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The Firs Lower School, Bedfordshire

| October 10, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Firs Lower School

The Firs Lower SchoolA day of lessons and training at The Firs Lower School, Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

A fast paced, split day, combining a lesson session with some intrepid explorers from Year Four, and then time splattering the staff, and visiting colleagues, with  almost too many ideas~ digital ways of adding some sparkle, and magic, to lessons across the curriculum, and making your own, valuable, resources and teaching tools. Continue Reading

Virtual Blue Whale

| October 9, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Virtual Blue WhaleThe blue whale is one of the largest animals ever to have existed on earth, and it feeds on one of the smallest.

Thanks to the Whales and Dolphin Conservation site, this chance to “swim alongside” a virtual blue whale, offers some intriguing glimpses in to a remarkable, underwater, powerful and extraordinary experience. Humbling.

Cambridgeshire Primary Headteachers’ Conference 2014

| October 9, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Cambridgeshire Primary Heards Conference 2014

A pleasure to be presenting at the Cambridgeshire Primary Headteachers’ Conference 2014 with its title ‘Heading Forward’ at Wyboston Lakes Conference Centre.

Keynote speeches from Sir John Jones, Charlie Taylor, National College for Teaching and Learning, Sir John Dunford, Department for Education and National Pupil Premium Champion and Alastair Humphreys, adventurer, blogger, author and motivational speaker.

Ian Wright meeting his teacherSir John talked about the need for a change in mindsets, rather than going back, and repeating what we’ve just done, but trying harder. Instead, go back to the thinking about doing it differently. He also looked at how we think we are giving challenges, but, in reality “dive in” too quickly. “Sir, I’m stuck”. Maybe we should answer “Brilliant” and walk away. Providing times for creativity and mild struggle, rather than solving it for them. John shared a powerful moment with us, the moment Ian Wright was reunited with one of his teachers, special! Continue Reading

Alltop

| October 8, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

alltop-fullIf you want to widen, expand, and develop your searches on any subject, then Alltop is an intriguing place to explore.

As an example, their search on Autism produces some diverse, and fascinating, results.

Reflections of a chair of governors

| October 8, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Thank you to Chris Wesley, chair of governors at Long Sutton Community Primary School, for these thoughtful words:

Good morning Tim and Sarah,

I am writing to express my sincerest thanks to you both for your brilliant, inspiring work here at Long Sutton Community Primary School for the past two days.

Chris and BillAs Chair of Governors, when our Head Mr Bill Lord Initially floated the idea for your visit, I was, at first a little sceptical about the benefits that such training would bring to our school weighted against the costs involved.

Bill suggested that I should visit your website and follow you on twitter to help with making an informed decision.

I did both of those and did some further research and agreed to support inviting you to visit us at Long Sutton and deliver your training seminar to School.

I attended on Monday 6th October still with some trepidation in my heart with the nagging question of the decision to spend what is not an insignificant amount of money (but even knowing we had recuperated costs.) was still wary.

Sat in a room full of teachers is always a bit daunting even for a seasoned Governor such as myself.

I was so amazed by how quickly your audience were focused, joining in and were like sponges soaking up the information you and Sarah were sending out. I too found myself taking copious notes and trying to work out how I could use the resources you revealed in my own working environment.

The one thing that stuck with me from the day was that It is as you eluded to not on it’s own the answer to the 60 million dollar question but a chest that when opened provokes you to spread your horizons and seek tools and resources to use.

I called into School on Tuesday afternoon to watch and join in your session with the yr1 children. I was again blown away by the interaction between both you, Sarah, the Teachers and especially the children. I saw some truly amazing stuff.

I can say without reservation that it was worth every single penny spent and that I would have supported it even if we had stood the entire cost. The outcomes far outweighed the investment.

It was without doubt the best presentation I have had the privilege to witness and be part of.

Kind regards,

Chris Wesley,

Chair of Governors,

Long Sutton Community Primary School.

Waterhall Primary, Milton Keynes ~ Day 2

| October 8, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Waterhall Primary

Water Hall PrimaryOur second day at  Water Hall Primary in Milton Keynes. Back in the last days of August, we spent a fantastic, fast paced day, with the staff, exploring a plethora of web2 tools for use in lessons of all kinds. Now, we’re back, to work alongside the children too, Key Stage Two in the morning and Key Stage One in the afternoon.

Thank you to Tony Draper, Head Teacher and Becky McGuire, Assistant Head Teacher.

