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Valley Teaching School Alliance, Coulsdon, Surrey ~ Day 1

| March 18, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Valley Teaching School Alliance

CVPS_photo_2Great, to spend two days working alongside the Valley Teaching School Alliance, at Chipstead Valley Primary School in Coulsdon, Surrey.

Chipstead Valley Teaching Alliance is made up of two secondary schools, one nursery, one special school and eight primaries. Joining us today were eight schools, some from beyond the Alliance, and three School Direct students. Cheam Fields Primary, Oasis Byron Academy, Keston Primary, Poplar Primary,   New Valley Primary, Ridgeway Primary and Nursery, Gonville Academy, and St Giles School.

We took folk on a fast paced pelt through a vast amount of, mostly free, online resources and way of extending learning styles, keeping the MAGIC in the curriculum. Well done all for keeping up and going for it.

A big thank you to Clare Rackham, Assistant Head, for sharing these thoughts:

Clare RackhamChipstead Valley Primary School is a two-forms of entry primary school with a bulge class in Reception. We have leadership responsibility for Coulsdon Nursery, and have recently become an academy and academy trust in order to take on and support New Valley Primary, in their improvement journey. In 2013 we received the ‘Outstanding’ grading in all areas from OFSTED. In September of the same year, we opened an ‘Enhanced Learning’ provision, with the capacity to admit 14 children with physical disabilities and complex medical needs.

Our journey became even more exciting in April 2014, when we were named as a National Teaching School. Working closely with all of the schools within our alliance, we strive to foster the love of learning in both staff and children across our local area. We are proud of our many achievements; academic standards are high and all pupils are encouraged to strive for their best, through carefully planned learning opportunities, provided by an excellent team of staff.

Having worked hard to develop computing within our school, we have recently purchased a number of ipads and software to help further develop our curriculum. In addition, staff have received training in a range of concepts and are now more keen than ever to promote the use of ICT within a range of different subjects. We are extremely excited to be welcoming Tim and Sarah into our school and are very much looking forward to being further motivated into using ICT to inspire our children.

‘tinterweb in graphical form ~ a challenge

| March 17, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

screenshot0621Have a look at THIS totally fascinating collection of images from the Internet Mapping Project, or go straight to Kevin Kell’s Flickr page of the maps HERE

Thought provoking images. How about trying this as an activity with your students.

The digital world is a wonderful place… What does it look like maybe?

We would be fascinated to see any iterations of this process.

Ricards Lodge High School, Wimbledon ~ Day 2

| March 17, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Ricards Lodge High School

Ricards Lodge High SchoolGreat to back for a second day at Ricards Lodge High School for Girls in Wimbledon.

Well done all for setting foot confidently in the world of words.

What a joyous bunch of explorers! Laughter AND learning is a powerful mixture. This lot were up for a giggle and rising to challenges. Thanks all.

Smiles and similes.

Ricards Lodge High School

Thanks again to Paula Simmons,  Deputy Headteacher, for organising this cross between working working alongside the staff yesterday, and students with teachers today.

Paula SimmonsTo work alongside colleagues from every department in Secondary schools, means that, at some point, somebody has to translate and assess how resources can be useful in their particular subject specialism.

How powerful, therefore, to hear staff today rising to that challenge and buzz about how they could apply some of the web 2.0 technologies from yesterday in their lessons. From R.E and Geography teachers and maths specialists, through to food technology teachers is a huge range of interests. Well done folks for having the vision to see how some of these things can have an impact in their classroom.

…still in Wimbledon ~Anyone for Tennis?

| March 16, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how good I get, I’ll never even be as good as a wall.

TennisStill in Wimbledon, the throne of tennis.

Try a few online games of tennis here and here

Or get some good coaching videos for young players HERE

We love this quote from one of the great men of tennis:

“You’ve got to get to the stage in life when going for it is more important than winning or losing”
Arthur Ashe

Ricards Lodge High School, Wimbledon ~ Day 1

| March 16, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Ricards Lodge High School

On to Wimbledon, London for a full on pair of days alongside the staff, and pupils, of Ricards Lodge High School.

Ricards Lodge is a high achieving, over –subscribed and successful comprehensive school for girls. Ricards Lodge High School offers a broad and balanced, stimulating and forward-looking education together with a wide variety of extra-curricular activities.

