A blog for students on the FDLT and BALT courses at the University of Northampton

at Leicester and UN

September 30, 2019
by Jean
0 comments

What can we learn from education in Finland?

When you are examining the curriculum, what is taught and how learning is organised, making international comparison can be useful.

In this article in the guardian, journalist Sally Weale discusses the approach to the curriculum and learning in Finland.

As a university student you would want to use links, names and titles to track back to the original sources used if you were considering using this material in an assignment.

This could lead you to look up:

PISA

Pasi Sahlberg

John Jerrim / IOE blog

Finnish National Agency for Education.

Reading these sources could lead you to some useful reading but you should also search in NELSON for additional academic material.

 

December 3, 2018
by Jean
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Christmas writing fun!

Pobble have shared ten fun ideas to inspire writing with a Christmas theme here.

Christmas poems
Jesse’s frosty festive poem evokes all the senses. She’d love you to have a read.

Christmas in China
What is your Christmas fortune? Dexter discovered what happens at Christmas in China and then wrote fortunes to share with his family. Read here.

The Iron Man saves Christmas!
Father Christmas has one last hope: The Iron Man. This fun narrative is a fun twist on a traditional tale. Click to read.

A recipe for the perfect Christmas
What ingredients would you choose to create the perfect Christmas? A beautiful teaching idea! We think Libby’s recipe is spot on!

The Christmas Truce
After learning about the truce on Christmas Day 1914, Holly wrote this poignant piece outlining the events.

The sound of Christmas
What does Christmas sound like? Lee shared his thoughts in this joyful poem. Have a read.

Victorian Christmas
Joe time travelled back to a Christmas Eve in the Victorian era. In this piece he explains what he discovered.

The Bear’s First Christmas
This simile packed story is a festive treat! Tiah tells the tale of ‘The bear’s first Christmas’. Read here.

If Father Christmas got stuck up my chimney…
What would you do if Santa got stuck up your chimney? Jessica would give him a push! Read more.

Reindeer job application
A job application with a twist! Maxwell is applying to be one of Santa’s reindeers. Would you give him the job? Read Maxwell’s letter.

Reference:

Pobble (2018) Festive teaching ideas. [online] Available from: http://blog.pobble.com/festive-teaching-ideas-for-you/ [Accessed: 3/12/18]

June 13, 2018
by Jean
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FDLT year 1 field trips

Last week the FDLT year 1 students went on field trips to explore different ways of supporting learning outdoors. Led by Ken Bland and Georgina Hand, they explored fieldwork around a river including mapping the meander, measuring depth; testing speed of flow and exploring water quality. They also took a kick sample of the animal life in the water and used magnifiers to look at the creatures they had found. They explored the clues to the history of their location around the landscape.

Students also used the outdoors as inspiration for poetry and art. As a starter the students played a digital find it activity in pairs. Each pair was given a grid with things to look for, photograph and present as a PicCollage. The grids were based around subject content, subject specific vocabulary, and could be differentiated to the learning of the pupils. It is a good way of getting a group to explore the outdoor where they will be working in without unnecessarily collecting and damaging the environment. 

We also looked at the work of artist Richard Long. The students then had a go at making walking poetry by setting a rule to walk, collect words and explore the outdoor environment. Some students walked ten steps and then looked up and looked down; others set rules related to collecting certain groups or patterns of words. This gave them the opportunity to use grammatical knowledge in a creative context. 

Students also collected one leaf and tried to identify it using books and an identification app on the ipad. After this they had a go at writing a poem around the edge of the leaf. We discussed using scientific as well as poetic language. 

We also looked at The Lost Words – see earlier blog post. 

This day connects forwards into the PDT2016 learning beyond the school site module that the students will study in 2018/19. 

June 7, 2018
by Jean
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Can your pupils sew on a button?

Great British Button Challenge!

Hobbycraft did some research and found that out of the 10,000 people they surveyed 1 in 5 could not sew on a button, with 52% never taught this at school (Hobbycraft, 2018). This summer they’re running a  challenge to bring sewing back into schools.

Teachers can go along to their local Hobbycraft up to 20th July and pick up a free bag of buttons and Great British Button Challenge stickers. There are also lots of button based projects on the Hobbycraft website along with educational resources – you can download the pack here.

If you’re not sure how to sew on a button Hobbycraft have made a video guide to help!

With thanks to a BALT graduate, now teacher, for pointing this out.

Reference:

Hayhurst, M.  (2018) 

Hobbycraft issue first Craft Report and launch Great British Button Challenge.

[online] Available from: https://www.craftbusiness.com/news/view/hobbycraft-issue-first-craft-report-and-launch-great-british-button-challen [Accessed 07/06/18]

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
0 comments

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.

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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