This week the National Literacy trust launched two new online resources to support families and educators.
The first is called Virtual School Library. You can access it here.
Each week the Virtual School Library will introduce a children’s author or illustrator and share books, videos and recommended reads.
Here’s an example from this week (w/b September 14th 2020).
The second is called Words for Life. You can access it here. Words for Life provides resources “for parents, children and young people to improve their language, literacy and communication skills from home” (NLT, 2020a, lines 3-5).
The resources can be accessed by age group and are practical and engaging.
National Literacy Trust. (2020a) Words for Life. [online] Available from: https://wordsforlife.org.uk/ [Accessed: 18/09/2020].
National Literacy Trust. (2020b) Happiness and wellbeing. Words for life. [online] Available from: https://wordsforlife.org.uk/ [Accessed: 18/09/2020].
National Literacy Trust. (2020c) Current authors of the week. Virtual library. [online] Available from: https://wordsforlife.org.uk/virtual-school-library/authors/ [Accessed: 18/09/2020].
ThingLink is a digital tool available for all to use in a free and in a paid for version. The tools available through the free version are a great place to get started. Although it is available as an app it is also available online. You can access it here.
It is a tool that allows you to add tags to images and video. The tags can include text, audio, images / video and links to a wide range of other resources and tools. You can then share your ThingLink with users who can access all the materials from the one place. There are useful accessibility features that make it supportive for all users. ThingLinks can also be embedded into blogs and digital books made in BookCreator and added to Padlets.
A useful way to get started is to complete the Creating Visual Learning Materials ThingLink course in the Microsoft Educator Center. This is a comprehensive introduction for the new user but also contains information about recent changes that was helpful to me as a longtime user of ThingLink. The course contains the following:
Modules Overview – Each module has an interactive video ThingLink and helpful overview
What is ThingLink?
Your ThingLink Account
Base Images and Videos
ThingLink Creation and Tag Types
Embedding Microsoft Tag Ideas
Accessibility and Publishing
Collaboration and Teams
Support and Resources – Followed by our Quiz!
After you have completed the quiz you can download a digital badge to display on your blog or email signature.
A recent example of a ThingLink I made is this one that introduces you to the AR features in Google.
If you join ThingLink and browse existing ThingLinks you will easily find inspiration for using this tool in school. There are so many examples across all age groups and subjects.
How might you use ThingLink in your practice? Share a link to any ThingLinks you make in the comments below.
As you keep up to date with the news you will no doubt be considering how we in education can work for a more fair and equal society. In classrooms using children’s literature as the basis for conversations is a good way in.
This author notes that: “Beyond addressing issues of race and racism, this children’s reading list focuses on taking action. It highlights resistance, resilience and activism; and seeks to empower youth to participate in the ongoing movement for racial justice. Children not only need to know what individual, institutional, and internalized racism looks like, they need to know what they can do about it.” (The Conscious Kid, 2019, lines 22-270).
Another great source of book recommendations in this field is from classroom teachers. Year 4 teacher, Miss Newton (@MissNewton91 on twitter) has shared this presentation of her recommended picture books. You can access it here.Going beyond sharing and talking about stories it is also vital to integrate the black experience across all the subjects that we teach. Miss Newton shared her planning for a Year 4 history unit which you can access here.
From children themselves as readers we can begin to understand how it feels to find oneself represented in the books that are around. Ananya Ganesh, a fifteen year old, had written about this in her blog post ‘We need more #ownvoices books’ which you can read here.
As well working in our individual classrooms in stories and the curriculum there are also organisations to support and develop diversity in education. One of these is BAMed:
“BAMEed is a movement initiated in response to the continual call for intersectionality and diversity in the education sector. All members are volunteers and have committed their time and efforts into creating a tangible support network to equip teachers and leaders with the tools to progress into and through the workforce.
BAMEed connects, enables and showcases the talent of diverse educators so they may inspire future generations and open up the possibilities within education careers.” (BAMed, 2020, lines 3-5).
