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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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?
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]
Many of you will use social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and some of you might read or write blogs. You might find some of these useful in your study and support for learners as well as your social lives.
There are many teachers, TAs and academics on Twitter and lots of opportunity to share ideas and resources and interact with others. This article is a good place to get you started with thinking about Twitter in education. You can find and follow other TAs and people with interests in the same areas and subjects as well as join in with chats such as #ukedchat which is from 8 til 9 pm every Thursday based around a different theme each week.
There are also many people in education who share ideas and resources through their blogs. An example is Nancy Gedge (@nancygedge on Twitter). She is a parent, teacher and writer and her blog explores her experiences as a parent and educator. You can read it here.
Another example is a blog by teacher John Mitchell (@jivespin on twitter) who uses his blog to share resources and teaching ideas for secondary history. You can access it here. Many of his creative ideas for using resources can be adapted to other subjects and age groups.
Finally a site that many of you may be familiar with is The Literacy Shed. The Literacy Shed has a blog as well as lots of resources based around using film and animation to inspire writing in English and across the curriculum.
If you have a favourite blog or site feel free to add below in the comments section.
I am @JeanEd70 if you want to follow me on Twitter.