Last week the latest issue of the School Inspection Update was issues by OFSTED. It referred to the deployment and use of Teaching Assistants (TAs) and this information may be of interest to you. It draws on newer research published by the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) published since their guidance report Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants
It reports on seven projects where “TAs delivering structured interventions to
pupils who are struggling with literacy and numeracy. All seven projects have shown
a marked positive impact on pupil’s learning, typically adding around three to four
additional months’ progress, and creating a compelling case for action in schools” (OFSTED, 2016, p12). You can read about the projects here. You can download a pack of free practical resources here. The resources may be of interest to you as students, TAs and HLTAs although they aimed at schools.
In the OFSTED update it is suggested that these areas should be considered by OFSTED inspectors as they inspect schools:
How do senior leaders ensure that TAs are deployed effectively in line with
Are TAs supplementing the work of teachers or replacing them?
Is there a well-planned programme of training and support for TAs who
deliver out-of-class interventions?
These are questions you might like to consider in relation to your own roles.
If you are joining FDLT year 1 in September you might be thinking about getting organised. Most of you will be studying the five modules shown to the right. You will be introduced to our virtual learning environment, NILE, where the resources for sessions are uploaded for you to access.
It is useful to set these folders up in ‘my documents’ on your computer so that you can download resources into them.
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!
Following on from last week’s post about Tim Peake’s mission on the International Space Station (ISS) from this week we have the opportunity to view the ISS as it moves across the UK each day.
The NASA website ‘Spot the Station’ allows us to check the times when the ISS will be moving overhead.
You can enter your location to check the dates and times to look out for the ISS.
If the sky is clear you can see the ISS tomorrow (Wednesday 3rd February) you’ll be able to see the ISS going overhead at 6.47pm. On Thursday 4th you can see it at 5.55pm and 7.30pm and on Friday 5th February at 6.37pm and 8.13pm. You’ll need to keep an eye on the weather forecast.
When you go outside to look the NASA website says: “The space station looks like an airplane or a very bright star moving across the sky, except it doesn’t have flashing lights or change direction. It will also be moving considerably faster than a typical airplane (airplanes generally fly at about 600 miles per hour; the space station flies at 17,500 miles per hour).” (NASA, 2016)
There’s more detail on the Meteorwatch website here
There’s potential for learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through exploring the ISS from the earth. You could learn about astronomy and weather forecasting.
NASA (2016) What am I looking for in the sky? web page [online] Available from: http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/sightings/view.cfm?country=United_Kingdom®ion=England&city=Northampton#.VquXdFLLmNk [Accessed 29/01/16]
On the 15th December 2015 Tim Peake left the earth in the Soyuz rocket for a six month stay on the International Space Station. You can see some highlights of the launch day in this video:
The name of this mission is Principia and during his mission Tim Peake will be undertaking science experiments and research on the space station. There are school activities based around science and technology running alongside this mission that could be interesting and inspiring to follow and join in with. These resources can accessed here.
Tim Peake has a website which can be accessed here.
You can follow him on Twitter @ASTRO_TIMPEAKE If you scroll through his twitter feed you can that there are so many children and schools being inspired by his mission to the ISS.
You can follow his blog for posts about life and work on the ISS here: Tim’s blog.
There’s lots of possibilities for using this event to inspire and support learning in school. If you want to have a go at growing seeds that have been into space you can find details here
Over the last few weeks the FDLT Y2 groups have been using animation, greenscreen and video editing apps to create short films.
This year we used the animation app ‘iMotion’ to make the animations. This is a relatively simple to use free app (there is a paid for version with a few extra features). This time when we used it some of the groups experienced a problem in that if they stopped animating and watched their films back when they continued the film did not always continue on from what they had previously done. We were able to correct this using iMovie but it was frustrating and sometimes demotivating.
Something else we tried this year for the first time was filming the animation against a green screen and then adding a background using the DoInk greenscreen app. This allowed them to set their story against one or more photographs that they had chosen. As we used it we also found that the animation could be moved around on the screen to a better position and the photo could be adjusted too. This app was very user friendly and a student recommended the DoInk animation app which is something we will investigate for next time (to help overcome the problems outlined above).
