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

at Leicester and UN

January 29, 2015
by Jean

A school that blogs!

Lots of schools now have their own blogs where they share school news and learning and teaching ideas. Its a great way of allowing parents and other interested people a window into school life and getting some positive feedback and interaction for children. It also provides opportunities to write for a real and interested audience.

SBblogStandens Barn Primary in Northampton has a great blog which you can access here.

There is a blog for each class and also blogs for specific people or themes such as ‘Sports Reports’, ‘Mr Chalmers’ DLs’ and ‘Clubs’.

I first became aware of this blog when Wayne Chalmers brought the school’s Digital Leaders to the University of Northampton for the afternoon to work some of our students who are STEM champions. (STEM is short for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics.) We had an interesting inspiring afternoon of using ipads to photograph and film with round the campus, following a treasure hunt and then in pairs making a short film. You can read the university press release here and you can see the films here.

Last weekend I was aware through all the tweets appearing that the BETT show was happening in London – a huge annual sharing of ideas and resources around educational technology. Then I saw some familiar faces as some of the Digital Leaders from Standens Barn and their teachers appeared! You can read about their visit here.

And next week I’m looking forward to another post as I know they are coming to the #TeachMeetNorthampton2015 on Wednesday to share their ideas and experiences.

There are lots of other schools who blog and I can see that Standens Barn Primary are making connections to other schools locally and further away. Its a great opportunity for the children to learn about the lives of other children.

If your school has a blog and you would like to share it with us why not add it to the comments below? Or even better, write a little piece about it and I’ll share it here.



January 23, 2015
by Jean

TeachMeet Wednesday 4th February

What is TeachMeet?

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 11.23.49Come along to an evening of sharing teaching and learning ideas. We’ll have mini presentations on creative classroom activities across the curriculum and there will be lots of ideas you can start using straight away. Everyone is welcome to join in: teachers from all types of schools, teaching all subjects and age groups. The main part of TeachMeet is hearing stories about any aspect of learning from teachers.  It is a chance for teachers to meet to hear ideas from each other and be inspired by colleagues. Presentations can be on absolutely anything that you’d like to share from practice: the futuristic theme simply refers to the way our Events Management students are helping to style the venue.


We are delighted to welcome Sally Hamson, Head of Wollaston Community Primary School to help host our TeachMeet. We’ll also have refreshments and some exciting technologies to explore such as Oculus Rifts, Robotiky robots, Raspberry Pi add-on kits and green screening demos. Rebecca Heaton and Jean Edwards will be drawing some visual minutes for us to document the presentations.

You can sign up for a free ticket by clicking the link to the right of this post.

You can read some more information about the presenters at the TeachMeet wiki wiki

You can tweet about the event using #TMNorthants2015

Here’s a provisional list of presentations:


Seven Minute Micro-Presentations:

1) Digital Leaders from Standens Barn Primary: Imaginary Worlds @SnakeyChalmers

2) Wayne Chalmers and Helen Caldwell: School and University Digital Leaders working together @SnakeyChalmers @helencaldwel

3) Scott Turner: Making and programming Junkbots @ScottTurnerUoN

4) John Ginger: Programming with Robotiky robots @Robotiky

5) Katharine Childs: The impact of CodeClubs @primaryicttech

6) Jennifer Hogan from Irchester Primary School CodeClub: Our Story @Lab13_Irchester

7) Karen Fretwell: Exploring Lego Fusion @Bluesrunner

8) Nicholas Tollervey: How can @ThePSF help teachers (a request for feedback & collaboration)? @ntoll

9) Kevin Hewitson: Helping learners develop learning skills, attitudes, attributes and behaviours @4C3d

10) Sway Grantham: Inspiring Curiosity with Edmodo @SwayGrantham

11) Kat Howard  Student Ownership @SaysMiss

12) Mark Allen: Change is Hard: slaughtering some sacred cows @edintheclouds

13) Neil Smith: Mini band: making music with Pis, Arduinos and SenseBoards @neilnjae

14) Ian Pratt @sciencelabman

15) Stacey Ramm @Tiffybum Using Google Classroom 

16) Mike McSharry You Bought It -You Name It @mikemcsharry

17) Farid Charidine Using AudioBoom to provide verbal feedback  @fcharidine

18) David Whale IET Schools Liaison Officer and STEM Ambassador, Essex: Teaching Coding using MinecraftTeaching Coding using Minecraft @whaleygeek



Two Minute Nano-Presentations:

1) Helen Caldwell and James Bird: Lessons in Teaching Primary Computing: The MOOC @helencaldwel

2) Sway Grantham: Why? @SwayGrantham

3) Neil Smith: The BCS Certificate @neiljae

4) Anna Cox: Padlet Ideas to Inspire

5) Isabel Trott Kitchen Chemistry

6) Julie Jones Professional Development of Teaching Assistants

7) Jane Badger

PLEASE NOTE this event is in the Newton great Hall at Avenue Campus – there is a map on the wiki.

January 11, 2015
by Jean


#Nuture1415 is a social media based review of 2014 written by people involved in education.

@ChocoTzar introduces it here:

“So, it begins. Although to be fair I think others have beaten me to the blog. This is the third year of Nurture Blogging, which in the Twitterverse is like, forever.

