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Multiple ways of multiplication

Back in the 70s, 80s and 90s children were predominately taught to multiply using paper and pencil methods. In the naughties (2000 onwards) the government, rightly, urged teachers to ensure pupils can use mental mathematics to solve multiplication problems using partitioning strategies. This has had a significant impact and in the last 5 years, we've introduced pencil and paper methods to support mental calculations. The Grid method of multiplication is a very successful strategy for children. In fact, three years ago, two pupils in my class produced this guide to the Grid Method.

How to solve multiplication problems using the Grid method

Of course this isn't the only way, and children find it amazing when they are shown a variety of other ways. I get them trying the difficult methods and evaluating the success of each one. 

Here's how the Chinese solve multiplication problems, 

and interestingly enough, new this week, how Ethiopians are solving the problem.

Role Play and its place in the Primary Curriculum

researcherIt never ceases to amaze me how important Role Play is in engaging pupils in understanding and performing tasks to the best of their ability. I remember quite early on in my teaching career when I was working with friends from Ultralab on an eTui research project. The afternoon involved my pupils playing with toys, a radio controlled car, a programmable toy and an eTui (a meta-level learning toy.) We asked my pupils to complete a questionnaire about what they understand about how each toy moved, what it sensed and how it responded to the environment in which it was being used. 

Crucially, we gave the pupils the title of 'researcher' and issued them each with a clipboard. Short of giving them a white 'lab' coat, they were every bit the researcher, and assumed that role throughout the afternoon. Interestingly enough, I remember questioning how most of the children understood the role of a researcher, yet their experience of what a researcher actually does was limited.

Recently, in discussion with colleagues during lunchtime, I reiterated how significant children in my Enterprise Team, had taken to the idea of being in-role as designers, inventors and business people. Here's why.

Over a period of 4 days next week, pupils at Kings Road Primary School are taking part in an Enterprise Week. The pupils have been tasked with designing and making products (or providing services) to sell with the intention of making a profit on the £50 they have received to buy resources. The ideas that each team are developing are already proving to be highly secretive and there is much competition between teams and keeping ideas top secret is the name of the game.

Logo Design Sheet Primary School

Whilst pupils in my team were in-role, I had them sign a child-friendly version of a NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) which gave them a sense of loyalty and assurance to each other that our ideas will not be shared with other children or teachers. Whilst other pupils have since shared confidential information, my team haven't. How significant was role-playing in ensuring that our ideas weren't readily shared with others?

Today, we finalised our plans, discussed and voted on our team name, 'The F Factor' and began work on designing a logo for the team. Again, I used role-play with the help of preprinted stationery to ensure pupils engaged with the idea of being a creative designer for our team. The logos they presented were of a high standard and their understanding of the task was obvious in the designs they had produced.

Role-play had an enormous significance in the primary classroom and is not just the domain of Key Stage 1 pupils, but can, and should be given opportunities throughout all year groups in the school.



What If and Shift Happens

My Headteacher recently handed me a disc and said that I should watch both 'What If...' and 'Shift Happens'.  My Head had recently attended a course and two presentations were shown to provoke minds into thinking about the future of education, teaching and learning.

I found them hugely powerful and thought-provoking, and wanted to share them with you here.

What If looks back on statements that people in a variety of educational roles have made over the past few centuries, and some comments made, worryingly, since the turn of the millennium. The key message here, of course, is what if we'd listened to all those people along the way. What are we saying today that could be having an impact on what could happen tomorrow?

Shift Happens offers plenty of provocations through the use of statistics and reflects on where the world and technology has been and is heading.

What If poster frame    Shift Happens

Both presentations have really opened my eyes to maintaining an open mind about new possibilities and that we simply can't afford to make the same mistakes as we did in the last Century. My Head often says if we carry on doing the same things as we did yesterday, we can expect the same outcomes as of yesterday. If we want to do better for our children, we have to change what we do.

We are educating a different generation and this means embracing new technologies rather than immediately disregarding them. However, it doesn't mean building a curriculum around the technology, but instead use it to enhance and add value to teaching and learning.

For me, probably the most significant aspect of the Shift Happens movie is this statement:

"We are currently preparing our students for jobs that don't yet exist... using technologies that haven't been invented... to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet."

It just shows how open minded we need to be if we are to prepare our children properly for tomorrow's world. Learning knowledge, key facts and figures won't help the children of tomorrow, yet to give them skills to find out information for themselves, contribute their own understanding and challenge one another are much higher order skills.

