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

at Leicester and UN

bitmoji outdoor classroom

June 17, 2020
by Jean
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Create your own virtual classroom

You might have come across the idea of the #bitmojiclassroom on social media. Over the last few months, with many teachers and TAs away from face to face contact with their pupils, the idea of creating a virtual space that is visually and user friendly for pupils and parents has become popular. Combined with the tools to create emojis that look like ourselves and add links to images in Powerpoint and GoogleSlides there are now many examples to take inspiration from.

bitmoji of jeanThe use of a personalised bitmoji allows us to make a connection with our pupils. This is mine. 

You can make your own bitmoji by creating an account here

Once you have an account and you have made your bitmoji you can then easily search for it in many different versions and positions to use in making resources.

This is a useful guide to how to create a virtual classroom using GoogleSlides by teacher Thomas Blakemore.

If this is something that interests you, it is worth browsing social media for examples, as there are many that you can learn from and repurpose to use for your own pupils. Search #bitmojiclassroom on Facebook or twitter to find posts and videos that will help you.

Last week I made my first #bitmojiclassroom to find out more about how to do it. It is based on learning outdoors. You can access it below. Click on the ‘present’ triangle symbol to explore the links attached to many of the items in the image.

One important area to consider when making your virtual classroom is protecting the intellectual property rights of the makers of resources available online. You will find yourself searching google images for pictures and google for links and it is important to note and acknowledge these. When searching for images you can choose ‘labelled for non-commercial reuse’ in the search settings and keep a note of the information to reference. For the resource above I have another slide with the references related to this image listed.

May 29, 2020
by Jean
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Notice nature in June!

As the month of June begins there are some interesting activities taking place to draw our attention to the natural world.

30 days wild calendarThe first is the annual event run by The Wildlife Trusts: “30 Days Wild“.

At the link you can sign up to take part as a family, a care home, a business or a school or group. When you sign up you will receive a downloadable wall chart to help you plan a month of wildlife centred activities along with some other useful and fun resources.

You can see the first two weeks of the calendar here.

screen shot from NJW websiteAnother activity that takes place next week is international Nature Journaling Week (1st to 7th June 2020). The aim of the week is to “come together as a world-wide community to celebrate and document the beauty and diversity of the natural world”. (NJW, 2020, lines 7-8).

As well as a theme of each day and “live” online activities there is a useful ‘for parents and teachers” page. It has suggestions for how to involve children in observing and recording nature in the early years, primary years and teenage years along with a website link to John Muir Laws’s resources.

BBC springwatch website Finally, of course, as always at this time of year Springwatch is running on BBC and social media channels.

 

There are live broadcasts on social media at 9am, midday and 5pm along with the terrestrial BBC2 program at 8pm on Tuesdays to Fridays for three weeks. There are live webcams streaming all the time, allowing wildlife to be observed live from wherever you are.

The weather is great so now is the time to go and look at the outdoors wherever you are and notice what is happening in the world around.

References 

Nature Journaling Week (2020) Welcome to International Nature Journaling Week. NJW website. [online] Available from: https://www.naturejournalingweek.com/ [Accessed 29/05/2020]. 

Nature Journaling week. (2020) For parents and teachers webpage. NJW website. [online] Available from: https://www.naturejournalingweek.com/parents-and-teachers [Accessed 29/05/2020]. 

BBC 92020) Springwatch. BBC. [online] Available from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007qgm3 [Accessed: 29/05/2020].

The Wildlife Trusts. (2020) 30 Days Wild calendar. The Wildlife Trusts. [online] Available from: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/sites/default/files/2020-04/combinepdf%20%282%29.pdf [Accessed: 29/05/2020].

 

May 7, 2020
by Jean
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Take part in the Urban Tree festival!

Save Our Street Trees is delighted to be taking part in the first-ever virtual Urban Tree Festival – to celebrate our beautiful urban trees.

Between May 16 and 24, Save Our Street Trees – Northampton will be asking people to turn over a #newleaf with a Virtual Urban Forest in their windows for everyone to enjoy on their daily walks, along with people all over the UK.

We’re tasking families and children to design a bare tree and display it in their window – and each day craft a #NewLeaf to slowly build up a tree canopy. Each #NewLeaf can have a message for passers-by, such as tree poems, tree quotes, forest facts and calming/motivating messages to get people through lockdown.

The idea is one of celebrating urban trees – but also new beginnings, new life, positivity and regeneration. We will be providing downloadable tree trunk templates, leaf cut outs, and lots of leaf art ideas nearer the time.

Watch this space! We’d love you to share photos of your trees and leaves during the Urban Tree Festival week via

Facebook event: Save Our Street Trees – Northampton and Urban Tree Festival here, and on

Twitter: @SaveStreetTrees

Instagram: @saveourstreettrees

Join the Facebook group here.

 

June 3, 2019
by Jean
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June is 30 days wild month!

Each June The Wildlife Trusts runs #30dayswild.

This is what The Wildlife Trusts say:

“This June, we challenge you to do something wild every day. That’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness.

We’re giving you a free pack of goodies to help you plan your wild month, plus lots of ideas from your Wildlife Trust to inspire you to stay wild all throughout June (and beyond!). You’ll also get inspiring emails from your Wildlife Trust, invites to exclusive events and a chance to join in on social media.

