Best Drones for School Use

Further to my article about using drones in schools, I've had a number of questions about which is the best drone to buy. Here is a look at the best drones on the market at the moment (2016) and their suitability for using in schools. Their prices range from £150 to £450 so there's something here to suit every budget and need.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall

The Importance of Questioning

The importance of questioningQuestioning is the key means by which teachers find out what pupils already know, identify gaps in knowledge and understanding and scaffold the development of their understanding to enable them to close the gap between what they currently know and the learning goals.

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Problem Solving Activities KS2

Puzzleboxx is a collection of puzzles and problem solving activities suitable for upper KS2 children. Well suited for maths groupwork, they are arranged into visual, word based, practical, logical and lateral problems so there's something here to suit everyone's preferences and learning styles.

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HTML Projects for KS2

HTML Projects for KS2Those fabulous guys at Code Club have created some great resources to help KS2 children learn how to program in HTML and CSS. HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a language for describing and structuring web pages and CSS is used to style them. Young coders can save their code online, allowing them to access their webpages both at school and at home.

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Intel Primary Maths Resources

Intel Primary Maths ResourcesHere are a 24 interactive maths lessons, created by Intel, covering many areas of the KS1 and KS2 programme of study including number, statistics, shape & space and measure. They have also been added to the Primary Maths Resources section and sorted into the correct year group objective. The lessons include three elements - learn, test and review.

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Scratch on ipads

Scratch on ipadsAlthough Scratch isn't officially available on ipads (unlike its little brother Scratch Jr) there is another app that is based on the Scratch source code and runs on ipads. Pyonkee looks exactly like the Scratch interface, reduced to fit on the smaller ipad screen with a different set of characters.

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3D Pens in the Classroom

3D Pens in the ClassroomForget 3D printers in the classroom that take forever to print anything out. Imagine getting children to create 3D shapes immediately in a maths lesson by drawing them in the air! Or drawing 3D musical notes and passing them round to children to look at in a music lesson! All these things and more are now possible, at a reasonable price, thanks to the development of 3D pens.

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Laying the Foundations for Algebra

Laying the foundations for algebraAlgebra is about putting real life problems into equations and then solving them. Although formal algebra does not really start until Key Stage 3, primary schools can lay the lay the foundations for algebra in Key Stages 1 and 2 by providing early activities based on algebra from which later work in algebra can develop.

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Reading Bingo

Reading BingoGetting children to read for pleasure can be difficult. Reading seems such a passive activity, and they can quickly become restless and bored. The idea behind Reading Bingo is that they put these bingo cards in their home reading books, and when they've read a particular genre they get an adult/teacher to sign it off for them. If they get 4 in a row, they get a special prize!

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Making E-textiles At School

E-textiles at schoolImagine making a monster badge that had flashing eyes or a bookmark with a light? The idea behind e-textiles, or wearable electronics, is to use electronics with different materials to add functional or decorative effects. All you need to achieve this are basic sewing skills and a limited knowledge of circuits. The materials and electronics are inexpensive and a full detailed guide is provided to create lots of fabulous e-textile products.

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National Numeracy Strategy ITPs

NNS ITPsThese National Numeracy Strategy Interactive Teaching Programs (NNS ITPs) were developed in 2002 to help with the teaching of maths in UK Primary Schools. There are 32 NNS ITPs in total and many are still useful for maths teaching in classrooms today. They are ideal for class or small group teaching and cover many areas of numeracy incuding number, shape, measure and statistics.

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How To Be An Enthusiastic Teacher

How to be an enthusiastic teacherTeacher enthusiasm (and the perceived competence that it conveys) usually leads to greater student achievement. Children are more engaged, more willing to contribute in class discussions and more willing to discuss any problems or concerns that they may have. The question, then, is how can teachers become more enthusiastic? What tools and techniques can you learn to convey enthusiasm to your students?

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Persuasive Ideas For Schools

Persuasion with a purposeTo round off our persuasive writing unit, my year 5 literacy class produced video adverts using Adobe Spark for our favourite brands. We uploaded them to YouTube and contacted the CEOs or marketing department for each brand/organisation and asked them to feed back on them. We were staggered with the positive feedback that we received (not to mention the freebies!). Here's how we went about it.