The principles are even more simple this year: five positives from 2014 and five wishes for 2015. Yes, we’ve slimmed it down to make it accessible and sustainable – but if you do want the challenge task, it is fourteen positives from 2014 and fifteen wishes for 2015. If you have a Nurture1314 post you may review that too. Once that is done, post it with #nurture1415

It’s one of my favourite blogging themes. Every year loads of people get involved including first time bloggers. The writing has included pedagogy, leadership, social work, health care as well as far more personal matters such as families, love lives,  mental health and life changing events. Basically, anything goes.”

You can read her whole post here.

This is great opportunity for to read reflections on teaching and learning, lives in education and supporting learners.

You can find many interesting (and moving) posts by exploring a list of links to them here or you can search #Nuture1415 on twitter to find links to blog posts.

Here’s mine:

You might like to write your own #Nuture1415 – five positives from 2014 and five wishes for 2015. It can be a personal reflection for yourselves of if you wish, you can share it using #Nuture1415 or by posting a link in the comments here.


May 27, 2014
by Jean

TA TeachMeet at the School of Education

TMphotoOn Thursday 22nd May we held the first ever TeachMeet for Teaching Assistants (TAs) here at the School of Education, University of Northampton. Our aim was to use the ethos and structure of a TeachMeet and use it to allow TAs to share ideas, resources and enthusiasm for supporting learning.



We were sponsored by a range of companies and organisations who support learning and teaching including: Toshiba, Ecokids, Twinkl, Thinking Child, SEN Magazine, Crick Software, Teaching Assistant Focus and Springboard Stories. They gave us things to give away, raffle prizes and contributions to refreshments for the event. these all added to the sense of fun and excitement at the event.

At the event we had forty eight people, including teaching assistants and HLTAs from local schools and from further away including a party from Cambridgeshire. We had TAs and HLTAs who are also students on the FDLT course both Years 1 and 2. It was also good to see some of our applicants who will be joining FDLT Y1 in September. We were supported by staff from the School of Education including Julie Jones, Leader of the Education, Childhood and Youth Division and Wendy Yarnall, HLTA Programme Leader. Our FDLT Advocates were also present – April Bosworth, David Tristram and Chris Gilkes, talking to attendees about the course. The event was supported by Emma Stephenson, our Administrator and Stephen Bryant, our IT support who set up and managed a huge amount of IT including the bits I forgot, such as the guest login!

We were lucky enough to attract a range of speakers including:

Processed with MoldivSue Dixon, from Thinking Child, who shared ideas around ‘What can we do when children have switched off to literacy?’; Kevin Hewitson from ACE-d introducing strategies to teach multiplication; Junior and Edwina from The Fix Up team who shared ideas about self belief and motivations ‘you are amazing’; Greg Yarnall from Beanstalk Reads telling us about volunteer reading in schools; Joy Judge who sent a Prezi outlining the role and support offered by TA Focus and Dr Estelle Tarry from the School of Education who shared her research about TAs in an international context. I gave a presentation about how TAs can use Twitter to made contacts and share ideas.

Processed with MoldivAs well as this we were well supported by our own FDLT students who took the brave step of volunteering (or saying yes to my invitation) to share their practice at the event. James Underwood, our compere, made the important point that these presenters had come along after a day of being TAs and HLTAs and were immersed in the day to day activity of supporting the learning of individuals and groups of children.

We enjoyed presentations from:

Leonie Cox – Cued Articulation

Joy Davies – Everyone can have fun with geography!

Teresa Foster – QR Codes

Kim Bastin – using digital media and green screen

Louise Fordham – taking children to the Chelsea Flower Show

…and it was great to see a former student of ours, Dawn Parker, who shared a presentation about ‘Smart Through Art’ and the experience of  her pupils from a special school taking part in European exchanges based on art.

All the presentations were filmed and clips will be available soon, so if you weren’t able to come along you can view some of the event online. You can also look up the event using #TATMUN to see the tweets from before and during the event. At the end we evaluated using Padlet – a great classroom resource for class participation. We asked two questions – ‘what did you learn?’ and ‘what would you like to do next?’ We got some useful feedback and we’d like to build on the enthusiasm and positive reaction to this event in the future.

Feel free to add any of your comments about the event – we’d love to know your thoughts now you’ve had time to reflect.

Jean Edwards





May 13, 2014
by Jean

Looking forward to the TA TeachMeet #TATMUN

Plans and preparations are well under way for what we think is the first ever TA TeachMeet, here at the University of Northampton next Thursday (22nd May).

TMphotoThe list of presenters is just being finalised and includes students on the Foundation Degree Learning and Teaching, people from organisations involved in supporting learning and TAs and some of us who work in the School of Education.

We’ve also got some great sponsors who have donated prizes and freebies including Toshiba, Springboard Stories, Crick software, SEN magazine, Abington Outdoor Classroom, TA Focus and Twinkl.

We think it will be a stimulating and varied evening – there’s still a few places left if you’d like to book a place at this link – TA TeachMeet booking

If you have an interesting idea or resource that supports learning in schools or would be of interest to TAs contact me to see if we can fit you in to present – jean.edwards@northampton.ac.uk

March 25, 2014
by Jean

Introducing the first ever TA TeachMeet!

We will be holding what we think is the first ever TA TeachMeet here at the University of Northampton on Thursday May 22nd.



A TeachMeet is an informal and positive celebration of and sharing of resources and good practice. If you are a TA, HLTA, Learning Mentor supporting learning in an educational setting please come along.

You can find out more here – TeachMeet

You can book a place here – booking

If you are on twitter look out for tweets using #TATMUN

Questions? Leave a comment on this post or email me direct: jean.edwards@northampton.ac.uk