What this means in reality is give pupils opportunities to be creative, to make decisions, problem solve, debate, discuss, be inventive and above all else, be themselves. If we allow them to develop their own uniqueness, this is what will set them apart from the rest of the world.

What are your thoughts?

Online Learning Communities for pupils, parents and teachers

One of my next initiatives at Kings Road Primary School is to begin to construct an online community for pupils, staff and parents to support learning inside and outside school in a safe, closed environment. These tools are often referred to as Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) or Learning Platform.

The Government's e-strategy states that by spring 2008 every pupil should have access to a personalised online learning space with the potential to support an e-portfolio.

Everyone can see the benefits to both staff, pupils and parents. The opportunities are endless and the doors to 24/7 learning are opened, suiting both the learner and in time, the teacher.

Staff will be able to:

  • host private discussions amongst themselves about teaching and learning.
  • share assessment data between staff.
  • plan collaboratively.
  • swop ideas and exchange best practice.
  • share resources found on the Internet or made for the Interactive Whiteboard.

and lots more besides.

For pupils, this will be a rich and engaging place to

  • host discussions amongst their peers, both inside and outside of the classroom.
  • build portfolios of their learning, in a variety of formats, video, text, photographs.
  • share their learning objects with others, inviting them for critical feedback and review.
  • access and share resources, contributing them back to the community as well as simply consuming them.
  • develop self-assessment as a mechanism for directing future learning and..
  • personalised learning.

If schools realise the potential of just one or two of these aspects and fully embrace this change, it will be a revolutionary moment for pupils, parents and teachers throughout the UK.

What worries me, is do we have the tools to fulfill our desires. We have the intentions, we know (in the main) what we want, but are the tools we have today good enough for the job.

To be honest, I've yet to see an Online Learning Community tool that will meet the needs of this ambitious initiative. With the exception of one tool, Facebook. It seems to me that Facebook has the capacity to meet many of the needs for today's youngsters.

If we are going to get 'buy in' from pupils of all ages, particularly those of Secondary age, first and foremost we need to place them in an environment which appeals to them. It has to be THE place to be, hang out and be with others. It has to be instantly customisable, a place that each student can make their own. It's well known that one of the first things young people want to do with anything is customise it. Take their own pencil cases and books - immediately they doodle on them, attach stickers, anything to make it a little bit unique and special. The same is true with online spaces.

In 2001, I built an online tool called iShare which I made accessible to my primary age pupils. The purpose was to create a site that pupils could logon to and share their work with others, including their parents. I gave them each a 'passport' as their home page which they could customise. In those days, without Flash, CSS and AJAX technologies, the customisations were quite primitive, so changing the background image, font size, colour and uploading your own image was seen as a big deal. Pupils loved doing this, and they wanted to do this each time they logged on - perhaps whilst they were thinking about their learning.

If we want them to be building portfolios of their learning, this will need to ensure they can submit their learning objects in a variety of different formats, including video, audio, photographs and text. It will need some way in which media can be imported, edited and assembled online. Making do with an 'upload your video here' button simply won't be enough when in YouTube you can annotate it, add chapters and the like.

The Online Learning Community doesn't want to be too structured either. People don't all learn or think in the same way and this means removing tight workflows, processes and pre-configured spaces. It does mean enabling learners to create their own places with their own structures. Tagging and labelling can help build personalised structures for others to access in their preferred learning styles.

Pupils will be demanding about what the Online Learning Environment will allow them to do. They won't settle very easily with a system which isn't as good as something they're already using. Watch out developers, because if you haven't realised it already, you soon will. You have an enormous task on your hands.

Facebook already does most of the things I've described already. It is constantly being developed, both the core software and through the plugin Applications. Significantly, these aren't just contributed by the developers but can be written by any of its members who know how. Facebook isn't perfect of course, I think it would be hard to describe any software that is. However, it is closer to what's needed than anything out there today and most importantly, is engaging the members in Facebook's development and iterations.

What next?

Although it would be a wonderful action research project, I can see many reasons why schools couldn't simply adopted Facebook as it stands. The current set of tools couldn't protect its membership well enough from other community members, who could literally be anyone in society from all around the world.

However, if Facebook were to enable schools to buy into their software, run it locally within the school and have it's own membership I think we'd be almost there. The innovation comes from having some interoperability with Facebook's main site for building the extended communities for families, friends and relatives. The interoperability should also allow the site to be regularly updated with software enhancements and new applications, so every school moves forward and not just those that can afford it. 

I can't help but think that as each school tries to find a solution for their VLE, and each Local Authority offers support and advice - the answer is staring us in the face.

