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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Reading into Writing using Padlet!

On our recent conference 'Developing Writing in the Modern Classroom,' Alan and I stressed the importance of a reading into writing approach. Making sure that when you teach fairytales, children would be reading a range of fairytales in lessons, guided reading etc. I am planning on writing some Sci-fi adventure stories soon with a Year 4 class, so to try and gather examples of different features seen in similar stories, we used padlet to collect examples.

Padlet is a web based tool, that allows a teacher to create an online notice board that anyone can contribute to. It is absolutely free and can be used in SO many different ways.

I decided to make four different padlet walls, one for a different feature - Openings, characters/settings, key words/phrases/sentences and problems/ending. I then shared these with the children through QR codes -

We then discussed what to look for to see whether a book is in the Sci-fi adventure genre. We listed -looking at the title, blurb and images. We visited the school library and encouraged the children to look for sci-fi themed books. They examined the books with their partners and discussed the content. Using the iPad they scanned the QR code, which took them directly to the Padlet wall and added some ideas. 

I encouraged the children to try and analyse and explain what they found. What type of sentence was used? What effect did it have? Some children struggled with this, however when we look at all the padlet walls as a whole class next lesson, others will be able to give their opinion. It was a great way to get children to read and identify features but also think about the authors intention. Padlet was a great way to collate all the children's ideas for them to use for inspiration in their own writing. 

As this was the first time the class had done this activity, some of their ideas weren't as developed as I would have hoped and some of their choices for 'Sci-fi' books weren't quite on point, however with regular use of this activity, it would be a great tool to improve children's understanding of specific genres and help develop more of a flow in their own writing. 

Will you be joining us on 13th October in Walsall? Tickets selling quickly! Book your place now for the Developing...
Posted by ICT with Mr P on Saturday, June 20, 2015

Improving Reading and Writing Through Popular Children's Movies and Media....Friday 19th June 2015 Dudley

Big thanks to all that came to the first day of our new conference yesterday. John and I, had a great day sharing ideas on improving reading and writing through popular children's movies and media.

25 Evaluations

23 rated the content of the speakers as excellent

2 rated the content of the speakers as good
22 rated the delivery of the speakers as excellent
2 rated the delivery of the speakers as good
1 rated the delivery of the speakers as satisfactory


"This has opened my mind completely! One of the best CPD courses i have been on!"
"Loads of ideas that I will be using in school. All great for learning and child engagement. Just thanks - best course i've been on in a long time!" 
"Fabulous! Brilliant ideas to take back to try in the classroom. Thank you!"
"Excellent speakers, fun, informative, knowledgeable! Thank you for a fantastic day with lots of ideas to use in school."
"Fantastic, inspiring, practical advice, clearly child centred. Thank you for inspiring me! I cant wait to set up a green wall back at school."
"Great ideas to use in class, some easily developed for younger children and different approach. Thanks for a super day!"
"Fantastic ideas to use in class to motivate writers."
"Wonderful ideas! Resources accessible and top tips from John. Inspiration throughout! Loved the up to date, relevance to the real world and minds of children."
"Brilliant content. So inspiring and exciting to be able to use in my classroom. Thank you!"
"Loads of fantastic ideas, very inspirational. Cant wait to share today's ideas with my staff!"
"Inspirational and innovative as ever!"
"Fantastic ideas, enthusiastic, funny and engaging!"
"Fantastic day! Very informative and inspiring!"
"Very creative, opened up a world of resources at your fingertips. Just very inspiring. Thanks!"
"Excellent delivery - learnt a lot that i will take back to school and share. A fantastic course, come to Doncaster!"
"Excellent, informative and enjoyable! Keep doing what your doing!"
"Fantastic practical activities to take back to school." 
"Really engaging speakers, relevant and lots of great practical ideas to take straight into the classroom."
"Great course, thank you for all the ideas to help bring the love back for some disengaged children from the drudgery of meeting target demands!"
"Not what we expected but brilliant course. I feel that i can use lots of things back in the classroom. Excited about trying some of the ideas. Didnt get bored - makes a change on a course! "
"Excellent ideas. Have just had 60 iPads delivered and now not so scared to get them out! Inspired to go home and explore Garageband and iMovies!"
Fantastic ideas and resources Lee. Thank you!"
"Great use of visual prompts with practical ideas that can be used in the classroom. It was great to see real life examples from children in classrooms."
"Well pitched with a range of ideas. Thanks!"
"Got lots of novel and interesting ideas. It was a great day!"

