Monday, 3 August 2015

Rolls and Flips: Probability All Done

Covering probability or data handling in maths and using lesson time to generate data? Well, it's already been done for you:

@RollADay are rolling a dice each day. The data can be found here:

Image credit: @RollADay

@FlipADay are flipping a coin each day. The data can be found here:

Image credit: @FlipADay

Follow the accounts. Use the data. Maybe even share with the accounts what's been produced using the flips and rolls.

Both of these are operated by Tad Fry. Other useful online tools can be found on his site.

Friday, 24 July 2015

School Facebook Account

In the past, we've written lots about our use of Twitter. These four posts about school Twitter accounts are some of our most viewed: 1, 2, 3 and 4. As a result of these posts, we've often been asked for advice about Facebook accounts for schools. Until now, we've not written about school Facebook accounts as we had no experience of them. However, now that we do, we can let you know what we've been up to...

Image credit:

First of all, we'd highly recommend contacting Chris Talbot,as what he doesn't know about running a school Facebook account isn't worth knowing. 

In the past, both our school and members of staff have had negative experiences of Facebook, so it took some persuading and careful thinking to get the page set up. First choice was whether to use a private Group or a public Page. We went for the page, for the same reason our Twitter account isn't locked: it's a public page for us to share news about our school. The vast majority of what's written in those four posts about Twitter accounts is also applicable to Facebook. Write about upcoming events, share news and engage with the local community. Remember, if someone's 'Liked' the page, anything shared through the page gets sent right into their timeline for them to read. 

In school, some members of staff and the office team have permission to posts to our social media pages from computers they have access to. Some understand Twitter better; others prefer Facebook. So, we set up the account so that something posted to either network will be automatically duplicated on the other. Whilst out of school, we make use of a school phone. From a local supermarket, we purchased a smart phone on pay-as-you-go for about £30 that we can Tweet and Facebook from whilst off-site. As outlined in previous posts, this avoids staff using up their own data allowance, but more importantly means staff can't accidentally post to the wrong social media account (i.e. posting something intended for their own on the school one). 

One main concern was monitoring the page and in particular 'comments'. Within the Page settings there's the option to 'block' comments containing certain words. We've blocked the 100 most common English words and names of teachers, local area and other key words. These comments still exist, so we can see them, but they're not public. In the future, this may change, but at the moment it's our way of monitoring what's on the page. 

Worried about what people may say about the school on Facebook? They'll say it anyway! Given them an official page to do it on and at least you'll see it and have the ability to reply. In addition, every now and again (if you have a unique school name) get the office staff to search Twitter and Facebook for your school's name - you'll be amazed (good and not-so-good!) 

So there you go, if you've not got one, go get one. If you're using one form of social media, you may as well use them all!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Re-Blog: "All in a Year's Work"

On Staffrm, Liam has reflected on what he's been up to over the past year...

"First of all, I'm a class teacher, computing subject leader and a year group leader who is part of SLT. That gives this post a setting. So, here are the roles that stand out from year nine of 'being a teacher':" Click here to read the full post.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Road Sign Angles

In the past we've used roller coasters as a real-life link and vehicle for studying angles in maths. When driving to work last week, I started to wonder about angles I could see on road signs...

It started with the 300, 200, 100 yard marker boards: "What angle are they at?"

Next, on the the directional signs, "Are the two obtuse angles on the end of the smaller are larger signs the same measure?"

Are there similar or same angles in lots of road signs? 

As of September 2007, 'Traffic Signs'.

Due to the responsible nature of my driving, I chose not to take photographs of the road signs whilst driving. These images came from a Creative Commons image search. However, next time I'm a passenger, I may snap some of my own. 

Friday, 19 June 2015

Your Own Bank of GPS (SPaG) Resources

With a bit of inspiration from Stephen Lockyer, we've set off on a new venture. After reading this post by him, we wanted to find a website, Pinterest board or similar that had photographs with grammar errors on that could be used with Key Stage Two children. The reason we wanted a website with 'friendly' images on was so that it could be a go-to place either while planning or if something came up in a lesson. Everything there could be trusted to be classroom material. A web image search is often great, but can involve a lot of scrolling and sometimes things that shouldn't be shown in a classroom.

Because we often find it difficult to switch off from 'teacher mode', while out-and-about, we sometimes spot that companies have made errors on their signs (or intentionally made broken grammar rules as part of their branding). We have started to take photos of these and store them on Dropbox so that we (and others) can make use of them.

Here's one from a hospital toilet:

And one Tweeted to the council responsible for it:
After discussing the errors or branding, a company or person could be written to by a class or pupil to explain what's wrong. And, as the photo was taken by the teacher, we're able to explain its location and context. It may even be in a location familiar to the children.

Our images can be found here. Please feel free to use them.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

20 Apps for a Primary School iPad Device

We've written many posts about apps. Mostly, lists of apps we've come across, but also some of the possible uses for them. Yesterday, Liam presented in London about the use of iPad devices in the classroom. As part of that presentation, he gave his top twenty apps that he uses to support learning in his classroom. 

Of course this list is open to discussion, it doesn't explain uses for them and there's an app for just about everything (or at least it feels that way). If you'd like to take a look at the slides used in the presentation, they can be found here

In response to our post:

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

One App - Whole Class

A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to do an activity with my class at the end of an English lesson about word classes. I knew I had Shake-A-Phrase installed on my iPad device, but, at the time, it wasn't installed on the school's iPad devices. I decided to give something a go...
I opened the app up on my device and used AirServer to allow the whole class to see what was on the iPad's screen. I then started the Quiz element of Shake-A-Phrase and when each sentence came up the class called out what they thought the answer was and I clicked what they suggested. As a class, we discussed, enjoyed and learned. 

I've since given this a go with other apps too and in different ways:

Math Duel: Split the class in half. Each team had a person sat at the iPad device and the team called out answers for the person at the iPad to enter.

SpellFix and Word-Juice by Alan Peat Ltd.: Projected the puzzle for all to see and passed around the device with suggestions coming from the class.
At the time of writing, I tried to get Sentopiary to work, but it will not project through AirServer. UPDATE: 03/06/15 For Sentopiary to work through AirServer, the iPad needs to be projected using AirServer and then the Sentopiary app opened. Opening the app and then projecting with AirServer will not work.

Quento: While the class were using the same app, we projected one for the class to do together. 

Also, display two screens side by side - competition...

Even tough we have class sets of iPad devices, this gives a different slant on the activities. If you try it, let us know. We'd love to know any other apps that work well.