A blog for students on the FDLT at the University of Northampton

at Leicester and UN

July 22, 2019
by Jean
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The Educators

As students about to start studying in Higher Education it is useful for you to know about people who work in the field of education. A useful way of beginning this is to listen to radio programmes such as The Educators. This is available on Radio 4 at here.

 

You might listen to the episode about mathematics educator, Jo Baoler and then try the episode about educational researcher, John Hattie and then just browse to listen to what takes your interest.

As you listen consider how what you are hearing relates to your own educational experience both as a pupil and as a student, and your professional experience in schools.

July 15, 2019
by Jean
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Study support on the FDLT course

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. 

 

 

June 13, 2018
by Jean
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FDLT year 1 field trips

Last week the FDLT year 1 students went on field trips to explore different ways of supporting learning outdoors. Led by Ken Bland and Georgina Hand, they explored fieldwork around a river including mapping the meander, measuring depth; testing speed of flow and exploring water quality. They also took a kick sample of the animal life in the water and used magnifiers to look at the creatures they had found. They explored the clues to the history of their location around the landscape.

Students also used the outdoors as inspiration for poetry and art. As a starter the students played a digital find it activity in pairs. Each pair was given a grid with things to look for, photograph and present as a PicCollage. The grids were based around subject content, subject specific vocabulary, and could be differentiated to the learning of the pupils. It is a good way of getting a group to explore the outdoor where they will be working in without unnecessarily collecting and damaging the environment. 

We also looked at the work of artist Richard Long. The students then had a go at making walking poetry by setting a rule to walk, collect words and explore the outdoor environment. Some students walked ten steps and then looked up and looked down; others set rules related to collecting certain groups or patterns of words. This gave them the opportunity to use grammatical knowledge in a creative context. 

Students also collected one leaf and tried to identify it using books and an identification app on the ipad. After this they had a go at writing a poem around the edge of the leaf. We discussed using scientific as well as poetic language. 

We also looked at The Lost Words – see earlier blog post. 

This day connects forwards into the PDT2016 learning beyond the school site module that the students will study in 2018/19. 

June 7, 2018
by Jean
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Can your pupils sew on a button?

Great British Button Challenge!

Hobbycraft did some research and found that out of the 10,000 people they surveyed 1 in 5 could not sew on a button, with 52% never taught this at school (Hobbycraft, 2018). This summer they’re running a  challenge to bring sewing back into schools.

Teachers can go along to their local Hobbycraft up to 20th July and pick up a free bag of buttons and Great British Button Challenge stickers. There are also lots of button based projects on the Hobbycraft website along with educational resources – you can download the pack here.

If you’re not sure how to sew on a button Hobbycraft have made a video guide to help!

With thanks to a BALT graduate, now teacher, for pointing this out.

Reference:

Hayhurst, M.  (2018) 

Hobbycraft issue first Craft Report and launch Great British Button Challenge.

[online] Available from: https://www.craftbusiness.com/news/view/hobbycraft-issue-first-craft-report-and-launch-great-british-button-challen [Accessed 07/06/18]

May 31, 2018
by Jean
0 comments

Springwatch Wild Academy

Nature live, straight into your classrooms!

The Springwatch team are excited to announce eight new live programmes especially for schools!
Beaming direct into your classroom, the Wild Academy will open for business at 1:30pm on Monday 4th June.

Join us Monday to Thursday for two weeks, where your host Maddie Moate will be meeting exciting guests, watching live wildlife, setting challenges and quizzes for all you nature nuts out there, all live from the National Trust’s Sherborne Park Estate.

To watch and join in, simply head to the Springwatch website from Monday 4th June and watch live online, or via the BBC Red Button service. All programmes will be available on catch-up via BBC iPlayer, so if you miss it you don’t need to miss out.

We’d love to hear from you! Have you found a mystery poo in the school playing field? Are there fragments of broken eggshell under a tree? Have you done something amazing for wildlife in your school? Are your pupils full of ideas for how to help their local environment? Let us know and we’ll mention the best ones live on air!

Live programmes will be shown at 1:30pm daily on the Springwatch website and on the Red Button (channel 301 on older style televisions) on these dates:

  • Monday 4th June
  • Tuesday 5th June
  • Wednesday 6th June
  • Thursday 7th June
  • Monday 11th June
  • Tuesday 12th June
  • Wednesday 13th June
  • Thursday 14th June

More information coming soon…

To get in touch, drop us an email (springwatch@bbc.co.uk) or tweet using #WildAcademy

(From the BBC Springwatch website)

April 27, 2018
by Jean
0 comments

30 days wild!

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.

 

March 5, 2018
by Jean
0 comments

Support with writing essays

You might be interested in some of the blog posts in the ‘Teaching’ section of Tim Squirrell’s blog.