Am I missing something, surely Facebook (or the next social network software) is the way forward? Can you imagine youngsters settling for anything less for their learning experience?

Engaging Learners in the design of their learning space using Post-IT notes

Class JF9 use post-it notes to share their views on their learning space.Having recently taken a new role at Kings Road Primary School in Chelmsford, as Class Teacher and ICT Co-ordinator, pupils in Class JF9 began work on identifying the aspects of their learning space that they consider either 'Works Well', 'Is So So' or 'Doesn't Work Well'.


BETT 2008 at Olympia in London, 9th - 12th January 2008

BETT 2008 logoIt's been a whole year since the last one, and they get better and better each year. This is the largest Education and Technology show in the UK and is aimed specifically at the schools and Education sector.

It isn't all about software and tools, however. The Learner Voice stand, is the feature stand and includes pupils talking and showing members of the public what learning is like in the 21st Century.


Building International links with the Little Cayman community and Stepping Stones School

The past week has been pretty tiring, but incredibly worthwhile and satisfying. It began with very clear objectives to build a link between the little learning community on Little Cayman and Stepping Stones School in the UK. Both schools, although small, are fantastic places for pupils to learn. The school on Little Cayman has four pupils aged between 4 and 10, and although the age spread is somewhat different, Stepping Stones School has a similar number of pupils - seven!

Small learning communities work really well, but in order to thrive, the pupils need to experience a much greater social network or youngsters - something that both learning communities have in common. The obvious answer is to bring the two together using video technology, provided wholly through iChat AV on the Apple Macintosh. The photograph above shows the quality of the video as we broadcast live across the Atlantic.

Video conferencing is not a new technology, in fact it's been around for several years - so people might ask, what's the big deal? Well, quite a lot, actually - and some of it isn't immediately obvious, though it is common sense.

Video conferencing technology, in the main, tends to be professional, specialised equipment which is positioned in a particular room, connected in one location. It often requires the need for a technician to set it up - line test the call - perhaps even around the routing with prior arrangement from the network's hosting company. In this project, we are using technology which puts this capability into the hands of the learners, empowering them to be in control of their connections to the outside world.

Each child has a state-of-the-art laptop computer, connected to a wireless 3Mbit Internet connection. They use Mac OS X and iChat to build a buddy list of learners in other locations. They use this to initiate video connections on an adhoc basis.

Arrowe on Little Cayman is talking to Dominic about the music he is making using GarageBand. Dominic is a bit of an expert when it comes to writing music, compared to Arrowe where this is his first time. Wouldn't it be ever so special for Dominic to pass on his wisdom and understanding to Arrowe? Well... that's exactly what happened. The age difference between the two communities of learners means that the older pupils can become role models, advocates or mentors for the younger pupils. We naturally create an environment where the younger pupils chase the role models of the older pupils and perhaps develop in thought and maturity much faster. Who knows, but it will be very exciting to watch as this project progresses over the coming months.

I've had a truly wonderful time here on the island. The pupils, both here and in Stepping Stones School have been amazing and my thanks and best wishes go to them all. I was so encouraged on my first day to hear the class teacher, Miss Veronica, suggest this technology as a strategy for joining up the schools on the sister islands, Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac - it shows an insightful understanding for this new medium which hasn't, I don't think, been fully explored beyond simply making connections.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, here are some links to other sites describing what is taking place.

Building Cayman's Future: Technology enhances Teaching and Learning

Stepping Stones School: International project goes live as pupils video conference to a school in Little Cayman

Also, please don't hesitate to contact me or book a place at the Be Very Afraid event in London, at BAFTA on 22nd October 2007. Contact Lys, for more information.


Professor Stephen Heppell talks briefly about 21st Century learning on BBC Breakfast

During the middle of last week, Stephen Heppell spoke on BBC Breakfast about the future of learning in the 21st Century, lifelong learning and how we should be building a model of education which is personalised to the needs of individual students. It is clear that we aren't in a world where "one size fits all" and it now seems ludicrous to still be placing children in classes simply because they share a birthday between two Septembers.

A few people had missed Stephen's piece on the BBC Breakfast programme, it was on pretty early (!) so I've put it here, courtesy of the BBC. Watch the programme online.


Stephen often speaks publicly on this very important issue, such as his Radio 4 Interview on the Today programme, which was also broadcast last week. Stephen says 4 out of 10 students are backwards in their learning from where they were when they moved from Primary school to Secondary school. Stephen continues by stressing that schools need to be "seductive and engaging places" if students aren't going to be lost from a love of learning. Listen online.


