Latest News

Hope University, Liverpool 2015 ~ The Return 3.1

| March 26, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Liverpool Hope Universtiy

A joyous trip back to Liverpool Hope University, for a day of lessons (and training) with third year student teachers and children from St Margaret’s Anfield Church of England Primary. We have had the pleasure of working alongside the Liverpool Hope crew over the last few years. So it was great to be back! Another big Thank You to Michelle Pearson, Head of Primary ITE, the Faculty of Education, at Liverpool Hope University, for organising our return trip.

A delightful morning with an up-for-it class of Year 2 pupils and 40+ third-year student teachers.

And a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon with a lovely bunch of Year 5 pupils and a further 50+ student teachers.

Liverpool Hope Universtiy

As we have said before, it is so valuable to work alongside students heading off in to the world of education. 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”.

Thanks to Veronica Poulter for sharing these thoughts:

The Primary English team and the Year 3 BA QTS students at Liverpool Hope University have been very much looking forward to welcoming our old friends Tim and Sarah to be part of our English Focus Week. In this week, we explore a range of strategies to support children in their story telling and creative writing. ICT is a highly powerful resource, which offers a wide range of applications, catering for all learning styles. Tim and Sarah’s innovative approach using gaming technology, fully engages and enthrals both student teachers and children. #can’twaitforThursday!



Vocaroo ~ record & embed audio… easily

| March 19, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

VocarooVocaroo is a quick and easy way to get audio in to a blog post without loads of hassle, & technical equipment. (This uses Flash, so won’t work on an i device, sadly.) Click the arrow for an example.
Record and upload voice >>

Valley Teaching School Alliance, Coulsdon, Surrey ~ Day 2

| March 19, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Chipstead Valley Primary

Back to Chipstead Valley Primary School in Coulsdon, Surrey. for a day of lessons for Valley Teaching School Alliance, and more exploring, of the possibilities and magic that words and sentences contain.

Myst 4 Revelation The VillageOver the two days we have spent at the school we have been intrepid explorers, investigating mysterious worlds, experimenting with different ways to pick up ideas and words, and play with them.

These virtual environments are an excellent blank canvas and we can build to where folk are happy to pick words up and juggle with them, then splatter them over the page, painting pictures which, in turn, lift off the page and dance in our heads. (Hey! Mr Rylands. Those are similes and metphors!)

Spending time wandering through, and STANDING STILL in magical, digital vistas, and the teaching techniques we can use within them, allow students of any age and ability, to take risks, in a safe environment, where they can’t make mistakes.

“There is no right idea. Even better, there is no wrong idea”.

What a superb bunch. They rose to the challenges, and opportunities, we offered them. You would be in awe of the courage and persistence these children demonstrate. We saw many incidents of children helping each other in patient, caring ways.

We explored everything from persuasive language and balanced arguments, through to taking off and flying with descriptive imaginations of what might lay beyond where we stood.

There were so many packed into the room, yet we were all almost “deliciously alone” as we took the time to write, and draw, what we thought might exist, just out of sight, and then voyaged to discover what it actually was. The children showed remarkable, and inventive thought, and turned these in to delightful, imaginative, pieces of writing and imaginative illustrations. With some of the pupils we looked at how to develop some quite complex descriptive vocabulary, and bring a landscape alive.

All of the children (and staff) displayed a great sense of humour which showed itself in inventive responses and witty banter when asked to take  on different roles. Well done all.

Thanks again to Clare Rackham, Assistant Head, Chipstead Valley Primary School for coordinating the two days with style and very useful ‘freebies’.

“Virtual Manipulatives”

| March 18, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Virtual Mnipulatives!Virtual Manipulatives

Virtual Manipulatives is a superb free app offering some support with fractions, percentages and decimals through the use of tiles to investigate.

Virtual Manipulatives: Fraction, Decimal & Percent Tiles is a great way for students to explore how parts make up a whole.

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