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Showing posts from 2016

The Great Christmas Dinner Shop Debate

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Last week, I had the pleasure of working with our great Year 6 and so decided to use an idea from my eBook - The 12 iPad lessons of Christmas.

But we decided to take it even further and bring in a performance element.



In groups, the children were given a different shop:
AsdaTescoSainsbury'sAldiWaitroseCo-opIcelandMarks and SpencerMorrisons They first had to price up a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Working out the value for their shop. They then were given the task to making a two-minute presentation to try and convince people to shop at their chosen shop. 
They had to use their initial research to help and find their unique selling point. If the price was quite cheap focus on that. If it was more expensive think of words to exaggerate how tasty and delicious their food is. Some could research other shops and use a comparison to help persuade people to back their pitch. 
As a way to add more purpose to the task, we decided to present our pitches LIVE on facebook. Th…

The Staff Christmas Do

It is that time of year again, teachers up and down the country will be preparing for their annual Christmas party. On my facebook page, I put this video together for what happens on every staff do. See if these sound familiar:

A Special Letter To Father Christmas!

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I had to share this letter written by one of our Digital Leaders! Amazing! Not going to lie, I had a tear in my eye!

Please take a minute to read it and then help it come true!


Please help by sharing and downloading a copy of the song:

Do they know it's Christmas Comprehension lesson

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As many of you know, I often use music as a way to explore text and improve comprehension skills.

To get in the festive mood, here is another brilliant song to deconstruct with your class and inspired a recent project with my pupils.

It is my favourite Christmas song - Band Aid - Do they know it's Christmas?

Here are the lyrics with some questions to consider!

It's Christmastime; there's no need to be afraid
At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shade
And in our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime


Can you find a contraction? What is it short for?Why is there a semi-colon in the first line?Why is there no need to be afraid at Christmas? We put our troubles aside and enjoy time spent with our families.What do the symbols of light and shade stand for? We associate light with joy and happiness, shade is darkness and is linked to danger or evil.What do you think the word plenty stands for? All the material things…

Our Christmas Wish!

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Finally, I can share this amazing project done by the pupils at our school.

What started as a discussion about the links between music and poetry, where I demonstrated my love for songwriting and what an amazing way to express yourself has now turned into the children publishing a song they have written themselves.
We started by exploring some lyrics to different songs and discussing them. The children then wanted to write their own song. The pupils wanted to write a song to combat the negativity they have seen all over the news this year. Being close to Christmas, they wanted to use it as an opportunity to spread positivity and help others. When I explained that we would try and turn their writing into an actual song. This added purpose to the writing and the efforts were incredible!
We now can proudly announce that the song written by the Davyhulme Primary Digital Leaders is available to download and stream!



Once the song was written, my friend and his band put together the backing…

UK Blog Awards Nomination

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I am very excited and honoured to see that my blog has been nominated for the UK Blog Awards 2017. This will be the third year my blog has been nominated. In the previous two years, I have made it to the shortlist and narrowly missed out on the top prize!

This year, I would love to go one step further! But I NEED YOUR HELP!

The next part of the process is the public vote, so I need as many people as possible to vote for my blog. I have been nominated for three categories: Education, Digital and Technology and Vlogger! So if you have found any ideas or inspiration through the blog, or found some of the videos and vlogs funny, please take a minute to click the links and vote. I really really appreciate it!



Thank you so much for the continued support! It means an awful lot! Fingers crossed, I can make the shortlist again!

The Struggles for a Teacher Putting on a Christmas Play!

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I am sure there are plenty of teachers around the country who can relate to this! So feel free to share!




50 ways to use my app 1-4-0 in class

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I have been meaning to put this blog post together for a long time. Just before Summer, Alan Peat and the team very kindly turned one of my ideas into an app.

The 1-4-0 app.

My main focus when it comes to using mobile technology is trying to get teachers and pupils to see themselves as creators and focus on apps that allow students to create, demonstrate, express and share their learning.