Video conferencing technologies to support learners working from home

We often consider using video conferencing technology in schools and colleges for connecting people together, people who aren't usually part of the organisation, such as another school or class of students, an expert or scientist for example.

Here at Stepping Stones we using video conferencing technologies to include students who aren't able to physically attend the school. There might be several reasons for this, an illness or the student has had an appointment to see a consultant or specialist and isn't sensible for the student to return to school.

We are now well accustomed to allowing pupils to participate in lessons and activities, from a distance. This week, Dom has been struck down with Chicken Pox, which although the contagious condition doesn't affect his ability to work, does mean he can't attend the school. We've been working closely with Dom throughout this week and he's adapted very well to learning from home and being separate from the others. Other pupils here, often find attending the school 5 days a week incredibly tiring. It means that on occasions, they can still participate in lessons whilst learning from home.

This isn't a common function of a school, but one which makes lots of sense.

We use a peer to peer Instant Messaging network such as AIM and .Mac, using the application iChat in Mac OS X to enable video, text and audio messaging.


Self-directed learning: Stepping Stones pupils learn French

Two of our pupils have opted to learn French as a language here at Stepping Stones School. Initially, we are exploring the use of online tools, such as Podcasts as a resource for giving some initial support.

This is a small school, 5 pupils on roll. We believe in providing the very best learning opportunities for our pupils and employ several specialist teachers in Maths, Science, English, ICT, History, Childcare besides other subjects. In time, I am sure we will have specialist language teachers too, but initially, I believe pupils can develop their language skills with facilitated help and a strong resource base.

Below are two pupils working with a podcast, available from the Apple iTunes music store, called French for Beginners by The French Ecole.

They can listen to the French transcript and explanation of French vocabulary and dialogue and refer to a supplied PDF sheet which comes as part of the podcast subscription.


Teachers urged not to txt or email pupils outside of school

In the Manchester Evening News, an article reports that in an ever increasing litigation culture, pupils and parents are prepared to take legal action against teachers adopting txt, email and instant messaging technologies in their communication with young people.

Whilst there are really strong reasons why txt, email and instant messaging technologies are of a great benefit to pupils' learning beyond school hours, it is important to recognise ways in which, we as teachers, we can protect ourselves from such allegations.


Those using email systems should maintain a copy of any incoming and outgoing message - most email client applications such as Outlook Express, Mail, Thunderbird do this automatically and if you choose to archive the messages, you can store them for eternity. If you are using a web based client, such as Yahoo, Hotmail, or Gmail, then you should file your messages within a folder which you can access at anytime in the future. If you run out of online space, simply save the messages to a folder on your personal computer - most providers offer these functions.

Instant Messaging

As far as keeping an account of communications with pupils using Instant Messaging, most systems allow you to save the chat transcript. I use both iChat and MSN systems and have chat transcripts automatically set to save. It means that should anyone object to a conversation that I have had with a pupil, I can recall the event in full at a moments notice. I also don't need to think about saving it - it happens automatically.

Txt messaging

Txt messaging is much trickier to maintain a transcript or account of communication. Unless you have a more capable phone of storing lots of txt messages and periodically exporting them to a personal computer, it's really hard to maintain an archive of what's been sent when, and to whom. I use an application called PhoneAgent that allows me to retrieve sent and received txt messages to my computer and store them in a txt file.

Common sense

The key test to apply when communicating with young people is ask yourself, would you be embarrassed, unsure or would it put yourself at risk if anyone else were to read the conversation? If the answer is yes, you probably shouldn't be having the conversation. Remember also, that any communication through txt is subject to more misinterpretation as it doesn't carry intonation or facial expression, so be aware of how what you say could be read.

The adoption of internet, phone communication technologies is so powerful that we mustn't devalue its contribution to a changing education system provision. My advice is to use your common sense, just as you would when you are teaching face to face. Apply the same rules and principles in your online presence as you would in your workplace environment. If there is ever some doubt about how an online conversation or relationship is developing, tell someone else and share the experience.

It is important to remember that as with all new technologies, we are subject to experimentation, research and evaluation - we don't necessarily know the all answers just yet, but that doesn't mean we should stop exploring. The NUT (National Union of Teachers) will understandably recommend against using technology, but, if, like the majority of teachers, we are adopting these technologies to ensure the best outcomes for our students, then it's something we are unlikely to want to change.

Access to teachers?

