Saturday, 27 August 2016

Words With Friends Edu

In July, we spotted someone new had begun Tweeting: 'WordsWithFriends EDU'. We're quite excited about this, and here's why...

We wrote earlier this year about 'Teacher Vs Class' and continue to use AirServer to engage the whole class in participating in a game. We've also seen how free resources from Top Trumps and Bananagrams can be an engaging teaching tool.

Image credit: Zynga Inc.

While writing those posts above, we had in mind that it'd be great to have child and school friendly versions of apps like 'Words with Friends', 'Letterpress', 'Yahtzee with Buddies' and others.

We've now found one: wordswithfriendsedu.com

We're singed up. It looks good. We'll give it a go when this forthcoming academic year begins...

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Taskmaster: Prepositional Phrases

A third addition to our ideas for the classroom that have come from the television program 'Taskmaster'

This time, linked to English, and grammar in particular. Watch the video below:


The task set was along the lines of, "Place the gym balls on the yoga mat that's on top of the hill. While most contestants carried the balls up the hill to the mat, Richard Osman went up, brought the mat down and then place the balls onto it: balls on the mat that (was) on top of this hill. Room for interpretation in the prepositional phrase? Greg Davies thought so. 

Can you set you children a similar task and look for scope within the prepositional phrases involved to carry out the task in 'their own way'?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Taskmaster: Pizza Oracy

We've written before about using ideas from 'Taskmaster' in our classroom. We've picked up another idea...

Our school is currently focusing on improving oracy amongst our young people. We (adults, at home in our own time) enjoyed watching this task on Taskmaster

Could see it, and similar, working well in the classroom. The children couldn't ring an actual pizza delivery company (or could they? or even Skype...), but they could work in pairs. It could also be run with other scenarios and 'banned' vocabulary. The video clip below is from the program and, unless we missed something, it's safe for a primary classroom:


If you come up with you own versions, please let us know...

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Transition Activities

Again, inspired by a Tweet:
We couldn't answer in 140 characters, so we'll answer in a blog post...

On our transition day, we get our new year group for just over two hours. Lots of time to get to know them a bit and learn a little about them. We do a short maths activity, a short writing activity and do lots of 'getting to know you' activities. 

'Getting to Know You a Little' - Children roll a dice and answer a question based upon what number they roll. For example: 1 Something you enjoyed about this year. 2 Favourite colour. -> 6 Dream job.

Share the curriculum for the year ahead. Let the children know what they'll be studying. They may even do some pre-learning. 

Trips. Again similar to above, let the children know what trips they can expect. 



'The Hardest Test You'll Do All Year' (Getting to Know Me a Little) - I give each table four pictures. For example: sweetcorn, peas, carrots and broccoli. They need to work out which is the odd one out and why. Always some interesting answers and then I explain the right answer. Can't stand sweetcorn by the way!

'Getting to Know You' - provide the children with a form to fill in so you, the teacher, have something to keep about them as you prepare for the year ahead.

Share a sideshow of photos from your current year.  

Look at your class / year group blog. 

'Just Like Me' - Someone says something they like or do and anyone who is the same/similar says, "Just like me".

There's some ideas. We really value transition day. Get to know the children a little. Make introductions. Set some expatiations. And, all before it begins 'for real' in September...

Saturday, 25 June 2016

RAF at Your Event

The Royal Air Force "complete many flypasts each summer as they transit from display to display." On the RAF website, there is the ability to request a flypast for an event. For schools, this is most likely to be a summer fayre or similar. There are events they will not provide a flypast for and they only flaypast for one person's birthday (HM The Queen), but school faryres fall into the category of events they will do. 

We've requested a flypast in each of the last five years and were successful in 2013. As previous, we sent off our application and then, much to our surprise, we received a call from the RAF wanting to confirm our location and timings. On the day, we were waiting at the estimated time of arrival and suddenly the roar of a Spitfire engine came closer and closer. The pilot gave us a stunning display before wiggling the wings and setting off into the distance. Unfortunately, we only caught a small part of the flypast on camera.


The flypast is only possible if the RAF happen to have an aircraft passing and we've been lucky enough to have one visit once. We'll keep applying and hopefully have one back again. Got your fayre planned? Put in an application...

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Story Behind the Tweet

Not all our ideas are our own. Here's another we found on Twitter:
Nina posted the above Tweet and we immediately loved the idea. It's taken a few weeks to find the opportunity to try it out, but now we have and it worked quite well. It certainly engaged a group of Year Fives who just about know how Twitter works and certainly hear about and see Tweets in various media they see.

Here's what we did:

Firstly, I considered looking for an intriguing Tweet (which I may do in the future), but I didn't and instead created my own, fictional Tweet, using lemmetweetthatforyou:


I read the class the original example from Waitrose in Nina's Tweet and then showed them the fictional Tweet. I informed them that it was fictional and I even went to the bother of checking that the @Mentions don't currently exist on the site. 


Challenge 1: explain what the Tweet's about. Challenge 2: write in a similar style to Waitrose. Challenge 3: explain it in exactly 140 words. 


We completed our writing in the Count Words & Characters app and then posted the finished stories to a Padlet wall


We've written in the past about other forms of restrained writing: Two Sentence Stories, Stories in a Tweet, 100WC and others...

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Musical Notation and Fractions

While planning a unit of work about fractions recently, a colleague (musical one) suggested using musical notation as a way of introducing fractions.

Four beats in a bar: this can be achieved in many many ways! 


A bit of a reminder / teaching about musical notation and off we went...


And then, the children had a go themselves:



The resources were all made using Printable Paper.