Friday, 25 March 2016

BATTT with Cupcakes

At TeachMeet BETT in 2013, we saw Ben and Stephen present their 'Bring a Teacher to Twitter' (BATTT) initiative. It struck a chord with us, we'd been using Twitter for about two years and had already been trying to convince our colleagues of its usefulness.

So, we went back into school and shared their message and blogged about it too. We tried holding meetings after school and during lunchtimes, but we didn't have many attendees.

This year we tried something different: cupcakes! Mrs. A. (Dan's wife) kindly made the cakes pictured. We again emailed everyone to let them know about our Twitter Meeting. This time we were inundated with attendees. Everyone ate cake, everyone signed up for a Twitter account and everyone learned about its usefulness. We shared 'must follows', how it's useful and more...

Want people to listen to you? Give them cake!

Monday, 21 March 2016

Parents' Resource Folder

In school, we use loads of resources to support learning. How often have parents spoken about not understanding something or needing more support? 

Well, get everything you've created and that's copyright free, that could be of use to children and their families for learning at home and stick it all in a Google Drive folder. Make the folder public and send home the link as a QR Code and TinyURL. As the year goes on, add to it...

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Weekly Email

At a TeachMeet at Anglia Ruskin University, we heard a presentation about giving students QR Code links to videos and other learning resources in advance of lectures to prepare them for what they'd be learning. Yes, flipped learning. But, in addition to flipping the learning, it was ensuring that the students knew what the content of the lectures would be.

So, for a couple of weeks now, when I've decided what I'm teaching, I send an email to my class to give them a brief outline of the week ahead. It takes about two minutes (if that):

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Word Class (Parts of Speach) & Colours

As written about previously, we noticed some children really struggling to remember word classes and therefore not form sentences correctly or know how to improve and develop their sentence structures.
We wrote a sentence, in black text and uploaded it to Google Drive. The children then accessed that Google Doc and changed the colours of each word to show what they thought the word class was. Each child had their own copy of the sentence to work on. After the children had answered, the Doc was locked and the answers discussed.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Impossible Darts Checkouts

Recently, I was watching a game of darts on the television. I don't watch or play much darts. The commentator mentioned something I'd not realised before. The player at the oche was on a total of 165, resulting in the commentator saying, "That's unlucky, 165 is one of the numbers that can't be made with a three-dart checkout." I immediately thought about how I could use this in a maths investigation. 

With a bit of research, I found this list of possible darts checkouts. And, I made the following resource to explain the investigation. Today, some of my Year Five children successfully completed the investigation and found it to be an 'interesting challenge'.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Publishing to iBooks

We've been aware, for a long time, of teachers publishing their work via iTunes. The work is available for download, looks professional and is easy to access. We've downloaded work by Lee Parkinson, Mark Anderson and others. It's something we aim to do more of too (when we get time to).

More recently, we've become aware of iTunes being used to publish children's work. Our inspiration came from the work by Cormac's class.

In 2015, we tried to get the children's work from one of our classes published to iBooks. But, we failed. Here's why. The children wrote their work in Google Docs. or Word and exported as a PDF that we then converted into an ePub. Apple would not accept this file. We couldn't work out some of the requirements of the uploading process. We gave up a little too quickly.

On a more positive note, here's how me made it work this year and what we'll do in the future...

1. The children all wrote their stories straight into Book Creator

2. These stories were then shared to Google Drive as a PDF and an ePub. 

3. The teacher took these from Google Drive (read each one for safeguarding and assessment) and collated them for uploading.

4. Individually, each one was submitted to the iTunes Store using iTunes Producer (only available for Mac OSX). Apple are particular about file sizes and dimensions for ePubs, front covers and page samples - read the requirements.
5. The first book took 2 days to appear live on the store. By the time the last few books were submitted, they were live within hours.

7. The children have enjoyed seeing their work online for others to read. Many have come back with stories about which members of their family read their work and where. It's not the most simple straightforward process, but it's well worth it. And, it gets easier with practise.

Please take a look at our work. Download at least one and let us know what you thought of it