Another good question for debate is how much access do we give pupils to contact ourselves outside of school? I personally feel that I commit a lot, but that suits my interest, my research work and current situation.

How do the pupils at Stepping Stones use the technology with me?

Here are just a few:

  • pupils ask me questions about homework, project work, coursework.
  • occasionally they alert me to things that they feel I should know about, such as events, problems, illnesses, etc.
  • share worries and concerns about school / home life / equipment.
  • participate in out-of-hours school meetings, such as the School Council.
  • txt vote choices.
  • share their work, look for feedback / encouragement / ideas / critical friendship role.

How are others using txt / email / instant messaging with pupils? How are pupils adopting these technologies to work with other pupils / teachers? Share them here, I'd be really interested to hear your views.

Thanks to Derek Wenmoth for highlighting this story.


Inspirational television for teachers, Teachers TV

I searched the net looking for some digital media to help my students understand and appreciate the effect of forces on objects. I had already tried the obvious places, YouTube, Google Video etc.. and drew blanks. I searched the Teachers TV programmes, and hit upon this video, KS3/4 Science - Demonstrating Physics: Forces featuring David Richardson from the Institute of Physics.

As a teacher, it was a truly inspiring programme to watch a demonstration of a scientific theory which began with the awe and wonder that interests and engages students so brilliantly - it certainly captivated me.

So many ideas can be gleaned from watching other professionals. The programme featured a scientist giving a demonstration to teachers during an INSET session, and later, the teacher repeating the same principle in front of their class of students. It was a really helpful to note the scientists explanations and then to see the students reactions and comments - it was almost as though you had already had a 'dry-run' of the activity. Wonderful.

Naturally, I couldn't help but want to present the same principle to my students and indeed the awe and wonder and instant engagement was there.

You can find more programmes on Teachers TV using this search engine:

or browse by category...


Key stages



Tomorrow's Learners Today feature at the BETT 2007 Educational Technology Show, London

BETT, the Educational Technology Show takes place at between 11th and 14th January 2007. The show attracts some 28,000 visitors bringing together the global teaching and learning community. It really is the place to be. The show usually features a good mix between experienced exhibitors and presenters in the field of educational technology.

The feature stand this year is "Tomorrow's Learners Today" and is supported by DfES and Partnership for Schools amongst others.

When technology can do anything we wish, says Professor Stephen Heppell, the question becomes: What should we wish for?

The stand is divided into two. One half will showcase a school each day. Pupils on the stand will be surveying visitors and exhibitors about their ideas on future schooling. At the end of each day, the results from the surveys will be announced.

  • Lampton School, Hounslow (on Wednesday)
  • Homewood School, Kent (on Thursday)
  • Castle Manor Business and Enterprise College, Haverhill (on Friday)
  • Edensor Technology College, Longton Stoke (on Saturday)

The other half of the stand will feature BETT Brains - and will consist of leading experts on the design of future schools. Many Building Schools for the Future (BSF) case studies will be presented over the four days and the presenters include:

  • Peter Wain, Becta,
  • Mike Rumble, QCA,
  • Hannah Jones, NCSL
  • Kate Stewart, Learning Designer, TeamAgogo
  • Carole Chapman, Notschool - Virtual Learning
  • Dan Sutch, Futurelab

... along with several representative from Partnership for Schools (PfS) and not forgetting Stephen Heppell presenting daily. I will also be on the stand talking about my work with Stepping Stones School on Friday and Saturday, so please do come along and meet me on the stand, D62.




You can read more about the feature stand.

If you want to see what went on last year, take a look at the BETT 2006 Review movie

A Kiwi Jingle Bells - a New Zealand version to the traditional Christmas song

A good friend, Ali Hughes in New Zealand, sent the kids at Stepping Stones the alternative version to Jingle Bells. This is the Kiwi version, the lyrics of which reflects celebrating Christmas in the summer months.

"Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way
Christmas in New Zealand on a sunny summer's day, ah!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way
Oh what fun it is to have a Kiwi holiday!

This fantastic book is accompanied by a music CD with instrumental, spoken and sing-a-long tracks.

Listen to a short extract from the CD (Apple QuickTime, 600kb).

Buy online.


Hiking, Assessment and Shoeburyness

Walking along Shoeburyness coastline, whilst training our Scouts in hiking and navigation, I chatted to one of the boys, Daniel, about his school education and how he felt he was progressing.

What was interesting and really obvious in Daniel's conversation with me, was his awareness of exactly what level he was working at.

