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Showing posts from January, 2016

5 FREE apps for Building Vocab and Spelling!

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It is my belief that wherever possible SPaG should be embedded in reading and writing. Sometimes, however, there maybe the odd five/ten minutes where the children can play a game to help practise spelling and build vocabulary. Here are some great apps and ideas that children can use as a quick mental starter for the day or lesson.

1 - Emoji Quiz 

I have previously blogged about using Emojis in class, you can read this here. This app challenges the children to guess the compound word from the emojis in the image. There are different categories to work through but be aware there are adverts and in-app purchases (put the iPad in airplane mode to stop these) -


2 - Spellfix 

The first app in the list from Alan Peat is a great way for children to practise spelling and learn the definition of different words. I have previously blogged about this app, which you can read here. 

View on Flipagram

3 - 1Pic8Words

This new app is similar to the Emoji Quiz in that children are presented an image and …

Computational Thinking - Guest Blog Post with @DrChips_

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I am privileged to work alongside some amazing trainers! I will be leading conferences with Alan Peat, John Murray and Mark Anderson throughout this academic year. To find out more about these conferences, click here. Another trainer I work alongside is Jon Chippendall aka @DrChips_, I have led training with Jon before however until Tuesday had never sat through his whole session. I have to say I was blown away. I feel my training focusing more on ICT and Digital Literacy, whereas, Jon focuses on Computer Science. His expert knowledge and ability to explain concepts in a way that makes any teacher understand the importance of computer science makes the day really valuable for teachers. As both myself and Jon still work in our school, we share real and successful ideas to ensure technology is being taught creatively in the classroom.

I was really impressed with Jon's session on Computational Thinking. I am pleased he has been willing to write this guest blog post explaining it in mo…

Raising Standards in Writing Using Technology Conference - Leeds 22nd January!

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Yesterday, I led my new conference - Raising Standards in Writing Using Technology. I had a great time sharing ideas and strategies to engage, inspire and enhance learning in the classroom. I want to say a massive thank you to every teacher who attended, I hope you all found it useful and I am so grateful for all the wonderful feedback!

35 Evaluations

35 Rated the Content as Excellent
35 Rated the Delivery of the Speaker as Excellent

Comments - 


Fantastic course! By far the most useful and inspiring course I've been on in my 15 years of teaching! My face aches I've been smiling so much!! The ideas and enthusiasm shared has inspired me. I can't wait to go back and share! It was so much more than expected - resources, ideas, application, links to everyday life in the classroom. Wealth and knowledge and experience relating ideas to OFSTED requirements whilse being current, fun and immediate.  Thank you so much for an inspirational day! Feeling enthused - so many ideas to try and s…

The Force is Strong in Year 3

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I have previously blogged about using Star Wars in class -
Jedi Writing - Inspiring Writing Through Star WarsDiscussing the Star Wars Crawl6 ways to use the Star Wars app in classAuthorial Intent in Teaser Trailers It always engages and inspires children with their writing! 
I am currently working with Year 3 and running some initiatives with technology with a real focus on using Seesaw for flipped learning and oral feedback. I will be blogging the results in due time.
In English, we have been writing with a focus on Star Wars,
Using the Star Wars Website, we looked at a setting description -



This week, we used Greenscreen to be X-Wing Pilots with the responsibility of destroying the Death Star, the children then had to write internal monologues about the mission - 


The app we used was Doink Greenscreen! Stay tuned for more over the next few weeks...

Bringing Characters to life!

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There are plenty of apps available on the app store where children can record themselves as different characters, here are some of my recommendations -
ChatterkidsYakit KidsiFunFaceFunny Movie MakerMorfo Booth Morfo Booth is my favourite, the ability to enhance the image into a 3D animation and add facial expressions is fantastic for the classroom. Another app with lots of potential for use in the classroom is the newly discovered Face Swap Live!
The app allows you to swap faces and record a video. This in itself makes it a hilarious app and one for use outside of the classroom. 
The other feature allows you to place your face into a picture of a famous celebrity, historical figure, storybook character - the possibilities are endless. The app tracks and maps your face meaning that you can really bring characters to life through the student's own acting. The app has a selection of famous faces or you can load one from the camera roll or search online directly within the app. This mak…

Fruitastic learning in Year 1

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Year 1's topic this half term is Fruitastic. As always, I have been exploring how technology can be used to enhance this topic!

