Saturday, 29 October 2016

Bake Off for Evaluation Success

Last week, my mind was cast back a number of years. A few years back, we were researching, designing and then making our own biscuits. During the 'research' stage, a Year Five boy explained to me how he was evaluating the biscuits I'd provided "Like they do on Bake Off". Genius! So, the lesson stopped, the previous night's Bake Off went on and our evaluating and vocabulary improved. Instead of mostly eating their way through biscuits and saying "nice", "nicer", "not so nice" and so on, children were now commenting on the snap, appearance and much more than just the taste and their personal opinions. 

Image credit: Little Bakery

Last week, I thought about how the baking on Bake Off was evaluated. Such depth could be used to improve all evaluating and in particular peer assessments and reviews. Watch and example of how to evaluate baking before evaluating something. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Strictly Come Arithmetic

While watching Strictly Come Dancing (yes TV to the rescue again), I noticed a contestant was given a 7 by each of the judges. My brain immediately set to work and inside my head, I muttered to myself, "Oh, 28". Genius, I know. So, Strictly Come Dancing can be used for some four times table work. Maybe screenshot the scores, maybe make your own, maybe watch a dance that's given four of the same score (to engage the class) and ask the class to quickly work out the total. Of course, we can not do any of those here due to copyright (Have emailed the BBC to ask for permission though - they always say no though).
There's more here than just the four times table of course, it's mental addition. Score of 6, 6, 7, 6 is 3 X 6 + 7. So now all scores given are useful. Again, take screenshots, make your own, watch it back in iPlayer. I like the idea of seeing part of the dance for a bit of context. How quickly, and most importantly what methods are used, to get the total score given?

Saturday, 22 October 2016

For Your Classroom... 50 Primary English Questions - Volume 1

We've written another book. This time, it's a book of question types that could be used in English lessons (and other subjects). There are 11 types of question and each question type comes with 5 examples. 

We hope it's useful. Is is available to download from iTunes Store or as a PDF file. Let us know if it's useful.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Lunchtime Story Club

Michael Morpurgo recently spoke of the virtues of teachers reading to children in class. Of course, we agree, we've written about it on this very blog.

At school, our librarian shared the article. Some replies of, "Already do". Others of, "That'd be good". But, many of, "When? I'm too tight on time already!"

However, our quick thinking librarian was straight on to it and thus Storytime Club was born. There's a sign up sheet for teachers. One slot per day (12:15, start of lunch). A notice for children, informing them of the teacher reading that day and the book's title. At the start of lunch, the teacher sits in the library (I sat on beanbags) and reads to whoever turns up (I had 3 children) - not many, but a nice small group to read and discuss a book with. 10 minutes later, picture book read and all off to lunch.

Looking for time to read to children? Set up a Storytime Club they can attend. There may only be three turn up, there may be more, but three, remember, is more than none and they benefit from the story.

Next steps are we hope all members of the school staff and some senior students will join in with reading. 

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Re-Blog: "Shoes Off If You Love To Learn"

On Monday 3rd October, Liam was lucky enough to visit Great Denham Primary School. This was the first time he'd been inside and if anyone reading this is located close enough to visit them, He'd strongly recommend ringing up to see if they can show you around. 

Anyway, the first thing he noticed was that the children had no shoes on in school. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Letter Formation - Sky, Grass & Mud

At a recent Whole Education event, we were introduced to 'Sky, Grass & Mud' for reminding children about where letters should be placed while writing and which letters ascend and which descend. We feel this is particularly important for making letters distinguishable and showing the difference between capital and lower case letters.

We've made this resource to copy our school's cursive writing expectations. The font is courtesy of Cursive Writing

  Mat for Tables

Banner for Walls 1

Banner for Walls 2

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Free 'Stuff' - Actual, Real 'Stuff'

Earlier this evening, Liam presented at a TeachMeet in Stevenage. He presented about learning opportunities he'd been able to use in class that had no costs attached:


Monday, 10 October 2016

Picture Books and Some Ideas For Classroom Uses

We've written a few posts recently about picture books. Here's another. We've started a Pinterest Board of books we've read to our own children (you know, the ones we live with) and how these books could possibly be used in the classroom...

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Emoji Autobiographies

Getting to know your class at the start of the year can take many forms. Both of us are now part of job shares where we only teach for part of the week. Here's something that one of our classes did with one of our inventive colleagues...

Half the battle of getting children to write is engaging them. As we've written about before, the emoji keyboard can create engagement in writing. This task was for the children to write about themselves and insert emojis for some of the nouns in their sentences.