Technology

Springing into Action

This post is dedicated to the inspiring, wonderfully creative @bevevans22, who sadly passed away last month. I was fortunate enough to have met Bev on a few occasions over the past couple of years since embracing the world of Twitter and was always impressed by her warmth and creativity. For many teachers, they may not know her name, but they will have a Bev Evans resource somewhere in their classroom. Bev’s legacy can  be judged through countless downloads of the free resources she uploaded to the TES SEN site. That said,  it’s her dedication and commitment to improving the lives of children that will be remembered most.

The impact that Bev had on the world of education encourages me to continue to be creative and innovative through my own practice.
Recently, I have asked my Y1 children to demonstrate their creativity through topic lessons. In a recent music session, I introduced them to a website called ‘Incredibox‘, whereby they got to compose their own song through assembling various sounds. By using Incredibox to maintain a steady background beat, we built on it and composed a variation of a well know farm-themed song. Visit the Bowling Park Primary website to listen to the final composition and to view our iPad art based on the work of David Hockney.

As Spring is well and truly here, I thought it an appropriate moment to take time to reflect on the first months of 2014. As my theme for the year is ‘change’, I was inspired by various people at #EdShow14 in Birmingham last month. As I walked up and down the aisles, I saw so many innovative products, ideas and people, which further inspire me to make a difference in the lives of children. I enjoyed learning about the latest news from #BETT award winners @Showmyhomework, catching up with @chrisrat on the @scholastic stand and listening to the ever inspiring @stevebunce demonstrating just how easy the Computing Curriculum can be.

Bradford have had different holiday times to other authorities, which has meant that I have enjoyed this past week considering what the Summer Term might look like for children in my class. Discussions with fellow educators has led me to consider developing the idea of #DigitalLeaders and @OpenBadges. Watch this space…

Making the most of my alternative week off, I took myself down to London for some rest and relaxation, beginning my trip with a lovely catch up at South Bank for #pizzaed. Many folk attended including @mberry, @digitalmaverick, @gillbudgell, @dawnhallybone to name a few. It was here that I learned more about how Mary Farmer @ebd35 has been using technology in her school and about the insightful work that @oliverquinlan is doing at @nesta_uk. Special thanks go to @andreacarr1 for organising the event.
From one lovely evening to another, other meet-ups included a good old chat with @tonyparkin about the wonderful city of #York and @jachapman82 and her brand new blog which can be found at hiaragirlpower.blogspot.com.

And so, full of the joys of spring after a lovely break, I look ahead to this week and seeing the smiling faces of my Y1’s tomorrow morning. Let’s hope that they too have had a fantastic holiday and are ready to spring into action from 8:45am…

 

 

 

Categories: Apps, Education and learning, Technology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

#TMBETT2014 – Loving the Alien

I attended my first #BETT show in 2012 and have been each year since. Upon my first visit, when it was hosted at Olympia, I found it to be a daunting experience with very little understanding of what it was except “just another trade show’. By my second visit, I had entered the world of Twitter and had formed links with teachers and technologists alike. What a pleasure it was then to arrive on Friday evening to the #BettArena and meet up with fellow professionals, some known to me and some new. This time, however, was somewhat different. This time, I felt that I was ready to sign up to present at the Teach Meet event (#TMBETT2014) on Friday night.

Having bagged a ticket back in November and having never presented at any Teach Meet before, I thought why not? However, as the day approached, I found the nerves creeping in. What a comfort it was then to see smiling faces including @dawnhallybone, @andreacarr1, @dughall, @joga5,  @tonyparkin, @bevevans22, @nightzookeeper and @sarah_wright1 in the arena, wishing me well and calming my nerves.

The scariest thing about #TMBETT14 was not that it was hosted in the London Excel Centre (@excellondon). Not the fact that 650 tickets had been sold and @MrMichaelShaw from #TES handing out T-shirts saying ‘The largest TeachMeet in the world’! Not even the fact that I would be using technology, which could go wrong at any point. Nope, the scariest thing was that my presentation was about real children and the real learning that takes place in my classroom as part of each individual’s life journey.

* Would I do the children justice by sharing their achievements (thoroughly safe-guarded of course)?

* Would I be able to give @classdojo the credit they deserved for their wonderful behaviour management tool?

* Would the audience members find any of it useful and take it back to their own schools to share with colleagues and children alike?

All of these questions raced through my head as I nervously waited to see if my name would be called through the random selection process as created by @russeltarr through @classtools.

Fabulous presentations came from @stevebunce, telling us that Thomas was alone and @ideas_factory who asked us to be the purple cow. After 2 hours of presentations, 8:30pm ticked by and my nerves had died right down. By this point, I had given up on my name being called and was composing my graceful tweet of disappointment, whilst telling myself that there was always next year. It was a surprise then when co-host @iusher was calling my name. As the big screen had temporally stopped working, I was dazed by the sound of my name being called and uncertain if it was even the right ‘Catherine’ that he was calling. Phone in hand and notes left behind on my seat, I made my way to the front where the stage was, where I confirmed that it was indeed going to be my turn.