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Maths Curriculum KS1

Maths Curriculum KS1The KS1 Maths Curriculum is focused on ensuring that pupils develop confidence and mental fluency with whole numbers, counting and place value. This involves working with numbers, words and the four operations, often taught at this early age using practical resources. This article provides an indepth overview of the maths curriculum at KS1.

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Gamification in Education

Gaming provides players with an immersive experience, one that engages them on all levels. The power of play in the classroom opens up children's imagination and ambition. Creating a game where players progress based on their achievements in the classroom makes learning a positive experience for all children.

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How Technology Motivates Children

Technology has always had an effect on its user. Whether it buzzes, flashes, beeps or lights up, it attracts its makes you want to do something. Due to its interactive nature, it can motivate children in many ways by allowing them to learn from their mistakes, giving them rewards, helping with problem solving and allowing them to be creative.

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Mathematics Problem Solving Strategies

Anyone who has taught maths for any length of time will know how difficult it can be to teach pupils to solve maths problems out of context. Present pupils with a familiar setting or a sum that they've tackled before then they're usually fine, but turn it into an unfamiliar problem then it's a different matter. However, in the same ways that we teach strategies for other areas of maths, we can also teach strategies to solve maths problems.

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Creative Writing using Minecraft Edu

Minecraft Edu Creative WritingWe've spent a really productive afternoon today with year 5/6 children from the local area using Minecraft Edu to inspire creative writing. The children were set a series of tasks to perform during the course of the 2 hour session and then asked to write notes about what they could see, who they met and how they felt along the way. These notes were then used in literacy to develop their creative writing.

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Progression in Mathematics at Primary School

The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) have published a series of videos, powerpoints and supplementary material to demonstrate the progression of mathematics teaching and learning at primary school. There are 60 short videos, filmed during 2012-2013, which demonstrate how to teach mathematics at primary school.

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KS2 Maths SATs Threshold

KS2 Maths SATs ThresholdKS2 Maths SATs Threshold tables can sometimes be hard to find so here they are collected together for ease of use. These thresholds used to determine what levels to assign to year 6 children when completing the KS2 SATs tests. SATs were introduced in 2003 and the thresholds were discontinued when levels were discontinued in 2016 but they've been collated here for your convenience.

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Business Skills For KS2 Children

I was lucky enough to be invited to an event today with other KS2 and secondary teachers to play the logistics board game entitled "Business on the Move". The purpose of the game is to develop business skills in children (and adults too). The game challenges players to run a business that must respond to customers’ orders, moving different products around the world as profitably as possible.

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Uses of Drones in Schools

Uses of drones in schoolsWe have a drone at school which is linked to an ipad. The ipad controls the drone and stores the videos that it captures. We use these videos for making movies about events around the school calendar, such as maypole dancing and sports day. The footage has been really useful for the children to see our school from many different angles.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall

Printable and Editable Scratch Blocks

Printable and Editable Scratch Programming BlocksHere is a fabulous collection of Scratch programming blocks. They are editable and available in a number of formats, including svg, png, Smartboard and Powerpoint. They are useful for display purposes and for teaching with. The blocks can be edited by using a free vector editing program such as Inkscape.

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What's the Learning Objective

Learning ObjectiveThe learning objective that you share with your class is not a description of the tasks they will complete during the lesson. Instead it is a reflection of what they will have achieved by the end of the lesson. In 2002 the DfES identified some learning objective starters (in their Training material for foundation subjects resource) to help write effective learning objectives:

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Lexile levels for UK book bands

Book Band Lexile LevelsSometimes school reading schemes are a little restrictive and you'd like to put well known books in there too. To help with this is a table that I've put together that correlates between age, national curriculum level, Oxford reading tree book band and lexile level. It can be used in conjunction with the search tool at Lexile.com to fit any non-reading scheme book into your reading scheme.

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Maths races

Maths racesHere's a variety of numeracy and PE games to make maths more active and to help those kinaesthetic learners do what they do best - learn by doing. In these games, the class is split up into two teams and they run races against each other based on the maths questions that you call out. The games can be adapted many different ways and differentiated as you see fit by pairing children of similar ability against each other.

