Monday, 16 February 2015

11th Lot of Apps for Your Primary Classroom

Our 11th post about apps we've made use of, that others may like to try too.

Phonics Genius
Phonics Tic-Tac-Toe

Make Dice Lite

Ninja Factor Free
Stick Hero
Swipey Times Tables

Amazing Brick
Circle The Dot
Piano Tiles (Don't Tap The White Tile)

See our other apps posts here.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Re-Blog: "From Me To You"

Recently, our Dropbox has been getting more and more visitors. This makes us happy - we like the idea of others benefiting from our online sharing. In part, this has been helped by UKEdChat starting to share some of what's in there.

On Staffrm, Liam explained why we set the shared Dropbox folder up:

"I make resources and I use them with my class. I'm paid to do that. However, if I put those resources somewhere that others can make use of them, other teachers and children can benefit from what I created. Why don't I charge for them?"

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Estimation Challenge

At the end of January, I attended a day's maths training. It was good, I got lots of good ideas. The one that stood out was this one:

I sat next to a lady, whose name I didn't find out, let alone what school she was from (if I find out, an update will be added). She gave me the following idea.

Ask the children to fill pots and containers at home with 'stuff'. For example, paper clips, pebbles, marbles and so on. Then, each week, put one of these on display and invite the rest of the class to estimate the number of items in the container. Ensure the child setting the challenge know the answer. 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Give Them The Answer

When completing calculations in maths, I've sometimes found that a child has gone through a whole lesson and some how managed to get all or most of the work wrong and not been picked up by a peer or an adult. While on one level this is not a huge problem, as it can be followed up later, it's not ideal.

I'd been looking for a way to avoid this and here's what I came up with...

Give the children the answers.

A) Get the children to start and after a few minutes show the answers to question one for all levels of differentiation, a few minutes after that the next ones and so on...

B) Get the children to start and then put the the answers to the first three questions only, as a guide. Children complete the rest of the work without know the answers.

C) Give the children the questions, with the answers already filled in.

By no means do I use this all the time. It's a idea, to use now and again. Does it work? Yes. The children need to understand that maths (or any work) is not always about getting the right answer. Mistakes are ok. In a lesson, children are learning, trying out and developing methods. Not doing a 'getting ten right answers' exercise. Children need to be confident in trying out their methods or jottings, comparing their answer to the one given and then, if there are any errors, they need to look for what went wrong, seek help from a peer or talk to an adult. 

Give it go. Not every lesson though.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Writing on iPad (Tablet) Devices*

*or any internet enabled device

This is the second post of two. In the first, we wrote about writing using a tablet as a prompt for writing and now follow it up with a post about writing on a tablet.

We've written many times about using as a tool for sharing writing. Those posts can all be found here. Padlet offers many levels of privacy for the walls created and can be easily accessed from a tablet with a camera using a QR Code

TitanPad is an online collaborative writing tool that does not require a login. Again, easiest way to access would be through a QR Code. Collaboration could be within a class, across classes in a school or even between schools. We have used it to collaboratively write a text (instructions, story, recount), list features of a text type, improve a piece of writing, to practise sentence structures and more...

Most recently, and based upon an idea from L Parkinson, we have used the tablet devices for peer assessment of written work. After writing, children take a photograph of their work and then, using Pic Collage (or similar), the children write comments about the work directly on to it and next to the part of the text that is being commented upon. 

The iPad most recently comes pre-loaded with the Pages app, which is a powerful word processing application for writing on a tablet.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Writing with iPad (Tablet) Devices

In the past, we've posted many times about app suggestions. We thought it was about time we wrote about how we use some of them. In this first post of two, we'll write about writing using a tablet as a prompt for writing and will follow it up with a post about writing on a tablet.

We use iPad devices and therefore write about our experiences with those. However, where possible we also do our best to refer to other tablet alternatives. 

Epic Citadel
At a TeachMeet, back in 2011, we were introduced to Epic Citadel. In the app, the user can navigate their way around a fictional Citadel. We have used this while writing stories about Robin Hood and King Arthur. In addition, we have also used it as a 'one off' creative writing task in the first or third person. It's currently available for both iOS and Android. Oh, and it's free!

ColAR Mix
We downloaded ColAR Mix about 18 months ago. We downloaded it because of various messages we saw about it on Twitter. The first time we used the app, we put the colouring sheets on tables and simply asked the children to colour them in on entry to the classroom. Once the sheets were mostly coloured, children were instructed to open the tablets and scan the picture. It's one of the most amazing classroom experiences we've had! The children are amazed! The children were then instructed to, "Write about what's happening on screen". Some descriptive writing followed as the children were engaged.

Next, we made used of the ColAR Christmas and New Year resources. No writing this time, just a it of end of term colouring and enjoyment (that's allowed - isn't it?) Recently ColAR app released some more free images. We used the football playing sheep, and again after colouring, the children wrote recounts, diary entries, stories and more about the sheep. Most recently, we used the Pudsey picture and wrote a recount of 'Pudsey's CiN Disco 2014' (after colouring the picture of course). Colouring in the classroom? Yes! You get some great writing afterwards... Again, free and on both Android and iOS.

My Dragon Toy
Very similar to ColAR Mix as it uses similar technology. Give the child a target image, a tablet device, get them to scan, imagine and the write... Yeah, you guessed it - FREE!

Writing instructions
Give the children a game/puzzle to play on the device. Once they've had a jolly good play and hopefully enjoyed themselves, get them to write a set of instructions for how to use said app. These instructions could then be shared with staff, parents and so on... 

Epic Zen Garden
Very similar to Epic Citadel. Making a journey around a fantasy world that can then lead onto fictional writing. 

Using adverts
Advertisements can provide an excellent impetus for writing and this one from Cadbury in 2013 proved a hit with a Year Five class and some lovely writing. With tablet devices, children can watch, forward, rewind and so on in their own time. In addition, using QuietTube helps to remove comments, adverts and more. 

So, there are some ideas for having a tablet device on one part of the desk and writing on paper (the examples here have been typed up for ease of sharing): using it as a reason to write, inspiration for writing or to engage young minds. Writing and tablets does not have to mean writing on them, but that post is coming soon...

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Stories in a Tweet

We wrote earlier this year about two sentence stories. We're still getting some good writing from that and were intrigued by this Tweet we recently came across:

Of course! Write a story in 140 characters. Having previously written about Tweets in the classroom, we were impressed with this idea. So we gave it a go, and here's what some Year Five children came up with:

Our Tweet sheet is available on Dropbox to download. Feel free to share more ideas below.

Also, anyone for homophone jokes in a Tweet?