Thank you to Paula Simmons, Deputy Headteacher, at Ricards Lodge, for inviting us, and organising these two days, and sharing her thoughts:

Paula SimmonsImproving the quality of creative and critical writing is something all students can benefit from, whatever their age or ability level.  As a school we believe that engaging students and staff in ways to use technology as a springboard for creativity in their work can lead to increased attainment across all subjects.  Having won an award this year as one of the top 90 Secondary schools nationally for sustained improved results and for the attainment and value added progress of our Pupil Premium students, we are excited to be involved in the two days of staff and student learning with Tim and Sarah.  These two days are part of our ongoing school mission of “Educating Successful Women of the Future”.


| March 13, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

pictaculousPictaculousColour Pallette, colour palette generator, gets your thinking about tones, & how they mix. Here are their suggestions for the 3 Bald Blokes pic:

Tools to Tell a Tale, Atlantic Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall

| March 13, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

One of our truly special days alongside Pie Corbett and David Mitchell again, now down in sunniest Cornwall. Tools to Tell a Tales Conwall

Still TTTaT…an exploration of story telling, on a global scale. Folks were part of an evolving story, alongside children from around the world, investigating a wondrous collection of digital, and analog, gems for bringing learning alive, with Pie Corbett and David Mitchell.

Another exciting, and rare, opportunity… to get the three bald blokes, and Sarah, back together. Baldylocks and the three hairs.

Today, we wended our way down to deepest Cornwall, and The Atlantic Hotel, Newquay, to spend some time wandering in the world of words, with a group of intrepid explorers. And, what wild and woolly fun we had!

Pie, like the others in our trio, had a voyage getting here and shared his thoughts as he arrived:

TTTAT-Cornwall-1-11Three trains, two taxis and six hours later, I have arrived. Today, we are in Newquay in view of the hotel where Roald Dahl’s ‘The Witches’ was filmed. From the back of the conference room, we can see the sea rolling in across the rocks.

A passion for education, the creativity of teachers and the knowledge that children are remarkable has brought us together to blend the possibilities of technology, literacy and thought.

TTTAT-Cornwall-1-09Today is special for us because we spend so much time alone, like little ships in the night we pass each other by on motorways, trains and planes. But today, Tim, David and I have come together for the joy of working with Cornish teachers.

There will be laughter, inspiration, silliness, working with new ideas and strategies and reminding ourselves of what works.

TTTAT-Cornwall-1-01Today, we will start a story and it will spread around the world. By 10.30, a tale will have begun, invented by teachers at the conference, and be made available to children around the world so that they can add another scene or two. Technology and story will bring us together from Manchester to Melbourne, in creative endeavor.

Everyone loves a story. Every culture has story at its heart.

TTTAT-Cornwall-1-06Without story at the heart of education, it is dry as dust. We are lucky to be able to come together in this way. For us, it is a privilege to work and learn together. Like ships in the night, we’ve come to a safe harbor. The story is waiting, about to come into being – soon we will let the story begin its business of creating a new world that will bring us all a little bit closer together.

Pie Corbett.

kaye-2We took our trip in text and tech alongside Kaye Haywood, of Loud learning, Literacy Consultant Trainer & Talk for Writing Primary Adviser… and a wonderful gathering of folk, joining us for our experiments, from across the county, and beyond. We were joined by groups of children from across the globe, as we voyaged across wondrous terrains,  through the power of inventive technologies.

Kaye has worked closely with Pie over many years on a number of projects, including the original Primary National Strategy ‘Talk for Writing’ pilot, the Department for Education’s ‘Teachers and Teaching Assistants as Writers’ and ‘Transforming Writing’ with the National Literacy Trust.

See the blog posts here, posted by the children in response to the story started during Pie’s guded writing sessions today. And, the links to all the resources here and the padlet here.

Quality Comment

CoverItLive Session

Live Blog TTTaT2



| March 12, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

BiGBig Think contains a vast amount of articles and videos of some of the most intriguing thinking around. A forum of knowledge and ideas from some great brains, including Ruby Wax, (of course!) on Neuroplasticity and how “You’re the Architect of Your Own Brain”.  Some complex issues, but worth an explore to stretch our own thoughts. Try out some of the playlists, for some fascinating views on the world around, and within, us. Not for everyone, but a fascinating collection of concepts. Think Big with Big Think.

Oxfordshire Headteachers’ Conference 2015

| March 12, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Oxfordshire Headteachers Conference

Onwards. Onwards. Onwards we sped, to Stratford Upon Avon, for the Oxfordshire Headteachers Conference 2015.

Oxfordshire heads hands

“It is today that we create the world of the future”. Eleanor Roosevelt.

Our world is experiencing change at an exponential rate. For our students to thrive in a world that cannot be predicted, education needs to keep pace. What skills and experiences do we need to be equipping them with in order for them to successfully meet the demands of the future?

We had great fun opening, and closing, the event.

As well as the keynote speakers, the conference had a wide range of practical workshops to choose from. A “Matters of the Moment” feature gave an opportunity to discuss and share ideas about current themes that might be being thought about in isolation in individual schools.

The title of this conference was “Visions of Learning”.

The aim was for delegates to leave feeling refreshed and inspired to go back to school remembering what a great job we all do, with eyes open to alternative ways of preparing our students for the future. To quote Marcel Proust; “The challenge of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but having new eyes”.

Presentations over the two days came from Hardeep Singh Kohli, Camila Batmanghelidjh, Tait Coles, Christopher Shaw, Lizzy Lewis, Martin Shaw, Marcus Pickover and Michael Pearse, David Blunkett, and Richard Gerver

Our workshop, took folks on a series of mystical voyages, wandering in the world of words. Through the day, we splattered people with a vast amount of powerful, and useful, tech, but entreated them to take one thing, or one at a time, introducing them slowly, and methodically, to their colleagues, over weeks perhaps, as their own … to confirm that they really are a super hero.

Camila BatmanghelidjhCamila Batmanghelidjh, a leader in the world of supporting young people with special needs, followed our opening keynote with a session entitled Vacuum cleaning polluted minds. She looked at how imagination plays an important part not only in what children produce but also in how schools promote learning. Camila explored the theories of mind which prohibit the participation of vulnerable children in education and those which enhance it. She gave delegates a framework they can use to manage the challenges generated by children who have unique needs.

Tait ColesTait Coles, Vice Principal Of Learning and Innovation at Dixons City Academy in Bradford, has alternative approaches to enthusing pupils towards higher attainment. Tait shared thoughts on “the inequality of education, and how schools are the sorting mechanism for our society, and the majority of students who benefit least from this sorting process are those who come from different backgrounds and cultures than those who already have power. How, as leaders, can we develop a culture of true emancipatory education for our schools”

A big thank you to Philip Marples, the conference manager, and Alison Young, Marketing and Communications Manager at Cranford House School, for organising our involvement in this superb event, and to Lynn Knapp, the Conference Chair.

David Blunkett, previously Minister for Education in the Blair Government will be speaking on Friday morning, followed by Richard Gerver. A fascinating collection of different perspectives on Visions of Learning.

And the elephant in the room!

The elephant in the room ZooKazam

Wolfram Demonstrations Project

| March 11, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

demos-logo2The Wolfram Demonstrations Project offers interactive illustrations that extend online learning. Bringing learning alive. Dynamic explanations of different, and sometimes difficult, concepts, in involving, accessible ways.

Ynysowen Primary, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales ~ The return 2

| March 11, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Ynysowen Primary

Following an INSET Day at Ynysowen Community Primary in February, and a previous visit back in 2012, we are, today, carrying out some experiments exploring the next steps in using tech to bring learning even more alive.

A big thank you to Simone Roden head teacher of Ynysowen, for inviting us back and exploring with us.

Greenscreening in the landscapeToday, we changed gear, notched up a few paces and plummeted towards certain… … …brilliance, with two groups of children.

With the first group, whilst wandering wandering through one of the landscapes in Myst 3 Exile, we stumbled upon a mysterious contraption. Behind a creaking wooden door, we found a lever that helped us rise high above the shining golden seas around us.

Eventually, after a bit of investigation, we discovered that if we pressed an intriguing blue button, we could enter the icy globe created, and take a remarkable tumble down this metal and wooden rollercoaster to …who knew where?!

Greenscreening on roller coasterReally good fun with some children coming up with short poetic phrases to express the feelings of excitement, fear and elation before, during and after a “virtual” rollercoaster ride and recorded their experience using using Do Ink Greenscreening.

We had a go at listing some descriptive words collected from their memories of rollercoaster rides.

Next, we took them on a ride from Myst III:Exile. Personification, poetry, punchy, personal and powerful! The difference was quite remarkable. Now, their ideas really caught the sensations of such an adrenaline rush.

Greenscreening on pathWe then recorded, at pace, into GarageBand alongside the film.

The ride is a place we often use, with children and adults, to stimulate musical sound effects or soundtracks. It had a superb effect on creative, descriptive thought too.

We recorded our thoughts, and emotions, in short, pithy, phrases ~ plummeting in poetry …and beyond.

With the second group of younger children, we went on a virtual spiral plant ride, explored the path towards it and investigated a beautiful bird and its chick, again using Do Ink Greenscreening to ‘actually’ be there.