After the animations were made and the photographic background added we used iMovie to edit the films. For some this meant reordering their scenes and for all it meant adding sound. Some students chose some music from the limited range available on iMovie. Others added narration, dialogue and sound effects as well. Films can also be edited in YouTube, which has a much larger choice of music.
Along the way students also used the photosforclass.com website to find photos; Dropbox, to save films at different stages and YouTube to share and edit films. It was impressive to see the level of team work, creativity and perseverance from the groups of students as they worked together to create their animations. They can seen on this YouTube channel:
The students learn how to animate and use green screen so that they can explore how to use digital technology to support and enrich learning across the curriculum. Underpinning much of the activity was narration, imagination and storytelling – many of them told stories and designed story boards in order to develop their story before beginning to animate.
Some students set their animations in non-fiction contexts that involved some research about their area (global warming, animal homes). Throughout they listened, negotiated, described, speculated, evaluated and asked questions (English). In addition this some students explored aspects of the history, science or geography curriculum to set their animation in context. All the students were engaged in designing and making sets and props and some made their own characters. Some students researched to find and evaluate images to use for their backgrounds (art and design, design and technology). All the students were engaged with using digital technology to make and edit their films (computing).
We hope that students will go and use these skills in their support for learning in schools as teaching assistants, or in the future as they become teachers. the potential for learning in the classroom or in after school clubs is huge. As adults they experienced an immersive and intensive full day of activity that might be better broken down into a series of smaller activities with children. This would give the chance for greater reflection between each stage.
There’s an interesting blog post here about the educational value of making stop motion animations with children and also these journal articles exploring research:
Fleer, M. and Hoban, G. (2012) Using ‘Slowmation’ for intentional teaching in early childhood centres: Possibilities and imaginings. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood. Vol.37(3), p.61-70.
Hoban, G. and Neilsen, W. (2014) Creating a narrated stop-motion animation to explain science: The affordances of “Slowmation” for generating discussion. Teaching and Teacher Education. Vol.42, p.68-79.
Pugh, S. (2013) Stop motion animation as an innovative approach to engagement and collaboration in the classroom. The Student Researcher. Vol 2. No 2. pp109-120.
Reid, D., Reid, E. and Ostashewski, N. (2013) Combining iPads and slowmation: Developing digital storytellers in an early learning environment. World Conference on Educational Media and Technology. pp. 1539–1543
Every day a new picture is revealed on the Pobble 365 website. It is run by the very popular Lend me Your Literacy (LMYL) website. It emerged from Jonny Davies’s experience as a classroom teacher – he explains that he would look for a striking and extraordinary image to inspire thinking and discussion in his classroom. This is what Jonny says:
And this is exactly what happened in our classroom: each Friday morning at 09.05 I would reveal one of these unique images. As it appeared on the board, I looked around the classroom and I could see a mixture of open mouths, excited whispers and animated discussion. The children talked about whether the giant that was crawling out of the ground was searching for a companion or baying for blood, or whether the mysterious forest of eyes contained fairies or werewolves. The pictures I chose were surreal, abstract or conceptual. To the children these images were weird and wonderful, fantastic and bizarre.
Imagine your favourite children’s book: when you read it your mind becomes full of fantasy and colour as you paint a picture in your mind, bringing the pages to life. This is what these images did, even for the children who didn’t enjoy reading.
The provoked conversation gradually became filled with rich vocabulary as I channelled the children’s thinking towards describing a character or a setting. Their imaginations ran wild, and poured out onto the paper. I can still remember the goosebumps on my skin as the teacher in the adjacent classroom and I would sit down with a coffee at 4 o’clock and read through the writing produced. I thought to myself ‘this is what teaching is all about’. These are the moments that we must cherish as educators.’ (Davies, 2015, lines 20 to 46)
You can sign in to Pobble with your Facebook, twitter or Google account or by creating a sign in with your email address and a password.
Each day a picture appears and along with it some resources to help you use it with pupils. These include story starters, questions, a link to exploring sentences and other ideas. You can download the picture and ideas as a PDF or if you join as a teacher you can use the images in your lesson more directly.
Here’s a link to the picture for today, October 2nd. How would you use it?
