Sunday, 6 May 2018

Do You Know?

It's my own children and the TV box in the corner of my living room helping me out again...

My toddlers and I have recently discovered 'Do You Know' on CBeebies. "Join Maddie as she finds out how things work."
As it is on the CBeebies Channel, it is aimed at toddlers, much younger than most of the primary age group. But, it's still largely appropriate. Maddie covers technical aspects of aeroplane flight, how plant pots are made, friction on a slide and more. It is a fine balance between being technical and factual, much of which goes over my chidlren's heads, whilst also being engaging to very young children. Primary age pupils will 'get' the factual information and be mostly still engaged by the child-friendly format of the show.

I have used them as an opportunity to add to our general learning by playing some at the start or end of the day or between lessons. But, they can be useful in lessons - the playground program in science when learning about friction for example. 

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Magical Hatching Writing

Recently, my daughters purchased some 'Magical Hatching Unicorns' and in school we used some hatching dinosaurs as a writing prompt.
With my daughters, toddlers, they knew that there were unicorns in the eggs and that they would hatch, but not how or why.
With the children at school, they knew the item was a 'toy' and that it would hatch, but not what was going to come out of them.
For those of you who have not come across these, it's a plastic egg, with an item inside and when it is placed in water for a couple of days, the egg hatches and the animal grows in the water.
To add to the excitement of the animal hatching, we used so augmented reality apps to make a dragon fly around the classroom.
The anticipation of what would come out of the egg, seeing it slowly appear and all the talk that went with it, created excitement and intrigue that lead to enjoyment of writing. 
What will you do with them?

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Pause for Thought for Your Thought

We are required to hold an act of collective reflection each day.

In our school, these are assemblies with the head teacher, church leaders, in year groups and as part of year group singing.

Recently, I was working at home (with Radio 2 for company). The Pause for Thought that day matched our assembly theme (humility) for that week perfectly. It reminded me of what the head had said the day before and I saw how it could be used as part of year group assemblies, on the same theme, later in the week. Some year groups did: the children listened perfectly, responded well and it made our assembly, and the reflection better. On key element was that it was spoken word, not TV or animation, but just a simple voice.

I'm going to use Pause for Thought more in assemblies, in class, and, as someone with faith myself, maybe even make more time to listen to them myself.

Take a listen...

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Augmented Reality with Motion Stills

This week, I've found the Motion Stills app by Google.

It does three things:
- AR Mode
- Motion Still
- Fast-Forward

The 'Motion Still' takes a 4 second (I think) video/gif that will play and keep repeating. A rather contemporary way of recording video that the pupils should relate to. There are numerous ways this short video could be used in class...

The 'Fast-Forward' does exactly what it says. Easy way to record something and then have it sped up without having to involve editing software. 

The 'AR Mode' is the new addition to the app and the one I see being most useful. Augmented reality has been around for a little while now. I'm amazed by it, but Skype amazes me too! The thing about augmented reality that's brilliant is that whenever I've used it in class, it has enthused the children. They know what they are seeing is not real and I know it too. But it's like its real and we can all enter that imaginary world through the augmented reality and pretend we're there. The AR Mode includes: a dog, spaceship, heart, basketball, spider, dinosaur, chicken, alien, gingerbread man, globe and a robot.

I've been having a play. While me mam was eating her dinner and 'finding' bugs on the kitchen floor.

I can see this being a really useful writing prompt too, or for creating a story sequence, or any other ideas you may have...  

The gif or video can easily be exported to many apps for #AppSmashing or as a finished product. 

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Part Part Whole, Bar Model & Perimeter

Earlier this year, we were calculating perimeter of compound shapes with some missing measurements. Some children were struggling to work out which measurements were missing. 

So, we took to using the bar model to offer some support.

1. Count the sides of the shape
2. Colour horizontal sides one colour and vertical sides another colour
3. Identify which sides have an unknown length
4. Use 'Part Part Whole' bar model (one for horizontal and one for vertical) to help find missing lengths
4a. The bar models can also be colour coded the same as the sides
5. Check the number of lengths found matches number of sides and looks sensible 
6. Add them up...

It worked well for us. Of course, as always with the bar model, it will help work towards an answer, but not give an answer. 

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Every Primary Teacher Needs a... Lab Coat

It's Liam writing this one. As a trainee teacher, I observed Dan (the other 1/2 of Primary Ideas) teach art with a lab coat on. I saw him in his lab coat in his art lesson and it made sense.
So, I purchased one - actually it came from Santa somehow, but that's another story! From my NQT year (2006) to now, I've had a lab coat in my classroom. It comes out for water colours, clay, 'messy science' and various other activities. It allows myself to throw myself in without worrying about my clothes. The 30 children have art aprons on, so why shouldn't I? Currently, 11 years on, we're still the only two members of staff in our school with a lab coat for art. Mine gets borrowed fortnightly! why has no one else got one? 'Cos they keep borrowing mine, I know! 

So, get yer self a lab coat - you'll use it loads!