Subscribe to this blog!


Saturday, 28 January 2017

Newsday Tuesday

Firstly, this idea isn't mine, it was shared with me by John Murray, the fantastic reading and spelling trainer I work with. I believe he had seen this at a school he had done some work with, I will try and find the name of the school and add it to the blog post.

The 2016 word of the year was... Post-Truth, this video explains the reasoning behind it:

I believe there are a number of reasons why there seems to be such a disconnect from politics and news especially with the younger generation. One is the rise in fake news and the lack of education around the consumption of news online. I discuss this a lot more on my CPD sessions but there is a massive gullibility with people online. Generally, we seem to take things at face value if it fits our own beliefs rather than actually investigating the truth behind it. It is imperative we are educating young people to question and interrogate what they see online and demonstrate how easy it is to manipulate content to fit a certain agenda. 

Another reason is that we don't try and engage children in current issues and the news. With timetables already crammed, trying to fit in as much as possible to tick every box going, there is never any time to chat about current issues or share news stories especially when SATS are so close!

So here is an idea you might want to implement in your school. It is called Newsday Tuesday. So every Tuesday or every other Tuesday, you have a whole school assembly where three teachers share a story from the news. The first teacher shares a local news story, the other shares a national story and the last an international story. They are given a strict 7 minute timer to discuss and share the story. It is completely up to the teacher what type of news story they share. But what is important is that some of the time is used to explain WHY the teacher has chosen the story and why it has affected them personally. It is vital as the fact that personal choices of the news items chosen (the funny, bizarre and tragic) will reflect the spectrum of life itself and prepare them to take their place in the wider world. 

As a whole school, you will need to sort a timetable so that if a teacher does the first assembly covering the local story, then next time they will cover the national and so on. This shouldn't be planned for and SHOULDN'T add to a teacher's workload. Instead, it should give a teacher some quality time to share something from the news that they feel is important. 

If it was me, I would get my class involved, so if I knew I would be doing the national story, I would ask my class to try and find a good story over the weekend that I can use. On the Monday at quarter to three, I would ask my class to share what they had found and choose one to then share to the whole school. 

I think this is such a valuable idea that not only demonstrates how much your school values the news but also will start to engage children in the news, politics and current affairs.

John saw this at a school in Liverpool just before Christmas where they sensitively talked about the Brazilian club Chapecoense air crash. They ended with a minute's silence and prayer. It allows children to grow empathy, understanding, compassion and maturity. It will help develop and strengthen a child's emotional dexterity, which goes back to one of my golden phrases in teaching... Don't just teach the curriculum, develop the whole child. 

Monday, 23 January 2017

Mrs May on a school trip - #BeLikeMrsMay

It has been a mad week! I posted a video a couple of weeks ago about "The Play" by Oxford Reading Tree.

The reaction to the video has been unbelievable! It surpassed 1 million views on facebook, the Manchester Evening News reported on it as did The Mirror. It was picked up and shared on facebook through the Mirror and TheLadBible (although I had no control over the subtitles!)

I think the reason why the video has been so popular is because of the iconic Oxford Reading Tree books. The books have turned 30 years old in 2016, which is an amazing achievement! They have put together a range of resources to help celebrate 30 years! Click the picture to see:

The reason I made the video was to show how different teaching was back in the day (pre SATs, pre national curriculum) compared to the current day where things are very, very different. 

After some requests, I couldn't help myself and so had a look at another book featuring our hero Mrs May. This time seeing how she handles a school trip:

Sunday, 22 January 2017

A great idea for your next PE lesson!

I had to share this amazing idea I came across on Facebook:

So firstly, a massive thank you to West Elementary School for sharing this idea! To do this with your class, all you need is a projector, an apple TV or laptop with Airserver and a tablet or iPhone. On the tablet or mobile device, download the app Jitterbug

The app is made for cats, when the bugs are pressed on the screen they disappear, but I love how the app can be used in the way suggested in the video above. 

So if you have the app open on your device and have this mirrored to the projector via airserver or apple TV, ask the children to throw balls at the wall. The teacher will need to then press the screen of the tablet if the children manage to hit the target on the wall. 

I know I will be trying it in my next PE lesson!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

For Sale: Millennium Falcon, two previous owners...

Over the past couple of weeks, my digital leaders have been working hard creating their own videos to convince the Star Wars Galaxy to buy the Millennium Falcon.

They have researched and noted all the unique selling points, considered the language to help persuade the viewer and used their voice to help entice you into the sale.

Here is an example of their writing:

Once the writing was completed it was time to bring it to life. We decided to multi-app and use the apps PuppetPals 2 and Doink Greenscreen.

PuppetPals 2 is a great app which allows you to create your own animations. There is a range of setting and characters but also the ability to add your own backgrounds or add yourself as a character. We had a background video of the Millennium Falcon. As the app doesn't allow you to add videos as a background, we decided to use a greenscreen background. The students then recording their performance on the app and saved their effort to the camera roll.

The students then used the Doink Greenscreen app to add their Millenium Falcon background. Which had clips from YouTube and the Star Wars app to give a tour of the Millenium Falcon. If you want to download a copy of this background video, click here. 

It created a very effective finished video, what do you think? Have we managed to get you to part with your galactic credit? 


My daughter came home with a reading book, 'The Play' of the Oxford Reading Tree series. I couldn't help but notice how vastly different the classroom scene was in the book compared to what I see in classrooms today. I felt compelled to share this and so created this video on my Facebook page.

Would love to know what you think! In my opinion, Mrs May is an absolute hero! Child-centered learning with great parent communication skills. I came to the conclusion that we should all #bemorelikeMrsMay!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Ofsted School Inspection... in Space!

I sometimes find the best remedy is laughter! I constantly try and make or share videos to put a smile on the face of other teachers to try and see the lighter side of things. If we didn't laugh... we'd cry!

This video shared by HammerTone is an absolute cracker!

A Star Wars Parody of the dreaded Ofsted Inspection is both hilariously funny, but also scary that so many teachers can relate to this process.

Please enjoy! Feel free to share and subscribe to the channel!

It reminded me of the other parody video I shared a while ago... Hitler gets the SATs results: