Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Want to use youtube but with no adverts? Read on...

Safeshare.tv 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."