The light bulb moment, for the staff today, was the power of silence, and extended speaking and listening, developing ideas BEFORE they make their way to paper. We also talked about “going for the best, and maybe daring; getting it down, and sorting it out later”

On using a PC, to set up a game, we were greeted by this error message. A classic spolling. Spelling mistookes are also frustrating (as all of those gloriously observant folk who email me when they spot errors in these posts can tell you! Yes, Richard, I still mess things up!)

However, we often encourage children to challenge themselves to record their wonderful ideas “without worrying about your spellings”.

We clarify this by explaining that does not mean “Ah! Don’t worry about yer spellings!” e.g. cat, with a spelling of G.T.Y 32 D’s, 2F’s and a Q. It means “Don’t let the spelling worry, or concern, limit or restrict you, or stop you from using that word… get those beautiful, juicy, sparkling ideas down on paper for the world to share”.

Y2 pupils feedbackIt sometimes means we get some classic spellings, like this one of the word “Spiral”:

But we know what this child meant when they went on to describe what they thought was up the top of the “spiral escalator plant”… and it was beautifully descriptive too!

Economics Game

| October 7, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

economics logoEconomics game

Economics-games.com is a free multiplayer educational games site for teaching microeconomics, industrial organization and game theory.

economics graph(Intriguingly, for a game about economics, it is…) Free, Ready to play, Nothing to install, No need to register!

Choose the game you want to run, enter the number of players and that’s it: “You just have to communicate their logins to your students and have them connect to the site with their (phones), tablets or laptops. You can then observe and debrief the game through your interface”. This is suitable for older students, to play, and learn, some interesting fiscal concepts. Run an airline decisions against a robot competitor.

Long Sutton Primary, Lincolnshire ~ Day 2

| October 7, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Long Sutton Primary

Long Sutton PrimaryFollowing yesterday’s fun day with the staff, and their visiting colleagues from over 20 schools, today we have the pleasure of spending time with the children of Long Sutton Primary. Starting the day with two classes of confident, capable Y5′s in the morning and then a delightful bunch of adventurous Y2 pupils in the afternoon. Continue Reading

DebateGraph

| October 6, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

DmrLogo1Here’s a BIG one! debategraph.org/ is a remarkable twist on, and combination of, some key tools. Log-in to create free public and private maps on any topic! Superb.

DebategraphA collaborative gem, debategraph.org/, is a powerful tool, combining the visualisation of arguments, and collaboration on editing. Interact between teacher and student, or a group of students. If you’re not blessed to be in one space, at the same time, this could enable distance learning or joint working.

URLs are made for each stage of the graph so it is possible to head to a particular point in your presentation. A side bar adds extra details to what you are conveying. A living, stretchable, malleable persuasive presenter.

It is vital to allow some time for this jewel, and explore its power, possibilities and potential.

Long Sutton Primary, Lincolnshire ~ Day 1

| October 6, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Long Sutton Primary

Bill Mars n TimA privilege, to be at Bill Lord’s school, Long Sutton Primary, for the first of two days, working with staff, visiting colleagues and pupils.

In a Twitter conversation, back in July, between Dughall McCormick (or @Dughall) and Bill (@Joga5) (with @WatsEd and @MrHeadComputing copied in) Dughall was kind enough to say:

“Not much rivals a @TimRylands session :-)”

Bill replied:

“Time for honesty – a Mars Bar Ice cream whilst dipping your feet in a cool stream does. ;-)”

Today, with the help of an early morning purchase of a Mars ice cream, a bucket of water, and the gentle sound of a stream courtesy of Ambient Mixer (see the post) we took Bill up on his word, and transported him to our virtual paradise. Well, we tried.

With the staff from a great range of schools, we explored a vast range of digital delights, with the adults ~ almost TOO many things, tools for bringing learning even more alive. Joining us today, colleauges from:

Moulton Chapel Primary, Nene Infant School, Whaplode C of E Primary, Spalding St Paul’s Primary, Lutton St Nicholas Primary, Gedney Church End School, St Helena’s C of E Primary, Willoughby School, South Witham CP School, Cowbit St Mary’s C of E PrimarySpalding PrimaryPinchbeck East C of E Primary, Lincoln Carlton Academy, Boston Park Academy, Morton Trentside PrimarySibsey Free School, Holbeach Primary AcademyStilton C of E Primary, Welbourne Primary, Cranwell Primary and Sutton Bridge Westmere Community Primary. Continue Reading

Cram

| October 3, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

global_sprWith Cram, you can prepare, and use, flashcards on many subjects. A simple set of keyboard shortcuts means it is quick, and easy, to shuffle through ready made, or new, sets of cards, for revision, or learning situations.