Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, once said a profound, and challenging, thing:
“Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that makes a difference.”
It’s not just the getting on and doing it. The thinking time is important too.
I have had an enforced break being checked over in hospital, and am very glad to be out. Thinking time maybe.
How many times have you been stuck with something, gone out for a walk, and, on your return, almost without conscious thought, you have solved at least one aspect of that conundrum?
The same can be true for our students.
A child, stuck on a science riddle, or a new concept of fractions, might be stuck now, but, when they head out to play, something can still be working away, within them, to the extent that, when they return to the classroom, something has clicked in their thinking.
But, …it’s too late. We have moved on to another subject.
The idea of needing a bit of time to think, to consider, to form thoughts, and ideas, is real, and could have a simple, yet effective, impact on some lesson, and curriculum, structures.
We have discovered, through practical experimentation, that reshuffling lesson starts, and finishes, independently of break times, has had a positive, and encouraging effect on children’s thinking through problems, and problem solving.
By having a few minutes, continuing with the subject, and challenges, from before “play”, “break”, “recess”, … has lead to some interesting comments, and results.
“Oh, Mr Rylands, I get it now!” … “I’ve been thinking about it. If I put this bit here…”
Building in a short “break” from the main task could have a similar effect.
Whilst this is not always practical because of time, staffing, equipment, and other restraints, when it has been possible, it has proven to be positive, and beneficial.
In an interview with the Ode Magazine, called “Reading, writing and playing The Sims: What video games can teach educators about improving our schools“, Nolan Bushnell kindly said he wished “his children had a teacher like Tim Rylands”.
Well, we have learned something from him…
We all need to take breaks. If YOU can, hope it’s a good one. Hopefully, when we come back after our “shower”, we will have had a chance to regroup, and will carry on building what we do,… … and even better.
A really fun day at John Hellins Primary and travels through mysterious lands, with the children across different age ranges of the school.
A darkened room, dancing sound effects, haunting music enhancing the atmosphere, and we’re ready to go who knows where?
Today, we wandered in the world of wondrous words, with the children and staff, more a large amount of individuals in each session, yet, at times, you could hear a pin drop. Then, when an unexpected feature sprang to life, bubbling discussion and fizzing talk.
Our aim, on these two sessions in this group of schools, is to share tools, and techniques, that will add even more sparkle, magic and effective methods of bringing learning alive, to the toolkit that travels with the children and teachers.
One of the most rewarding ways to spend your working days. Teaching is a hard path, in many respects, on many occasions. Hours of extra preparation, planning and reflection. But, as Confucius said:
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.
Thank you to Jodie Matthews, Headteacher at John Hellins Primary School, for inviting us to work alongside the children and staff.
Well done all.
Scribble Maps is a free, and easy, way to add drawings, comments, markers, highlights, text, timelines and more, to maps. It takes very little time to master, and gives children the chance to annotate locations from across the globe.
ScribbleMaps pro, adds extra features but, unlike a lot of apps, where the “pro” badge means you pay for the upgrade, this version is also available for free. In pro, you can import files, such as KML files, that you have created in Google Maps and Google Earth, and draw, or add layers of images, on to your maps.
Useful for marking routes of school trips, ancient travel exploration journies, and more.
We were joined by colleagues from visiting schools, including Deanshanger Primary School, Yardley Gobion CE Primary School, Towcester C of E Primary School, Bugbrooke, Glapthorn C.E. Lower School, Rothersthorpe Primary School, The Abbey Primary School, Havelock Infant School, Havelock Junior School and East Hunsbury Primary School.
Thank you to Jodie Matthews, Headteacher at John Hellins Primary School:
John Hellins is a village primary school in South Northamptonshire. Our ethos is simple – we strive to be the best we can be in everything we do and in all aspects of school life. We set ourselves challenging targets and have extremely high expectations of ourselves. School life at John Hellins is exciting, motivating and inspiring and is full of real life and immersive learning experiences.
Our staff are passionate about their own learning and development, and connect with other educators on Twitter; this is how we first connected with Tim. Following our 4 year talk for writing journey we are ready to take our writing one step further. We feel that adding tech to our writing journey will bring some marvellous results, particularly with those children who struggle to engage. It’s exciting to see where this will take us!
On our 2 days with Tim and Sarah, we will be joined by the staff from Deanshanger Primary School and teachers from several other local schools. We are excited by the opportunity this will give us for collaborative working.
Doodle eliminates the chaos that comes from scheduling and saves you a lot of time and energy when you’re trying to find a time to bring a number of people together.
Must go. We have a meeting to attend!
Beautiful Curves is a living art experience, sending almost organic curving lines dancing around lines you draw.
This would make a great sensory experience, on a whiteboard, for those who would enjoy, and benefit from triggering, controlling and creating their own curling, twirling, flowing, growing, art works.
Experiment with the parameters and you might find other uses, such as exploring letter formation…
Vyew allows you to meet and share content in real-time or anytime. Upload images, files, documents and videos into a room. Users can access and contribute at anytime.
