As you begin to study in Higher Education you’ll find that there are lots of sources of support. The Skills Hub at the University of Northampton is one of these. When you have enrolled as a student you will be able to access all of the resources but until then you can access the content under Academic Skills, How to Study and How to Research. You can find the Skills Hub here.
You might also wish to buy a study skills book such as The Study Skills Handbook by Stella Cottrell. This is a useful book in your first year, but also has useful sections to use in the second and third years. There is a supporting website here.
As you begin in the course you will find plenty of study skills support available to you through your tutors in taught sessions and resources and people available to you through the university face to face and online.
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.
On Monday I was lucky to attend a creative session in the School Experience Library, at Park Campus, University of Northampton. This session, arranged by Academic Librarian, Hannah Rose and Library Learning Services, brought two author illustrators to share with us their approaches to writing and illustrating.
First Birgitta Sif shared with us her journey to being an author illustrator and her process of writing. Birgitta’s first books was ‘Oliver’, a book about a little boy who was different and how he found friendship. As she read it to us she helped us look more carefully at how the illustrations enriched the text and gave us clues and extra surprises. These included searching for a mouse who present in each picture, finding a character who appeared in the middle of the story actually appears in the previous pictures too and using the text inside the pictures to guide us in the story.
She also showed us how she makes a story by making small sketches to get to know her characters, making tiny prototype books and by drawing the world of the character and the places and people or animals the character encounters. She draws from life and imagination and when she is stuck she goes for walks outside and plays with her children.
Then Dave Barrow shared his work with us. His first book was ‘Have you seen elephant?’, a book about a game of hide’n’seek with great visual jokes throughout. As Dave read it to us he helped us understand how he had drawn the illustrations by sketching from life, from videos and trying things out for himself.
Dave also did some live drawing taking ideas from children to give us ideas about how to construct a character through drawing and talking. We could really see how this could lead to imaginative stories as the children talked with Dave. Dave helped them think about how the personality and characteristics of a character could be apparent in a drawing as well how to show clues about the character in the picture so that they didn’t have to be stated in the text. he also showed us how to show the size and scale of a character. He also answered questions about how long it takes to write a story, how many drafts it takes and how sometimes an idea has to be let go to improve the story.
What can we learn?
Make little prototype books to try out and sequence ideas.
Draw and sketch from life.
If you get stuck go outside for a walk.
Practice drawing if you want to improve.
Draw a character to get know it before you start to write it into a story.
Link characteristics of the character with the story you’re going to write.
Keep drafting and improving.
Some of these are things you might try in school or when you are writing.
As part of the session we also made our own character to take away and maybe write a story about, inevitably, mine was a cat!
I recently came across an interesting link on Dylan Wiliam’s Twitter feed. He was recently interviewed by a maths teacher, Craig Barton, and this interview is available for you to listen to as a podcast on his blog: MrBartonMaths.
Quite simply, Dylan is one of my heroes. He was the inspiration behind my Diagnostic Questions website, and his many books, presentations and writing that I have eagerly consumed over the years have always left me filled up with new ideas to try in the classroom.
Dylan Wiliam is Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London. In a varied career, he has taught in inner-city schools, directed a large-scale testing programme, served a number of roles in university administration, including Dean of a School of Education, and pursued a research programme focused on supporting teachers to develop their use of assessment in support of learning.” (Barton, 2016, lines 3-12)
Many of you are working on your PDT 1004 Pupil Assessment assignment so you might find this podcast both interesting and useful. If you click on this link it will take you to the podcast – scroll down to the bottom of the page.
Dylan Wiliam is @dylanwiliam on Twitter and Craig Barton is @mrbartonmaths.
As schools break up for the summer thought will be given to encouraging children to keep learning over the holidays.
Local libraries run the Summer Reading Challenge each year and this year it is part of the year long celebration of 100
years since the birth of Roald Dahl.
The Summer Reading Challenge takes place every year during the summer holidays. You can sign up at your local library, then read six library books of your choice to complete the Challenge. There are exclusive rewards to collect along the way, and it’s FREE to take part! There’s lots more information available at Summer Reading Challenge website
Pobble have published this list of activities that teachers and parents can use to set fun challenges over the summer. It can be downloaded here: Pobble’s the best homework ever
It could be fun to get the children to design their own list of homework for each other!
You may have noticed that in mid September the ‘Commission on Assessment Without Levels: final report’ was published. It can be accessed here.
At this same link you can access two videos where John McIntosh CBE, Chair of the Commission discusses the benefits of developing new assessment and Sean Harford, National Director, Schools, Ofsted, talks about inspectors of schools assessment systems.
In addition to this you can explore the Association for Achievement and Improvement through Assessment (AAIA) website here. On this website you can see the development of the assessment without levels approach over the last few years, leading up to this report. You can also see videos of Dylan Wiliam and Tim Oates talking about aspects of the approach and also access the NCTL research report.
If you are on the FDLT course this information will be useful to you in year 1 as you work on the PDT1004 assignment and it will be useful to all students and TAs as you seek to keep up to date with changes in education and schools.
The next meeting of the Book Group will be on Monday 26th January at 17.30 in S036.
Light refreshments will be provided.
The book to be discussed will be ‘Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime’ by Mark Haddon.
Copies are available for you to borrow by emailing Academic Librarian, Hannah Rose – firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also follow on Twitter – @BookGroupUoN and look out for the live Twitter feed from 18.30.
You may be interested to know that the National Theatre production of this book is coming the Royal and Derngate in Northampton from the 24th to the 29th March. I have seen this and I do recommend it. You can find out more about it at this link.