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

at Leicester and UN

May 17, 2017
by Jean
0 comments

Ideas for supporting learning from children’s book illustrators

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!

Read the story in the university news

Authors encourage pupils to get creative developing characters

.

May 12, 2017
by Jean
0 comments

Y1 visits to Newton Field Centre

This week both FDLT Year 1 groups visited Newton Field Centre in Northamptonshire.

They explored how a visit to a Field Centre could support learning in geography, science,history and art. The Field centre teacher, Georgina Hand and a University of Northampton lecturer, Ken Bland, led activities such as measuring the flow of the river, measuring the profile of the river, collecting and classifying invertebrates from the river and using them to measure the environmental quality of the water. The subject knowledge associated with these areas is crucial when supporting learning and this is an area where visiting a field centre with specialist teaching staff can be invaluable to schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The students also explored the molehills in the field to collect rocks and stones an these were compared and classified later. The app iGeology and large scale maps of the area are useful resources for this kind of activity. They explored the field for evidence of human use in the past – the pond and the dovecote both being sources of food for the large house that used to exist on the site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst in the field the students created land art using just the resources available to them in the large field. Because of the time of year there were lots of dandelions in flower and as clocks – a great source of material for making. It was interesting to see of the range of art made featuring circles, lines, colour, contrasts, using techniques such as weaving, placing and pressing down. By now it will all have changed and returned to nature. Finally the students collected leaves to make their own key to the vegetation at newton as a model for making a key on their school sites using the plants around them.

 

 

April 13, 2017
by Jean
0 comments

Learning at the Forest School

We are very lucky to have our own Forest School at Park Campus, University of Northampton. A few weeks ago the FDLT Year 2 students spent a morning there as part of their learning Beyond the Classroom module to explore more about the Forest School experience.

An album of photos of their experience can be seen here.

 

March 31, 2017
by Jean
0 comments

Recruiting for HLTA

Do you or a colleague want to join our next cohort preparing for assessment of HLTA standards?

We are currently recruiting for the summer cohort in Northampton which starts on 28th April. Contact hlta@northampton.ac.uk  or call the HLTA office on 01604 893527 for more information and an application pack.

We look forward to hearing from you – please pass this message on to anyone who may not follow the blog or print the flier out for your staff board. HLTA factsheet Dec 16 v2-1pf6zmb

March 2, 2017
by Jean
0 comments

Gallery visits for FDLT Y2

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.

February 17, 2017
by Jean
0 comments

Graduation 2017!

Last Sunday we were delighted to be able to see our students from the FDLT and BALT courses graduate at the Derngate, Northampton.

 

 

 

For many of these students it was a weekend (or even just a day) off from ongoing study for their BALT course or for their next step into initial teacher training. It was wonderful for us to see them in their gowns celebrating with their families. Graduation is a time to stop and acknowledge how much they have accomplished in their study. We wish them every success in their future.

February 3, 2017
by Jean
0 comments

Thinking about teaching to the test.

You might be interested to here this short radio piece broadcast as part of ‘A Point of View’ on BBC Radio 4.

Teaching to the test

It asks you to consider some important larger issues that come from the current focus on testing in schools.

January 29, 2017
by Jean
0 comments

Making our own digital books

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.

Made with 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.

January 6, 2017
by Jean
0 comments

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all blog readers!

This is a time of year when although its only half way through the education year we often feel inclined to review, reflect and make resolutions to improve our lives.

If you’re on Twitter look up #nuture1617 where you can read the reflections of educators on their 2016 resolutions and what they intend to do in 2017. They often explore the difficult blanace between home and work life which is a challenge for everyone working in education.

Here’s a link to an article about the importance of training for teaching assistants: Why Training TAs is vital to improve standards in literacy and numeracy.

December 12, 2016
by Jean
0 comments

OFSTED and marking

In a blog post on November 28th I discussed the recent School Inspection Update as regards deployment of teaching assistants. Also in that document was some discussion of marking:

“The last three school inspection updates have included information about our myth-busting work, including drawing attention to the reports from the DfE’s Workload Challenge review groups that looked at marking, planning and data management.
As I have said before, marking has proved to be one of the harder myths to bust. In part, this has been because we have continued to report on it extensively at some inspections, especially with reference to areas for improvement in previous inspection reports from some time ago. I remain concerned that we continue to see some inspection reporting which gives the impression that more detailed or more elaborate marking is required, or indeed that it is effective in promoting pupils’ achievement. Inspectors must not give the impression that marking needs to be undertaken in any particular format and to any particular degree of sophistication or detail; the reference to marking on page 10 of the school inspection handbook deals with this.

As both the Workload Review group on marking (March 2016)  and the Education Endowment Foundation (April 2016)  reported, there is remarkably little high quality, relevant research evidence to suggest that detailed or extensive marking has any significant impact on pupils’ learning. So until such evidence is available, and regardless of any area for improvement identified at the previous inspection, please do not report on marking practice, or make judgements on it, other than whether it follows the school’s assessment policy. Also, please do not seek to attribute the degree of progress that pupils have made to marking that you consider to be either effective or ineffective. When reporting, please do not make recommendations for improvement that involve marking, other than when the school’s marking/assessment policy is not being followed by a substantial proportion of teachers; this will then be an issue for the leadership and management to resolve” (OFSTED, 2016, p1-2).

You might find this useful to consider in relation to the marking policy of your school and specifically for FDLT year 1 students working on the PDT 1004 Assessment Project.

Link to the Teacher Workload: Marking Policy Review Group

Link to the Education Endowment Fund Resources on Marking

Reference:

OFSTED (2016) School Inspection Update. Issue 8. [online] Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-inspection-newsletter-2015-to-2016 [Accessed: 12th December 2016]

Subscribe By Email

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.

This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Skip to toolbar