There is one called ‘How to write better essays‘.  In this one he reviews some key areas of essay writing. This is a summary of the contents:

“In this guide you will find:

(1) a 24-hour panic guide for students who’ve made the grave error of leaving it to the last minute and want to know the absolute basics of what they should do to achieve as decent a grade as possible;

(2) a discussion of how to pick an essay question when you have the luxury of choice;

(3) a guide to reading for the purposes of writing an essay;

(4) tips on answering the question properly, including clarification of what on earth it means to “question the question” and why that’s important;

(5) a how-to on structure, which is really easy and almost everyone gets wrong;

(6) a guide to analysis, and how to PEE on your essay in an effective fashion;

(7) tips on referencing properly, including software recommendations that will save you hours;

(8) new to this guide, some insights into how essays are marked and how to make sure you don’t end up with a worse grade than you deserve;

(9) some take-home messages”.

(Squirrell, 2017, p1)

As you look at this bear in mind that at the University of Northampton we use the Harvard system.

He has also made video guides which you can see here.

January 12, 2018
by Jean
0 comments

500 words – live lesson!

On Monday 15th January at 2pm there’s a live lesson available to watch to inspire your participation in the BBC Radio 2 500 words writing competition. You can see information about the live lesson here.

Calling all story writers!

Now in its 8th year, Chris Evans’ 500 Words is one of the most successful story writing competitions for kids in the world and is open to every 5-13 year old in the UK. Its mission is to get children excited about reading and writing, regardless of their ability.

We’re creating a literacy Live Lesson to celebrate the launch of this year’s competition on 15th January. Content and resources will be tailored to different levels, but some of the higher-level content will be more appropriate for ages 7 and up.

Joining our hosts Helen Skelton and Barney Harwood, are acclaimed authors and 500 Words Judges Charlie Higson and Frank Cottrell Boyce who will be on hand to help and inspire children. The lesson will be brimming with top tips, and will provide pupils of all abilities with an essential story-telling toolkit to get them started on their stories.

We will also be featuring a follow-up programme called Live Lessons EXTRA. This will not be broadcast live but will be published on our website a day or two after the live broadcast, and will build on the outcomes of the live programme and put more of your questions to our experts.

Want to get involved?

Closer to the lesson date, we’ll be releasing more information on this page, including a full lesson guide for teachers and downloadable activity sheets.

If you’d like to be reminded by email or sent more information about the Live Lesson, contact live.lessons@bbc.co.uk. Also, please send your 500 Words related questions for our special guests, authors and 500 Words judges Charlie Higson and Frank Cottrell Boyce.

We love to hear from you and see photos of your class at work. If you are sending in any images or videos that feature children, please ensure that you have parental permission, as they may be shown during the Live Lesson and on our website.

In the email, please confirm your official relationship to the child/children featured, e.g. teacher, Brownie group leader, sports coach etc. and confirm that you have sought prior parental consent. Please also ensure the material is not sensitive or controversial.

Read our Terms and Conditions for more information.

Please note that this page is for the 500 Words 2018 – Live Lesson only. The 500 Words story-writing competition opens on 15th January and competition entries close at 7pm on 22nd February 2018. Full details on the 500 Words 2018 website here.

Reference:

BBC. (2018) 500 Words 2018 – Live Lesson. [online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2yRxNT9ws7MkJsFvbxPfhry/500-words-2018-live-lesson [Accessed: 12/01/18]

 

January 5, 2018
by Jean
0 comments

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

Here’s a great way of starting 2018 with some actions for happiness.

Action for Happiness, 2018

 

 

 

There is more detail about starting the new year in a positive frame of mind here.

It would be interesting to devise your own calendar like this with your own class focused perhaps on your school vision or classroom conventions.

Reference:

Action for Happiness (2018) Happy New Year calendar January 2018. [online] Available from: http://www.actionforhappiness.org/happy-new-year [Accessed: 5/1/18]

December 21, 2017
by Jean
0 comments

Good deeds!

I came across this great idea from Action for Happiness on Twitter.

Its a calendar encouraging people to be kind throughout December (and beyond). Its also available in Italian, French and in a decoration free version.

The organisation Action for Happiness says:

“If we agree that for all human beings it is important that they experience happiness and escape misery, then it follows that the best society is the one in which there is the least misery and the most happiness.

On this basis, everyone’s happiness counts equally. This includes the happiness of everybody now alive as well as that of future generations. So it is important that we act in a way that takes the happiness of all into consideration. If we can agree on this then we’re one step closer to achieving a happier society.” (2017, lines 25 – 31)

They have designed a resource for schools called “Keys to happier Living Toolkit for Schools” for children aged 7-11.

You can see information about this here.

You can follow Action for Happiness on Twitter @actionhappiness and on Facebook here.

We wish you all happy holidays and enjoy your break!

 

 

References:

Action for happiness (2017) Why happiness. [online] Available from: http://www.actionforhappiness.org/why-happiness [Accessed 19/12/17].

Action for Hapiness. (2017) Kindness Calendar. [online] Available from: http://www.actionforhappiness.org/kindness-calendar [Accessed: 19/12/17]

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