We are extremely pleased to announce we have confirmed another date for this course in the Autumn term.

We are VERY pleased to announce that we will be leading the 'Improving Reading and Writing Through Popular Children's Movies and Media' conference in Autumn term in the NORTH WEST. On Tuesday 6th October at Thornton Hall in Wirral. John Murray and Mr P will lead a conference described as 'the best course I've been on in a long time! Loads of ideas that I will be using in school. All great for learning and child engagement.'You can read all the feedback from the recent conference in Dudley and book your place for the Wirral conference here - or email to book a place.
Posted by ICT with Mr P on Wednesday, June 24, 2015

On Tuesday 6th October, we will be leading this conference at Thornton Hall and Spa in Wirral. You can book a place NOW by filling out the following form and watch the video below. Places are available for £150 per person + VAT.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Math Shake - Brilliant for Word Problems!

When it comes to assessments in maths, it can be tricky for some children to be able to extract the number sentence from a word problem before they solve it. It is also hard for a teacher to be in 30 places at once to make sure the pupils have got it right. An app I have been using for a while now helps with both these problems!

Math Shake from @TopStoreyApps is a brilliant app to use in Maths. The app has six levels of difficulty and children can choose which operation to focus on or do all of them. They are then given a word problem and have to press on the key facts to build their number sentence. If they do not get it correct they are instantly told and, therefore made to check their answer. 

Once they have figured out the correct number sentence, they are automatically taken to a whiteboard with a range of maths tools they can use to solve the calculation. The app also has a record feature to allow children to record the screen as they calculate the answer. They can then enter their answer and again if it is wrong they are taken back to their working out and encouraged to check their work. When they get it correct, another word problem will show. 

I highly recommend this app, it encourages children to work independently and helps them decode word problems. If you head over to my facebook page, we have 5 FREE codes up for grabs!! See the link below!

FREE APP GIVEAWAY!!! I am very excited to have 5 FREE codes for the BRILLIANT Math Shake app! It is a fantastic app to...
Posted by ICT with Mr P on Monday, June 22, 2015

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Jurassic School!

I have been recently using the children's enthusiasm for the latest blockbuster - Jurassic World - to inspire writing.

With one class, we created guides to Jurassic World using Adobe Slate and then created films where we entered a dinosaur infested jungle!

With another class, we used greenscreen to bring a real-life dinosaur into our school. There are plenty of greenscreen apps on the app store but Doink Greenscreen is easily the best one I have used. This task was slightly different. We first started by downloading stock footage from youtube -

We were then able to film the dinosaur in different locations around the school. The children then used the greenscreen in our new media suite to film themselves in the scene too. 

The finished video was then used to inspire a short narrative about a dinosaur in the school. The children were so engaged having the visuals of them with the dinosaur. The added element of acting the scene out first also helped children describe their feelings and reactions to the action. Knowing the writing was going to be transformed into a film also motivated the children to complete the task and do it to the best of their ability. 

I love the ability to bring Hollywood style special effects into the classroom like never before and it certainly inspires children to write with the purpose. They would love a comment to know what you think of their work! 

If you would like to know more, or have Mr P lead inset and training in your school, please visit this link.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Making the most of our space!

We have recently embarked in a project to try and turn one of our ICT suites into a media suite. At the beginning of 2015 we had a KS1 ICT Suite and KS2 ICT Suite. I felt this wasn't the best use of the space and decided to reduce it to one whole school ICT suite.

I am often asked about whether schools should keep an ICT suite and I would say yes. I feel children need the opportunity to learn and use as many different forms of technology. If you replace an ICT suite because you now have iPads you will be deskilling children from using traditional PCs or laptops. In my experience, children are exposed to mobile technology more nowadays but it is still crucial for children to learn basic skills such as creating a file and saving it to a folder on a PC or laptop. Sometimes the iPad is more like a cheat machine and while it can do wonderful and marvellous things and save you time we still need to teach children the basics of using computers.

