them on another computer at home or school. With nothing to download, free cloud image storage, complete editing history and built-in Flickr and Facebook integration, Ribbet! is powerful.
A complete beginner, with no photo editing experience, can produce sophisticated results, and have fun doing so.
Create your own Flash-based interactive gameshow-style game with Content Generator’s “Fling The Teacher”.
Based around multiple-choice questions together with ‘helplines’ (‘Take two away’, ‘Take a vote’ and ‘Ask an expert’) each correct answer helps construct a trebuchet to fling the teacher away, when you get 15 correct. While not perfect, this could be a fun way of creating quizzes.
Thanks for an entertaining couple of days. It was great to see children so motivated to write. Both KS1 and KS2 pupils seem to be working well. I was impressed to see Year 2 pupils giving both sides of an argument, as illustrated by your good friend, Mr Walker.
The embedded use of ICT really fired their imaginations and created many opportunities for further teaching.
It is always interesting to watch other people teach and to notice techniques they use to manage behaviour whilst inspiring creativity and risk taking.
I will certainly be adapting some of your tricks;
- I spotted more by being able to attend both the KS1 and KS2 sessions.
As teachers we often find ourselves too busy to learn, and remembering what fun learning can be is refreshing. In the morning we learnt with children and I was not the only one who did not want to stop.
In the afternoon we learned alongside colleagues – another step up in my use of PowerPoint, and some useful, free software. We may start sharing ideas using virtual post-its in staff meetings.
Wow! Hasn’t the internet got some great things to offer? And they are free! The twilight session had so many ideas. I’ll be using that password to the LOCKED PAGE and for finding some of those websites.