A blog for students on the FDLT at the University of Northampton

at MK, Leicester and UN

May 22, 2018
by Jean
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Free international online course

This year is the second year of the Digital Learning Across Boundaries (DLAB) project. We are nearly ready to share learning ideas and resources based around using digital technology creatively with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics).

The online course will begin in the first week of June. You can sign up at this link

Overview

STEM to STEAM adds the Arts to the integrated and applied study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), to create interdisciplinary challenge-based learning opportunities. Creativity and imagination, which lie at the heart of the arts, are blended with the critical thought and enquiry of STEM.

This is a flexible online course that you can join in with at a pace and depth that suits you. We will suggest activities and ideas based on our international DLaB project work, and encourage you to try them within your teaching.

We would like you to leave each week with something new to try out in practice and we will encourage you to share your experiences and swap ideas on our weekly themes within our Google+ community. You can start sharing ideas in the online community now; there’s no need to wait for the start date.

Who is this course for?

Our course is aimed at primary and lower secondary teachers, however anyone with an interest in the field is very welcome. It is in English.

May 18, 2018
by Jean
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Exploring stop motion animation

Recently the FDLT Year 1 students have been learning about stop motion animation and exploring how this might support and inspire learning. Students chose an idea and planned and made a short animation to explain it.

You can watch all the animations here:

 

May 4, 2018
by Jean
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Useful advice about your email address

My colleague Jeff Ollerton has written this useful advice about email addresses:

Jeff Ollerton’s Biodiversity Blog: Advice to students: choose your email address carefully and think about changing it).

If you work in or study education Jeff makes some very good points.

Jeff’s blog is an interesting one to follow if you are interested in the environment, biodiversity and conservation.

April 27, 2018
by Jean
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30 days wild!

The Wildlife Trust invites you to something wild every day in June: random acts of wildness. You can sign up here to get a free pack including a wall chart, interactive booklet and some stickers. There is also an app.

When you take part you can also share your activity using #30DaysWild and look at what all the other participants are doing. It is a great opportunity for gathering ideas to use in school or at home in the future.

This is my favourite idea from last year:

A scarf showing the temperature for each day with a row of knitting in a colour based on the temperature each day. I have since seen others based on daily rainfall.

 

March 29, 2018
by Jean
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Keep Learning!

As supporters of learning and people interested in education you are likely to be seeking opportunities to keep learning yourselves. This might be to fill gaps in your subject knowledge, to allow you to perform your role more effectively or to follow a personal interest.  FutureLearn run a number of online courses on many interesting areas, including education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can browse the available courses here: FutureLearn

The courses tend to be quite practical and involve online interaction with other people who are involved in the course. They are free to take part in although you can choose to pay to have a certificate of completion which may be useful if you want to use it as part of your CPD record or CV.

March 21, 2018
by Jean
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The Lost Words

You may already have seen this wonderful book by author, Robert MacFarlane and artist, Jackie Morris called ‘The Lost Words’. 

Here’s a link to a blog post by Jackie Morris about why the book is so important for children (and adults). She explains the significance of keeping hold of words for wild places and the natural world as well as the collaborative process of planning and writing the book.

There is also a free “An Explorer’s Guide to The Lost Words” by Eva Muir to accompany the book and encourage us to explore it further. It is available here along with posters and ideas about how to use the book to inspire learning and enjoyment.

If you use the book as an inspiration for learning you can post what you make on this Padlet. It is also a source of ideas for your work with children of course.

A successful crowdfunder campaign was run to get the book into every school in Scotland and this has been followed by other counties in England. 

Here’s one of the beautiful pages from the book:

 

 

 

March 5, 2018
by Jean
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Support with writing essays

You might be interested in some of the blog posts in the ‘Teaching’ section of Tim Squirrell’s blog.

There is one called ‘How to write better essays‘.  In this one he reviews some key areas of essay writing. This is a summary of the contents:

“In this guide you will find:

(1) a 24-hour panic guide for students who’ve made the grave error of leaving it to the last minute and want to know the absolute basics of what they should do to achieve as decent a grade as possible;

(2) a discussion of how to pick an essay question when you have the luxury of choice;

(3) a guide to reading for the purposes of writing an essay;

(4) tips on answering the question properly, including clarification of what on earth it means to “question the question” and why that’s important;

(5) a how-to on structure, which is really easy and almost everyone gets wrong;

(6) a guide to analysis, and how to PEE on your essay in an effective fashion;

(7) tips on referencing properly, including software recommendations that will save you hours;

(8) new to this guide, some insights into how essays are marked and how to make sure you don’t end up with a worse grade than you deserve;

(9) some take-home messages”.

