Global Connections

 

I m very interested in finding out about connecting with schools around the world ready for when I start my career in teaching. This would provide children with the opportunity to learn about the world beyond where they live and where they visit; some children may not have experienced beyond their home town.

I have just become a member of Students of the World to try it out! The aim of this site is to make penfriends, enabling children to discover new cultures, share ideas, stories, send postcards, practise different languages and potentially arrange exchanges.

The Best School Websites with clips of their content and links; these could be very inspirational!

Another site providing the same kind of service to link schools across the world is:

This teacher from Texas sums up all the advantages of connecting schools globally, and also recommends further sites that enable you to do this, such as Classroom Champions. I have explored his website too which is full of ideas, resources and apps!

eTwinning has also been recommended for facilitating international links so I have taken the opportunity to explore their site. It offers a platform for teachers in European schools to communicate, collaborate and develop projects promoting school collaboration in Europe through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) by providing support, tools and services for schools. Once you have registered you can get in touch with other eTwinners to share ideas, learn together and plan future collaborative activities in which there are some great tools to assist you – this presentation explains everything:

 eTwinning allows students to take a leading role in ownership of the project, giving them responsibility which will enhance their self esteem as they will feel an important part of the community and the school. Teachers have found that the engagement in the project also has a positive impact in other subject areas and can especially engage boys e.g. many boys love football, and they are able to use this interest to link to different countries.

One of the areas for improvement identified by Ofsted for the school I am attending on 2A placement included raising cultural awareness. I have taken the opportunity to liaise with the deputy head on this matter and express my interest in being involved in a project whilst on placement. Up to now, the project has only gone as far as contacting the children’s parents to gain permission for the children’s involvement in such a project and also to find out about any family links to other countries. I will be suggesting the use of eTwinning and will keep this post updated with the progress of the project.

***If you have any experience of connecting with classes globally I would love to hear your thoughts!***

 

Creating resources collaboratively with a time constraint


In groups we were given the task of creating some ICT resources to explore a story book with children.
There were 4 people in my group and we decided to use ‘Walking Through the Jungle’ as a base for our resources. We only had one hour to decide what we were going to do and create the resources ready to present to the rest of the class. Firstly, we had a brief discussion to share and combine our ideas; we all have different strengths, weaknesses and qualities, therefore you get the best outcome when you work collaboratively and we all enhanced our own skills from eachother.

We agreed that our resources should meet the following criteria:

  • be interactive to engage and involve the children as much as possible
  • be appropriate for their age; we decided to aim ours at FS2
  • have a purpose; be an effective resource to have an impact on learning to ‘move the children on’
  • demonstrate ICT skills
  • be fun! – to find out if we have been successful here, we would ask the children for their feedback about the resources.

Using a Popplet, the ideas were mind-mapped:

It was decided that to get the children to ‘tune in’ we would ask them to close their eyes and listen to a music clip of a jungle whilst the teacher asks thought-provoking questions. Once they have listened to a bit of the music, the next slide could be opened to support the discussion of different habitats and to help the children determine where the music is from.

Jungle Presentation

Monkeyjam was used to create a stop frame animation, this is a great activity to carry out with the children. We used it to sequence the story:

It would be great to share children’s animations on a class blog, in assembly or to have playing during parents’ evening.

A resource about jungles was created for use with an IWB. There is a jungle image with shapes hiding animals, the teacher can move the shapes to reveal as much or as little of the animal for the children to guess what it is. Alternatively, the children could be asked to find out what is behind a specific shape which will also be linking the jungle theme to mathematics.

I would have been happy carrying on all day creating resources to extend this topic, but I was impressed with the amount we created in just 1 hour. I have added an additional activity to the IWB resource as I was exploring what could be done with this software package. The activity is for children to use by themselves; they have to sort the animals into ‘jungle animals’ and ‘not jungle animals’ and they can ‘check’ how they performed too. Take a look….

Interactive smart board jungle activities

One of my favourite nursery songs is suitable for use with this theme too: TEASING MR CROCODILE

Teasing Mr Crocodile

This song is one I used in a Story Sack I created for Roald Dahl’s “The Enormous Crocodile” which also has a Jungle theme, here are a few of the resources I created for this story sack including masks and a glove puppet with felt monkeys attached and a scene setting and main characters for the book:

Innovative ways to use ICT in the Primary Classroom & Blogging Tools

I was very interested to read about the 25 Features of Outstanding ICT Lessons by Terry Freedman, as a lot of people do perceive ICT as ‘boring’.

These are some of the ideas I felt were very useful:

As a pupil, did you ever think “What is the point in doing this?”

I believe it is important for the teacher to spend time at the start of any session letting pupils into the “secret” of what the objectives (intended learning outcomes) of the lesson are, i.e. what is intended to be achieved by the end, and how this lesson fits in with the preceding and following lessons.  I remember when I was at school, and in work too, on various occasions thinking “what is the point of doing this?” Some tasks seemed pointless, without a focus and this did not motivate me… I certainly agree with Terry Freedman here and will prepare children by letting them know the learning objectives to give them a real purpose for their task which will hopefully motivate them.