A lot of schools are still stuck using app that just focus on consuming and using the tech. Don't get me wrong, there are some brilliant consumer apps out there: some great maths games and English word games. My worry comes when schools are only using technology in this way and therefore not being creative through the technology.



I like to think of the 1-4-0 app as a creative app that allows students to create content. The app, however, has a focus on providing constraints which further promotes creativity. For a number of years I have been using and adapting some of the ideas Alan Peat shares on …

Appy Kids Smart School

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Last week I was very lucky to be working in Dubai. I presented at the Digital Education Conference giving a keynote and also taking part in an App Battle with Steve Bambury. It was brilliant! I had a great time. I also was very lucky to get my hands on an Appy Kids Smart School Kit.

The kit includes a toy, which can double up as an iPad stand, and a set of cards. The cards cover letter, shapes, colours and numbers. 
There is also an app, which is free and available on both the app store and google play.

The following video shows what the kit is all about.



It is a fantastic tool to use in the classroom. To have one that you can set up and have in the continuous provision area or as a small group activity would be a great way for children to build confidence and practise their letter, number and shape knowledge. It is a great way to take learning beyond the screen.

I decided to put the app to the test and do a live facebook video with my son. Completely off the cuff but you can see how…

Mr P's Round Up of Christmas Adverts 2016!

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'Tis the season!

It is nearing the festive season and as always our televisions are full of some Christmas themed adverts. They have almost a tradition in themselves. For a number of years, I have blogged ideas for using these adverts in class. Despite seeing plenty of other blogs, I thought I would share some ideas that have a unique text-centric approach.

Here are some of the previous blog posts about Christmas themed adverts:

Developing Emotional Literacy through a great Christmas Advert
John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015
John Lewis Christmas Advert 2014
Sainsbury's Christmas Advert 2014

With all the work I now do with John Murray, my approach to using visuals in class has changed somewhat. Film can be a very powerful tool in the classroom, I talk about how motivating it can be for children when it comes to writing. However, the more I see it used in classrooms and the more I see ideas being blogged and shared, the more I see it being misused and in some cases detrimental to lear…

Introducing the next Read Write Perform pack - Dual Narrative: The Hunter and The Hunted Pack

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I am very excited to announce the release of the latest Read Write Perform pack - Dual Narrative: The Hunter and The Hunted.

It takes a lot of time and effort to create each pack but both myself and John are so proud to see the packs being used by schools worldwide and the fantastic feedback we are getting.

The idea is simple - a cohesive and engaging approach to teaching English. A meaningful project that covers: reading, writing and performing. 
Technology is not essential to use the pack however the pack demonstrates how technology should be used to enhance and transform learning. 
This pack focuses and building tension effectively in writing. The pack uses the dual narrative technique to achieve this.

Dual Narrative is a technique used in a lot of stories, most famously in the book Jaws, where the story jumps between characters from paragraph to paragraph. The pack has a huge focus on style and children understanding how sentence length, use of clauses and phrases can match the a…

NEW VLOG - What's in your Teacher Bag?

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Also available on YouTube:

Making Remembrance Day Personal with our own Digital Remembrance Wall

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For the past few years in preparation for Remembrance Day, we have shared our digital remembrance wall to try and get pupils and parents to share details of family members who lost their lives during the war. To do this we use Padlet. Padlet is an app/website that allows you to create a virtual wall that allows you to share ideas, pictures and weblinks.

It is a great way to try and make Remembrance Day more personal to our pupils. Once we have some contributions, we can share these on a whiteboard and allow the children to see the sacrifice and impact it has had one people close to us.

Here is our Remembrance Wall so far:



Another idea I really liked was this from @InspiredMind5:

Poppies made from adjectives that describe soldiers - made to accompany thank-you letters! @alanpeat@ICT_MrPpic.twitter.com/0WSuP9m7Jx — Mat ✎ Inspired Minds (@InspiredMind5) November 15, 2014
You could do something similar on an iPad using the app Type Drawing:



Christmas Around the World Project 2016

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As a follow-up to the successful project last year (see here), we will once again be looking to connect classrooms across the world. In the lead up to Christmas, you can deepen your understanding of different Christmas traditions by asking other children from around the world about how they celebrate Christmas in their community.

