Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Parent Meetings In UK - Fail to answer questions

Here are some extracts from the BBC article:

Parents should also make sure they ask the teacher how they could help their child at home, she says.

But more than three quarters arrive at parents' evenings without having made any preparations or thought about what information they want.

The survey also claims that two thirds of parents have been unable to attend a meeting because of work commitments - and one in three fathers think that going to a parents' evening is a job for their partner.

A majority - 57% - would rather receive an e-mail update about their child's progress and the same number would like to have more frequent informal meetings.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Making quizzes in Google forms

See this tutorial for help with this versatile tool.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Tentrends...thanks to

Here are some ideas about what we need to teach in the future.

Cyber bullying

Cyberbullying is a growing problem in primary schools, according to the Anti-Bullying Alliance. See BBC

Many of the 227 10 and 11-year olds questioned said they used social networking sites, even though users are meant to be over 13.

It defines cyberbullying as deliberately upsetting someone using information technology, especially the internet or telephone.

Almost a quarter (23%) said they would allow their child of 10 or under to go on the internet unsupervised at home.

These steps are given if cyberbullying is happening:

The group tells children:

• Don't give out personal details such as your mobile number, address or email online

• Regularly check and clean your friends lists on social networking sites

• Keep evidence - callers and mailers can be traced

• Find the "report abuse" or "block sender" options on your favourite websites

• Remember that sites you create and emails you send can be traced back to you

• Protect your password to keep your files and information safe

• If you are being bullied in any way you must tell someone who can help - a teacher, parent/carer, friend, sister/brother or other relative

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Visual prompt for writing from

PicLit from
See the full PicLit at PicLits.comHere is a great visual prompt generator for writing.  Although sign up is required if you want to save the projects, it is quick and easy to do.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Boys into books

Thanks to Anthony Tilke for this recommendation.

Yesterday at a parent teacher coffee afternoon some mums of sons were looking for ways to enthuse their children into reading. Here's a website which offers some advice and a downloadable booklet.

Please send me any comments if you get the chance to read it.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

ipod touches in class with 8 year olds!

Two items have recently appeared about ipod Touch.

The first is below:

The second is a story about a school in Oklahoma which is handing out ipod touches to all teachers and students in the school...for grades 3-12.

It would be interesting to know how they are being used and how it is affecting their classroom learning and home learning.

Google Docs ideas

Fabulous ideas here from Tom Barrett's ICT in my classroom. It includes useful information on editor numbers (Did you know that up to 10 can edit a document simultaneously, while 50 can collaborate on a spreadsheet at any one time?):

Beyond Google

Here are some great tips for using some of the less obvious google features and some other search sites too.

The newsletter is by Richard Byrne, author of Free Technology For Teachers, a blog which always has some great ideas.

Monday, 12 October 2009

The end is nigh for email...?

Has email had it's day?

Is email not quite quick enough in these days of twitter and facebook?

That's the gist of the following article from the Wall Streel Journal.

Beauty...only a few pixels deep.

Beauty is only skin deep?  It might be only a few pixels deep.

A great video below which should make you question every magazine picture you ever look at.

Thanks to Wes Fryer's blog, Moving at the Speed of Creativity

Friday, 9 October 2009

Outdoor Education...teaching in nature

Here's a blogpost from Wesley Fryer's Moving at the Speed of Creativity, a blog which I'd recommend you look at.  It affirms the kind of learning which goes on at residential visits and through the International award.

Lots of good ideas here.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Blog Tips for School

For student blogging tips...from a student go here...

For poetic tips for a primary teacher blogger audience, go here.

All of these links are thanks to Edublogger's recent blogging tips competition.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Anne Frank

You tube now has the only known video of Anne Frank. Her neighbours were filming their wedding and there was Anne, at the window sill of the very house she lived in.

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo and Colin Brown for the tip.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Is the Internet melting our brains?

For an interesting article which challenges the assertion that the internet is a bad thing, go to Vincent Rossmeier's write up of an interview with Dennis Baron, author of A better Pencil.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Online networking

Here's a link to an interesting looking article about online networking.

It was done in 2007 so is maybe a bit dated in this swiftly moving digital age.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Lesson Observation

One way to get great teaching ideas is to observe colleagues teaching. We are having lots of informal drop-ins at school this term where members of the management team come along and sit in, without an agenda, and sometimes help out with what we are doing. This is followed up by a brief email.