We still have a computing lesson one hour a week and encourage staff to get the children into the ICT suite to teach the computing science aspect of the curriculum. The information technology and digital literacy is embedded through the curriculum in the way we blog and use iPads.

Our traditional ICT suite
I had visions of turning the KS1 ICT suite into a media suite, with space for projects including greenscreen, stop motion animation and radio podcasting! We have therefore painted half of the room in green opening the door for so much quality speaking and listening through greenscreen activities. In the couple of weeks since the walls have been painted we have already done this and this.

At present, the room looks like this -

Our other ICT suite now a media suite
On the left-hand side, are some PCs alongside working stations for children. We are hoping to add a radio station alongside some stop motion animation studios. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of some of the Zu3D animation kits and Lego story starter kits to get going with this. On the right-hand side, you can see the huge greenscreen area we have.

I am on a mission to make the most of this room! I know it can easily fit a half class of children and know that with a focused and engaged activity the children would work independently in this area. I will update you on the progress with this and share other ways in which we use the space!

Exploring our own Jurassic World!

Last week, I blogged about working with a class and writing our own guides to Jurassic World using this website -

You can read the blog post and see some of the children's guides here.

Since the release of the film Jurassic World, the website has updated to collate with the events of the film!

Today we continued to use the theme of Dinosaurs with some narrative writing. We first started by exploring the app Dino Park VR.

This free app works best with a Google Cardboard headset, but will also work in 2D mode on an iPad. You can read more about Virtual Reality by reading this blog post and this blog post. 

The app takes children on a short tour of a virtual dinosaur park and allows them to take a full 360 degree view of the surroundings. Children were instantly immersed in this world and discussed what they could see, hear etc. 

Using the record feature on Airserver, I recorded one of the journeys the children went on in the app. This was shared and used as the background in Doink Greenscreen. The children then filmed themselves as if they were walking around the park, reacting to the environment. 

This was all filmed in our newly developed media suite. The finished video was then viewed by the children and inspired some amazing writing. 

The children had to try and make their writing fit the video and so this added a slight constraint which helped keep the children focused and to the point. 

They then recorded themselves narrating their writing over their video in iMovie to create a fantastic finished digital story. They were so proud of their efforts and can't wait to share them so PLEASE comment on their work so I can inspire them further, thanks!

Tomorrow we will be using green screen but in a different way, hopefully bringing some dinosaurs into the playground! Watch this space!

Alan Peat presents... Using Technology to deliver the New Primary Curriculum 4th June 2015 North Yorkshire

Thanks to all that came to the Swaledale Alliance conference on Thursday 4th June 2015. I had a great day sharing ideas and strategies to enhance the new curriculum using technology.

Thank you for all the positive feedback and lovely comments - 

OMG! I knew it would be good, but wow! I was emailing my headteacher by 11am, asking to set up a blog, had planned next weeks Literacy by 2pm and been inspired by Augmented Reality for transforming displays by 3! Thank you so much and keep up the great work!
Excellent and inspirational. Would love to go into more depth and have more hands on time to play! I will talk to head re; cluster training. Thank you!
Lots of great ideas and practical tips/pointers. Entertaining, interesting and will definitely (i hope) improve how we use iPads in the classroom.
Very informative, inspirational and most of all enjoyable.
Very inspiring - Hope i can begin to use these ideas with my class soon. Will feedback at school for further training on the suggested apps so we get the best use of them. An enjoyable day! Thanks!
Thanks for a super day; lots to think about and use back in school.
Enjoyed course! Good ideas from Lee.
Very useful and full of ideas to go away and investigate and try in school. 
Loads of great ideas to take away and inspire children.
Lots of really useful tips on what Apps to use, how to make use of iPads beneficial in class. Really interesting and engaging.
Totally inspired - cant wait to share with staff and children back at school!
This was a fantastic training session that really inspired me. I cant wait to go back to school and share the ideas! Thank you!
Fantastic day, lots to take in and think about how to implement! Great ideas and very passionate! Liked all the examples and the time to play on the apps.
Great opportunity to see inspirational and great ideas that are tried and tested by someone at the chalkface. Practical and brilliant. Will definitely put most of these ideas into practice! Thank you!
Lots of excellent ideas and suggestions. A  thoroughly worthwhile and enjoyable day.