The project is simple, sign up using the form below, pick a school from the number of willing participants in the spreadsheet and arrange a time to connect using a variety of ways such as Skype, Google Hangouts and Periscope. Please be aware of time zone differences and this website may help - Click Here.

You may also wish to live stream an assembly or Christmas show to share with the world to Youtube, Facebook Live or use Periscope. If you have been busy blogging and creating work related to Christmas, you can share it on the global Padlet below.

What you may need to take part in this project:
An email addressSkype AccountGoogle + accountUStream accountYoutub…

Virtual School Tour for our School Website

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Last week, I challenged my digital leaders to create a tour of our school on the iPads. Our current tour  on the website has a birds eye picture of our school with pictures of different parts of the school. I wanted the children to be involved in this process. In pairs, they recorded themselves in different locations around the school, sharing information about the location they were recording from.

These were then shared via Airdrop to another iPad where children were then linking the videos to a bird eye picture of the school using the app Thinglink.

Once created, the children published the thinglink to our channel and from here we would embed it on our school website.

Here is the tour the digital leaders created:




To see what this looks like on our school website - click here.

It was a fantastic activity that the children really enjoyed knowing the finished results would feature on the school website. It was lovely to see and hear how proud the children are of the school they go to!

Honest Teacher Subtitles!

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As many teachers are preparing for their first Parents Evening of the year, I thought I would create a fun little video sharing what we say to parents and what we really mean! 😂😉 Feel free to share!





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Google Expeditions in the Classroom!

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Today has been a day I have been looking forward to for over six months. When I first heard about Google Expeditions, I immediately tried to sign up to find out in was only available in America. Fast forward a few months and Google have now deployed the tool in England and what an amazing tool it is!

So thanks to +Dughall McCormick who sent the Google team my way, I was able to book a day with a Google representative. They brought in two class sets of the Google Cardboard headsets with Android devices. 
The cardboard headsets can be used with children aged 7 and over so all our KS2 classes had a lesson with them. On each of the devices was the 'Google Expeditions' app. This is available on iOS and Android. The teachers had to choose from the 250 expeditions available. We tried to link these to our current topics. Each teacher then controlled the session through the leader tool within the app. Here they can load the different scenes from each expedition. On all the pupil's…

Growth Mindset Posters with Adobe Spark Post

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On Thursday afternoons, I work with a select group of children from KS2 who have the responsibility of being our first group of digital champions. Their role includes supporting teachers and other pupils when using technology in class. As one of the first tasks, we looked at sharing some motivational and inspiring thoughts around the school. The students wanted to help other children and give them a positive outlook towards their learning.

I set them the task of creating some growth mindset posters that they could then display around the school for other pupils to view and appreciate. The app the children used was Adobe Spark Post. It is one of three FREE apps from Adobe available on tablets as well as through the web.

The app is fantastic for creating posters, quotes and graphics. There are a range of options from adding background pictures to editing the text and changing the design in different ways. There is even the option to turn the poster into a short animation.

I was so impr…

More Emotional Literacy: Reading Comprehension through Music

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On Friday, John Murray and I led our very popular 'Improving Reading and Writing through Popular Children's Media' conference in Manchester. Thank you to everyone who attended and a huge thank you for all the lovely feedback. Here are a few of the comments from the day:

The day focuses on inspiring and creative approaches to improving reading and writing through a variety of media. We make clear that text is imperative. Music, animations, film clips can all be valuable tools; however without quality texts within or linked to it, it won't improve learning. Reading Comprehension can only be done through text. Both myself and John are working with schools who have tried to move away from text and teach english through images and videos. This has led to a dramatic drop in results, especially reading. On the conference, we reiterated the importance of using a TEXT-CENTRIC approach and demonstrated the best ways in which media can link in with this. 
We are running the day …

10 things teachers say in a medical emergency

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