This form is a way of sharing good practice. If you go to watch another teacher's lesson informally, and you see some great ideas then please share!

Please add details of lessons which you have seen.

Thankyou for your feedback.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Smartboard tips

Here's the link to a set of tips for smartboard use.

Found this at Mr C's blog.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Want to use youtube but with no adverts? Read on... is a simple to use way of showing youtube video clips without the accompanying adverts.

Sounds too good to be true?

Have a look at the stop frame animation here which I'm going to use in my Year 3 class, knowing that the annoying adverts will not be there.


Monday, 28 September 2009

A mini treasure trove of links

Here are some great links by Larry Ferlazzo.

There's a good web2.0 teacher toolkit here at ChangED, by Angela Cunningham.

This is a collection of webquests organised by 9 big museums and gelleries in England.

Twurdy is a search engine based on Google BUT it has a readability score, from 0 (easiest to read/simplest language) to 1000. Seemed effective from what I saw.

Using Technology to Support Creativity and Critical Thinking has a good selection of ideas.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

G&T - contracts and compacting - maintaining the motivation

I was working away on my MA module which is to design a small scale research project. I have chosen to look at a form of differentiation which has been around in America for almost 30 years, and is called curriculum compacting. It appears quite frequently in the American literature, but I don't think it has really emerged as a concept in UK or international teaching.

Anyway I stumbled on a few gems.

One of them is the Education Resources Information Centre.
There was no cost and I didn't need to register. It seemed very easy to use and had a wide range of academic studies.

The other was the article I was able to download This pdf is titled Providing Curriculum Alternatives To Motivate Gifted Students. The part I was interested in, which looked at compacting a curriculum into a shorter period of time, was very clear and well worded. The idea was developed by Renzulli, Smith and Reis in 1982. It seems to be set against a teaching background in which there is little differentiation, seemingly dumbed down textbooks and a tendency for all teachers to teach by the textbook. The idea is not rocket science (speaking od which look at this for some rocket powered action) but tries to:
  1. Identify the key learning objectives of a unit.
  2. Identify children who have sufficient mastery of these even before they have started the topic.
  3. Provide these G&T children with other opportunities for learning, at the same time as a giving them a study guide to develop new concepts. Eligible students will be expected to learn the study guide material, but it is understood that they will spend the majority of their school time working on their extension tasks. Students should not be required to write out the answers for the content of the study guide. They may use any means they choose to learn the material, but must be able to demonstrate mastery.
It is a way of maintaining interest in the curriculum while "buying time" to persue other learning interests. Seems sensible.

How much work would it take to do this for a subject? I'm not sure, but wouldn't it be good to have a framework to support teachers to develop these materials. It would certainly allow more able children to broaden their knowledge and understanding of the world. Non contact time for teachers to develop curriculum materials to support the G&T. The materials could be based on the QCA guidelines and learning outcomes.

Also part of the PDF was a good section on contracts and independent study. This could really support PBL (project based learning) as a small scale part of classroom activity.

I'm sure that this is the way forward if we want to make learning more relevant, interesting and useful for a life after school.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Why should I make an effort in class? Some children are just cleverer than me!

How do you get children to connect hard work with progress?

Here's an extract from Reflections on teaching in which Ms Mercer describes a lesson in which she shares children's perceptions on the link between effort and results:

Larry Ferlazzo did a post on an interesting lesson he did with his students to get them to think about their own brains. He wrote about it here, noting that many of his lowest students felt they were just “stupid”.

It's an interesting reminder of what goes on in some children's heads.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Google Web Search - Classroom Lessons and Resources

Want some help teaching search strategies?

This google for educators training material is a good start. It has 3 levels and 3 areas in each. Google doc presentations with embedded video make it more animated.

There are also accompanying teacher notes.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

web 2.0 for teachers

This slideshow is basically an advert for blogging for teachers. Why should teachers blog? See the slideshow below.

1/4 of children only reading one book in class a year

According to Heinneman, 25 % of children in UK primary schools read only 1 complete book a year in class. See linked BBC article.

If this means children's own reading books then it is really shocking. If it means class readalouds, then I'm less shocked. I'm sure the Literacy Strategy's focus on a wide range of genres potentially reduces the amount of time that teachers have to read single stories to the end.

Maybe it is due to the number of National Curriculum subjects which have been taught by Primary Schools since the mid 90s.

Michael Rosan, Children's Laureate, added: "No extract has the power of books. Extracts deny children the meat of the story.

"If by the age of 11 you have read 50 or 60 books, school is a whole lot easier."

Monday, 31 August 2009

Google translate

Fresh out of Google is the google docs translate facility. You can copy in a load of text, from one of over 40 languages, and translate instantly to another language!

Sounds amazing...I had a thai email message and copied it over into English...the results were average to poor, but I got the gist of the message.

You need to have a google account, but with the wealth of cloud-based software which is available from Google, you'd be missing out on lots of freely available software...text documents, spreadsheets, slides and photos.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Shift happens

If you haven't seen this, then do it now! Lots of ideas to think about technology and how we prepare children for it.

And the best way for middle school parents to help is...?

...according to researchers from Duke University,

... communicating your values and expectations about education; pointing out connections between schoolwork and current events; encouraging children to set goals and follow their dreams; discussing learning strategies, and preparing and making plans for the future. Basically, it means helping your kid make good decisions about school, with an understanding of what those decisions will mean to him or her, and linking class work with students’ interests and goals.

This factor overshadowed the impacts of helping with homework, visits to museums,
School-based involvement included attending parent meetings, volunteering for school activities or communicating with school officials.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Learning from mistakes...risk takers

Just found this link to risk taking, featuring Michael Jordan in a Nike ad, via my google reader subscription to movingatthespeedofcreativity.

And here is another youthube clip, same theme, with American heroes:

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Cool tools for school

Look here for an amazing array of web2.0 tools. Lots of widgets for the blog as well as almost too much other stuff!

This came from Larry Ferlazzo's site which is overbursting with great ideas, with a particular focus on EAL/ESL.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Wordle in the classroom

Have a look below

for some great ways to use wordle in your classroom. I found this set of slides through clif's notes. I'll definitely use it early on in the new academic year to display children's own self descriptions.

Thursday, 18 June 2009


Want to know about how twitter was formed, and how it has evolved from its original concept...from the mouth of its creator?

Click on the blog post title.

Sunday, 7 June 2009 to use it in class

Wordle is a great tool for either showing words in an interesting way or summarising the high frequency words contained in a document or website.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Subscribe to this one

I have been a subscriber to this site for a year now and there is always something interesting or useful.  I have passed on suggestions from it many times.

Subscribe by email or RSS feed...haven't got my head around RSS yet!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

100 web tools

Found this through Angela Maiers twitter feed.
Full of great ideas for presenting, notetaking, recording and mentions different learning styles too.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Monday 9th March - Colin, Ben, Anthony

We met and decided that if we meet next week briefly on Monday 16th, then aim to collect all of our reviews which point towards Project Based Learning for the following Monday, 23rd March. This would allow us to collect information on this site by the following week, 30th March. We could invite along MAMI and others. We could also include suggestions for ways forward...Action research, Year Group Short Term Projects...

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Bangkok Teachers' Network

Had a very thought provoking session today with Kathleen Baertschy from Concordia and came up with these ideas and questions:
  • Importance of making memories
  • make time for stories
  • make connections
  • As a learner, I like to know where I'm going
  • Actively participating helps me to learn
  • There is a crack in Everything, That's how light gets in (Leonard Cohen, Anthem)
  • It's not your experience which is important, it is what you do with it.
  • Teachers and children have to develop trust and you can do this through telling stories, including about yourself

Friday, 27 February 2009


Stumbled onto this site via twitter and tweetdeck. Has lots of features which I didn't know about, some seem obvious after you have read them, like writing over text using white pen and then erasing when using the slide in class (tip 9).

This site also has some great primary whiteboard games and links.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Monday, 2 February 2009

Why should BPS try to use enquiry based learning?

Diigo, Blogger, Link and Learn and Twitter

Jackie, Colin and Ben were reviewing diigo bookmarks and talked about how it compared with the BPS link and learn system:
  • easier to use - single button press
  • more powerful - tagged and so allows greater search capability

Ben showed this blog and was excited to see the feeds from the diigo site had come through...set up last week.

Ben also mentioned his month long experience of twitter. Following the right people definitely saves time.

Jackie will talk to John about the possibility of monitoring usage of link and learn.

Could we use social bookmarking better at BPS?