Sunday, 27 November 2011

Edublog Award Nominations

Here are our nominations for this year's Edublog Awards:

Best individual tweeter: @ICTMagic
There is something useful from Martin on his Twitter account every single day!

Best Twitter hashtag: #edtech
The resources shared through the edtech hashtag enable and encourage innovation through ICT within education.

Best free web tool:
A useful online tool for converting videos to various different formats. I have used it for converting videos to .flv to use within SMART Notebook.

Best ed tech / resource sharing blog:
Mark's blog does just what is says in the title: "A blog where I discuss ICT, education, my teaching, their learning and everything else in between".

Best educational wiki:
Again, this is from 'ICTMagic' and it's an amazing collection or resources and ideas to use in the classroom.

Best open PD / unconference / webinar series: TeachMeet
We attended two TeachMeet events this year. First of all as 'lurkers', but stepped up the second time to present. Those two TeachMeets were so useful for both generating ideas and for networking. Through Twitter and various blogs we've also been able to follow the goings on at TeachMeets we've not attended.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Kung Fu Maths

Kung Fu Maths is a practical maths activity for reinforcing mathematical vocabulary. It can be carried out in a classroom or outside, standing up or sitting down. 

Firstly, it involves four actions:

  • Arms crossed, one horizontal and the other vertical represents addition.
  • One arm placed horizontally represents subtraction.
  • Arms crossed diagonally are for multiplication.
  • Finally, one arm placed horizontally and then the other arm ‘punching’ once above and once below shows division.

The way I have used this is to reinforce mathematical vocabulary. I say a question to the class, for example, “What is the product of 2 and 3?” The class then respond by showing the correct sign, in this case arms crossed diagonally and call back the answer (6).

It’s a nice lesson start or end to a lesson, or even in the middle!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Austin The Travelling Bear

While completing my Primary PGCE six years ago, I undertook a placement in a Year Two class. While at that placement I acquired the idea of having a bear that could travel the world and return with stories to be told to the class. So, thank you Mrs. Koletzki (if you're reading this) for the idea! I suppose it's also an extension of the Barnaby Bear Key Stage One resource.

Since completing my training, I have only worked in Key Stage Two, but have had my own class bear (Austin), who spends most days sat in the classroom observing all that goes on. But, every now and again he goes off on adventures. I have a photo album that contains photographs of the places he has visited, a write up of what he did and a post card from each country. In addition to that, I also have newspapers, coins, flags and some other artifacts from each country he has been to.

The children enjoy looking at the pictures of where he has been, seeing the different post cards and, without realising it, developing their knowledge of countries and cultures from around the globe.

This of course all started as a classroom resource, but it's also started to make Austin quite a special bear because of all the places he has now been to: China (twice - including visiting the Great Wall and the Olympics), Finland, Germany, Israel, Jordan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Spain (twice), Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE and Wales. He is, at the time of writing, in the USA. He's had quite a busy six years taking in Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and North America.

I must extend my gratitude to friends and family who willingly take him away with them on holiday (often asking for him) and then provide resources from the countries for the classroom.

You can find Austin online here: AustinTheBear

He's certainly better travelled than I am!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Interactive Classroom Displays

In my classroom I have a display board that I refer to as the ‘Interactive Display’. This display is composed of four parts:
  • Country of the Week
  • Number of the Week
  • Park it Here, Let’s find out!
  • This is Good Because…
It is a part of the classroom where the children contribute the content to the outline I have put in place. This is how I have used the four parts:
This part of the display was put in place partly due to me being a geographer, but also as an opportunity to help the children widen and improve their geographic knowledge through their own independent research. Firstly, it highlights the children who already have geographic knowledge as they can add to the display first thing on a Monday morning. It then, throughout the week, provides a discussion about children’s research and where they acquired information. This part of the display is a laminated piece of A3 paper that the children write onto with whiteboard pens. I change the country each week on a Monday morning.
The idea of having a number of the week came from a colleague. Again, this became part of the display partly through my enjoyment of maths, but also to provide an opportunity to look at the children’s knowledge of number. This display is also a laminated A3 piece of paper that the children write onto with whiteboard pens. On this one there are prompts like ‘factors’, ‘half of it is’, ‘double it’ and so on. Although I have shown 100 and 1000 in the two examples below the numbers used range through 45, 88, 125, 366. Again, I change this number each week on a Monday morning.
Park it Here, Let’s find out!
This part of the display is a whole school approach to ensuring questions that are asked during a lesson do not go unanswered. The idea is that when a question is asked that the teacher cannot answer or a question slightly off topic comes to light, it is written onto the Park it Here display. The teacher and the class can then research this question so that it does not go unanswered, but is answered at another appropriate time.
This is Good Because…
The final part of the display is for the pupils in the class to provide each other with some public feedback and praise. When I come across what I perceive to be a ‘good’ piece of work I take a photocopy or photograph of it and then put this on the display. I then write on it why I thought it was good and then the rest of the class can do the same. A little coaching in what to write is required, but the comments are excellent once the children have got the hang of it. When the piece of work is taken down the child gets to keep the copy of their work and the comment slips that were added to it.