"In my D&T project, Miss Davies says I am working at level 5c"

I shouldn't be surprised, after all, Daniel wasn't and he thought it normal that he would know and be able to share such things with others. It became obvious that Daniel wasn't aware of his ability in one subject alone, but in other subjects too. I questioned him further as to whether he knew how to improve beyond his current assessment, he said he did and cited some examples. Making pupils aware of their National Curriculum levels in both Primary and Secondary education has been encouraged for the past few years now, where teachers have been open with parents and pupils about attainment levels. At the end of each key stage, parents are informed of attainment levels in English, Maths and Science.

It was an enlightening conversation, and one that filled me with some excitement about children understanding more about their own learning and how to progress and achieve higher. We are definitely in a new era of learning, no longer is it helpful to assess a piece of work as "good" or comment "try harder" - instead, we as teachers are more informative about how well the pupil performed and how they can attain higher.


Back to School with the Class of Web 2.0: Part 3

The very excellent sequel to Back to School with the Class of Web 2.0 has recently been published.

Key things that stood out for me were:

Go and have a read for yourself... and don't forget to look at Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven't already done so. It's good.


Sir Ken Robinson talks about creativity and what's wrong with our education systems

Pete Bradshaw found this conference presentation of Sir Ken Robinson speaking at a TED conference. Watch the clip.

He is particularly entertaining to watch and listen to as he talks about creativity and what is wrong with our education systems.

"If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original. By the time children become adults, they become frightened of being wrong"

Ken argues that we are educating people out of their creative capacities.

Ken is also a writer and publisher, and having been inspired by his talk, I'm really interested in reading his book, 'Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative.'


There are never enough days in the week

Eight days a week Notepad.

This is a neat little product. It has the full seven days, Monday to Sunday and another tab for "someday" - probably designed for all those thoughts and dreams that one day you will get around to doing but don't want to forget them.

Timetabling the Stepping Stones curriculum has been troublesome; finding enough curriculum time for each subject and allocating this over the week is challenging. My secondary school, Mayflower School, used to run a 6 day week (still Monday to Friday, but each day in turn was substituted for a 'Day 6') to overcome this problem. It was totally confusing and weird, and mostly caused complications for the teachers. Nice idea... but didn't really take off.


Teachers TV Search for Programmes

Since blogging about Teachers TV a year and a half ago, (Teachers TV launches on 8th February 2005) the channel and supporting website has 'come of age' and is tremendously popular amongst teaching professionals.

Several initiatives are now in place and look to be very useful and informative.

If you register online, you can search, watch and download some archived Teachers TV programmes using the Video Library and inclass tv feature.

In fact, you can search for programmes using this form:

or browse by category...


Key stages


Consider also, Teachers TV - Become an Associate, where there are opportunities to become more involved with programmes, chances to see advance screenings and attend special events. There is also a CPD section called 'My CPD'.


A resource site for teaching English

I have spent some of my Summer break developing an English scheme of work for Key Stage 4 pupils. Working with Di enlightened my thinking in this unfamiliar exam phase, especially towards preparing pupils for Entry Level and GCSE courses. Di also pointed me towards a website to find appropriate resources for this age group.

Teachit is a website containing heaps of resources categorised by key stage. It caters for children in the primary phase through to Key Stage 4.

"Teachit is a tried and trusted education resource used by thousands of teachers nationwide.

Specialising in English, Drama and Media Studies from primary to post-16, the online Teachit library offers 7270 pages of classroom materials, schemes of work, lesson plans and teaching tools, all created by working teachers and constantly growing."


Animation workshop at Alfriston School

Amy and I ran an Animation workshop at Alfriston School on Wednesday and these are the videos the children produced. As is common, none of the children had used an Apple Macintosh before, none has created an animation of any sort, and this was the product of their work after only 90 minutes.

Just in passing, Alfriston School is a special MLD (Moderate Learning Difficulty) school in Buckinghamshire. They provide an education for children with physical disabilities, learning difficulties and some who have challenging home lives.

View their work

Creating a learning environment, the NQT Year

I'd almost forgotten that I'd produced such a resource. Occasionally I find myself looking through server log files, seeing what kind of things people find on my faithful server, Barney Rubble.

One of the most popular resources, though it's a bit dated now is 'Creating a Learning Environment' which I produced as a keen and enhusiastic young teacher in preparation to present to a room of prospective NQT's.

It was an interesting step-back to revisit my classroom as it was then (December 2000), and recall some things that were very significant at the time.

Beware, colours used on those pages were a bit ghastly.... some things never change.


Team teaching in Scotland



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