Today I finally made it to the Cambridge Raspberry jam after what seems like a million calendar clashes preventing me from attending the previous events. I have heard lots of positive comments about this event and I wasn’t disappointed!
The morning begins with a programming workshop for children which this time was hosted by the fantastic Carrie Anne Philbin (@MissPhilbin) who was introducing them to the SonicPi application on the Raspberry Pi. If you haven’t already seen this you should check it out – making music whilst introducing programming concepts and a brilliantly accessible method of introducing programming. I, unfortunately, wasn’t here for this but Carrie Anne tells me it was fantastic with 40 children ranging from 5-14! I did support Carrie Anne in a similar workshop for girls over the summer, you can see my post about it here.
My live blogging from visiting Bett 2014
This week was the first week I have noticed a usage slump in the iPads. After weeks of finding reasons to use them to enhance to the curriculum this week seemed like a week which didn’t suit their use. I am not sure whether this is due to my own time constraints, not having time to think reflect on appropriateness, or whether they just did not suit the lessons this week.
In Science this week we have been learning about the skeleton – its function and role as well as naming the different bones. We began this lesson, in groups, by drawing around a person on large paper and trying to put post it notes in the correct places. After this group activity, and the collaboration, I wanted to check the children had understood and could recognise the bones in the body. To do this they took photos of each other and using PicCollage (I wanted to use Skitch but couldn’t download it as our school iPads are not running iOS7 yet) they added the the labels for the bone names. As I can’t show you their’s I asked a child to label me as well:
My reflections for this week have seemed harder to come by than with other weeks. I don’t think this is down to a lack of using the iPads, or a lack of new ideas, but instead that they’re becoming ‘normal’ for classroom life for myself and the children I work with. This is undeniably a good thing, they are a tool to be used appropriate, just as a pen or a text book and should not be cause for unnecessary attentions but equally I do want to document our experiences clearly, accurately and fairly.
I began this academic year with a revelation about Guided Reading – I didn’t like teaching it. I love reading, as an adult I read whenever I can (although not as often as I’d like) but I did not like teaching Guided Reading! My previous school had a policy that all the children needed to complete 2 written comprehensions a week as well as reading book extracts (no complete books) and although I tried my best to inspire children through a variety of text types and authors the lessons were often very dry. Upon beginning a new school, and now having more freedom, I began to consider what I could do to inspire a love of reading. Alongside my quandaries I happened upon a question Ian Addison (@IanAddison) was asking on Twitter about whether children show progress during Guided Reading session.
My new school has worked very hard over the last few years to encourage a positive view of reading; buying a wider range of books to interest a wider range of children, ensuring they have easy access and opportunities to enjoy reading. This has had a great impact on the class, when I ask them to name favourite books/authors all can, they talk happily about books and are desperate not to miss their library day if they’re off sick! So again, there was even more pressure to continue this excitement for reading and I began exploring the realms of Twitter for a new approach.
I was going to include these thoughts as part of my weekly reflection about using iPads in the classroom but the further my mind delved the more distant I seemed to get from the basic pedagogy which I was trying to record in those weekly posts. Hence the post of its own. If you are interested in seeing how I used the iPads in class for week 4, please look here: 1:1 iPad â Week 4: Reflecting.
The iPads I have been given are as a trial, to ensure they are distributed, and implemented, in the best possible way to enhance learning opportunities. At the end of the trial (around Christmas time) I will feedback the best possible approach to managing them as a year 5/6 team. There are 33 in total and will be available across the 4 classes, however, we do not yet know in what form. Possible considerations:
This week was the first official week of beginning the Great R.E. Project. We began with the following learning objectives which will take us through the next 3 weeks (although the SC will change each week).
Focus 1 – To understand:
At the beginning of this week I was lucky enough to have time out with a colleague to visit another school and see their use of iPads and Apple TV. As I’m sure you know, having time out to visit other schools is always great as you see so many different ways of doing things and get loads of new ideas so I was excited. The class teacher had been using iPads in her class for a while, and again was piloting them, but with the new school year she had recently began training a new class of children to use the iPads competently.
The class were year 2 children and they had iPads on a 1:2 basis. Each iPad was assigned to a pair of children with a specific number and they used 2 iTunes accounts to install apps on them and the number labels are colour coded so the teacher knows which two to install any new apps on. This very organised approach makes using the iPads simple. Each morning the iPads are used for morning work, where the children can practise key words, spellings or maths targets, and this is done on a rota basis so in this circumstance they’re used 1:1. As the iPads are assigned to specific children, some of the games monitor their progress e.g. ‘how many key words do they already know and what’s next?’ so each time they can continue building on what they did the time before.