Last week, we created some typography pictures of different fruits using the name of the fruit. We focused on our spellings and what the fruits looked like. Here are some of their examples -





This week we took it a step further by exploring more properties about different fruits! So the children created short videos as different fruits. Using the app Funny Movie Maker and some of the Funny Faces, the children cut out the mouth and replaced it with their mouths using the camera and recorded a short video sharing what they know about that particular fruit -

To put all the children's videos together, we used the brilliant app - Thinglink. I have previously blogged about using this idea here and here. Thinglink allows you to make a picture interactive by adding weblinks and videos. The image is then saved online and can be shared and embedded into blogs an…

Comics Head - More than a Comic Creator App!

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There are a wealth of different comic creator apps on the app store, Book Creator and Comic Life being some of my favourites but I also love Comic Heads!

It is a fantastic comic creation tool available on apple and android, however, can be used for so much more! Posters, graphics, instructions, newspaper reports, displaying data and video creation are just some of the other ways this app can be used. What sets this app apart from some of the other comic apps is that it comes loaded with a huge range of backgrounds, characters, props and effects!


The app also allows you to record audio to add to your comic or graphic turning it into a video to be shared on blogs, youtube etc. I love the fact that with each character there is a range of poses to choose from -
The app has a tagline - endless storytelling opportunities and it certainly lives up to this. Using the app to plan and storyboard a story would be great but to also perform children's writing through the audio recording tool …

The Update That Makes Seesaw A Game Changer!

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I have been a massive fan of using Seesaw and discuss it a lot on my training and inset. I have flirted with Showbie, which is a similar app, and seen some wonderful ways it has been used in schools. In my experience, one thing most primary teachers are looking for is simplicity! Seesaw stands out to me because it is so simple and easy to use.

I am not going to go through the ins and outs of the app, this video covers the basics - 

The main reason I recommend this app is because it can help collect evidence of learning that can't be measured in a book. The confusing message some schools are getting is that when Ofsted come into your school, they will look at your books and so they have to be top notch. The problem is that so many objectives in the new curriculum cannot be assessed in a pupil's book. Therefore, Seesaw provides the perfect way to keep a updated record of a child's progress. It links brilliantly with other apps so is a fantastic way to collect and share work…

SPAG through Spam!

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Spam Emails - they're a pain in the backside and a real nuisance, however, could they actually be a really useful tool in the classroom??? Absolutely!

This idea came to me after watching this very funny TED talk -



I think it is important to teach children about Spam Emails and what they are and how to recognise whether an email is spam or not. As stated in the new computing curriculum -
Co2/1.5    use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital contentCo2/1.7    use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact
Here are some links that have some useful information in explaining what Spam is and how to spot it-

Get Safe Online ThinkUknowStay Safe Online The tell-tale sign that would be great to explore in class is the fact that most spam emails contain spelling and punctuation errors. Challe…

6 Ways To Use the Star Wars App in Class!

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I loved the new Star Wars film, I thought it was brilliant! In the build up to the movie, I had been using Star Wars as a stimulus as I knew a lot of the children were also excited about it. I did a big project based on the BB-8 Sphero in class.

You can read about what we did with BB-8 here. 



With another class, we explored an 360 degree video based on one of the Star Wars planets and wrote a story based on this -


The boy who created this example was amazed to see the Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker himself liked the video!

I also had to get involved with @iPadEducators and his Star Wars Project that you can read here.
Today, @WatsEd shared the following tweet - 
Have students explore a Star Destroyer or Niima Outpost in 360-degrees then write a story based on observations: https://t.co/zmSvlo1sso — StarWarsintheClass (@StarWarsinClass) January 8, 2016The web link is fantastic and gives an amazing immersive panoramic image of two scenes from the film that children can explore and use as a…