Here’s a fun getting to know your new class activity from Pobble.
You can download the activity sheet here.
July 14, 2017
May 17, 2017
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?
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!
Read the story in the university news
April 5, 2017
Some of us who teach on FDLT, BALT and other education courses along with students and local teachers are part of an Erasmus+ project called Digital learning Across Boundaries – DLAB for short. We are working with educators in Belgium, Denmark and Norway.
In May we are sharing a free online course based around our theme this year; using digital technology to support learning outside. The materials will be based around our themes:
You can read more about the course and sign up here.
If you are working in schools you will be able to access stimulating and creative approaches and activities that you can use with your pupils. Part of the course will be based around online sharing of activities and outcomes through a Google Community.
The project has a twitter account: @DLAB_Erasmus and a website where you can find more details and examples from the project.
March 23, 2017
As part of their PDT 2016 module focused on enriching learning beyond the classroom and school site the FDLT Y2 (UN) group investigated using ipads and apps to create the experience of visiting other times and places.
The students worked in groups. First they identified a time or place to use as the basis for a short film or animation. Some of the suggestions and senarios they worked from are on this Padlet.
The students had to devise a scenario or story to explore and then research to collect still images and / or video to use as well as write a script for the scenes they would record. Some students chose to explore history: the founding of the city of Rome, the moon landing, Egypt, mummification; others explored science: the seasons, the body; some explored places: the jungle, going on safari and others explored a festival: Diwali. Their films can be seen here on a YouTube playlist.
The opportunities for learning are wide ranging when working in this way. In order to make an informative and worthwhile film the students (or pupils) have to research purposefully for visual sources such as images and video or make their own where none exists. They have to plan and write notes and script for their oral contributions. They often have to make props and artefacts to use in their film. Some of them also used other apps to add to their film such as Chatterpix, pic collage and photo editor apps. Throughout they have to collaborate and work as a team to reach an end goal. The resources used to support this session can be accessed via the Padlet above.
In this session the students had freedom to explore and work with the tools in order to learn how to use them. Some students were familiar with them from supporting pupils with them back in their schools. Supporting pupils to use digital technology creatively and embedded within their learning is an effective way of changing pupils from passive users of technology to makers and creators with control over what is produced.
March 2, 2017
This week each of the FDLT Year 2 visited art galleries to explore how learning can be inspired and developed in locations other than the classroom.
The UN group travelled to Avenue Campus to look at the exhibition ‘Under Construction’. This is an exhibition of photographs taken by the second year BA Hons Photography students and records the changing environment of Northampton. This year the photos were taken at the old Royal Mail sorting office and development of the new Waterside Campus.
The group explored how the exhibition could be used to support learning in art and across the curriculum and then went on to take their own photos around a theme or idea of their choice. They chose and edited their photos on their phones or tablets, presenting them as photo collages.
You can see all of the images here.
The Leicester group visited New Walk Museum and Gallery in Leicester. They explored the collection of Victorian and modern paintings, trying out starter activities to get pupils used to being in a gallery and focused on art and identified and discussed pictures that could be connected. One of the travelling exhibitions at the gallery was ‘Sublime Symmetry‘. This was an exhibition by the William de Morgan Foundation and was focused on art and mathematics. There were resources for younger pupils to use (hanging up in activity bags), Key Stage 2 mathematics exploration workbooks and art leaflets: some of the supporting resources can be seen here. The students could also explore the dinosaur display, the Ancient Egyptian section and a hands on science exhibit.
Some of the discussion in these session will help them work on assignments in their enriching learning beyond the classroom module.
January 29, 2017
This week in Year 2 of the FDLT course we have been exploring the making of digital books by educators to use with their pupils or by pupils supported by their teachers and TAs. Exploring some examples was a useful way in to this session and these can be seen on a Padlet.
In the session each group used the BookCreator app to make a collaborative book. The BookCreator app is quick to learn to use and has lots of potential. In this first experience we only used the tools available within the app but many other tools and apps can be used with the digital books made in BoolCreator. There’s a basic introduction to the app at this link.
In order to make a successful collaborative books some joint planning needs to take place. One key decision to make is whether the pages should by portrait or landscape. If pages are to be made on separate ipads and then combined in one book then the page orientation must be the same. The language features of the book must be discussed so that they match the purpose and audience of the book. The Y2 students were making a book to inform and advise new FDLT students about their course and where it takes place. A list of possible pages was made from which pairs of students could choose. Students could then use any features of the app to create their page. This included choosing a blank page to work on or a comic panel page; using audio, video and photos; choosing font, colour and size as well as page colour.
After each page was finished they were airdropped to the tutor ipad where they were combined in to one book. The books can be seen below as YouTube videos. In the near future there will be more sharing options from the app which could be more book like in nature.
There are so many possibilities for using the making of our own personalised digital books to support learning or create meaningful learning opportunities – its a tool well worth exploring.
November 3, 2016
Many teaching assistants are involved in supporting pupils in learning to read and maintaining a positive attitude to reading. The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) website is a great resource for reading and reading ideas.
“The CLPE is an independent UK charity with a global reputation for the quality of our research into literacy and teaching. Our work promotes high standards in the teaching of literacy. We particularly emphasise the importance of books and literature in enabling children to become confident, happy and enthusiastic readers and writers, with all the benefits this brings.”
The website shares courses, events, projects, publications and resources related to reading. If you register on the site you can access to some free teaching and support materials focused on specific books. This week materials based around The Storm Whale, The Ice Bear and Beegu are available to download.
On The Power of Reading section of the website there are also publications, articles and research about reading as well as guidance on reading development.
You can follow CLPE on Twitter @CLPE1 and like them on Facebook here.
Do you have a website that you could recommend? If so send me the link and short recommendation and I will share it.
CLPE (2016) Welcome. [online] Available from: https://www.clpe.org.uk/ [Accessed: 3/11/16]
CLPE (2016) logo image. [online] Available from: https://www.clpe.org.uk/ [Accessed: 3/11/16]
January 21, 2016
BBC Radio 2 launched the annual ‘500 words’ writing competition for children this week. You access the website here.
It is for children aged between 5 and 15 in two groups – 5 to 9 and 10 to 13.
There are some great resources to help children start writing which can be accessed here – tips and resources.
Interested adults (teachers and librarians) can volunteer to be judges and help to read about 30 stories and score them.
December 18, 2015
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
November 26, 2015
Routledge have made this ebook freely available to download. If you sup[port pupils in literacy or English this might be of interest to you. All you have to do is fill in an onlione form and you will be sent a link to download the book as a PDF.
You can also browse the website to find other useful books and resources. This is also available:
Also available is an ebook that explores John Hattie’s Visible Learning – available at the link.