Print your work and log off…. is that it????

Terry Freedman also explains how allowing plenty of time for a plenary is essential; it is useful for checking what learning has taken place, it consolidates learning and also prepares pupils for the next stage. Avoid the “Print your work and log off” approach.

Can the pupils use technology… appropriately?

Children need to know how to use technology and how to use it appropriately, so it is essential to provide plenty of time for discussion and reflection in lessons. There are many ways I am aware of to include this in the lesson, such as: partner/group/whole class discussions, group presentations, even role playing or freeze framing something they have learnt.

Experimenting with blogging tools:

I came across the ‘Popplet’ tool and thought it looked very useful for using as a mind map, so I decided to create one, just to try it out, using ‘ICT in the classroom’ as the focus for ideas. The popplet was incredibly easy to create; you need to sign up so you can log in to update your popplet at any time. It also allows you to upload documents and files from your computer or from various websites and to share your popplet.

There is also a wide variety of ‘Public Popplets’ that are already made for anyone to view and use.

Padlet is a great tool to collaborate information. It provides you with a blank wall where you can edit the background, give it a title and alter the layout. The ‘wall’ you create can be public or private (only people with a password can see it and add to it). So once it’s ready people can add their own information, I made an example that could be used as a ‘getting to know eachother’ exercise, it may be good to use in the classroom at the start of a new academic year:

Padlets could also be a useful tool for planning, as the notes you pin to your wall can be moved around, edited and removed.

PrimaryPad  is a web-based word processor designed for schools that allows pupils and teachers to work together in real-time.” Having read about this tool, and watched the demo video, which enables teachers and children to work collaboratively to draft out their ideas I would love to see this in use in schools to get a real feel for it’s qualities.

Storybird enables you to create digital books, there is a bank of images and layouts to try and you can add as many pages as you need. This could be used during literacy lessons with children. It is really easy to use, I created a short book ‘Back to School’  just to try it out:

I’ve really enjoyed exploring the various tools that are suitable for use in classrooms, I will continue to search for these and try them out so I’ve got a good bank of them to use in the future.

Blogging in the Classroom

As I am new to blogging, especially to the idea of using them within the classroom, I have familiarised myself with the ways they are currently being used and the benefits of blogging.
Blogging offers many opportunities to both staff and pupils, http://theschoolbloggers.co.uk/school-blogs-benefits/blogging-in-the-classroom/ explain these in further detail:

  • Pupils and teachers love it!
  • Showcase your pupils’ best work to a far greater audience
  • Fantastic tool to help the support the raising of levels of attainment across your school
  • Students become independent learners
  • Easy differentiation to meet all abilities
  • Everyone learns and teachers
  • Develop relationships with the local community
  • Incredibly powerful tool for project collaboration
  • Create links with schools both nationally and internationally
  • Foster links with businesses
  • A window into the classroom for parents

Making comments on blogs was another aspect I felt unsure about; the content and tone of the text is also something I have looked into. Comments should be:

  • written like a letter; have a greeting, main content and an ending.
  • correct in terms of spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  • complimentary to the writer, ask a question or add relevant information that is relevant to the post.
  • professional; not identifying any personal information.
  • checked over and edited before being published.

The children in this video explain how to write blog comments:

Reflection:

I think blogging is a great way of sharing ideas and work, with the possibility of receiving comments which could enhance your ideas. I intend to continue blogging and commenting on other people’s blogs so it becomes second-nature to me, so I am completely confident using them in schools with children.

“Plant a Question, Grow an Answer”

Creating an Answer Garden was the first blogging tool I used on my blog, and at first I didnt think it was working as the answers didnt appear; it seemed to update over night though… so bear this in mind if you create one and the answers do not appear immediately. However, it was REALLY is to make, try your own:

http://answergarden.ch/create/

I think it’s great to be able to ask a question on a blog where you know people can only post a short answer, as some comments can go on far too long. It also takes up minimal space!

Why use Powerpoints?… at AnswerGarden.ch.

My First Blog

Starting to blog as of today! 🙂

How ICT is used in the Foundation Stage:

  • PC’s – websites, software e.g. word processing
  • Floor Turtles
  • Digital Cameras – photographer of the day, use during outings, evidence of progress/achievement
  • Camcorders
  • Interactive whiteboards
  • Music
  • iPads/tablets – apps
  • Visualiser to show children’s work
  • Mobile phones – text parents for achievements

Although I know of quite a few ways in which ICT is currently used in the classroom, I do not know how to use this equipment to it’s full potential, or have many ideas for use with children. Therefore these ICT sessions will really benefit me and I’m really looking forward to finding out more.

Also, you will see that I didnt list ‘blogging’ this is because I’d never heard of blogs being used in the classroom; I will certainly be researching into this over the next few months.