Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Shakespeare in Primary Classrooms

We received this Tweet:
We're often asked for resources for certain Shakespeare plays. Between us, we've studied Shakespeare with Year Five pupils for over ten years. We've frequently changed plays, but covered them in a very similar way...

To start, watch the Animated Tales version of the play being studied and then, as a teacher, read the Matthews and Ross version of the play. In addition to these, watch and read Animated Tales and Matthews and Ross versions of other plays to generate a general interest in Shakespeare. We have some comprehension questions to accompany those books (will post link here soon). Also, share all or part of the original script. It's important to see that too.

Scene setting. Describe the place where the play is mostly set. The island in The Tempest, Illyria, Verona, the Forest in Midsummer Night's Dream and so on. Work on adjectives, similes etc.

Mind map the characters and their relationships. Shakespeare often wove a tangled web with his characters. Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet can all be a little easier to understand once the characters and their relationships are plotted.

Character study. Pick a particular character and write an in-depth character study of their personality, the way the are portrayed, the choices they make and more.

Explain the plot using a story staircase. How do the rises and falls, twists and turns make the play so enjoyable to perform, watch and study?

Over the past three years, our outcome of the Shakespeare study has been writing a newspaper article about a part of the play. 

This idea came via Matthew and has worked very well. 
Image credit: Matthw Sullivan

Getting companies to come into school to support the understanding of the play and act parts of it add to the children's enjoyment and ability to engage with it in a deeper way. We have positive experiences of working with both Shakespeare 4 Kids and West End in Schools.

Finally, if time allows, get off site and do some filming...

So, no we don't really have anything specific to a particular play. From our experience, viewing them as a story and studying all that a story has to offer (while praising Shakespeare's excellent work) provides an excellent way to study these plays. 

Recently, this was delivered to all Primary schools in the UK.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

TED Talks in Class

I've watched TED Talks in the past. This week, for the first time, I used on in class. We used the one below, with a fantastic outcome and enjoyment by all.


The talk was engaging, interactive and at a level that all my Year Five children could join in with. The picture below shows my efforts.

All children were involved in all of the lesson. They listened intently and followed the instructions in the video. In fact, in my maths lesson that followed, I had to remind many that the art lesson had ended and we were now focusing on something else! 

Following on from this experience, I'm going to look for some more TED Talks that could be useful in class. Some linked to our curriculum, some to inspire about writing, maths or science and others to deliver a message, thought or outlook on life. I'll update this blog post with any that I use. In addition, if you have any that would be good to show in a primary classroom, please let us know in a comment below, email or via Twitter.

TED Ed is also worth looking at for videos aimed more directly at what may be part of a school's curriculum. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Padlet in Reading Lessons

Yeah, Padlet again! I know, anyone would think we've got shares in it! Sorry, it's Liam - he just can't get enough of it. Padlet this and Padlet that...

Another post about something we've done a couple of times in the past, but never got around to blogging about. 

Here's an example of some Padlet group work:

We used the John Lewis Christmas advert 2015 as a focus for our reading lesson and used questions created by Lee Parkinson and shared on his blog. In the lesson, we played the video using QuiteTube and the children worked in groups with the 'scribe' having the iPad device in their hands. The group discussed their answers and then chose what would be submitted as a collective answer to the Padlet wall. 

It also works individually, with children submitting their own answers.

This works best as an independent task initially, followed by some time with an adult afterwards looking at the answers to each question and looking at which answers are right or wrong, which are the best or worst and how a better answer may be made by taking ideas from different children's responses. 

In both of these examples, the answers are made available for the whole class to see, to learn from, discuss, agree/disagree with. Much discussion, refining and explaining of answering technique can be gained from having the responses collected in one place. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Pic Collage Assessments

It's about a year ago that we posted the following Tweet:
We've continued to use this and recently realised we'd not added a blog post about the idea. So, here is is. 

The idea came from reading a Tweet from Lee. Here's what we've done: Children complete their work, or at a point in their work, or at the end, and they take a photograph of it. Then, they pass the tablet containing the photo of their work to a peer, who can offer feedback directly onto the photo in Pic Collage. This could also be done as a self assessment or by an adult. 

The key element of this is that the annotations can be placed directly onto the photograph of the work. In our classrooms, this has proven to be an engaging task for the peer undertaking the assessment and a useful form of feedback for the pupil receiving it back.

Tablets, apps, fonts and colours all add to the engagement and many pupils write more and more useful feedback as a result. Some like to call it 'Camouflaged Learning'.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Make X in Maths

Earlier this year, we saw the following Tweet from Ben:
At the time of reading his Tweet, we'd not heard of 24 Game. However, as a result of Ben's Tweet, we've been using the rules of '24 Game' in our maths classes. 

We started by downloading the app that would allow a demonstration of 24 Game to the class. We also found the board game available online for UK delivery.The 24 Game website also has a Teacher's Tools page. In addition, there are many online examples of the game too.

The app has been excellent for children to work with numbers and the four operations. In addition, as Ben did, we've got our classes to make their own game boards to then give to a peer for them to solve. This creating of the game and then a peer trying to solve extends the number skills involved. And, as you may have already noticed, the total does not always have to be 24. 

We've been collecting some of the children's creations on a Padlet Wall.

This app demonstrates that playing cards could be used for the activity too.

Linked to this, we continue to use Quento and KenKen to work on similar calculation skills.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Padlet & Number Talks

Last week, I carried out a Number Talk with my class and needed some of the responses to use at an event with parents. While thinking of a way of capturing the childrens' work (photocopy whiteboards, run around with a camera etc.), an idea came to me. Children carry out their Number Talk as usual, but instead of vocalising their answers and methods, we'd upload them to a Padlet wall

If you've not come across Number Talks before, this may be a useful starting point. In brief, the teacher poses a question, that the children answer. Children share their answers and then, in turn, explain how they got to their answer. A range of methods are shown, misconceptions addressed and discussions held. 

Here's what I did:

- I set up a Padlet wall (http://padlet.com/Murphy/5den0yclatx);

- I posed the following question: 236 - 199;

- children calculated the answer using their chosen mental or written strategy;

- children uploaded an anonymous answer to the Padlet wall.

I then projected the responses and, in turn, we looked at each answer and the method used to arrive at that answer. The anonymous responses allowed a slightly more blunt discussion about the methods used, but naming responses would also have benefits.  

There you go, another post about maths and another that involves Padlet!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Live Working Walls

Last week, Colin replied to one of our posts about using Padlet:
This got us thinking about how we could use them too as a Live Working Wall. In our classrooms, we have Working Walls and on them we place examples of work, screenshots, photos and other items related out our current learning in English, maths and other subject areas. That Working Wall (in my room) sits at the back of the classroom and can be seen by the children for the five hours a day they're in class. It'd be more useful to have one they can access more frequently...

As previously identified, Padlet would be excellent for this, but so could a Google Doc or Slides, Lino and other similar online tools. Ideally, this would be in a 1:1 device setting and all pupils could update the Wall as and when they need to. In another setting, pupils could update the Wall when they have online access. In another class, there may be one computer or tablet available to update the Wall. Alternatively, the focus could be on the children adding to it in their own time. 

Whichever is used, the children are creating their own resource for them and their peers to utilise. Again, depending on devices available, they can then use it to aid their learning in a variety of ways. 

Here's an example of a similar 'Live Working Wall' we've previously shared (was originally on Wallwisher!): 
As always, should you have any additional ideas, resources or feedback on this idea, we'd love to hear from you...