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.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall

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.

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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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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.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall

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.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall

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.

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Google Classroom: Setting up your first class

Once you have your Google Classroom account (a Google account on a Google for Education domain) then you can log into Google Classroom and set up your first class. You can set up as many classes as you want but before you do, take a minute to work out how you're going to name them. I've settled on using the Year and Class as the class name (e.g. 2015/16 Year 5) and then I use the subject as the section. So I have 2015/16 Year 5 Maths, 2015/16 Year 5 English etc.

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How to set up a school radio station on the cheap

We've just gone live with our school radio station this week. The children (and staff!) have worked really hard to get it up and running and we're all really pleased with it. It broadcasts over the internet so children and parents can listen to it on their computers, mobile devices, TVs, etc and we've managed to do it on a very tight budget. This article documents how to set up your own school radio station cheaply.

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Google Voice Typing in School

A lot of pupils are great at telling stories orally but when it comes to writing their ideas down, they really struggle. If you're using Google Docs within your school then your pupils can make use of the Google voice typing function, which allows them to dictate their work directly into a document. We tested it out recently and it recognised all the common words that we spoke as well as more obscure ones such as ‘coelacanth’, ‘octogenarian’ and ‘disestablishmentarianism'. It even added asterisks to swear words too which could be useful if you have some 'live wires' in your class.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall

Google Classroom: Introduction

Google Classroom is a free web-based platform that helps to manage planning, resources, assignments and communication between yourself and your class. If your school, doesn't have one already, you'll need to sign up for a Google Apps for Education account to use Google Classroom which will give you all the Google Apps services including Drive, Docs, Sheets, Gmail and Calendar. Google Classroom is available on tablets, phones and desktops, making it mobile for both teachers and students.

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Interactive stories with Google Apps for Education

Creating interactive stories teaches children creativity, language, computer skills and logical thinking - all at the same time! I first got excited about the idea after an inspiring workshop at a local secondary school a year or so ago, which showed pupils how to create interactive stories and so we started writing our own at school using twine which was really successful. I've recently been looking at other ways to write interactive stories using Google Apps for Education including YouTube, Google Forms, Slides and Docs.

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Assessment Without Levels at Primary School

At my local primary school, we've been using a new primary assessment tool to assess children's work. The system, called TAP Assess, has given the children more ownership over their learning in the time that its been in place. Not only does it allow teachers to assess children's achievement and progress, but it also allows children to assess too, against the 2014 primary curriculum. Furthermore, the children can also set their own targets for literacy and maths, and receive certificate rewards when they hit certain milestones.

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Google Sheets for Primary School Maths

Since the last time I wrote about using Google Drive in the primary (elementary) classroom, things have moved on - as they always do in education ;) We've made improvements to the login system that the children use, have done lots of collaborative writing in literacy using Google Docs, have set avatars up for the children, made presentations with Google Slides and have started to use Google Sheets for practising basic operations in maths.

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Experiences of Google Drive at Primary School

We're in the process of moving the children at school onto Google Drive instead of storing all of their work on the local network. The benefits are that the children can collaborate together on projects, they can store work created on ipads on their drive and I can mark their work from anywhere at any time :) They can create a digital portfolio of their work which they can share with their parents/carers.

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Texts for Guided Reading

Reading Comprehension ResourcesIf you've ever struggled finding guided reading resources for use in your classroom (I know I have!) then you may find this site useful. It has hundreds of reading texts on it, ordered by US Grade, Lexile level, text type and skill/strategy. Each resource has a reading text, along with comprehension questions (which can be used to differentiate) and the all important answers.

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50+ ideas for using QR codes at school

QR codes at schoolQR codes are everywhere nowadays: on cereal packets, posters, adverts, TV, websites, etc, etc. More and more schools are using these little codes to enrich the learning experience of their pupils. They are free to create and the software to read them is also free. They can be read using tablets, phones and laptops and can contain text or link to any online resource. Here are 50 (and counting...) ideas for how to use them in your school.

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Scratch Jr programming with KS1

ScratchJr Ks1This week, we started introducing KS1 children to Scratch Jr, a new simplified version of Scratch designed for younger children from age 5 through to 7. Scratch Jr is an ipad coding app in which children snap together graphical blocks of instructions to make characters move, interact, speak and transform on the screen. However, its not just a coding app - it lets children run wild with creativity as we found out :)

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Primary Maths Resources

Primary Maths ResourcesThese Primary Maths Resources, which are based on the current UK National Curriculum Year Group objectves, are fully searchable and sorted into different categories, including number and place value, the four operations, fractions, measurements, properties of shapes, position and direction, statistics, ratio and proportion, and algebra. It is a useful companion to my other APP maths objective planning tool.

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Using Google Maps to teach Maths

Google Maps is a great tool for children to explore their local area. Here is a maths map of Hull where the children can navigate to local landmarks and then answers maths questions based on what they can see. For example, how many lines of symmetry can you see in the garden at East Park or draw a pictogram of the different coloured cars parked around the stadium.

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Game based assessment

Game Based AssessmentWith Kahoot, primary school teachers can create quizzes for children to play on in a social environment, using any device with a web browser… including a laptop, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Android, Chromebook or PC. The children can can take part in fast paced quizzes against each other, giving instant feedback and both formative and summative assessment. The multiple choice quizzes are simple to set up and simple to play and the results are available to analyse in Excel or Google Sheets.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall