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Rowlatts Hill Primary School, Leicester ~ Day 2

| October 14, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Rowlatts Hill Primary


Following yesterday’s INSET, our second day at Rowlatts Hill Primary and, this time, with the children joining us.

Journeys with journals. Verbal, and written, jazz. Off the cuff creativity galore. Speaking, listening, writing, inventing, playing and developing.

This is old style teaching: simile, metaphor, and much, much more. We wandered in the world of words in a couple of great, virtual, settings. Before we can develop sentence structure, and expand adventurous vocabulary, we have to expand children’s experiences, and passion for picking up words, and juggling them.

One of the early areas of Myst 4 Revelation is a truly remarkable stimulus for discussion, inventive writing, and beyond.

The true-to-life weather, with scudding clouds forming shadows that race across the boardwalk; the ability to touch and tap the railing you are leaning against, to investigate whether it is solid or hollow; the discarded flippers on a lower platform that spark a debate about who lives in a place like this…

Thank you to Jay Virk, Headteacher, her colleagues, and children, for a great day of laughter and learning.

Skaffl ~ Mobile learning platform

| October 13, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

SkaffleIf you are fortunate enough to have 1:1 iPads in your classrooms, you might try Skaffl, as a mobile learning platform.

If your students keep a device every lesson, or if they share them with other classes, Skaffl aims to make one to one learning engaging for children, and easy for teachers. Design, and distribute, assignments, digitally. These can be completed online with the inbuilt editor.

Students work can be annotated from inside the app, providing feedback, and grades, to pupils. An annotation tool enables comments on work, seen either individually, or by class.

Rowlatts Hill Primary School, Leicester ~ Day 1

| October 13, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Rowlatts Primary School


A training day at Rowlatts Hill Primary with the teaching staff from across the school ~ a deluge of digital delights, thinking about the impact that technology can have on extending, and developing, existing teaching and learning opportunities.

“Whilst young people are able to seamlessly integrate ever new forms of technology into their daily lives, it is often more of a challenge for school staff to respond to or embrace such rapid changes”. Therefore, today we looked beyond the technologies themselves to focus on the challenges facing school leaders to motivate staff to embrace ICT as a means to engage pupils.

In addition, it is always worth thinking whether technology can actually distract from the core values and business of school leadership, and if so, how to avoid this from happening.

We investigated many different “technologies” but tried to remain focussed on how they could be used effectively, and integrated into powerful learning experiences, that have have an impact on standards, and creativity, across the curriculum.

We also explored the many positive aspects of game challenges, and how other digital resources can enhance the end results in many learning contexts.

Thank you to Jay Virk, Headteacher, for sharing these thoughts:

Rowlatts Hill Primary School is an establishment completely comfortable with the multitude of exciting technological developments and innovations thrown at us by the 21st Century. With an enthusiastic and forward thinking approach to ICT and Computing in the school, we actively and proudly look forward, without fear, at new and challenging ways to learn and improve the ways we teach the children and community of Rowlatts Hill.

With constant access to iPads, PC’s, laptops, netbooks and iMacs, every class has the tools they need to make best use of current technology either as a learning tool or as a means to better carry out their work. We’re excited to be working with Tim and Sarah who join us in our Computing journey.

Biddisham Harvest Supper

| October 11, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Biddisham Harvest Festival

TagGalaxy BiddishamA total honour ~ to be invited to contribute a couple of presentations, on the magic of ICT, to an event at our village hall, The Biddisham Harvest Supper.

Biddisham is a tiny, but incredibly sociable place, so it was great to meet up with neighbours, and friends, new and old, from this rural hamlet.

We shared a lot of free ways to use, and entertain, with some simple, but powerful, technology. We explored the village, and the surrounding countryside, and headed off in to some distant, intriguing worlds too. A bit of magic weaving, and storytelling. Some of the things we played with, can be found here.

Thank you to everyone, this evening, for coming with us in to familiar, and uncharted lands.

Cheese sniffer ~ simple programming elements

| October 10, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Cheese SnifferCheese sniffer, from the TES iBoards, is an interesting introduction to programming elements. The competitive nature of the game, means that concentration is compounded.

Control your mouse forward, backward, left and right, and see how much delicious cheese you can consume, before the other rodent rotter does. Something to have a good sniff around.

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


| 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!