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

at MK, Leicester and UN

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
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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]

December 21, 2017
by Jean
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Good deeds!

I came across this great idea from Action for Happiness on Twitter.

Its a calendar encouraging people to be kind throughout December (and beyond). Its also available in Italian, French and in a decoration free version.

The organisation Action for Happiness says:

“If we agree that for all human beings it is important that they experience happiness and escape misery, then it follows that the best society is the one in which there is the least misery and the most happiness.

On this basis, everyone’s happiness counts equally. This includes the happiness of everybody now alive as well as that of future generations. So it is important that we act in a way that takes the happiness of all into consideration. If we can agree on this then we’re one step closer to achieving a happier society.” (2017, lines 25 – 31)

They have designed a resource for schools called “Keys to happier Living Toolkit for Schools” for children aged 7-11.

You can see information about this here.

You can follow Action for Happiness on Twitter @actionhappiness and on Facebook here.

We wish you all happy holidays and enjoy your break!

 

 

References:

Action for happiness (2017) Why happiness. [online] Available from: http://www.actionforhappiness.org/why-happiness [Accessed 19/12/17].

Action for Hapiness. (2017) Kindness Calendar. [online] Available from: http://www.actionforhappiness.org/kindness-calendar [Accessed: 19/12/17]

December 8, 2017
by Jean
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Make your own digital advent calendar!

I want to share a great blog post I came across about making an interactive advent calendar on Mr P’s ICT blog.

You can read the blog post and see some examples at the link above. There are opportunities to be creative a variety of apps and tools including using the camera, collage making apps and ThingLink.

Here’s an example from Cwn Glas Primary School:

There are lots of useful ideas for using technology creatively on Mr P’s blog which you can browse here. You can also follow him on Twitter where he is @ICT_MrP

 

December 1, 2017
by Jean
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Record Playback

This week the year 2 students used their phones or tablets to make short films exploring terms and ideas used when learning English.

Their challenge was to define and explain their word in a one minute film using just the materials available – their own digital devices and card, paper, scissors, tape and sticks.

Below is the YouTube channel playlist where you can see what they made.

It was interesting to see that students also used resources from their devices eg sounds, music, backgrounds and screenshots as well as some of them editing their films using imovie.

When trying this out it is important for the film makers to devise a story or presentation that will explain and define the term clearly and without leading to any confusion for the viewer. Using examples, familiar contexts, stories and combining words and pictures can be useful devices here, as can devising quiz type scenarios.

This is a practical and creative way of exploring some key subject knowledge which leads to a shareable bank of short films which can then be used for revision or as lesson starters.

November 23, 2017
by Jean
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Classroom Adventures!

The FDLT Y2 Leicester group used their creative skills and Book Creator to make a collaborative book about some unexpected happenings in the classroom.

Here’s the whole book on Google BookCreator:

Classroom Adventures

Here’s a version on YouTube:

When making a collaborative book it is essential to agree on the format of the pages – landscape or portrait. This story couldn’t be included in the main book because it was made in the wrong orientation:

After the session one of the students went away and made her own book with her son.

 

October 20, 2017
by Jean
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The secret life of Park Campus – an interactive digital book.

This week the FDLT Year 2 UN group explored the tools available in BookCreator in a session about supporting learning in English through using digital technology. You can read more about BookCreator and see some great examples here.

They explored adding their own photos and video to pages; adding written text, speech bubbles and thought bubbles and recording speech that can be listened to. We used the context of ‘the secret life of the campus’ to plan and write imaginary stories as a context for this exploration.

You can see the book on YouTube here.

You can also use this link to access it as an ebook through Google Chrome.

September 29, 2017
by Jean
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Children’s Laureate

The current Children’s Laureate is Lauren Child and she is in this role from 2017 to 2019. This is what the Book trust said about her:

“The role of Children’s Laureate is awarded once every two years to an eminent writer or illustrator of children’s books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field.

Lauren Child is a multi-award-winning, bestselling writer and artist whose books are known and loved the world over. She is the creator of characters such as Clarice Bean, Ruby Redfort and Charlie and Lola.” (Book Trust, 2017, lines 3-7)

Book Trust, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can read more about her role here.

You can hear an interview with her here.

Last week in a newspaper article she argued that children should be given more time to “daydream and dawdle” and  be allowed to have free, unstructured time in which to be creative and improvise. (Child, 2017, line 10) Supporting children to be creative is something you might consider as a TA. How do we provide conditions or an environment that will encourage creativity in school? What is the adult role in this?

References:

Book Trust. (2017) Waterstones Children’s Laureate. [online] Available from: https://www.booktrust.org.uk/books/childrens-laureate/ [Accessed: 29/09/17]

Child, L. (2017) We should let children dawdle and dream. [online] Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/sep/09/lauren-child-let-children-dawdle-and-dream [Accessed: 29/09/17]

 

September 22, 2017
by Jean
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Changes to assessment in primary schools

Last week the government published plans for changes to the way pupils are assessed at primary schools. You can read the announcement here.

“The reforms will:

  • improve the way that writing is assessed, so that teachers have more scope to use their professional judgment when assessing pupil performance
  • introduce a new assessment at the start of reception from September 2020 to act as the start point for measuring progress, so we can give schools credit for the progress they help pupils make in reception, year one and year two
  • remove the statutory status of end-of-key stage 1 assessments at the earliest possible point, from the 2022 to 2023 academic year, once the reception baseline is fully established
  • reduce burdens for teachers by removing the requirement to carry out statutory teacher assessments in English reading and mathematics at the end of key stage 2 from the 2018 to 2019 academic year onwards
  • improve the early years foundation stage profile, including revising the Early Learning Goals to make them clearer and align them more closely with teaching in key stage 1
  • introduce an online multiplication tables check, to be taken by pupils at the end of year 4, from the 2019 to 2020 academic year onwards.”

(DfE, 2017, lines 8-24)

The announcement also refers to the Rochford Review (2016). This will be of interest to those of you working with pupils working below expected standards.  It also provides links to revised teacher assessment frameworks, with further guidance and exemplification materials available later in the year.

If you are in FDLT year 1 you will be exploring assessment in the coming term so you will be interested to read the DfE announcement and follow the links to the Rochford Review and the teacher assessment materials.

Reference:

DfE. (2017) Improvements to the primary assessment system announced. [online] Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/improvements-to-the-primary-assessment-system-announced [Accessed: 22/09/17]

Rochford, D. (2016) The Rochford Review: final report. Review of assessment for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests. London: Standards and Testing Agency.

 

September 15, 2017
by Jean
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National Teaching Assistant Day

Today is National Teaching Assistant Day 2017. You can read more about it here

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The TAs and HLTAs on the FDLT and BALT courses are developing their existing roles in school with their university study. This often mean that their roles change as they move towards the next steps in their careers. We celebrate their dedication to the learning of the pupils and their own learning. 

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