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Scratch Jr tutorials for English and Maths

ScratchJr is a graphical language for young children (KS1/Elementary) to create their own interactive stories and games. We've been using it with our Year 1 and Year 2 children and have recently tried to incorporate other elements of the UK National Curriculum into our programming, such as creating letters and counting.

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Small Basic tutorials for KS2

Small Basic is a programming language, designed by Microsoft, to make programming extremely easy, approachable and fun for beginners. Small Basic’s intention is to bring down the barrier and serve as a stepping stone to the amazing world of computer programming. Its a lot more advanced than Scratch but certainly something to challenge the more able KS2 programmers.

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Virtual Reality in Education

Virtual Reality in EducationAccording to educational psychologists, we remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear and 90% of what we do. So learning in an immersive virtual environment which has been created to meet the exact needs of the learner could be very succesful. Learning would be a lot easier for students of all ages and there would be potential for our brains to remember it for a long time. But how close are we to virtual reality really making an impact in education today?

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Google Classroom: Announcements

In Google Classroom, announcements can be made to your class to remind them of an upcoming event or as a general notice for the class. They appear in the class stream and can be commented on and made sticky (i.e. They stay at the top of the class stream). Anyone can add comments to announcements, which are visible under the announcement.

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Google Classroom: Grade questions

In Google Classroom, you can ask quick questions to your students and these questions can also be graded and the grades returned to the student. The questions can be seen in the class stream and the answers can be viewed on the Student Answers page. Also on the Student Answers page you can see a quick overview of pupils who have or haven’t answered the question.

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Google Classroom: Grade and return assignments

As students begin working on assignments in Google Classroom, you can view their progress and add comments or make edits. When they have submitted the assignment, you can grade and return it to the student. After the08PaigePickering assignment has been returned, students will be notified by email (if your school has email setup for students) or will receive a message the next time that they login to Google Classroom.

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Google Classroom: View work

When you've created assignments and questions in Google Classroom and the students have submitted their responses, you can view their work in the Work page. Here you can review student work/assignents and questions as well as any grades that you have allocated and comments that you have made. Student's work can be organised by class or you can view all work across all of your classes.

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Google Classroom: Ask a question

The 'ask a question' feature in Google Classroom is a great way to get feedback from your class on a particular issue. It can be used for a quick straw poll on a current issue in the class or as formative assessment on a topic that you're studying. Asking a question is done in your class stream and can be done at any time. When you've asked the question, you can see how many students have and haven't answered. You can decide whether you want students to be able to edit their answers and/or reply to other student's answers.

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Primary computing questioning

Primary programming questioningHere is a list of questioning prompts, based on Blooms taxonomy, for teachers to ask pupils in programming sessions. The questions can be used by teachers and support staff to deepen children's understanding through questioning. They are categorised into knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation and there are around 5 or 6 questions for each category.

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Google Classroom: Create and modify assignments

Now you have your class set up, you're ready to start giving work to your students. In Google Drive this is done by creating assignments. Assignments are created in your class stream. You can attach documents in the form of templates, worksheets and so on to the assignment and when your students turn their assignments in, you can grade them and return them to your students. This is all managed for you by Google Classroom.

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Google Drive: Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are combinations of two or more keys that you can use to perform a task that would typically require a mouse or other pointing device. An example of a keyboard shortcut is pressing ctrl and S together on a Microsoft Word document to save your work. For those Google Drive power users out there, here is a list of keyboard shortcuts for Google Drive on the web. Note that these do not apply for Google Drive on tablets or phones.

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Google Classroom: Multiple teachers in a class

Just like your local school classroom, in Google Classroom you can have more than one teacher in the class to help coordinate class activities. There are just a few things to bear in mind before adding extra teachers to a Google Classroom. Firstly, the primary teacher will own all class materials and the primary teacher's class and assignment folders will be shared with the additional teachers in Google Drive (which underlies all Google Classroom file sharing).

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Google Classroom: Class resources

In your Google classroom, its handy to have resources available for your students to use, just as they would in a traditional classroom. Here you can post any materials or instructions for the class, such as a classroom rules or links to often used websites. These and more resources can be all be added in the class resource page and accessed by all students and related teachers.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall