Saturday, 10 September 2016

Apps for Your Primary Classroom - Sixteen

Another post about apps we've made use of (our 15th), that others may like to try too. The other posts can be found here. Again, the links below are to Apple's App Store. This is because we use iOS devices in school. Many of these apps are available on Android too. 
 Image credit:


Monster Heart Medic

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Extended Exit Polls

We make extensive use of exit polls in the classroom to support our formative assessment. They are a great tool for assessing where children are at the end of a lesson, are generally easy to mark and allow you to quickly make a judgement about the next lesson to teach.

Increasingly, we have also started adding some extra information on them so that they can be used for a further purpose. We have always been interested in how children's viewing habits have changed especially around online sites such as YouTube and have, with increasing frequency, been using online videos such as those provided by Khan Academy, to support home learning. If it is appropriate, we have started to add a shortened link and a QR code to an exit poll. This links to a video explaining some content from the exit poll.

Now, after marking, we can give the exit poll back to the child with their errors on and we encourage them to take it home and have a look at the video. At the moment, this is optional and some children do not bother. However, there have been occasions where, because they have watched the video or done some further work, the misconceptions have been corrected by the next lesson.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Marking: No Writing, Stamps and Stick Figures

September 2015 we revised our marking policy. We've shared how successful it's been in various Tweets over the past twelve months. We've written posts about marking in the past. This supersedes all of those! Here's a bit more about it...
Firstly, it was not something us or our school developed, so we can't say too much here. If you like what you read, contact Shaw Primary Academy to find out more

Previously, we had a requirement to mark every piece of work, provide feedback about what the child had done well and what thy needed to improve in the future. In addition, we had a number of codes and coloured pens we used to make the process 'quicker'. 

In July 2015, we looked at what we'd been doing and after reading the NAHT article linked to in the Tweet above, we knew something had to change. We had a visit from Shaw Primary Academy who met with our SLT, asked us about what our current practice was, what they thought of it, told us what they did and it was then delivered to all staff.

We've taken on the practices that were shown to us: we don't write any comments in books, all work is marked, all children get vocal feedback as needed, spelling is checked, grammar is corrected, calculations are marked and we know how much support a child had in a lesson. 

Impact? Marking takes less time. Only necessary feedback is given. Children actually act upon the advice given. Marking is less painful. There is more time to plan and adapt future lessons based upon what's been understood. 

Fed up with your current policy? It's not working? Feel like you're wasting your time? Well, you know what to do about it. Join the revolution... 

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Your Red

At the time of writing, the video below is one of Tesco's current television advertisements. Firstly, watch it before you read on.

Did you hear what we heard? Will your children in your class? - you're / your

So, Tesco ended their advert with a homophone play on words. Here are some suggestions for classroom use:

- Play the advert and ask the children if they spotted anything.

- Ask them to write the script for the final 10 seconds. Do they use the correct homophone?

- Can they think of another homophone that could have closed this advert?

- Can they create another, similar advert, that uses a homophone to sell something?

- Can the children use this advert as an aide-mémoire to remember your/you're?

If you have any of your own suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, 29 August 2016

For Your Classroom... 50 Primary Maths Questions - Volume 1

We've written another book. This time, it's a book of question types that could be used in maths lessons (and other subjects). There are 11 types of question and each question type comes with 5 examples.

We hope it's useful. Is is available to download from iTunes Store or as a PDF file. Let us know if it's useful.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Words With Friends Edu

In July, we spotted someone new had begun Tweeting: 'WordsWithFriends EDU'. We're quite excited about this, and here's why...

We wrote earlier this year about 'Teacher Vs Class' and continue to use AirServer to engage the whole class in participating in a game. We've also seen how free resources from Top Trumps and Bananagrams can be an engaging teaching tool.

Image credit: Zynga Inc.

While writing those posts above, we had in mind that it'd be great to have child and school friendly versions of apps like 'Words with Friends', 'Letterpress', 'Yahtzee with Buddies' and others.

We've now found one:

We're singed up. It looks good. We'll give it a go when this forthcoming academic year begins...

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Taskmaster: Prepositional Phrases

A third addition to our ideas for the classroom that have come from the television program 'Taskmaster'

This time, linked to English, and grammar in particular. Watch the video below:

The task set was along the lines of, "Place the gym balls on the yoga mat that's on top of the hill. While most contestants carried the balls up the hill to the mat, Richard Osman went up, brought the mat down and then place the balls onto it: balls on the mat that (was) on top of this hill. Room for interpretation in the prepositional phrase? Greg Davies thought so. 

Can you set you children a similar task and look for scope within the prepositional phrases involved to carry out the task in 'their own way'?