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.
parts of a plant
parts of a tree
parts of a tree
parts of a tree
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.
two adjectives, noun, verb
number, colour, noun
two adjectives and a noun
two adjectives and a noun
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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.