To get your free 30 Days Wild pack, which includes a wallchart, a poster, an interactive booklet and some stickers to help you go wild, just select who is taking part and take the next step!” (The Wildlife Trusts, 2019).

You can participate as a family, a school, a care home or a workplace and post what you do each day on social media using #30dayswild. As people working in education one of the best things about this initiative is that you can pick up lots of great ideas to use to inspire and support learning.

The Wildlife Trusts (2019) 30 Days Wild. [online] Available from: https://action.wildlifetrusts.org/page/40705/petition/1#sign-up [Accessed: 30/05/19].

May 30, 2019
by Jean
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International connections on FDLT!

FDLT Students Enriching Experiences – Mystery Skype and Zoom Room

This week Year 2 Foundation Degree Learning and Teaching (FDLT) students took part in a Mystery Skype activity and had extended discussions within a Zoom Room.

cof

After the Mystery Skype task with the UN group on Monday, former UN Education Studies student Miti Mwape shared her experiences of teaching English in China. She highlighted the many opportunities that exist for mature students to work abroad (Teach and Travel in Hunan, China: http://teachinhunan.com/).

Dr Brenda Padilla (Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Leónin) and her students scattered across Mexico took part in discussions with FDLT students within a live Zoom Room Video Conference. These online meetings resulted in extensive conservations between students on a range of comparative and international educational issues. The dynamic conversations crossed three continents, with FDLT student Nazia Saeed joining the discussions from India on Wednesday. Students from the Universidad da Vinci in Mexico also took part in conversations.

Dr Emel Thomas

May 22, 2019
by Jean
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Taking the learning outdoors!

Last week the FDLT Year 1 students had the opportunity to use the outdoors as a learning environment.We spent the morning beside the river exploring  and measuring the landscape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The activities the students tried out are those which pupils need to experience when learning geographical and scientific skills and they also provided opportunities to apply mathematical learning.

We also explored the book The Lost Words by Jackie Morris and Robert MacFarlane – a fantastic inspiration for English in the context of the natural world. There are supporting resources for this here.

In year 2 of the FDLT course students will take part in a module entirely focused on learning opportunities beyond the school site so this experience was a valuable introduction.

March 20, 2019
by Jean
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Exploring nature

There are signs of spring all around us! The Woodland Trust has lots of great resources to encourage children to be nature detectives.

With older pupils you might track the effects of weather and climate change by using the nature’s calendar resources here.

With younger pupils you might use the Nature Detective resources to  observe and explore outdoors here. This spotter sheet focuses on noting the first signs of spring.

 

 

 

 

Another useful set of resources is available from The House of Illustration, who have made a set teacher and pupil resources called ‘Illustrating Science’ based around plant life cycles and spotting nature outdoors which can be found here.

Reference:

Woodland Trust. (2019) First signs of spring. [online] Available from: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/naturedetectives/activities/2016/01/first-signs-of-spring/ [Accessed 20/03/19]

 

February 4, 2019
by Jean
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New sculptures appear at Waterside!

This afternoon the FDLT Y2 students explored the sculptures placed around the Waterside site.

They then chose their own space on campus and made a maquette (the small model that a sculptor would make as part of the design process). They then used green screen technology (DoInk app and Ipads) to virtually place their sculpture in the space, manipulating its scale to fit.

Some of the sculptures are inspired the university experience (learning and graduating).

Some are inspired by the materials themselves.

Others are inspired by the site itself (railway heritage and wildlife).

Continue Reading →

February 1, 2019
by Jean
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Activity Passport

You may have seen in the news recently that the DfE have released details about an ‘Activity Passport‘. The announcement reads:”Primary school children will be challenged to go on a nature trail, visit a local landmark or make a treasure map through a new ‘passport’ of activities launched by the Education Secretary to encourage more family time and help build children’s character and resilience.

Endorsed by organisations including the Scouts, Girlguiding and the National Trust – as well as children’s charity Action for Children – the list of activities is intended to support parents and schools in introducing children to a wide variety of experiences and fulfilling activities like flying a kite, learning something new about the local area or putting on a performance.” (DfE, 2019, lines 1-9).

Many of you will have been aware of the National Trust’s “50 things to do before you are eleven and three-quarters” which you explore here

You can access an editable version of the passport here.

You can download the National Trust list here.

Those of you working on PDT1o64 or PDT2016 will be considering how we enrich learning and access resources and places to bring learning to life. What would be on your list of 50 things to do before 11? If you work with pupils over the age of 11, what would your list of 50 things pupils should do between 11 and 18 years?

Michael Rosen provides an alternative view to this initiative here.

References:

DfE. (2019) Activity ‘passport’ to inspire schoolchildren and boost resilience. [online] Available from:https://www.gov.uk/government/news/activity-passport-to-inspire-schoolchildren-and-boost-resilience [Accessed: 1/2/19]

December 13, 2018
by Jean
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A visit to Adventure Ways!

BA Learning and Teaching students last week visited Adventure Ways outdoor education centre in Moulton. The students, all of whom work as teaching assistants, or in similar roles, learned how the centre works with children and young people who have difficulties coping with school-based learning. The students observed the centre’s staff working with groups of young people, and attended a workshop led by the centre’s CEO, Kurt Perryman in which they were faced with a series of scenarios presented by centre staff and some of their clients.

Dom Murphy

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