BAMed is developing regional networks, resources and and a network of speakers. They have collected a useful book list which you can see here. This was curated by Darren Chetty (@rapclassroom), Kaen Sands O’Connor (@ksandsoconnor) and Books for keeps (ABooksforKeeps).
They also recommend exploring Letter Box Library which specialises in selecting and recommending books “in which all children can see themselves and which reflect our world community in all of its diversity” (Letterbox Library, 2020, lines 9-10).
Now is the time to use the amazing stories, resources and networks that we have around us to educate ourselves and the children we support to take action to grow up in a more just and fair world.
If you are interested in exploring the representation of black and ethnic minorities in children’s literature this CLPE survey was published in 2018.
BAMed. (2020) About us. website [online] Available from: https://www.bameednetwork.com/about-us/ [Accessed; 03/06/2020].
Ganesh, A. (2020) We need more #ownvoices books. website. [online] Available from: https://www.ananyaganesh.com/post/we-need-more-ownvoices-books [Accessed; 3rd June 2020].
Letterbox Library (2020) Letterbox Library. website. [online] Available from: https://www.letterboxlibrary.com/ [Accessed 3rd June 2020].
The Conscious Kid. (2019) 31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, racism and Resistance. Notew0rthy. [online] Available from: https://blog.usejournal.com/31-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-and-resistance-9dbabc28360e [Accessed: 03/06/2020].
The Conscious Kid. (2019) A children’s book list for anti-racist activism (image). Notew0rthy. [online] Available from: https://blog.usejournal.com/31-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-and-resistance-9dbabc28360e [Accessed: 03/06/2020].
Today you will receive an email from Abbie Deeming, the course leader. You will probably be thinking about the first day and what to bring. Here is a reminder:
You must bring:
2 forms of ID for enrolment
You can check what else you need to bring for enrolment here.
You should bring:
Something to use to make notes in
An academic year diary or calendar
You might like to bring:
Food and drink:
A packed lunch or money to buy lunch in the student restaurant / local shops at lunchtime.
A drink and / or money to buy a drink at breaks. If you bring a reusable cup hot drinks are cheaper.
Useful information to collect:
When you begin to take part in discussion about your setting and when you begin to write assignments you will need some basic information about your school to provide contextual background. It would be useful if you could collect this information and have it to hand over the opening weeks of the course.
Before you start the FDLT course we’d like you to introduce yourself to the group on these Padlets.
Leicester group Padlet.
UN group Padlet.
There is no need to have a Padlet account of your own to post onto the Padlet. All you need to do is click on the link above to open the Padlet and click on the pink plus sign to open a box to type into.
You can also upload a photo by clicking on the upload arrow at the bottom left below the text box.
If you want to comment or ask a question you can comment below the posts.
Please make sure that you have done this by September 4th.
If you need any help with this you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Throughout the FDLT and BALT courses you will often need to read and refer to curriculum documents.
These are some of the key documents:
For Early Years:
This is a link to the page where you can access and download the Statutory framework for the early years.
This is the reference that you will use in assignments:
DfE (2019) Statutory framework for the early years. [online] Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-framework–2 [Accessed 31/07/2019].
For primary and secondary:
This is the link to the full national curriculum for all key stages and subjects. It is this document that you should use in assignments.
This is the reference that you will use in assignments:
DfE (2014) National Curriculum in England: framework for key stages 1 to 4. [online[ Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-framework-for-key-stages-1-to-4 [Accessed: 31/07/2019].
It would be useful for you to save the relevant links, download the documents and read through the pages relevant to your age group.
You should also all read pages 1 to 13 of the national curriculum as this underlies the subject programmes of study.
Padlet is a digital tool that we often use for teaching. You do not need an account of your own to use it. When you are sent a link to a Padlet just click on it and you will be taken to a Padlet board with posts and links to useful information.
Sometimes we will ask you to post on a Padlet. To do this you click on the pink plus sign at the bottom left hand corner of the screen. A box will open for you to type into. You can also upload a photo and add a link by using the icons at the bottom of the box.
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.