It’s easy – no installations and can be used on PC, Mac, Linux, working with powerpoints, documents, images, videos, mp3’s, flash files.
- It’s FREE! – The free version is “free forever”. Upgrade to remove advertising and raise your user limits.
- Conferencing features – whiteboarding, video conferencing, screen sharing, Voice-over-IP.
- Collaboration features – continuous rooms are always saved and always-on. Contextual discussion forums, voice-notes, track and log activity. Give it a go and let me know.
Rhyme ‘n Learn, (“Music That Puts The Cool Back In School”), is maths and science taught by mnemonics. Mnemonics use word associations like rhymes so that a term or fact is easier to recall later. An example of a mnemonic is “In fourteen hundred ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” or “Thirty days hath September. All the rest I can’t remember!”
Rhyme ‘n Learn was created by teacher Joe Ocando, who has taught maths and science to students of all ages and discovered that many find it difficult to memorize hundreds of new terms and facts. Rap seemed to help, and does seem to make some concepts easier to remember.
The concepts covered are more suited to older students Examples include Pi Rap | Don’t Let Pi Make Ya Cry and Rational and Irrational Numbers Rap | E-rational Thoughts
Type a maths or science term in the search bar on the site to find a mnemonic for it. If you can’t find it, send content suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget another teacher led site “MathTrain”. Mathtrain.TV is a free educational “kids teaching kids” project from middle school mathematics teacher Eric Marcos & his students.
Both sites could be a great inspiration to students to create explanatory videos, or raps.
A great inspiration to other students to create their own explanatory videos too.
It is part of the Mathtrain.com Project and was created to host their student-created maths video lessons. It is Web 2.0 friendly with its ability for users to generate “ratings” and “comments”. The middle school students use a tablet pc and screen-capturing software, Camtasia Studio, to create the tutorials (screencasts or mathcasts) which are used for classroom instruction and posted onto sites such as Mathtrain.TV, Mathtrain.com, iTunes, YouTube, and TeacherTube
Students work hard at creating the content and construct the best explanations they can in an unscripted format. Some include captions.
Eric and his students invite other students and teachers, parents and educators to help contribute to this global collaborative effort. They are especially interested in student-created “mathcasts”, hence the “kids teaching kids” motto.
I have already learned LOADS,and that’s amazing: I took two mathematics exams, and failed all THREE of them! 😀
Following an INSET Day in September 2015, today a day of lessons and further training for Springline Partnership of Schools at Stockham Primary School, Wantage.The 8 schools include Stockham School, Stanford in the Vale, St Amands Catholic School, The Hendreds Primary, Fitzwaryn Special School, Grove Church of England School, Uffington Primary and The Ridgeway CE School.
Thanks again to Ruth Burbank, head teacher at Stockham for coordinating our visit.
We travelled, with classes of Year 5 and 6, and their “big people”, through a land that went beyond the virtual and became so real we could see it, hear it, but also smell it, touch it, feel it, and build some powerful language within it. The mysterious, yet peaceful, village we found ourselves standing in, inspired some lovely extended writing, speaking and listening, role play, and inventiveness.
In fact, we didn’t actually move very far, just turned and took two steps. That is the aim really: Not to move too much. Rather, to take time in a place. It is also a great reflection on the children and staff today. They didn’t NEED to move. They were more than able to use words, humour, imagination, and character to make us feel we had gone many miles.
The afternoon, and we had the pleasure of spending time with the Year 2 pupils and their teachers. What stylish word play followed. We looked at how to stretch an idea beyond the initial temptation to “stick” at he first word. To “twist” our thoughts, and “come up trumps“. When exploring this land, and later, with the teachers, we also considered how “time” is something we need to think about. Taking time, allowing each other time, not filling all of time, stretching time, enjoying different speeds of time.And, what an enjoyable time we had!
This combination: of a training day, paired up with a day of lessons, gives us a lot of opportunity to explore the power of the digital/analogue mix. We have always said that we don’t advocate using virtual worlds as an alternative to getting out and about in the analogue landscapes around us. (Although, it is a lot safer and a lot less insurance than a school trip!!) There is no better experience than taking a group of children out into the world. It is powerful, though, to see that the experiences children have within the classroom settings, and the structured way these activities develop speaking and listening skills, have a big effect on the way their classes take part in trips and camps. Groups of children sharing ideas and solving problems collaboratively and creatively, using some of the skills they have acquired in their “virtual travels”.
This group know about a the strong need for REAL experiences, enhanced by digital tools. The use of the landscapes and the modelling of questioning techniques enable the pupils’ imaginations to take flight. It was delightful to see children today write with abandon. But, you still can’t beat the real. We were impressed by the enthusiastic responses from the Stockham crew. They threw themselves into the challenges and came up with some inventive, imaginative ideas. All with a lot of laughter. Thanks folks!