Waiting at the side of the stage with @katerussel, who was co-hosting  the event, I began to compose myself and collect my thoughts. After an interesting presentation from @oliverquinlan, I stood up to the podium with no notes, a phone with no battery and a lot of faces staring at me, awaiting my first sentence. It was reassuring to see smiles round the room, people nodding along and it was here that I felt proud to share the work of the children back home in Bradford. My presentation was about phonics called ‘Loving the Alien’ and with the tagline, ‘How to Make the Y1 Phonics Screening Check More …Errr… Human!’ The link can be found HERE.

#TMBETT14 Blog image LTA

It was only after stepping off the stage (and leaving my phone on it) that I truly then calmed down. Lovely comments came flooding in via Twitter on my Nexus from many people who congratulated me on no longer being a ‘Teach Meet Presentation Virgin‘ and I even got to meet some of my ‘Twitter Heroes’ @ICTmagic and @triches.

What was really lovely, was the subsequent messages I had from teachers who have already shared with their staff in their schools. One practitioner told me how her school use Class Dojo all the time but she never thought of linking it to phonics and was going to do so from now on!
I guess I can address my concerns about it being useful then?

My third and final concern about giving the credit to Class Dojo was relieved when they also tweeted;

tweet classdojo

All in all, a wonderful event and special thank should go to @digitalmaverick and everyone who organised everything.

Finally, I am already looking forward to the next Teach Meet, wherever that may be and #BETT15 but for now and in the words of a well known song, keep ‘Loving the Alien‘!  

Categories: About me, Education and learning, Technology, Travels, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blapp Snapp

After a long but productive first term back at school, it is my turn to write about apps that have worked in my classroom as part of @ideas_factory’s #BlappSnapp.

As our topic was entitled ‘In Our Dreams’, the literacy focus was around stories. This encompassed taking note of settings, characters and story structures with teaching points of adjectives and connectives throughout.

Within the first few weeks, children were introduced to Puppet Pals, which they very quickly began to use independently. Example at http://www.year1.bowlingparkprimary.net

Another great app for developing an understanding of sentence structure is Clicker (although a little pricey). It helped my Y1’s to see how to use capital letters and full stops without the worry of the physicality of writing it down.

In maths, we have been learning about a range of concepts, particularly around number. The Special Numbers app has been a popular choice. Strangely, ‘Brushes’ has been a way of recording work, for example number sentences, and the boys especially have got into it purely because it was on an ipad.

Finally, the whole topic came to an end and the final outcome was to produce a film of the various traditional tales we had studied.

The whole year group used ‘iMovie’ with excellent results! Each class took one story and recorded on ‘iMovie’, then an adult used Movie Maker to put the whole thing together. View it on the Bowling Park website.

I hope this is useful and I will update with more apps as I find them to be useful.

Happy Holidays everyone, much deserved I’m sure!

Categories: Apps, Education and learning, Technology, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Blogging for Learning and #Mozfest

I think it is fair to say that my New Year’s resolution will be to write more frequently on this blog.

In fairness, I have spent the last 8 weeks soley focusing on my new role as a Y1 teacher. Whilst the aged is not too disimilar from my previous 3 years in Reception, the change in daily routine and way of working has kept me busy. I have spent a lot of time writing the Year 1 page on the school blog, which can be viewed at www.bowlingparkprimary.net .

I have worked on showing the children how to access the blog and how to write comments. Some children have really taken this on board and write comments often, however, there are still many more children to encourage. I aim to double the amount of children’s comments by the next school holiday by making even more use of online resources such as images to describe, links to phonics sounds or play online games. My particular favourites, when getting the children excited about learning, are Zondle and Oxford Owl.

Oxford Owl

zondle LOGO

 

I have started to use Zondle to build games for children to practice their skills in maths and literacy. The feedback from children in my class so far has been positive and I have had children asking if they can ‘stay in at playtime to do blog homework’.  Starting this week, I want to promote the use of the Oxford Owl website too as there are free eBooks and maths resources on there. I hope to reach out to more parents this way and will be offering advice and support for them when helping their child online. Watch this space…

Keen as I am to learn more about the way in which technology is evolving and how we can access it, I attended MozFest last weekend.

mozfest There were multiple workshops taking place throughout the weekend including; build the web, making the web physical, games, badges and much more.
   Having generally walked around, trying to get the best from all sessions, I found myself getting involved with a project about Girls in Tech. It was fabulous to collaborate on a project  and record notes in the ‘Mopad’ alongside @amirightfolks, @kimxtom, @MissPhilbin, @priynag and @chadsansing (Sorry if I missed anyone).
Click here to see what the group created.

Later in the afternoon, I attended the amazing ‘Maker Party’. Swamped with children and technologist alike, it was fantastic to see various projects in operation and learn a few things myself.
Some fabulous things included;

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All in all, I have enjoyed a relaxing and productive Half Term holiday and have come away with lots of ideas about how to make next half term even better!

Categories: About me, Education and learning, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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