There are many other interesting aspects to the Pobble website including, if you join as a school, being able to share your pupils’ writing and make and receive comments about it.
Comment below if you use Pobble365 or to share ideas about using pictures in learning and teaching.
Davies, J. (2015) Going Global: from Picture of the Day to Pobble 365. [online] Available from: http://blog.pobble.com/picture-of-the-day-to-pobble-365/ [Accesed 25/09/15]
(Radio 4 Wednesday 12th August and on iplayer and BoB)
‘Claudia Hammond presents the history of psychology series which examines the work of the people who have changed our understanding of the human mind. This week she interviews Carol Dweck, who identified that individuals tend towards a fixed or a growth mindset regarding what they can learn and achieve. She also showed that a fixed mindset can be changed, and that once people adopt a growth mindset, they can achieve more.
Claudia visits a UK primary school where growth mindset is part of the curriculum, and sees how children who don’t like maths soon change their attitude at a summer camp in California, once they’re shown that getting the wrong answer actually makes their brains grow more than getting the right answer.
She hears more about Dweck and her work from colleagues Greg Walton and Jo Boaler at Stanford University, and executive head Dame Alison Peacock at the Wroxham Primary School.’
(BBC, 2015, screen 1)
This is an interesting programme for you as students to listen to as it explores how the ideas and research of academics are applied in the classroom. Some of you may be experiencing the application of a growth mindset approach in your schools or your children’s schools. Do you think it also has an application to yourselves as university students?
BBC (2015) Mind Changers: Carol Dweck and Growth Mindset. [online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b062jsn7 [Accessed: 03/09/15]
On Monday June 22nd from 5pm until 7.30pm the Northampton Inspire network is holding its final event of the academic year.
The theme is ‘Forest Flight’ – and we will be exploring the physical and digital world across the curriculum and age groups with a focus on steAm (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics). There will be lots to join in with and take away to develop further in school. This time we will be making birds using card and de-constructed electronics, composing and recording music to go with them and displaying them in the Forest School.
Please visit the Northampton Inspire blog to see some of the Meetings and Teachmeets that we’ve held – there are plenty of resources for your classroom there too.
Free tickets for ‘Forest Flight’ on 22nd June are available at the link.
You might also be interested to follow up the Access Art Share a bird project. There is more information about this here.
How Can Schools Request to Receive a Bird?
Schools can register their interest by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that we cannot guarantee any school will receive an artwork – it entirely depends on how many artworks we receive gifted by artists / makers. Artworks will be gifted by region on a first come first served basis.
If you decide to take part we’d love to hear about how you get on.
Let’s Teach Computing is a Department for Education funded MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). It is a free online six week course that will help you to deliver the primary computing curriculum with confidence by sharing practical ideas that you can use immediately in your teaching.
The course has been developed by senior lecturers in Initial Teacher Education, classroom practitioners and trainers so it is full of tried and tested activities that use equipment found in most primary classrooms and free to use software.
Week 1: Algorithms and Computational Thinking
Get to grips with the use of the terms like algorithm, abstraction and computational thinking.
Identify how computational thinking can be embedded in good primary school practice.
Week 2: Programming
Identify how to engage children in being able to write predict and debug programs
Apply programming skills using a variety of software
Week 3: Programming physical devices
Illustrate ways to help children design and write programs that accomplish specific goals including controlling or simulating physical systems
Week 4: Understanding the internet and keeping safe online
Outline ways in which pupils can be helped to become responsible, discerning and creative users of information and communication technology
Weeks 5 & 6: Using technology purposely for learning
Plan opportunities for children to use technology to produce creative digital artefacts using a range of devices and applications
You can access the course content for each week at any time once it is released. We suggest that in order to get the most out of the course that you spend up to 3 hours a week.
Throughout the MOOC you will be creating and sharing resources through a Google Community that you will have access to after course. You will have the opportunity to develop networks with other teachers and continue to share and collaborate.
One of the writers of this course is Helen Caldwell, a Senior Lecturer in our School of Education here at the University of Northampton. This is a wonderful opportunity to improve your subject knowledge and confidence in this very new area of the primary curriculum.
Go to the link above to find out more and sign up for the MOOC.