(Squirrell, 2017, p1)

As you look at this bear in mind that at the University of Northampton we use the Harvard system.

He has also made video guides which you can see here.

February 13, 2018
by Jean
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News about the QTS Skills Test

You may be aware that aspiring teachers have to sit the QTS Skills Tests in English and mathematics. Until recently if a test is failed three times the applicant would be locked out from retaking it for two years. This week a change has been announced. 

You can read the article in Schools Week here

“Currently, anyone who fails the compulsory numeracy and literary skills test three times in a row is banned from taking it again for 24 months. The rule was introduced in 2012 as a quality filter, but critics say it deepens the growing teacher recruitment crisis.

Now trainees will get an unlimited number of attempts at the test, and won’t even have to pay for their first two retakes, after the the government announced it will remove some of the charges that teachers pay.

Whereas trainees previously had to pay for any attempt after their first, the test will now be free for trainees on their second and third attempts too, saving them up to £77 each.

Refunds will also be given to anyone who has already paid to take the test since October 24 last year.”

(Whittaker, 2018, lines 12-23)

The article was updated today with this information:

“Update: The government has also confirmed that trainee teachers currently banned from retaking the test will be free to do so from Thursday, and will be contacted shortly to be notified that their account has been unlocked.” 

(Whittaker, 2018, lines 53-55)

This will affect students currently in the BALT year who have recently taken the skills tests and those who plan to soon. It will also affect those who failed the test and were locked out.

Reference: 

Whittaker, F. (2018) QTS skills test: Lock-out period and retake charges scrapped. [online] Available from: https://schoolsweek.co.uk/qts-skills-test-lock-out-period-and-re-take-charges-scrapped/ [Accessed 13/02/18]

January 12, 2018
by Jean
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500 words – live lesson!

On Monday 15th January at 2pm there’s a live lesson available to watch to inspire your participation in the BBC Radio 2 500 words writing competition. You can see information about the live lesson here.

Calling all story writers!

Now in its 8th year, Chris Evans’ 500 Words is one of the most successful story writing competitions for kids in the world and is open to every 5-13 year old in the UK. Its mission is to get children excited about reading and writing, regardless of their ability.

We’re creating a literacy Live Lesson to celebrate the launch of this year’s competition on 15th January. Content and resources will be tailored to different levels, but some of the higher-level content will be more appropriate for ages 7 and up.

Joining our hosts Helen Skelton and Barney Harwood, are acclaimed authors and 500 Words Judges Charlie Higson and Frank Cottrell Boyce who will be on hand to help and inspire children. The lesson will be brimming with top tips, and will provide pupils of all abilities with an essential story-telling toolkit to get them started on their stories.

We will also be featuring a follow-up programme called Live Lessons EXTRA. This will not be broadcast live but will be published on our website a day or two after the live broadcast, and will build on the outcomes of the live programme and put more of your questions to our experts.

Want to get involved?

Closer to the lesson date, we’ll be releasing more information on this page, including a full lesson guide for teachers and downloadable activity sheets.

If you’d like to be reminded by email or sent more information about the Live Lesson, contact live.lessons@bbc.co.uk. Also, please send your 500 Words related questions for our special guests, authors and 500 Words judges Charlie Higson and Frank Cottrell Boyce.

We love to hear from you and see photos of your class at work. If you are sending in any images or videos that feature children, please ensure that you have parental permission, as they may be shown during the Live Lesson and on our website.

In the email, please confirm your official relationship to the child/children featured, e.g. teacher, Brownie group leader, sports coach etc. and confirm that you have sought prior parental consent. Please also ensure the material is not sensitive or controversial.

Read our Terms and Conditions for more information.

Please note that this page is for the 500 Words 2018 – Live Lesson only. The 500 Words story-writing competition opens on 15th January and competition entries close at 7pm on 22nd February 2018. Full details on the 500 Words 2018 website here.

Reference:

BBC. (2018) 500 Words 2018 – Live Lesson. [online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2yRxNT9ws7MkJsFvbxPfhry/500-words-2018-live-lesson [Accessed: 12/01/18]

 

January 5, 2018
by Jean
0 comments

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

Here’s a great way of starting 2018 with some actions for happiness.

Action for Happiness, 2018

 

 

 

There is more detail about starting the new year in a positive frame of mind here.

It would be interesting to devise your own calendar like this with your own class focused perhaps on your school vision or classroom conventions.

Reference:

Action for Happiness (2018) Happy New Year calendar January 2018. [online] Available from: http://www.actionforhappiness.org/happy-new-year [Accessed: 5/1/18]

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