Remember you can book Mr P fo INSET and CPD at your school and for conference keynotes internationally, please email - for more details!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Developing Writing in the Modern Classroom Conference 12th June!

On Friday 12th June, Alan Peat and I led a BRAND NEW and UNIQUE conference - Developing Writing in the Modern Classroom.

It was the first time in over 15 years Alan had worked alongside someone and I was extremely grateful for the opportunity. We were both amazed by the response after selling out the venue in less than two months of advertising. I knew after planning with Alan that the day would be both practical and useful for all that attended. However, I did not expect the overwhelming response and feedback from all the teachers who joined us. We were even trending on twitter during the conference with our '#2Ps' hashtag.

I want to thank each and everyone for making the day fantastic and for all of the positive feedback. Along with Alan, I want to thank Julie and Simon for all her hard work in organising the great day.

The approach to this conference was simple - create a whole school approach to engaging and improving writing in the modern classroom. Combining low tech with high tech, teachers would leave with a wealth of ideas to both inspire and raise standards throughout a school. Making sure behind every strategy and idea was sound pedagogy that has been proven to improve writing across a number of schools.

Due to the amount of requests and interest about the conference, we are now planning on taking the day nationwide and beyond with details and dates to be revealed shortly. The next conference will be in Walsall on 13th October. To reserve a place, please email If you think we should come to an area near you, please also email. We have had interest from overseas including Australia and would love to take this overseas, so please do get in touch if you are know of schools or districts that will be interested.

Here are some of the wonderful tweets about the conference put together using Storify -

For a more detailed outline of the course, please watch the following video -

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Exploring Jurassic World!

If you are anything like me, today is a special day! Today sees the release of the much anticipated 'Jurassic World,' film. As a huge fan of the original movie, I hope this new film will live up to the hype and expectation.

It seems many children in my class are also excited about the film. So it was only right for us to use it as a stimulus in class!

The team behind the film have created a website that allows you to watch live feeds from the park.

It gives the illusion that the park is real and open!

This convinced most of the class as they explored. The website also shares lots of information about the park that children can read and enjoy.

After giving children some time to read and explore the website. I challenged them to make their own similar website all about the park in a similar style. We used the app 'Adobe Slate' which is a fantastic tool for creating content with images and text in a stylish and eye-catching way.

It was fantastic for children to be able to easily create a guide in a similar and professional looking method as the official site! It also was an opportunity to see whether the children could remember features that we had covered before half term!

The engagement from the class has made me think of other dino-related activites, so watch this space. In the meantime, please enjoy one of their examples -

Jurassic Park

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Talking about our Dream Jobs on the iPad

One of our topics in Year 1 is '9-5,' where children learn all about different jobs. During the topic, I was working with a Year 1 class and tried to utilise the iPad to really bring this topic to life.

Here are some of the lessons and ideas we did through the topic -

As part of the topic, the children went on a trip to the local Krispy Kreme store. The children created recounts using the app Flipagram. I have previously blogged about using Flipagram in the classroom here.

The next session, the children went around the school interviewing different members of staff to find out about what their job entails. To demonstrate what they had learnt, they animated pictures of the staff using the app Morfo. It didn't do the staff any justice but was a fantastic speaking and listening activity for children to share their learning.

The next session, we looked at what we wanted to be when we grow up. Using the app Pic Collage, we edited pictures to show what our dream jobs will be in the future. Using the app, Animoto, we put all the pictures into a lovely slideshow - 

In the next session, the children used their images as a background to create a Tellagami presentation explaining all about the job, why they want to do it and what they have to do to become one. Another fantastic speaking and listening lesson that children really enjoyed -

Through the use of iPads we were able to really enhance learning during this topic. 

If you are interested in how to make the most of modern technology to enhance learning across the curriculum, Mr P can help with high quality CPD and INSET training. More information here -